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BULLYING IN ADULTS - Defined and an Example

Updated: Nov 29, 2020

I have blogged about many things. This is a topic I have touched on before. I am going to dive more in-depth now. Mainly because it is happening again, and I won’t stay silent. It happens to too many people. Some people more regularly and more than once.

When in primary school and high school this happened to me quite often. I was a quiet person with low self-esteem at the time, so it effected me quite brutally. It is also something I will never forget. Coming out of it I have become more determined, stronger, and compassionate.

I have studied counselling (in depth) and psychology (to a small degree). In part, the person/people who are bullying are sometimes not aware that they are bullying or causing damage. Some people do know what they are doing, but don’t care. They want to inflict pain and anguish. But all Psychologists agree that bullying can be due to motives such as envy and resentment. Research on the self-esteem of bullies has produced equivocal results. While some bullies are arrogant and narcissistic, they can also use bullying as a tool to conceal shame or anxiety or to boost self-esteem: by demeaning others, the abuser feels empowered.

After years of seeing both a psychologist and psychiatrist (and through my own personal experience and studies), I can, without a doubt give you the following definition:

Bullying is an ongoing and deliberate misuse of preserved power: verbal, physical and/ and/or social behaviour – such as exclusion. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their perceived power, over one or more persons who may feel unable to stop it from happening. Bullying behaviour is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.


When you tell people they are bullying, or harassing, or being aggressive, they absolutely deny it. For several reasons:

  • They think you are being unreasonable and don’t understand the definition of bullying

  • They think you are in the wrong, to justify their behaviour. They cannot see their behaviour as bad

  • They know what they are doing but don’t want to admit it, as it will make them feel or seem bad in other people eyes, thus, losing the perceived power they think they wield.

The isolation is suffocating. Nausea, headaches, constant crying, feeling worthless, feeling powerless, feeling friendless are all side effects I experienced. I felt like dirt. NO-ONE should be made to feel this way. Not even for a second. It is a repulsive type of behaviour for a human being to inflict on others.

Often people who do this think they are in the right. That its justified. But there is no justification for being horrible or nasty to others. To try to socially isolate and bombard individuals with ridicule is the lowest form of behaviour. To make someone feel week and venerable is not godly, and it’s not honourable.

I feel sorry for the people who enact this behaviour. They must feel so lost and so unloved that inflicting hurt on others, to satisfy a deficiency, must be exhausting and so very sad and lonely. I feel indifferent. I don’t hate them, I don’t like them, I just feel…. nothing. If there was something I could do to make it better, I would. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. Its not up to me to fix the world, or the people in it. It is my responsibility to make sure my actions are accountable and on me. Not to fix others. However, I am happy to listen and guide if asked.

I own up to my mistakes. I take responsibility and move on. If people choose not to ask questions, see a situation for what it is (without getting the absolute facts and the other side), then that is the fault of the bully. I will not defend something if I am not asked. I will not inflate a problem if I am prompted. I will not steep that low. I will listen and help if asked. I will forgive but I will not justify something if I am being bludgeoned (metaphorically).

I also make sure I have all sides of the story before I decide on what I believe. I will never spread gossip, lies or hatred. I know what it feels like. I will not do it to others.

I can understand children, teens or very young adults behaving in this way. But fully grown adults really do not have any excuse to produce such “school yard” antics.

If you EVER want to talk about this topic and the effect it has on you personally, I am always available.

Why I am going to go into detail about recent events. No, it is not to vent. It is to show people the different types of bullying tactics, and antics that are out there. That what you might be experiencing is bullying. That it is okay, not to be okay with it. That you are worth every bit of love, adoration, support, kindness, and life as much as anyone. If someone’s actions exclude, ridicule, hurt or have negative impact it - speaks more about the type of person they are rather than who you are. These are examples of real behaviour and social implications. Even though the actions of a bully are hurtful and disrespectful, I always try to see it from their point of view as well.

