Who are the bullies?
Very often those who bully others do so because they suffer from low-self esteem, and bullying makes them feel more powerful. The bullies’ activities come in many different forms. Some use forms of bullying that are physical and openly aggressive. Others use approaches that are subtle and discrete but can be just as, or sometimes even more, hurtful to the victim.
While bullies actions can take many different forms, some traits tend to be shared among them. In addition to having poor self-esteem, they are often socially immature and lack empathy with others. They may find it difficult to read others emotionally and often try to compensate for their lack of social skills through dominance and overpowering others, either physically or emotionally.
While many characteristics of bullies may be down to emotional or social immaturity, which will be overcome in time, some carry this behaviour with them throughout their lives and will behave as a bully wherever and whenever they can get away with it. For others, the root cause of the bullying behaviour may be more deep seated and possibly the outcome of a personality disorder that can be addressed only through professional means.
Different types of bully
The reasons that people end up with the emotional or social characteristics that predispose them towards bullying can be quite varied. For some it is a cultural issue or to put it in more everyday language, learned behaviour. It is the behaviour the individual has witnessed and experienced at home and for him or her it is simply ‘normal behaviour’.
Some people become bullies as a result of a severe emotional trauma to which they are reacting. This could be anything ranging from grief as a result of loss of a loved one or family break up to abuse or rejection. Bullying behaviour in this instance can often be an unconscious attention-seeking exercise or could be described as a ‘cry for help’.
Low self-esteem and insecurity can be a cause for some to engage in bullying in order to achieve what they perceive as status from their dominance of others. People who under achieve academically can sometimes fall into this category. Interestingly, those with high self-esteem can also engage in bullying behaviour as they demonstrate their perceived superiority over others through causing them pain and suffering. Lacking in empathy, there is often a sadistic element to this type of bullying.