I Am A Bully. What Do I Do To Stop?
Many people are bullied and are bullies at some point in their lives. This doesn’t make it right, but it’s important for all of us to be aware of our behaviour and its effect on others.
Am I a bully?
Try to look objectively at your behaviour and what it does to the people around you or the people you perhaps feel negatively towards. Don’t try to justify yourself – just take a moment’s reflection.
How do you feel when you do what you do? Do you feel guilty? Powerful? Big in front of your friends? Do you have certain behaviours that, if someone did the same to you, would make you feel bad?
If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may be guilty of bullying others. The important thing is however, that you now know this and can change your behaviour.
How to right the wrongs.
What you do, when and how, will be a test of your strength of character. Saying ‘sorry’ (and really meaning it) isn’t easy for any of us but the reward of having someone think better of you for owning up to your mistakes is huge.
The first thing you could do is to apologise to anyone you feel may have been a victim of your bullying. Again, don’t try to justify yourself or make excuses because they don’t matter to the other person. The only thing that matters is that you make the time to say sorry and to mean it. Write a letter, call the person or see them face to face. But do it.
The next thing is to stop the behaviour. Behaviours can become habits but habits can be changed and now that you’re more self-aware this will be easier so keep practising. Stop before you speak or act and think about the consequences of what you’re about to say or do. Can you re-phrase a criticism or complaint? Can you just walk away? And if someone were to do what you’re about to do, how would you feel?
If you’re part of a group that’s been involved in bullying and you are now prepared to stop, be prepared that the group may not feel the same way. You may lose your ‘friends’ or be bullied yourself.
It may help to talk to a few of the more influential people in the group – people to whom the rest listens – and get them to see your point of view so that the group changes its behaviour.
Why do you bully?
The reasons for bullying behaviour are numerous but often centre on low self esteem or learned behaviours, perhaps from a parent. You need to explore these reasons and learn to put them right yourself, with professional help if that will make it easier.
Ultimately how you cope and what you do will depend on how guilty you feel and how much you want to stand up for what’s right.