Bullies are cruel people: even though the bully is being cruel because he is really hurting inside: he’s secretly afraid that no one could ever love him, or that he’ll never be good enough for anyone to think he is special. He may say, “Oh, I’m the best!” or, “Everybody else around here is a jerk!” but what he’s really saying is: “I don’t feel happy about myself. I don’t feel good about myself, I hate it that you feel good about yourself when I can’t: It’s not fair! It’s not fair when everyone else is so good. The only way I can every be good is to bring everyone else down here, down where I am feeling bad and stupid and I know no one could ever love me.
That is the bully’s greatest mistake: to bring other people down where he is, thinking that it might make him feel better. It usually doesn’t make him feel better at all but if he sees someone weaker than he is, he can always tell himself that he is all right: there’s someone worse than he is! And if someone is worse than he is, then that means he can keep away from being humiliated.
Bullies are dangerous: they have been bullied! If they have been bullied they don’t know any other way of working through things: everything turns out into hitting and hating and using force, or making other people smaller and more hurt than they are: they don’t know any other way! IN fact, a great many bullies think that the kinds of things they really need to feel better: love and friendship, caring and doing right to another person, is silly and stupid: no one can believe in that stuff!
Because bullies don’t believe love is real; because bullies know they will never get love, they make love itself bad. When they do that, they turn everyone else into a bully, too.
There are several things that nearly all bullies do. The first is to turn their own bad behavior into your fault! If a bully hits you, whether with his fists or his bad words or a sneer, and you speak up saying, “Hey! Don’t do that!” the bully will often say, “Do what? I didn’t do anything to you! You knocked into my desk!” The bully, of course, won’t tell anyone that that he tripped you, or punched you or moved his desk in your way. He will always find a way to look suddenly innocent: “What, me? I did that? No way!”
Another mean thing that bullies do is to tell everyone that you do what they are doing: if you call them out on something they are doing wrong, bullies will say, “Oh, well! Look at the bad thing you did over there! That’s worse than I could ever do!” If they can find out anything wrong that you have ever done, they will paint the wrong as black and horrible as they can, even though it might really be something small. They are trying to make everyone look at you instead of at them!
But instead of helping you or being kind to you they make you bad and wrong. If the bully beats you up, he says, “You asked for it! You made me mad!” or, “You egged me on by the way you looked at me!” or, “You got in my way!” even though the bully was already mad, you were looking at something or someone standing behind the bully or the bully got in your way on purpose.
The trouble is, bullies have a way of knowing how to find out where you might have problems or troubles. If they know you are frightened by loud noises they will sneak up on you and make terrible sounds right next to you. And then they will laugh when you say: “Hey! I didn’t like that!” They tease you back saying, “Can’t you take a joke? I was only having fun!” or, “I couldn’t help it! Why are you being meant to me?”
Bullies don’t want you to know that they are afraid. They don’t want you to know how bad they feel already and how much they don’t know how to feel good. It’s true! Bullies aren’t happy people: they are very unhappy. A lot of them don’t know how to love themselves or anyone else and they really don’t know how to accept love from anyone else either and that can be so hard!
Some people who bully others, especially anyone weaker, younger or more helpless than they feel, feel so bad about themselves inside that if someone tells them they did a good job, or that they are special or smart or kind, they shake what’s being said off. They say, “Oh, you’re just saying that!” Or they can say, “Yeah! And don’t you forget it!” meanwhile feeling that no, they are not kind, or special or smart or anything good at all.
Think about this. Too many bullies throw their own self-hatred around onto others… anonymously. They pour out how they feel in posts, or cruel comments on social media, under a false name. They don’t want to be found out! They never want anyone else to know that it is they that feel they are bad and worthless, so bad and worthless that, if anyone ever found out they would have every little good thing taken away from them for punishment.
The trouble is: they are taking their own good things away from themselves, all the time! It’s hard to keep up on top by finding victims that can’t defend themselves: you never know when your victim will seem harmless, helpless or hopeless and actually turn out to be a black belt in Karate or who knows Aikido. It’s hard to keep diverting everyone else’s attention from something inside of them that hurts so much they really want to scream at the things inside of themselves that make them feel so bad: “Stop it! Stop making me feel so bad I can’t even breathe!”
Some very bad bullies like to hurt people which means that they sometimes can have something wrong in them that they don’t know how to fix or can’t fix even if they try. One of the things they cannot seem to fix is a feeling that they are not special. They are not good enough: they are not strong enough or smart enough to measure up to others. Many bullies are so afraid of being caught out, of being shown up for being less competent, less able, less smart or good than anyone else that they attack others first. They feel they have to do that because they are so afraid.
When you find a wounded animal, and you try to help it, sometimes it will bite and scratch because it’s sure that you are an enemy. It’s sure that, because it’s in pain, you are going to attack it. That’s what happens in the animal world a lot: if a bird in a flock sees a bird that is injured, the healthy bird knows that the wounded one will draw in the predators and maybe attack everyone. So sometimes, in a flock or herd or troupe of animals, they will drive out or kill any animal that is hurt. They are trying to protect the flock!
Yet if the wounded one can fight them off, it can live a little longer and maybe heal. This is how a lot of bullies feel: they know they are damaged. They know they are hurt. But they want to live! So, forgetting they are human beings, they make a big show of being tough. They make a big show of not being hurt. They make a show trying to tell everyone else that they really are strong and smart enough to keep up with everyone else, even when they are not.
Where bullies fail is when they say that everyone else is hurt, everyone else is stupid or everyone else is bad and wrong, because if they push their hurt onto other people then they can never heal.