Anger issues? Like to pick on people? When you see someone who is smaller, weaker, sensitive, or straight-up weird, does it activate something mean inside you? If you’re aggressive with bad intentions and a sick need to hurt people, you just might be a Bully.
Bullies target victims and then torment them psychologically, physically, and in whatever way they think they can get away with. Why anyone would do this is hard to understand. Even harder to understand is exactly why Bullies act out since many Bullies don’t even need a reason to behave violently. They often pick on people without provocation, unless you count being sensitive, physically weaker, or different as a fair reason to get emotionally or physically beat up.
Bullies act out for a variety of reasons, including insecurity, ignorance of appropriate behavior, or a lack of social and emotional skills. One probable cause for bullying is that the Bully themselves have been abused and are, in a sense, paying it forward. These reason do not excuse the Bully’s behavior, but it might provide keys to dealing with the Bully, which can be tricky. For starters, Bullies can be hard to catch because they are usually two-faced. One of those faces is a vindictive, vicious monster. The other face blinks innocently feigning a “Who, me? What did I do?” look.
- Aggression in excess
- Anger and impulse control issues
- Low levels of empathy
- Radar for weakness in others
- Creates opportunities for violence
A Happy Bully,
True happiness is not in the Bully’s emotional range but this type does find a kind of satisfaction in perpetrating the cycle of violence. Intimidating others brings a feeling of control that the Bully is missing in daily life. Maybe the Bully is dealing with trouble at home, upsetting events or academic performance problems. While in the act of picking on people, the Bully feels dominant, confident, and powerful for a change.
Jack of Lord of the Flies, Nurse Ratched of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Biff Tannen of Back to the Future, Brandon McCarthy of Welcome to the Dollhouse, Nancy Downs of The Craft
Bullies need the Victim. They also enjoy picking on the Geek, Nerd, Misfit, Loner, and Sissy. Bullies will surround themselves with follower henchmen and supporters who may or may not take an active part in bullying themselves but also don’t do anything to stop it.
Bully in Love
The Bully can’t be trusted. People who are in a bullying mode will, sooner or later, become emotionally or physically violent even to the ones they love best. The patterns of bullying must be dealt with and changed for the Bully to have healthy relationships.
The Bully’s challenge is to learn a social and emotional skill set to deal with anger and find cooperative ways to work out conflict. The Bully needs to learn what’s acceptable. But most of all, the Bully needs to learn tolerance. People are different, and that doesn’t make them less-than. Everyone is the same and should be treated with respect.
How to Play It
If you know a Bully, you’d be wise to learn and practice tactics for dealing with this type. Take it seriously. Stand up for the victims, especially if the victim is you. Tell an authority figure. Interrupt the pattern. If you suspect that you might be a Bully, know that you’re ruining your chances of having one of the most precious gifts of a lifetime: friendships. Get help. Reach out to a guidance counselor, teacher, school official, doctor, coach, behavioral health professional or other trusted individual. Stopping this pattern now is the first step to leading a successful life.