Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Dealing with feelings of violence and hate toward the bully.

Peter (not his real name) is a mild mannered man not given to violence or aggression. After being persistently bullied at work by a manager who micro-manages him and criticises his work and treats him more harshly than other staff,  he has become worried about thoughts of hate and violence against his tormenter. These feelings have alarmed him. He feel ashamed of such thoughts. These mental thoughts are not the same as intrusive thoughts, but the thoughts evoked when thinking about the bully or in discussion about the bully.

We live in a society that expects us to conform to certain behaviours and norms. Thinking violent or aggressive thoughts about the bully makes one anxious or frightened. We are meant to be civilised not vigilantes in our own head.

Yet, everyday normal stable people are often heard uttering extreme statements."I wanted to punch her in the face." Or "I could kill her, I really could." Or words to that effect. We have all heard people say them or uttered them ourselves. Such words seem to convey the extremity of emotion felt inside, even though they are a gross exaggeration of anything one would even contemplate doing in real life.


However, feelings of hatred towards a bully are normal. They are merely escapist fantasies in which you get the upper-hand against a dominant threat. Or they may be the minds way of coping with internal anger and frustration. Or yet still limbering up to make you feel strong, like an animal puffing up to feel bigger. For many they are thoughts that contemplate erasing the threat so it does not exist. It is imagination, nothing more. No stable person would act on such thoughts.

The root of such thoughts may be evolutionary based. Perhaps stone-age man had imagination so they could determine a threat; fight or flight. If your bully is clear and present you can't flee so perhaps it is the brain's "fighting talk" or brain yoga. Whatever it is, the requirement to be violent has long since ceased in the day to day life of the civilised person.

There does not seem to be much scientific material on what causes these fantasies and thoughts. It is possible such thoughts are feelings of impotent anger. Human-beings like exciting TV programmes that often contain violence that they would never contemplate in real life. Who knows why?

Having such thoughts should not make you be too hard on yourself, such thoughts are commonly expressed by those that are or have been bullied. Whether it is the animal in us, human nature or anger. Having such thoughts happens.


If the thoughts become intrusive or your anger becomes hard to control or you feel isolated and alone or it leaks into yours real rather than fantasy life, it may be time to seek professional assistance from your GP or counsellor.

Rest, relaxation, a good old sweat during sport can help. Trying to have fun despite all, maintaining normality with friends and family and thrashing it out with a good old fashioned moan can all help.

In the main though, it is part and parcel of the bully deal and in our opinion and in discussion with bullied workers, appears quite normal.

Our blog is only our opinion and cannot compensate for professional advice.

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