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Monday, July 9, 2012

Bully Meter

Many people think that bullies are only among children but there are adult bullies also.  When they achieve adulthood they become more sophisticated in their tactics but they are none the less adult bullies.  Regretfully there is no such thing as a bully meter but close observation and common sense will clearly reveal who they are.  While bullying is not acceptable no matter the age of the person doing it, adults will still bully others if they see it as the only way to solve their problems. It is especially despicable when they manage to get into positions of authority and use, or threaten to use, our own resources to bully their victims who disagree with them. Such as in a HOA or Landowners Association.  They frequently point at others as being the bully to mask their own activities. 

Adult bullies target people who are popular and well liked,  especially if they are not too popular themselves. The more well liked and competent a person is, the bigger the threat they are to an adult bully. If an adult bully is seeking attention, they will target people who receive the most attention and try to make them seem less valuable. They target a  person who formulates  well thought out ideas so that they can either use those ideas and claim them for their own and demean the possessor of those ideas or diminish the value of what that person has to offer.  

Adult bullies target people who are different from themselves, especially those who have high morals and integrity. Adult bullies usually have problems coping with their own problems and are desperately trying to find ways to make themselves look better by targeting other adults who they perceive will not fight back. Adult bullies seek out these people because they are less likely to retaliate against them and when they are finished with one they will move right on to another victim.  They can be male or female and age is not a barrier when it comes to bullies.  They come from all social economic levels.   They cause disruption and discord until they can get their way or until they damage or destroy others in the process.  Success to them is to have a few followers who support their tactics and it gives them a false sense of well being. 

Adult bullies feel as though they have to victimize others because they are envious of their talents or they possess something which the bully does not have. Even though it would be easier to just work harder at developing their own talents, adult bullies seek to damage or demean other people instead of working harder themselves.

Adult bullies do exist and are troublesome to sometimes identify and deal with.  Like the saying "never argue with an idiot as they will only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience".  Adult bullies have survived for years with muscling and manipulating others  and it has become their long experience and coping mechanism.  They see in others what they themselves lack or possess and instead of working harder to improve themselves use various threats or intimidation to achieve their goals. 

The rub comes when you have more than one bully in a community.  That tends to keep normal people off balance and less likely to focus on the real problem of bullying but instead on numerous symptoms. They sometimes team up together but when victims are scarce they prey on each other. 

I have heard people for years say that those in our community just want to  fight with each other. It has seriously tarnished our image as a caring community.  As our association teeters on the brink of changing direction I wonder if a few bullies are getting their way in our community or are we really destined for something this community was never initially intended to be. I suspect that our community is not much different from other communities across the country.  Especially when bullies manage to get into leadership positions.  

Perhaps the bullies should work harder at making a compelling case before cramming their personal agendas down the memberships throats.  Bullies are not tolerant of ideas or propositions other than their own.  They employ various techniques to quash other ideas or manipulate them into their own, taking credit for them. Step back, look at what is happening in your community and who is doing it and challenge yourself to identify those who may be bullies within your community.  Perhaps those rumors you heard about others was nothing more than a sophisticated tactic to poison the well perpetuated by a bully.  If you knew both sides you may be inclined to view things differently regardless of present loyalties. Or better yet, invent a reliable bully meter.

We tend not to think of adult bullies but in fact they do exist and prosper in society.  It  is up to us to evaluate who and what they are and deal with them accordingly.        


Sakoieta said...

Truer words have never been spoken. Good stuff Bruce. I know from first hand experience how difficult it is to reason with these kind of people. Today the internet makes it even worse. It is so easy for people to hide behind a computer and to invent a false name and do their damage. Happens everyday to so many people.

Robert said...

Great article, Bruce. This is one way to get it out there.

Pat said...

There’s good news In Mudville! We have only one bully left here. One by one, they have moved out and moved on to ruin other communities! My old nemesis, Eric, the old HOA prez, moved this summer.

However, the one bully left is the sneaky bully – actually, it’s a pair, a man and wife set of bullies. They drive around the community in a golf cart and take notes about whose house or yard doesn’t meet their standards or who has done something they don’t like. Then they go behind people’s backs and start talking… Stealth bullies.

HOWEVER AGAIN, these folks are old – the man is in his 80s. He’s like an old lion roaring now, without all his buddies to back him up. He’s why I have thanked God many times that last year I did NOT continue on the ACC board, as he has made that committees lives a living hell this year with all his complaining about minor thimgs.

BTW, the entire BOD sent out an e-mail that they do not intend to serve again the coming year. (Maybe has something to do with a roaring old lion…)

I told them all they have to do is stand up to him, like I did when he said we needed get rid of the geese in the lake because they were polluting it. Fortunately, after years of working as an editor for USGS Water Resource I knew enough technical lingo to make it sound like I knew what I was talking about, and told him the real pollution was coming from the fertilizer runoff from the yards uphill – which, is true! -- Only I did it with “big words” that made it sound like I actually had scientific facts behind me… Words like “nutrient load” – sounded very impressive. He backed down with a growling, “You’ll see…” Some might say I called him on a bluff… but I know it was bullshitting, pure and simple.

BTW, we still love our geese.

We had a community get together last month, where I made the statement I liked to play Scrabble but had no one to play with. Our current HOA prez – who, by the way is a peach – said she loved Scrabble, and one of the other girls said she did, too, and thus was born the first Scrabble night in our community this Thursday night.

Could it be that we’ll find, without all the troublemakers, there are some really nice folks living in these houses, only we never knew it because we were constantly pulled into one of two armies and firing volleys about the lake???

I hope this is the start of something big!

Bruce said...

Maybe there is hope for Forbes Park after all.

Patricia said...

"I told them all they have to do is stand up to him, like I did when he said we needed get rid of the geese in the lake because they were polluting it."

OMG! Another example of an old fart with nothing to do post-retirement. Unfortunately, Forbes Park has plenty of those.

Patricia said...

Some people just can't handle power.

Years ago one my co-workers was promoted to a head-of-the department type position. He went on such a power trip and turned into such an obnoxious ass that he was demoted.

Anonymous said...

Hmmnn , A retirement community full of old busybodies who have nothing to do and all day to do it. Whoda thunk it ! That's why it's called God's Waiting Room.

Bruce said...

An astute comment anonymous. There are a lot of retiree's in our community and yes there are a lot of them that have nothing better to do than cause trouble all day. Those who have homes here are also summer vacation homes and homes built for the future.
Only a small percent are retirees and only a small percent of those are the trouble makers.
It exemplifies the old saying that a bad apple spoils the entire barrel. When you have a dozen bad apples you have rampant spoilage.