Types of Bullies - Bullying Series, post #5

(This blog post is part of a special series addressing the topic of bullying)

Just as there are different types of bullying, there are different types of people who bully. In order to learn how to deal with bullying situation, it is important to discern the different personalities and attitudes exhibited by bullies.

Individuals develop attitudes and prejudices over an extended period of time. Each choice we make is built on those made before, creating habits and patterns that direct our actions.

Friends, family, and social environment (classroom, school, community) also influence our choices and what type of people we become. That is not to say each person is not responsible for his or her decisions – they definitely are. But associations with others have a significant impact on behavior, which is why we need friends – and our children need friends - who will inspire us to be better and hold us to a higher standard of behavior.

Let’s look at five types of bullies. (These are not the only classifications, and people might identify with more than one type. See www.stopbullying.gov for other bullying classifications).

Do you recognize any of these types from movies, books, television, or from your own personal experience?

Terminator – physically intimidating, confident, powerful, in control

Manipulator – uses social bullying techniques such as exclusion, gossip, and verbal abuse to control the victim and how others treat the victim.

Charmer – winsome and likeable to some individuals, while being cruel and vindictive toward others. Often able to charm those in authority in order to get his or her way.

Middle man – picks on those lower in the “pecking order” while at the same time being victimized by those higher in the “pecking order.”

Pack – a group that gangs up on an individual. This group might consist of people who are drawn together because of their tendency or desire to be cruel. This group could also include individuals who are not typically aggressive, but join in because they are with the wrong people and want to be accepted.

Each of these “bully types” is an aggressor – someone who initiates hostility or violence, the instigator, the one who “starts it.” They cause trouble because they have an emotional need inside of them. Some need attention or acceptance, others feel they need power, and some desire to control others because they have no real control over their own situations. Some bullies just want to be entertained, and picking on others provides them entertainment.

Filling these emotional “needs” motivates these aggressors to bully others. They mistakenly believe that if they hurt and intimidate, this will satisfy the empty space they have inside themselves.

In the next post of this bullying series, before we can address how to respond to bullying, we need to talk a little bit about understanding the bully as a person.

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