Tools for Fighting Back

Based on the material so far, you could stop here and function reasonably well against the bullies in your life. But wouldn’t it be more fun to get really, really good at this?

Learning the full array of techniques (described in the next three sections) will help you become a skilled warrior in your battle with bullies. But don’t be tempted to use a weapon just because it’s available. The method most damaging to a bully is not necessarily the most beneficial for you.

In fact, it’s usually more effective to lean towards caution and select a gentler, simpler method. Calm persuasion isn’t as dramatic as exposing a bully’s flaws, and it doesn’t give you the adrenalin rush of revenge, but in the end it’s a much better option. Restraint is a sign of wisdom, particularly when your job may be at risk.

Tools for fighting

  • Uncover true meaning and intentions
  • Don’t let him steamroll you
  • Handle him in meetings
  • Have fun at his expense
  • Adopt a strong posture

Uncover his true meaning and intentions

Effective communication is at the heart of handling a bully. You must cut through his deceptions, innuendo, obfuscations, generalizations and over-complications in order to reveal his true meaning and intentions.

This is done primarily through the technique of questioning and paraphrasing, previously addressed on this website, but provided now in more detail.

Uncovering true intentions

  1. Force clarification
  2. Reveal subtle attacks
  3. Clarify the issue
  4. Diffuse the monologues

1. How to force clarification

At the simplest level, you can force clarification by using simple, brief, direct statements. Just repeat his bullying comments back to him in combination with the innocent-sounding query of “Why?”

“Why do you feel that ___?”

“Why do you believe that ___?”

Or declare your confusion, which should encourage him to speak more clearly.

“I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.”

“I’m confused by what you’re saying.”

2. How to reveal his subtle attacks

When a simple approach isn’t enough to reveal his subtle attacks, more sophisticated techniques are needed. An aggressive posture may be the only way get to the truth.

If this occurs in front of others, you risk embarrassing the bully. You should first decide whether that particular battle is worth fighting, or if you should instead wait for a private confrontation.)

To start, it may be necessary to interrupt him. At a meeting, wait until everyone, especially the bully, is paying attention. You could say:

“Excuse me, but there’s something I want to clear up.”

Then try to get to his meaning. Make him acknowledge the specific attack. Your goal is to bring his criticism or demeaning implication into plain view.

The power of paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is a powerful tool to convert his subtle criticism into an obvious one. Just say clearly what you believe he is implying. Then ask him to confirm his meaning.

For example, you say:

“A minute ago, you mentioned I left early last Tuesday. Are you saying that my leaving early caused us to miss yesterday’s deadline?”

If he says yes, then you ask questions to reveal the absurdity of his criticism (or simply acknowledge you made a mistake and assure him you will be more careful in the future).

If he responds by evasive maneuvers, continue to question him until he confirms his criticism, or the conversation hits an impasse.

Bullies love presuppositions

One of a workplace bully’s favorite tricks is a presupposition. He might say:

“If you really cared about the company, you would ___.”

This implies that you don’t care about the company. You can respond forcefully by bringing the hidden premise into the open. In response to the previous example, you could ask:

“When did you start thinking that I didn’t care about the company?”

3. How to keep a workplace bully from clouding the issue

A workplace bully thrives on confusion. He doesn’t want anyone to understand his true intentions, so he misdirects conversations and sidetracks meetings.

You can reduce a bully’s power by neutralizing his domination of meetings. Your goal should be to keep everyone focused on relevant issues, and to bring clarity when the bully is clouding the issue.

Ignoring distractions

A bully often brings up red herrings to lead others down a dead-end trail, away from important issues. You should ignore the diversion and bring the focus back to the meeting agenda. You can say:

“That’s an interesting topic, but can we deal with it another day?”

“I’m not sure we should pursue that right now. Can we get back to ____?”

“We were talking about ___. Were we done?”

Issue at hand

Bullies cause chaos with their distorted view of the past and vague generalizations about the future. By keeping the conversation focused on the issue at hand, you can minimize the impact of his distractions. Here are some phrases you can use:

“That’s not how I remember it; but even so, don’t we need to look at ___?”

“I’m not sure I understand your vision of the future, but shouldn’t we focus on the current situation instead?”

“All I know is that the situation today is ____.” (Then ask a question.)

Moving forward

A particularly effective method for sidestepping a bully’s diversions is to assertively move the meeting forward. You do this by asking for specific suggestions on solving the problem.

