Conversation with a bully . . . .

Why do some people use physical or verbal—including social media—tactics to make another person feel uncomfortable or harassed? Why do they push their victim to the breaking point? Does it make them feel better to make another person feel worse? Here are three conversations with people—two kids and one adult—who readily admit they are bullies.

·         My name is “S”, and I am 12 years old. I don’t think I’m a bully. I just like to have fun, and teasing is fun. That’s all it is anyway—teasing. You may call it bullying, but if a kid is too quiet to tell me to stop it, then that’s their problem not mine.

·         I’m “E” and I’m 15 years old. My BFF didn’t like this other girl that was two years younger than us. I guess she looked at her boyfriend or something. Anyway, we decided to get her back. We sent her texts about her ugly hair, her braces and the way she walked. We even took pictures of her with our phones and posted comments—not mean, really, but ones to make people laugh then sent it to friends who sent it to other friends. She—the girl, I mean, committed suicide last month. Her parents think it’s because of us, but I don’t think we did anything wrong. Everyone is picked on for something.

·         Bullying is an art, and I have practiced it since I was in grade school. I like to win, and part of winning is undermining the other players in the game. As a boss, it makes me feel good to see my employees squirm when I come in. They work better.

Babies are not born bullies. There is no intrauterine test to weed out the bullying chromosome. It is a learned behavior. Somewhere along the line, the bully discovered that threatening to punch another kid out, or make fun of him or her put that kid under the control of the bully. Bullies like control. They want to win, to dominate someone else, and it isn’t just a “kid” problem. Adults are just as bad.

The reasons are almost as numerous as the definitions of a bully. Maybe they were victims at one time. Maybe they never developed self-control, or learned how to handle their own anger. Maybe they have a sadistic personality, and enjoy watching others suffer. Maybe they have an inflated ego, and believe everyone else is beneath them. There are more maybes than answers.

The only way to combat it is not to allow it. If you are a bully—stop it! If you are a victim—tell the bully to stop it. If you are a witness—stand up and stop it!

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