Aggressor bullies fit the usual definition of a bully, they threaten to beat you up if you don't give them your lunch money. Victim bullies, in contrast, demand your lunch money because of some harm they claim you've done to them.Dean Dad elaborated
Unlike simple passive-aggression, victim bullies use accusations as weapons, and ramp up the accusations over time. Unlike a normal person, who would slink away in shame as the initial accusations are discredited, a victim bully lacks either guilt or shame, honestly believing that s/he has been so egregiously wronged in some cosmic way that anything s/he does or says is justified in the larger scheme of things. So when the initial accusations are dismissed, the victim bully's first move is a sort of double-or-nothing, raising the absurdity and the stakes even more......
Victim bullies thrive in the no-man's-land created by the deadly combination of slow and cumbersome processes, and failure of managerial nerve. Because defeating a victim bully takes tremendous endurance, most people don't try. Victim bullies know this, and are able to intimidate others into leaving them alone to do pretty much as they please.Gunsalus favors first the softer approach, basically talking with the victim bully about collegiality but she does not rule out "blue therapy", e.g. calling the cops. Most importantly she discusses how bullies need to be shown that their behavior will lead to shunning and if necessary shunning them.
The recent back and forth between Elsevier's Global Environental Change and Roger Pielke Jr. is a perfect example of this. The journal and editors sent him rather innocuous boilerplate letters informing him that he was being taken off the Editorial Board. No doubt the same letter was sent to the others that were not reappointed and basically is the same form letter Elsevier uses for all its journals.
"Dear Professor Pielke,But with victim bullies you can't be nice, because if you are, they will twist your words into being a dishonest attack on them. People like Roger Jr. never disappoint.
Subject: Rotation of the Editorial Board of Global Environmental Change
As a member of the Editorial Board of Global Environmental Change you have been instrumental in helping to organise a rapid and efficient editorial process, and maintaining the high standards of our publication. Your work has been greatly appreciated.
To help keep the journal current, and give other scientists the chance to gain experience of editorial duties, it is our policy to rotate members off our Editorial Boards at regular intervals. For this reason, and in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief, I am asking you to step down from the Editorial Board.
I hope that you will understand our approach and that you have enjoyed your association with the journal and will continue to take an interest in it by encouraging the submission of high quality manuscripts.
Thank you sincerely for the work and expertise which you have given to the journal during your time on the Editorial Board. I wish you the very best for the future.
With kind regards,"
Lest there be any confusion, below is the text of the original email I received from GEC dropping me from the GEC Board. It contains several untruths: (1) about the notion of "rotate members at regular intervals" and (2) an expression of "appreciation" for my work.(1) was indeed false for Roger, maybe not for the others, but it was, if you will the kind of politeness people use to avoid conflict, but in the case of a victim bully, the food that they thrive on as the bunnies know. Social politeness has its uses but it can too easily be turned against you. There is a cost too to not using it as Eli has learned. As it were, a cost-benefit calculation, is the disappointment of everyone else for your being blunt equal to the benefit of not having to deal with the victim bullies. Depends on the density of the latter of course. Reading between the lines, bunnies can see what the letter should have been
Upon receiving the letter, I knew that (1) was false, as I have shown. (I have since learned the falseness of (2)). If you tell people untruths you should expect that they will wonder about the truth.
Dear Prof. Pielke,
This letter is to inform you that the Editors have chosen not to renew your membership on the editorial board of Global Environmental Change at the end of your second term. There are two reasons for this.
First your participation in the editorial work of the journal has become insufficient to justify reappointment to a third consecutive term. If we were being nice we might say that the bulk of submissions to the journal have moved away from your area of expertise, but let us not sugar coat it. Your interested in reviewing for GEC has diminished over your second term and was none too high to begin with. As you were told on your initial appointment we expect Board Members to review up to five papers per year. We have invited you to review 18 papers in the six years, of which you agreed to review just six and submitted five reviews. Your last review was submitted in August 2010. Last year, in 2012, we invited you to review 3 papers which you declined. Thus, in the last 2.5 years of your second term you reviewed 0 papers for the journal. Based on this record our most courteous conclusion is that your areas of interest are not a good match to the papers submitted to Global Environmental Change and this is increasingly the case.
Second, it is the policy of the Journal to rotate membership on the Editorial Board. This year there are 6 new Editorial Board Members, one through death of a previous member. In total 24 of the 37 board members from 2005 have been replaced since you joined. That 13 members remain is based on the judgement of the editors of their work on the Editorial Board.
We thank you for the editorial work you have done in your two terms of membership, and look forward to working with you on future submissions to Global Environmental Change if any.
PS: Elsevier don't do FOIA inquiries.