bullying punchAs I read yet another article about a child committing suicide because of bullying, I think back to my own experiences and sometimes wonder, “Where does the need to bully comes from?”

Where do children learn to bully? Are they born with the bully gene and then happen to find the right person to take their bully tendencies out on? Are they bullied at home, and feel the need to take out their feelings on others? Why do some children turn the hopeless and angry feelings that are churned up by bullying and direct it at themselves (i.e. commit suicide or become self-destructive), while others direct those feelings outward (i.e. commit acts of violence towards others)?

While the programs focused on preventing bullying in schools are critical, isn’t it equally important to look at the role models those children have? When one spouse emotionally or physically abuses another, we call it domestic violence – but isn’t it really a form of bullying?

Through a Google search, I found this definition of bullying; To use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone). If that’s the case, then it sounds like domestic violence is bullying.

Children observe, or may be victims of domestic violence creating an early role model of bullying. Another family-centered type of bullying is called sibling rivalry, when one sibling beats up on the other. There are also examples of adults in schools, religious, medical and other environments, whose interactions may appear as intimidating. Add to that the examples in the media and in movies and the bullying influence that young people might observe continues to expand.

When these children grow up, there are other places they continue to see bullying and may in fact become perpetrators based on the early role models they observed. There are bosses who threaten an employee with a bad review or who drop not so subtle hints that the employee might be at risk in an upcoming layoff. Marketers and salespeople who exert their influence by saying, “sign up today, you will never have this opportunity again!” can also feel like they are calling on some bully behavior to get results. While these examples may not create the same intensity or “never going to end” feelings, they do create an energy of intimidation towards others.

What comes to mind when you think of these different forms of bullying?

  • Publicly shamed, mocked or called names
  • Told repeatedly what is wrong with you or what you can’t do
  • An outcast from a group or family
  • Harassed at work or school
  • The butt of a nasty practical joke
  • Blamed for another person’s incompetence
  • Caught in a narcissist’s sphere where it is all about them and no one else matches up

And of the course, there is the bullying one does to oneself – bad eating, addictions, and negative self talk – as a few examples.

I remember someone in the news saying something like – “people who are bullied should just get over it”. Really? Bullying has been shown to create lifelong effects. From my personal experience, that is because the underlying message becomes buried deep in the subconscious, creating long-lasting imprints resulting in potentially destructive behaviors.

Whether you bully yourself, have been bullied by others, or are a bully, maybe it’s time to contact Systems of Change. Look at releasing the shadow of your bully or victim and/or the inner conflicts and beliefs created by those sub-conscious imprints to create a more flourishing future.