Helping You Cope With & Stop



Is The Bully at Work Still Not Hearing You?

Have you ever been frustrated because the bully at work does not hear you? Have you found yourself working up the courage to say something, only to be ignored, dismissed, or handled? Do you find yourself feeling confused and once again going over in your mind “how to say it so the bully at work will hear me?”

Why The Bully At Work Appears Not To Hear You – 2 Reasons:

  1. The bully at work is into being in control – always. It is an addiction.They do not look to share and care. If you say black, they look to see white; all in an effort to avoid connecting with you. If we can truly understand the bully at work’s need for control, we will also realize most bullies do NOT seek to “understand” others.
  2. Targets are sometimes not easy to understand. Many times we will tend to over-explain, apologize, back-track, or give up, in order to curb rejection from the bully at work. Clarity, confidence, and command of what you are saying is key to avoid any possible confusion and not give the bully at work any “out” to your needs.

An insight:
You might be asking: Are there different types of severity levels with regard to the Bully at Work? What should my approach be?

Yes, there are differing levels of severity of bullying behavior. The levels and approaches for each are listed below:

1. Minor Bullying

Approach: Influence

You can make a clear confident request, and perhaps you’ll be heard. For some ideas about setting up a conversation, check out our post on Crucial Conversations.

2. Moderate Bullying

Approach: Influence

If you are facing a moderate bully situation and your confidence is stronger, you can try a Crucial Conversation but check to see if there is any interest from the other party first. No use trying to push a wet noodle uphill. 

If you are facing a moderate bully situation and your confidence is lower:

  • Work on your confidence through support and education
  • Ask for support or help from others in order to address the situation.

3. Severe Bullying

Approach: Intervention

This type of bullying requires an intervention of policy and company rules that are enforced in order to keep the bully in line. Do not expect the bully at work to want to hear your requests. It is virtually to hold your peer accountable and you will need the support of leadership. If leadership is not supportive or you do not feel comfortable addressing the issue with someone in authority then you are left to mastering coping skills.

If you wish to still “face off” with the bully and you have tried the above, then the next step to work on is clarity, confidence and command as it relates to your ability to influence others.


Do you consider your bully at work to be mild, moderate or severe? How do you know?

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10 responses to “Is The Bully at Work Still Not Hearing You?”

  1. Michelle says:

    Is he an aspergers. Often they can’t tell the correct social environment. They are generally not intending to bully. Read up on aspergers males.

  2. Michelle says:

    I know about this. I had it in 2014 while in a teaching training at a primary school. They took offence at me doing the graduate diploma instead of the 3 year course. I have a degree and talked behind my back and I still have not been made aware of what happened to refute their damage to my reputation.

  3. Kate says:

    I am a middle manager being targeted and severely bullied by a handful of union employees (2 of which have admitted to either upper management or a coworker who told me that they are doing/saying things to “get back at me” for perceived wrongs”. What they may or may not recognize is that what they are doing and saying is slowly getting me fired (perhaps that is their intent). HR has been of little help, upper management solves it by changing my responsibilities (taking roles away from me so they don’t have to address the elephants in the room). I had a nervous breakdown last year and at 51 now am on anti-anxiety meds so I can work. I’m never told when these employees do/say things to me or about me – so my voice is never heard. I only know something has happened when I’m reassigned or removed from a project abruptly. I’ve been at this company almost 15 years with a 13 year stellar reputation now to see 4 bullies ruin my career at the company and unless I lawyer up and begin proving harassment – I am helpless to stop it. I’ve slowly accepted thru reading this website that bullies are bullies period and unfortunately for me I have no upper management support (one of the bullies golfs with my director). I have seen the alliance my director has with this bully and it’s not to support me. Thanks for this website and forums like this to share stories with. At 51 I would have never guessed I’d be in a bully situation. Seriously! Hhang in there if you’re struggling and seek help if you need it. My next step is to do my job well, get healthy mentally and emotionally and then start looking for a new job. It’s NOT me. Namaste

  4. Cleve says:

    Mary, how are you doing? Please keep in touch. I’m feeling stronger every day. Best wishes, Cleve

  5. dzerjb says:

    My boss is usually a great guy, but sometimes he’s totally blind to the effect he’s having on people. He has an autistic son. It makes me wonder whether the lack of perception is itself a mild form of autism. Unfortunately for the boss, he’s occasionally deceived & manipulated by people with a narcissistic turn of mind. It can mean that bulles don’t need to work direct on their targets, they use the boss. Fortunately, he has a council of reference & from time to time they will confront him & he will change his ways. It means that bullies can & do have a disastrous influence on the workplace, but their influence will be short-lived. It doesn’t make life comfy, nor does it make the difficulties any more bearable at the time, but somewhere there is a thread of hope & we hang on in there, knowing that eventually something will have to give & the boss will realise, or be forced to. By then the bully will have moved on & the “real” boss will be back – for a while.
    If only real bullies would be as willing to change their ways….

