Diminishing a Bully's Power
Updated: Feb 20
Yesterday I was really disturbed by a story I heard from a friend of mine. Apparently the daughter of a friend of hers was the target of verbal bullying. The young lady was sitting in class minding her business when another classmate snapped a picture of her. He sent it out as a mass text and included the girl who was the subject of the photo with the caption, “If I had a face like this, I’d kill myself.”
While I never met the young victim’s Mom, I applaud the course of action she took to intervene on her child’s behalf. She first contacted the school to have the kids placed in separate classes, but when they were slow to action, she let them know that she reached out to the media in reference to an article they were publishing on bullying. Parents really must be their children’s advocates. And I am extremely happy that this child was smart enough to share this painful experience with her parent. It’s imperative that we adults train children to know what is and what isn’t acceptable behavior from others, and what steps should be taken if someone is inappropriate with them whether physically, mentally or emotionally. We need to instill in them a strong sense of value.
Believe it or not, the same principle is true for the bully. A child who is hurting others is usually carrying a lot of pain around, and this is their way of displacing the pain. They obviously don’t have a strong sense of value. One of my favorite quotes by Joyce Meyer is, “Hurting people hurt other people.” I am in no way excusing this terrible behavior, nor am I saying that they shouldn’t be punished for inflicting pain on others. I was severely bullied as a child and it left emotional scarring in me that I carried around for years. But, I strongly believe that the bullies often need as much or more counseling than some of their victims. I also think we need to teach kids that bullies are hurting others due to their own brokenness. Kids need to know that the cause of bullying is weakness and not strength. When we look at the bully through those eyes, with pity and perhaps even some empathy, it often takes some of the power away from their words. It may not take away all the victim’s pain, but perhaps it can lessen the sting. When we look at a person through a different lens, it changes the way we view their actions and words.
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