Recently I watched a video on the vlogbrother’s channel where John Green talked about bullying and how to get through it. I can’t say that I have had a great load of experience with being a direct target of bullying, but I have had the odd one or two people early on in high school who have been passively aggressive to me for a short period of time… With no apparent purpose. Even though it didn’t affect me too dramatically, I do know how shit it feels, and I can only imagine how hard it would be for those people who have been excluded or victimised for a large portion of their lives.
One of the things that John mentioned in this vlog was how there was this one thing that made him understand why bullies acted the way they did. Of course, it was no excuse to be doing that type of shit, but when you think about reasons a bully might… Bully… Well, it puts things into a bit more perspective.
A lot of the times people do the things they do, it’s always due to some past experience, trauma or something bloody awesome happening in their lives. People’s behaviours are always catalysed by something that’s influenced them in some way – and this behaviour they exhibit is a physical hallmark of their experiences. This doesn’t just relate to ‘why a person bullies’, but also why a person might be extra careful. Why a person might incessantly bug you for attention. Why a person is so caught up with how they look. All these things that make up a person is due to something that’s happened in their past.
Now, let’s get back on topic. Bullies may have several reasons for why they do what they do. The one that I’m sure all of us have heard at some point is, “They’re jealous of you”. Another one that also commonly pops up is, “They’re insecure of themselves, so they put you down to make themselves feel better”. Then the really deep and disturbing ones like, “They’ve been verbally/physically/sexually assaulted” or “They have a really tough family life”.
But the one thing that I took away from John’s video is that these people who bully you aren’t necessarily evil. They, too – as hard as it is to believe – are people who are living with their own fears, pains and problems. The fact that they target you in particular is definitely unfortunate, but it doesn’t mean that they have anything against you as a person. Many times, the act of bullying isn’t because the problem lies with you, it’s usually a problem that lies with the other person. Although this may not be 100% accurate and may vary in different cases and situations, bullying can often be a sign of weakness from the perpetrator. They may use this tool as an instrument to gain control and strength in an area that they don’t usually have within their lives.
For all my younger readers out there, if you’re in high school and dealing with a shit load of bullying, know that it’ll stop. High school, although it may be the ‘best years’ for one bunch of people, for others it’s just another thing they have to survive… and depending on how you deal with it, it’ll just be another chapter in your life. This is going to sound like a typical guidance counsellor moment, but if you are being targeted, know that there is somebody out there who will listen and care… Even if they are just people on the internet.