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The bullies arent just in the schools, wrote blogger Capn Transit (Protecting the Vulnerable From Bullies,
Hes right about that. Try driving the speed limit in the right-hand lane and see how long it is before somebody is honking at you, hollering at you, crowding you, and cursing at you. Drivers who obey the traffic lawsincluding the speed limitsare almost certain to be tailgated, wrote Robert Thomson, the Washington Posts
And as we know, bullies are in schools, sometimes treating people so badly that students kill themselves in an attempt to escape the pain. But the same thing happens with adults, apparently even in the military. A recent Army study found a potential link between toxic leadership and troop suicides, wrote Senior Chief Jim Murphy and Jayne P. Cecil (Toxic Leaders: Bullies in Our Ranks, Proceedings of the
Who are these bullies? All bullies are narcissists, with an inflated sense of self-importance and a marked lack of empathy for their victims suffering, while many narcissists turn out to be powerful bullies, wrote Joseph Burgonov in the Atlantic Monthly (All Bullies Are Narcissists,
There are plenty of such people. Pope Francis has mentioned the problem of narcissistic Christianspeople not really concerned about Jesus Christ or about others. Love of God and love of neighborwhat Jesus called the two greatest commandmentsare displaced by love of self.
Burgonov cited the case of Lance Armstrong, an athlete caught using illegal performance-enhancing drugs: he made extensive use of the legal system and his access to media in order to bully and intimate anyone who challenged
Schoolyard bullies employ identical tactics, spreading vicious rumors and recruiting followers in order to persecute their victims, wrote Burgonov.
Murphy and Cecil also noted that bullies often have a following (the slang word for the followers is toadies). Bullies and those who support them tend to reinforce their own negative qualities, using results or intent to justify their own behavior. (Our neighborhood bully went to court with false witnesses.)
Although bullies and toadies may justify themselves, on some level theyre aware of what theyre doing. They are adept at hiding their behavior from superiors, wrote Murphy and Cecil, who even used the same words as Capn Transit: bullies create an imbalance of power. (When I told the police the truth about an incident involving the neighborhood bully, one deputy told me, I dont believe youlike the Army superiors that are duped by bullies who hide their behavior.)
Why do they engineer the balance of power in their favor? Bullies typically act out of feelings of insecurity, wrote Murphy and Cecil.
Through physical and psychological persecution, the bully off-loads her own shame and fear of not belonging, wrote Burgonov. (The bully who made false police reports claimed that a deputy said of me, He isnt one of us. Whether that claim was true or not, it showed a desire to prove that the victim, not the bully, was the one who doesnt belong.)
Bullies on the roads may convince themselves that they, despite their aggressive, illegal behavior, are in the right, acting out their anger against those who are actually obeying traffic laws. And for the most part, there is, as Capn Transit said, nothing to counter them.
So if bullies are everywhere that theyre allowed to be, what can we do about it?
We need to identify the bullies in our ranks, wrote Murphy and Cecil, stating that toxic leadership and