What is Bullying?

Strangely, you will not find an agreed definition of bullying. Everybody knows what bullying behaviour is when they witness it but defining it is trickier.

Definitions of bullying include:

  1. Repeated inappropriate and unreasonable behaviour that is unwelcome.
  2. The act of intentionally causing harm to others through verbal harassment, physical assault or more subtle methods.
  3. Persistent, offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behaviour.
  4. Acts of teasing or picking on others that are intentional and designed to hurt the other's feelings or confidence.
  5. Repeated exposure over time to negative actions by one or more persons.

Bullies want to dominate their chosen victim. A bully can think of many ways to make another person feel hurt, afraid, uncomfortable or miserable. Somebody who is quiet, popular, inoffensive and good at their work is particularly liable to be bullied.

Why do bullies bully? It is not clear why bullies have the need to harm the lives of other people. Some of the theories about why bullies bully are:-

  • A feeling of pleasure in exerting power over others
  • To assuage anger, frustration and self loathing
  • To counter low self esteem
  • Because they were bullied
  • Because it gives them a form of popularity
  • Because they are cowards

Would you rather that a thief entered your home and stole your precious possessions or be bullied for six months? People surveyed opt to have their precious possessions stolen. If the thief is caught, he or she will do a spell behind bars. Yet the bully, who can do infinitely more long-term damage, is rarely punished and never jailed.

When will society become serious about the damage that bullying causes?

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