Bully. Meanie. Whatever you call the person, it’s frustrating to watch what they do and the impact they have on others.
In recent weeks, months, years, I have wondered if some people take this role so seriously, it’s a full time job. They may not get paid for it, although many do. The position they are in not only sets them up to take advantage of their power but also affirms them for their effective results. The people they leave in their wake seem to go unnoticed.
Then there are people who turn it off and on. They seem thoughtful and sensitive to some, but others see a different side. If people from a variety of areas of the person’s life collided and shared their experiences and impressions, they might think they were describing completely different people. That’s often intentional. It’s part of the persona of manipulation.
Why bring this up? To be aware. We need to see patterns, not just want we want to see but the cautions that are there. Any time we hear ourselves picking and choosing the highlights and downplaying patterns of disrespectful aggressiveness, we need to name it for what it is. As much as bullying has been discussed and admonished among kids in the past decades, we’ve failed to deal with it as well among adults. In fact, we’ve built a structure that commends it. There’s a continuum that runs through assertiveness, perseverance, commitment, aggressiveness, manipulation, dishonesty, and downright tyrannical tendencies. We want to slide the scale to where we can be okay with what someone is doing. Someone we don’t like is being persistent and assertive for an important cause? We don’t like that and proclaim the person is being manipulative and dictatorial. Someone we like and respect is being dishonest and manipulative? We can justify it as sliding the scale down to say it’s an admirable commitment to a cause.
Oh, the tricks we play to deceive and convince ourselves and others.
We need to stop.