Why Do People Bully Me? - page 3

by TheCommuter Asst. Admin

Unfortunately, bullying is an unpleasant fact of working life for far too many employees in our society. And surveys have discovered that the two workplaces that suffer the most from bullying bosses are healthcare and education... Read More


  1. 1
    Thanks for this great pieces of advice against bullying. We wish we can live in a perfect world wherein everyone can get along and treat each other well.
    Mgooddir likes this.
  2. 5
    I think part of avoiding being a victim of bullying also involves recognizing when a situation cannot be changed. If it is ingrained in the culture...if it has been going on for years...time to move on.

    I am a big proponent of direct confrontation. 9/10 times it has worked for me. I am not, however, proponent of meeting yelling with yelling. Firmness and sternness does just as much.
  3. 3
    Quote from adnrnstudent
    The list of reasons may be the case on some units but it leaves out the likely reasons. I will tell you so people don't get the false idea that they are smarter or of better character than everyone else.

    Let me set this up, I'm not picking on anyone, just myself.

    I was teased a lot growing up and people avoid me today. Do you know why? Because growing up, I was flat out the weird goth kid at school (histrionic). Today, because I was so fricking weird growing up, I never learned how to socialize so I am a introverted schizoid and people still think I'm peculiar.

    I don't support bullying, but sometimes we need to look in the mirror and work on ourselves a little. I have to do it all the time.

    Bullying is not right, but these articles never tell a person that maybe they need to work on some things too and it always lays the guilt and wrongdoing on the bully.
    I could have written this post and you are right.
    There are things that targets need to do to stop being the target.

    You weren't born that weird little goth kid.
    You chose that because it was easier to be obviously "different" than it was to fit in.
    It was easier to keep people away than to deal with rejection.

    But people need to pull themselves up by their boot straps, work on building some self-esteem and take responsibility for how their life is going to go.
    People need to realize that they are valuable so that they can exude some degree of confidence... so that they are not an easy target.
    What that person has to do to develop that sense of self-value, I can't say. It would depend on the person. I only know what works for me.

    BTW, I embrace my "strangeness" and utilize it to make people laugh... but I don't let it hold me back and I refuse to be treated rudely for it.
    1feistymama, MH82, and redhead_NURSE98! like this.
  4. 0
    I work on a Medical floor and have been a nurse for 4 years. There is a "seasoned" (in his 50-60's) male nurse who bullies me regularly. It all began when I started following him at shift change. He left me many messes and I am a worry wort, so I would always questions things. He seems to be very lazy and I am the polar opposite. He leaves meds to be given after his shift, or will just not give medications he feels are unimportant etc. He also has a very foul mouth, calling previous coworkers at other hospitals (which he frequently jumps jobs) b*tches.....or his b*tches. The other night he told a nursing supervisor he didn't know why he couldn't float to OB because "its not like I want to look at "c**tchie all night"!!!!! I am just so appalled, I don't know what to do.

    He bullies me by talking about me to other nurses. He says I am a worry wort and run around like crazy. He also spread a rumor that I would rather clean up patients than be a real nurse because once during shift change a woman was screaming because she was full of stool and I went to clean her up (he wasn't even ready for report yet) when all the CNAs were busy. I felt bad for the woman and if that were me or my family, I would want the same courtesy. But I get along with everyone I work with except for him! He gives new nurses bad teams on purpose (which I have heard him proudly say). Nobody says anything to him because he has a big and foul mouth. He brags all the time about telling people off.

    I liked this article because I realize I really have to stick up for myself. And I need to be more confident, or show it at least. He has also commented on my hair color when I changed it and called my friend coworker a fat b*tch.

    I am generally well liked I feel (I think I guess since people tell me when he says these things, lol), co-workers always say if they were a patient they would want me as a nurse. I have to be more confident and tell him exactly when he is offending me or when I feel he omitted something important (instead of cleaning up his mess). I am definitely non confrontational and do feel shame, and especially feel worse when nurses like him talk badly about me! I am not the only one btw. There is another nurse he talks about, and she is amazing, so I am not sure why he picks on her. And its not like anyone listens to him, they all know how he is.....but it still bothers me deeply.

