WWJD to Help a Bully Realize the Reason for His Actions?
What many people don’t know about bullies is that they often are suffering from the same low self-esteem issues that they inflict on those they bully. By overpowering others, they feel they are gaining the respect they crave. In order to help a bully realize why he acts the way he does, Jesus would most probably try to reveal how the emotional pain that a bully inflicts on others is a reflection of his own feelings about himself. In this way, maybe a bully can begin to learn empathy by realizing that he could stop hurting others if he could stop hurting himself.
Bullies frequently suffer from low self-esteem and depression. Many times, they have been bullied themselves. They try to overcompensate for their feelings by making others fear them, which bolsters their own self confidence. What bullying really does, however, is help distract bullies from how they feel about themselves. In order to stop their hurtful behavior, bullies need to be willing to work on making themselves more likable, both to themselves and others.
Developing Empathy for Others
In order for a bully to have a chance at developing empathy for others before they become hardened against society, they need to be able to let themselves be vulnerable and admit to themselves how they are feeling. Most times, this requires the intervention of a parent or other authority figure such as a pastor or school counselor. If a bully will let someone in, that person can help to better equip them with ways to handle their own feelings and begin to take notice of the feelings of others.
When a bully is taught to start thinking about how his actions, both good and bad, feel for others, it could be the key to his understanding how his methods aren’t really achieving what he is craving emotionally. Taking cues from those who stand up to his bullying, such as someone who says, “You don’t need to be this way,” could help a bully realize that he, in fact, does not need to be a bully.
A bully should be prompted to consider how he would feel if helped another student to pick her books, as opposed to how he would feel if he knocked the books out of her hands. This is a first step towards gaining empathy for another, when a bully can realize that the former action would be more satisfying than the latter.
How a Bully is Treated
How a bully is treated himself has a major impact on how he views and treats himself and others. If he comes from an abusive home or one where he is not made to feel good about himself, he most likely has not developed good communication skills, and then models his own from how he has been raised. If not caught in time a bully can continue with hurtful behavior towards himself and others by drinking or using drugs or by engaging in criminal behavior, for example. The sooner a bully can learn to take himself out of a situation where he feels he needs to transfer the pain he feels to others, the easier it will be for him to learn the empathy skills that he sorely needs.