Analyzing the Bully


Published on

A presentation by Adam Arnold at the event "Bullying in Our Midst" (4/14/13) -

What makes a bully be a bully? What conditions and variables are in place that makes him/her think it’s okay to be cruel to others? If we really want to stop the epidemic that is literally taking the lives of our youth, we must go beyond treating the symptoms of the bully’s behavior. We must look at the source of the problem.

Utilizing the latest research on bullying, psychotherapist Adam Arnold discusses systemic, practical, and strength-based approaches for getting to the heart of bullying.

Adam holds a Master of Arts in Counseling and Psychotherapy, is Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and is a member of the LGBT Therapists Network, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy as well as the Minnesota Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.

In addition to being a family therapist in private practice and the Executive Artistic Director for blank slate theatre (, Adam has worked as a counselor in several residential and day treatment centers, and as a group psychotherapist in the addiction and domestic violence fields.

More about Adam at

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Analyzing the Bully

  1. 1. SAnalyzing theBullyAdam Arnold, MA, LMFT, LADC
  2. 2. Analyzing the BullyAWAKEN METo a placeWhere there is roomfor all.- MayrBoros
  3. 3. What is bullying?S BUL-LY (noun)a blustering browbeating person;especially:one who is habitually cruel to otherswho are weaker (Merriam WebsterDictionary, 2012)
  4. 4. What is bullying?S The word “bully” was first used in 1530 andoriginally applied to both genders and meant“sweetheart.” It is from the Dutch boel, meaning“lover” or “brother.” Around the seventeenthcentury, the term began to mean “fine fellow,”“blusterer,” and then “harasser of the weak”(Etymology Dictionary, 2011).
  5. 5. What is bullying?S If everything is bullying, nothing is bullying.
  6. 6. What is bullying?The Four Markers of Bullying1. Imbalance of Power. The bully maintainspower because of age, strength, size, genderintelligence, and/or social standing.2. Intent to harm. The bully means to inflictemotional and/or physical pain, expects theactions to hurt, and can take pleasure inwitnessing the hurt.
  7. 7. What is bullying?The Four Markers of Bullying – cont’d3. Threat of further aggression. Bullyinginvolves repeated, consistent negative actionsand threats against the target.4. Terror. Bullying is used to intimidate andmaintain dominance. The damage to thetarget’s self-concept is often long lasting, andthe target can feel isolated and exposed(Coloroso, 2008).
  8. 8. What is bullying?S "A person is bullied when he or she isexposed, repeatedly and over time, tonegative actions on the part of one or moreother persons, and he or she has difficultydefending himself or herself.”(Olweus, 1993)
  9. 9. What is bullying?S Bullying happens not just in the UnitedStates but also all over the world.International researchers have demonstratedthat bullying in schools is universal(Bingham, 2010).S Bullying can occur anywhere there is aperceived or real imbalance ofpower, ranging from in the home, to in theworkplace, to on an international level(Hamilton, 2008).
  10. 10. Who are bullies?S All persons have the capacity to becruel, and all persons have the capacity tobecome bullies.S Bullies can be anysize, age, gender, ethnicity, or grade.
  11. 11. Who are bullies?S Bullies might stick to themselves, or be themost popular kid in school.S Bullies are not defined by theirappearance, interests, or extra-curricularactivities, but instead by their behavior.
  12. 12. Who are bullies?Bully TypesS Confident Bully.This bully has an ego, a fondness forviolence, and little empathy for others. He feels good when hesees himself as superior to others, and is often admired for hispowerful personality.S Social Bully.This bully uses rumor, gossip, taunts, andshunning to isolate and exclude her targets from social activity.She is jealous of others’ positive qualities and at the same timecomes across as confident, charming, compassionate, andpopular. In reality she uses charm to get what she wants.
  13. 13. Who are bullies?Bully Types – cont’dS Fully Armored Bully.This bully is cool, detached, andrarely shows emotion. He is determined to carry out his bullyingand will look for chances when no one is around to see or stophim. He is vicious to his targets, but charming in front of others.He buries his emotions very deep.S Hyperactive/Reactive Bully.This bully is emotionally-charged, has poor impulse control, and sees the whole worldas “out to get them.” They feel that they are only protectingtheir space, may react to even accidental bumps like they arepersonal attacks, and may excuse their bullying by blamingothers.S Bullied Bully.This type of bully is a target of adults or otherkids, and she bullies to gain a sense of relief from her ownfeelings of powerlessness and self-loathing.