I am at a point, in my life, where I am fine with everything. I don’t care. I have my own friends and they are who matter to me. I am comfortable in my actions (and if not, I always apologise – the bigger person will always step forward and admit fault). I find the recent events trivial, as a reason, but they are real and have the same impact as any other form of bullying - for the victim and the bully. These events to not bother me, as such, but show as an example - from both sides - in what happens when things escalate.


This is a very long and detailed story showing a person (and peoples) behaviour and why it is considered bullying

Recently I have experienced bullying on social media. I have several high-profile/influential friends (not just one or two but quite a few – and have known some of them for several years now). Numerous instances have occurred that fit the bullying profile, with a few people. The thing is - the behaviour has repeated itself and these individuals do not see it, and do not think they are to blame… apparently, they are the “victims”. This pattern of behaviour has happened over the last six months (or more) in the group of an influencer. The pattern has manifested and proved itself in the following order:

Telling signs of bullying:

  • Repeating the same behaviour constantly (blocking, excluding people openly, negatively commenting, berating individuals – covertly and openly).

  • Enticing and encouraging mob behaviour.

  • Influencing negative chatter and behaviour.

  • Lying to influence negative chatter and behaviour.

  • Hypocrisy though berating actions of others, then acting in the exact same manner themselves.

  • Wanting to control the actions of people – also stating that someone else wants to control everything when they will not share control with others (again hypocritical)

  1. Andy was blocked, bullied, and harassed by Brute

  2. Dom was blocked, bullied, and harassed by Brute and Naught

  3. Andy was ridiculed and bullied by Brute, Jumpy and Quiet

  4. I was harassed and bullied by Brute, Jumpy, Gambit, Silo and Quiet

  5. I was harassed, bullied, and ridiculed by Brute, Jumpy, Gambit, Silo and Quiet

This has all seemed to happened due to several peoples lies, embellishment of the truth, an absolute fear of losing perceived control and a need to dominate one person’s life (so the bullies look as if they are important). I don’t feel the need to look important. I am happy with what I have. People who enact this behaviour need to look at why. Its sad that they do this as they rarely understand, what's happening in their subconscious , and it can be because of a subconscious action from a previous experience.

My personal view (and views of others) is that blocking people on Social Media, when you don’t know them personally and because you want to restrict their access to certain sites, is not professional, courteous or respectful. Blocking people on Social Media because you are having problems with someone (bullying or negative comments or sexual harassment – not exclusive), is socially acceptable.

I will call these bullies the following:

The instigator of bullying: Brute

The second instigator of bullying: Jumpy

The followers of the bullies: Quiet, Naught, Gambit and Silo.

Victims of bullying: Andy, Dom and myself

1) A friend was blocked (will call them Andy) and continually ridiculed online by one person in particular (will call them Brute). Brute was asked to stop blocking Andy but continued to block Andy anyway. The reason was from years ago and my friend (Andy), tried to reach out to politely and mend fences. Anything Brute was involved in Andy was blocked from joining i.e. Groups, profiles …. etc

Andy was continually the butt of negative discussions amongst Brutes friends (mob mentality), who sighted the disparity from years ago. Little did they know Andy had already discussed the situation with her friends. Andy had already said she felt she was wrong at time. A fact she had discussed with Brute before. But instead of forgiveness – which is what was wanted, Brute decided to covertly ridicule Andy.

Both Andy and Brute conduct Facebook groups for an influencer. Andy and I were already a friends of this person, and had the support needed. I was also kicked out of the group and blocked from it. Something I did not understand at the time. So I asked Brute what the problem was directly.

In the end I felt sorry for all involved. Where Brute states they are godly and puts up a pretence to be loving and friendly (I say pretence as the actions and words of Brute say the complete opposite), it was clear Brute was very insecure and scared of losing what perceived standing they had amongst their newfound friends in the group. Whether this is the reason is not a judgement, just an inference.

As I said, I always go to the person involved for information rather than rely on gossip, rumours and innuendos. So, I messaged Brute and had a discussion with her about what had happened and why I was kicked out and blocked (I had not realised I was blocked at first as I did not frequent the group). I was not a fan; I was a friend.

