Sunday, 22 January 2012

Why do people bully? / The consequences in later life

Firstly, what defines a bully?

Google comes up with 2 definitions for this.

  • A person who uses strength of power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.
  • Corned beef.
So it's definitely not the second one, would be a bit unfortunate if you're a victim of beef.. Now onto the reasons why?


Often it arises from past history of lack of self confidence, then a sudden decision to change and the person latches onto that power and evolves into what's known as a bully. Respect, attention, popularity, jealousy are a few of the main motives of a bully. Deprived of these things earlier in their lives, they crave for it after a burst of confidence and it spirals out of control.


It is often family upbringing that swerves a person into becoming a bully. If that child is sandwiched in between an older and younger sibling, they gain the least attention. The parents would focus on the oldest for education and the youngest because of their vulnerability. Deprivation of attention from parents are one of the worst things a child can experience, feeling uncared for, they reflect this onto other people and in time become a bully. 

Furthermore if the parents aren't too decent themselves, the child sees this as the norm and give abuse like it's normal.


Many times the bully wants something from the victim, I'm not talking about the victims food or money, but often friendships or the position they are in.

For example, if the victim receives attention from lets say, an attractive girl, and that girl doesn't give this attention to the bully, rather than focusing on the girl, he attacks the victim to try and swerve the attention to him. 

Or if so happens the victim has a really close happy family, the bully gets jealous and targets that person.


Bully's often become one by experiencing humiliation themselves. If for example, they'are really clumsy, they see this as a vulnerable area, rather than an accident. They begin to hate that vulnerability and in turn when they see someone else's flaws, they act like a magnet, homing in on that hate.


A lot of the time, those that don't shine in academics want to shine in other areas and be better than others, you guessed it, by bullying.

What should the victim do?

It's often that people think victims should walk away, but this only makes things worse. Victims are victims because bullies see them as inferior. To overcome being a victim, you must overcome the bully. Some scientists interviewed a few students being bullied, and told them to say something to the bully which would show they have a greater power than them like "Get the hell away from me", then they must break eye contact and walk away. And in 89% of the students, this ended the problem! Being brave pays off!


Scientists scanned brains of bullies and found that the parts of brains which self regulate emotions (so love, kindness, generosity etc.) were inactive. This suggests that they have far less control over their emotions and instead of dealing with situations emotionally, they deal with them physically.

What are the consequences in later life?

A large study taking 22 years followed thousands of children (not in that way) to see what their attitudes were like after childhood. Surprisingly, 60% of the childhood bullies had a criminal record by the end of the survey, and were often unemployed, woman beaters and depressed.

So if you're a victim, stand up for yourself!

(If you're a really hard bully and you're reading this, I didn't write this article!)

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