Where bullies come from….

There has been so much in the news lately about Bullying like it’s a new thing but bullies have been around since the beginning of time.  I remember my dad’s stories of the bully on his block that would steal his lunch money, call him names, kick his bike until one day my dad learned to throw a right punch that knocked that bully right off his arse.  Back then in the time before now bullies were still mean, they still called names, they demanded show downs in the parking lot after school – but they fought with their fists not their words.  There’s something simple about a fist fight, someone wins mostly by luck determined by how many punches they were able to land.  A fist fight is over when the punches stop, people move on, they get past it, and the  pain goes away after the swelling goes down.  Now bullies use sharper more dangerous tools, their words.  Words land like punches but they penetrate to much deeper tissue, places that cannot be seen by the human eye.  Words linger much longer than a punch to the face as they travel through our brains being processed over and over again each time hurting more than the first moment we heard them.  Words are like sponges, the more we think about them the bigger and heavier they get.  People who write know how powerful words can be.  Words can make you happy or sad in a seconds time, they can bring you into one reality and out of another in the blink of an eye; words create as much as they destroy and sometimes simultaneously.  As we now know, words can kill.

I’m not sure when or how bullies come into existence, are they born out of the misfortunes of life?  Or are bullies simply people who know nothing of the pain that words can cause?  If you’ve felt the burden that words can lay upon your shoulders aren’t you less likely to transfer that burden to someone else?  I’d like to think so.  But who’s to blame?  Parents?  Administrators of schools? The victims?  If there were no weak people would bullies still exist?

In my forty some years of life I have learned a thing or two, some of it useful, some not, but one thing that does come in handy is my ability to express myself which gives me power in a way nothing else could.  Could it be that simple?  Do we as parents teach our children that it’s healthy to express themselves or do we strip it from them until we think they fit into the mold that society has deemed appropriate and then send them out into the world with no coat of armor to protect themselves?  And why do we stuff them into those molds?  For them or for us so no one looks sideways at us when our children stand out in the crowd?  I’ve lived my life both ways, in a mold and broken free of one and must say I much prefer the edges of myself that fun freely to create any shape they please.  So who do I believe is to blame for bullies?  Society.   Ads are pasted on television, in magazines, on billboards of what an acceptable human being should look like.  There are clothes that are supposed to transform you into something better than you were before you slipped into them, cars that make you cooler just because you drive them, techno devices that make you smarter just because you hold them in the palm of your hand, music that makes you more sensitive because you listen to it, makeup that makes you prettier than you were before you put it on, and people to tell you that without these things – you are really nothing worth anything at all.  Who creates these standards?  We do. 

We’re all to blame for bullies.  Every time you pass by a kid who’s being mean to another kid on the playground and you say nothing, every time you hear your own child talk badly about someone else in their class and you listen without interrupting, every time you gossip about someone else, every time you speak badly of another human being, every time every time every time – we are to blame for bullies.

Bullies exist because we let them, plain and simple.

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