Merely responding to a bully with these words, what has hurt you so bad that you want to hurt me, can jolt even the meanest of dispositions. Taking a hateful moment and applying compassion to it is so unexpected. It’s like you’re tossing them a curveball they’ve never swung at before. Bullies expect angry retort, or retaliation for which they are well prepared, but the fact that you are suggesting their pain up front like that puts you in an altogether new light. The truth is most bullies do come from a world of hurt and fear of their own. Their act of aggression is a shield they wield to protect themselves. They believe that if they strike first, hard and fast no one will have time to notice their flaw.
Bullies actually practice a technique of intimidation until they’ve generated a beneficial percentage of the (un)desirable result, in fact most bullies start out with fighting words merely to see how far they can push the envelope. It’s a test field that also determines their popularity in the role of tyrant. If they can find a group to rally around them, even if no other reason than to avoid being a target, they will perfect their intimidation style until it is distinctive.
This brings me to the second most strategic method to stop a bully; group intervention. Kids who assemble as groups in protection of the victim, rather than standing behind the bully, is a big step in the right direction. Remember, most of the aggressive nature is actually fed by admiration. A bully can’t survive exile it defeats their whole operation.
We’ve all said it, our kids today are flooded with violence and crude jokes through television, radio and even books, but it doesn’t reflect society as a whole. And as to whether any of it has entertainment value or not is another article. However, most people, even though they may laugh at it on television or play the bloody video games, still know in their hearts of hearts that it’s wrong to treat a fellow human being as if they were beneath themselves. Even the bully knows this, and when the tables turn in favor of fellowship we always find that they too really only wanted to belong.
Parents teach their children to share to be kind and considerate but I wonder have we stopped to soon if we don’t also teach that even the bully is suffering. If we can teach our kids to understand being attacked by someone is really the attackers problem being made manifest and to ” be the change they wish to see,” both bully and the bullied will grow stronger as a result.