Evie Sparkes is a published novelist, content writer and digital media director from Bath. Evie's novel 'Wishful Thinking' is out now.
Why do Some People Live to Bully Others?
A bully is a bully for a reason. No-one wakes up one morning and thinks, you know what, I'm going to make that person's life hell today.
The School Bully
Every school has one, or a few.
There was a girl in my class who treated bullying as a bit of a pass-time. It was as though she lived for her next victim. To top it off, she was popular. I went to an all girls school and I hate to generalise, but I really do think it's a way bigger problem in same sex schools.
She was in my friends group. She quite liked me. I was one of the lucky one's because when she decided you were it, her next victim, you were done for. I was fairly quiet at school. Not shy or anything, but I didn't feel the need to be doing what everyone else was doing. I wasn't afraid to be myself and I think that's probably how I escaped her attacks. Self-confident people don't generally become victims of a bully. The girl in question didn't have a particularly happy home life. She didn't come from a stable family.
When I eventually left school and had a family, I met up with a girl I had known when I was at school. We had coffee and she told me of the torment she had suffered at the hands of this girl. I was so shocked at the scale of this treatment and couldn't believe I hadn't known about it at the time. I did sort of know I suppose, but it never occurred to me that the friend in question wouldn't even turn up for her end of school exams because she was so terrified. To this day she still has vivid memories of her school days, that she says, were ruined. I felt terrible. Had I been so completely blind to the affect this sort of bullying had on others, had I turned a blind eye, or was I so wrapped up in myself that I didn't even care to know?
In this digital age, bullying has evolved with the use of email, mobile phones and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Social media allows bully's to be anonymous. This is tough to police. When I flippantly said this to my son 'Why don't they just close their accounts?' when we were discussing the subject, he quite rightly pointed out, that life is different for them. They've grown up with technology and telling a teenager to come off social media is like cutting off their right arm or shutting them in a locked room with nothing but scraps to eat. Things have moved on and bullying is no different.
Bully's Don't Generally Prosper
In the end, bullies are insecure, unhappy people who don't tend to get all that far in life after school. They rarely reach their potential. Their parents might have been distant, negligent or bullies themselves. They don't have a role model in their life, someone to look up to and aspire to be like.
A bully is looking for power. They want to assert themselves and make the victim feel bad so that they might feel the same way that they feel inside. Making someone else feel terrible in some way makes them feel better. It helps to mask their-own pain and insecurity. According to our latest research, 1 in 2 people experience bullying at some point before their 20th birthday. That's a hell of a frightening statistic.
The Office Bully
The bullies we knew at school sometimes go on to bully or intimidate the people around them and may have used these techniques to climb the employment ladder to a position of authority. Power is like a drug to some people and the more they get, the more they assert it over others.
It might feel difficult to speak up if you are suffering a work-place bully and you may not know how to deal with it. I've dealt with it before myself. I nipped it in the bud and spoke to my boss who immediately backed down and denied meaning anything by it. That was okay. It was all I needed. I just wanted the comments to stop, that's all. I had no desire to take things any further.
If you are able to take that step, then to my mind that's your first port of call. It's always best to confront an office bully head on. Sometimes all they need is a strong word and that will be the end of it. Not speaking up can lead to lots more of the same and some people aren't even aware their behaviour is bullying.
Speak to colleagues and tell then how you are feeling. If they are having the same issue, then get together and confront the abuser. There is safety in numbers and it will give you the confidence to take matters further if you need to.
If it's just you, then find a colleague who is sympathetic to you and ask them to accompany you to talk to the bully. Be prepared for the fact that some people may not want to put their necks on the block so to speak.
If you can't get any help from colleagues and you don't get the response you want from the bully, then it's time to take things to the top.
Bullying should not be tolerated and you deserve better.
Evie Sparkes (author) on May 17, 2019:
Thanks for commenting Lorna. You are right it is so destructive and continues to affect victims for many years, sometimes forever.
Lorna Lamon on May 17, 2019:
Hi Evie, It's so important to shine a light on this topic as throughout my career I have had to treat both children and adults who have been tormented by bully's. More recently I have been involved with on-line bullying which is so destructive and difficult to treat. You have made some really valid points - thank you for sharing.
Evie Sparkes (author) on May 16, 2019:
Sorry to hear that. I hope you've managed to come out the other side.
bkarnisha66 on May 15, 2019:
i been bull before