Seven Signs of a Bully

Social media has become the platform for bullies. I know there was great hope that social media would bring people together, and there would be greater understanding and dialogue. Unfortunately, what I have seen is greater silos and more vitriol responses to people and opinions. Social media has become the platform for bullies, and it is having an impact on our society.

So, what are the key characteristics of a bully? How do you know if you are dealing with a bully? There are seven signs of bullying. Here is my list:

  1. Bullies are egomaniacs. They want to be the center of attention. They have an unquenchable desire to appear superior to everyone else. They put people down and demean and belittle people. The bully wants it to be all about himself/herself. 
  2. Bullies want weak people around them. The bully does not want to be challenged. The bully wants weak people around him/her. They want people they can manipulate, and they want to use subordinates to carry out plans and plots against others. The bully wants people who will not question his/her core values or the consequences. 
  3. Bullies change the facts. This process is a psychological way of bending the thoughts and perspectives of others to the bully’s ways. You have to agree with the bully, or you have no credibility in the circle of the bully. If you disagree with the bully, you are ostracized from the group. 
  4. Loyalty is a one-way street. In healthy relationships, loyalty flows both ways. A person is loyal to the group leader, and the group leader is loyal to the individuals in his group. The bully has no loyalty to anyone and is willing to throw people under the bus when it suits the bully’s purpose and needs.
  5. Bullies want constant praise. The bully needs to have constant praise and adoration because that is how the bully validates himself. The bully only wants to hear the good things and none of the negative. Their egos are driven by hearing people say how wonderful they are and what great things they are doing. The praise has to be constant.
  6. Bullies lie. Bullies will lie to make the world fit their ideas or reinforce their views. Truth does not matter. Facts do not matter. If someone disagrees with the bully, the information is fake. The lies become dangerous because there is “buy in” to the lie. If it is on the internet, it has to be true.
  7. The bullies put others down. Bullies keep their perch by keeping others subjugated. When the bully’s authority and power are threatened, he/she becomes more aggressive, taking offense at every little slight or wrong. 

Bullies are all around us. The challenge is recognizing their tactics and not playing their game. Finally, we need to call out bullying when we see it.

Stronger, Better, Together