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!