Erasing bullying

Erasing bullying

The times are changing and with them the differences in generational trends become clearly marked, and the simple things that occur with each passing epoch are done at different levels; from the simple to the extreme.
The concept of bullying seems to be rearing its head more times than it did in the past, with more frequent mentions in media of the social kind with its varied platforms of expression.

What is at both ends of the bullying equation has however never been discussed in depth with regard to the true causes and the notions that come with the reality bullying has become.

Sat down with a brother, and we discussed the different levels of bullying, and the only side lacking was the counterpart, that is, the discussion could have perhaps covered more, been more than what the pioneering talk turns out to be; the first step towards uncovering the true face of bullying and what it has become in society, and to do away with all its unsavoury elements: through talk and engagement with the relevant parties to reach suitable solutions.

Individuals, families, and communities at some point experience the effects of bullying, and for many, it becomes unbearable and prevents their harmonious progress toward set goals.

For those strong enough to bear the full brunt of bullying to the point where they reach their goals, a point of advice may be needed on how such individuals overcame the effects of bullying. Such meetings as the one that I had with a long-term brother of mine covered some (if not all) salient causes to bullying as a phenomenon of the social kind.

The discussion turned up seven causes, and these include; insecurity, imposition, vice, lack of self awareness, narcissism, discrimination, and ignorance of the realities. There may well be other causes that are found out as the discussion progresses countrywide in different landscapes of differing social levels.

These include homes, workplaces, schools, communities, relationships, social organisations, and institutions where bullying tends to be encountered first-hand.

The original plan intends that the discussion we had on the day should reach the entire country, that is, the rooting out of such social malaises as bullying should from this moment forth be done in a united fashion where all sectors of society share ideas and solutions to prevalent social problems.
A close analysis of the causes of bullying, that is, the act where a person deliberately intimidates or is cruel to weaker people in order to discourage or frighten them with threats in a domineering manner; the bully sets out to abuse the victim. Often bossy, the bully seeks to stamp their authority by being abusive commonly expressed as violence towards the victim.

Despite the show of bravado, previous research done on the phenomenon turns out that the bully may themselves have previously been abused in the same manner, and so they perpetuate it to assert their status as the ‘big guy’ even in instances where it is not necessary.

This behaviour is a sign of deeply sat insecurity which makes the perpetrator feel better about themselves at the expense of the happiness of those that are abused. Addressing the bully’s past experiences and exploring their possible cures could prove to be remedy to a painful social phenomenon that is on the rise and needs to be curbed before it spirals out of control.

The insecure figure shall often be seen to assert their place in a clique, the society, or the organisation through imposition. The bully does not understand their place; in fact, the bully does not know that they do not have to go to the extremes to prove their worth in the community or society.
The forcible manner in which the bully wants to be heard, to be known, and for their ideas to be accepted without question stems from the need to be understood or accepted as the best person in sight; well, it is not possible that one can be the best everytime, for the truth of the matter is one may excel in certain landscapes but would be forced by nature and the circumstances of the moment to adjust, learn, and adapt to new environments.

This is not the case with the bully who often seeks to mark each territory or social landscape as the lead figure. The bully has the misconstrued view that their ideas are the best, and even if they are trash that has no logical basis, the bully somehow always finds a way to usurp into the freedoms of others by imposing their ‘best’ view which may not essentially be best to everyone or those being bullied into accepting it.

To maintain the lead, junior members (those with lesser power or the weak) of his or her immediate circle are often forced to do duties they would under normal conditions never do. The coercive manner in which they are treated by the bully is the only thing that spurs them forward, to fulfil the personal needs and desires of the bullying figure. Bullies hardly have concern for the needs or opinions related to the welfare of others.

They seek everything to be as ‘they wish’ which is not the case in real life: not all can be as one wishes everytime, there are moments when one should compromise and refrain from practices meant to prove their power over others who have lesser influence and power.

This is the part where one realises that bullying always carries some ulterior motive, and the main one amongst them is the unchecked ambition to be better than everyone else that is around.

This kind of behaviour may stem from the bully’s past; where they could have been exposed to abuse or neglect or to the effects of poverty caused by systematic economic segregation where members of a given sector are deprived of the basic individual, social and economic needs.
The bully in this instance thus develops a mindset that is sadistic, criminal and intentional, meaning that all they mete out to their victim is carefully planned in advance.

