Bullying is a common behavioral issue that runs rampant among many adolescents. Most adolescents have likely experienced bullying or have been a bystander of the bullying phenomenon.
According to the book The Bully, The Bullied, and the Bystander by Barbara Coloroso, there are three primary roles in this phenomenon, which are the role of the bully, the role of the bullied, and the role of the bystander.
Coloroso examines how bullies are developed, how the bully’s behavior affects the bullied, and the role of the bystander.
Today, we will look at four common traits (markers) of the bully:
- Imbalance of Power – there are a variety of factors that can contribute to an imbalance of power, including the bully being older, bigger, or more socially popular. The bully purposely picks someone who he or she perceives to be weaker than him or herself.
- Intent to Harm – the bully’s intent is to emotional or physically hurt the victim.
- Threat of Further Aggression – the bullying is not a one-time event; it is a continuous action. The bully enjoys the fear that he or she instills in their “victim.” As a result of feeling more dominant when bullying an individual, the bully continues the behavior.
- Terror – the bully has instilled fear among his victim(s) and has rendered them powerless. The bullied is afraid of the bully and can experience emotional and physical consequences.
The author explains that often society believes the bully’s actions grow from a place of anger. However, it is not about anger, but rather about contempt. Contempt is developed and can overtake a person who has a:
- Sense of entitlement
- Intolerance toward differences
- A liberty to exclude
Often bullying is a learned behavior, and children do it because they have seen it modeled by peers or even parents.
The more that kindness, unconditional love, support, and respect are modeled and celebrated by peers and parents the less likely the bully will have power over the bullied.
Chelsey Beauchamp, MS
cbeauchamp @ growcounseling.com