Have you ever watched the movie “Mean Girls,” starring Lindsay Lohan before she was in and out of rehab? The New York Times released an article recently titled “What happens when mean girls grow up?”
What I appreciate the most about the article is how it involves interviews of former-bullies as well as former-victims. The bottom line I received from reading the article is that bullies are never truly bad people within themselves. They are most often teenagers or young adults who are unable to cope with anger and the difficulties of life that become too hard when you are too young to understand (mind you, bullies exist in every age group). The victims themselves are often people going through an unstable transition in life. They are at a stage where they haven’t found where they belong yet, where they don’t know how to view themselves.
As a former-victim, the hardest thing to deal with when it comes to bullies is not hating yourself. Bullying can become extreme at times, and really keep a person awake at night. It is only by finding your inner self, by learning that you can’t judge yourself by what others see in you that you may become happy and come out with a stronger heart.
And of course, at the highest stage of recovery is forgiving your bully. Behind every bully is somehow who is insecure, someone unable to cope with their stress, and someone who is hurting inside. It may be hard to think this, but that bully is someone who will mature one day. Albeit it’s impossible to say whether that maturity will turn them into someone you will like, the next time you come across that bully, perhaps five or ten years down the walk of time, don’t expect he or she to be the same person. Give them a chance; you might discover a friend.
Here are some common bully classifications, courtesy of Bully Online:
Serial Bullies: He/she is untrustworthy, self-centred, arrogant, a practiced-liar. The serial bully is able to exert a hold over people for a variety of reasons, will not taking responsibility for faults.
Motivation: to be the centre of attention
Mindset: control freak, manipulation, narcissism
Malice: medium to high; when held accountable, very high
Motivation: craves respect for being competent and professional despite lacking in competence and professionalism
Malice: low to medium; when held accountable, medium to high
Motivation: task focused
Mindset: confusion, inability to understand how others think and feel
Malice: zero to low; when held accountable, low to medium (it’s often the absence of malice that identifies a guru type of serial bully) but could be medium to high if narcissistic or psychopathic traits are present
The Socialised Psychopath or Sociopath
Also known as the corporate psychopath, workplace psychopath, industrial psychopath and administrative psychopath.
Motivation: power, gratification, personal gain, survival
Mindset: manipulation, deception, evil
Malice: high to very high; when held accountable, off the scale
By being aware of the types of bullies, you can identify people in your life that may in fact be bullying you without your recognition. This can happen to anyone, so don’t think it’s silly. It happens. Understand that this doesn’t mean every person who has qualities among those listed above is a bad person, but know when someone is treating you unfairly. It can help you identify sources of stress or unhappiness in your life that can may be addressed.
Remember, don’t be a bully.