The urge to bully others comes from deep rooted insecurities that the person cannot face or cope with. Insecurities make us feel helpless and worthless, so social situations can turn into power struggles. This often happens when two people meet each other for the first time and an instant dislike is formed by one party. They see or feel something superior about the other person and they do not feel okay about it. They are suddenly in a world of their own, trapped in their mind, consumed with emotion and a feeling of insignificance. The only response is an emotional one which is then projected with one or more of the following tones-
A more frightening and traumatic response from a bully is a physical one. Those who hit others without provocation are dealing with a severe internal struggle. Their actions can be mentally damaging for their victim and others may join in with bullying because they too are afraid to confront the ‘ringleader’. It is likely that the people surrounding the bully feel guilty for what they are doing but they are too scared to oppose them. Other followers or ‘joeys’ as I like to call them, may enjoy the feeling of power that the bully gives them and so they cling to them even more. They know they will be protected and free to bully others as they wish so it appears to be a good deal. Situations can and do get severely out of hand if the bully in question forms an all-out ‘crew’, to terrorise their surroundings both verbally and physically.
The dynamics of bullying are the same for males and females, although males may feel more pressured to throw aggression back, to satisfy the male stereotype we live with. Females will often look to degrade one another. I recall from my own youth a group of girls used to try set pretty girls hair and clothes on fire, or they would accuse them of vile sexual acts in front of other people, particularly boys, to try strip them of their self-worth. As an adult, it is unlikely such incidents would occur but if you have children then this is the potential treatment they will receive if they are hanging around the wrong people or if they are having issues at school. As adults we can be quick to dismiss bullying when a child reports it because such things seem trivial when you are older. If you think your child is overreacting or stretching the truth, you should still take their concerns seriously, for you alone as a parent are their safe place. When children have problems at school they need to be loved and nurtured at home so they do not feel isolated. Isolation can result in other problems manifesting such as substance abuse, self-harming, running away and seeking comfort with the wrong people.
Bullying between adults is much different to the blatant school yard bullying we have just discussed. It is much more subtle and more about your ‘game face’ than how ‘hard’ you are. Unless of course you have never removed yourself from your childhood surroundings then you may be fighting other mothers and fathers on the street. If this is you please stop now and have a word with yourself.
Anyway, I digress……adult bullying comes in many more varieties. If you work for a large company then they will have a ‘dignity at work’ policy which outlines all forms of harassment and bullying. You may be surprised if you ever read this. Bullying can be, other than the obvious name calling and physical abuse, dirty looks, haughty tones, making you feel singled out, someone purposely ignoring you or not being inclusive etc. In a nut shell, you have the right to feel. Nobody can tell you how you feel or argue with you if you say you feel a certain way. If you feel any sort of hostility, humiliation, unwelcome contact and/or someone make you feel deliberately uncomfortable, then you are being bullied and you have the right to speak out against it.
Remember bullies rely on fear tactics. They want to continue holding power over you so they can degrade you and they want you to keep your mouth shut. So what is your best course of action? TELL SOMEONE! If your concerns are dismissed then tell someone else. Keep telling people until someone helps otherwise your nightmare will never end and it will ultimately destroy your confidence and self-esteem. The bully deserves those feelings not you. Do not let them project their feelings of worthlessness onto your happy soul. Fear is in the mind and bullies can always be taken down one way or another. They are just people who are unhappy with themselves…so pity them and celebrate yourself.