We are all a bit guilty in creating or maintaining many of the problems we want to resolve.
A man leaves a bar drunk at 2am and stops at an ATM and gets $500. It doesn’t look like $500, so he stumbles down the street counting his money over and over. Eventually he walks down a dark street and he is mugged. Now the mugger is guilty of robbery and assault, that should never be questioned, but the drunken man’s decision making is a concern.
Situations in our lives can result from just being unlucky, but our decision making is another issue. We all exhibit a degree of self-sabotage and it impacts our decision making. The better we feel about ourselves, the less likely we are going to maintain or create problems in life. This is why we all need to learn better skills to cope with or resolve problems. The examples to be discussed in the next these posts are about being able to see the need to learn new skills/behaviors and how that can alter events.
Bully behavior: It seems almost all people agree this is not acceptable, so why does it still exist?
Bullying is a source of power, if you can make people afraid, then they are more likely to do what you ask, although many bullies just enjoy being able to do it. There is power and pleasure from bullying and if one is insecure as most bullies are, then why should they stop. This is a behavior that gives them some status, not being labeled a bully, but the way other people treat them. I am not just talking about someone bigger hitting someone smaller, although that also goes on, it is the threat of it and most people will sit on the sidelines if they are not the ones being bullied.
During the teen years bullying is one way boys take control of social relationships and girls often choose to ignore bully behavior if that boy has other traits they admire. Today girls can use cyber-bullying to try to undermine the social relationships of other girls. They can attack their looks or behavior and social media is their best weapon. It is much easier to be mean spirited on-line, especially as a group.
Sadly, this is only the first stage as bullying continues into adulthood, the workplace and in social relationships as adults. Bullies can be charming, good looking, athletic or smart. They do not have to have a lot of negative traits and most likely, you have a friend or colleague who is or was a bully.
Listen to sports talk show hosts, these are adults who seek a wide (younger) audience. They talk about being drunk or wanting to hit someone or “bowing” to someone because they are bigger than them. They would never advocate bullying, but they often send a bad message. They associate being bigger/stronger with being a man regardless of one’s behavior. They act adolescent too often and imply being bigger should give you more status than a smaller person along with the unspoken message, they can beat you up. They are not alone in this behavior, but they reach a large audience. Height is based on your DNA and it is an aspect that a person does not control, no different than race or gender. Even though it is not the intention, our society sends a message about being a man that may not be the best.
Some woman like bullies (power) because it allows them to feel protected or act like they do in situations. Of course sometimes their mate decides to bully them and they act surprised. There is no support for hitting women or abusing them, but too often women stay in relationships with someone for the wrong reasons, but power and gender issues are another post.
An example was our last Presidential election. Donald Trump was the beneficiary as all those New York cable hosts knew him and how he behaved and they never that a concern. Instead they took his twitter comments and made them national news every day. This incredible amount of media exposure helped him win the primary and perhaps the Presidency. Ironically or very clever, he hates the media. If bullying is to be labeled as unacceptable, the media has to act as the "Adult in the Room" and Presidential debates should have been that situation. Trump used a high school mentality in the primaries finding a degrading name for each of his opponents. One example was during the Republican Presidential primaries, during one debate Trump started calling Senator Rubio “little Marco”. Rubio an intelligent adult had no idea how to respond to this remark, because there is an assumed stigma with being small. And his poor response also hurt him. What should have happened is the debate moderators should have stopped the debates and warned Trump that remarks of that nature are not acceptable. Instead the media saw ratings and greed ruled integrity. The other primary candidates should have spoken up about name calling about one's appearance. It is a problem that adults should be trying to stop. Bully behavior must be first addressed as a community, this was not a conversation among friends. It was a Presidential debate which should have no tolerance for bully behavior. Note: to date Trump still calls adults who he wishes to disparage names and the media still reports it, giving those comments acceptance.
These are some of the reasons bullying goes on, we accept it far too often for the wrong reasons. If we really want to stop bully behavior, children need to learn the skills to better cope with problems and when bullies are less insecure, they will have less need to bully people. However, the efforts to stop bully behavior should also focus on adults as they have the knowledge to know better. We are all guilty to some degree, but we need to address those who we know are bullies and let them know it is not acceptable. Once you accept bully behavior because of some perceived personal benefit, it is hard to stop and yes changing how you act with people who have power is easier said than done. I think looking back most people may have wished they acted differently and often they did not even get their perceived benefit.