Tag Archives: reactions

Bullying—action or Reaction?

Guidance counselors, parents, and concerned teachers have often consoled victims by saying  “s/he only picks on you because s/he’s insecure”.  Perhaps.  But is this the whole picture?  Maybe bullies aren’t acting out of their insecurity, but reacting to some other factor— physical or psychological.

In a 1988 study, Jack Katz interviewed hundreds of prisoners, and analyzed hundreds of criminal acts (from property damage to extreme violence against individuals).  In a majority of cases, he discovered that the perpetrator felt humiliated, and that the crime was caught up with this feeling.  That is, their angry, violent actions were reactions.  They were responses to the ‘inadequacies’ (and their shame over them) that the bully felt—by being ‘dis’ed’ (by their victim, or by some other, unrelated event).  Perhaps this initial action  ‘triggers’ an insecurity, a belief of how others ‘must see them’ –especially if they don’t react and ‘set the record straight’–publicly.

Bert Baruch Wylen’s Interview with his bully, in an article entitled “What My Bully Taught Me” http://life.salon.com/topic/interview_with_my_bully/ , seems to support this theory.  Think back on your own experiences—as victim, bystander, or bully.  Does this fit?  Make sense?