Metaphors

Metaphors of bullying

A bully is a Jekyll and Hyde character - two faced.

Bullies are often charming to some individuals and evil to others.  This reflects a splitting within the psyche into good and bad. Splitting is a primitive defence against anxiety ( Melanie 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 projected their feelings of badness on to someone else, over time their feelings of inner 'deadness' return and they need to find 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 so making it difficult for the victim to find a resolution. 

Victims have described themselves as slaves, prisoners and heartbroken lovers

These metaphors portray their feelings about their lack of ability to take control over their lives - their lack of agency.