Who makes the monsters?
Nature, nurture, nurture, nature?
What causes one person to become a monster and other people their victims?
It’s said that people who are bullies and abusers are either past victims of abuse/bullying or that they are currently victims in some sphere in their life – perhaps at home – so they harmonize or balance by being a bully elsewhere – at work or school.
Yet, many victims of bullies and abusers do not in turn become as their tormentor, not in other arenas of life nor later on.
Perhaps too, an adult who bullies does so not because they were bullied, but because a family member was and they resolved to never be bullied themselves – a sort of pre-emptive Scarlet O’Hara complex.
Perhaps too the adult bullies and abusers learned to bully from a parent or older sibling or school mate, being a toady apprentice to the bully – partly to avoid being the target, but also self preservation, conformity and strength in numbers.
What is it in the bully’s psyche that causes them to act out against less powerful people who did not harm them, rather than to stand up for themselves against their own bully?
It is just the sense of entitlement? Might makes right, so if I can push you around, then it is right to do so – I only do what you let me do, so stop making me hit you?
When you are the person being bullied, that bully doesn’t seem like a vulnerable person just trying to harmonize with the world, the bully seems very powerful, often overwhelmingly so – although at the core – it makes sense that there’s insecurity – that the bully is not confident or secure – otherwise there wouldn’t be the need to cause terror and distress in other people.
The problem of people feeling entitled to power or authority that they have not earned and do not possess. The difference between training and working with a horse against breaking it and molding it to your will.
Bullies do not like people who have a sense of value and have personal power arising from their self-esteem, abilities, talent and possessed self-identity. Bullies are insecure and they only gain a measure of esteem by knocking others off kilter, to reduce them to the bullies’ level of insecurity.
As if there’s a tangible amount of self esteem and the bully is taking it like it’s lunch money.
It makes sense that a bully who has no personal power, because they have gotten by on strong arm tactics or other whiles – sex appeal perhaps – traded these intangibles to obtain a position that includes a measure of power – and they do not know how to wield it.
They demand respect but do not command respect, because the respect is for the position, not the person occupying it – and they lash out, clinging to the position like a badge and misuse and abuse the power to if not demand respect through fear, then to at least deflate everyone else’s personal power. As if the bully having none, so too is everyone else’s taken away.
No matter the causes, it is difficult to feel pity or sympathy for a bully, who sets about to make other people miserable, when they do not have to. If a person is a bully in one area because they are bullied in another, it is better to stand against their bully than become a bully to others. A society of bullies is not sustainable and not as productive as it could be; and certainly not as harmonious, tolerant and inclusive as it claims to be.
Because you can is not a rallying cry or justification for bad behavior, and it takes a person who understand morals to understand the difference between “what you can” and “what you should.” A person lacking a sense of morals does what they can and then resists corrective actions after the fact, and tries to deflect responsibility to their target victim and not accept responsibility for what they did. Compounding the bullying with denial and retribution.
This bully mentality is somewhat supported in western society by the puritanical streak, the mortal fear that someone, somewhere is having fun and a good time – which must be stomped out and austerity measures taken to assure nothing but grim acceptance of duty prevails. After all, it’s much easier to control a population when you’ve broken their spirit and they will willing cleave to the oppressive yolk as if it’s hope or promise of better things to come.
People gain monster qualities arising from the life experiences they had, the prejudices they acquire, the ideas they embrace but ultimately, they become monsters when they attain a level of power that they are not able to effectively or compassionately wield, and so it becomes a blunt instrument of torture and bullying in the hands of an unqualified, unskilled and unrepentant person. It is opportunity and access to power that turns the potential into a fully fledged monster.
People who seek to impose their insecurities and limited moral concepts onto the broader society or at least the local environment, rather than allow everyone the freedom to make their own choices, pursuit happiness, enjoy liberty. People who do not understand that their right to swing their arm ends where noses begin.
More often than not, owing to their own insecurities, their own inability to comprehend and make moral distinctions, these monsters appeal to the vague authority of tradition or a deity to justify their actions and to spin and label it as loving and caring and concern. It is very damaging to practice that kinky SMBD love without a safe word – which is funny how religionists are often against people who engage in kinky sex, which has a safe word to end the activities – when there is no such safe word for the kinky sadomasochistic bondage/discipline love that religionists practice.
I just to joke that we can’t eliminate bullying in the schools because the children won’t be prepared for the workplace – but I don’t anymore – we need to eliminate bullying, because we need to be better to each other at any age and in all circumstances.
Because people who are in power will never know when the population will no longer stand to be in a dictatorship while being told they are in a democracy where there’s only ever one name on the numbered ballot – and overthrow them.
Bullies never know when their targets, exhausted, demoralized and verging on breakdown, will find a fresh surge of energy and say that’s enough, and simply strike back because the corrective processes are often more psychologically damaging than the inciting incidents.
Years ago, I wrote an article for a local paper about battery in lesbian relationships. Police are not trained to deal with domestic disputes in same sex situations – when they attend at a home, they assume the abuser is the man and act accordingly (even this is not always the case – but society does not like to think of the woman as the aggressor, especially to a man and it cast aspirations on his manliness, undermining his ability to seek help and justice, male victims of female abusers are very disadvantaged), but when they attend at a home and it’s two men or two women – they will often just arrest the one who didn’t place the call to the police.
For lesbians who’ve been battered, the police are called as a last resort and usually by the long term batterer after their victim finally strikes them back – to the batterer, no longer able to assert control over their victim, calls the police and has their victim arrested – the police become a blunt trauma instrument to continue to undermine the battered woman from ever standing up for herself again – which to the police seems correct, she called and there’s the impact of the blow – but they are carting away the person who’s suffered for months, years and is now being carted away for finally standing up to the bully.
It’s overwhelming, you can’t strike back, you can’t have the corrective process correct anything, you can’t take continued, entrenched and escalating bullying. The injustice is paralyzing and the system fails the victims – reaffirms them as victims by re-victimizing them – on every front.
Even something as straightforward as discrimination used to be is longer longer simple; as discrimination is well established as prohibited under the law, and the net effect is to cause people who would discriminate to do so in a manner that does not leave evidence of their discrimination or more sophisticatedly, does not make their prejudices obvious, even to their victim. Discrimination has been forced by legal precedent to be underground, but no less a force in society as when it was openly practiced as a matter of course.
It is the nature of abusers to isolate their victims, leaving no options to seek help because of a lack of witnesses and without a trail of evidence. Often the corrective processes are far worse than the events that triggered the processes, because the victim has to not only relive their abuse, but also try to validate it against an abuser who intimidates witnesses and conducts their abuses out of the sight of witnesses. Further, the treatment of the victim has a chilling effect on witnesses who do not come forward for fear of being treated as they see the victim being treated.
It leaves the victim off balance, unsure and unable to trust even their own experiences when no one else can see what they see, because they weren’t there and even when they were, they weren’t the focus of the comment, the look or the behavior – it simply does not impact witnesses the same way as it impacts victims.
Abuse has the effect of nullifying the sense of equality between the parties. The Abuser feels entitled, required even, to use whatever means necessary to assert dominance and the trauma of being so reduced results in the victims being unable to re-assert equality, unable to fend off or defend themselves.
Which is why, when a victim comes forward – believing them about the situation – is the one thing that they most need – validation of their interpretation of their experience, which is not easy, since those that would victimize have learned to not leave obvious bruises.