Dealing With Bullies And Bully Culture

Unfortunately people with Narcissism, or just a lack of maturity, are all around us. If we ever want to leave the house, or our bedroom in some cases, we are going to have to deal with interacting with them. Being in a detached state of mind can be very helpful, so you're objective and removed from their social signals and games.

Don't look them in the eye very much, and only if you need to for conversation purposes, or to acknowledge them for a reason.
Don't take their tone of voice too seriously, or let it affect you.
Don't take the bait when they are fishing for an emotional response from you.
Expect that they will be condescending, insulting, or sarcastic, and ignore it when they do it.
Don't react, don't take their words personally, whether or not they are obviously trying to provoke you.
Don't engage their attempts at social manipulations, such as: domination displays (staring you down, puffing themselves up, walking into your personal space, gesturing in your face).
Don't react when they talk over you, interrupt you, or raise their voice, just repeat what you were saying originally, and only if you really need to get your message across to them because it's about something important.

Basically, remembering that those who have Narcissism or developmental delays really are not mature enough to "know better". They might be doing a lot of their behaviors on purpose, in order to try to make you smaller, or themselves bigger, but a mature adult wouldn't do that because they would know and understand WHY.

Without the understanding of WHY we treat others with respect, courtesy, care, and manners, the less mature person tends to believe that all those "manners" are either faked, or pointless, or because of weakness or shyness.

A Real Life experience to demonstrate:

A couple of years ago, I was bringing someone to a local hospital for chemo treatments. We were both frankly shocked by the loud, boisterous atmosphere in the chemo area. It might have been a good thing, making it less gloomy, IF the volume level was raised because of good moods from a polite, outgoing staff, but that was not the case. The staff was not just loud, but also rude, both toward one another and toward patients, and companions of patients. It was a "bully" atmosphere, where the louder a person was, the more important they obviously thought they were, and the less respect and courtesy they showed toward others.
After about a half hour of my trying to get someone's attention, and get them to stop talking loudly, OVER me, OVER one another, and acknowledge my presence, I finally raised my voice and got their attention. The person I had brought had been very sick over the weekend, and needed to be examined before being given Chemo, but they didn't want to hear ANYTHING from anyone but themselves, so they nearly started him on a heavy duty Chemo drip before giving him a more thorough exam. If I hadn't been there, he could have died that day, he was completely dehydrated; after a doctor finally examined him, they rushed fluid and a blood transfusion to him, and admitted him to an inpatient room.
The next day I visited; he was groggy and unsure of what was supposed to happen. I went to the nurse's station and asked them what what planned for him, and what his status was, and explained that he was unsure and groggy. The response I received practically blew the skin off of my face, "HE KNOWS WHAT THE SCHEDULE IS AND WHAT'S GOING ON!!!" the nurse SNARLED into my face. Since the person was a close relative of mine, I was already very upset and that was the last straw for me, I shouted back at the Nurse, and demanded to see the Supervising Nurse on the floor. Eventually she visited the room and asked what was wrong (she seemed calm and polite), so I explained what was going on; she apologized, and said she would speak to them and pay closer attention. After a short while, another Nurse came into the room and apologized for the general rudeness, but then tried to put the blame on ME, saying "You make yourself small". Frankly I was stunned, but after a few minutes I realized what I was dealing with; the entire hospital had adapted a CULTURE of bully behavior and status-displays. There were enough bullies and immature staff members to actually influence nearly the entire staff to accept this sort of behavior, and even make it the "NORM". Those staff members who did not fit in, who maintained their civility, manners, and respect for others and for patients, were treated with disrespect and disdain.

More than once, I witnessed arguments between staff about who did what, who forgot what, what kind of medicine a patient was supposed to get, what the schedule was, and who was "supposed to" be doing something. This behavior was both in the Chemo area, and in the inpatient areas of the hospital.