    What is the funniest, almost ironic thing.....is that he brags about being such a "hard person" and telling people off, but instead he just acts like a juvenile girl and spreads rumors and bullies younger nurses like myself. I have had a hard time dealing with this, but am definitely glad I read this article.
    Last edit by Nurse19842013 on Feb 27, '13
  5. 8
    I think there are some good points put forth OP. I must, however, state that in general, it's based on oversimplification of a problem many times. Many people that are bullied are quite often not victim-like personalities, and in fact, can and do stand up for themselves and others.

    All it takes to be bullied is to be somehow different, or in particular, to be considered some sort of threat. This has been so since the beginning of time.

    Being considered "confrontational" will often put you in a position of further abuse or misrepresentation of truth that leads to more abuse.

    Sure, you can choose to not see yourself as a victim. Great! I wholeheartedly agree.
    You can't, however, control others, you can only control yourself. If another person feels threatened or is in some way plagued by insecurity or a need to control or dominate, you can't can't change them anymore than people who get raped while jogging can change being a target. Should people that jog, stop jogging--well, maybe they should change where they jog once they are aware that the environment is unsafe.

    It's just too easy to say there is some magic fix wherein you show you that you refuse to be a victim. Don't get me wrong. I hear what you are saying loud and clear and much of it has merit. It is not, however, a panacea for the problems that lie within people.



    Many people view bullying as a problem that is limited to bullies and victims. It has been noted that there is strong research that indicates that bullying involves more than the bully-victim dyad (Salmivalli, C., 2001). Bullying events occur in public, such that these incidents have witnesses. There have been studies from playground observations that found that most of the time, more than a few peopler were "witnesses, bystanders, assistants to bullies, reinforcers, or defenders of victims" ( O'Connell,Peppler, and Craig, 1999). What was demonstrated was that more than half the time, peers some how supported the bullies even as "passive bystanders," and only in about a quarter of the incidents didn't witnesses help the victims by directly intervening to support the victim, discouraging the bully, or somehow getting the bully to curtain the bullying behavior.(O'Connell, Peppler, & Craig, 1999).

    Different approaches may be needed depending upon the context and situation. Victims do not need to blame themselves for being harassed. This is counterproductive. Bullies may have issues beyond low self-esteem, regardless of their bravado--they may have anger issues or have learned to displace their anxieties. But often they can only get help with that after they are faced with their behavior and have to accept a set of consequences that go along with it. It's only have looking at their behavior and accepting consequences that they can hopefully be in a position to move forward in developing better coping strategies or deal with their own core issues.

    What people in all environments MUST understand is that bullying affects everyone. Coworkers, peers, as well as see bullying as a problem, and that everyone is responsible. There idea of there being an "innocent bystander" must be scrapped. There is no such thing as an innocent bystander.


    Salmivalli, C. (2001). Group view on victimization: Empirical findings and their implications. In J. Juvonen & S. Graham (Eds.), Peer Harassment in School: The Plight of the Vulnerable and Victimized. 398-419. New York: Guilford Press.

    O’Connell, P., Pepler, D. and Craig, W. (1999). Peer involvement in bullying: insights and challenges for intervention. Journal of Adolescence, 22, 437 – 452.
    Not_A_Hat_Person, ericaej, jadelpn, and 5 others like this.
  6. 9
    This article is very oversimplified. In my previous job, I was targeted because 1) I had a BSN where most of the RNs did not 2) I am a second-career nurse 3) I am over age 50 4) I have a fairly ugly burn that covers one hand leftover from childhood. Because of the scar, I'm familiar with schoolyard bullying. But I worked successfully and bully-free for 25 years as a computer analyst. It was only in nursing that the same bullies from my childhood reappeared. When my direct and polite confrontation of the bully did nothing, I took it to my nurse manager. She was able to turn the situation around on me. I was relatively "new" (one year in the job) and the bully had worked there for many years. I ended up finding another job within 2 weeks of that ordeal. By the way, the same group had just bullied another over-50 RN out of that job.

