One Word Fits All for those who engage in harassing, stalking, hitting, fighting, threats, blackmail, domestic violence, rape, gang violence, drug trafficking, killing, terrorism and more…that one word is BULLY!

The bully, whether in person, in cyberspace, via telephone, email and texts, and any other form of communication, torments, persecutes, oppresses, intimidates, browbeats, harasses, and frightens their prey with aggressive and tyrannical behavior.

Even though a bully will minimize and rationalize his or her (yes I really did say her) behavior in order to justify his or her actions, there is NO WAY OUT. Bullying is bullying is bullying period!

Bullies come in every size, shape, and age. Some are just bigger…and older…than others. And yes, they are boys and girls…male and female.

Listen carefully…bullies are not only the mean kids on the school bus or the playground. They are not only in the halls and bathrooms of schools and movie theatres.

Little bullies grow bigger and they grow older. And the form of bullying grows, too. One common version of the bigger and more grown-up version of the kid on the school bus is the “grown-up” bully who engages in Domestic Violence.

Acts of violence can be extreme enough to be what we now refer to as terrorism. But, when this extreme form of bullying happens in the domicile, we refer to it as Domestic Violence rather than terrorism. Does the term Domestic Violence lessen the terror? Does the term Domestic Violence make the terrorizing behavior of another less terrifying or even less deadly for those who are terrorized by another? Yes, Domestic Violence is an act of domestic terrorism.

So who is a bully anyway?

The bully is someone who lacks self-dependent esteem. The bullying behavior they engage in is just a smokescreen that acts as a cover up for this lack. In fact it is the lack of self-dependent esteem that acts as the stimulus for bullying. The bully is angry because, if the truth be known, they don’t think they’re good enough when compared to others. So bullies bully to be in control, to look good, to be right, and to receive approval from their peers.
Bullies get their esteem from the approval of others who esteem them for their deviant behavior. They depend upon getting this esteem from others because without it they would have none at all.

Anyone can be a bully. In addition to age and gender, a bully can be any height and weight, any race, culture, social status, and sexual orientation. A bully can be rich or poor, employed or unemployed, popular or unpopular, educated or uneducated. They can be religious, spiritual, agnostic, or atheist.

A bully can be your coworker, professional colleague, next door neighbor, and even your best friend, parent, child, and spouse.

A bully can be a celebrity, star athlete, favored politician, educator, religious leader, corporate CEO, and others in high places who are often role models for the rest of society, especially the young.

In the extreme sense, bullies are gang members who terrorize entire neighborhoods and kill for a color and three letters. They are drug dealers who prey on those who are looking for a way to feel better. And they are terrorists who terrorize the world with their atrocious acts.

So what is the difference between star athletes and thugs who are bullies and commit acts of violence, domestic or otherwise?

Money, prestige, popularity, position, and even publicity are at the top of the list. These five things keep the celebrity bully, star athlete bully, favored politician bully, educator, religious leader, corporate CEO bully, and other bullies in high places buoyed up. It allows them to rationalize and justify their alleged acts of violence. It often gives a false sense of above-it-allness which allows them to fake their way through life as a kind and loving individual on the football field or in the corner office while they become as sick as the secret they work so hard to keep hidden from the adoring eyes of their fans or employees.

Bullies have a great need to fit in and belong somewhere whether it be in the corporate board room, in a religious organization, or in a terrorist group.

Bullies are other-dependent. They depend upon being liked and respected by someone whether it be their fans, voting constituents, employees, parishioners, gang members, prison inmates, or even terrorist organizations.

Let’s get clear about what actually constitutes an act of bullying.

Bullying isn’t always hitting, slapping, kicking, throwing things, or knocking someone out. Some bullies kill and murder while others are sneaking around gossiping about others behind their back.

The verbally abusive bully yells and screams, name calls, spews profanity towards other, and threatens with words.
The emotionally abusive bully plays mind games, lectures, manipulates to get what they want, controls, torments with the love/hate cycle, and yes even cries.

The sexually abusive bully engages in forced sexual acts which can include inappropriate fondling and rape. It can be performed with a baby, toddler, adolescent, teenager, adult, or senior citizen. It can be performed on one’s own child, sibling, parent, spouse, relationship partner, or total stranger.

The physically abusive bully is physically violent…hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, pushing, choking, burning, and the list goes on.

Whatever the type of bullying, one thing is for sure…all forms of bullying hurt.

That brings us to the bullied.

Once again, One Word Fits All for those who allow anyone to harass, stalk, hit, threaten, blackmail, physically abuse, rape, commit gang violence, terrorize and more…that one word is BULLIED!

People, men or women, who allow themselves to be bullied by the bully have no self-esteem either. They too are angry. So let’s take a look at the characteristics of the bullied.
Many of very sensitive, passive, or quiet and withdrawn. The bullied often think they aren’t as good as everyone else. Like the bully they want approval from others… so they do what others tell them to do.

