Why Bullying Occurs?

First, we need to look at the individual who is the bully. Bullies share the same characteristics from person to person, although the individual people are quite different in many ways. The bully is typically punished only 8% of the time, while the bully's boss, if he/she is aware of the problem, will side with the bully 42% of the time. The bullying stops when the target goes away.

We know the basic characteristics as they mimic the general behaviors of disruptive employees, typically managers. They are rude, condescending with the intention to insult and demean their targets. Verbally, they sound hostile and angry. They may shout, throw things, slam doors, and berate staff in front of others. They seem to have an inherent insensitivity toward others' lives. They are often disrespectful to their peers, their support staff, and anyone they consider less important than themselves. They usually do not take criticism well and will counterattack anyone who directs blame at them. Bullies generally dislike authority and believe they are above the rules and policies that apply to others.

Psychologically, they are insecure about themselves and their place in the world. They may have chronic conditions that complicate their negative feelings toward themselves and others. There are cases of alcohol and substance abuse, family problems, broken marriages, and financial problems. These are all things that everyone has to deal with at some time in their lives, but bullies have not learned to cope and work through the personal issues that life's challenges present. Instead, they look to release frustration by targeting those that they see as vulnerable or deserving of some of the misery they themselves endure. As far as personalities are concerned, some are simply unpleasant people who have found that they can get what they want by imposing their wrath on others and do not care or understand the impact they leave behind.

In the worst-case scenario, two potential disasters can occur. Bullies can reach a point of frustration and emotional instability, and their actions are played out as physical violence directed at a target. The consequences now multiply tenfold. There is injury or even death to the target, the bully, or even innocent bystanders. Workplace morale will suffer its worst blow, with employees suffering psychological and physical health problems, poor productivity in the workplace, and the potential for company liability for creating conditions conducive to violence, or worse, not doing anything about obvious warning signs. The other potential disaster comes from the targeted employee. It happens where the emotions and psychological pressures brought on by bullying become too much to bear. The unstable person, who may be predisposed to a breakdown, suffering depression, or other psychotic illness, becomes the time bomb. We have heard about it in the news; it has happened before. This suffering individual decides that he/she must place blame on someone other than himself/herself and shows up at work with the intent to maim or kill the perceived tormenter and possibly others who may have played a part or been totally innocent and just bystanders.

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