    I won't wax poetic about justice or injustice. But I can tell you, when nurses wonder about their declining status and their ever-worsening work conditions, they should look at themselves and consider where this lack of respect originates...it's coming from the way they treat each other. Until that improves, the nursing profession will not improve.
  7. 1
    I read this article with great interest. Since becoming a nurse 8 years ago, I have had a few significantly bad experiences with workplace bullies, as well as many smaller other incidents of general workplace rudeness. I wouldn't say that I'm more "socially adept" (I tend to think I'm NOT) but most of the other descriptors fit me quite well. I think I am generally well respected (someone recently told me that they heard I was "strict" but others have told me that I'm a very good nurse, others have said that they love to follow me because I leave a clean, comfortable patient and an organized situation for them at the end of my shift.) I would rather chew off my foot than confront someone so I suppose that makes me an easy target. I also have very high standards of patient care and I was told by another nurse that the nurse who bullied me was probably put off by this. Another factor was that, even though I've been a nurse for several years, I've tried out new practice areas in my hospital and thus have been a "newbie" several times in the past few years. My lack of confidence in myself in my new practice area caused me to assume people on the new unit knew more than me and that I needed their help more than I actually did. That was what led to my most recent bullying incident from a 30 year nurse on the unit who is really just awful to many on the unit but especially hates me.

    We have bimonthly hospital wide nurse education at my hospital. Each time they ask us to note on the response card ideas for future topics. I've listed this topic several times and still, nothing. When I've complained to management about the 2 most egregious incidents, the managers did speak to the people involved, but no punishment and nothing to fix the underlying problem. I hate the idea that I need to get right back up in the faces of these bullies because that's SO not me. It also seems so unprofessional and I'm a classic first born child who likes to follow all the rules. I'm like a deer in the headlights when I'm faced with people who don't! (Husband says it's because I lack "street smarts.") I guess all this means I still don't have the answers for myself, but I really appreciated seeing this article and knowing I'm not alone out there! Finally, I'd like to point out that I'm not a young nurse, I'm 45, so it can happen to all ages!
    nurseladybug12 likes this.
  8. 1
    You teach people how to treat you....It is perfectly professional and right to look a bully in the eye and say "What and how you are speaking to me in inappropriate. I treat you with respect, I expect the same." it takes practice and COURAGE. Here's some reading anyone might find helpful r/t dealing with bullies:

    -"Comebacks At Work" by Kathleen Kelley Reardon, PhD
    -Articles on Carefronting:
    -http://www.americannursetoday.com/assets/0/434/436/440/3744/3746/3792/3794/058427c6-473e-4719-a69e-42ebf0ec1102.pdf

    -http://www.emergingrnleader.com/tag/care-fronting/
    Addressing Multigenerational Conflict: Mutual Respect and Carefronting as Strategy

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/774256

    Good luck-
    MH82 likes this.
  9. 4
    Quote from Nurse19842013
    I work on a Medical floor and have been a nurse for 4 years. There is a "seasoned" (in his 50-60's) male nurse who bullies me regularly. It all began when I started following him at shift change. He left me many messes and I am a worry wort, so I would always questions things. He seems to be very lazy and I am the polar opposite. He leaves meds to be given after his shift, or will just not give medications he feels are unimportant etc. He also has a very foul mouth, calling previous coworkers at other hospitals (which he frequently jumps jobs) b*tches.....or his b*tches. The other night he told a nursing supervisor he didn't know why he couldn't float to OB because "its not like I want to look at "c**tchie all night"!!!!! I am just so appalled, I don't know what to do.

