Almost everyone at one point or the other has been bullied in their life. When I talk about bullying, I don’t only mean the physical type of bullying where someone beats you up or harasses you physically. I also include other forms of bullying.
What is bullying?
Bullying is a distinctive pattern of harming and humiliating others, specifically those who are in some way smaller, weaker, younger or in any way more vulnerable than the bullyPsychology Today
Most people when asked about bullying refer to just the physical type of bullying but did you know there are other forms of bullying as well?
- Physical bullying which involves physical aggression with the bully and the victim.
- Verbal bullying which consists of name calling, teasing, making fun of others, and threats of violence.
- Relational bullying involves deliberately preventing someone from joining or being part of a group, whether it’s at a lunch table, game, sport, or social activity.
- Cyber bullying is when someone repeatedly harasses, mistreats, or makes fun of another person online or whiles using cell phones or other electronic.
Bullies can be both males and females. Their victims are also both males and females. Physical bullying is usually predominant with male victims than with female victims, however, verbal and relational bullying are the predominant type of bullying for females.
There have been different speculations as to why people are known to be bullies and I have narrowed it down to three (3) main reasons bullies tend to bully others.
They want control
Bullies sometimes are simply people who also have it rough in life. They might have been abused, unheard, shut out, troubled and basically have no control in their own lives. This makes them feel helpless and angry too. A way to compensate for this is by trying to have some control in their lives.
However they do this the wrong way by preying on people that seem weaker and intimidated. Somehow, this makes them gain control, gain respect by their peers that might fear them and overall, it makes them feel important and get the attention they want, even though it’s a negative one.
Some bullies are people who have been bullied before. These people knowing that they may not get back at their bullies divert the anger to someone else, someone they are stronger than.
Often times when these people find meaning in life and other ways to divert that energy, they stop bullying and might even become friendly.
They are spoiled and entitled
These set of bullies are simply brought up spoiled and they believe they can get a way with anything. They think the world revolves around them and anything they want, they can have. This gives them a sense of entitlement and makes them feel superior and above everyone else. Because of this, they assert themselves on others.
They are just mean
Some bullies really have things going well for them, unlike the first reason, they are doing just fine. No one is hurting them, they get the attention they want at home, and there is really no cause except for the fact that they are simply mean.
These set of people somehow derive joy from seeing people suffer or they simply have no empathy towards people. They misread the intentions of others, often imputing hostility in neutral situations.
Research has shown that children who exhibit this kind of behavior for no just reasons mostly grow up to be diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder.
Antisocial personality disorder is a chronic mental health condition, informally known as sociopathy, characterized by a disregard the feelings and rights of othersPsycom
Contrary to popular beliefs, some bullies have excellent self-esteem, they see themselves quite positively. So bullying for them is not a form of escape or hiding their insecurities.
Bullies usually have a sense of entitlement and superiority over others, and lack compassion, impulse control and social skills.
How do bullies choose their victims?
Bullies mostly choose people that are weaker than they are, shy, lack social skills or/and different from the norm.
Bullies pick people that are not strong; it could be physically or emotionally. This allows them to fully assert and intimidate these individuals. Also victims that are known to be shy and lack social skills are picked by bullies.
When an individual is different from the social norm or appears different, it allows bullies to prey on them. Perhaps they dress different, are interested in something their peers will normally not be interested in, they are smart, look nerdy and so on.
Related: Peer Pressure
Bullies also pick on people that have disabilities, be it physical like a lame person or psychological like someone with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Down’s syndrome, etc.
Targets of bullies often have little or no friends who can stick up for them (which is one reason that they bully feels that they can abuse them.)and already have low self-esteem. Bullies also target those who appear to be vulnerable and the main theory is that they do this so that there is little chance the person will stand up for themselves, making them easy to abuse. “When bullied, they become visibly frightened, cry, or do not have an appropriate response. That is just what the child who bullies wants; it becomes an invitation to even more bullying.Theravive – The Psychology of Bullying
Is bullying not a phase in Childhood?
Bullying is sometimes referred to as that however, bullying is dangerous as it has lasting effects on the victims even up until adulthood. Some of these effects are depression, low self-esteem, panic attacks, anxiety and even feelings of being worthless with tendency to commit suicide.
Bullying also has an effect on the bullies themselves. Bullies in childhood sometimes (not all the time) grow up to become bullies even as adults, criminal convicts and/or multiple offenders.
Bullying can also be seen in adulthood as in work places, social gathering and so on.
Other References not included in Text
This is the first part of the topic of bullying. Next week, i will be publishing part 2 which is on how to deal with bullying, and how to recognize it.
Have you ever been bullied or have you bullied anyone? What do you think about bullying?