Bullying has nothing to do with anger and everything to do with POWER. Bullies are addicted to it. They crave it like a drug. They look for an easy target to bully at school to give them selves a quick fix. The bigger the audience the better, as far as they are concerned. They taunt and harass their prey with verbal assaults with the added threat of physical injury, and social isolation.
In her insightful book, The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander, Barbara Coloroso puts forth an interesting theory. She insists that bullies feel CONTEMPT for children who are outside of their “circle of caring”. As awful as this sounds, I have to say that she is on to something here.
Coloroso defines CONTEMPT as hatred felt toward some one whom the bully deems as being “worthless, inferior, or undeserving of respect.” Where in God’s name did they ever get the idea that they were superior to others? What in our parenting style is contributing to the development of this attitude that leads to bullying?
Boys and girls use both verbal and physical bullying to attack their victims. Boys tend to use physical bullying more than girls, but with the erasing of the gender lines, girls are quickly catching up as evidenced in the daily headlines. Girl bullies weapon of choice is far more devastating than physical and verbal bullying. They have mastered the art of Relational Bullying.
Relational Bullying is by far the most difficult to detect and it occurs right under teacher’s noses each and everyday. This is the type of attack that was launched against my youngest daughter. Her bully spread rumors around the 5th grade to ignore her and to be mean to her. How can a bully get an entire class of over 100 girls to shun 1 particular girl? It’s easy. See post entitled Anatomy of a Bystander.
Parents, teachers, and child advocates have got to get together and figure out how to identify relational bullying and come up with ways to stop it in its tracks. I was attacked by a queen bee using this weapon over thirty years ago. I only recently discovered that it was on her orders that her wannabes ousted me from the group of girls I had been with throughout my primary school years. Go figure! What has your experience been with relational bullying?