Why Me? Inside a Bully’s Mind.
Because you are black, you are white, you are Oriental, hell you aren’t Oriental. Because you are fat, thin, have bucked teeth, walk with a limp or maybe you don’t walk with a limp. Your family has money, you are the poor kid at school. You come from a happy family or a broken home. More than likely because you can’t make eye contact. Not making sense? That’s because it doesn’t. Bullying makes no sense whatsoever. A bully will inflict pain and havoc without any valid reason at all. Sometimes the bully is suffering him/herself but that is not my concern.
My concern is for you, the victim. Don’t waste any time trying to get into the bully’s mind, it is a fruitless exercise. Don’t try and emphasise with your tormentor. Instead concern yourself with how you deal with the problem. Dealing with it doesn’t mean changing the way you walk, altering your accent, denying your family. It means taking on a role that will build your confidence because I have learnt this much; a bully will not, dare not take on a confident person. They thrive on the weak and will go out of their way to source the kid who can’t make eye contact. The kid who wanders the playground alone too shy to make friends makes easy pickings.
The bully will revel in destroying the self-esteem of anyone he can and if we are already in his sights then the chances are we don’t have much self-esteem to begin with. So far it looks pretty gloomy correct? But it doesn’t have to stay that way, trust me. The usual reaction (as a former victim and as a parent I know this from experience) is the most obvious one. “Hit them back only hit them harder than they hit you!” There was once a time when I really believed this knee jerk reaction and it became my only bible. Now I am not for one second saying we do not have a right to physical self-defence and the trend of pre-emptive strikes seems to be the norm at this time.
What I am suggesting is that pre-emption does not always have to be of the physical nature. Confidence can be our first weapon of choice for with confidence we develop a strong body language, an assertive posture and not the stance of a broken person (this applies to both children and adults of either gender.) Ask yourself this; have to ever seen the captain of the football team getting picked on? When was the last time you saw the girl who sings lead vocal with the band take a beating or put up with abuse? How about the public speaker whose wit is his weapon? No? You probably haven’t seen any of the members of the above have to avoid a certain route for fear of violence, you most certainly haven’t seen the look of fear in their eyes when a certain someone enters the room and I will tell you why; they ooze confidence.
So it is easy for them correct? No, probably not. Certainly some people are born with a natural confidence and for that they are lucky and should not be harshly judged for it but I know more people who have earned their confidence the hard way. They have taken courage into their own hands and fought for their self-esteem and this makes it truly worthwhile.
Their much deserved self-respect, the tool that is going to keep them bully free can come from any walk of life. Personally mine came from Martial Arts but I know of more people outside of this world who walk with pride having set themselves a goal and achieved it.
I have known people obtain confidence through music, through writing, through drama (have you ever met a shy actor?) There are people from all walks of life who have gained the desired self-esteem to carry them and flourish in their chosen field, making them ten feet tall but they all had to show the one thing we all inherently possess; courage. They all took a chance on their passion, on the thing they saw as theirs and on the thing that could bring salvation from the morons.
Never think you don’t have courage for we all do. It just takes some of us longer than others to dig it out. If you are walking with your shoulders slumped and your eyes firmly set to the ground you stand out for all the wrong reasons so pull the shoulders back, look up proud and think of the one thing you truly want to do that frightens you but you know will bring you solace for with that solace comes confidence. Then go out there and do it with courage for with courage comes hope.