That’s what bullying is to bullies, an aphrodisiac. It’s the only way bullies can feel good. Hurting other people they select as targets is like a drug to them. It’s highly addictive because it gives them a massive rush of power.
I want you to understand that targeting people for attacks and bullying is how they find meaning in their lives. And the only excitement they can add to their meaningless lives is through the mistreatment of their targets. Simply put, bullies bully because they enjoy it!
People crave power, fame, notoriety, and influence- even the best of them. But most people can get those through love, through their hobbies, jobs, talent, and creativity. Bullies, on the other hand, don’t have these things going for them. Some might have jobs but aren’t satisfied in their positions. So, they abuse people instead.
Bullies either can’t get those benefits any other way, or they can’t get enough of them. So, for them, destroying the lives of their targets is the only power they have.
And once their victim is no longer available to them because he’s either quit, moved, or died by suicide, that drug, that aphrodisiac isn’t there anymore. So, what do the bullies do? They search for another target to get their next fix- their power high because they need authority over somebody, anybody.
Understand that this “fix” always wears off, and bullies consistently need another dose. So, again, once their “drug (victim)” is gone, they may even turn on one of their friends if they can’t find a target outside their peer group.
Bad behavior bullying children cartoon characters composition with a group of teenage girls laughing at their classmate vector illustration
My point is that if you’re a target of bullies. You are not the one with the issues.
Your bullies are the ones who have the problems. Your bullies are the ones who are severely mentally unbalanced. Your bullies are the ones who belong in mental institutions; they only hide it behind their undermining and degrading of you and others. Realize that they’re only projecting their problems onto you. Your bullies are using you as a distraction. And they have to work hard at it, which doesn’t make for a good life.
Always remember that, and their insults and stupidity won’t bother you as much. I promise you!
If a certain student’s bullying is allowed to continue over a certain amount of time, even for as short as a few weeks, it will likely become the status quo with his/her peers at school. Once it becomes the status quo, it’s virtually impossible to assert your rights without encountering a ton of resistance and reprisals.
The trick is to assert yourself immediately before the bully or bullies grow(s) accustomed to tormenting you because once they do, in most cases, it’s too late. Once it is too late, anytime you are brave and refuse to bow down to a bully, expect retaliation…expect to be severely punished for undermining the bully’s perceived authority or power over you.
This is a warning that you absolutely must heed. Any time one certain student is repeatedly bullied over a certain period of time, it becomes a habit…a ritual for any and everyone at the school.
And when you muster up the spunk to say and/or do anything to assert, defend, or stand up for yourself, you are going against a status quo or perceived norm. And once you dare to go against any status quo, you had better prepare yourself for an all-out war!
You are a target! And bullies see you as anything but. As much as it may suck, when a person becomes a target of bullying, people- bullies, bystanders, and yes, sometimes even teachers and staff, consciously or subconsciously expect the person to stay a target.
They expect you to put your head down and take it…to just accept it, and if you even attempt to grow a spine, they will do everything in their power to break it.
Anytime a person, who has been a target of bullies over a long period of time, takes steps to take back their power, the unspoken message of the bully is this:
“No! Wait a minute! You’ve been a lowlife loser all this time, and NOW you decide to better yourself?” or “Whoa! You’ve been a doormat this long, so why NOW do you get uppity and decide to grow a spine?”
All of which translates to an even deeper message that says:
“Holy Crap! We’re not used to him/her being so outspoken! This scares us! We’ve tried A, now we have to do B, and if B doesn’t work, then we will have to resort to C to put this person back in his/her place and do it quickly before we lose our foothold on her and therefore, lose the benefits that we have enjoyed at her expense!”
This is because bullies are extremely frightened by change, especially a change in the power dynamic which has long been set. They and others want you to stay a victim because “it’s just the way things are done at this school.”. Also, bullies benefit from your victimization, and they do not want to lose those benefits (social status, gratification, satisfaction, etc.)
Your bullies’ degradation of you has become a habit…a ritual…a tradition, so to speak. And your defending your right to be safe from harm poses the threat of change, and most people cannot easily accept change, bullies especially.
Furthermore, bullies believe that it is their right to abuse their target. Yes! They honestly believe that they have a right to mistreat the person because they assume that they have absolute authority over their victim and are entitled to inflict misery on him/her.
In the mind of a bully, you as the target do not have the right to undermine nor question their perceived authority over you. Others believe that you deserve the ill-treatment and that you owe it to them to put your head down and “just shut up and take it.”
If this does not tick you off enough to make you want to snatch your power back, I do not know what will. But before you can do so, you must know the inner workings of these types of individuals. You must be wise to what it is that makes this type of person tick.