I was told that it “seemed” I was copying information, from her group, and posting it in Andy’s group. That one of Brutes friends “noticed” it and Brute decided it was true. No discussion with me first, no asking just judgement. When I asked what it was that I had copied, Brute could not specify anything but then preceded to tell me it seemed I was posting the same things when she did. I thought it a bit silly as we were all supporting the same person. But as I discussed with Brute, all topics were from current public websites. Anyone had access to them. The fact that they were the same would have been because they were released at the same time. Not copying just being diligent and seeing the same pieces online. Brute agreed with me in regard to not begin copied. This was written in the chat we had - but I have since found out Brute lied to me (that she had kicked me out because i was copying - although we had already agreed that i was not). I also think Brute has forgotten about this discussion and that it has been recorded in print form. I was never reinstated, into the group, which realistically shows the discussion I had with Brute was not truthful. The other action I found very interesting was that both Andy and I had been blocked by one of Brutes friends, Quiet, who we did not even know. At this point we had no contact with Quiet or had even said anything malicious about anyone or anything. We had never interacted with, talked to, or even seen previous chatter in relation to Quiet.

Personally, I think all fan groups should be a public forum (this includes both groups). Not a private forum as they are for an individual, to show that person love and support… not for the control of one person and certainly not to block people they don’t like personally. Its not up to the individual, its up to the celebrity. It’s the celebrity’s community, not an individual’s community. Brute, to this day, comments how its THEIR page and now many people are in that community. Forgetting that around two thirds of the people, in the group, are there because Tiger is a gamer (and that they get to play with him), not because they want to be part of a fan page smothered in mainly girl talk. Andy’s page has several helpers. Not one person has absolute power. NO one is ever blocked unless they go against the group rules (not because they are disliked by anyone). That being said, the influencer does not really care but does find it frustrating due to friction. I would be quite happy to remove boundaries and talk to anyone who wanted to have a civil discussion.

2) Another occasion was quite volatile and its hard not to be specific, but I will try. Being interactive with Tiger (who, by the way is a warm caring and loving individual), I suspect Brute and a friend (I will call this friend Naught) helped with certain things. At first it was just me, then Brute was added (as Brute asked to be added as a helper) at which I did not care as it was someone else to share the load. Suddenly, one day, when all of the fans were online, there was something different. Other people were helping with a whole new set-up. I was not informed, involved in the new set up and no-one discussed it with me until things went a bit hay wire. I was very confused and puzzled. But I dismissed it as miscommunication. I was excluded from what was happening but was added on later (I never asked why or how as I did not really care). I was wanted to participate so I went along with what I thought people wanted. We gradually ironed out the kinks (or so I thought). I had since found out, from several sources, they were told not to include me and to keep me apart from what was happening (this was originally asked by Brute and Naught to the other helpers).

When I went online to one of Tigers “events” I was sent messages from all different people saying that there had been a fall out between the helpers. I did not really know anyone so did not know what to believe. I asked Brute and Naught to send me emails telling me their versions of events, so I could get a feel of what went on. I was also sent the actual transcripts (by Dom) of the conversation that started it all. It did not match what Brute and Naught were saying. In fact, it seemed to be a complete fabrication or over reaction or miscommunication. In conversations, we worked out who was and who was not telling the truth. Written transcripts were always going to be the truth as well as confirmations by two other people involved with the conversation at the time. I was asked to send the emails, but I said no. The emails were sent to me in confidence, so I could make up my own mind, not to be used against them in any way.

I was told by Brute and Naught, to be careful as Dom was power hungry and would betray me. I now understand that statement to be false. In fact, it is Brute who was lying and wanting to control everything.

Both Brute and Naught then began a smear campaign against Dom (a very aggressive one). To the degree it was very hurtful and nasty. Bullying an individual because of power is no excuse. I decided to tread carefully feeling sorry for Brute, but my support was with Dom.

