September 24, 2011


I am a tall man, maybe what some would call a big man, and through a practiced demeanor, very immune to the likelihood of being bullied by others. However, growing up I was lanky, and awkward, lacking in social skills, even shy and reserved. Because of that I was subject to negative attention from others who found in me an opportunity to exert their power over someone else. I hesitate to call it bullying because I do not want to co-opt the sense of helplessness so many young people must feel when they are singled out by others and treated badly.

Over the past couple years I have followed this issue of bullying in the various media and come to recognize it for what it is. I have my notions about what it’s origins likely are and see that those origins are not an excuse, and are not permission, to treat others badly.

A friend recently posted the following remarks on her Facebook page and I wanted to give her thoughts an additional venue and add my voice to it.

That girl you just called fat? She's overdosing on diet pills.

The boy you just tripped? He is abused enough at home.

That girl you just called ugly? She spends hours putting makeup on hoping people will like her.

That man with the ugly scars? He fought for his country.

That guy you just made fun of for crying? His mother is dying.

As a dominant man (not that dominance has anything to do with it really), I am ashamed of the way so many people treat others but feel a sense of powerlessness to do anything about it, I really have no solution. I can be an example and I can step in if I witness that kind of behavior and I can speak up when I have the opportunity. I am taking this opportunity.

I suspect I am preaching to the choir here, but perhaps something here will affect someone somewhere and it will have made a difference. I hope so.


  1. I think being a good example and intervening on the behalf of the underdog when possible is really all one can do.

    And hey, at least you know that when your preaching to the choir people are listening!

  2. i agree with lil, Sir. Bullying happens everywhere, and not just among children and teens. Your posting shows that You won't tolerate it, and i at least appreciate that.

  3. May I suggest a useful site: I heard the woman who runs this site give a talk and she made a lot of sense. I remember her saying that you must never show the bully your fear or anger. This is the reaction they hope to engender.

  4. Thank you all for lending your voice, I agree that if we all were an example, and took a stand and did not tolerate, then the problem would be solved.

    Thanks for the reference Vesta, that is a great resource, and we Americans seldom find other country resources/ideas.

  5. I'll never understand the mentality. I was an underdog, i grew up, i bulked out and it taught me strength, strategy, how to give and take a beating as well as more importantly how to read people to try and gauge intent as well as being very careful of my surroundings.

    It taught me that word's can only hurt you as much as you let them, to read, study and choose my friends wisely as well as be cautious with my secrets and who I entrust with them.

    My view is likely to be unpopular, but bullies of all kinds feed off of perceived or actual weakness, be it a child or an adult; Whatever they are bullying you over... whatever it is that bothers you? deal with it, get rid of it, accept it and get yourself out of the position in which they can exploit it.

    And if it devolves into violence? Well, I had no problem taking a beating in a car park; providing it had working security cameras.

  6. Anon, I think we must agree to disagree, because I don't see a requirement of life being the ability to give and take a beating, although I agree people should always be careful of their surroundings.

    It seems your philosophy is that "weaker" people should have to find some way to hide/hide themselves from the "superior" people, a pretty inhumane view of social connectivity. I think as a people we can and should be better than that.

  7. Not quite, my view is simply that weaker people need to grow and if they can't, remove themselves from the position my post is neither agreeing nor disagreeing with you, only expressing my view from that my memories of that position.

    Also at no point did i say they should hide, i said they need to deal with, accept or remove the element that is being used to harm them, because frankly, if it is a cause of pain why would they want to continue with it?

    The world will always have predators, and predators will always go for the weak, sick and elderly. If you cannot defend yourself, then put yourself in a position that people can do what needs to be done for you.

    As for the beating David, everyone takes a beating and not all are physical, being able to get over it an move on without living in fear of when and how the next one will come in my opinion is a life lesson everyone needs to learn.