You must get abreast on the psychology of the typical school bully, his/her background, motives, how and why the bully seems to escape accountability and a host of other important and possibly life-saving information.
You absolutely MUST address it early on, as soon as you begin to see a pattern forming. Do not make the same mistake I did and let it get so bad that you either fear for or want to end your own life.
The torment of a particular classmate or coworker can become a status quo or a habit if it’s not properly taken care of in the early stages.
Bullying of a certain individual is like cancer that grows and spreads. A bully scans the environment, seeking whom he can torment. When the bully spots a possible victim, they test the waters by way of small snarky comments, backhanded compliments, or anything which may cause the victim to feel uncomfortable.
The bully does this to see how the other person will react. If the individual on the receiving does nothing to assert their right not to be mistreated, the bully sees this as a green light for future bullying. Therefore, this individual has now become a target!
Word soon gets around the entire school or workplace that this target is ripe for bullying, and others will join in. As time goes by, the torment becomes more of a regular, everyday occurrence. More and more people will bully the target, and the taunts and physical attacks become more and more brutal. The attacks then become harder to combat; thus, it becomes more difficult for the victim to either get help or protection.
The target’s victimization has now become the status quo with the student body or employees and the school or workplace. Others refuse to help the target either due to rumors and lies to discredit her or the widespread belief that, “Well, no one likes her anyway, so there has to be some justification to it.”.
The power dynamic has now been firmly put in place, and the status quo is maintained.
Finally, the victim feels trapped and is in constant misery and fear for their own safety.
Often times, we ran into people who are just jerks and are rude to random people. Just because a person is rude to us does not mean that they are bullying us.
Anyone, at any age, can become a target of bullying, and there is evidence that child and teen targets are more likely to grow up to be bullied, adults. Some do not, I didn’t, but others do.
All bullies, regardless of age, deep down at their core, are cowards!
The difference between child bullies and adult bullies is that the young bullies select targets who are weaker, smaller, mentally handicapped, or sick with a disease (Type 1 diabetics, childhood cancer patients, paraplegics, etc.).
Adult bullies target well-liked, outgoing, confident, and successful people in their jobs or have successful marriages and family life. Adult bullies target people who have what they themselves want but feel they can’t and feel those people outshine them and threaten them.
With that being said, this has prompted me to talk about the subject and how one can overcome a hostile work environment. I believe that knowledge is power, and without it, you may not know what to do when an adult bully comes calling. So I feel that it is incumbent upon me to share my own knowledge, experience, and the tools I used to overcome a hostile work environment and come out virtually unscathed.
There is no age limit on bullying. It does not stop after high school graduation, nor does it stop at age 18, 21, 40, or even 60. If it did, there would be no assaults, murders, robberies, home invasions, or the like. And there wouldn’t be corporate or government corruption either.
The majority of employees will have at least one encounter with a workplace bully in their lifetime. So if you have never been the target of an ultra dominating and overbearing boss or coworkers, chances are that you will sometime in the future.
After high school, I was fortunate to have never suffered bullying in the workplace until just a few years ago. For years, in the places I worked, I was usually the one who was well-liked by my supervisors and coworkers because I worked hard and did my best to treat everyone with respect. This is not to say that I didn’t run into a few dirtbags – smart-alecs, gossips, and trouble makers because I did.
But these people usually treated EVERYONE like dirt, not only me. Also, they were only a few and not liked by the rest of my coworkers. So these were not cases of bullying, although I may have thought differently at the time. So how do we distinguish a case of bullying from incivility?
BULLYING – involves singling one person out of the whole of alumni, organization, company, or geographic population. It also involves repetition…repeated attacks against the same individual or group over a long period of time (usually from 3 weeks to several years). Also, others, even total strangers, are usually encouraged to join in.
Bullying is relentless. Bullying is a CAMPAIGN with a GOAL
It means destroying the target’s good name and standing in a community, relationships, family, career, finances, businesses and to ruin the target’s self-esteem and sense of security and well-being, to eventually ruin his/her life.
INCIVILITY – does not have any certain target.
People such as these don’t care who you are or where you come from. They just have personalities that suck and treat everyone in general, like dirt. And they only insult you because they don’t want to be bothered, whereas a bully or bullies will actively pursue you and make it their mission in life just to destroy you. A jerk, on the other hand, will never put in the effort to pursue anyone.
Crazy young man in white shirt standing and screaming at woman in pink dress. woman dont care and looking at camera with toothy smile. indoor studio shot, isolated on light brown background.
INCIVILITY – is sporadic and random mistreatment against random people. It does not involve repetition and is not directed at any certain person or group.
BULLYING – is personal, and there is always an agenda and vendetta behind it.
INCIVILITY – is not personal, and there is no agenda nor vendetta.