“Let’s not get caught up in that issue right now. How should we solve the problem of ___?”

“Let’s not keep rehashing the past and guessing about the future. What should we do now?”

“I know we all want to move on to the next topic, but we haven’t come up with any solutions for ___. What do you think we should do?”

Or if the bully is the only one who has offered a solution:

“I’ve heard ___’s solution, but what about everyone else? Are there any other suggestions?

“___’s solution may be the way to go on this, but shouldn’t we consider some other options before making a decision?”

4. How to diffuse a workplace bully’s monologues

One of a workplace bully’s most powerful weapons is a monologue or tirade. Within his lengthy speech, he can include enough innuendo, hearsay, presuppositions and distortions to confuse people for months (or, in several cases I’ve seen, years).

Interruptions aren’t allowed!

Because monologues are such a powerful weapon, a bully will do almost anything to prevent you from stopping him. He’ll criticize and demean, stomp and glare, even yell. He is intent on intimidating you into silence.

Or he may calmly claim it is his turn to speak, conveniently ignoring the fact that no one else speaks in monologues.

If his monologue is repeatedly interrupted, he might lose his temper and leave the room, disgusted with the fact that others are talking when he wants them to listen.

Using his monologue to expose him

It’s often more practical to sit through a bully’s monologues, rather than interrupt. Stay alert for hidden attacks and make notes about his misstatements. When he is finished speaking, ask if you can get clarifation on some of his points. He may expect you to request further nuggets of wisdom, but you can instead go directly into exposing his deceptions.

Use your notes to ask about things you "don’t understand" i.e. a full list of his misstatements. For greatest impact, go through the entire list at once (the bully will interrupt you if he recognizes your strategy). After you finish, it should be obvious to everyone that the bully was using his monologue to manipulate their thinking.

Aggressively interrupt him

Alternatively, you may want to take quick action. With this aggressive approach, you interrupt his monologue whenever he says something that belittles or misleads. Don’t let him come to a natural stopping point, since a monologue tends to move steadily forward.

Ask a very pointed question about his unfair criticism, presupposition, misrepresentation or deception. Your goal is to get him to explain himself (but avoid contradicting him and getting sucked into a useless debate).

Stop his wandering

If he is merely wandering in his monologue without a specific attack, his only intention may be to dominate the group. In this situation, you can force him back to the purpose of the meeting. Do this by interrupting him and asking a specific question. For example:

“That’s interesting and we can talk about that later, but what do you think about ___?”

“I’m sorry to cut you off, but we’re almost out of time here. Can we finish talking about ___?”

“You’ve added several things I don’t understand, but can we finish talking about ___?”

You can also focus a workplace bully through specific questioning, such as:

“Excuse me, but how is that relevant to our current discussion?”

“Help me here for a minute.” (Then ask a question.)

“Are you saying ___ (paraphrase)?”

Another technique is to act confused (saying “I’m on to you!” is counterproductive). You might say:

“I’ve very confused by what you’re saying. What’s your main point?”

“You’ve totally confused me. What point are you trying to make?”

“You’ve lost me. What are you trying to say?”

“You’ve lost me again. What’s your main point?”

You can also take a more aggressive approach, with the intention of changing the rhythm of the entire meeting. However, these phrases may embarrass the bully, so use them with caution. For example:

“I’m confused. What are we trying to accomplish here?”

“I’m having trouble following this conversation. What are you talking about?”

“Is there anyone here who understands what he is saying?”

“I don’t have time for this. What’s your point?”

“I feel like we’re going around in circles. What are we trying to accomplish?”

Incidentally, that last phrase convinced one of my former co-workers that I recognized his bullying, manipulating, backstabbing nature (it had been a particularly meaningless monologue).

Don’t let him steamroll you

When you start exercising control over a conversation or meeting, a workplace bully will try to verbally squash you. He may repeatedly change the subject, yell at you, talk over you, talk under you, launch a monologue, ridicule you, misinterpret your meaning or lie about your intentions. He’ll do almost anything to distract from your single-minded focus on moving the discussion forward.

Don’t take his bait! If you respond directly to his comments, you give him control. Even trying to explain why his points are irrelevant plays into his hands. Instead, use short, simple phrasing to keep the discussion on topic. When you ignore his bad behavior, you diminish his relevance.

