September 2, 2021

Bullying – We all Do It– Part 1

Bullying is an issue that nearly every child faces at one time or another, in the old days by telephone, physical or cyber via computer, text, and etc. But it can also happen to adults, and therein lies the issue. We all know that kids can be very hurtful in their honesty…check out the fairy tale of the “Emperor’s New Clothes” to figure that one out…whether they mean it to be or not, they say what they think…most of the time.

I was bullied as a kid, from the time I became fat, less than 5 foot and over 220 pounds, and my grandparents sequestered me from the real world, it proved how stupid I was about real life. That continued throughout my working life, with a boss who managed by bullying and intimidation from 1983 until 2000, a lot of this was the influence he put on other guard company managers in the Kansas City area, “Who the hell are you to write articles (books)? You don’t even have a college education!”

Yet we never seem to learn that lesson, do we? We continue to bully both children our age, or younger, and as adults some of us continue to bully our co-workers, customers, managers, subordinates, and family members. This in turn can lead to violence…especially if the bully decides to strike back and end their torment.

While I’m in no way a psychologist, I don’t even play one on TV or radio, here is a quote I picked up, “Well, when you’re worried, it’s easy to let PROJECTION rear its ugly head.” Of course, worried can contain stress of personal or business, or any number of things.

From Psychology Today a good definition is: “PROJECTION is the process of displacing one’s feelings onto a different person, animal, or object. The term is most commonly used to describe defensive projection — attributing one’s own unacceptable urges to another. For example, if someone continuously bullies and ridicules a peer about his insecurities, the bully might be projecting his own struggle with self-esteem onto the other person.”

In other words, the bully, in most cases, is so low on self-confidence and self-esteem, they have to bully someone else to make themselves more important, in both their eyes and the eyes of their peers.

In older children especially middle school aged and up, and adults this is the main reason that bullying is done. In many younger children it’s because someone is different for a reason, disabled, skin color, nationality, faith, or etc.

As adults, it’s obvious that we bully each other for a variety of reasons, including acting like little kids. What used to be called good-natured teasing is now considered bullying. An example? In 1988, a group of workers at the Wire Rope Corporation of America facility in St. Joseph, MO. We’re ribbing a fellow employee over some, now long-forgotten, silly & funny incident. Unfortunately, the co-worker couldn’t take the constant good-natured teasing…eventually urinating in the coffee pot causing everyone to be scared because of the hysteria over HIV/AIDS at the time. One of the first workplace violence incidents I know of that didn’t happen at the post office in the 80s.

Could this have turned out to be a very tragic incident? Of course, it could’ve. If the teased co-worker had actually had HIV/AIDS, then he potentially could’ve infected more than 10 people. We now know that it can’t be transmitted that way, but back in 1988…

The initial question in the title hasn’t yet been answered, but I’ll answer it now. The answer is a resounding YES!

Just like we stereotype people every single second of the day. We may not intentionally mean to but…it’s built into our culture and genealogy to do so. Have you ever threatened your kids with a spanking or other punishment for not doing something, or doing something they shouldn’t have? I’d wager you have. Have you ever threatened to discipline or terminate and employee because of a ‘fuck-up’ they instigated, good intentions aside? Again, the answer is a resounding yes. There is your answer we all bully other people nearly every day and no matter where we’re at or the circumstances.

Can bullying ever be accepted as a managerial tool? This is a question I’ll discuss in my next post. The answer may surprise some and others…eh not so much, par for the course.

It happens to Anyone…Any Time…Any Where… For any Reason

I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear

Permission to share? Of course, with full attribution.
Copyright 2021 Robert D. Sollars

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