3) Next it was Andy’s turn again (as I said there is a pattern here and I am trying to show it). Andy decided that she would close the Facebook group she had started for Tiger. To which Andy was asked not to as it loved and appreciated. Before Andy had a response from Tiger, she posted a video to the group stating she was thinking of archiving the group. The response Andy got was overwhelming. The members did not want the group closed, neither did Tiger. So, the video was retracted, and the group continued as normal.

Later, on social media, I noticed comments from Brute about how Andy (I did not know who they were talking about at first) posted the video for attention. That no one really knew what Andy was like. Thing is, we did know. Andy had disclosed what had happened in its entirety (ugly points and all). Andy was very honest in their assessment of what happened. It was not all roses for her (since then Andy has realised her perception in the first instance was correct).

Several months later Brute did the EXACT same thing, in her group, but instead of a video, put out a private group post that relayed the same message as Andy’s video. So, for all the nasty comments, blocking and bullying Andy had received, the hypocritical actions of Brute was entirely evident. All the way through these episodes (1-5), Brute would post “Eventually people will show their true colours” or would comment that a person has “shown their true colours”, but has failed to recognise this in themselves. This is one of the tell-tail signs, i have mentioned previously.

4) Now my turn….

While helping with an online endeavour there were a few ladies (mainly Jumpy and Gambit) who were quite boisterous. Not that I cared too much but over a few weeks I had a number of complaints about their escalating chat/banter of a sexual nature. This was a stream that children frequented and was supposed to be a child friendly venue. They were using hashtags to communicate this behaviour. As a result of the complaints, I went and blocked all the hashtags that they used, even the okay ones. I will admit I should have left the non-sexual ones. Obviously Brute was also a helper so screenshot the blocked hashtags and sent it to their group of friends, and Tiger (who did not know the full situation – but understood why after and agreed with me). It was not about one or two hashtags. It was about the sexual nature of some of the hashtags, other people’s responses, and the escalating behaviour. But the ladies did not see it, did not understand, and did not ask an important question WHY (they just ASSUMED). This shows a lack of capacity to understand, communicate and discuss as adults. I still have no hard feelings. Just sadness that they may spend their lives in this cycle and think its okay to do so. Sometimes people are very easily influenced or lack the capacity to understand what to do. It will either come to them with experience or age. The fact that the main instigator of everything is fifty years of age, shows a lack of compassion, lack of life experience or an inability to feel whole and safe. Insecurity affects people in different ways. Those who do not recognise that they are insecure or have low self-esteem, do not see what they do is unhealthy or wrong.

One morning I woke up and the online action had been happening for nearly an hour and a half. As soon as I was online the harassment started. Apparently, Tiger was not aware of the whole story and asked that all # be reinstated. They were reinstated as soon as was asked (at the beginning of the stream) but it took a long time for them to filter through the program. So the harassment escalated and Tiger was overwhelmed by Jumpy and Gambit's constant battering. Comments needed to be deleted/blocked as they were hurtful and inappropriate in nature – but it was one of the other helpers who did this. Of course, I was blamed. I was asked not to block or delete (to which i complied). I tried to take the chat off-stream as to be professional, but they would not comply and it escalated.

At that point, the ladies could not see that they were interrupting the stream, harassing and bullying. They thought that what they were doing was Okay. Afterwards, I thought the situation had been worked out and understood by Gambit, but as soon as they got off stream the mob of ladies had obviously been chatting, and the problem began to escalate again. Group mobs are more likely to escalate a situation and blow it out of proportion because they have each other to feed off and egg each other on.

In the meantime, I was talking to Tiger and the other helper. It was agreed that what happened was everyone’s fault. I was apologised to and was told that everyone had spoken to , and all was fine. I was ready to move on. The mob were not. It was like all-out war. We decided to let it go. I did disclose hashtags that remained blocked, to Tiger.

So instead of being adults, professionals and looking at the whole situation, the mob decided belittle me. Unbeknown to them it was not well received by some people. In fact, people kept asking if I was okay. Yes, I was. If people are not going to be grown up about things, and decided to hold on to hate instead of working through an issue, or asking questions and finding out why, then that is their problem, not mine. Any person less resilient than me, or who had lower self-esteem, would have been devastated and crushed. Because I had been through this before, and something similar, I was strong, determined and forgiving.