The defensiveness of the staff both toward each other and toward the patients belied their insecurity and lack of competence and skill, and also their desire to be on the GIVING END of the Bullying instead of on the RECEIVING END.
In a Bully Culture, it's bully or get bullied.

The entire time I was there with my relative, I saw only ONE Nurse or Nurse assistant who knew how to do proper bed changing and proper patient lifting. (Of course they would assume that I didn't know how, after all I'm short...oh yeah and I make myself therefore I must be shy and intimidated by them, and by their importance...)
I suspected that the nurse who was skilled in lifting and changing patients had worked somewhere else before this job, and I was right; she had previously worked in a couple of nursing homes. She was competent, and she had MANNERS and CIVILITY, because she had confidence in her skills and ability, and also in herself, apparently.

Because of her manners and courteous disposition, I was able to COMMUNICATE with her about my relative's condition, and his needs and wants, and she was able to COMMUNICATE with me, instead of trying to bark statements at me, boss me around, talking over me, "correcting" me, or avoiding me "catching her" not doing her job.

Further along, I found out from an orderly that the hospital had done several local recruitments for employees, and trained those employees on site. So the CULTURE that so many bullies in the hospital were cultivating was being projected directly onto new recruits during their job-training. Also, it's a teaching hospital, so interns were all getting the same "cultural conditioning".

I would have liked to see my relative go to a different hospital, but he didn't want to change, and was worried about his insurance. So that was beyond my control.

Word Meanings, Interpretation, And Status

Words and terms we use every day are interpreted differently by different people, even in the same community or family.
For instance the word "Listen" often means one thing by the speaker, but the listener hears something completely different.

"Why won't you LISTEN to me" says Marie, and she means "hear me when I am talking, hear what I'm saying, try to comprehend my meaning, care enough about me to hear my words and my meaning"

But Jeffrey THINKS that Marie means "Do what I say" when she uses the word "listen", because he does not have a broader definition of the word. He hears the sentence "Listen to me" to mean "Do what I say", or "Believe what I say", as if he is a child and the person speaking is an adult who is chastising him. Jeffrey did not learn the other meanings of the phrase "listen to me", so every time Marie says it, he thinks she's trying to tell him what to do.

This communication conundrum causes a serious loop in communication. If Marie tries to explain to Jeffrey what she means when she says "Listen to me", he will STILL think she's trying to boss him around, or trying to "change him".

Jeffrey is still in his childhood mentally and emotionally; he perceives that when a person is trying to explain something they need, or their feelings, or what they want, or even a different point of view, that they're trying to MAKE HIM DO something, or MAKE HIM BELIEVE something.

Jeffrey has this perception all the time. When he is listening to someone speak whom he sees as a "deserving" authority figure, he does not "rebel". He "does what he's told", and he thinks that whatever the person is saying is basically correct, so he can believe it. Or whenever the person sounds like they're giving instructions, Jeffrey will just follow the instructions without "rebelling" or questioning, and he won't feel OFFENDED that they're "trying to tell him what to do", or "trying to change him".

But when someone who he does not consider to be a "deserving authority figure" says "Listen to me", or expresses their point of view, their feelings, or their opinions, Jeffrey takes it as an OFFENSE. This is a person who he has not deemed as higher status than himself, and therefore should not be "telling him what to do" or "telling him what to feel or think".

Unfortunately for those around Jeffrey, he thinks they're doing that all the time, every time they try to express anything at all, anytime they express upset, every time they disagree with him, and every time they have a different point of view. Jeffrey thinks they're trying to control him even when they invite him to do something or go somewhere, or when they ask him to go to a movie or play a game, or join them for a meal.

Jeffrey DID grow up with some extremely controlling people in his life that WERE constantly bossing him and disrespecting him, but unfortunately for him, he did not heal from these controlling relationships. He's now pathologically defensive toward anyone whom he has not deemed as "higher status" than himself, which means ONLY a person who he has deemed "higher status" could ever help him to get past his issues, because he literally can not, will not, hear anyone else, or even make a genuine connection with them.