The Different Faces of Bullies
by Flowering Spring Tree
Throughout my life, there are different types of people whom I have experienced as bullies. Typically, bullies have directly and openly presented themselves to me as those who are mean-spirited, hurtful, angry, jealous, and insecure. In other instances, there have been those who have been bullies toward me who have hidden their agendas behind false smiles and fake kindnesses. It is these bullies who behave as if they are friends, though who really have harmful, ulterior motives in mind about whom I believe people must be most cautious and aware.
Those bullies who are openly mean and nasty are those whom one expects to always be harming in some way to others. I would like to suggest that the bullies who behave as though they are friendly and kind, but who are actually somehow harming or injurious behind the scenes are those who are most dangerous. Those who place their trust in people who appear to be kind, friendly, helpful, and/or supportive – but who really are not – are at great risk for losses in their physical, mental, emotional, and financial safety and security.
These types of situations can apply to children who trust and rely upon adults who appear to be kind, but who are actually bullies or worse. How many children have trusted a seemingly kind adult, only to be harmed in some way? There are other incidents involving the elderly who are preyed upon by bullies who scam and convince them to hand over monies to them. Other types of situations may be experienced by women in relationships, for example; a woman may be in a relationship with a controlling or domineering partner who bullies or harms her in some way.
Bullying can take on all shapes and sizes, all backgrounds, and all ages, races, and genders. Kids may bully other kids; adults may bully other adults; adults may bully children; and other scenarios, as well. One of the biggest areas of trust that bullies – and others – have created in our society is of people feeling anxious and/or cautious about those who are genuinely kind, friendly, helpful, and supportive. There are bullies who appear to be friendly and kind, but who are not; and there are those who actually are friendly and kind. Those who are truly kind and good may lose heart due to the harmful actions of those who behave in a kindly way, but who are not actually good.
Due to the harm and mistrust caused by bullies and those who do not have others’ best interests in mind, our society has lost the element of people being able to trust those who are genuinely good people. Our society now leans more toward the side of caution and mistrust because, so often, one does not know who to trust. It is the same with bullies. It is always easier to decide that an openly mean or injurious person is a bully rather than one who appears kind and friendly, and who is actually a bully.
Bullies have taken too much from our society in the way of emotional security. I am left to wonder if we will ever get that back? Therefore, I must ask what you are doing today to do your part to be kind, friendly, helpful, and supportive of others. What are you doing to place yourself in another’s shoes, to try to relate, and to try to understand what he or she is experiencing? What are you doing to be a guide, role model, and leader for others in the ways of goodness and kindness? Have you complimented another today? Have you asked others if there is anything you could do for them today? Remember that a kind gesture could make someone’s day, especially if he or she has experienced bullying, whether open or concealed. You can make a difference!