This is a classic case of bullying. When more than one person starts to belittle, demean, or spread hurtful comments IT IS BULLYING.

Brute and Quiet are supposed to believe in, and follow god. But spreading and inciting hate is not godly in nature. To follow and believe in god is to treat people the way you want to be treated. To forgive, to love. I may follow a different religion, BUT I ALWAYS treat people the way I want to be treated. Just as I ask questions before I make up my mind to what I believe in. I expect people to do this for me. If they don’t then it’s their issue.

Tigers message to everyone is to show compassion, love, forgiveness and joy to the whole world. I believe in this message in all its entirety. Fully and completely. I took some time out to think about what had happened. I understand why it happened. But again, It’s their issue. I am only in control of my own actions. I have no control over others and what they do or think. Tiger wants to help people see the world differently. So he tries to assist them. It is his right, as a human, if he wants to spend time trying to help people.

5) My turn again...

There are several groups in this fandom. This has happened because Brute started to block people from the group (she controlled). As I said before my opinion is that fan groups/pages should be public as they are the community of the celebrity. I am a part of the other group and am a “helper” of that group. Mainly due to the fact Andy was originally blocked from joining the original group Brute set up (plus Andy is one of my good friends). Both Andy and I knew there were some people (and we knew exactly who), that were members of both groups, and some of these people relayed our content to the other group … that never bothered us. We did not care. The only people who were blocked from our community were the people that went against the community rules (which were advertisers not related to the group). Also, there are people who have joined both communities and love our group, Andy and me.

I was sent a ‘thank you’ video from the other group to which I sent to Tiger. Instead of asking him to use more of his time to create another ‘thank you’ video, I asked if we could use the same one. He said yes, so I posted it. Then all hell broke loose.

It did not bother either Tiger or I, aside from the fact it was more noise. We did not understand why it was such a big deal. He just wanted everyone to share, love and interact with each other. He hates the divide. I don’t care for it much either, but it is not my doing and I cannot influence it.

My assessment [and this bodes to site behaviour as a misrepresentation of the actual truth]: Unprofessionally and incredulously Brute posted in fandom community group [the need for group support] that I had STOLEN the video. To our knowledge it was not owned by this group. The onslaught of mob behaviour of insults and disgust ensued. Comments such as [this is all factual in content]:

  • They stole my video (no I did not steal it – and I have the evidence)

  • Did they not think I would find out? (I knew they would know… I just did not care as I had permission by Tiger to do so)

  • There is someone in “My” group who is a traitor (It is not “their group” it is Tigers community)

  • They have lied and did not get the video from where they said they did (I never said where I got the video from, just that I had permission to post it)

  • They have copied and stolen before. That’s why I originally blocked them and did not let them back in. (I have evidence that we had spoken and agreed I did not copy or steal anything. I was then told that it was agreed that i had not copied. I would suggest they say exactly what it was I stole. I also have written evidence that this was agreed upon)

  • They have shown their true colours (they need to look at themselves. I am very comfortable in my actions. I have done nothing wrong. The fact that this was done publicly in a group that is supposed to support love, caring, sharing and community speaks volumes)

Continual comments from others such as:

  • They are false (I have never lied, pretended to be someone I was not and have only ever promoted love, community, friendship and communication so I am perplexed to see how I am false)

  • They cannot come up with their own content (I have always done my own work, including the fact I am a poet, writer, singer/songwriter, artist - suggests otherwise)

  • They are not creative on their own (As above)

  • They should have asked Tiger for their own video (The fact that I understand someone is busy and do not want to bother them wasting their time, should answer that question)

So the fact that Brute has lied about most situations and treated this community as “her own” (the fact that Brute has complete control and will not let anyone else help in her role) speaks volumes. This type of behaviour is not be aligned to the community's philosophy (in fact it was the complete opposite of what would be wanted and what influencer believes in).

