B is for Bully
Here’s another familiar character. This man was once the kid who shook you down for your lunch money on the elementary school playground. The boy who taunted you in gym whenever you failed to pass the basketball to the only teammate able to sink it. The swaggering delinquent who blew smoke in your face whenever you passed by.
Bullying is not, however, only the domain of the male animal. There’s no bully quite as deadly as the high-school girl who uses her new-found talent for empathy as a laser gun directed at her friends’ fragile teenage hearts. While boys tend to use physical superiority to intimidate, girls use the “gentler” arts of ridicule, gossip and shunning.
Like the asshole, no one can be a bully alone in her room. She needs someone to be a bully to. A bully is another relationship in crisis. Bullies inexplicably name victims as sources of discontent, blame those people for their unhappiness and claim a right to retaliate.
Before we throw stones at our fellows, let’s talk about the only bully whose behavior we can control. Let’s talk about us.