Bullies only respond to force. This is a popular opinion. It’s also an emotional response. And it’s the message I receive most often when I talk to people about bullying.
Unfortunately, it’s wrong.
Bullying is deeply misunderstood, largely because it is such an emotional issue.
And thanks to Rhonda’s expertise, backed by years of research, case studies and supporting governments, companies and everyday people on bullying, she brought remarkable clarity to an emotional issue.
Here are my three key takeaways:
1. In nearly all circumstances, bullying is multigenerational.
People are exposed to bullying behaviour within the first eight years of life. This behaviour usually comes from someone who the child has significant exposure to, which may or may not be their parents.
By the time the child is 12 years old, they are competent bullies. By 40, they are specialists and by age 70, with 65 years experience, they are experts.
And the cycle repeats.
I never thought about bullying in terms of a capability until this point.
2. Emotion is a bully’s power base
From a young age, bullies see the effect their behaviour has on others and as sad as it is to say, they thrive on it. The greater the emotional response they elicit, the more control they wield. This is why force and violence usually don’t work and have little lasting impact.
3. Bullies don’t change
Bullies must be removed from the situation they created. They will not change because their behaviour is so ingrained. And it’s for this reason that it is also important to realise that compassion, empathy and being reasonable do not resonate with bullies. These are identified as emotions that can be exploited.