rcasa

RCASA’s Friday Facts: Profile of a Serial Bully

In Sexual Assault Awareness on November 26, 2010 at 8:00 am

The following is an excerpt from the website BullyOnline and describes characteristics of the “Serial Bully.” Unfortunately bullying has become a serious social problem in schools, the workplace, etc. Bullying is often about power and control and can be “crazy-making” for the person or people involved with them. It is estimated that 1 person in 30 is a “serial bully.”

Bullying is a form of abuse. It involves repeated acts over time attempting to create or enforce one group or person’s power over another group or person, thus an “imbalance of power”. The “imbalance of power” may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a target.

Bullying consists of three basic types of abuse – emotional, verbal and physical. It typically involves subtle methods of coercion. such as psychological manipulation. Bullying can be defined in many different ways. Although the UUK currently has no legal definition of bullying, some US states have laws against it. Bullying in school and the workplace is also referred to as peer abuse

 The serial bully:

  • is a convincing, practised liar and when called to account, will make up anything spontaneously to fit their needs at that moment
  • has a Jekyll and Hyde nature – is vile, vicious and vindictive in private, but innocent and charming in front of witnesses; no-one can (or wants to) believe this individual has a vindictive nature – only the current target of the serial bully’s aggression sees both sides; whilst the Jekyll side is described as “charming” and convincing enough to deceive personnel, management and a tribunal, the Hyde side is frequently described as “evil”; Hyde is the real person, Jekyll is an act
  • excels at deception and should never be underestimated in their capacity to deceive
  • uses excessive charm and is always plausible and convincing when peers, superiors or others are present (charm can be used to deceive as well as to cover for lack of empathy)
  • is glib, shallow and superficial with plenty of fine words and lots of form – but there’s no substance
  • is possessed of an exceptional verbal facility and will outmanoeuvre most people in verbal interaction, especially at times of conflict
  • is often described as smooth, slippery, slimy, ingratiating, fawning, toadying, obsequious, sycophantic
  • relies on mimicry, repetition and regurgitation to convince others that he or she is both a “normal” human being and a tough dynamic manager, as in extolling the virtues of the latest management fads and pouring forth the accompanying jargon
  • is unusually skilled in being able to anticipate what people want to hear and then saying it plausibly
  • cannot be trusted or relied upon
  • fails to fulfil commitments
  • is emotionally retarded with an arrested level of emotional development; whilst language and intellect may appear to be that of an adult, the bully displays the emotional age of a five-year-old
  • is emotionally immature and emotionally untrustworthy
  • exhibits unusual and inappropriate attitudes to sexual matters, sexual behaviour and bodily functions; underneath the charming exterior there are often suspicions or hints of sex discrimination and sexual harassment, perhaps also sexual dysfunction, sexual inadequacy, sexual perversion, sexual violence or sexual abuse
  • in a relationship, is incapable of initiating or sustaining intimacy
  • holds deep prejudices (eg against the opposite gender, people of a different sexual orientation, other cultures and religious beliefs, foreigners, etc – prejudiced people are unvaryingly unimaginative) but goes to great lengths to keep this prejudicial aspect of their personality secret
  • is self-opinionated and displays arrogance, audacity, a superior sense of entitlement and sense of invulnerability and untouchability
  • has a deep-seated contempt of clients in contrast to his or her professed compassion
  • is a control freak and has a compulsive need to control everyone and everything you say, do, think and believe; for example, will launch an immediate personal attack attempting to restrict what you are permitted to say if you start talking knowledgeably about psychopathic personality or antisocial personality disorder in their presence – but aggressively maintains the right to talk (usually unknowledgeably) about anything they choose; serial bullies despise anyone who enables others to see through their deception and their mask of sanity
  • displays a compulsive need to criticise whilst simultaneously refusing to value, praise and acknowledge others, their achievements, or their existence
  • shows a lack of joined-up thinking with conversation that doesn’t flow and arguments that don’t hold water
  • flits from topic to topic so that you come away feeling you’ve never had a proper conversation
  • refuses to be specific and never gives a straight answer
  • is evasive and has a Houdini-like ability to escape accountability
  • undermines and destroys anyone who the bully perceives to be an adversary, a potential threat, or who can see through the bully’s mask
  • is adept at creating conflict between those who would otherwise collate incriminating information about them
  • is quick to discredit and neutralise anyone who can talk knowledgeably about antisocial or sociopathic behaviors
  • may pursue a vindictive vendetta against anyone who dares to held them accountable, perhaps using others’ resources and contemptuous of the damage caused to other people and organisations in pursuance of the vendetta
  • is also quick to belittle, undermine, denigrate and discredit anyone who calls, attempts to call, or might call the bully to account
  • gains gratification from denying people what they are entitled to
  • is highly manipulative, especially of people’s perceptions and emotions (eg guilt)
  • poisons peoples’ minds by manipulating their perceptions
  • when called upon to share or address the needs and concerns of others, responds with impatience, irritability and aggression
  • is arrogant, haughty, high-handed, and a know-all
  • often has an overwhelming, unhealthy and narcissistic attention-seeking need to portray themselves as a wonderful, kind, caring and compassionate person, in contrast to their behaviour and treatment of others; the bully sees nothing wrong with their behavior and chooses to remain oblivious to the discrepancy between how they like to be seen and how they are seen by others
  • is spiritually dead although may loudly profess some religious belief or affiliation
  • is mean-spirited, officious, and often unbelievably petty
  • is mean, stingy, and financially untrustworthy
  • is greedy, selfish, a parasite and an emotional vampire
  • is always a taker and never a giver
  • is convinced of their superiority and has an overbearing belief in their qualities of leadership but cannot distinguish between leadership (maturity, decisiveness, assertiveness, co-operation, trust, integrity) and bullying (immaturity, impulsiveness, aggression, manipulation, distrust, deceitfulness)
  • often fraudulently claims qualifications, experience, titles, entitlements or affiliations which are ambiguous, misleading, or bogus
  • often misses the semantic meaning of language, misinterprets what is said, sometimes wrongly thinking that comments of a satirical, ironic or general negative nature apply to him or herself
  • knows the words but not the song
  • is constantly imposing on others a false reality made up of distortion and fabrication
  • sometimes displays a seemingly limitless demonic energy especially when engaged in attention-seeking activities or evasion of accountability and is often a committeeaholic or apparent workaholic

Responsibility

The serial bully appears to lack insight into his or her behaviour and seems to be oblivious to the crassness and inappropriateness thereof; however, it is more likely that the bully knows what they are doing but elects to switch off the moral and ethical considerations by which normal people are bound. If the bully knows what they are doing, they are responsible for their behaviour and thus liable for its consequences to other people.

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