I realized something today about bullies… They don’t admit their fault. They might admit fault when they’ve been caught and have no other choice, but it’s surrender. Not true acceptance of fault. Which also means there’s no true accountability. Mostly bullies turn things on the other person, make excuses for their behavior, and use victim-blaming words. “You should have known.” “If you had done it this way, then you’d not be upset by my reactions.”
Bullies blame everyone else.
This is so confusing because sometimes these very same people say they want to grow. Say they want accountability. Claim to want to know the truth. Yet do they?
If someone asks for truth then punishes you for giving it, isn’t that a bully?
The punishing can come in many forms too. It might be in the way of passive aggressive statements. Snippy remarks. Screaming and/or name calling. It can be ignoring someone or flat out attacking them. The list of tactics a bully uses is long and it’s long for good reason. A bully must always have an arsenal of things to use against someone to get them under control.
Nonconsensual control is the name of the bully’s game.
When people refuse to take a simple look at their behavior or if they refuse to admit fault and work on their issues rather than focusing on blaming others, I really have no patience for that. I go to great lengths to make sure that I’m being the best person I can in any given situation. I wasn’t always great at communication and I’m still learning too, but I try hard.
For so long I looked at other people’s behavior and thought, But I’m not perfect. I mess up too. So how can I call someone else out on their shit?
What I now see is that I need to call them out, just as people call me out on mine. A good person will take what’s shared with them—no matter how difficult it is to hear—and take action to resolve it or alter their behavior. Even if they can’t see their own behavior, they’ll at least consider what the other person is saying and take a closer look at their choices.
A bully will only fly with accusations of, “You should have done xzy!” “You did this and that to me!” “You need to do this and then that will be different.” The theme is generally one of pushing everything off on the other person by the constant use of you.
A bully might apologize later, but there are often excuses behind behavior.
Never ruin a good apology with an excuse.
We’ve all heard that statement and it’s true. Shifting one detail of the manner in which we apologize changes so much.
This brings me to another observation about bullies…
Even if there’s a genuine apology, if the person keeps repeating behavior and crossing boundaries, they are still a bully! Apologizing doesn’t make someone ‘no longer a bully’. Changing behavior does.
Last night a friend told me that if someone keeps crossing my boundaries, why would I want to be around this person? And she’s right. Why would I?
Someone who continually crosses boundaries is a bully.
I didn’t think about this much until today when I read an article on bullies and setting boundaries that my friend originally posted. The article, If You Set a Boundary, Expect to Deal with Anger by Susan Biali M.D., helped me to see that boundary setting angers bullies because it takes away their control. Other times setting a boundary may be forcing that person to recognize behavior that they aren’t willing to admit and/or deal with.
I’ve thought back to times when people set boundaries with me. If someone said, “I can’t be in this kind of situation,” and it’s one that I—by just being me—will expose that person to, then I support that person in their backing away. If it’s something I can change I might, but more likely it’s something that I can’t change and therefore I’ve been accepting that I need to keep a respectful distance. Another boundary example is someone setting up a time limit of availability, to which I understand and try not to overstep or cross by limiting my expectations of that person. These aren’t hard things to follow and have little to do with me personally. They have to do with other’s limits. So I respect them.
I’m not, nor have I been, angered by them.
In the past I’ve had a double standard when it came to others and myself. I hold myself to a high standard (and am hard on myself if I hurt someone), while I tend to make excuses for other’s behavior or allow them to excuse their own.
This is why I end up bullied again and again.
The truth is that there’s no excuse for being a bully. It doesn’t matter if you have social anxiety, PTSD, fear of abandonment, bipolar disorder, or any other excuse one might give. Those things may affect a person and cause a harsh response, but it certainly doesn’t excuse behavior. I know, because I don’t let my issues be an excuse for my behavior even if they often affect my responses.
There is no excuse for blaming everyone else and not looking at the person in the mirror.
That is the behavior of a Bully™.
*image by Joanna Atkinson on freeimages.com*