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How To Stop Real Life Bullies And Internet Bullies
Advice on Real Life Bullies and Internet Bullies
I decided to write this article on real life bullies and Internet bullies for one very important reason, the reason being with all the hoopla going on at the present time concerning kids being bullied in school and Internet bullying on the rise globally, I became acutely aware of a very embarrassing fact.
I was a bully myself when I was a child and figuring that out has truly humbled me. It has also made me realize that I owe a very deep, heartfelt apology to my younger sister, Dorea.
WHY DO BULLIES EXIST?
As I have pondered this question for the past few days, I've come up with my own set of answers and I hope that by sharing them, I can shed some light on the reasons for bullying. Understanding why people bully is just as important as understanding how to make it stop.
I did not intend to become a bully. I actually have never been a bully to anyone else in my life, before or since but for many reasons, bullying my younger sister just 'evolved'. Why? Because in my mind I was found lacking on a daily basis by the people that meant the most to me and who were my role models. I could not ever perform or come up to the standards that they set for me to be 'perfect' whereas my little sister Dorea was about as perfect as a child could get - simply because she never got into trouble and she was always quiet.
I think that bullying results from someone not feeling good about themselves, as studies have shown, but it also goes beyond that to the emotional state of the person who is the bully. In my own case, I can see now that I felt picked on and picked at constantly, left out, reprimanded for even the slightest infraction and never given the benefit of the doubt. To compensate for that, I followed the natural pattern of making my problems flow downhill to the next person in line, who unfortunately happened to be my sister.
I don't think I even consciously targeted her for my outrage at my own situation. Nor did I mean to cause her distress by trying to intimidate or scare her all the time. My bullying came mostly in the form of trying to get my way every single time and in every situation. I was after all 3-1/2 years older than she was and if I was left in charge of her (which I sadly often was), I decided what the protocol was going to be or at least I tried to bend her to my 'rule'.
I also terrorized her by scaring the living daylights out of her as often as I possibly could. Why? Because I spent most of MY childhood being afraid; afraid of my grandmother's schizophrenic violent rages and the constant fighting and violence that I was exposed to. In my mind I think I just wanted to pay someone back and because I couldn't pay back my mother or grandmother, I paid back my sister. After all, she was the quiet one and she was never in trouble, so didn't she deserve some of the 'gravy' of misery, too?
I realize now that of course this was all terribly convoluted and that if anyone had bothered to stop and examine the patterns going on within our family, it might all have been different. But here's the deal - nowadays we should be able to do that. It's not the 1950's or 1960's anymore and most people have viable access to counseling in some form or another which I have no doubt would uncover these kinds of problems and nip them in the bud before causing permanent damage - to either the bully or the bullied!
I can only say that I am dreadfully ashamed of my behavior for whatever reason I developed it. As I say, I never bullied another person in the world or thought to do so. But somehow I missed the boat where Dorea was concerned and heaped fear and anxiety on her when I should have been more sisterly. Even though I defended her all the times to other, I willingly decided to take out my frustrations on her myself!
I realize that siblings fuss and fight because I raised 3 of my own children. But this went beyond 'normal' behavior and I know it in my own heart. I have to say I regret causing someone that much grief and for what's it worth, at least I've had the opportunity to apologize.
Signs and Symptoms of Bullying
Bullying is such a huge issue right now with so many suicides occurring. It's important to look for the telltale signs of someone being bullied or to look for those who are turning into bullies, whether it's a child or an adult.
Internet bullying or cyberbullying is also going on at an alarming rate globally and likewise, there are red flags to look for whether you personally are a victim, if you have a child who is being bullied or you know of someone being bullied.
Much more importantly, I urge you to look at yourself and decide within yourself if you are a bully or are displaying bullying tactics to make yourself feel better!
- Swagger, whether real life or attitude - usually a facade as they do not really feel that great about themselves at all
- Insecurities although once again, these may be masked by a pretense of self-assured behavior
- Extreme competitiveness
- Conformity - the person has to fit in or be liked by all to be successful
- Perfectionism can sometimes be a cardinal symptom
- Concrete thinking - things must be done a certain way
- People pleaser
- Someone who is more apt to be withdrawn or keep to themselves
- Usually hides their talents and does not want anyone to notice them or their talents
- Tend to be more of a so called 'geek' personality, not outgoing or team player persona
- The person who never complains or steps outside the 'lines'
While these attributes may seem very oversimplified, and people can certainly cross over and be a bully and a victim as well, you get the picture. In order for bullying to be a success, you have to make the other person feel bullied and subject to your will or there is no bullying.
