Bullying is, to date, one of the problems of every society. Many people believe that only children bully one another and that is why most contents on bullying have to do with parenting. But judging from what is happening around us, you will agree with me that most bullies are adults. You find these people in the office, market, bus stations, neighbourhood, your village, and even your home. Many of our political, religious, and academic leaders are also bullies. That is why many persons are afraid to challenge or disagree with the opinions of their leaders irrespective of how wrong those leaders are.
Bullying has been identified as the major cause of mental, psychological, and physical health problems. People that were bullied are never happy. They are constantly on their guard because they are unsure of what they will do or say that will land them the next pain. Victims of bullying develop low self-esteem, become depressed, go into substance abuse, and can even harm themselves. Academically, most victims of bullying perform below standard because they don’t believe in their capabilities. Emotionally, victims of bullying are stressed up. In offices, bullied colleagues try as much as possible to shy away from responsibilities that will bring them to the limelight because they believe they will expose them to more bullying and possible harm. The consequences of bullying are so enormous that they all can’t be discussed here. But it is pertinent for you to understand that bullying has grave effects on its victims.
One thing people continue to ask concerning bullying is why people do it. As mentioned earlier, bullying is supposed to stop when people grow up but it doesn’t. More adults are becoming bullies, even though they know the adverse effects their actions have on others. The fact that these adult bullies continue with their wicked acts despite knowing their effects will tell you that they do them deliberately. They use bullying as their objects of control and manipulation. They believe that by hurting others, they can instil fears into them and turn them into their puppets. Unfortunately, they are right because they succeed.
Some people also resort to bullying because they see it as the only way they can attract the desired attention. These are the unsecured persons that feel no one wants to relate with them. If they bully someone and notice that it attracted the attention of the people they wanted, they continue with that modus operandi despite how damaging their actions are. In the cyber world, this is the usual method many social media ‘influencers’ use to attract followers and businesses.
Some bullies use their actions to cover up their offenses or crimes. Growing up, we witnessed this type of bullying (many of us were guilty of this). Remember the time you promised your younger siblings and cousins of a “beating they will receive” if they tell your parents what you did? You actually bullied them into silence. Many children do and still do this, but they stop as they grow older and realize their parents won’t punish them for every ‘crime’ they commit. But, unfortunately, many people grew up with this attitude. Criminals use this approach to silence witnesses. Politicians use it to quell opposition. Religious leaders promise people of imminent death and ‘generational curses’ if they expose their atrocities. All these and more are instances of bullying done to cover crimes and offenses.
Some people bully others because they want to destroy them. This may sound outrageous but it is true. Some people bully their targets because they are jealous of their progress and, hence, want to bring them down. The problem here is that the bullies can go to any length to destroy their targets because they are motivated by a negative emotion – jealousy – which can burn the soul of the bearer so long as he entertains it. So, as long as this bully continues to envy his target, he will continue to bully him. The downfall of his target may not even satiate his jealousy-induced appetite.
People also bully those they see as threats. It does not matter if the target is aware of his threatening status or not; so long as the bully believes he (the target) will stand in his way of achieving the desired goal, he will devise means of tormenting him. This is commonly found in offices, where senior colleagues think the junior ones may become managers before them because of their vast knowledge and expertise. This, here, is one of the major reasons bright employees are targets of their immediate superiors and other colleagues that were in the office before them. This is also why people’s files disappear in some offices.
“Who is a bully?” some of you may ask because you don’t believe adults are capable of doing all that was mentioned above. Well, if you say hurtful words, even as a tease, to people because you want to manipulate and/or control them, you are a bully. If you promise a person that you will “deal with him” for challenging you or your stance, you are a bully. If you hit people to force them into doing what you instructed (dear parents), you are a bully. If you force your colleagues, be it junior, peer, or senior, to adhere to your rules or face losing their promotion (or having low appraisal), you are a bully. So long as there is intimidation, coercion, aggression, threat, or hurt, to make people act as you desired, you are a bully.