Sunday, 14 February 2016 00:48

Understanding and Dealing with Bullying Featured

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When I was in primary school, I was bullied by a bigger pupil in my class. The experience wasn’t pleasant. I was afraid to share my pain with anyone. I don’t want to be laughed out so I pretended like I was OK and doing great. Truth is anytime I see the bully I have this massive encroaching pain in my stomach with some sort of panic attack. I was liberated when I had no one to rescue me as I was attacked by the bully. I fought the last fight of my life and I was surprised when I triumph. I made a mess of the bully and that day my story changed. The day I thought I was going to lose my life was the day I actually gained back my life.

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behaviour that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behaviour is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both the individual that is being bullied and those individuals bulling others may have serious, lasting problems. In order to be considered bullying, the behaviour must be aggressive and include:

  1. An Imbalance of Power: individuals who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  2. Repetition: Bullying behaviours happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumours, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
We all might have been a victim of bullying to some extent. Sometimes in the form of an annoying classmate while sometimes as a dominating boss, bullies makes their presence feel in some way or the other. Behind every bully there is a bullied past.

Newton’s second law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and this universal truth applies to all spheres of life. Nothing happens without a reason; same goes with our bullies. While you might have had the perception that bullies are the people who unnecessarily annoy weaker people just for fun, the reality is a bit different from this. To understand bullies, first we have to understand their past.

Individuals who torture, annoy or bully others are, in most of the cases, the ones who were tortured the most. Adolescents with troubled and violent upbringing are more likely to develop aggressiveness in their lifestyle and thus bullying can be viewed as an act of psychological abnormality where certain people’s inability to handle their own emotions make them impulsive or less sensitive to others.

One common thing among bullies is their love of violence. If you can observe a bully in action, you are likely to see a deep unrest in them. Bullying is the result of the turbulence of emotions going inside them, which gets reflected in their actions. Hated by loved ones, neglected by parents, rejected by society and so on, these poor souls have gone through or are going through some really tough times which have resulted in this transformation. The fear, insecurity and the urge to seek attention makes them desperate to dominate and ill treat the ones weaker to them. It is the pain in the victim’s eyes that gives them momentary satisfaction from their own psychological problems.

Nobody wants to be left alone. No human being is a born violent; circumstances force people to change. Bullies appear to us as over impulsive and strong individuals who are blessed with sound mental as well as physical strength who can handle even the worst situations easily. But deep down their heart lay their pain, frustration and agony which troubles them every single day of their life; and with time the problem grows in many folds.

Mahatma Gandhi was sensitive enough to quote “An eye for an eye will make the nation blind” which implies that violence cannot be an antidote to kill violence. Now If I can relate this quote with this issue, it makes sense to understand the psychology from a softer point of view. While it is tough to avoid or resist a bully, it is tougher to understand their pain. Confronting, scolding or cursing a bully can hardly bring any change in them; rather the situation will deteriorate further. So the key lies in sharing their pain. Love is perhaps the best antidote to tackle a bully. The formula is short and sweet-Take the pain out of a bully and the see the bully transform gradually into a gentle human being.

I must warn you that this is not the case for all. I have used this approach and it works for some, but not for the chronic bully who has gone beyond repair. In this case I had to take an official stand in reporting the bully.

People who bully others show loathing and contempt for those they are trying to hurt. People who bully think that it makes them important, but it really just makes them mean.

Bullying is a learned behaviour. It is when a person or group tries to hurt or control another person in a harmful way. There are three aspects of this hurtful behaviour that almost all experts agree on; in bullying there is a difference in power between those being hurt and those doing the hurting, bullying involves hurtful behaviours that are repeated and intentional. Bullying is not about a conflict that needs resolving. In bullying, the power is all in one person or a group’s control.

Handling a bully is easier said than done. I have been in a situation where I allowed a bully, not on purpose, but by deception to continue in his act for more than eighteen months. He was very cleaver. He knew I was kind, so after he bullies, he knows how to wrap me in his little finger and I show compassion, he goes and continues again. I usually take a stand and confront him, but that did not stop the bully. I had to take an official stand and this involves lots of sacrifice. Sometimes it means you might lose your job.

There is no single solution to bullying or best way to handle a bully. It may take some experimenting with a variety of different responses to find the strategy that works best for your situation. To defeat a bully, you need to retain your self-control and preserve your sense of self.

Bullies come in all shapes and sizes, and most of us have to deal with them at one point or another. Bullying is a serious problem. Do not show the bullies that you feel hurt and they’ve succeeded in affecting you. Just walk away as if you didn’t mind it. Bullies gain satisfaction from making others feel hurt or uncomfortable, so reacting to them will only encourage them further. The bully wants attention and if you show them that they are emotionally hurting you, they will get more pleasure out of doing it.

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