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BellaOnline's Midlife Editor

Are You Being Invalidated?

Do you know an Invalidator? That is, someone who, with something as simple as just a roll of their eyes while you are standing among a group of people, can cut you down quicker than a chain saw on a tree. This is a person who undermines you because they enjoy making you feel and look foolish - and worthless. This person is usually someone close to you - a relative, a "friend", boss, co-worker. These are people who have a low self-esteem and they need to cut you down in order to elevate themselves. Make no mistake about it - these are bullies. These are 'controllers'. They operate by inflicting either mental or emotional cruelty. There are physical bullies, of course, but that is another article.

Their modus operandi is to embarrass you, humiliate you - in order to hurt your self-confidence, thereby making you feel self-conscious. These are the worst kind of bullies, as the scars they inflict don't show but they cause such harm to your psyche. These types of people are deficient, miserable people who often can mask their own low self-esteem with their arrogance. They have appointed themselves as your judge and jury, usually passing their own distorted judgment on others in order to make themselves feel superior. They cause such mental angst and confusion. They operate insidiously and you usually don't see it coming - you are bruised and shattered before you finish blinking your eyes.

In order to beat them at their own game, you must go eye to eye with them - staring them down, while speaking up for yourself, clearly and concisely. Put them on the spot. It will be difficult but it must be done in order to teach them that they will not be able to hit and run the next time -- that you are going to stand up to them and not allow them to get away with their undermining and their insults.

More and more we are seeing these mean-spirited bullies prey on our society. You see them in all levels of business - even in the highest levels of corporations. If they are in upper level positions, they already have an edge over the person being bullied because they are in a position to wield power over them (and usually get away with it) - thus making it easier for them to victimize. They have free reign to brow beat the employees working under them as much as they want - without the signs of their mental abuse showing. Believe me, I've seen them in action - close up and personal. They rarely show their true colors - they are chameleons.

Having said that, corporation heads would be well advised to stop looking the other way and tolerating this unacceptable behavior among their upper management. These are the sociopaths and psychopaths of our society - as witnessed by the recent rash of gluttonous and greedy corporate CEO's, making sure they have not gold but platinum parachutes, with no regard for the people under them and usually at the expense of these employees. We need to start taking action against their atrocious, intimidating behavior. Because they make money for their company, their indiscretions are tolerated - but look closely behind the scenes and there is a tremendous undercurrent of dissention and dissatisfaction among non-management employees, and there will be revolts afoot as the outrage starts to reach the boiling point.

If you look closely, very closely at the people in these powerful positions - you will see the cracks in their facade - and more often than not a trail of 'breadcrumbs' - evidence, if you will, showing these inflated egomaniacs usually think they are above the law - with a well-hidden history of past infractions that more often than not, have been kept quiet by the 'powers that be'. It used to be referred to as the 'ole boys' network; and, strange as it sounds, that mentality is still around today among some die-hard chauvinistic companies where the men are King and the women are considered dispensable, no matter how intelligent and hard working they prove themselves to be. The attitude is that they are always dispensable.

As far as I'm concerned, no executive or CEO is worth risking the reputation of a good company - when that person is dysfunctional and is constantly exhibiting 'dry drunk' behavior -- a dysfunctional, 'loose cannon'-type behavior. They think they are untouchable because of their position within their company. Look at the aftermath from the fallout of some of these high powered executives who got too greedy and too arrogant for their own good. They - and their (former) company - finally paid the price, and paid the piper, which is as it should be.

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