Dear Aunty B,
I recently read one of your responses to someone who has a bully for a business partner and was impressed by the advice you gave. I’m hoping you might be able to do the same for me.
I set up a television production company five years ago with a colleague and on my suggestion we invited this other colleague – who is the money person – to join us. She is a very effective money manager and does have business sense but she is a control freak, contradicts herself all the time, is extremely aggressive and is only happy when she is slagging other people off. My other (much nicer) colleague works from home most of the time, so does not witness this behaviour very much and she puts on a mask when he is around.
When I suggest anything or – even worse if I disagree with her – she just jumps down my throat and never misses an opportunity to demean me. My colleague admitted to me that she had gone to him and claimed that I came in late and went home early (what she actually does !). However, at other points she will launch into a tirade to me about him and say it’s all his fault things are not going better in the company.
After years of this I have totally lost my confidence, feel withdrawn and don’t know whether I am coming or going. I probably am not as effective as I should be as all I think about most of the time is just keeping her at arms’ length and off my back.
She is extremely manipulative and shrewd and I am honestly very frightened to take her on as she throws her weight about physically and mentally. I just don’t think I am enough of an operator to be able to deal with her.
Part of me just wants to walk away but I am very annoyed as I set up the company – not her – and I also feel like I will have lost and am worried that will destroy my confidence even more.
Thanks in advance,
I’ve got two pieces of advice for you. First of all you need to give this bully business partner the Aunty B. The Aunty B is the treatment for bullies that I have perfected over many years and shared here before. I honed it working in the publishing industry, which is jam-packed with bullies.
Trust me, this works EVERY TIME.
Here is the Aunty B guide to bullies:
When Bully yells, you give her a filthy look, lower your voice and very softly but with a steely look (practice this in the mirror) tell her that you will resume the discussion when he has stopped yelling.
You walk off.
Wait a few hours. Then you pounce. Watch for the signs. Maybe she is eating lunch, flicking through the newspaper, or on the way back from the toilet. You strike. Wait until she is seated. Then quickly approach her desk, slap your hands down flat on the desk and at the same time lean towards her in a menacing manner. Then you yell in her face: “Don’t you ever talk to me like that again.”
She will lean back in shock. You will then spit out in a fury some sentences and make sure you include the words bully and unprofessional several times. It doesn’t matter what you say because the Bully will be in shock but what will register in her reptilian brain are the words “bully”, “unprofessional” and “sue” – the last of which you never said but he will know where it might go.
After a 30 second tirade, stop. Lean back and take a deep breath and then appear calm. Sit down and then tell her that you hope that is the end of it and you expect to go on working together in a “professional” way. Then raise the matter that prompted the outburst, take control and tell him what you think.
And guess what? If you do the Aunty B every time it happens, no one will ever bully you again.
So that leads me back to my second piece of advice. Don’t just walk away. Instead walk yourself into a lawyer’s office. A lawyer will deal with this simply and easily. A lawyer will quickly do what you have not been able to do; intimidate the bully. You see all bullies are snivelling cowards underneath, and most lawyers have a bullying component to their personalities that they can draw on at will.
Your Aunty B