Envy is one of the seven deadly sins and perhaps the most destructive. It is also the most secretive as people do not readily confess the fact that they may wrestle with envy let alone openly discuss it with others.
Wikipedia states that Envy is an emotion that “occurs when a person lacks another's superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it. "
It can also derive from a sense of low self-esteem that results from an upward social comparison threatening a person's self image: another person has something that the envier considers to be important to have.
Now regarding bullying at work, when the bully is faced with the realization that powerful people are around them: confident, smart, socially acceptable, nice, kind, trustworthy etc, the Bully automatically feels their own lack in these areas and resorts to envy. They believe the other has more over them and they are unable to handle this perceived imbalance. The Bully hates those who call forth the feeling of their own inferiority.
"Those who are most distrustful of themselves are the most envious of others. Those who are the most weak and cowardly are the most revengeful. " states Wm Hazlitt.
Envy asks one thing: “Why not me?" Why am I not smart, socially accepted, seen as kind etc. When the Bully feels inferior and feels they cannot level things up, then they resort to level things down. People with healthy self-images allow others the freedom to experience good fortune while Bullies are incapable of honoring someone else's successes; in fact they seek to destroy them. They are intent on the destruction of the happiness of others.
Once the Bully experiences these intense feelings of envy, they quickly move onto the thoughts of “Why not me?" and then seek to destroy anyone that has more than them. The destruction phase becomes the addiction and the ‘fix’ the Bully needs in order to feel powerful once again. Highlighting the target as unworthy and undeserving is part of the Bully's defense.
What To Know:
1. Understand envy. It is what drives most bullying behavior.
2. Know that the roots of envy are borne our of the Bully's low self-worth, not on your un-deservingness.
3. Recognize and even expect the Bully's attacks; try not to be surprised, but be prepared.
Valerie Cade is a workplace bullying expert and author of Bully Free At Work. Find out the Top 39 Tips to stop workplace bullying