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Chapter 8. Bullying Managers > Impact of Bullies

Impact of Bullies

Bullies can decimate your self-esteem. After a sustained period of bullying, people cease to believe in themselves, their abilities, and even their right to be treated reasonably. Some develop what has become known as the Stockholm Syndrome. During a bank robbery in Stockholm, a number of people were taken hostage. After a day, many of the hostages began to feel connected to their captors and to protect them from the police. Patty Hearst reportedly fell prey to this phenomenon and went from kidnap victim to cooperating with her abductors in robberies. Battered women who stay with their abusers and refuse to press charges against them are a common example.

Even when the toll of bullying does not rise to this level, the impact can be very serious. Many victims suffer from anxiety or depression. They become preoccupied with the problem and have difficulty focusing on their work. Sleep and concentration deteriorate. Some develop physical complaints. As time goes on, the victims’ self-confidence disintegrates, they are filled with a sense of shame and inadequacy, and they may begin to believe they do not deserve better treatment. Some victims become so desperate that they resort to violence or suicide.


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