Pondering questions like these may not stimulate some minds as much as conversations concerning Hollywood gossip or the present size of the state lottery jackpot, but we've all thought about bullies at one time or another in our lives. Some children have to think about them every day.
I would like to begin with the following postulate: "The world is always going to be full of unhappy people." What is it that rubs unhappy people the wrong way? The answer seems so simple. Seeing other people who are happy! This will either cause an unhappy person (children included) to withdraw into self-depression (the passive reaction) or to strike out in the "bully mode" (the aggressive reaction).
To answer the first question, as to why we go through life surrounded by bullies, I believe the answer is that we will always have unhappy people who wish to strike out aggressively at happy people. Bullies (old and young) want the rest of us to be discouraged and intimidated. To put it bluntly, "misery loves company." The motive is envy.
"We can all picture in our minds the physical bully, who is always ready to physically take a happy person apart -- piece by happy piece. But what we seldom do is recognize the non-physical or psychological bully as another type who is constantly verbally criticizing our every action and uttered word, until we become discouraged and intimidated and come "mentally" apart."
Both types of bullies are experts at "the pressure game." Just ask some of our county's public school teachers. (I have the greatest respect for school teachers.)
Now the puzzle pieces begin to fall into place. Why do we rarely see a bully bully a bully? Because unhappy children and adults do not gain as much satisfaction trying to make other unhappy beings more unhappy. Please don't bully me on my use of the expression "more unhappy."
What does the bully need from you and me? The bully needs to respect others, which, unfortunately in the real world, only comes about by each person physically or verbally defending his or her self against them. But the aggressive unhappy people also need our love and understanding.
In closing, I might add that those of us who more often express our unhappiness by going into a depression, instead of striking out at others, also need love and understanding.
I'm amazed at how we can pose the questions in myriad forms, but the answer to all of the questions can always be reduced down to "love thy neighbor as thyself." The bully who doesn't understand the greatness of love is just waiting for someone to demonstrate it. Just waiting.
---Kenneth J. Wolf #14 (06/22/91)
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