So how to stop the patterns? As I stated above, counseling on any level, even talking things out instead of ignoring them is a great way to curb the urge for a bully to try and overpower someone else. Understanding behavior is the key to fixing behavior or channeling certain personality traits into appropriate venues.
Speaking up and defending yourself is another great way to stop bullies. I don't mean physically although in some situations, fighting back is an effective tool. I unfortunately never found this particular tool beneficial because I didn't know how to fight effectively and the people that bullied me always got away with it. However, because my sister did not stand up to me, I was able to bully her to the extent that I did, knowing that she would not fight back or stand her ground.
Confiding in appropriate people in charge is also a sure-fire way to get to the bottom of the matter and discover why someone is resorting to bullying or why a person is allowing themselves to be bullied. Many children are afraid to 'rat on' someone for making them feel uncomfortable but alarmingly, so are many adults!
People tolerate Internet bullying every day and never say a word to the perpetrator nor do they report the matter to the website for instance. Reporting someone goes a long way to stopping Internet bullying before it gets out of hand, whether it is on Facebook or it is here on Hubpages.
I believe in reporting people who 'hide' behind their computer screen and say harsh or degrading things to others. There is always a way to say something that will 'do no harm' and I believe if you wouldn't say certain things to someone face-to-face, then you shouldn't be writing those things to someone on the Internet. Simple fix.
In the case of severe bullying or stalking, whether it's by groups of people or an individual, sometimes drastic measures have to be employed. My visually handicapped son was harassed in junior high school because of his appearance. He was finally beaten up by 6 fellow students who jumped him outside a fast food restaurant, blindsided him literally and beat him until his prosthetic tooth was knocked loose and his face was covered in bruises. It was horrifying to say the least but especially cruel because they chose to hit him repeatedly in the face.
My son didn't want to report it because he was afraid of further retaliation but when he was taken to the emergency room, the choice was no longer his. The police became involved and the kids were prosecuted. They were also expelled from school. It illustrates that there are consequences for bullying and hopefully those boys got the message that there were more appropriate ways to handle themselves.
Most important in the above illustration was that the school was made aware of this problem, albeit a little too late for my son, and the authorities were also involved. The boys had to go to court and were also assigned a debt that they had to pay off with regards to our son's medical bills. It was a pittance amount, however, I have always hoped that lessons were learned.
In more severe cases of Internet bullying and real life bullying, people change their email address, phone numbers, even their address. This is the worst case scenario but it goes to illustrate what can happen when bullying on any level goes too far.
Advice on Real Life Bullies and Internet Bullies
I believe the goal in life should be equality and even though this may sound simplistic or like the impossible dream, thinking of that concept erases the very idea of bullying because if one is manipulating someone else, there is no equality. There is only fear and submission when someone is being bent against their will to do another's bidding.
No matter what the reasons that a person does become a bully, it still has a deleterious effect on another person and in my own case, I'm profoundly humbled by the knowledge that I picked on someone I truly loved. My apologies cannot change the past of course but I only hope that in relaying my story of becoming a bully whether inadvertantly or not gives others some insight into the effects that these situations can have on both parties - the bullied and the bully.
The last thing a person needs is another albatross around his or her neck. I have many scars from my own childhood but the last thing I ever wanted to do if I thought about it rationally was to inflict scars on anyone else. However, somehow I managed to take out my anxiety on someone weaker than I was and make my problem her problem. For whatever reasons I did it, the fact remains that I did it and the guilt is mine.
In today's fast-paced world and with all the techno savvy possibilities out there, we need to learn tolerance most of all and we need to learn kindness all over again. We never know what kind of personal battles anyone is fighting or what their individual mental state is and I think keeping that in mind at all times is the first step in obliterating bullying from society as a whole. There will always be stronger personalities and weaker personalities but I believe there is no room for bullies and we should all work hard together to stop the cancerous spread of superiority and rudeness to others.
Happiness is something we all seek and I think it's attainable as long as we remember that is the universal goal and that we don't deserve it more than the next guy. More importantly, we don't deserve it at the expense of someone else.