Professionals Against Bullying

Friday, September 17, 2010

Breaking the Pattern of Bullying

Have you ever wondered what creates a bully? As a victim of countless bullies I sure have. Think about it for a second. Okay now that you have pondered the cause-what did you come up with? I have seen studies that link the act of bullying with low self-esteem, inner sadness or a difficult home life. I'm sure that many theories exist for the cause of bully-like behavior. Let's move on to solutions. How can we stop the act of bullying? Can we break the pattern?
I think it is possible. A technique that may be helpful is to confront the behavior as soon as it starts. I'm not saying that we should attack-but we should ask good questions. If we ask a child why they picked on someone instead of allowing it to be a right of passage we might make some incredible headway. Have you ever wondered what is going on in the head of someone who is intentionally cruel to others? How about we ask the child to write down exactly what they are thinking when they exhibit these behaviors. When I was a kid I was told that kids will outgrow bullying behaviors. Do you think bullying is something that is outgrown?
If you do take a look at this...
There are several different types of adult bullies, and it helps to know how they operate:

Narcissistic Bully: This type of adult bully is self-centered and does not share empathy with others. Additionally, there is little anxiety about consequences. He or she seems to feel good about him or her self, but in reality has a brittle narcissism that requires putting others down.
Impulsive Bully: Adult bullies in this category are more spontaneous and plan their bullying out less. Even if consequences are likely, this bully has a hard time restraining his or her behavior. In some cases, this type of bullying may be unintentional, resulting in periods of stress, or when the bully is actually upset or concerned about something unconnected with the victim.
Physical Bully: While adult bullying rarely turns to physical confrontation, there are, nonetheless, bullies that use physicality. In some cases, the bully may not actually physically harm the victim, but may use the threat of harm, or physical domination through looming. Additionally, a physical bully may damage or steal a victim’s property, rather than physically confronting the victim.
Verbal Bully: Words can be quite damaging. Adult bullies who use this type of tactic may start rumors about the victim, or use sarcastic or demeaning language to dominate or humiliate another person. This subtle type of bullying also has the advantage - to the bully - of being difficult to document. However, the emotional and psychological impacts of verbal bullying can be felt quite keenly and can result in reduced job performance and even depression.
Secondary Bully: This is someone who does not initiate the bullying, but joins in so that he or she does not actually become a victim down the road. Secondary bullies may feel bad about what they are doing, but are more concerned about protecting themselves.
Adult bullies were often either bullies as children, or bullied as children. Understanding this about them may be able to help you cope with the behavior. But there is little you can do about it beyond doing your best to ignore the bully, report his or her behavior to the proper authorities, and document the instances of bullying so that you can take legal action down the road if necessary. (info on adult bullying provided by
It is important that we address this problem early so that those who are aggressors and victims can get the help they need. Do you have an opinion on the matter? Have you ever been bullied as a child or adult? I'd love to hear your comments.
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