How bullies fool you into believing it's YOUR fault:The Switch Technique by Dr Flis

Bullies fool you into believing it's all your fault by using something called the Switch Technique.

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Our actions, feelings and behaviour are the result of our own images and beliefs...
— Maxwell Maltz

This technique is a surprisingly common trick used by most persistently manipulative and/or aggressively controlling individual is to trick you into believing that you are to blame for their behaviour. Bullies do this using the 'Switch' Technique.


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NOTE: You can also read my UK SHPonline article on this topic HERE.

Let's be crystal clear!

Unless you are the Employer, a work Leader (Executive, Manager or Supervisor),

....or an OHS Representative or HR Professional, or some other person responsible for work safety,

- then You Are Not Responsible For Other Adults' Bad Behaviour At Work.

You Are NOT Responsible For Their Decision To Be Rude, Dismissive, Gossipy, Aggressive, Belittling, Bullying, Harassing, etc.

  • As adults, each one of us is responsible for how we decide to behave.

The SWITCH Technique

One of the most common methods used by bullies to fool you into believing, and accepting, that their bad behaviour is somehow your fault:

  • is to deliberately and rapidly SWITCH
  • from being warm, approachable and friendly
  • to suddenly and without notice
  • become dismissive, rude, bullying, threatening or abusive
  • usually as a consequence of some mistake or error that the bully (publicly) accuses you of doing - the mistake can be real, or a product of their imagination - it doesn't matter.

The bully will either directly state, or infer, that you are to blame for their switch in behaviour - that you made them do it, and that you did something (said something, did something, made a mistake, or an error) that forced them to behave this way.

Frankly, humans learn by making mistakes! We innovate and create through our mistakes - where do you think some the really great breakthroughs came from? Most innovations are a result of numerous, endless, and often silly mistakes made over, and over, and over ad nauseam.


  • unless you cotton on quickly to what's going on, you will almost immediately apologise and feel embarrassed - and blame yourself for the bully's behaviour.

This SWITCH Technique is a very deliberate, premeditated tactic to force you into a psychological corner and make you believe that you're somehow the cause of their persistent, unremitting & aggressively rude behaviour.

It's aimed at making you doubt yourself, to second guess yourself. The bully wants you to get nervous and worry about when they will next freak out at you. Over time, you'll lose confidence, perhaps drop your work performance, and even suffer from poor sleep, sweating, or even heart palpitations (see a doctor if you feel head-achy, dizzy, light-headed or sick).

You do not deserve this treatment! No-one does.

If you're suffering or witnessing this type of behaviour & want some help, click on this link HERE or go to to enroll for free in my succinct, 1 hour Mini-eCourse and get simple tactics that help you quickly spot and safely stop bullies without getting hurt in the process. The Mini-Course is called:

Click on the image below to watch & listen to the first video-webinar in this Mini-eCourse:

If you're struggling with negative or toxic workplace behaviours, and want safe, expert strategies to protect yourself from harm, contact Dr Felicity (Flis) Lawrence at or

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Dr Flis Lawrence

I have a PhD in organisational social psychology from the Faculty of Education, QUT (+BA SSc & Dip PM), and 25 years experience in private, military and government workplaces. I help leaders and workers to quickly spot and safely stop toxic behaviours and create respectful cultures so that they can boost (significantly elevate) their mental health, performance and potential faster. Contact me at, or follow  me on Twitter or Facebook.