CAUSES OF BULLYING (Courtesy of nobullying.com)
The issue of bullying has gotten a lot of attention in recent years, but it is something that has always been around, and something some most likely still think is “one of those things.” But being bullied can cause serious problems with self-esteem, and has even been a contributing factor to suicide. But like many social problems, simply declaring that bullying must stop is not enough. It is important to ask ourselves, “What are the causes of bullying?” because it is only with this knowledge that we can ultimately reduce this behavior.
What makes a bully can be complex, and can include a number of factors. Some people even find themselves being occasional bullies without even realizing it. Here’s some of the things that motivate people to bully others.
Causes of Bullying: Feeling Powerless in Their Own Lives
Bullying, whether verbal, physical, or both is one way people claim a sort of power in their lives by seeking out those who seem vulnerable and attacking some aspect of their personality that makes them stand out. That person might have old shoes, be too short, too smart, too dumb, too feminine. The reason doesn’t really matter. It is an example of the classic pulling someone else down in order to pull oneself up. Unfortunately, the strategy rarely works.
Sometimes the feelings of powerlessness come from a problem at home. For kids, this might be a situation such as excessive fighting in the home, parents getting a divorce, or a close family member suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. For adults, problems in a marriage from disloyalty to general estrangement may lead them to exaggerate their own authority to the point of bullying.
Causes of Bullying: Someone Else is Bullying Them
In many cases, bullying begets bullying. A person may feel bullied by their parents, their boss, or an older sibling. Getting bullied by any of these people who are in an assumed position of authority may tempt some to claim a sort of authority for themselves through bullying, rather than reaching out for help in dealing with their own issues in a more productive way.
Cyber bullying, or bullying others online is often a byproduct of someone being bullied in their offline life. Some people who are perceived as weak, or perceive themselves that way use the Internet to try and reinvent themselves into someone more powerful or intimidating, They may join open chats or forums and threaten other participants. Often cyber bullying can be an extension of real world bullying too, for example, hacking into a social media account in order to display negative rumors about another person.
Causes of Bullying: Bullies are often jealous of or frustrated with the person they are bullying
When a person picks on someone for always being the first to raise their hand in class, or getting the best grade on tests and ruining the curve, or even picking up many of the promotions at work, they may become an easy target for bullies.
Some of the things that make people different are generally neutral characteristics, but some, like being smart, focused, or creative often represent attributes that the bully wishes they shared with their victim. By seeking to undermine someone else’s skills, bullies try to create a more level playing field.
Another possible answer to the question, “What are the causes of being bullied.” is that the bully may actually share the characteristic for which they are bullying the other person. They may be embarrassed by their own intelligence and fear being called a “nerd,” so they make the accusation of someone else. Those who bully because of a person’s sexual orientation may still be trying to figure out their own and come to terms with it.
Causes of Bullying: Lack of Understanding or Empathy
In some cases a person may bully because there is an aspect of a person’s personality that they don’t understand or don’t agree with. They may also have a prejudice against a person’s race, religion, or sexual orientation, and in many instances they may even think that targeting a person whom they see as exuding “wrong” behavior as a good thing.
Causes of Bullying: Looking for Attention
Some bullies would never think of themselves as bullying. They think that all they are doing is teasing a bit, and may even be trying to communicate or even befriend the person they are bullying. These social issues lead them to have trouble communicating in a healthy way and instead turn to insults or even physical violence as a way of communicating. Many times bullies are actually very lonely people who do not have many, if any, true friends and want to attract whatever attention they can. Bullies in this group are often easiest to turn around, because they may be open to the concept of “killing with kindness,” A bullied person may be able to reduce the instances of bullying and even make friends with the bully my standing their ground and being nice to the bully regardless of how they are treated. BY giving the bully positive attention before they have the chance to seek negative attention, they can make things better for themselves and the bully.
Causes of Bullying: Bullies come from dysfunctional families
A dysfunctional family is not a guarantee that a child will become a bully. However, a large number of bullies come from homes where there is little affection and openness. They may often witness their parents being aggressive toward friends, siblings or other members of the family.
Causes of Bullying: Bullies need to be in control
Kids who push others around are often driven by the need for power. They enjoy being able to subdue others. These types of kids are typically impulsive and hot headed and they thrive when their victims cower in their presence.
Causes of Bullying: Bullying behavior gets rewarded
Most people don’t do this intentionally; however, the perpetrator is inadvertently rewarded anytime victims give up their lunch money or belongings. They also get rewarded by gaining popularity, attention or the power of having others afraid of them. These unintentional rewards reinforce bullying behavior and encourage the perpetrator to keep pushing others around.
Causes of Bullying: Bullies don’t care how others feel
Some children either lack empathy or just relish seeing others in pain. When they hurt someone, they have no sense of what the victims or the people around them are feeling. Sometimes a perpetrator may even get pleasure from seeing a child yelp as he kicks him down the hallway. The reactions of the victims gives the bully a sense of accomplishment, so he continues the behavior.
Causes of Bullying: Bullies can’t regulate their emotions
When people get frustrated and angry, they can usually stop themselves from doing things that will hurt others. When kids don’t have the ability to regulate their emotions, small annoyances can provoke them and cause them to severely overreact. For example, a child may be innocently walking down the hall and accidentally bump into a bully. Even though the child apologizes, the bully may lose his temper and slam the victim into the wall.