What makes an individual one inch short of an angel and the next, a cold-blooded blood-sucking monster?
What’s the one major determiner of the innate character of a person? Fate? Destiny? Upbringing? Life experiences or perhaps nature?
The subtle irony, each individual, regardless of distance, background or race makes their grand debut into the world, pure, innocent, unassuming, and void of negativity. Haven’t we seen it over and again, siblings no further apart than strangers becoming the bane of each other’s existence.
The world in which we live, an apt display of the imaginary world depicting a constant power play between the good and the bad guys. Although personality and character differences do play a crucial role in our overall build, as some individuals do tend to be more aggressive, dominating, and impulsive than others, it doesn’t just automatically throw them in the antagonistic lane.
Take Bullying for example,(physical, verbal, relational, or reactive), against the said target, over a said period, driven by the need to exert total dominance regardless of feelings (empathy) is often rooted in aggression, meanness, fear, insecurity, weakness, and vulnerability. The repetitive cycle sometimes is traced to a child’s home environment (reactive bullying), where the bullied becomes the bully. Kids from deeply unstable homes where neglect and substance abuse, is common, often take it out on others. The need to have one’s way or protect honor and “fight back” (feeling secure and empowered) for having feelings constantly “invalidated” has seen many victims take on the bully garment to derive control and feel good without sometimes even knowing.
A bully can either be socially inept with low self-esteem or a narcissist (fragile high esteem) an even darker bully without any iota of remorse who protects his ego and reputation at all cost, thriving on self-deceit and external validation, constantly affirming superiority and exploiting their power over others, bereft of empathy and emotional intelligence. Bullies set out with one sole purpose, to control -make their victims feel inferior. Self-image is boosted with the utter degradation of his victims. They psychologically build upon inadequacies, ( low self-esteem, lack of social integration, special needs, etc) breaking any sense of self-esteem, belittling, and making victims feel ashamed and less. Bullies employ psychological tactics to get to their victims, identifying and then launching a pattern of harassment and attack both physical and psychological on victims, feeding on fear to secure their spot on the higher realm in the social hierarchy, carrying on with a false of confidence.
It’s no news, the school environment which should be a safe place, where learning takes utmost priority sadly plays host to violence, drugs, bullying among other vices. Fact check, Bullying doesn’t just end in childhood but also translates to the work environment as well as various spheres, taking on a more psychological face than physical.
Bullying, no doubt has profound impacts in lives, including the bully’s, causing anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, etc but, the good news is, it’s no life sentence, footsteps can be retracted and harmful attitudes can be unlearned. The bully and the bullied can be set free.
In order to curtail the menace of bullying, a number of approaches must be employed. Destructive patterns must be addressed and discouraged head-on when first noticed. Parents must strengthen relationships with their kids, have heartfelt conversations to recognize why the child is being picked on, victims must be made to understand they didn’t warrant the abuse, efforts should be made to build and increase their confidence. Bullies must be made aware of the consequences of their actions, they should be taught to stop the destructible behavior and must be held accountable, parents of bullies must learn to stop the cover-up for it further cements the destructive pattern and leads the bullies on an even darker path. Bystanders must take a stand against bullying behavior and learn to speak up against or draw the attention of the appropriate authorities rather than laughing about it or just watching and keeping mute. Your voice matters.
To avoid victimization, self-esteem and confidence must be boosted, social interaction beefed.
Bullying intervention is possible.
Family is the bedrock of character, and yes the society, every bully comes from home. Change starts with you and me. Let’s break the cycle NOW.