Since then Brute has aligned herself with another gamer and told them her version of events. The mob have been given free rein to covertly ridicule and berate all the situations that have happened. This says volumes about a person/s. Their inner circle and family are a mob. They are bullies and feed off each other. I recognise it as I have been through it. I recognise it because I have studied it. I feel sad for the closed minds who do this. I feel sad that they will never get to learn and grow. Their lack of self-respect, respect for others and low self-esteem is heart-breaking. We all need to sometimes take a step back, look at what has gone on in an unbiased view. All sides have something they are missing and to keep an open mind is pivotal. Everyone has reasons and viewpoints, and everyone has different meanings for the same things. sometimes it not about who is write or wrong but about communication and forgiveness. Even if you are hurt or out of sorts.


The main form of bullying when I was in school consisted of verbal and physical. I have someone yell at me (while everyone in school was eating lunch) that:

“Your real mother must have felt relief when she gave you up for adoption. I am really, who would want you!” This was referring to the reason I was adopted. Obviously, this was not the reason but to an 11-year-old it really hit my core.

Being very pretty and slim I gained a lot of attention. The girls felt threatened; therefore, I was bullied. It was only three girls, but no one stood up for me. They bullied everyone at school – continuously. When I moved to high school it was more of the same but then untrue rumours started. Being quiet and meek and of low self-esteem I said nothing and sank deeper into depression.

It all had a profound negative affect on me throughout my life. Until I got help for my depression and worked through my issues of self-loathing. On the brink of suicide (from all of what I had been through; including rape, major back surgery and cancer). It was here I learned the value of myself and the sadness of others. I found compassion and forgiveness. Hard to believe I know, but that’s how I feel.


I was also bullied in the workplace but a group of aggressive girls. Whether they knew what they were doing (I suspect two of them did but gather supporters through lies-covertly). I was taking days off and at one point my doctor and psychiatrist gave me two weeks leave to work from home. When the truth came out the main people involved ended up leaving as they had no control anymore.

I was excluded from functions, directions ignored (I was a senior), spoken to abruptly, made fun of in front of people, ganged up on.


Bullying of any form or for any reason can have immediate, medium and long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders. When someone feels unsupported by family or friends, it can make the situation much worse for the victim.

Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.

What bullying is not

o single episodes of social rejection or dislike

o single episode acts of nastiness or spite

o random acts of aggression or intimidation

o mutual arguments, disagreements, or fights.

Psychologist Roy Baumeister asserts that people who are prone to abusive behaviour tend to have inflated but fragile egos. Because they think too highly of themselves, they are frequently offended by the criticisms and lack of deference of other people and react to this disrespect with violence and insults.


Often, bullying takes place in the presence of a large group of relatively un-involved bystanders. In many cases, it is the bully's ability to create the illusion they have the support of the majority present that instils the fear of "speaking out" in protestation of the bullying activities being observed by the group. Unless the "bully mentality" is effectively challenged in any given group in its early stages, it often becomes an accepted, or supported, norm within the group.

Unless action is taken, a "culture of bullying" is often perpetuated within a group for months, years, or longer.


Depending on the nature and context of the conduct, bullying behaviour s can include:

  • the making of vexatious allegations against a worker

  • spreading rude and/or inaccurate rumours about an individual, and

  • conducting an investigation in a grossly unfair manner.

  • In Amie Mac v Bank of Queensland Limited and Others, the Fair Work Commission indicated that some of the features which might be expected to be found in a course of repeated unreasonable behaviour constituting bullying at work were:

... intimidation, coercion, threats, humiliation, shouting, sarcasm, victimisation, terrorising, singling-out, malicious pranks, physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, belittling, bad faith, harassment, conspiracy to harm, ganging-up, isolation, freezing-out, ostracism, innuendo, rumour-mongering, disrespect, mobbing, mocking, victim-blaming and discrimination.

The following behaviour s could also be considered as bullying, based on cases heard in other jurisdictions:

  • aggressive and intimidating conduct

  • belittling or humiliating comments

  • victimisation

  • spreading malicious rumours

  • practical jokes or initiation

  • exclusion from work-related events, and

  • unreasonable work expectations.


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