Or you can demonstrate you are above his petty attacks by casually pretending to agree, then turning the discussion back to the topic:

“You may be right; maybe I am self-serving. but I still think we should get back to the main point.”

Don't let a bully steamroll you

  1. Don’t allow yourself to be interrupted
  2. Repeat yourself until he responds
  3. Don’t let him change the subject

1. Don’t allow yourself to be interrupted

When a workplace bully interrupts you, interrupt him back. Then assertively show your intention to finish your question or comments. For example, you can politely request that he let you complete your thought:

“Excuse me, but I’m not finished.”

“Sorry, but can I finish?”

You can also appeal to his sense of fair play. This is particularly effective when he wants to appear reasonable to onlookers. You can say:

“I listened to you, now will you listen to me?”

“I would like to hear your viewpoint, but can I finish first?”

“Will you do me a favor? Will you hear me out?”

2. Repeat yourself until he responds

A workplace bully may consistently avoid answering questions, either to keep others from discovering his deceptions or to regain control of the conversation. In some circumstances, you can force him to respond by repeating yourself over and over.

After each of his unresponsive statements, you can say:

“Yes, but ___” and repeat your prior question.

“Yes, but can you answer my question?”

“Yes, but what should we do about ___?”

“Yes, but what are you planning to do about ___?”

This approach may be more effective without the word “but,” which tends to come across as argumentative. For example, you could instead say:

“Yes, I see your point. Now, what are you planning to do about ___?”

3. Don’t let him change the subject

Changing the subject is a favorite evasive maneuver of a workplace bully. You will make little progress if you can’t keep him on the topic. Try making a logical suggestion to finish the discussion:

“Before we move on to that, let’s finish our conversation on ___.”

“I understand you want to move on, but this is too important to skip over.” (Then ask a question.)

“I know we are running out of time, but let’s finish this up first.” (Then ask a question.)

“That’s very interesting. But let’s get back to the current issue.”

Ask questions to keep control

Alternatively, when he starts a new subject, interrupt him and ask him a question related to the main topic. Or if he doesn’t speak for too long, let him finish, but ignore what he said and ask your question.

With this technique, you are respectfully seeking his perspective. But it is on the main topic, not his diversion, giving you control of the conversation. You can say:

“Hold on a minute. I want to hear your opinion on ___.”

“We can pursue that later, but first I want to hear more of your thoughts on ___.”

Since the bully is doing most of the talking anyway, why not control what he talks about? He might even admire your intelligence. You are obviously smart enough, in his eyes, to drink from the fount of his superior knowledge and wisdom.

Handle a workplace bully in meetings

A skilled bully loves meetings. Few situations offer him as many opportunities to deceive and control others. Meetings that lack a clear-thinking moderator, and an obvious purpose, offer a power vacuum that bullies will gladly fill.

Be patient

To maximize your power at a meeting, say very little until after the bully has spoken extensively. Be a good listener and even ask a few brief questions to show you are participating. Make notes on the items you want to address (such as a list of the bully’s misleading statements).

Much of your leverage comes from your behavior. Because you’ve been mostly silent and respectful, and you haven’t yet expressed your viewpoints, others will pay attention when you finally begin speaking.

To get started, either wait for someone to ask you a question or indicate you want to speak. You can say:

“Can I make a few observations?”

“Can I explain how I see things?”

“I’d like to ask a few questions.”

“I’d like to make a few comments.”

Or you can say that you have some opinions on the issue, but first you need to correct some of the bully’s comments.

Focus is on you

Once you have everyone’s attention, you can employ anti-bullying techniques to expose and neutralize any bullying that has occurred, such as paraphrasing an item and asking if that was what he really meant to say.

To avoid rambling, use your notes as an outline. Be brief and to the point, then move on to the next item.

But don’t bring up bullying from prior to the meeting. You don’t want to come across as a complainer. Stick to the point of the meeting, but reveal the truth behind his deceptions. Show you are interested in accomplishing the purpose of the meeting (if you can find one). Don’t come across as defensive.

Don’t allow interruptions

Since you’ve been a good listener, you have leverage to insist the bully listen to you. Don’t let him interrupt. If he does interrupt, interrupt back and respond forcefully:

“I’d like to finish please.”

“I just have a few points I want to cover, and then I’ll shut up.”

“I listened to you, now will you have the courtesy to listen to me?”

“Will you please hear me out?”

