Why Bullies Crave Power (And Can’t Get Enough of It)

Simple. Because it feels good.

“Power is not what you have. It’s what the enemy thinks you have.”  ~ Saul D. Alinsky (Rules for Radicals)

Bullies crave power like a fat kid craves McDonald’s Big Macs. Power tastes delicious. Understand that most bullies attack in groups, or more appropriately, mobs. Being in a mob gives people tremendous power and bullies know it.

Power feels good because it can get people prestige, street cred, notoriety, and popularity. Power has a way of cushioning the ego, and as we already know, most bullies have meaningless lives outside of the mob and bullying environment (school, work, community, etc.). So, the power they get from being a part of a mob adds “meaning” to their lives that they could never get by any other means. Power is what gives bullies a cause and a purpose in life.

Group power is even better! Because in a mob, each individual can bully a target, lose themselves in the bullying, and get a degree of anonymity. Therefore, bullies are much safer in the group. The group shields each bully from taking any responsibility for their appalling behavior. Groups provide protection from exposure and personal consequences.

So, how do you fight back against a mob?

One way is to call out one or two of their members by their names and tell them to “get a grip,” “knock it off,” or “calm down.”

I recently read this in a book about survival and it makes perfect sense. Anytime you call out a few members of a mob by their names, it brings them back to themselves by personalizing them. What you’re doing is basically, separating them from the mob when you loudly call out their name.

How I wish I’d known this earlier in life.

15 thoughts on “Why Bullies Crave Power (And Can’t Get Enough of It)

  1. Does 2 count as a mob? Cause when I joined a new school in primary five, these two girls started to pick on me, they would look at me a laugh at me literally the time, soon they were calling me names. I reported one to her mum but it didn’t work out until I told the other, “when we leave school today, am gonna meet you at your home and we gonna have a fight” 😂😂 i survived getting my ass whopped cause she missed from her house the entire evening. And that how they never messed with me again.

  2. One definite advantage to group bullying that if an individual in that group is brought to justice for their part in the bullying, they can downplay their role in it and shift the blame towards someone else. I encountered this a lot.

  3. Great article! Interesting, by calling out someones name it brings them back to their centre, personalizing… Making them think of consequences that they could have gotten away with in group mentality…

    • Thank you, Amber. I actually read this somewhere a few years ago but couldn’t find the article. I was also advised this way back when but was too chicken to put it into play. I could kick myself for it now. Lol

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  5. 💜 I THINK!!! it’s also important to acknowledge The Passive Bully; these ARE often “Targets” who claim not to be Bullies yet certain things, like language, betray them…for example in this post “like fat kids love McDonalds” may be construed as Passive Bullying of Overweight Children; it’s clear that Standing Up to Active Bullies is Hard Enough but these Types of Bullies do end up Whimpering and Remorseful when They Get a Taste of Their Own Medicine while a Passive Bully Insidiously and Quietly Goes About Their Bullying Business virtually UnNoticed


      • 💜 No offence taken; it’s simply an observation that there is more than one type of bullying…sometimes bullying is unconscious or a “Target” deliberately provokes a bullying episode to get attention a very complex area of mental health; so, certainly, no need to “apologise” just continue the conversation and consider the myriad possibilities and probabilities


        • Oh, yes. I totally agree. Many targets do resort to bullying because they feel so powerless. It’s an attempt to snatch back some power and feel better about themselves and it’s the wrong way to go about boosting self-esteem. And it’s the passive bullying that’s hardest to spot.

          • 💜 “I never thought I was a Bully….until I listened to how I speak to Myself. I think I owe myself an Apology” ~z2z~ (Zen to Zany)


          • Oh my goodness! I’ve been guilty of that too, Yernasia. You’re not alone, sweetie. It comes from the terrible things we’ve been told by others. It has a way of slipping into our subconscious. And we do it without even realizing it until we suddenly catch ourselves talking so badly to ourselves that it brings us back to ourselves.

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