Society as of the today needs individuals that are self-aware and confident in their own persons, that is, we need the kind of individual that knows that they cannot be without the presence of others supporting them. This in brief means that the ‘self-worth’ of one should be measured against the manner in which they engage with others. Who is considerate of others and their needs does not often resort to the intimidation tactics of the bully. A considerate person shall instead of forcing others to follow his will show them what it is they really seek to achieve.

Whatever it is the considerate individual wants to achieve is for the benefit of all involved or in the immediate trajectory. This is not the case with the bully that is constantly seeking to find their self-worth which they find by putting down others, that is, these kinds of people find their peace or worth through making others feel less significant than they are.

In brief, the bully tends to be a narcissistic figure who is too self-absorbed to realise that his or her sense of worth is largely dependent on how he or she relates with others. That we need each other to be does not often seem to count in the case of bullies.

Difference is the spice of life, for if we were to wake up similar one day, the world would be a boring space. The bullying character does not understand this aspect of life and since they are self-absorbed, and self-obsessed, bullies tend to hate or fear that which is different from what they conceive the world should be.

The expression of this kind of behaviour is found in discrimination where certain individuals are bullied or discriminated against based on their outward appearance, culture, or behaviour.

The lack of understanding comes from the poor conception of what diversity really serves in the progression of human civilisation. The parts of an engine are different, and they look different, but all of them work together to get the vehicle running.

One finds expressions of bullying in such practices as tribalism and racism; where certain members of a group or sector of society hold the notion that they deserve the benefit of being the sole proprietors of the rewards from human industry. It is a narcissistic tendency figures such as Bantu Steven Biko expressed in these words:

Those who know, define racism as discrimination by a group against another for the purposes of subjugation or maintaining subjugation. In other words one cannot be a racist unless he has the power to subjugate.

The bullying is not just a schoolyard phenomenon that occurs between minors; it stretches all the way to the highest echelons of government in a state. Where one sector feels that they can coerce their opposition just on the basis of their having control of the means of production and the policing forces, it is bullying in action on a large scale.

Close analysis of the perpetrators shall soon reveal all the signs and the characteristics of a schoolyard bully, and the only difference is that the size of the ground has increased a thousand-fold.

Whether it be in schools, in the home, workspaces, communities, relationships, social organisations, and institutions, bullying carries one main characteristic, the ignorance of the realities of life such as freedom of choice, humility, humanity, and character.
The bully expects that the horse should be a dog because they are in the same locus. The bully wants to create as many self images as possible, and anyone or anything that does not suit their self-made image has to be harassed.

I have always wondered how it would be like if the bully were to take a mental journey to Lilliput as the lead character in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and reach those places where horses are noble and where there are giants.

Such a pilgrimage would teach the bully that humility is a virtue and also that there are bigger things than what one often conceives of themselves. Bullying is not just unique to certain individuals, all of us are open and vulnerable to falling into its clutches if we do not try and understand that all of us are born equal and are therefore worthy of equal treatment in terms of our basic human and constitutional rights.

The tendency of the age is to ostracise all that does not conform and all that seem to be different are harassed just on the basis of their being different.
That one should conceive the world and its people to be an entity that should shift at whim is one of the signs that bullying is in its infant stages in the mind of the individual that so believes.

What the campaign on the 11th of March in Mapoteng aims to achieve is to erase all the signs in their infancy, before they become a menace to the world.

Many people have become victims of bullying in its different forms on different platforms and across the various landscapes where human beings have to interact on a day to day basis. What has not been done over the long stretch of history is that bullying has never been confronted head on; it was only mentioned in passing like a hushed wrong.

The increase in the spate of violent bully attacks in recent days has triggered concern in the minds of those who care and my brother, Mosesanyane Mokotjomela of Imperial Secondary School, stands afore as one of those figures who are bold enough to take a stance against the malaise of bullying.
A bully should never be tolerated at all costs, for in their pursuit of the pain of others, the intimidation of the weak, the ostracisation of the different, and the sadistic tendency to hurt others, the bullying type chains the progress of the world.

There is just no painting a harmonious picture of the world with the bully’s spectre hanging over the smiling faces of people at peace with each other. The bully must be erased from the picture.
For the sake of peace and the well-being of the people of the world, it must be erased. Morena Moshoeshoe oa Pele said, “U ka nketsang ha e ahe motse . . . ” this statement paraphrased means, “haughtiness never built a village”. The haughty bully must be erased . . . re-taught.

Tsepiso S Mothibi

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