When a bully realizes he can’t stop you from talking, he may try to distract the attention of others. If he does this through body language, you may want to ignore him and continue. But if he starts a side conversation, interrupt him forcefully, just as if he interrupted you directly.

A workplace bully may try to leave the meeting while you’re speaking. Once again, address him just as if he interrupted you directly:

“I listened to you, now will you have the courtesy to listen to me?”

And if the bully walks out the door, don’t get angry; just make an unemotional comment on his inappropriate behavior, such as:

“Too bad he left. I wanted to ask him about some misstatements he made.”

Or if you are among sympathetic listeners:

“Now there goes someone who loves to talk and hates to listen.”

Have fun at the expense of the bully (Use with caution!)

Humor can help you maintain a good attitude when dealing with a bully. It is worth exploring in more detail.

To be effective with this method, you need a well-developed sense of humor and good comedic timing. You must also feel relaxed and confident. Humor rarely works when you are emotionally overwhelmed by bullying. However, humor can transform a difficult situation into a source of amusement (at least for you).

Be wary of how you use humor. It has the potential of embarrassing or even humiliating the bully. Always consider the consequences. If you want to play it safe, wait until you get home, or are with close friends, to ridicule the bully and have a good laugh.

Have fun at expense of the bully:

  1. Act mildly amused by his antics
  2. Mock his angry outbursts
  3. Compliment his bullying behavior
  4. Put words in his mouth
  5. Mimic or mock his negativity
  6. Mock his criticism of you
  7. Use sarcasm (Not recommended!)
  8. Say something abrupt or outrageous
  9. Tell him you love your job

1. Act mildly amused by a bully’s antics

One way to demonstrate your poise under fire is to instantly convey that a bully isn’t bothering you. When he pushes your hot buttons and you want to flee or scream, instead try acting entertained, as if he is intentionally displaying his antics for your amusement.

For example, after a particularly harsh criticism, don’t defend yourself. Instead, smile and say with mild enthusiasm:

“I just don’t know how I’d survive without your input.”

“No sugarcoating there. Thanks for being so blunt!”

“Wow! That’s great. Thanks for keeping me humble.”

2. Mock his angry outbursts

A workplace bully uses anger to intimidate and control you. When you mock his outbursts with light-hearted humor, you defeat his purpose.

If a bully displays anger at a meeting, you could say:

“Don’t hold back! Tell us how you really feel.”

“I’m sensing that something may be bothering you.”

Or you could take a more aggressive approach:

“What’s your secret to staying so calm?”

“That was great. You really had me going there. I actually believed you were angry.”

This approach can also be effective when a well-meaning person loses his temper, especially if he knows how to laugh at himself. But don’t expect a pompous, controlling manipulator to reply calmly: “Sorry; I don’t know what got into me.”

3. Compliment his bullying behavior

You can also show his bullying doesn’t bother you by offering superficial praise, again with a light-hearted comic tone (avoid any sarcasm in your voice, which tends to diminish the humor and cast you in a negative light).

“You’re great at changing the subject!”

“Your monologues are awesome! Now I think you’ve confused everyone.”

“Nice outburst! Very effective. Do you practice in front of the mirror?”

A well-adjusted leader with a sense of humor might answer: “Thanks. I’ve been practicing just for this occasion.” But with a bully, you are more likely to hear a response that begins with the phrase “How dare you.”

4. Put words in his mouth

You can show you are amused by his arrogance and innuendoes by putting words in his mouth that reflect his underlying feelings, which are intrinsically absurd:

“So you’re saying the ends always justify the means?”

“So you believe that we’re all incapable of understanding you?”

“Do you believe you’re superior to everyone, or just us?”

These may not seem funny to the bully, however, since he truly believes them. And he probably won’t appreciate that you’ve exposed his Machiavellian or pompous nature to others.

5. Mimic or mock his extreme negativity

Want a quick, easy method to expose bullying? Try repeating a bully’s most absurd statement. Do it in a manner that shows you find humor in his behavior. For greater impact, mimic his tone of voice or mannerisms.

You can mock his negativity by taking his criticism to the extreme:

“So you believe it’s all my fault?”

“So you’re saying I’ve ruined it for everyone?”

“Let me get this straight: Since I won’t work this weekend, I must be a lazy, disloyal employee. Now I understand.”

“If I’m completely useless, why are you keeping me around?”

On second thought, that last phrase could be dangerous, particularly if everyone is laughing at your clever imitations of the bully’s self-inflating mannerisms. Maybe you could imitate the bully answering your question:

“Hey, I don’t know. You’re fired!”