  14. 14. Who are bullies?Bully Types – cont’dS Bunch of Bullies.This is a group of friends whocollectively do something that they would never do individuallyto someone that they want to exclude, blame, or get intotrouble.S Gang of Bullies.This is a group that is drawn together asa strategic alliance who is hoping to gain power, control, ordomination. People may join to be protected or to feelrespected, but their devotion to the group will eventually makethem ignore the overall consequences of their behavior(Coloroso, 2008).
  15. 15. Who are bullies?Traits of (most) bulliesS Bullies often…… like to use other people to get what theywant.… find it hard to see a situation from theother
person’s point of view.
  16. 16. Who are bullies?Traits of (most) bullies – cont’d… are most principally concerned with theirown desires and not the needs, rights, orfeelings of others.… refuse to accept responsibility for theiractions.… lack foresight – that is, the ability to considerthe possible consequences of their behavior.… crave attention (Coloroso, 2008).
  17. 17. Who are bullies?S Bullies were not born wanting to bully others.S If bullies weren’t born wanting to bully others- what happened?
  18. 18. What influences bullies to bullyothers?S “Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting ahard battle.”– JohnWatson
  19. 19. What influences bullies to bullyothers?The Four Goals of MisbehaviorS AttentionS PowerS RevengeS Withdrawal/Avoidance of Failure(Dreikurs, 1964)
  20. 20. What influences bullies to bullyothers?Further Goals of BulliesS … wanting to be noticed.S … wanting to be popular.S … seeking love but not knowing how to get it(Fried and Fried, 2004).
  21. 21. What influences bullies to bullyothers?Trends in the Histories of BulliesS Bullies may be having problems at home, maybe abused or picked on, or may be seekingattention because they are not getting it fromtheir parents.S Bullies may be feeling sad or scared, andtherefore they act tough so no one notices theirfeelings.S Bullies might be lonely, have low self-esteem ornot know how to get along with other people.
  22. 22. What influences bullies to bullyothers?Trends in the Histories of Bullies – cont’dS Bullies may come from a home where theparents are the ultimate rulers. This can makesomeone feel like they have no power or controland therefore lash-out in frustration.S Overly aggressive and overly permissive parentsare equally likely to have children who bully(Rosenthal, 2008; Fried and Fried, 2004;Coloroso, 2008).
  23. 23. What are some helpful ways inapproaching bullies?S Build relationships.S Show curiosity.S Listen.S Show empathy and compassion.S Use distractions.
  24. 24. What are some helpful ways inapproaching bullies?S Be proactive.S Encourage, and build on strengths.S Be firm, and consistent.S Avoid labeling.S Be specific when intervening.
  25. 25. What can we do aboutbullying?S When someone speaks-up and tries to stopbullying, 57% of the time bullying behavior isstopped within 10 seconds(Hawkins, Pepler, and Craig, 2001).
  26. 26. What can we do aboutbullying?S But what happens when those 10 secondsare over?
  27. 27. What can we do aboutbullying?S Attempt to get to the core of a person’sbullying.S Adopt a systems perspective.S Cooperate.S Re-think zero tolerance policies.S Re-think traditional anti-bullying approaches.
  28. 28. What can we do aboutbullying?S Cultivate safe places to belong.S Practice self-awareness.S Take responsibility for past and presentmistakes.S Model anti-bullying behaviors.S Embrace the complexity of this problem.
  29. 29. What can we do aboutbullying?S Assess for mental illness.S Learn more about the brains of persons withtrauma.S Remember that bullying has been around fora long time.S Avoid promoting anti-bullying fads.S Use alternative words.
  30. 30. What can we do aboutbullying?S Teach and model assertiveness.S Teach and model empathy.S Be mindful of contagion.S Cultivate resilience.S Learn more about the brains ofchildren/adolescents.
  31. 31. Analyzing the BullyS If a victim fights a bully and the bullywins, this loss will only make matters worsefor the victim. Fighting back is notencouraged (Rosenthal, 2008).
  32. 32. ContactS adam@blankslatetheatre.comS www.blankslatetheatre.comS