This is the third in a series of blogs about bullying in schools. My first blog looked at ways to deal with bullying, the second at different types of bullying whereas this blog looks in closer detail at who exactly the bullies are. Particularly for older children and teenagers, understanding this can help someone who is being targeted have a clearer understanding of what exactly is going on and may give them essential clues as to how best to deal with it.
Bully / Victims
Someone who has previously experienced bullying themselves can later become a bully – and this is one of the most common types of bully. They typically bully others weaker than them and their goal usually is to regain a sense of power and control in their lives. It is obviously no excuse for their behaviour but their bullying is a way of retaliating for the pain they are feeling. They may come from a home where there is domestic violence and so bullying is a learned behaviour. These types of bullies are often either loners or fall at the bottom of the social ladder at school.
Popular bullies have big egos. They tend to be males and are confident and condescending. They usually have a group of followers or supporters and have a sense of entitlement that can stem from their popularity, their size, their upbringing or their socio-economic status. They thrive on the physical power and control they have over their victims and may boast about their bullying.
The relational bully is usually a student who enjoys deciding who is accepted at school and who isn’t. They tend to be females and they use excluding, isolating, and ostracising others to exert control. They generally use verbal or emotional bullying rather than physical to maintain control. Relational bullies also maintain their power by using rumours, gossip, labels, and name-calling. Typically, they target others because they are jealous or want to maintain popularity.
These bullies are systematic, controlled, and calculated in their approach. They can appear to be sweet, charming, and charismatic to authority figures. But on the inside, they can be cold and calculating and tend to inflict emotional pain on their victims over long periods of time. Sometimes serial bullies will use physical bullying but only if they can be sure they won’t be caught.
Serial bullies also are skilled manipulators and liars . They are able to twist facts and situations to make themselves look innocent or to get out of trouble when confronted. In fact, serial bullies are often so skilled at deception that their victims often are afraid to speak up, convinced that no one will ever believe them. Both males and females can bully in this way.
This is an extremely common form of bullying in schools and applies to both males and females. Bullies who fall in this category, are typically part of a group and have a pack mentality when they are together. They tend to bully as a group but behave much differently when they are alone—even if they are alone with the victim. Usually, group bullies are cliques that imitate the leader of the group and just follow along. Because we feel insulated when we are in a group, people often feel free to say and do things they wouldn’t do otherwise. We also feel less responsibility for their actions because “everyone is doing it.” This is a very dangerous type of bullying because things quickly can escalate out of control.
These bulies are less common than the above types. They feel little if any empathy and as a result, can often appear cold, unfeeling, and detached and have very little, if any, remorse for what they do to others. They are often the most dangerous as they re bullying for the sheer enjoyment of seeing another person suffer.
Need some advice and support?
If you are struggling with any of the issues raised in this article, or indeed any other emotional issues or life challenges and would like to talk things over in complete confidentiality, call Alison Winfield, Mindfully Well Counselling Cork on 087 9934541.
Book a counselling session today!