bullying doesn’t stop after puberty.

Bullying was a huge topic in the media this year with suicides that occurred as a result of bullying, as well as celebrities sharing their stories of being bullied as kids.  The ‘it gets better’ slogan became popular to help youngsters get through the tough times.

It recently occurred to me that bullying doesn’t necessarily stop after high school.

I see adults use more discreet forms of bullying as power-plays.  Think about a boss or co-worker you had who wanted to exert his/her power over you or somewhere with whom you worked.  He/she might make inappropriate and/or degrading jokes to put the other person ‘in their place’ and/or to make him/herself feel better and more powerful.  A family member might use such tactics to bully his/her husband/wife/son/daughter/brother/sister, etc to do what he/she wants.  Or, most recently, I saw it on my facebook profile. After posting an innocent photo with a friend at the pool, a ‘friend’ made a series of mean comments about the weight of my slender friend, concluding with hurtful comments on her health and unlikely ability to conceive children. She’d never met this girl, yet my friend was left feeling hurt and attacked by a stranger.

I guess it goes to show that while ‘it does get better’ because we get older and stronger, and hopefully learn to filter the harsh words and actions of ‘bullies’, that the mentality of the bully doesn’t go away just because we get older.

3 Comments

  1. Great comments. And I also love how you likely sat at your desk for so long to come up with that clever commentary.

  2. I really enjoyed this one. Bullying is often categorized by the behavior of the bully, but that changes over time and as we age. What stays the same is the fact that one person or a group (usually in an attempt to cover their own insecurities) goes out of their way to knock others down and create a sense of inferiority and helplessness. In any context, it is sad and we can only hope that as we grow mentally and physically, so does our confidence to see through their behaviors and move on.

    Now give me your lunch money, Goldilocks, or you’ll be having a knuckle sandwich and then I’ll give you a swirlie!

    Say Uncle!

  3. Your post called to mind an article I read a while back about a girl, Phoebe Prince, who committed suicide after having been repeatedly bullied. A former MA resident explained to me some of the specific contextual issues involved (ie Phoebe Prince was an outsider as she was new to the area and she stood out being and Irish immigrant). Regardless, not only does bullying seem to continue into adulthood but it appears as though teens these days are taking it to a whole new level which, begs the question of what the nature of adulthood bullying will be in the future. Here are some links about Phoebe’s death: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/TheLaw/teens-charged-bullying-mass-girl-kill/story?id=10231357 and http://www.bostonmagazine.com/articles/phoebe_prince/.

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