Origins and Growth of Bullying
Bullying is a growing problem in our Internet age because people have more access to anonymously inflict pain on others through use of extensive media. We are all vulnerable and people of lesser ability and understanding are at a greater degree of risk. Bullying is unhealthy for both the bully and the victim.
Bullies are internally weak and thrive on possession of power over others. This power is short-lived and bullies constantly seek new victims to fulfill their need to be dominant. This dominance provides feedback to the bully’s ego that says they are strong and not as weak as they once perceived themselves to be.
People from all sectors are capable of becoming bullies. There are child bullies, manager bullies, teacher bullies, teenage bullies, parent bullies, you get the point. Bullying is derived from the “Need for Power” which was masterfully presented to the world by Harvard’s late David McClelland.
Bullying is a continuous 360 degree cycle.
Bullies fear being bullied. Bullying is learned from being the victim of or witnessing bullying. Bullies fear retribution and seek out easy targets. Managers bully the quiet subordinate. Kids bully the weaker kid who doesn’t stick up for themselves. Militarily stronger countries bully weaker countries. Bullying is part of human nature because we all have the need for power.
The greatest degree of bullying is Dictatorship – i.e. Adolf Hitler, Napoleon, Ivan the Terrible.
We all have the need for power but it does not need to become toxic. The toxic leaders above were once the victim or witness to bullying and learned their behavior. Today, people are increasingly becoming bullies out of fear of either being the victim or because of their toxic need for power.
We all have the ability to become a bully if the situation is conducive. We need to educate our children, co-workers, friends, associates, and ourselves about the dangers and implications of bullying. Bullying negatively affects our society and creates a dangerous negative feedback loop that is growing in size and strength. Our children are becoming the victims of bullying because bullies have learned this behavior from the adults in their lives. We need to be aware of our behaviors, lead by example, and have common courtesy and respect for our fellow people.
Keith Lawrence Miller, MA – Executive Career Coach
Board Certified Coach, Columbia Alumni Career Coach, ICF Certified & Credentialed Coach, MA Organizational Psychology from Columbia University
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