I. Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power.
A. Can include verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion.
B. May be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability.
C. The "imbalance of power" may be social power and/or physical power.
D. Bullying can occur in any context in which human beings interact with each other including school, church, family, the workplace, home, and neighborhoods.
II. Research indicates adults who bully have personalities that are authoritarian, combined with a strong need to control or dominate.
A. A prejudicial view of subordinates can be a particularly strong risk factor.
B. Some doctors have argued that a bully reflects the environment of his home, repeating the model he learned from his parents.
C. Envy and resentment may be motives for bullying.
D. Some bullies are arrogant and narcissistic, others can use bullying as a tool to conceal shame or anxiety or to boost self esteem: by demeaning others, the abuser him/herself feels empowered.
E. Other risk factors include depression and personality disorders, as well as quickness to anger and use of force, addiction to aggressive behaviors, mistaking others' actions as hostile, concern with preserving self image, and engaging in obsessive or rigid actions.
1. In one recent study of youth, a combination of antisocial traits and depression was found to be the best predictor of youth violence.
2. video game violence and television violence exposure were not predictive of these behaviors.
F. It is often suggested that bullying behavior has its origin in childhood. (Wikipedia)
Now that we've identified what we are up against, what is one to do about it?
Have a Support System
Coming from a believer's standpoint, I can say from experience the body of Christ is a tremendous blessing when it comes to needing a support group. In the face of bullying, standing alone (in my opinion) is not only NOT going to work it is also unhealthy.
When I was young, I was bullied at school for a period of time. An older student picked me out as a "target" and did not inflict physical harm but rather manipulated me in a very sly manner to get me to pay her money. She played on my sense of compassion with a story of how a man was threatening to harm her if she did not come up with the cash. Being so young a gullible, I was certainly an easy mark. And, I did give her money. Thankfully though, I had confided in a couple friends about what was going on, they spoke to our teacher, and she notified the principal. The principal nipped it in the bud and fortunately for me the bully went quietly and never bothered me again. In this case it was my "support system" that blew the whistle.
On another occasion when I figured out I was being bullied, my closest and most trust worthy sisters-in-Christ acted as more of a sounding board and assisted me in breaking everything down to identify manipulation, deceit, coercion, and control tactics. Their continued willingness to do this with me also helped in keeping me sane and not allowing the bully's "opinion" of me to become my reality. These are two examples of why I feel the body of Christ is so very important!
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.... And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:11, 14-18 ESV)