    He bullies me by talking about me to other nurses. He says I am a worry wort and run around like crazy. He also spread a rumor that I would rather clean up patients than be a real nurse because once during shift change a woman was screaming because she was full of stool and I went to clean her up (he wasn't even ready for report yet) when all the CNAs were busy. I felt bad for the woman and if that were me or my family, I would want the same courtesy. But I get along with everyone I work with except for him! He gives new nurses bad teams on purpose (which I have heard him proudly say). Nobody says anything to him because he has a big and foul mouth. He brags all the time about telling people off.

    I liked this article because I realize I really have to stick up for myself. And I need to be more confident, or show it at least. He has also commented on my hair color when I changed it and called my friend coworker a fat b*tch.

    I am generally well liked I feel (I think I guess since people tell me when he says these things, lol), co-workers always say if they were a patient they would want me as a nurse. I have to be more confident and tell him exactly when he is offending me or when I feel he omitted something important (instead of cleaning up his mess). I am definitely non confrontational and do feel shame, and especially feel worse when nurses like him talk badly about me! I am not the only one btw. There is another nurse he talks about, and she is amazing, so I am not sure why he picks on her. And its not like anyone listens to him, they all know how he is.....but it still bothers me deeply.

    What is the funniest, almost ironic thing.....is that he brags about being such a "hard person" and telling people off, but instead he just acts like a juvenile girl and spreads rumors and bullies younger nurses like myself. I have had a hard time dealing with this, but am definitely glad I read this article.
    I would start keeping notes ASAP....dates, times, and names of others present. Ver BAtim. For every missed med, an incident report. This sort of pit bull cannot respond to kindness...he gets his rocks off being a "bad dude". Clearly, he will leave this job, just as he has left others.

    I have had more than one run in with these dudes.....I scream "easy target" physically. But this "queer m-fer" does not tolerate name calling. Last person that tried the bully route is now working at Best Buy....no longer a licensed nurse.

  10. 0
    I love the article! I have been the receiver of aggressive and abusive behavior at my current job twice; once by the DON AND THE ADON. For me, I nipped the situation in the bud IMMEDIATELY! I am a firm believer in "giving back what is given to me" right where you dish it out. Some call it "unprofessional," I don't. Attempting to belittle or harass me is intolerable, no matter who it is; and I feel that it is my duty to let it be known that I won't stand for it. I've had many conversations in the past with various co-workers (CNA'S AND LPN'S) and at different times about how nurse management behaviors could be; some said that they'd even witnessed it. I couldn't believe what I was hearing and asked if the "victim" ever stood up for themselves and the answer was always the same, "NO." It was well known that their behavior was common knowledge except, I was the only one apparently who didn't know and had never had the displeasure of experiencing it; so when it happened to me the first time by the ADON, I really was shocked. FOR REAL! I couldn't believe at how bold, confident, and COMFORTABLE she was at speaking to me in the manner that she was at the nurse's station IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY DURING SHIFT CHANGE! I think she and all those around were more surprised at my immediate response to her! Needless to say, she never pulled it again.

    The second time, it was the DON; for this situation, I did my best (YES IT WAS HARD!) to play it cool as a cucumber but repeatedly asked her in a calm tone of voice, "why are you talking to me like that?;" "please stop talking to me like that;" and, "I asked you to stop talking to me like that." I ultimately walked away from her because I RECOGNIZED THAT SHE WAS BAITING ME. I finished what I had to do, grabbed my things, clocked out, and WENT DIRECTLY TO THE ADMINISTRATOR TO REPORT HER. It got back to me the next week that she told a few people that I reported her. She also has never pulled that foolishness with me again either.

    Luckily for me, I don't really see either of them anymore (mainly because I stopped working a lot of overtime completely to help them out) and I make for sure that on Monday mornings, MY WORK IS ACCURATELY AND ENTIRELY COMPLETE, I'M READY TO COUNT, GIVE REPORT, AND LEAVE so I can totally avoid having any interaction with them because its not worth my sanity and I refuse to allow anyone to use and abuse me.
    Last edit by brown eyed girl on Feb 27, '13 : Reason: grammar


Top