Last week Swati wrote about how the mind has become fragile in the 21st century.…
Bullying seems to have existed for as long as one can remember. For a long period of time, this seemed to have casually remained unnoticed. To a certain extent, this was acceptable.
You and I would have experienced bullying differently. We might have either witnessed someone bullying another person, or bullied someone, or were bullied by someone.
Why haven’t we ever questioned this trait in people?
We would have definitely agreed with the thought that bullying is an acceptable form of expression. Most likely because it doesn’t cause real physical damage to anyone and everyone enjoys a good laugh. Are you sure though?
What do we mean by bullying?
It means that someone intentionally causes harm to others, either physical or emotional & torment, tyrannize, and coerce them into doing things that they don’t want.
The physical harm in most cases is not severe, however, it is sure possible for it to get out of hands and lead to accidents.
People with authority over another person or some form of superiority, do not hesitate in showing that power on someone vulnerable.
Unfortunately, inflicting physical pain is not the only thing that happens. Bullies use different forms of emotions such as insults or pranks as well. These things easily get out of control and the victim is usually left broken.
In the modern world, this behavior exists at every corner. Schools, colleges, homes, workplaces, and social media, no place seems to be free from this damaging behavior.
Why Do People Bully?
In all fairness, I believe that bullies in some cases don’t know that they are bullying someone. That’s primarily because of the environment they have grown in where such form of expression is a common occurrence.
Let me share an example from a documentary called “Human“. The first interview begins with a man describing what love means to him.
He describes his childhood where his stepfather would beat him with hangers, pieces of wood, and all kinds of stuff. After every beating, he would tell him that “it hurt me more than it hurts you, I only did it because I love you.”
For many years, the kid grew up believing that love was supposed to hurt. He says that “I measured love by how much pain someone would take from me.” In prison, a place that is devoid of love is where he understood what it actually was and was not.
He met a woman, a grandmother of a woman, and a child that he had murdered. By all means, the woman should have hated him, but she chose to forgive him and love beyond his condition. She taught him what love was.
This example isn’t meant to advocate bullying and let them continue doing what they do. When it comes to behavior like this, there are deep-rooted issues involved. Various individuals might have a different theory, however, I believe that most of these situations have a problem arriving directly from our homes.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why bullying exists.
From the previous real-life example, we can determine that why people behave the way they do has a lot to do with the conditions they grow in. These qualities are not inherited or in-built in any child since their birth.
As parents, how we behave with the children and in front of them has lasting impression when they are young. For example, almost every serial killer has severe childhood trauma.
1. Violent Household
Imagine a child growing up in a household where parents are violent either with each other or kids. They will most likely take out that frustration on someone else, probably on other kids.
Some kids will become submissive and develop deeper emotional issues such as depression or have trouble with relationships. There’s also a great chance that the kid will likely grow up to be a bully.
All that stored anger has got to come out in some way. If they won’t resort to serious criminal ways, bullying might be the next best thing for them to go with.
2. Insulting – Makes You Cool
This one again comes from within our households. Constantly insulting children to force them to either perform better and do better than the other kids can have serious consequences.
The child is going to grow up thinking they are inadequate. While this one can send them into a long term state that will continue to effect them their whole life.
On the other hand, some kids will make other kids’ life miserable because they think others deserve them too. Creating a healthy and conducive environment for children to grow will not only help achieve their life goals but also keep such behaviors in check.
Not just at home, but this happens everywhere. Insulting others somehow makes you cool, or at least we believe so. Maybe among friends, it might be acceptable to a certain degree as long as they share a healthy bond otherwise.
Insulting that one person that looks different because of what they wear, the way they speak or act seems like a common practice. We don’t see that as a problem. Leaving a person feeling insecure every time they appear in public. You never know where the next insult would come from.
Our world is full of differences. Culture, ethnicity, sexual preferences, or body types, these difference make us stand out. However, sometimes people can use that against us. People might just bully someone for any of these differences, making others believe that they don’t belong there.
An important question to ask is, why would they think that such differences make them superior and others inferior. Where does that perception come from or how did they come to that conclusion?
It’s quite likely that we are learning to disrespect such differences from somewhere. In India, all North Eastern people face a tremendous amount of bullying when they visit other parts of the country. Although, awareness has increased in the last decade or so but there is some volume of hatred that still exists.
Look at how LGBTQ people are treated. Similarly, that over-weight friend who is always the target of insults and jokes. Exactly the same thing that happens when some are under-weight. These are just some broadly noticed example and when you put the acts bullying through a microscope, we will definitely find a lot more reasons.
4. Bullying For Fun
Every act of such tormenting is unacceptable, however, bullying for fun keeps us further away from the realization that there is anything wrong with it. Somehow, having a crack at someone else’s expenses seems like a good idea of fun.
Strangely, we never realize how far that reaches as far as the emotional level of the victim. The worst part about this is that a lot of people join the main bully and accompany them in the process. Some enjoy it and others have a need to belong in the strongest section. It’s better to bully than to get bullied, I guess.
Most of us would have either been a part of this bullying group or have been bullied ourselves.
5. Personal Insecurities
Personal insecurities can easily give rise to a bully or make someone a submissive. In this particular case, both suffer from low self-esteem, however, one finds that bringing someone down would potentially raise theirs.
We are facing times that are rough for anyone, the emotional turbulence is seemed unavoidable. In situations where the highest levels of emotional wellness that needs to be promoted, we have been doing our bits to bring it further below.
It’s a simple fact, think about it, when we are feeling good then we are bound to make others feel good too. On the other hand, if we have emotional imbalances within ourselves, we are bound to express them in a negative way as well.
