Bullies are not just born. Just as a well adjusted child is a direct result of their socialization, so to is a bully. It is, however, a complex matter. The parents are almost always of significant influence in causing this behavior. Everyone has heard of the psychological deduction that those who bully are bullied by someone else, someone commonly, and sadly, at home. Society needs to understand how much these kids need help. Teachers especially fail to see the truth.
One’s parents may work to stamp down their child’s self esteem. This in turn teaches the child to stamp at their own self esteem: A child cannot develop self compassion unless they know what that feels like. Treating others poorly or appropriately is a direct reflection of how we treat ourselves.
The life of the average middle school bully would surprise most. Their dealings with emotional turmoil goes widely unnoticed and needs to be heard and understood if they are to receive the help they so desperately crave.
Fear is the most common culprit lurking within a bully. Almost every emotion can be traced back to it. Consider who is the more fearful child, the one that goes on happily playing in the school yard who happens to attract the attention of a bully, or the child who feels so threatened and insecure about that other child’s behavior that they need to “defend” themselves against comparison? A bully fears so much, it’s hard to know where to start.
There is the fear of their parents, because naturally children are mere mirrors of their home lives. Just as Jimmy wants to be a fireman like daddy, so too does Todd aspire to be a discriminative, hard-ass “meany” like his dad.
Bullies fear a lack of control. Their parents are likely to be the ones with total power and control at home. They have been stripped of any sense of their own authority and therefore seek to gain that back in their school environment. Take the example of a racist (one form of bully). Just as racists fear the power and influence of the opposing race, and thus their own lack of control, those who bully are similarly fighting to repress and disguise their own fear.
Bullies fear people seeing their vulnerability. Often bullies are not particularly “good looking” individuals. The meanest often carry some extra weight or are supper tall or something that makes them appear “different” from the rest. They believe it is safer to establish that they are a bully as a defensive demeanor that will warn all other children not to pick on them.
They struggle with the belief that they are “normal,” fearing that other people will realise this supposed truth. As clearly evident in the classic “pick on the different kid” tactic, bullies will often come from a home which they believe is different or inferior.
Bullies fear the belief that they are not lovable. Therefore they try to create a reason to make sense of this lack of love. Their mind needs the identity of “bully” as it provides a reason for others not to like or love them, thus avoiding the more painful reality (not that they are unlovable, but that they feel such). In their environment, bullies generally receive little affection. This results in the child not knowing how to love themselves and not knowing how to show that love and respect for others.
Bullies fear the belief that they are worthless. Often a bully is not the sharpest in the class; yet another insecurity. Their parents are likely to have been the same and therefore limit their intellectual expectations for their children. The role models of a bully are typically individuals of low self worth and therefore minimal accomplishments; in that they have not succeeded in obtaining their dreams and aspirations. The child therefore has little hope for any form of success as they have not been shown how to set and reach their goals.
Now, the subconscious does strange things. This self loathing is outwardly generated as what seems to others as extreme dislike for an outside group of people. The individual is struggling with their own self image and their own self compassion, therefore when they see someone on the street or at school that represents all the things that they feel about themselves, the mind cannot distinguish between the loathing for the self and the sudden hatred directed at this literal embodiment of their own self worth. The result is an outpouring of hurtful put downs directed at the representation. While the bully then initially feels “good” as it is a form of release, they later feel horrible, because what they said or did was hurtful to themselves; it was directed at themselves.