This article is part of a series of blogs on Bullying. Check out other great articles “Why is My Child Bullied” and “Bullying: What You Don’t Know” for more information. Today I want to talk about bullies, who they are and what characteristics they have in common. A bully can be defined as someone who uses force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others. The bully’s inappropriate judgement and ineffective boundary skills often appear aggressive and mean. At Breakthroughs in Learning we understand that the balance of brain skills affects lives in powerful and impactful ways.
Bullies desire to have status among their peers. This status either satisfies their need for popularity or their need for dominance. (source) I think we can probably admit that on some level we have all felt a desire for popularity or power. The advantage many of us have is that we possess appropriate judgement and effective boundary skills. A bully with imbalanced judgement skills may not recognise the signs that circumstances are escalating, or understand the impact of 'small' assaults on many fronts.
They may not see the difference between an unwelcome touch or poke, and a full blown physical assault. A bully may not see the difference between calling attention to someone's mistake, and a forceful verbal assault. They may not see that unsolicited questions and demeaning comments may be on a different scale than obscene gestures, leering and whistling. Many of us would have liked to "show someone a thing or two", but had the judgement to know how to restrain ourselves.
Judgement is not the only brain skill tied to an individual’s tendency to be a bully. We also possess a brain skill related to our boundaries, which may be out of balance in a person who is a bully. A bully is often unable to tell when they are crossing the line, often leaving bewildered victims in their wake. Inappropriate boundaries will reach into your personal space without a thought, and without regard to your comfort; they will use your resources or property without asking, and, in extreme cases, like a bully, these inappropriate boundaries will satisfy their own wishes, at the detriment of someone else.
Breakthroughs in Learning understands that the balance of brain skills can affect lives in powerful and impactful ways. Bullying is becoming more and more of an open subject. Gone are the days where bullying is thought to be a rite of passage. Bullying is not "a harmless rite of passage," but can have "destructive consequences for our young people” -- from poor grades to suicide - according to the First Lady of the United States.
Is there a bully in your life today or do you know someone who exudes bully-like behaviours? Contact Breakthroughs today and see how investing in changing these behaviours today, can pay priceless dividends in the future.