Do bullies know they are bullies? Do they realize they are causing emotional distress to their victims? As the debates about how to stop bullying continues, some are rising up saying that bullies do not always realize they are bullies. This can make the path to end bullying even harder.
Do Bullies Know They Are Bullies?
Do Bullies Have Low Self Esteem?
Maybe- According to the article Psychologist: Bullies Know They Are Bullying from the Huffington Post, bullies today come in all shapes and sizes. Some bullies enjoy the imbalance of power that happens when they bully someone. They enjoy the feeling of holding power over others and of showing off that power a bit. Enjoying the feeling of power does not necessarily equate to low self-esteem.
Other types of stereotypical bullies are often loners who do not easily make friends. They may have a single sidekick, but generally, they have trouble creating solid friendships. The key is that the bully often lashes out to protect themselves. They may have been bullied in the past and now bully to keep from becoming the victim. They may have low self-esteem and bully because making someone else feel bad makes them feel better.
So do bullies know they are bullies? Yes, regardless if they have low self-esteem or not, bullies are generally aware that what they are doing is wrong. They may not know how to have healthy interactions, but they generally know they are bullying.
Do Bullies Feel Bad About Bullying?
Most bullies truly do not feel bad about the frustration and trouble they cause. A great article in Psychology Today explains that most bullies do not feel bad. It can be incredibly difficult to step outside yourself and to realize your own negativities. People who are very successful usually have the great ability to see their own shortcomings.
Most people who bully simply do not have the ability to look at their own interactions as negative. Since they are feeding off of the interactions and it simply stops them from being able to see themselves in the interaction. If you try to have sympathy for the bully, many times the reaction is for the bully to lash out in some sort of attack. This attack mode is learned and is a way to protect themselves in response to shame.
How Do Bullies Choose Who They Attack?
Bullies do not usually attack confident people. A confident person is much harder to bully, especially if they have a circle of friends around them. Bullies tend to isolate sensitive people and pick at their insecurities. By isolating the person, it is much harder for the victim to defend themselves. Fighting back can cause the bullying to become worse if the situation is one on one. The bully will often fight harder so they do not lose their power.
The good news is that bullies can change. Do bullies know they are bullies? Not necessarily, but once they learn they are seen negatively by friends and classmates they may try to change. So just because someone is a bully in school does not mean they will be a bully forever.
So do bullies really know they are bullies? Do you know anyone who was a bully and changed? Tell me in the comments.
Image Credit: Francisco Luco