The bullied seldom stand up for themselves. They ultimately end up without an identity of their own because they give up their identity to the bully. This leads to more anger which can turn into a very deep depression…sometimes so deep that suicide is the end result.

We see too much of this is in breaking news.

We must be careful to differentiate between those who allow themselves to be bullied for approval from others and those who are out-sized and cannot defend themselves against the brute force of someone with greater strength.

There is a distinct difference between the bullied who continues to be in relationship with someone who screams, hollers, and calls them names and the bullied who stays because they fear for their life.

It is important that the latter has enough esteem and respect for themselves to seek support from those who can help them safely leave this type of bully.

Neither the bully nor the bullied have self-dependent esteem. For the most part, both feel as though they don’t fit in and belong much of anywhere so they get in wherever they can fit in. The standards are pretty low for being a gang member, drug dealer, or terrorist. Just adhere to their beliefs and you’re in. All you have to do is be willing to hurt someone, smoke a little dope, or practice violence – bullying.

And the same applies to the bullied. The standards are very low to fit in and belong in the bully’s life. The bullied will often think something like this…“If you like me, then I sure do like you too.” How often does the bullied overlook the signs of bullying just to be liked? When you don’t feel good about yourself you are more likely to like anyone who likes you regardless of the consequences.
The bullied will often hide that they are bullied to look good to others. They are afraid to stand up for themselves for fear of being found out and not being approved of by others.

Then for some who don’t esteem themselves the stakes are higher. They understand they have to get all A’s, be the best athlete, wear designer-label apparel, live on the right side of the tracks, graduate from an ivy-league school, be seen with all of the right people in all of the right places and own all of the right stuff.

After all, most of us have been taught that we are as good as our stuff, our accomplishments, and associating with the right people.

Both the bully and the bullied will even fake happiness and pretend to be someone they know they aren’t so that others will have a good opinion of them.

We have already noted that the bullied hurts, but have you ever thought about the fact that the bully hurts too?
Even though there might not be much sympathy for the bully, all bullies hurt, too.

While most of our focus is on the victim’s pain and little on the bully’s pain (and rightly so), we must address the fact that bullies hurt too if we are ever going to eradicate acts of violence. We can’t stick our heads in the sand when it comes to the bully’s pain if we want to do something to stamp out bullying.

Bullies hurt because they don’t like themselves no matter how much they might pretend that they do. No matter how much they profess to like themselves. No matter how much applause and admiration they receive from their fans, how many elections they win, or how high they are on the corporate ladder, and no matter how much alcohol they drink, dope they smoke, or drugs they use, they are not happy with themselves from the inside out. They are afraid of letting anyone know this for fear of not being liked, of not being accepted into their group of choice, or of not being a success.

We live in a society that has been taught to be other-dependent in order to feel good. We have been taught that we are as good as our ‘stuff’. We have learned that our value is measured by what we do, what we have, and what or who we know.

We have been taught to compare our accomplishments to others’ accomplishments to determine our worth.
Those who are other-dependent won’t esteem themselves unless someone else esteems them. Because they are other-esteem dependent they are in need of a lot of external bolstering. When people don’t esteem themselves from the inside out there is never enough esteem from the outside in to last for very long. Unfortunately there is no SELF-esteem in that kind of esteem. It is totally other-dependent.

This has to be addressed if we are ever going to stamp out bullying that presents itself in the form of violence, domestic and otherwise.

Punishment doesn’t stop bullying, domestic violence, or even terrorism. So how do we end bullying? How do we end the violence, domestic or otherwise? We do so by ending the cycle of other-dependency. We end the cycle of the need for approval from others, the need to look good, the need to be right, and the need to control the way things are.

So what has to change? The bully has to learn how to feel good about him or herself. The bully has to have an inner knowing that he or she has intrinsic value…no matter what they do, have, or know.

This equally applies to the bullied. The bullied has to learn how to feel good about him or herself to stop being vulnerable to anyone who likes them, especially the bully.
Bullies and the bullied have to change the way they see themselves.

When bullies like who they are and believe they have basic fundamental value, their anger and the need to take it out on others dissipates.

And when the bullied change the way they see themselves and believe they have basic fundamental value, they have the ability to say no to the red flags of bullying behavior.
Both the bully and the bullied begin to shift from other-dependent esteem to self-dependent esteem. This shift is sorely needed at this time in our society. We cannot create peace in a world of discontent when individuals are not at peace with and within themselves for no reason other than that they exist. People who own self-dependent esteem are able to live life without fear, anger, and limitation. They lose the need to be violent and to hurt others.

Author's Bio: 

Patricia Noll is a televised self-esteem expert, author of Good With Me: A Simple Approach to Real Happiness from the Inside Out, Speaker, Consultant, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Addictions Professional, Acupuncture Physician, and Founder of Focus One, an Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Program licensed by the state of Florida since 1989.

Her Focus One Treatment Manual has received endorsements from internationally renowned authors and lecturers Deepak Chopra, Dr. Larry Dossey, Jack Kornfield, Ph.D., and Jacquelyn Small, M.S.S.W.