We should be asking the question as to why such insecurities arise, to begin with?
It’s easily possible that we are growing up in a toxic environment, underappreciated in real life. Hence, building this so-called attribute to bridge the gap.
6. Power Freak
In educational institutions, seniors bully the freshmen. Another example is in the workplace. Someone with a higher power than the other person would resort to practices that aren’t healthy but finds it amusing to follow them anyway.
I am sure, if you have been in these common institutions, then you would have definitely noticed or witnessed what I am talking about. If you haven’t, then I would want to believe that you have had the luck to be in a relatively safe environment.
We all know a friend who is a jerk, we still choose to hang around. We all know a boss who is a d**k but we still choose to stick around.
What’s shocking is that the people who don’t approve of this behavior, rarely stand up against it. Of course not everyone, but surprisingly most of us prefer to stay out of it. Partially, it is also because they usually don’t have the power to stop it or at least they believe so.
No one wants to end up at the edge of the sword.
7. Peer Pressure
Belonging to a tribe is important and we are willing to do whatever necessary to be a part of one. It leads to bullying others even when they don’t truly want to do it but then being left out is far more devastating for them.
In most cases, these are people that are generally submissive in nature, doing what others do gives them a sense of belonging. Whereas continued actions like these will keep them further away from their true self. Not to mention the kind of damage one would end up causing in someone else’s life.
This can also lead to them becoming more distant from their true nature and will eventually have adverse effects. If they get to a point when they realize what they have done, bypassing that guilt of tripping on someone would be impossible to handle.
Where is it happening?
You have got the gist of how and why the roasting happens and probably have a fair understanding of where it happens.
Some of the common places are households, schools, workplaces, sports, social media, entertainment channels, etc. If you are a part of the South Asian community, then you are already familiar with the word “Ragging”.
Ragging has existed for as long as I can remember, it has been an initiation process in many colleges. Most college authorities have failed to do anything about it. At least the actions to stop such a form of bullying has been negligible.
There has been a significant rise in the number of suicide attempts among students. The kids who are bullied are twice as likely to commit suicide.
If the victim has lived through the phase by resisting suicide, they are highly susceptible to depression, low self-esteem, relationship problems, and many more.
We have already discovered the level of bullying that happens at home. No, I am not talking about the violence. I am talking about the cases where parents don’t realize that they are bullying their children. They impose excessive pressures and insults, constantly comparing them to other siblings, or cousins, or their friends.
Something similar happens at our workplaces. Bosses tend to insult employees, in order for them to perform better. Rarely that kind of attitude helps in the development of the skill or work-related attributes.
Because they have authority over the employee, they get away with saying mean things. However, what the victim goes through being at work is seldom noticed. The constant verbal torture and imposition of authority undermine the ability of the employees to work better.
It also creates a very toxic environment for anybody to be a part of such an organization.
Cyberbullying – In modern times, we spend an awful amount of time on social media and other virtual platforms. Every kid or even an adult is trying to find a place to fit in. Posting various content material seeking approval of people they don’t really know in real life.
These virtual places are no different than other places and to be honest, far more damaging. Nearly, 37% of the kids aged between 12-17 go through bullying online and about 30% go through it more than once.
Not knowing each other gives us power over the others because when you don’t know how one truly feels after a bashing, there are fewer chances of us giving it a second thought. A lot of us might not say those harsh words that can bring down someone when we know them.
Somehow, anonymity provides the freedom to say whatever we want to say. Freedom of speech, is it?
A study from 2017 resulted that there was a 33 percent rise in depression among 12th graders from 2010 to 2015. In the same period, there was a 65 percent increase in the suicide rates in girls in the same age group.
Technology is taking over, we can’t restrict children or young adults from being a part of it. That’s the way it is going to be, let’s just accept that.
Considering that, there have been recent changes in the laws all across the world to tackle Online bullying. As adults, keep a close check on the kids, they might not share everything with us and we have to be extra vigilant to ensure that they are not going through the worst nightmare.
Our homes, neighborhoods, schools, and workplace. This is where we spend the majority of our time. Consequently, if these are filled with people who derive pleasure from tormenting and bringing others down, then there’s no escape.
When your kids come back crying from school or hanging out with other kids, stop telling them to grow a pair of balls. At this time, the child is looking for support and if they don’t get one, they are less likely to share their experience.
That also means that they can’t get a remedy for a serious problem that is about to unveil in the future.
When your kids come back bullying others, stop telling them that the other kid is a wuss. This is simply encouraging them to be that who grows up thinking that he/she doesn’t have a problem, it’s the other kid.
All of us are dreaming of making this world a better place, if it doesn’t start from home then it doesn’t happen.
Schools and workplaces should have stricter policies in dealing with intimidating behavior at work. Kids spending time at school should be able to feel secure by all means. If they are constantly tyrannized then the chances of them reaching their full potential declines.
Their future depends on it.
The same applies to work environments because people depend on their jobs to provide for their families while they aspire to grow. When they are experiencing trouble at work, they’ll be in a constant pressure to work while their well-being is compromised.
There’s a lot that we know about bullying, there’s a lot that we are learning and plenty that we still don’t understand. However, it is important to practice and demonstrate compassion.
We may need to learn to intervene when we see such behavior around us. We cannot continue to be a bystander and let it happen. If you are fortunate enough to not have such people around you, then be the one to stand up for it when you see one.
It’s easier to sit back and think that I, as one person, do not have the power to change the world, we’ve got to think global and act local.
It’s time we take a closer look at the world around us, if we want to change it then we’ve got to take steps.