Overcoming Popular Myths About Bullying, Part I

Nobody loves a bully, except maybe the bully’s Mom. You should watch out for these three myths about bullying. We’ll cover a few more for you in Part II.

One of the more common myths about bullying is that it only occurs among young people. In a word — hah! While it’s true that modern society frowns upon it, plenty of people will tell you that it occurs at some level at every age. That’s why, in most cases, the examples used in this two-part article aren’t limited to kids.

Some of the items we’ll include here are oriented toward schoolyard bullying, since that’s the kind that’s most obvious these days. However, most apply to any type of bullying at all, whether it comes from that big kid down the block — or from your boss.

Myth 1: Bullying is Always Physical.

Most of us realize that this myth about bullying is far from true. It is especially untrue as the bully gets older and comes to realize that he can get put in jail for such behavior. Except in the case of certain psychotics (who are, admittedly, all too common), most adults engage in more subtle forms of bullying.

Even among kids, verbal bullying is far more common that physical bullying, and so is deliberate social isolation, such as shunning. Remember, just because it doesn’t include a physical component, that doesn’t mean shunning is not bullying behavior. Not all blows are physical.

Myth 2: Bullies are Cowards. Stand up to a Bully, and You’ll Be Left Alone.

This may be true to some extent and in some cases, but not always. Even so, you should stand up to a bully whenever possible. It might result in him or her either backing down or directing their bullying elsewhere. But it’s a myth about bullying to think that this will always work, or that the results will be permanent.

Sometimes, the position of strength that the bully is working from is genuine, which means that it’s impossible for a physically weaker person to stand up to them and effectively deal with the situation. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to stand up to them, just that you might need some help to do so effectively.

Even if standing up to a bully does seem to work, they might simply shift their efforts to another form of pressure that’s less obvious. Furthermore, if the balance of power shifts again in their favor, it’s likely they’ll start bullying again just the way they did before, so you have to remain vigilant.

Myth 3: Bullies are Insecure Boobs, which is why they Pick on other People.

This myth has been repeated for decades — but like many such misconceptions, it’s recently fallen to scientific study. Studies show that most bullies have average or above-average self esteem.

In other words, if you let this myth, among many myths about bullying, make you feel sorry for the poor slobs, you’re making a big mistake!