Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. What I realized today is that I still don’t have a solid strategy for dealing with bullies. I was business-bullied by a person who is the type that feels that everyone owes him something. Have you ever met that sort? The one that makes it clear that if you don’t play along, he will take his vengeance on you any way he can? Though I was forewarned about this character a while back, this time I experienced his act firsthand. He burst into a meeting he wasn’t part of, and, like a child who didn’t get his favorite toy, hissed threats (business threats that is.) I tried speaking with him using logic, next I tried a line of sympathy, but nothing seemed to be passing his mask of insult and injury. I watched him as I collected my bag and coat, getting ready to leave a meeting that was cut short due to his interruption, and I realized that what I felt was a sense of pity; pity towards him. Here is a bully that, very likely, used these scare techniques since kindergarten, and being the spoiled child that he was at his younger years (or so I was told,) it probably always “worked” for him; so much so that he adopted it into his adult lifestyle – business and otherwise. His childish rage brought to my mind other bullies I encountered over the years – from early childhood through youth to adulthood and business. I didn’t have many such experiences as I am not the type bullies usually pick on, but there were a handful and I remember them vividly.
Bullying, after all, is quite a common behavior. Heck, banks do it, religious institutions do it, entire countries do it, why should it stop at a certain age? I felt pity towards this guy but no compassion. I am not that holly. I thought to myself: here is a man who is the personification of old Ebeneezer Scrooge, who puts up an act and believes in it. I cannot imagine him being a happy person despite his wealth and lavish lifestyle. I would never want to trade places with him. Yes, he can hurt others somewhat business-wise if he fully acts on his threats, but ultimately, slowly but surely, every person he bullies deepen his own sad and lonely grave.
Despite having angry thoughts at him in the hour or so after the meeting, I quickly calmed my mind and moved on. He failed to scare me. There will still be a need to do some damage control and contain the situation but that will come later.
I only wish I could have told this guy, let’s just call him Mr. K for the sake of giving misery a name, that I forgive him, but I suspect that it would have angered him even more. Boy, I don’t envy the people who work for him…
A day later I realized that I do have a strategy for dealing with bullies and that I actually have deployed it. It is based on Tai Chi principals. What I learned from my Tai Chi practice is that when facing a strong force, best approach is to get out of the way. If the force insists on chasing you, there are techniques to redirect it against itself. In this specific instance, I stepped out of the way.
Learned from: Mr. K.