Tuesday, March 22, 2011

When Bully's Grow Up.

Bullying has been in the news for a while now.. Most recently a boy from Australia was captured on video striking back after multiple jab,s and injuring the bully. I can't imagine how the parents felt watching their boys in this video, shame, fear, disgust, or anger. I imagine it was a combination of all of those.

I was never classically bullied in school. I tried to stay out of the way of rotten kids. I did have to defend some friends that thought talking back was a good idea, my begging and pleading skills usually got us out of trouble. I did punch a kid who stuck me in the arm with a pin, and I chased a girl off a moving school bus (it was almost stopped and the bus driver had just opened the door) after I had warned her multiple times to leave my little sister alone. She never teased my sister again and that boy didn't speak to me for years.

As an adult bullying takes on a different form. Avoidance and steering clear of horrible people helps reduce the inevitable confrontations but unfortunately they happen. Yes it happens in our cars on the road and in parking lots, in the work place, in the neighborhood, and even at church.

My 23 year old daughter runs a dance school. She is a talented, gracious, sensitive young lady with her heart in the right place. When you run a dance school and work with young dancers you also have to work with the parents. For the most part parents are supportive of not only their child but also of the teachers and the school as a whole. Like in elementary, middle or high school Adult Bully's use threats, lies, and coercion to get their way, drag others into their sickness, and make them feel justified in their bad behavior.

Wikipedia defines "bullying is a form of abuse. It involves repeated acts over time attempting to create or enforce one person's (or group's) power over another person (or group) , creating an "imbalance of power”. The "imbalance of power" may be social power and/or physical power.

Bullying consists of three basic types of abuse – emotional, verbal and physical. It typically involves subtle methods of coercion such as intimidation. Bullying can occur in any context in which human beings interact with each other. This includes school, church, family, the workplace, home and neighborhoods.

Research indicates that adults who bully have personalities that are authoritarian combined with a strong need to control or dominate. Further studies have shown that envy and resentment may be motives for bullying. While some bullies are arrogant and narcissistic, others can use bullying as a tool to conceal shame or anxiety or to boost self esteem: by demeaning others, the abuser him/herself feels empowered.

In such groups where the 'bully mentality' has been allowed to become a dominant factor in the group environment, a steady stream of injustices and abuses often becomes a regular and predictable group experience. Such a toxic environment often remains as the status-quo of the group for an extended period of time, until somehow the bullying-cycle should eventually come to an end.
Until or unless at least one individual who has at least some abilities to work with others, opts to expend whatever energies may be needed to reverse the 'bully mentality' of the group, the 'bully mentality' is often perpetuated within a group for months, years or even decades."
This week my daughter stood up to a bully parent and family. It wasn't easy and it will take time to purge all the poison that they have spread. I look forward to never hearing their name again, never getting one of their rude emails, never having to watch my 23 year old daughter defend herself against a man twice her age and his emotionally unstable wife.
The bullying ends today with the exiting of that family. Although with most bully's they will predictably rear their ugly head at some point in a pathetic attempt to take back some of the control they once misused. It only takes one person to expend whatever energies may be needed to reverse the bully mentality of a group, this time it was a 23 year old young lady who I am very proud of.

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