This weekend, I met a ‘bully’ and gained even more insights into their psychology. I think that the important thing to remember is that each person and situation is unique, and to remember the concept of balance.
What are they balancing out within their family dynamic?
What are they balancing out within themselves?
What are they balancing out within the social/school/work dynamic?
What reaction are they tending to get? Is it the same or different in the alternative situations?
For instance, I talked in a previous blog about a child, who was balancing out her mum’s very peace loving nature, because in a family there will always be a balance of war/peace or gentleness/aggression. In her situation, she was gaining her Mum learning to get in touch with her tougher side, in order to give that little girl clearer boundaries. She was not only going to gain from the boundaries, but also from a stronger Mummy who would learn to take care of herself more. Here, the family can just redress the balance of gentleness/aggression and learn to love their un-peaceful sides, to bring the family back into balance.
But you can also get a child who has bullied because they are ‘bullied’ at home or at school. So it comes from the fact that they are feeling very powerless in one area and are wanting to redress the balance and regain the power. Here, if the ‘bullying’ is at home and the family can be shown how to regain control using calmness, then the child’s need to bully will reduce. If the bullying is at school, then the child can be taught how they are wonderful, and given more self-belief, so that they no longer feel a lack of power.
In a social or work situation, they will be balancing out that the ‘bullied’ is getting loads of support from elsewhere. This was certainly the situation for me one evening this weekend. I suspect it was infuriating for the ‘bully’ who expected to walk into the social situation with a position of power, to find me already nicely ensconced. Meanwhile, I had assumed that the evening would go as other’s had done, so my protective boundaries were down, and I was unprepared for the situation. However, I gained from it, some practice into what my lovely PR girl calls a ‘rat trap’, which was a much better way to do it, than in front of a journalist, plus I didn’t handle it as well as I might if I’d been prepared, but I did OK, so I came out looking alright from it, which is important to me because it was the easiest way to prove to some of the other people there, that they will be safe in working with me in the future.
So what does a ‘bully’ gain when someone stands up to them? They are getting a reminder to bring themselves down a notch or two. If they learn the lesson, it makes them a great deal more attractive to other people, because being arrogant is not a characteristic which tends to be popular. Of course, some are generally just bored, because they have an easy life of it elsewhere, so they are actually looking for a bit of excitement when they upset the ‘bullied’ and hence get a good argument going. So what they are getting from it, is very much to do with the type of reaction that they get.
When people let the ‘bully’ get away with it, then they are gaining power, and improving their self-worth. If they have gained a following, which often happens at school, then they will then continue with the tactic in order to maintain their position and feeling of belongingness. I remember a girl at school who would pick on me repeatedly. But then one day her best friend decided to become best friends with my best friend (girls!!). So they came to me and this girl and asked us if we would be best friends in order to make sure that we were not alone, and we duly complied! It totally worked, she got the same degree of belonging by being my friend, as she had from picking on me!