Life Lessons On Bullies

Photo by Chris Sharp FreeDigitalPhotos
Photo by Chris Sharp FreeDigitalPhotos

As a child, my third grade class was forced to tolerate weekly seminars on how to prevent bullying, stop bullies and help the victims. We were taught to humanize yourself to the bullies. Tell them how you feel. Don’t give them any power. Our small Catholic school, however, did not need the assistance. We were all friends, innocent and uncorrupted by any forms of hatred or discrimination. We had students of all ethnicities, all religions, and socioeconomic conditions. We coexisted harmoniously with few problems. My worldview, as a result, was severely distorted. I thought everyone was accepting and I had never witnessed bullying. As I progressed in life, however, I became more and more exposed to the harsh realities of society. People are often ostracized and hostility reigns. Alliances form and people can be inhumane. The concept of bullying as a mentally unstable person using a weaker person as an outlet for their personal problems is fairly simple, but I will never understand the motivation. The lack of logicality involved in abusing another human perplexes me to a point of infuriating exasperation.

It does not help either person’s situation. Before dealing with people whose eyes darkened at the mention of grade school, people who had developed anxiety and depression due to bullying… I never understood it. Why don’t they just get over it? I pondered. Don’t they realize it wasn’t their fault? It’s over, I’d think. Why are the victims so hung up on it? Especially when it comes to cyber bullying. I was stumped on why they didn’t just block the bully. I see now that ignorance colored my viewpoint, disabling my ability to comprehend and to empathize severely. Upon my first conversation with a person who used to be bullied, however, all of that changed. They spoke of how they dreaded school, lost their appetite and slowly started to believe the words of their bullies. Mental illness and a battered self-esteem overtook the victims.

The mental state of the bullied is a graveyard where hope went to die, punctuated with all the instances in which someone decided that their temporary power trip was more important than another person’s security. To try to force a feeling of inferiority upon another human because of one’s own ignorance or inability to process and cope with emotions is a weak response to adversity. For me, to witness a victim’s recollection of memories from incidents or periods where they were bullied was to lose almost all ability to sympathize with a bully. The reasons why someone is bullied may be pinned down to their ethnicity or their physical appearance, but in the end, it is rooted in a bully’s weakness. Perhaps bullies think it will help them deal with their own problems, but I believe it all comes down to a bully’s impulsive need to exercise control in one area of their life-however destructive.

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