In one form or another and under one name or another; bullying has been around for a very long time. And it is not limited to a specific environment and neither is it only experienced by a certain type of person. Human beings of all backgrounds can come face to face with this type of behaviour.
The meaning of bullying on google.com is – (To) use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.
And there are of course; many other meanings that can be found, with all of them saying very similar things. The bottom line is that bullying is - abusive.
From the very beginning of human history bullying has been part of the human experience. This would typically have been through face to face contact. And with the advent of technology, phones were another option and then came the internet.
This is known as cyber bullying and can include, but is not limited to: Facebook, Twitter and through forums. Due to the nature of this type of bullying, it is a lot harder to monitor and therefore police.
Areas Of Vulnerability
So not only is there the potential for one to be exposed to bullying in the ‘real world’ and all that, that entails. The world of the internet has become another area of exposure.
So now, let’s take a deeper look at what could be going on for the bully and why they behave as they do.
The experience that one has of life is coming from their ego mind. This means that one is not simply responding to life, one is responding to their interpretation of life. So in order for an individual to be a bully, a certain interpretation has to take place.
And these interpretations will be based on what is going on for the bully at a mental and emotional level.
Because what defines the bully is typically their behaviour and this behaviour is different from the person that is not a bully – at least on the outside. So based on this premise, it would then be appropriate to ask the following question: what is going on internally that would make these people bullies?
There will be times when one has emotions that are unpleasant, and cause one to feel uncomfortable. And this is why, having the ability to emotional regulate oneself is so important.
When Emotions that are classed as negative appear, they will need to be processed in some way. If the ability to emotional regulate oneself is there, one will be able to simply sit with their emotions, without the need to act on them or to push them out of awareness. And if this is not possible due to their intensity for example, one can ask for another’s assistance.
But if they are not processed in this way, they will have to be either acted out or acted in; which will lead to bullying others or bullying oneself as a way to regulate the emotions.
And developing the ability to self regulate is something that can occur at any age. Perhaps for some this happened as a child and for others it was later in life. However, it is primarily during ones younger years that the ability to self regulate will be developed or not.
During this time, one is mirroring the prominent people in the environment; with this usually being their caregivers. If ones caregivers assisted in enabling one to develop this ability, there will be less of a reason to unconsciously act these emotions out or to repress them
Acting In And Acting Out
So if this ability was not developed and the people around them either acted out there emotions or repressed them, it will mean that this is likely to become their model of what to do.
For example, if ones caregivers were bullies, then it would be natural for one to identify with this form of behaviour and to display it later in life (unless it is questioned). Their ego mind would have associated control, respect and power with bullying. And unless these associations are changed, the behaviour is unlikely to either.
This can mean that one would have had to repress their original pain and that their ability to feel would have then been minimized as a result. Which means one’s ability to empathise could have also been obstructed during this time.
And if the pain was repressed it will end up out of their awareness and begin to show up in other people.
These are two things that bullies have in common. The emotional experience that they have is not being regulated and whether these are emotions that are being triggered form the past or later on, are irrelevant.
As a result of this, other people will end up being affected for what this individual cannot deal with themselves.
What the bully cannot see is that what is causing them to view the other person as the problem has nothing to do with the other person. It is actually about the bully and what the bully needs to process within their psyche.
The ego mind projects onto others, what has not been integrated and this includes ones mental and emotional sides. But due to how the ego mind functions; unless one is aware of this, other people will always been seen as the reason for ones emotional reactions.
‘It is easier to hate another, than to look at what we hate about ourselves’
What I have described is one view on what causes bullying and there is sure to be many more. I believe that what this does show is - the importance of self awareness. To be unaware is to be a slave to our emotions and this is akin to being a robot.
The more of a connection one has to their emotions and is aware of them, the less chance there is of projecting them onto another person. Repression is a big part of society and this can not only lead to bullying. It can lead to: alcoholism, violence, drug addiction and many other things. All of which allow one to regulate their emotions for a certain time.
If, as a society, we had a better relationship with our emotions, there wouldn’t be the need to repress them or to act them out unknowingly on others.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.