23 May 2012

The Many Facets of Bullying Part 1

'Objectives of serial bullies are Power, Control, Domination and Subjugation'.

Bullying has been an integral part of the makeup of humankind since homes were the caves of Europe and palaces and huts in Africa.  Of late, we've re-visited this phenomenon among human beings with a clear mandate to stop the pain and suffering of the victims as well as the collateral damage.  The catalysts are the beatings, deaths, suicides, verbal assaults and unusual humiliation of our young.  The press and various blogs have made an issue of this behavior in its many forms.  Physical, verbal and relational are a few and there is a continuum of degrees from mild to severe.  Cyber-bullying is a fairly new addition and appears to be by far one of the most intense forms.   It manifests as troll behaviors, hacking, anonymous assaults and reaches a much broader populace.

This topic is so expansive and will require future commentary on the various aspects of this scourge. However, I want to begin addressing what it does to our children, adolescents and young adults and the life long consequences that are prevalent in our government, educational, social and religious systems.

How many of us remember in our own personal histories that one or two and if you were really unlucky that group who made your life pure hell for brief or extended periods while attending elementary, middle or high school.  It didn't matter if you were in the public school system or private institutions.  Bullying is everywhere and it manifests in the form of youth, stressed out teachers and administrators.  In the case of your peers--you were locked into that prison of 'secrecy' for if you told--you'd have hell to pay for informants are the bane of most mainstream or sub societies.

I can remember a male bully who made my life miserable when I was in middle school. Most of my time was spent devising new escape routes on the way home during school hours and at 3p.m. when that bell sounded--my heart would sink. The adrenaline was ridiculous as I raced down side streets to avoid confrontations.  To this day I don't understand why it started but it ended when I moved and entered high school.  Later, as a middle-aged adult I heard that this assailant had become a felon and spent most of his life in prison where he died at the hands of a fellow inmate!   I thought about all the psychological and physical trauma he had inflicted on me and others during his lifetime and wondered if there is a special place in hell for people like him. 

What I don't remember as an adolescent is youth committing suicide or mass killings of other youths by victims of bullying.  The game has expanded somewhat and now we have not only racial, gender and nerd bullying but gay bashing has become salient.  I'm sure it went on when I was a kid, however, the consequences are far more daunting and we are burying our children because of it.  The latter hasn't reached the reality of gang-banging and all the homicides associated with it, yet, it's becoming more prominent.  The poems and epitaphs written by adolescent boys bragging about short life expectancies  and profiting from this sad state of affairs remains daunting.  It's going to take more than the micro concept of a village. Most of our societal systems that contribute to a well functioning society will have to develop new and better policies and substantial operational methods to save our youth from themselves and from others. As a society we are very good at theorizing what needs to be done but the social scientists, educators, psychologists, clinical social workers, counselors, family therapists, law enforcement and medical personnel must focus on procedural approaches.  They must be solution focused and accountable.  Most of us who are honest about this condition have known and witnessed the implications and consequences  of previous generations who sanctioned or passively accepted bullying practices . 


The initial four  images have been viewed as "children will be children" and we see how if left unchecked the final two on so many fronts have become the worst nightmares for parents and society in general. The links I've provided focus on the psychological, ecological, familial and sociological theories on bullying behaviors which I would encourage you to read. This entry is a brief overview of observational and personal experiences as it relates to one of the many aspects of intimidation.  Part 2 will focus on adult bullying and its many forms within a myriad of  milieus.

Social Workers Struggle To Deal With Cyber Bullying

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