Bullies are many things. Few of them are good. Actually, very little about a bully is good.
According to dictionary.com, bullies are:
"...a blustering, mean, or predatory person who, from a perceived position of relative power, intimidates, abuses, harasses, or coerces people, especially those considered unlikely to defend themselves." (Note 1)
Did you catch that part that says "from a perceived position of relative power?"
Truth is, they have no real power over anyone. Get that? They have NO power over you.
Unless, of course, that is given to them by you!
They will do whatever they can to convince you to do just that. Look at the definition again:
"Intimidates, abuses, harasses, or coerces..."
That's a list of their tools.
They cannot hurt you unless you allow them to.
Now focus on the very last part of that definition: "especially those considered unlikely to defend themselves."
The one power they do have is the power to sense a lack of confidence (real or imagined on their part) in the person(s) they zero in on.
Have you ever had the opportunity to observe a bully in action and seen them confront someone they misread badly? It is hysterical! They have no clue what to do when someone stands up to them, calls them out, or flat refuses to play the game.
Does bullying happen only in schools? At certain ages? By a particular type of person?
No to all of the above. Well, except that last one. Bullies are, frequently, the victims of bullying themselves. More than likely by a father or father figure. Although, moms are not excempt.
Make no mistake, bullies, unless they are dealt with, never mature beyond the bully stage in their life. They can be 5, 40, 65, even older. No one has ever stood up to them, or called them on their behavior.
Bullying doesn't just happen at school, either. It can happen in the office, in the car, in the boardroom, in the bedroom, or any other space we happen to be in.
Bullying can be sexual, social, or physical.
It's horrible to see a young child suffering this form of abuse. It's even sadder to see the adults around them tasked with protecting and defending them doing nothing. Not. One. Thing.
The only thing that may be sadder - possibly - is seeing a child who was bullied turn into the bully.
And, to hear their excuses for saying or doing that was learned from their bully even as they complain about how much they hated it themselves.
Still, they replicate the abuse to others.
What's worse, is they are equal opportunity abusers.
Narcissistic, at best; full blow sociopath, at worst.
They think it is their obligation to tell others how to run their lives, where to live, what to eat, to whom they may speak, even attempt to insert themselves into someone's healthcare. Which is none of their business. Ever. Unless, or until they are given that power by the victim, voluntarily.
They think they are the center of the universe. Which is okay as long at they mean their own personal universe. But, not as mine, nor as your's.
When that is made clear, stand back, stand strong, and don't back down. Don't even blink.
If it crosses the line into physical or violent abuse, that opens up an entirely different can of worms. And, takes your option into the realm of legal protection, prosecution, and hopefully, better safety options.
This is very short this week, but it is something that has been at the very forefront of my mind this week.
Yes, I am fully familiar with bullying. And, none of it was pleasant. If I learned nothing else but to stand strong and firm, it may have been worth it.
At my request, some of my friends with experience from being bullied shared:
"The best thing you can do is don't let them get to you. And don't back down."
"Other than physical bullying I feel bullying comes from very insecure individuals, it could be jealousy, it could be a inferiority complex and a lack of social stability of the bully , I was bullied as a kid even though it was painful I never retaliated ( probably I fear of getting pummeled) I would laugh along with the joke until it was no more fun for the bully. I never avoided them I just went on about my day like it didn’t bother me . As I said it was not physical when that happens other tactics come in to play."
"Sorry... my way is more direct. Do unto others as they have done to you. Bullies don’t like to be bullied because what they really are is cowards."
"I was bullied as a kid by the popular girls. Never could figure out why......I didn’t retaliate, much like ****, for fear of being pummeled. Having been bullied shaped me as an adult. Made me a kinder, more inclusive person. To never judge someone. I wish I had the answer for people going through this, but hopefully they will get through it and be a better person on the other side of it."
"I was bullied a lot as a kid in elementary school and my first year in Jr. High. Mostly because my Dad was a cop in the 1960's calling him a PIG and spitting at me, and my last name being ****. they would love to call me drunkwater, drinkpiss...etc. Then in 7th grade little **** **** realized he filled out, I was stronger and grew taller, I was confident. So the bullies planned to gang up on my at the bus stop after school one day, 4 of them jumped me and held me down on the ground while they let their little toady Shawn Nardone unload on me. Once I got my right arm free, the tide changed instantly, they started peeling off, I threw Shawn off of me and went directly after their leader, 9th grader **** ****. That's when I really knew what Adrenalin felt like, I grabbed **** and pushed him to the ground and started to beat him bloody.
The next day at school, ****'s beat down resonated through out Jr. High, The bullying STOP...! I went through Jr. High with earned respect and into High School never being bullied or having another fight. I played and lettered Varsity Football all 3 years in High School, and that's where I was able focus my size and strength. I was also able to stop a few bullies from bullying others with just my local presents. Not trying to brag, just saying..bullies like to bully other because they lack self respect and confidence, they feed off of others fear of them, and they surly don't like to get punched in the nose. So stand your ground and learn to fight back, the bully will usually learn to stay away from you, because you've shown them you're not afraid."
"I have a habit of letting people bully me. Then it eats me up. I have no idea why I let this go on and need to learn a new way."
"I was bullied in middle school and one day, I had enough of it and looked the bully who was somewhat taller than me and I told her that I would fight her. I grabbed her arm and accidentally ripped her sleeve. I was so upset that I went to the girl's restroom. I was afraid that my parents would hear about this incident. They never did and that bully never bothered me again. She and her gang girls left me alone. These girls ended up dropping out of school and as far as I know they never amounted to much in life. As an adult, I guess, one would need to ignore the bully, unless it is a colleague and the bullying is interfering with your job performance, I would go through the chain of command. I once had a colleague that was unkind to me (I don't even know why) and I went though the chain of command and she was reprimanded. She apologized to me."
And, those are just from the ones who have gained enough confidence in themselves to share. Imagine how many victims that are out there still, to this day, suffering from some the words or acts of some small minded bully!
Hopefully, someone who needs to see this will. I don't care if it's "the bully" or "the victim."