For a long time I thought there was something wrong with the way I do my work, despite stellar reviews from previous line managers. Ther was always some detail that was not good enough, and the bully boss made an elephant out of it. For quite a few months I thought I just need time to adapt to the new boss, but soon realised this would proof impossible. You cannot and must not adapt to someone's mood swings and bullying episodes but disengage. After about six months I was sure I was being picked on and the term 'bullying' crossed my mind for the first time. However, I dismissed these first signs as I was sure this was not the bully boss' intention and I gave her the benefit of the doubt, strongly believing that at some point in the future things would improve.
I began to see a pattern: the bully boss has mood swings which go hand in hand with shifts in confidence to insecurity. The bully boss likes to feel superior, and she achieves that by putting down others. This is neccessary because nobody is superior to others and most definitely not her. To the bully boss social status is very important, so she talks about well off friends who do not have to work and which expensive purchases she has made. The bully boss also wants to be seen as the smartest and hardest working individual, not just in the team, but in the business unit, or perhaps even the whole company. So, the bully boss regularly points out how many hours she puts in: she sees sending out a report at 10 PM as hard work and stellar commitment and comes in some mornings telling everyone who is not interested how long she stayed last night or that she worked at home until 2 AM. The bully is a lonely soul. The bully also puts down the achievements of others, in my case mine, and begins manipulating people higher in ranking so I look bad and she better. It was then when things started to affect my health as I just could not get my head around the fact this was happening. From then on, I increased my networking activities in the company to not lose my reputation. I began to build rapport with others, even outside the team, to share and cross-check my observations. There was very little evidence against my observations.