Simply put, to end workplace bullying, we focus on the actual root of the problem: the bullies. Why? We keep the focus on the bullies as the problem — not how targets react or what personality traits might be flawed (especially since it’s the strengths of the target that puts him or her at risk).
Why bullies bully
Sociopaths can’t empathize (put themselves in others’ shoes) because they’re so completely cut off from their own emotions — particularly fear, hurt, and vulnerability, which they see as a shameful weakness. “If you can’t feel your own emotions, you can’t resonate and empathize with the emotions of other people,” says Joseph Burgo, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and author of The Narcissist You Know: Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissists in an All-About-Me World.
More on why a bully bullies:
- 9 reasons a bully bullies
- Feeling disempowered at work? You might be a workplace bullying target.
- How workplace bullying led three competent, ethical employees to take their lives
- Why bullies get ahead at work
- Completely absurd reasons why bullies get ahead
Here’s an often underrated indicator of how a social movement gains momentum and legitimacy: More and more victims of abuse and mistreatment begin to speak out publicly, sharing their experiences and calling for change.
It’s happening with the workplace anti-bullying movement right now, and I realized that many of us (myself included) have taken this shift for granted. Put simply, greater numbers of people who have experienced (or closely witnessed) workplace bullying are making their voices heard. They are doing so through legislative testimony, letters to the editor and website comments, blogs and articles, media interviews, radio and television appearances, and posted videos.
Not long ago
Believe me, it hasn’t always been this way.
When this movement was in its infancy roughly a decade ago, it was unusual to find bullying targets willing to go public with their stories. Public understanding of workplace bullying was at such a low level…
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