Bully Article: What Makes a Bully?

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Bully Article: What Makes a Bully, What Makes the Individual “Bully” Others, and How Can Bullying Be Stopped?

What makes a bully a bully?

Bullying is socially maladaptive behavior committed by a bully. Because the word “bully” operates as both a noun and verb, it is used in this bully article to describe both an individual and her inappropriate activity. So, it is awkward, but not really redundant, to talk both about the bully and the actual behavior, in describing the unfortunate hatefulness society labels as bullying.

Bullying cuts across all age groups, ethnic origins, economic states, and religious backgrounds. It is an equal-opportunity menace which affects all of society. It makes no distinction between anyone or anything. It can occur anywhere that individuals gather in community to interact, whether that setting is a school, a social event, a store, or a family. Sadly, its “equal opportunity” effect allows it to carry on in unimaginable places—the locker rooms of underprivileged youth teams, innocent-looking social gatherings of young girls, and even recreation buildings at churches. No one and no role is exempt from the atrocity of bullying, as this bully article will attempt to show as it explores some answers to what is the cause of bullying..

Acts of bullying are diverse and each bully has an individual method of attack. The bullying behavior can range from verbal taunts and threats to outright physical abuse and bodily harm. Unfortunately, there is often no way of knowing the extent of the bully’s bravery, the scope of his intentions, or what she is capable of until she performs. Recent bullying events which have attracted national attention in the U.S. and around the world involve situations where the victim is so distraught after being bullied that she hurts herself or even resorts to suicide rather than facing her reality.

The profile of the bully varies from individual to individual. Often, the bully is responding to an uncomfortable element within herself; an insecurity or “itch that needs to be scratched” in some way. Often, the way chosen is through cruelty of some form. The bully finds a weak place in the victim’s self, and digs in some way to make that victim squirm. Bullying involves some form of intimidation targeted at undermining the victim’s sense of security and sense of self. Thus, often threats are as forceful as actual injury, where the threats are lodged at the victim’s family or livelihood. The bully can even be an individual who was formerly in the position of having been bullied himself, and his bullying tendencies may be a knee-jerk reaction to prior experiences where he was the person at the bottom of the pecking order; now that the situation has changed, he feels entitled to bully and make someone else squirm in much the same way as he was himself made to squirm.

The profile of the bullied individual typically includes some vulnerability such as bad acne, a weight problem, or a fact that can be held over the head of the victim. This could be anything from a past boyfriend to a past felony. The quality of the item itself is not as significant as the fact that it exists in the shadows, lurking like a small-but-potent weapon. It could be something as insignificant as a zit, or as damaging as allegations of a cheating scandal; the significant common feature is its power to torture the victim in some way.

Unfortunately, society’s response to allegations or actual evidence of bullying in past times was to merely shrug it off with a “boys will be boys” attitude. The fact that recent bullying episodes have ended in tragedy, with injuries and even suicide on the part of the victim is making society in general and behavioral professionals in particular take another look at the global bullying epidemic. Where individuals at odds were formerly left to themselves to work out their own issues without the interference of authority figures, it is now common for teachers and parents to be aware of signs that bullying is occurring.

Prevention of bullying: How can the behavior be stopped?

A number of preventative measures have started to reduce bullying incidents and lessen its effects. Anti-bullying programs have commenced throughout the world to curb the bullying epidemic. These programs originally began to take root in schools, where administrators began to be alarmed at the growing bullying problem across all demographics of students. Anti-bullying efforts have recently extended to national TV: ads currently run in desirable spots urging the end of bullying activity and providing behavioral alternatives to just sitting by and watching the behavior happen.

In addition to the suggestions which affirmatively lead individuals away from practicing bullying behavior, there are various other measures which can be implemented to try to veer individuals away from bullying. Much of this would be dismissed by skeptics as being too “touchy-feely,” but it is helping nevertheless. Some of the measures being taken are publishing anti-bullying messages and utilizing peer counseling to enable individuals to explore known issues with others.

The effect of providing positive role models on the bullying epidemic has proven successful at curbing growth of the bullying problem. Having someone non-threatening available to serve as a role model to present other ways of coping with bullying gives individuals choosing between bullying and other more appropriate behavior choices. The role models and their behaviors should be monitored as what is shown on the silver screen is increasingly becoming more violent and is not something we want our impressionable younger citizens to copy.

Preventative measures which are being followed, and which could be escalated to have a more profound effect on the problem. More and more attention is being drawn to the society’s bullying epidemic as increasingly terrible injuries and even suicides are resulting from recent occurrences of bullying worldwide. Focused campaigns in the U.S. are now being publicized to provide impromptu solutions and responses to the problem in an attempt to draw the bullying dialog into mainstream conversation and awareness. This visibility being given to the bullying problem will hopefully act as a catalyst for change in how this situation is handled in society.

Effective ways of deflecting bullying energy are being highlighted in anti-bullying arena and programs. Schools and youth areas are increasingly making use of posters and other visuals with an anti-bullying theme. Role-plays depicting bullying and potential responses to bullying situations are being experimented with to give victims a set of ready responses to use if needed. It is hoped that by giving ways of deflecting bullies before they can cause demoralization or actual violence can result from bullying behavior.

There are a number of authority figures in the position of affecting bullying practices and their devastating results. Educators, clergy, youth leaders and parents can and should stay abreast of the bullying problem and should be encouraged to speak out and take a stand against bullying whenever possible. Suspected bullying incidents should never be ignored or taken lightly.

Bullying’s potential effect on education and schools should also be closely watched. Insisting that a child who has been the victim of bullying behavior without taking

Schools can help with the bullying situation by providing a supportive, inclusive learning and social environment with a zero-tolerance policy regarding all aspects of bullying and related behavioral displays. While episodes of bullying are not confined to youth/school age individuals or the classroom setting, the school environment is an incubator for the inappropriate aggressive behavior which, if allowed to become a habit, can lead to a pattern of bullying in the individual who is acting out. By providing censure in response to that inappropriate behavior, schools can send a clear message to the perpetrators that bullying behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

Society as well can help spread this message of zero-tolerance regarding bullying behavior. While social constraints such as peer pressure, civil fines, and a negative reputation do not carry the same threat or consequences as an angry teacher or school administrator in the relative scheme of things, those adult things still carry sufficient weight to be effective in changing behavior.

Conclusions and consequences regarding bullying remain unsettled as society as a whole and through its various public and private institutions continue to grapple with the implications of bullying as a common social behavior. Routinely being exposed to politicians and popular celebrities exhibit rude or surly behavior in public with no repercussions does not model appropriate behavior to the rest of us, but civility cannot be effectively mandated without over-stepping individual boundaries and doing more harm than good.

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