As you probably know, I’m very anti-bullying and very pro-empathy. Sometimes I’m a little too empathetic.
Given what we know about the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin situation with the Miami Dolphins, it proves that bullying never stops, and people don’t grow out of bullying. It’s not just a meanness thing, it’s an insecurity thing.
It’s a power thing, too – a person is so certain of his or her own self-importance, yet has no self worth, or are threatened, and gain a false sense of entitlement by belittling someone else.
A colleague of mine groaned and made a comment about the “wussification” of America, and I thought, well, how would you feel if someone belittled you every day?
Heck, at my last workplace, I had a bully, and I was hesitant to stand up to the bully for fear of “upsetting the apple cart.” Finally, a male coworker recently told me, “I’d never have let it get to that point.” And at that point, I felt as if I’d been granted permission to stand up to workplace bullies. Not that I haven’t stood up to people before, but I finally had a coworker put himself in my shoes.
Among the things I’ve taken from the Incognito-Martin feud: Male bullying is overt, while female bullying is covert.
Girls wouldn’t tell another girl that they’d shit in their mouth. They’d tell them their lipstick made them look too pale. Or they wouldn’t invite them out, when they’d invited everyone else out. Or that the story they worked on wasn’t worthy of being run on A1, despite all the hard work that was put into it. That’s something the bully at my last workplace did.
I’ve forgiven her for being such a horrible coworker and for behaving horribly towards me, and I know I didn’t do anything to provoke her. Sometimes I wish I would have just cornered her and asked her what her problem was with me. But there’s one thing I think of when someone brings her up to me. (I won’t name the woman who bullied me in the workplace. She knows who she is. That’s on her conscience.)
Charlie Batch, a former NFL quarterback, recently posted this on his Facebook page. There’s truth in this statement from Maya Angelou:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
And that’s the problem with bullies. They likely never consider how someone else feels. Their only concern is for their own feelings.