what makes a bully?

  1. I've noticed on threads which discuss any form of bullying, there is a lot of interest and yet never an explaination as to what makes a nurse become a bully. I think if that could be addressed then the problem could be curtailed before it gets out of hand as it so often does. My theory is that you usually find a bully is someone who has worked in a place for a long time and becomes almost possessive about it. Its almost an "ownership", type of thing. Would anyone there agree with me?. If that could explain the reason for workplace bullying then the answer is simple, move every member of staff around once every 6 months.
    •  
  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   Gator,SN
    Most of the bullys that I have run into are people who suffer from low self esteem and they feel better about themselves by dumping on someone else.
    It is a temporary fix though and they must find ways to continue. Like putting a bandaid on a huge wound.
    Give one person a little bit of power and if they are not confident in the use of it, they will become a tyrant. When it goes to their head, its almost too hard to tolerate.
    I have met people in my life who think that certain titles or position automatically entitles them to respect, without earning it, and have suffered through the "pecking order" mentality.
    Sometimes, when a person does not have enough confidence in their abilities or who they are, they will pick apart everyone around them in order to feel better.
    Workplace bullys that I have dealt with are usually people who have problems in other areas of life and take it out on co-workers. I have noticed that they usually pick the person that they feel is the easiest to degrade.
    Carcha, sometimes when someone has worked for a long time at one facility, they may feel dumped on or unappreciated and they bully because they don't know how else to cope with things.
    One nurse that I am working with right now is angry because the new GN's are getting $7000 sign on bonuses and she feels that the hospital is being unfair by not financially rewarding the employees that have faithfully stayed here over the years. She told me 2 weeks ago, "you are new, why should you get a sign on bonus, your lucky to have a job, we couldn't work until we passed boards!"She refuses to take report from any of us, and she points out any minor thing that we do wrong, over and over. I believe that she is angry and feels powerless. She should be mad at the hospital and take it up with them, but we are new and trying to fit in and prove ourselves and much easier to hurt, and so it goes.
    Some people bully because they do not know any other way to get what they want. Like a spoiled child, it has worked in the past and so they continue. Others feel bullied and so they pass it on.
    It may be a good idea to move staff around in LTC....?? I don't know because I've never worked LTC, however, having the residents get to know the staff and feel comfortable with them would make this very difficult woudn't it?? The problem that I see is that usually everyone knows who the bullys are and other departments don't want them either.

    Gator
    Last edit by Gator,SN on Jul 12, '03
  4. by   sassynurse78
    I think it is a personality trait. I also agree with gator. One bully I have worked with is also ringing a bell, she was terrible! I ran into her though outside of work when I was on a bowling league and her husband was a social bully during the leagues, she sit quietly not saying a word being very pleasant. It got me wondering if maybe he bullied at home so she did at work as a way of balancing it all out with her homelife. Didn't make me think much more of her though! :0)
  5. by   qje999
    Quote from carcha
    I've noticed on threads which discuss any form of bullying, there is a lot of interest and yet never an explaination as to what makes a nurse become a bully. I think if that could be addressed then the problem could be curtailed before it gets out of hand as it so often does. My theory is that you usually find a bully is someone who has worked in a place for a long time and becomes almost possessive about it. Its almost an "ownership", type of thing. Would anyone there agree with me?. If that could explain the reason for workplace bullying then the answer is simple, move every member of staff around once every 6 months.
    I agree with you on the possessiveness, but also i think a nurse who is a bully, was always like this as a child and just grew up to be an adult bully. they want to dominate and intimidate people. They have to have the upper hand.
  6. by   rebel_red
    Our staff bully (I am beginning to believe every facility has one.) is a desperately unhappy person. She has no personal responsibilities outside of work. (eg no family or children, or community interaction/volunteer projects.) Consequently when she is at home she can have everything just as she likes it....and always has, (never married or had children, you know what kind of skills you develop with spouses and roommates, also she is an only child...) So when she gets to work, the littlest things set her off, and I do mean little things, she will rant and rave for 45 minutes over something inane. The cna's (and nurses) do a happy dance when she calls out. I swear her purpose in life is to make everyone as unhappy as she is. And confronting her does no good. She gets this gleam in her eye and actually gets "her rocks off", by pushing people to the point where they find their temper. And we are talking about people who are normally the calmest, most impossible to shake types, who take everything in stride. And yes admin has been apprised of the situation multiple times. What really kills me is she is a gifted nurse in terms of clinical practice and diagnostic ability. However, I switched shifts so I wouldn't have to work with her. Other nurses (5 at recent count) have left because of her. Anymore I just tell her to leave me the heck alone.....it works only because she knows I can't be bullied. I mean how do you live with yourself knowing literally all your coworkers detest you, because you are so darn rattlesnake mean. (and lazy geez is she lazy......) Anyhow I don't think there is one specific etiology as to what makes a person a bully. The real question is how to stop it. One day I told our UM if she didn't get this woman away from me they would come in one day to find me standing over her dead body with a pair of bandage scissors in my hand singing "Ding dong the witch is dead...."

    and on that note
    Tres
  7. by   TnValCNA
    Quote from rebel_red
    One day I told our UM if she didn't get this woman away from me they would come in one day to find me standing over her dead body with a pair of bandage scissors in my hand singing "Ding dong the witch is dead...."
  8. by   z's playa
    Quote from TnValCNA

    I second that ! Double eeek.

    Z
  9. by   mont
    i agree with gator, our staff bully also has a mental problem that she does not want to address. she has a husband and goes to school, she is not an RN yet but gets away with it because our boss allows her to. how i dealt with her was by pulling her aside and setting bounderies. i also informed her right at the time when she over step those bounderies. she in returned left me alone and continued with everyone else. i was also able to state my faults when talking to her so she wouldn't think i was picking on her. i also did the think, i feel, i want thing (something our hospital promotes for communication)so if address with the boss i can state i used hospital protocal.
    Quote from carcha
    I've noticed on threads which discuss any form of bullying, there is a lot of interest and yet never an explaination as to what makes a nurse become a bully. I think if that could be addressed then the problem could be curtailed before it gets out of hand as it so often does. My theory is that you usually find a bully is someone who has worked in a place for a long time and becomes almost possessive about it. Its almost an "ownership", type of thing. Would anyone there agree with me?. If that could explain the reason for workplace bullying then the answer is simple, move every member of staff around once every 6 months.

close