What exactly makes bullies behave the way they do? They beat, fight, curse, insult, ridicule, and embarrass others to make themselves feel superior. I have seen many movies where people no better or worse than I am being bullied. Being very emotional, I can feel the pain of the characters in those movies. I have been bullied, verbally, once when I was 12. Even though it did not last long, I went into a state of depression. I was able to find myself, but that is in another essay.
I have been studying bullies for a long time and been trying to understand why they behave the way they do. My research shows bullies are insecure. The question is, why?
Bullies are almost always portrayed as unattractive, like in cartoons, where the bullies are shown to be big, fat and ugly with very poor fashion sense. However, in other cases, like teen movies, the bullies are the jocks and cheerleaders, very attractive and get lots of attention.
Really interesting, this. Let’s imagine a little scenario, shall we?
Picture our first bully, a small, wide and very chubby boy who dresses horribly. He’s a bully in a junior high school. His name is Bert and he is into physical bullying, the type where he punches and hits weaker schoolmates.
Picture another one, this time a girl, pretty with smooth hair and sparkly eyes. She’s a bully from senior high school and her name is Betty. She is into cyber bullying, where she sends people cruel and insulting texts, or writes horrid comments on the people’s pages on social networks to make them feel terrible about themselves.
Once more, imagine another bully, Mr. Benson, a grown man, handsome, married with two children. He constantly bullies his coworkers verbally. He uses mean words on the workers on a lower rank till they resign.
What do you think of these three characters? All cruel, right? I thought so too.
Let’s examine these people and try to find out why they do these things. ‘Bullies are just plain evil’, is the belief of a friend of mine. ‘They are unreasonable’, as she puts it, and many people agree. The question is ‘why’? Let’s be logical here. Everything starts from somewhere and has a reason. Let’s dig deeper into the lives of these three people and try to understand them better. Let’s look into Bert’s case first.
Bert is 10 years old. Okay, no connection between hitting people and being 10.He lives with his father in California. Peaceful neighborhood. Still do not see why he should punch anybody.His parents are divorced and he only sees his mother once a year. Okay, this is where it starts to come together. Let’s do more research on the parents.
His parents got divorced when he was 5 years old. His mother had filed a case against his father a year before the separation for domestic violence. Oh! So that must be it. His father was a violent person to his mother before their divorce. He misses his mother, so he takes out his frustration on his schoolmates.
Case closed then. Bert is a bully because he is an angry person.
Let’s look into Betty’s case.
Betty is 17 years old. She lives in Texas and owns a lot of shoes. She is a popular cheerleader. All the normal teenage pish-posh. Physical abuse, none. She lives with a single mother in Texas. Again with the single parent stuff.
But my research shows that her mother is an ex convict who curses a lot. She uses bad words at her daughter and everyone else. Her mother has been reported to call Betty, ‘an ugly, trashy dogface’, the exact same words she used as a comment on her classmate’s Instagram page.
I guess that settles it. Betty is a bully because she was brought up by one.
Last but not least, let’s look into Mr. Benson’s case.
He is 35 years old with a wife and two children. He has a small bungalow and a Peugeot 360. He works as a sales representative for a motor company. His parents are still married and he was never abused physically in his childhood. This makes no sense. So what would be his reason for his spitefulness?
Wait! His records show that he was sent to rehabilitation when he was in college because he was ‘depressed’. His psychiatrist reported he had kept on muttering to himself, during his stay in the rehabilitation center, that he was the only one in his class who couldn’t afford the fees for the next semester. That could only mean one thing; he was, and still is insecure, concerning his wealth. His bullying coincidentally started when another coworker announced his purchase of a duplex and the latest Toyota brand.
I guess we have solved yet another case. Mr. Benson is a bully because he feels financially insecure.
These three characters were not born bullies. It started somewhere.They were all insecure about one thing or the other, just like most other bullies. We have to help them feel sure of themselves. They need to be understood and shown love, so that there will be no excuse for their behavior. Bullies are people like us, imperfect. We can’t hate them but try to help them. They are not only youths, but of all ages. Bullies are everywhere. They want to receive attention and be loved, so we should give them love. After all, these bullies can become our CEOs and governors in the future. It is our duty to help them be the best they can be.
Some people actually see bullying as useful to the society, as it ‘toughens people up’. The way I see it, it is a vice that when used on people that are not strong-willed, will break them down and traumatize them. The victims of this bullying are our friends, family, classmates, people who make up the society. Bullying has for long been a contributing cause of the increase in the rate of suicide, violence, armed robbery, murder and so many other social vices. Bullying is a real problem in our society. We must do all we can to sweep it under the rug.
Written and submitted by- Afolabi Boluwatife