6. Mock a bully’s criticism of you

You can also use a casual, offhand manner to show you are amused by his attacks. Then it will be clear to him that you don’t respond to bullying.

To accomplish this, agree with him in a humorous manner, without any effort at denial or defense. Just make your mocking statement in a very concise and confident manner, and go on to something else. For example:

“Yeah, that’s right, I only care about myself. It’s always me, me, me.”

“That’s right; I didn’t work last weekend because I’m a shiftless, lazy bum.”

“Maybe you’re right; I’m not that bright. I think everything should be clear and simple.”

7. Use sarcasm (Not recommended!)

Though the prior techniques often approach sarcasm, when used correctly they fall within the category of mild satire and light-hearted humor. Pure sarcasm is more edgy, which is usually not a good idea. It tends to make you look spiteful or even bullying. Nevertheless, it is useful to know sarcastic techniques so you can steer clear of them.

On the other hand, if a bully is about to get fired, you may be able to get away with mocking him to his face, in front of others. That way you can provide some entertainment at the expense of the bully. Once again, this is not recommended; after all, it’s probably not a good idea to make a life-long enemy of any highly aggressive person.

A simple technique is to respond with a sarcastic comment, then abruptly end the conversation. For example, after he criticizes you, say:

“Thanks for that incredibly valuable input. I’m going back to work now.”

Another is to mock him with a sarcastic edge. You accomplish this by agreeing with him to the extreme, taking what he said to its logical conclusion. You could give a short monologue (don’t let the bully interrupt you) in which you agree with the bully and suggest actions that are increasingly absurd.

Let’s say the bully claims that something was “all your fault.” Your response:

“You’re right, it was all my fault. In fact, you’ve shown me the light. I can see now that I’m responsible for every mistake made in this department. So from now on, I will accept full responsibility. Can you send out an email letting everyone know that from this point forward, everything is my fault?”

Mocking a bully is far more useful for laughing off your troubles when you are with friends or family.

8. Say something abrupt or outrageous

An abrupt response can change the entire rhythm of the conversation or meeting. Your purpose is to diffuse a workplace bully’s attack.

With this approach, you ignore his bullying statement or question. If he is still talking, interrupt him forcefully. Then say something completely off the subject. Even if he just attacked you with an unusually harsh or demeaning comment, pretend you didn’t hear it. Here are a few things you can say:

“Are you feeling okay today?”

“What’s really bothering you? You can tell me.”

“All I can say is that I really love this company.”

“I have an announcement to make: I want you all to know that I really love working here.”

You can try an even more off-the-wall approach, such as:

“I love you. I really do. You’re such a challenge for me.”

“I like your shirt. Where did you buy it?”

“Did you just get a haircut?” (If he asks why you’re asking:) “Oh, no reason. It looks good.”

If he attacks you one-on-one, but others can overhear, you can use a similar distraction. Tell the bully to hold on, then call someone over:

“Hey, come here. I want you to hear this.” Then turn to the bully: “Okay, go ahead. Say that again.”

Another unusual defense is to treat a workplace bully’s attack as a practical joke. Smile and act amused:

“Did _______ (someone else’s name) put you up to this?”

None of these tactics are likely to impress the bully, except with the fact that you’re getting to be a royal pain in the ass.

9. Tell him you love your job

When faced with vicious bullying, try acting amused and say “I love my job.” This is very useful in front of others who will appreciate your good-natured response to his over-the-top attacks.

The “I love my job” method is consistent with a positive attitude and a cool, calm, confident style, which makes it one of the most powerful weapons available to deal with nasty bullying in a toxic workplace. Or you can use it as an easy way to avoid bullying in less difficult situations.

There are several variations on this approach, all of which can be used in response to a bully’s attack. You can acknowledge and even agree with the attack, or ignore the attack. But your final, conclusive statement should be a mildly enthusiastic version of “I love my job.” Here are a few examples:

“I really love my job.”

“I sure do love working here.”

“Working with you is a great challenge. Thank you.”

“Working here provides me with wonderful opportunities for personal growth.”

It is difficult to imagine the power of this approach until you’ve seen it in action. I have a friend in a long-term stressful job, perpetually surrounded by bullies, who repeated the mantra “I love my job” many times each day. He survived and succeeded with no apparent emotional damage (which is more than I can say for the people who bullied him).

