H. Priebe-Diaz, Human Relations, Diversity & Equity.

Has anyone ever been a bully? Has anyone been bullied? No matter which side you were on bullying was never cool except to those that were the ones doing the bullying, and even then it wasn’t entirely cool. Bullying is an act of aggression, in one form or another, that is intended to grant the bully leverage, authority, or some type of power over another. Throughout history bullies have been a plague not only among children but also with adults. There have been countless theories as to why bullies engage in such aggressive and anti-social behavior and some of those have even it the mark, as some bullies tend to lash out at others simply because there is something wrong at home or they have difficulty in dealing with others for various reasons.

How we deal with bullies however has changed quite a bit since what some people might call the good old days. Back in the day, heck even just back in the 80’s and 90’s, it was seen that kids would handle their bullies on their own at times. Adults would as well, though by this time it had been deemed as unacceptable to simply duke it out on the playground as a group of your peers looked on, cheering for whomever they happened to like on that particular day. And it was even less accepted in adults, as it’s been seen as immature and far too aggressive for a rational and ordered society. It’s hard not to laugh at times since the ideal way for dealing with bullies at this juncture is to sit down and talk things through. This method does work, but it has also had to endure it’s fair share of criticism.

Back in the day bullies had to be fended off or beaten down.

Obviously this clip isn’t ‘back in the day’ but it serves a point that at one time, and even now in fact, the idea of thinking that aggression is the wrong answer to combat bullying is not always so sound. When a bully is in your face and simply will not leave talking is one of the last things that many people would think of. Those that aren’t typically aggressive might close the door and endure the insults while calling the police. However those that don’t stomach such behavior and feel the need to stand up are those that will sock the bully in the face and let them know that they’re not as tough as they think. Bullies are typically more bark than bite, as intimidation is their stock and trade. If a bully can back a person down by appearing dangerous in any way then they will. Acts of aggression are often reserved for those individuals that are a step above a bully and tend to require police intervention.

Today’s tactics when it comes to a bully is to talk the matter out, understand the issue, and resolve the conflict.

Admittedly it is a very painless process in terms of physicality and it does offer a much more rational and reasonable way to resolve one’s differences with another. The idea that talking can work with a bully is hard to fathom for some people but if the underlying issue of why a bully is acting the way they are is revealed it often comes out that they are in some way seeking to shunt whatever they’re feeling onto someone else so that they don’t have to feel it. By talking it out the person being bullied can better understand the struggle that the bully is going through and possibly show some empathy towards them and even help them to change things around a bit. It’s a different way of dealing with a bully, but for many it seems to be preferable to a general throw down that can leave both individuals sore and possibly injured by the time their grievances are aired out.

Now we have cyber-bullying.

It’s still somewhat amazing that this is still such a huge issue, but there’s no denying that it is. The so-called “keyboard cowboys” the surf the internet and give their candid opinions of others are quite pathetic in many regards, but for many people their words can carry a very heavy and hurtful meaning. Those of us that grew up in the different eras when ‘handling your business’ meant either knocking the bully on their butt or continuing to fight back until the bully realized that they could knock you down but would never break your spirit. Some kids would go to an adult for help with the matter, while others would take the matter into their own hands. But with the advent of the internet and social media the onset of cyber-bullying has become a problem that is shared mostly by those that have grown up in this era and sometimes don’t seem to understand that words on a computer screen are the act of a coward trying to seem tough. To many of those raised in the decades previous to the arrival of the internet a cyberbully is a person that can act tough online but in all likelihood would be the last one to say anything in person.

Which method of dealing with a bully is most effective?

This all depends on who you talk to about the matter. Many upon many people will gladly tell you that talking and coming to an understanding is the preferred method in any case dealing with bullying. However, the satisfaction of defeating a bully in one way or another is a type of rush that some people still enjoy as it reminds an individual that they have control over their own life and no one is going to take it from them. Talking is fine, empathy is fine, but indicating to a bully that you will not back down to them is simply vindicating.

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