  6. Mary says:

    Hello Cleve, Beth

    Thank you for your support and encouragement. Intellectually, I can relate to every word you say but emotionally I am a wreck. On the top of things, a deep depression is holding me back from every move I make and fear too. What a disaster! One has to walk in the Indian shoes to understand the devastation. Cleve, Beth, am so sorry that you have to go through such a horrifying experience. I feel that no matter the status one has when bullied, it is just as painful for any human being. I cannot even suggest something. I am at such a loss of words, with a constant headache that brings me to a standstill to the point that I cannot think or concentrate. Thank you for your notes, much appreciated. Take care.


  7. Kim says:

    In my experience from a long line of bullies; conversations never work if you are not the one in charge. And the ones in charge are not trained in dealing with bullying nor do they want too…they do not seem to get that their best employees will either quit or have nervous break-downs if action is not taken.

    I have always been my boss’s pet…the go to person; and I love the attention but on the flip I also have to deal with co-worker’s jealousy. I will never compromise my work for someone else, especially for a Bully. I have been beaten so badly…lies, verbal abuse, and isolation that at one point I almost commited suicide…God was in control and stopped me.

    I am still bullied; however, it is not so bad. I have stopped working so hard as I used to, at the job; and I have started serving my local Church as hard as I serve my secular job. I have many solid friends from my Church; this has helped because my focus is not on me nor my job anymore. I still get angry and hurt when I am bullied; I am human not God-but now I pray to God to take control of me and my actions when I want to lash oout. I never ask God to take me out of the situation…I ask God to guide me, ask God to go to the Bully to comfort and heal them not to take them out of my life.

  8. Beth says:

    Hello everyone,

    I am dealing with a severe bully. As a manager, it is not always the employee but the supervisor who is being bullied. I am dealing with an individual who has been in the workforce for about 30 years, and has intimated her supervisors to where they they never wrote her up but passed her on…now to me. I recommend for supervisors who have inherited these bullies to work closely with their HR department in documenting and following progressive steps. It is very, very difficult and has caused me to even go to the emergency room for physical and emotional distress related to this individual. The bully has calculated and set up incidents where staff and customers have been subjected to this individual’s hostility and has even preyed on the weak-minded for reports against me. Whether you are an employee or supervisor who is being bullied, or your staff is being bullied, document, move forward, seek assistance from your EAP coordinator in HR. Document and learn stategies and get into a counseling support group and learn exercises to combat this person. Each incident is a “boxing match” to gain control. So put your confidence (boxing gloves) on, memorize the Department’s HR policies that this person is violating and next time this person throws you a punch (figuratively, I hope) cite to them what they have violate,tell them the consequences, and order them to “stop, stop now” (talk to HR. on this-be prepared). Advise them that you are reporting them now and do it. Don’t wait. Send the message that you are “telling on them”. And do it then and now…don’t wait. And do this over and over again, each time it happens. In time you’ll see, that you’ll be the winner in all of this.

    And to Mary, who says she doesn’t think she can go back to the workforce-yes, you can. It takes sometime to heal from the emotional bruises this person has struck you in the “boxing ring”. Seek individual and group counseling and get into some activities outside of work where you are valued and respected: Community, church and school projects and programs are some to look into. You are a very special lady, Mary, don’t forget that. I would be so fortuante to have an employee like you with your sensitivity and willingness to work peacefully.

  9. Cleve says:


    I was bullied but am now recovering. Mary I really feel for you and how much you are hurting. From my experience, you have to take your power back from the bullies. In order to move on targets need to decide “will I let the bully define who I am and how I feel about life, or will I decide and hold onto the truth that I am valuable and important, that life is worthwhile, and that this bulling is a passing incident in life?” These bullies are the ones with the problem, not you. (As you pointed out, you are target #3). Mary, there is life after bullying. I have found it absolutely essential to connect with caring, supportive people throughout this process – people who will remind you that you are fundamentally OK and can move on. I hope my words will be of some comfort to you.

  10. Mary says:

    Hello Everyone,

    Well, this was my first full time job in 26 years. I had to choose between being harassed and bullied at the same time, or get even worse than I am psychologically. My harassers were both immigrants, visible minorities. Two of those who scream discrimination and then they are the one who applies it. After six months without a job, I am still psychologically ill. My soul is still convalescing. I do not know if I will ever be able to go back to work. My whole career is finished, and they are very proud of their wrongdoing. I am the third in line, and I am sure I will not be the last. Would something like this make one wish that was never born? I wish I died yesterday, if this is what life offers. Well, take care. Mary.

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Valerie Cade, CSP is a Workplace Bullying Expert, Speaker and Author of "Bully Free at Work: What You Can Do To Stop Workplace Bullying Now!" which has been distributed in over 100 countries worldwide. For presentations and consulting on workplace bullying prevention and respectful workplace implementation, go to

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