The Body Language of Bullies: Dominance, Superiority, and Hostility

portrait

portrait of concerned about the problems girl. Studio shot

Bullies always display these types of body language, especially around their targets.

Dominance and Superiority Body Language – Bullies take up lots of space to appear bigger. You will often see bullies place their hands on their hips and stand extra tall. They will often stand extra close to their targets- so close that they will sometimes touch them as they deliberately invade the target’s space. They do this to intimidate them. Bullies will also frown and purse their lips at the target while maintaining unblinking and unwavering eye contact (boring their eyes into their target like a dagger) without moving their heads.

Bullies will often freely touch their targets because they have no regard for their personal space. For example, a bully may give the target a hard slap on the back or grab the target by the arm and lead them where they want them to go. A bully may also physically move the target to the side or shove past him/her. Understand that the bully intends to show the target who’s in charge or to compete with him. The bully may also do these things to signal ownership of the target. Yes, in the bully’s mind, he owns the target. The message is, “You’re mine, I own you, and I can do what I want with you.”

If the target is sitting, the bully or bullies will often stand over him to look bigger and more intimidating. Bullies who are short in stature will often stand on something to appear taller than their victims. Some may stand on their tiptoes.
Bullies will also lay claim to a territory (desks, spaces, parking spaces) and expect others to obey rules when near the claimed area or object.

Other ways of Invading the target’s space and belongings – bullies may walk into the target’s room, office or home uninvited and without knocking. They may sit in the victim’s chair without asking permission. Other invasions include leaning on the target’s vehicle, parking in their parking spaces, cutting in front of them in line or propping their feet on the back of the target’s chair when sitting behind them (I had a group of girls do that to me in school, and it was unnerving). Understand that bullies are power-driven and do these things to take away the target’s power.
Bullies also put their hands on the target’s personal belongings with a carefree attitude. But know that the message the bully is sending the target is this. “I own you, so I own anything that is yours.”

Female Track Competitors Glaring at Each Other

Here is a classic often seen. Bullies may walk up to the target’s table during lunch, pick a French fry off their plate in front of them and pop it in their mouths. They may pick up the target’s fork and take a bite of their food. Bullies may also pick up the target’s phone and began scrolling through the contents. Bullies will even rummage through the target’s purse or pick up the target’s jacket and go through the pockets. The hidden message the bully is sending is, “I can take whatever I want, and what are you going to do about it?”

Other ways bullies invade territory is to walk in the center of a hallway or sit on a flight of stairs, expecting people to move and go around them. Bullies may also stand in the middle of a road and driveway or take their time crossing the street, forcing cars to stop and wait. They may also stand in the middle of a crowd or center of a room.

Bullies also show dominance by how they dress or the car they drive.

Do Not Ignore This. Always make yourself powerful as well.
If a bully violates your space or belongings, always call them out on it. Never let it happen without asserting yourself. If a bully stares you down, always return the stare. Either look them in the eye or look them between the eyes. If they look at you while standing feet apart and arms akimbo, reflect the exact same stance back to the bully. Mirror the bully to show that you’re not the least bit intimidated by them. If the bully is rushing you, slow down. Do not speed up! Remain calm.
Dress your best and look your best. This shows that you take pride in how you look and conveys confidence. It also helps you to feel better. When we look better, we also feel better!

Hostility Body Language – Bullies may look at their target while pinching their chin. The pinching of the jaw is used to release the hostile thoughts without acting on them- it is a way to hold back the urge to physically attack the target. Understand that when a bully looks at you and pinches any part of the face, this signals the bully’s secret wish to harm you.

Another sign of hostility as when a bully looks at their target, then pounds a fist into a tabletop, wall or the palm of his/her opposite hand. Any object the bully pounds is only a substitute for the victim’s physical body.

Girls and women will often bite their lip, suck on the inside of their jaw or chew the inside of the mouth while looking at their target.

Bullies also show hostility by sizing up their target. They size you up by directly facing you, clinching their fists and puffing out their chests. Male bullies will snarl at their victims, whereas female bullies will glare at their targets with dirty looks. Clenching a jaw where the jaw is protruding outward is another sign of hostile intentions.

Bullies often glare at their targets persistently and intensely without blinking. Their faces turn red, and they will often stretch. These are sure signs that a bully wants to physically attack you and they will do it soon. Again. Do not ignore this!

One thought on “The Body Language of Bullies: Dominance, Superiority, and Hostility

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s