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What to do about the bully in your life

Updated on April 25, 2013

The intimidator

Intimidation – cowing/bullying – explained by WordWeb is: “To subdue, restrain, or overcome by affecting with a feeling of awe or frighten (as with threats)”

What motivates a person to intimidate others?

The urge to accomplish personal goals, inter alia to be in power, to be treated with respect, to be obeyed, to be loved, to be worshipped, to be feared.

Who is the intimidator?

He is an insecure, emotional-immature person, trying to get what he wants. His subconscious mind believes he does not really deserve what he wants. Nevertheless, he wants it, because he desperately needs to prove himself to himself, or perhaps to a parent who failed to give him the recognition he needed since the day he was born.

What does he actually do when he intimidates?

Aggressively or subtlety he inspires fear. While he speaks to you and thereafter, you will find yourself fearing for your safety, for loneliness and solitude, for not being able to cope emotionally or financially, for losing something or someone precious, for the unknown, for death, for eternal hell, for some kind of punishment you may expect any moment or sooner or later in the future.

When you observe the intimidator objectively, you will notice that he is either at people’s throats, or at their feet. In the foyer he impresses his superiors by bluffing humbleness and willingness to dance to their pipes; they will find it difficult to believe that he is, in fact, a smooth operator, cowing his way to a spesific goal.

What kind of threats can you expect from the intimidator?

Most of the times he is a con-artist, in other words a swindler who exploits the confidence of his victim. He often threatens on behalf of somebody else –

  • “Your mother will sort you out... if you don’t listen to me.”
  • “Your marks will be submitted to the headmaster.”
  • “Father Christmas will not bring you any presents this year.”
  • “I have spies, you know…”
  • “God says: ‘Scripture referring to eternal hell.’”

Some intimidators will threaten you with their own power –

  • “I will leave you, and you’ll never see me again.”
  • “I can easily fire you….”
  • “I’ll kill you if I ever see you with somebody else.”
  • “Dare that, and see what I’m going to do.”
  • “Do whatever you want to do.” (In the silence after this you’ll hear the threat.)
  • “I guess suicide is a better option.”

By being mysterious and pretending that he is untouchable, he confuses you and fills you with doubt, which provokes fear. By humiliating you, mostly in front of others, he emphasises his power over you.

Tom Flynn regarded the Santa myth as one of the most effective means ever devised for intimidating children, eroding their self- esteem, twisting their behaviour, warping their values, and slowing their development of critical thinking skills.” The same can be said about religion exercised by intimidators.


How to conquer the intimidator

  • Don’t confront him, for he will wash the floor with you and hang you out for all to see how dirty you are. Play his game. Let him feel good about himself while you -
  • Identify your fears and
  • Overcome them all.

Knowledge kills fear. Once you understand what you fear, and you know all the available options you may choose to tower above it, fear will disappear, and you will be able to construct your plan of action. If you fear loneliness and solitude, get in touch with people who are in your opinion alone and lonely. They will surprise you by telling you that they are not at all miserable, but happy and peaceful. If you are not sure about your ability to cope emotionally without the intimidator, start to rely on yourself. Trust yourself! Your basic instinct to survive will kick in the moment you realise you are on your own. If you fear financial drought and poverty, start looking for a job, or a better job, or increase your qualifications in order to qualify for a senior position. Trust yourself! Without the intimidator in your life you WILL make ends meet. Those somethings and someones you don’t want to loose, are they really worth the price (constant fear) you are paying for them? And who says you will lose them?

Share you thoughts and feelings with trustworthy friends. While listening to them as well as to your own reasoning, you will see the intimidator and yourself objectively and no longer subjectively. You may even be in the position to safe others by reporting the intimidator to his superiors.

If you are a Christian, remember 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”


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