One thing I have noticed in my life is that bullies are always weak people.
They may have a very strong attack and may be viscous, but they usually don’t seem to be stable, focused and especially don’t handle things well when the “Shoe is on the other foot”.
For whatever reason, I have always come head to head with bullies. After being bullied for years as a child (especially about my Middle Eastern heritage) as I grew up in my 20’s, I made a strong mental note to stand up to them and more importantly; Stop them doing it to other people.
In my mid-20’s when I used to live in Hobart, I actually lived in this shared accomodation environment. It was quite odd – there was an older Mother & Father, and two kids (around the late teens mark) that for years have had up to 4 additional non-family borders at their house. It was a massive house / mansion that they lived in. Although it sounds strange, it was actually quite functional and I had some great times there.
When I started there, I really fit in well into this environment and had a good time. In fact, some of my fondest memories of my 20’s come from this place. One thing that I did notice though, was the “Old Man” there was quite a control freak. To me, that was okay for a while – as he was a bit over the top, but you know – “No one is perfect”.
One strange thing that happened over the next year or so, was the “Old Man” got worse and worse. That is, he went from “Controlling” to “Aggressive” very quickly and actually started yelling at people in the house (including me!). In fact, one time he did yell at me and I took it. This was a very big mistake on my part – instead of nipping it in the bud, I let him get worse and worse.
Over time, he just got worse and worse and even his own family members were growing sick of him. We were all tired to death of him and quite a few of the borders I was with had already left the house often citing bad experiences.
I was in the progress of starting to look – and I was honestly getting fed up (but still, I kept my mouth shut and kept taking it). The “Old Man” would complain and even yell about minute things. Someone would leave a box of tissues on a different table and he would just accuse you of it and tell you off about it. He was also a largish and tall man as well – so he actually could be physically intimidating as well (especially if you were younger as well).
What broke the last straw for me, was that there was this very nice and friendly 19 year old girl living in the house. She was incredibly Good Natured, peaceful and I don’t think would even squish a fly inside a book she was reading (where I would).
One time, the “Old Man” yelled and yelled at here and she was teary and this pulled me into action. I jumped in to defend her and the “Old Man” and I had a screaming match. He even tried to invade my personal space to physically intimidate me and because I was so appalled at his behaviour I just thought:
– “You know what? I don’t care if the police come – this is going to end one way or the other”.
So whatever he did, I doubled. He yelled, I screamed. He entered my space by an inch, I would move in two inches. And have a guess what? What do you expect bullies do when they seriously get attacked?
He totally caved, turned bright red and got all teary and then just “Asked me to leave the house”. I thought, well – you attack people all along, but you can’t even play the same game?
I then moved on over the next few weeks, but this “Old Man” never ever raised his voice (at least when I was around to anyone) and he wouldn’t even look at me. It was fair to say that he was scared of me!
I was actually quite disappointed! After taking this man’s rubbish and watching all my friends get abused, I was finally ready to settle the score with him. And guess what! Now, I was not “Weaker than him” he didn’t want to play any more.
Such a typical bully in that, they only attack people weaker than them. Where is the honour in that?
I thought this was incredibly strange and it took me a few years to really understand what happened. In addition, my good friend Bec (who often comments on this blog) who is a psychologist explained to me that these type of people can’t really take it when the tables are turned.
It really appears that many bullies we see today are often “Weak People” pretending to be “Strong”. After all, some of the most “Strongest” and “Successful” people I have known, are actually very calm, focused and slow to anger type of people. I think that many “Bullies” for whatever reason, just feel so bad about themselves they have restored to dominating others to try and “Feel Better”. But then, people who fight back just make them feel worse, so then it feeds their addiction to dominating people etc.
You can’t help feel sorry for bullies sometimes when you understand what is going on with them, but at the same time what they can do is often very unethical and harmful to others around them.
One thing I have noticed is that if you don’t stop bullies, they will go and beat up someone else. They are weak predators in the sense, that they will always go after weaker people and only hurt those that they “Know” they can get away with.
So, if you see bullying come up either to you or someone else – make sure you stop it! I have learnt the hardway is that you can’t ignore these type of people. They just get worse and worse and nothing will change unless you do something about it.
I don’t know about “Bullying Bullies” though – is that ethical?* Thank you to Thomas Ricker from Flickr for the great pic.