Words by: Ivan Beley
There are plenty tales that tell us about different battles. These battles are waged between men and beasts. An example of a beast is shown from the heroic story of the Minotaur in Greek Mythology who defeated a man named Theseus and slayed the monster by sword. Today, we face our own personal battles against beasts around us and inside us — in the form of bullying.
To bully someone is to exercise a false sense of authority. Nothing is worse than a person imposing himself on another; it is a brute act that does no one good. Our modern day battles against beasts don’t only happen in the playground as portrayed in movies, it happens elsewhere too: university life, the academe, corporate environment and even the most seemingly typical relationships. While there have been a lot of campaigns and programs against bullying, why does it still exist today?
There are a few reasons why bullies tend to harass other people. These are facts that we are all very well aware of. According to Stomp Out Bullying, an organization in the U.S. that promotes bullying and cyberbullying prevention, there is a tendency to bully others because of personal insecurities. Most are due to personal and family problems which were encountered in their early youth and which have had lasting psychological effects on them as they grew up. The same idea is what Sir James Lactao, a Guidance Counselor of the University of Asia and the Pacific brought up in an interview I had with him when I asked:
“What do you think are a few reasons why the bully would bully his or her co-student?”,
“Well I think it has to go back to oneself.. whereso the bully would seek power because the bully would feel insufficient. If you try to look at it, bullies are actually insecure people because they would need to assert their power, their authority, or their.. you know.. what makes them powerful.”
Another reason why bullies would harm others is that the victim makes it easier to do so. Here is an example: Have you ever pestered people around to the point that they would get fed up on you, and then you wake up the next day they would either throw food on you, try calling you names, or sometimes pull a threatening prank on you? If yes, then there you have it. Sometimes you may be the one bullying yourself by giving reasons for others to bully you. Therefore, you ended up creating a beast yourself through your annoyance.
However, despite the fact that bullies tend to intimidate others just to make themselves release whatever haunts inside them, it is still a vicious act that can create a negative impact on students. Here are some lasting psychological effects which leave traces on the victim even as they grows up.
Firstly, bullying is vicious because the bully inflicts severe damages to another person’s whole being. For example, verbal insults may lead to emotional scars, anxiety and self doubt, while physical injuries brought about by the bully’s beatings may also indirectly cause a person to self harm. Such events may trigger episodes of depression, which is very common especially in young adults at this point in time.
Second, bullying incidents create fear among its victims. It is hard to dim one’s eyes after an incident of bullying. I can personally attest to this. This incident plays over and over in your head at night and there is no escape or reprieve from this suffering.
Thirdly, victims of bullying are known to struggle greatly in academics because of a persistent feeling fear and anxiety. It is likely that bullies also suffer a great deal especially if they are inclined to be aggressive. It does not matter whether their actions are deliberate or a form of a defense mechanism, either way, they know that they have to face the consequences of their wrongdoings.
Lastly, life events, whether unwelcomed or desired, affect one’s social well being. Bullying is known to significantly affect how a person interacts with other individuals. It may start out as having trust issues, social anxiety and may evolve into clinical depression, or even aggression brought about by anger. It may also lead to something worse like alcoholism, drug abuse, and involvement in criminal acts.
Since we know that through the form of bullying we are facing battles against beasts we must be courageous and firm because the monsters we face may be like us who have their own problems as well.
We must befriend victims of bullying by accompanying them wherever they go, give them heart-to-heart talks and have lunch with them, even invite them around in different school activities so that the victim would be comforted. We need to boost his sense self-worth, thereby strengthening his armor against the beasts within him.
This is a call to action that we must help bullies seek guidance, bring them to talks on issues of bullying, and speak to them the way we would speak to anyone — with kindness and civility. Only then can we help him defeat the beast inside him.
Ivan Beley is a contributor for The Bosun. He is currently taking AB Humanities in UA&P and is on his second year of university.