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Bullying (a mini manual)
by Mel May 13th 2009, 04:29 AM

Article featured in Avatar - Volume 1, Issue 6 (November 2007).

Bullying (a mini manual)
by Gitler

What is a bully?

Based on a wide range of reasons, a bully is a person who attacks others either verbally or physically. A bully usually has little or no regard for the feelings of his - or her - victims; thus saying or doing extreme things at times. A simple act of messing with someone does not make one a bully, a person who torments others on a daily basis does. Why do bullies torment others?

Bullies may have various reasons as to why they torment others. Mostly it is believed that bullies are either having or have had troubles in their personal lives. Whether they are currently being abused at home or have been abused at home at an earlier time, have been treated roughly by friends or even have grown up in a very rough neighborhood; things such as these reasons may encouraged someone to become a bully.

Sometimes, because of a lack of self esteem, bullies tend to try to manipulate their victims. It is believed that bullies do this for a self boost; just for something to make them feel better about some imperfect aspects in their own lives, while other times it is believed that they do it for the quick "rush" that they get from having power over their victim.

While there are many families that rule against bullying, there are many that encourage such acts. Some parents teach their children about being "strong", about not letting others get away with things, and sometimes they even teach their children that they should make others fear them; which does indeed teach children to be rough and sometimes violent with others.

Why me?

Bullies have many different reasons to pick on a particular individual. Although sometimes reasons aren't too clear to you when they begin, some of the reasons can/will include:

- Something you've done in the past. Sometimes something that you did recently or further back might have provoked the bully into taking action against you now.
- Something a family member, friend or someone you know, might have done. Sometimes bullies can't get at the ones they truly hate, so they resort to the closest thing to them.
- Lashing out. Sometimes a bully is just lashing out and you happen to get caught in the crossfire.
- Randomness. A bully sometimes will pick on the first person that he thinks he can take down.

While there are many reasons why a bully may pick on someone, there are also many different types of bullies. The two main bully categories are:

The mental bully

The mental bully doesn't hurt people physically, instead he picks on your mind and emotions. He uses his mind to harm yours, with painful thoughts, ideas, and memories. Some consider this bully to be one of the worst, because even though he isn't being physical, what he says can leave marks emotionally. This bully tends to leave you with horrible memories of what he has said or done.

But how can he hurt me emotionally or mentally?

There are many ways that a bully can hurt you emotionally or mentally, but some of the most popular ways are:

- Talking negatively behind your back to others.
- Using bad memories against you.
- Playing tricks on you that to some may seem harmless, but that are truly very hurtful. For example, (s)he may pretend to be your friend, then delete a MySpace or instant messenger account or even use them to make snide comments to you friends as you.
- Using your insecurities against you constantly.
- Focus in on one target to bully that they consider "easy".

While the effect of a mental bully may be instant, sometimes they wear you down a lot over time. The other main type of bully there is would be:

The physical bully

This bully is one who likes to hurt others; (s)he takes pleasure out of hurting his/her victims in a physical manner. A physical bully can be cruel and calculating, and most of the time, tends to be tougher to deal with than a mental bully. It is said that this type of a bully is looking for an outlet for his or her anger. Much like the mental bully, the physical bully takes his/her frustrations out on whoever (s)he finds an easy target. Whether (s)he thinks that the victim is smaller or weaker than him/her, (s)he will try whatever it takes to intimidate and hurt his/her victim. While sometimes this kind of a bully only has one victim, a lot of the times (s)he has quite a few.

The physical bully tends to:

- Come out of nowhere, with no clear reason other than to hurt you.
- Keep words to a minimum with you.
- Try his/her hardest to inflict some sort of physical pain on you.
- Unlike a mental bully, who will talk to your friends behind your back, this bully tends to also target your friends to hurt as well.
- Have a motive. (S)He might unjustly hate something about you, it can be anything from having a new CD-player, all the way to the color of your skin.
- Want something done by you. Sometimes a physical bully may try to force you to do something; threatening that you will get beaten up if you do not do what (s)he asks.

Physical bullies cause instant pain and effects, and while they can be very difficult to deal with, there definitely are ways.

So, how do I deal with either bully?

For the most part, you should try to ignore or avoid bullies. The only reason why a bully picks on someone is because they want to get a reaction; they want to know that they are hurting you. When the bully no longer gets the reaction that he or she is looking for - they become bored of it. When the bully becomes bored of it, they generally move on to their next victim.

Another thing that you can try to do is to confront the bully. Just ask them why it is that they are doing it. Sometimes the bully may not even have a reason for any of it. Perhaps when asked about it, the bully will realize that he or she doesn't even have a proper reason behind their own actions and may possibly stop.

While doing either of these things may help, sometimes they may not. When a bully is completely persistent or is physical, and when he or she is going too far; you must realize that you need to tell somebody that it is happening. Whether you tell a teacher, school counselor, the principal or your parents, someone will need to know. Telling someone about it will not make you "the weak one", so do not let that thought stop you from stopping this bully.

But what if I am afraid to tell someone?

It is understandable that it will not be one of the easiest things for you to talk about. Your bully may have said "Tell anyone and I will beat you up!", but really, the only reason why he doesn't want you to tell someone is because (s)he knows that what (s)he is doing is wrong, and (s)he knows that (s)he will get in trouble for it. Do not let the fear of your bullies reaction stop you from telling. Just think about this right now: if you tell someone, you're one step closer to being free from this bully.

Is it really worth telling?

Yes, it is worth telling someone. It is very likely that he will stop tormenting you, and really, by doing yourself this favor you are also doing others a favor. When you put a stop to this bully’s destructive path - you're not only stopping him from hurting you, but you may even be stopping him from hurting others.

What if (s)he retaliates?

Tell someone again. If this bully simply will not leave you alone, regardless of what (s)he says, you need to step up and speak out.

Ok, but what are some things I should not do?

Just like there are many things that you should do, there are many things that you shouldn't. The main things that you should not do is to seek revenge out of malice. Taking your anger out on others because of what is going on will only make you like your own attacker. You should also never give them the reaction that they're looking for. Remember, giving them that reaction would only give them the fuel for their fire.

Another thing that you should not do is provoke them. Making a bully mad will only make him/her pick on you even more. If you see a bully, avoid him/her. If you see him/her picking on someone else, tell someone. Do not try to fight them. Getting into fights will only end up in someone getting hurt, and sometimes even worse.

What if I'm a bully?

If you are currently bullying someone, try to think about how they're feeling right now. Take your own actions and words, then try to see how you would feel if someone else applied them on you. Ask yourself why you are doing this. If the reason isn't clear, perhaps you should look it over again. If there is a reason, try to see if you can resolve it instead of hurting this person in any way.

Remember, violence never solves anything; neither does bullying.

Last edited by Mel; April 4th 2010 at 08:02 AM.
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