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July 2012
Stand Up ToThe Bully
Dr Roshan Jain
Bullying is a very common and troublesome ailment in the society around us. People tend to ignore a case of bullying as just a part of ‘someone kidding the other’ or as something that ‘occurs only at school’ or as the ‘bruised ego battles of the youngsters’. But, bullying is a much wider evil that lurks everywhere around us – within our homes, at our work places, in our organisations and institutions, in cyberspace and more.

It may surprise you to know that there are welldocumented statistics indicting bullying for the trauma it causes to the victims, even driving them to suicide.

What Is Bullying?
Bullying is the act of one person/group of people using strength or status to infringe on another person/group. It can vary, depending on the age of the people involved and their environment.

In younger years, bullying consists of direct behaviour such as teasing,taunting, threatening, hitting, humiliating and stealing. A youngster could have initiated these actions on his/her own against a person/group, or a group of youngsters could have initiated it against another person/group. In either case, the former is the bully.

Bullying may also be more indirect, causing an individual to be socially isolated through intentional exclusion. While boys typically engage in direct bullying methods, girls who are bullies are more prone to adopt subtle indirect strategies, like spreading rumours enforcing the social isolation of their victims

Personality And Mindset Distinction In Bullies
  • Bullying may be a diversionary behaviour or misuse of status and position.
  • A bully may be an inadequate person who abdicates or denies responsibility for his/her personal failing and in turn projects these feelings of inadequacy on others. It leads the bully to identify another person/target/victim as inferior and therefore deserving of criticism.
  • At times, a bully may act preemptively to reduce the fear of being seen for what s/he is, namely, an incompetent, inadequate and weak individual.
  • Projection and denial are hallmarks of bullying.
Effects Of Bullying
  • During childhood and formative years, bullying has a devastating effect on the development of confidence and self-esteem in the victims.
  • Their coping resources or abilities become deficient, and it has a bearing on their ability to adapt and form healthy relationships.
  • Children who have been victims of bullying can become aggressors themselves, resorting to violence to solve problems.
  • This can also happen with the victim becoming pre-emptive, having learnt about bullying through mere observation.
Bullying vs Harassment
There is often a thin line between bullying and harassment, and they overlap. Harassment is a single offensive and intrusive behaviour with physical component comprising of a sexual, racial or physical nature. There are elements of dominance and superiority and the person being harassed is aware of it.

Bullying is more benign and exclusively psychological, at least initially. Bullying is usually an accumulation of incidents and the victim becomes aware of it much later. Here the focus of the perpetrator can be envy and jealousy

Act Now!
If you, or some one you know, is a victim of bullying – take action!
  • Seek and offer a supportive ear, talk about it, listen.
  • It is likely that the victim will require exploratory therapy to understand the reasons behind the issue, and to develop adaptive resources to cope better and avoid future incidents.
Turning a blind eye to bullying can have devastating consequences for development, health, wellbeing and safety of individuals, and prove disruptive for organizations.

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