It is fascinating to watch as the number of adults modeling the behavior of bullying continues to expand, grow and take on new and creative expressions. There is some effort in schools to reduce the amount of bullying that happens. However, it might be time to consider this – why bother when there are an unlimited number of “grown-ups” who have perfected bullying behaviors and are serving as “role models” of this childish behavior?

Bullying seems to be flourishing with adults acting as name callers, devaluers, and abusers. In a previous blog, I wrote about the many ways that bullying manifests – Naysayers – Bullies – Hurting others and yourself. I highlighted that whether it’s from our families with sibling rivalry and spousal abuse, or our workplaces with toxic environments and micro-managing bosses, bullying has many forms. These are just a few:

  • When we seek to feel better about ourselves while putting others down.
  • Blame others because we can’t stand being imperfect (hint – no one is)
  • Force our beliefs on others, because our way is the only one (according to us)
  • Say we value all humans yet establish rules that highlight we clearly don’t
  • Push the concept of freedom while taking away options and choices.
  • Express name-calling about anything that does fit our mold of acceptable
  • Engage in self-sabotage as a form of bullying ourselves

As someone who was bullied in school and has spent years working through the effects, I’d suggest adults practicing this type of behavior take a good look in the mirror (Bullying Ways – The Mirror in Name Calling). Looking at their reflection provides an opportunity to ask themselves – what kind of person devalues another, thinks they know what is best for everyone, and finds difference to be uncomfortable? While the answer is likely different for each person; might the word “mean” apply – Sense of Self-Value – Are You Mean?

The other question to explore is what causes adults to continue the behavior that schools work hard to reduce among our youth. One could say “why bother” addressing bullying in schools given the adult bully role models we see, but ignoring something doesn’t make it go away – Bullying Ways – What We Suppress Persists.

Take a moment to consider – are you building your confidence by putting others down, pushing aside what you don’t understand, or imposing your agenda on others? Please stop, take a step back, and ask yourself why you feel the need to do so. I expect there are many reasons, but no matter what those reasons might be, they present a great opportunity. An opportunity to do your own personal change work ( and instead of modeling bullying behavior, create a pathway forward as a different, more positive type of role model.

© 2023, Systems of Change, LLC