Audra Krell

On Purpose

How To Know if You’re A Bully

Photo Courtesy @iStockphoto

Photo Courtesy @iStockphoto

Bullying is a pervasive problem which I believe stems from abandonment issues. It’s defined in multiple ways and some countries have no legal definition of bullying while the US has state laws against it. Bullying is a form of abuse which covers a gamut of emotional, verbal and physical scenarios. It is abuse, harassment, mobbing,threats and assault. Bullying by any other name, stinks just as bad.

While the definition and recognition of what exactly bullying is, is growing rapidly, our culture houses bullies of all ages and stages, who do not not know that they are abusive. Even people who are viewed as good and upright are bullying their peers and family members. Instead of jumping to judge others, we would do well to look inward and make sure that we are not contributing to the bully culture.

The following may be extremely difficult to consider.

Eight ways you might be a bully:

1. When you don’t get your way, you intentionally make others feel uncomfortable.

2. You put people’s dreams on a leash and then parade them about and mock them in front of others.

3. You hold people’s past against them and threaten to expose your knowledge.

4. You threaten harm verbally and in your actions, even though you believe you will never act on your threats.

5. You subtly and constantly try to coerce others to do anything and everything you want.

6. You try to isolate others from social circles at church, work, school or any gathering place.

7. You indirectly bully your loved ones and others by refusing to speak to them.

8. You verbally abuse people in front of others even though you  follow with “I’m kidding,” or “I’m just sayin”.

Bullying includes name calling, verbal or written abuse (Cyber bullying), exclusion, physical abuse and coercion to name a few. We all fall down. But if after reading this you realize that you have a pattern of harming people by repeatedly doing one, some, or all of these, I encourage you to seek help. Learning about your behavior can lead to positive change and a healed soul who isn’t looking to others to fill a God-shaped hole.

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10 thoughts on “How To Know if You’re A Bully

  1. Floyd on said:

    I think we might all be guilty of number five!
    It’s funny, even at this age it’s easy to pick out the bullies, and just like as kids, the bullies are the ones who can’t back up their mouth.

    I actually never thought of a passive aggressive person being a bully. It all comes down to insecurity I think.

    Anyway, good stuff. Oh and I forgive you for bullying me….

    Just kidding! I mean, not that I wouldn’t forgive you… Oh, you know what I mean!

    • I’m starting to recognize passive aggression as a huge bullying problem. I believe many people get away with abuse because they are passive aggressive.
      You are so funny. I thought for sure you were going to forgive me for not posting for so long, but I know you forgive me for all my missteps! LOL And yes, at one time or another we all do number 5.

  2. We need Jesus so much with everything, but with regards to bullying, the need is especially clear, from point of view. In my experience, bullies aren’t born that way, but carefully taught (either by their own bullies or by watching others get bullied). I wholeheartedly concur with the insecurities and need stemming froma God-sized hole. I also hope that we, as Christians, will love these bullies and their victims to Christ by our example of respect and care, and of course, proper boundaries. Your post is an excellent place for us to begin.

    • Thank you Gretchen. I too believe, bullies are carefully constructed. Some of it goes back to choice though, allowing ourselves to justify bullying behavior because “we don’t know any different” or because it’s what our parents, teachers,coaches, friends, co-workers did to us. It has to stop somewhere and looking to Jesus for loving ways to care for everyone is a great place to begin, as you so wonderfully expressed.

  3. Thanks for this, Audra. I was bullied in 6th grade and it had a huge impact on me. I had enough problems, with my mother’s death and other things, and I can see I was easy pickins. I think teachers have a great responsibility to act in situations like that. There is plenty they could say and/or do. Bullies don’t just stop bullying on their own. :)

    • Thank you for sharing your heart Susan. They don’t just stop on their own, it is a learned behavior which requires intervention. Like everything else, admitting there is a problem is the first step. Teachers do of course have a great responsibility to act, but the way we tax our teachers with too many students, often makes it impossible to give this crisis the attention it needs.

  4. D. Riolo on said:

    Bullying can be depicted in so many ways. In some way I am sure I have said something wrong or have been mean to someone. The bottom line is recognizing that hurting someone is not okay. We all take criticism and brush it off. When it is constant and always directed at you whether verbally or physically it can take a toll on you. I have been picked on in various ways and I know I don’t like it. It’s hard to decipher if what you say or do is hurting someone but I think most of the time it is obvious. My rule of thumb is , if you don’t like how someone treats you then don’t treat anyone the same way. Easier said than done. Especially when you are innocently being sarcastic…if that is even possible…and that sarcasm is interpreted as insulting. Where do we draw the line? I don’t think people should be physically abused or verbally abused. I have been verbally abused at school, in the work place and in public. I have let it go most times but sometimes I speak my mind because I have the right to defend myself. So this bullying epidemic is not isolated to just the school yard…it goes beyond…and I only know this from experience. How we stop people from being mean and spiteful towards each other is up to each of us. We need to be responsible for our own behaviors and actions and recognize that our behaviors and actions cause a ripple effect of hateful damage to one another.

    • Thank you for stopping by D, and for taking the time to comment on this issue. I think your rule of thumb is so great and if more people would just think about how they would feel, before they act, the world would be a different place. We must make our own behavioral choices, not based on whether someone deserves it or not, but on who we want to be as people. Let’s commit by saying “the ripple stops here!”. Thank you again for your meaningful contribution to the conversation.

  5. Great post and thoughts! It’s not just children who bully but also adults. I’ve seen the negative impact of bullying from different managers I’ve had in the past. People or leaders who bully really bring about negative change.

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