Metaphors

Metaphors of bullying

A bully is like Jekyll and Hyde - two faced.

Bullies are often charming to some individuals and evil to others.  This reflects a splitting within the psyche into good and bad. This is known as a primitive defence against anxiety ( Klein). 

A bully is like an addict

Bullies are rarely satisfied with one victim. Many are serial bullies. They use and abuse victims and then 'dispose' of them. Although they may initially feel better that they have got rid of their feelings of badness on to someone else, their feelings of inner 'deadness' return and they need to take the life of another victim. 

A bully is like a praying mantis

A praying mantis stalks its victim, often spying on it before seizing and eating it alive. Predatory bullies monitor potential victims, testing them to see how they react. Once bullying begins the victim becomes trapped and may only be released with support from colleagues and friends. But colleagues and managers often turn a 'blind eye' and group members become isolated from each other. 

Slaves, prisoners and heartbroken lovers

are a few of the metaphors used by victims.  These metaphors portray their feelings about their lack of ability to take control over their lives - their lack of agency.