by Jim Kaness

In a world of seven billion people there is both a need and an advantage to getting along with our fellow humans. Not getting along can lead to arguments, fights, and wars with the resulting damage to our peace of mind, property and safety. Even though we may disagree on many things, most of the people in my life are pretty decent and civil and cause me no real grief.

Then there are the bullies, and their more refined cousins the intimidators. Bullies and intimidators seek power over us. They intentionally project an impression that they are bigger, more powerful, smarter, and/or more wealthy than we are. They want us to cower under their threats, feel worthless in their presence, and be ready and willing to do their bidding --- not out of love or respect, but out of fear of what we think will happen to us if we do not do their bidding.

From grade school on most of us have met that person who wants to punch us in the nose, knock us to the ground, and laugh at our misfortune while their circle of admirers take fiendish pride in the "power" of their champion bully. How can we effectively respond to their moves?

Bullies are basically cowards. Their strong approach to us hides the fact that without that strong approach they would be the ones shaking in their boots. They are frightened of all of us and have learned to put on an outer armor of seeming power and strength in order to transfer their fear from them to us.

A bully must be beaten at his own game. One way is to simply remain unimpressed by his actions and threats. When that does not work, the bully must be made to lose face in front of his admirers. This can be physical, mental, or any other form that demonstrates to the bully and his admirers that the bully has no power over us.

Intimidators are what I call a more refined version of the bully. They seek power over us by virtue of a more expensive or lavish lifestyle, panelled offices with thick carpets, certificates (real or fake) on the wall, and photographs of them in the company of politicians or sports and entertainment figures whose names are household words. Whether these accoutrements are genuinely attained and deserved, or rented and faked, the net result is to make us think that we should offer respect to them and pay attention to what they say.

One of the most important things I have learned is that when an intimidator tells us that we should do, or not do, something it is very important to NOT just take their word for it. We need to seek out other experienced people on the subject matter and get second and third opinions. Intimidators will tell us that, "The law says..." or "Most people agree..." or "I want you to..." in order to get us to do their bidding rather than because what they say should or must actually be done.

And if you have the chance to really get to know one of these bullies or intimidators, you just may find that deep down inside they are more unhappy, insecure, and lonely than you could ever imagine. And many of them are far more unlawful, cruel, and broke than we could ever guess.

Two excellent books on this subject are (1) "Coping With Difficult People" by Robert M. Bramson, and (2) "Winning Through Intimidation" by Robert J. Ringer. Both are currently available from Amazon.com.


Copyright © 11/11/2012 by Jim Kaness