Chances are we have all unconsciously faced off against a covert bully. Many have taken the role. But the latter is unlikely to be reading this. A really skilled workplace bully is likely to be the covert bully.
Perhaps a key indicator is that, even in the presence of being manipulated, we are given cause to doubt ourselves—to think they are not so bad after all. Their covert and destructive actions are hidden by selective intuitions of charisma and psychodrama they deploy to throw key influencers off their scent. They can appear very noble people.
How Does This Bully Work?
The bully distorts human relationships, making them unrelational. It’s the only way he can get away with the things he does conscience-free.
By keeping things unrelational, by not seeing people as people, he is able to treat them with scant regard. “It’s all business,” is their compelling inner mantra. Then he picks on negative personality traits—which are easy targets for the bully. Negative personality traits we all have. They are easy to pick and pick on.
How Does This Bully Think?
Focusing on his image alone, to the selective disregard of reality, he is the centre of his universe—which is his total social environment. “Social” is an interesting word—it’s always a game. Manipulation is the tactical spread they use. Classic narcissism is their underlying persona.
If we do anything to harm the image the bully has of themselves the battle intensity increases a notch or two. The covert bully is very protective of their image.
This person only cares about other people to the extent that they may assist in the achievement of their goals. Respect is therefore highly conditional. And trust, if it exists, is primitive and shaky at best.
The bully is centred on control. His world is not about relationship; it’s all about ownership.
Battleground Modus Operandi
How do we fight, then? Mentally, we stay aware as we ready ourselves for possibilities of confrontation. We are not fearful, just ready, expecting the tough unrelenting battle if it comes. We become battle-ready—in our minds and hearts—not to win, but to quietly assert ourselves, by not getting wrapped up in their webs of power mongering. This approach overestimates the potential. Ironically, we feel safer. This is because, expecting the worst, we are pleasantly surprised that things tend not to work out that way.
It is a wise to be forearmed in praying, “For the tests and temptations and persecutions already coming, make me ready, Lord, that I would have as positive an attitude as possible, and to know you are with me, everywhere and always, Amen.”
We try to remain in check of our emotions, being reminded that the business of life is just that; a business, plain and simple, without much need for losing control. The unemotional approach to life is its own blessing. We get to experience peace for free.
When we are pushed by people we try not to react. “Push me to speed up and I maintain my speed.”
We can also learn to laugh within ourselves; to not take life so seriously. Why do we lose so much sleep, and get anxious, over the relatively little issues of life?
Most of all we believe in ourselves—that we are every bit as worthy in God’s eyes as they are. We deserve respect as they do. Assertiveness is borne in equity.
Covert bullies only thrive when we feed their insatiable needs for power by proving weak in their sight. Being prepared and unemotional and retaining our humour are vital. Their power is actually quite brittle and we might even pity them a little if we see them as they truly are.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.