Adopt a strong posture

A workplace bully may try to verbally pound you into submission. If he insists on getting his way, hold your ground. Several techniques are useful to achieve this.

Adopt a strong posture

  1. Just say no
  2. Give a strong speech
  3. Suggest ending the relationship

1. Just say no

Learning to say no is invaluable in your battle against workplace bullying. It is possible to resist the demands of even the most persistent bully.

To stand firm in your resistance to an unreasonable demand, keep repeating your rejection without any variation. You can say:

“I’m sorry, but I can’t go along with that.”

“I’m sorry, but I just don’t have the time.”

“I’m sorry; I can’t help you with that.”

“Sorry, I can’t.”

“Sorry, no.”

If he keeps insisting, use a little more emphasis in your phrasing:

“I know you aren’t happy about this, but that’s the way it has to be.”

“It’s not negotiable.”

“We obviously see things differently.”

“Why don’t we just agree to disagree?”

Or you could say:

“I’m sorry you feel that way, but I’ve made my decision.”

Then there’s the old standby:

“Which part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?”

If a bully asks questions to lure you into an argument, sidestep him. Let’s say he asks: “Why won’t you do that?” You can respond with:


and then repeat your rejection or make a decisive statement, such as:

“Because I’ve made my final decision.”

For practice, try these techniques on telephone solicitors or pushy salespeople. It will show you that even the most aggressive person will give up trying to influence someone who stubbornly repeats the same rejection over and over again.

2. Give a strong speech

By making a short speech to a workplace bully, either alone or in a meeting, you can articulate a strong, coherent point of view. This will let him know that you are steadfast in your resolve.

Your speech should be forthright and soft-spoken. As always, you must display an effective style, such as nonchalance with a slight tone of amusement. Convey confidence in what you are saying. Sincerity and a sense of purpose will help (as in you sincerely want him to stop bullying you).

Acknowledge your mistakes

Start by acknowledging your past mistakes. If others are listening, this will provide them with a clear contrast between your modesty and his arrogance. You can say:

“I know I haven’t done a good job of letting you know when I had to pick up my son from school.”

Explain your intentions

Next, describe your good intentions, such as a desire to better serve the company and its clients. Then state your position on the issue at hand (such as the specific nature of the bullying). Speak plainly, using simple terms. Don’t worry about persuading; just make your point in a concise manner.

“I want to be a good team player, but I don’t want to get blamed every time we miss a deadline.”

Describe your plans

Finally, describe your plans on the matter, and possibly make a specific request of the bully.

“I will start using the department calendar to show you when I have to leave early. After a few weeks, will you let me know if this is working? Otherwise, we can look for some other solution.”

Ask him to take some time to consider your proposal, then end the conversation. Once you’ve had your say, don’t let him drag you back into a discussion.

3. Suggest ending the relationship (Use with caution!)

Some bullies only respond to the ultimate threat: ending your relationship.

If he values your relationship, this should get him to make some changes, at least temporarily. But if he sees you as expendable, it is over. In many cases, that means you will be immediately terminated.

You can either hint at ending the relationship or threaten more explicitly. For example:

“I’m tired of being attacked by you. Do you have any suggestions?”

“My only answer is to stop working together. I don’t know what else to do.”

If this fails to permanently change his behavior, it may be a lost cause. Let’s say he improves his behavior for a few weeks, then slowly reverts to his old tricks. At this point, you should reconsider your entire strategy. In some cases, it’s worth another try. More often, however, rather than waste more time and energy dealing with a hopeless situation, it’s best to find a new job.

Other drastic methods

But first, before turning in that resignation letter, you may want to consider other drastic measures. After all, if you’re at the point of no return, what have you got to lose?

One effective technique is to sit down with a decision-maker in your company, such as a top executive who has the ability to fire the bully. Perhaps you’re not the only one who’s been bullied. If the executive is aware of the bully’s nature, there’s hope. It’s not uncommon for a bully to cause multiple serious problems that come to management’s attention, such as excessive turnover, angry clients or other executives upset with his power plays.

Once you’ve told your story, it’s out of your hands. You can relax, since by this time you’ve already decided that anything would be better than continuing in your current miserable situation.

And if you’re fired the next day, that should bring a sense of relief. After all, do you really want to work at a place where upper management doesn’t care if the employees are regularly mistreated by an arrogant, self-serving manipulator?