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The Mind of a Bully, By Dr. Claudio V. Cerullo «

The Mind of a Bully, By Dr. Claudio V. Cerullo

Bullies do not fit into a neat little box. They come from all walks of lives, all ages, all genders, all races, and all cultures.According to Dr. Cerullo, bullies are very often people who have been bullied or abused themselves. Sometimes they are experiencing life situations they cannot cope with, that leave them feeling helpless and out of control. Many times, a bully does not feel that they can find any other means of fitting in or carving out their own niche in life so they turn to being powerful in a way that they feel brings them respect. They feel that being feared is the way to gain respect and surround themselves with friends and people who look up to them. However, what they do not realize is that people are “friends” with them so they do not become a target of their bullying. It all comes down to fear. Another possibility of the reason being the bullying attitude is that they bully themselves feels that they have no control in their lives. Maybe their home life is out of control and they are not listened to or valued by their family. In order to compensate for the lack of value at home the bully finds it in other places in inappropriate and unhealthy ways. Even though these are all valid explanations sometimes the only explanation is that the bully is a mean and cruel person who only feels good when they can cause others harm. These types feel no remorse and rarely stop bullying. This may be a pattern for their entire lives. The above mentioned facts on bullies have been widely accepted for many years, but new research proposes that bullying is something entirely different to some people.” Dr. Cerullo used to believe that bullies have low self-esteem, and put down other people to feel better about themselves. While many bullies are themselves bullied at home or at school, new research shows that most bullies actually have excellent self-esteem. Bullies usually have a sense of entitlement and superiority over others, and lack compassion, impulse control and social skills. (

Though there are different reasons behind the behavior of bullying, most bullies have certain things in common. Bullies behave in a dominant manner and cast blame for the bad things in their lives upon others. Though bullying is a learned behavior, genetics can play a part. For instance, some people are more predisposed to violence and aggression. However, not all people with these tendencies become bullies. Some are able to find ways to take out their aggression and anger in more manageable and healthy ways. It can be a simple matter of nature versus nurture. Another commonality in bullies is that they are attention seekers. Though the attention they receive is negative they still crave it as often it is the only attention that they receive.

The people in the bully’s life that also have an effect on their behavior. On one side, the bully may have a family who does not care about the bully’s behavior and may even encourage it because they are the same way towards people. On the other hand, the bully’s parents may also be fearful of the bully and feel afraid to stand up to them and show them how to change their behavior. If the parents are fearful of doling out discipline to the bully then the bully learns that they can get away with their behavior since their own parents cannot even stop their behavior. When there is discipline from the parents it is usually not consistent. If his or her parents are in a good mood, the child gets away with bad behavior. If the same parent is under stress, he or she will take it out in angry outbursts against the child. This child never internalizes rules of conduct or respect for authority.

Who are the Victims of the bully?

Though anyone can become the target of a bully, there are some commonalties between those who fall victim to bullying as bullies tend to choose a certain type of person to abuse. There are many reasons how and why bullies target others, and the reasons are consistent between cases. People who are victims of bullying find themselves being bullied due to their achievements, do not have a large circle of friends, subjected to unwarranted teasing and rumors, and tend to be more serious about important things in life such as school or work. Most people who are targets of bullies have something different about them. Maybe they wear thick glasses, dress differently, or are painfully shy. Many are awkward in social situations and try not to draw attention to themselves. Targets of bullies often have little or no friends who can stick up for them (which is one reason that they bully feels that they can abuse them.)and already have low self-esteem. Bullies also target those who appear to be vulnerable and the main theory is that they do this so that there is little chance the person will stand up for themselves, making them easy to abuse. When bullied, they become visibly frightened, cry, or do not have an appropriate response. That is just what the child who bullies wants; it becomes an invitation to even more bullying.

Effects of Bullying on the Victim:

Bullying can, and often does, have lasting lifelong effect on the victim. Being bullied effects the victims self esteem which are even more significant when the victim already has had self esteem issues. Many victims need counseling to come to grips with the bullying and to help rebuild their lives as bullying can lead to depression, panic attacks, and physical ailments such as ulcers. Children who are bullied often suffer academically due to the fact that they fear going to school where the source of their stress resides. Some children are so affected by bullying that they choose not to further their education due to fear of having to face bullying in other atmospheres such as college. Many people who are bullied are so hurt by the cruel treatment that they contemplate suicide and some actually attempt and succeed in taking their own lives. “There is often no end to bullying for victims. Devastating effects of bullying is the pattern it creates in victims’ minds and personalities that can last their whole life.”(Department of Health ond Human Services, 2010). It is common for children who are bullied to be the victim of bullying in their adult lives as well since their self esteem has been so devalued and they cannot seem to find the courage to stop being a victim.

Another serious issue for the victims of bullying is that the friends that they do have turn their back on the victim because they are afraid of being the outcast or the target. This further alienates the victim from their normal world. Also, for some victims, being bullied is a whole other learning experience. Sometimes the victim, out of anger and lack of control of their own lives, seek out someone who is weaker than they are and target them; hence the victim turns into the bully. These are all serious effects that can truly change the victim’s life and outlook on the future. This is why that in all bullying cases, it is imperative that parents, teachers, and school officials speak to the children immediatly about their bullying incident. Also, children should not be afraid to speak out against bullying, so that the incident can be addressed accordingly. This can be done, by making children feel safe and fear from retribution.

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