How Social Contagion Triggers Bullying

A crowd of people surrounded the red man. The accusation of a crime, mob law over a person, lynch court. The leader in the center of the crowd, the leader, an example for diving. Angry crowd

First, let’s define the term “Social Contagion.” It is the spread of thoughts, ideas, emotions, and behaviors from person to person and larger groups affected by shared information, mimicry, and conformity.

A certain emotion or mood can spread quickly through a large crowd, leading them to extreme mindsets. This explains the “pack mentality” where people in large groups act in ways they may later regret.

It is the same with bullying. A target is selected by a few bullies out of the whole class, workplace, or community. Before you know it, the entire student body, workplace, or neighborhood is acting in evil and brutal ways toward the selected target- doing sadistic things that, under normal circumstances, they would never do.

Intense hate spreads throughout the group like cancer. Bystanders, witnesses, even teachers, school officials, supervisors, and managers will partake in the abuse of the singled-out and defenseless target.

They do this for several reasons:

1. To keep from being the next target
2. To fit into the group
3. To feel better about themselves and superior to someone (anyone).
4. They believe any lies/rumors about the target
5. To tighten bonds among themselves- using the target as the common enemy to unite against

To beat bullies at their own game, we must first know what makes them tick and why they do what they do. Once we learn the bully mindset, we will be able to better protect ourselves against them.

Peeling the masks of the bullies one layer at a time!

Hate Is Contagious!

It’s one of the reasons bullies are able to unite people who think like they do and win over bystanders and members of authority. It’s the reason why entire schools, workplaces, and communities will repetitiously mob a single targeted person. Understand that hate builds on hate.

Hate also helps to mask the insecurities of each member of the hating group. And all haters have insecurities, but not all insecure people are haters. Bullies know that, outside of a group, they are insignificant, ineffective, and powerless. If you have noticed, and I’m almost certain you have, haters always- always hate in packs.

Bullies are known for inciting others to not only partake in their hatred of the target, but also agree with and condone it. In their shared hatred of a target, each member gets validation and gains a sense of self-worth. The group also helps them to forget all about their insecurities and shortcomings.

Other benefits bullies get from their groups is a feeling of immense power, anonymity, and decreased accountability.

Realize that hate is like an adhesive that binds each member of the bully group together. When a group of bullies verbally attack their target, it enhances each member’s self-image and the overall status of the group.

And once verbal attacks lose their thrill, these bullies will take it up a notch and begin taunting the target by flipping him off, throwing rocks, destroying their property, and other such activities. And once that no longer produces the power high they seek, they will then begin shoving, tripping, pushing, etc. Shoving, pushing and tripping will then escalate to punching, kicking, and beating- then worse, and worse, and worse still.

Understand that hate spreads like a cancer. It’s the root of so many problems today. It’s true that hate hurts the haters more than the hated and that it eats the haters up inside, it can still cause a lot of collateral damage and make life dangerous for the hated if the hated doesn’t learn to recognize it.

If you’re an object of hate, the best you can do is to make yourself a priority. And how you do that is to take steps to protect yourself, take care of yourself, and focus on the people you love and who love you. Stay away for the wrong people and keep yourself around people who uplift you. Stay in a warm and loving environment if possible. You owe it to yourself.