The person is just a jerk. Everyone will experience incivility at times in their lives, even popular people. A jerk has no particular target and does not care who you are. A jerk is an equal-opportunity dirt bag.
A jerk just doesn’t care…about anyone…period.
A jerk is afraid you might want something from him.
We may not realize it, but we sell ourselves to the public every day. From making new friends to finding a date, we sell ourselves- putting our best foot forward to impress others and show them our best sides, and we do this unconsciously, without even thinking about it. We give the illusion that we’re a hot item because we instinctively know that it’s what everyone loves and is attracted to, and we’re afraid of not being accepted.
“Social proof (also known as an informational social influence) is a psychological and social phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior in a given situation.”
Put more plainly; we tend to do what we think everyone else is doing, to follow the pack, to join the bandwagon, to get in on the next big thing, whether it be the new, hot fashion trend, a breakout musical group, anything that’s extremely popular with others!
For example, a few decades ago, Cabbage Patch Kids were a hot item! Everybody had a cabbage patch kid- I had one myself. And anytime there’s a hot item that’s “all the rage,” everyone clamors to have it!
It’s the same in the social arena. Everyone wants to hang with the “cool” crowd. Although this crowd may or may not be what you’d consider cool and might be the opposite of, others perceive them to be and want to hang with them, so you want to hang with them. Therefore, you want to do what they’re doing. Unfortunately, it’s also the same with bullying.
With bullying in school or the workplace, if everyone else is bullying you, you can be sure that total strangers who have never met you and even your friends will (if they haven’t already) also try to bully you. Why? Because “everyone else is doing it” and they want to join the in-crowd!
But know that when this happens, it has nothing to do with you and in no way means that you somehow deserve it or did anything wrong. What it means is that most people are followers and drones- sheep! They’re slaves to the prospect of fitting in with the majority.
In essence, bullying you has become a ritual with them—the in-thing to do at your school or your employment place.
The more you know about the psychology of bullies, the better you prepare, and the better you’ll feel. Sometimes, just knowing the truth is enough to make you feel better.
Because people use the term “bullying” so widely today, they too often misuse and abuse it. In today’s climate, people throw the word around flippantly, and “bullying” is used in situations that don’t fit its use.
Many are too quick to stick the “bully” label on anyone who says anything they either disagree with or don’t like. There’s so much confusion about what is bullying and what is only rudeness, being a jerk, or voicing an individual opinion, whether good or bad.
Therefore, I feel an obligation to point out the definition of bullying and to clarify what truly is and isn’t bullying.
Here is the definition:
Bullying – an ongoing and deliberate misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical, and/or social behavior that intends to cause physical, social, and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power, or perceived power, over one or more persons who feel unable to stop it from happening (https://www.ncab.org.au/bullying-advice/bullying-for-parents/definition-of-bullying/)
All too often, bullying is confused with:
1. Disagreements and truthful debates
4. Incivility and jerky behavior
Bullying has become a blanket term to describe anyone who is only rude or opinionated. The label of “bully” is too quickly stuck to people who are not necessarily bullies but only uncivil jerks and jackasses- basically anyone who says, does, or believes anything that the labeler doesn’t find comfortable. This is wrong.
For something to be considered bullying, there must be all of these ingredients:
1. An imbalance of power
3. Repeated attacks against the same person over a long time.
4. The behavior has to be a habit or the same pattern, against the same victim.
If a 6’5” tall and muscular knucklehead on the street bumps into you and says, “Hey, idiot! Watch where the hell you’re going!”, then keeps walking. That’s not bullying. Is the person a total jackhole? Absolutely. But he isn’t necessarily a bully.
Now, if he deliberately ran into you and shot his mouth off to you every day, every time he saw you on the street. And he made a habit of it by continuing to harass you, then yes! He would be a bully. Because he would be using his size and height to intimidate you and he’d be repeating the behavior every day.
Here’s another example:
A person is voicing an opinion. When someone asks them if what they think of their new next-door neighbor, the person answers by saying,
“I think he is an arrogant, egotistical jackass.”
This is NOT bullying. It’s only voicing an opinion.
But! If the person continued this behavior for a length of time and smeared the new neighbor to everyone in the neighborhood in an attempt to turn everyone against her, then yes! It is bullying.
If two people are arguing over different beliefs, it’s not bullying Even if the argument is heated.
Only when one of the arguers resort to repeatedly (notice I said, repeatedly) calling their opponent names and shaming them because they don’t agree nor share their beliefs, and the harassment goes on for a long time, against the same opponent! That, my friends, is bullying!
To prevent innocent people from being labeled as bullies, we MUST get clear on exactly what it is that constitutes bullying! Only then will we be able to apply it to those who are truly deserving of the label.