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The Truth About Bully

The Truth About Bully


Simon Morrell

“There is not a sadder sight than that of a child wandering the playground alone after a beating at the hands of a bully. Then this: it isn’t just the child who feels the wrath. He or she isn’t the exclusive holder of such misery. Some adults wander their own playground, shrinking into their own misery. A bully isn’t prejudiced. No, the bully will prey on anyone who comes into his sights. He will bully physically, and he will bully emotionally. He may well do both.”


*For the sake of the dialogue, I refer to the antagonist in the piece as male, but the truth is any gender can be found guilty of the torment of others.


More than likely not, but we hope for different, every one of us will, at some point feel the feeling. That sickness as you start your day. For some, it arrives as soon as they wake up, the realisation that “Here we go again.” This is yet another day we open it to another fresh hell and the company of the bully. The guy who knows no empathy or compassion, and more often than not chose you, just because you were in his sights the first time he clamped eyes upon you.

He cares nothing for your clothes, has no preference as to which football team you support or whether your choice in music is classical or rock. It is just you happened to be there. The wrong place at the wrong time.


But there are exceptions. Ex-girlfriends, jealousy of your family, hates your friendship group and heaven forbid, you try and be a tall poppy. The one that strives for better, knows there is more to life than this. This particular reason is usually pre-fixed with the famous last words: “Who does he think he is?”


So, all of the above and more, but what about the myths of bullies and their trade? What about the truth of bully? Here are some of the things I have found to be true, and it is a painful read. Yes, here are the myths and the truths about bully.

Bullying only happens to children. It is just a phase both the bully and the bullied will grow out of. Now it is true that some of the bullies that inhabited my childhood and teenage years actually turned out to be good friends, but that doesn’t mean to say that on my eighteenth birthday, I received a gold ring and a bully-free pass. Far from it. As I grew into a young man, the bullies may have changed identity, but they were still there.


The moody, prone-to-violence young teenager was replaced with angry adults, sometimes drunk, often sober and admittedly, their actions toward me were displaced. I had an extremely abusive and power-mad father who would yield his sword whenever he fancied to, and I bore the brunt of it. I was the quiet kid, the polite one and the fact I weighed about eight stone and couldn’t fight sleep, well let’s just say put a target on my back. Those not brave enough to tackle the myth of my father (for he was indeed a myth, a phoney, a blowhard) would instead take out the violent delights on the kid that wouldn’t, couldn’t and didn’t know how to fight back.


But enough about me, imagine this:

Look closely at the side of the football field. See the kid reading his book? Watch as he jumps as the ball leaves the field of play and rolls in his direction. Hear how Sal shouts to him, at him.

“Get the ball back dickhead!”

The kid jumps to his feet and kicks the ball back. Doesn’t kick it well, but well enough that it does the job and arrives back on the field of play, and our buddy? He is hopeful for a minute.

“Sit down and get back to your book, moron,” is the thanks he gets.

He is the ball boy, there to be abused. He is not and never will be part of the team.


Skip across town if you will. Jump on a drone and follow the roads to the local neighbourhood.


An average guy kisses his wife goodbye, a big smile on his face and the promise of date night in the pub later on after work. What he doesn’t have the heart to tell her is that he has started harbouring some dark and dangerous thoughts.


As he pulls on the seatbelt and heads for the factory, those thoughts lean toward self-harm or worse because he just can’t find it in himself to face another day of being ‘that guy’.

The whistle blows for the first break, and he trundles toward the canteen, carrying his flask and the cake his wife has made. He sits amongst the crowd. He isn’t one of them, he isn’t one of the ‘lads’ and boy do they know it. Alan, the local hero who is worshipped by the girls, knows a weak man when he sees one.


“Get any at the weekend, Stevie?” he asks our friend. The crowd roar with laughter as Stevie blushes and buries his head in his car magazine.


Alan winks. “Nah, didn’t think so. I paid your missus a visit when you were out fishing. Boy, that girl can make a noise.”


Alan turns to Joey, best friends since just out of the womb and the two high-fives.


“Only messing with you Stevie lad, just banter, isn’t it?” Alan says, whilst all the while plotting his lunchtime attack. The old-school boys roll their eyes, knowing what they witness is wrong, but what they witness is too big for them to do anything about it. Anyway, it isn’t their problem, is it?


One tries though. As the crowd shuffle back to their machines, he places a kindly hand on Stevie’s shoulder who has bent down to pick up the magazine he dropped.


“You need to stand up for yourself son,” says Elder. “Can’t be a mug for a mug like him.”


But how? How does somebody like Stevie, a weak but kind man stop this behaviour? Probably Alan should have had more discipline at home, been taught empathy and respect from an early age, instead of a dad who complies with his every demand and a mother who ignores his bad behaviour. Probably yes, but we are beyond that now. Our focus is not the redemption of the Alans of this world, our focus should be on the salvation of the Stevie’s. But we will get to that.


Is bullying still only a childhood problem? Violence in the workplace now has an industry created in its name. Books, videos, talks, seminars, we have the lot. And the workplace is only one of many places where this phenomenon takes place.


Clubs, pubs, streets, villages, towns, cities, and homes. Yes homes, domestic violence being the lowest of the low of the bully.


If they were the same age group Stevie and Alan would be on the same committee together.


So, answers on a postcard. Here is another dangerous myth, perpetrated by teachers, instructors, parents, friends and siblings, all of whom have the best interest of the bully at heart. I say all, there are those who say this next claim (or variations of it), to feed their own ego).


“Bullies are cowards, hit them first and they won’t come near you again!”


True it is a cowardly act to enforce the physical on someone who doesn’t want this in their lives and has done nothing to bring it in either. But the truth of the matter is, well the truth is this isn’t always true.


Certain bullies, the Alpha Bullies thrive on violence and if they must take a punch to give several of their own, well so be it.


 Also, this:

Do you know how much it takes for a decent person to throw a punch at someone? I am not talking about a trained fighter who is also a decent guy. If they are doing this day in, day out at a reputable academy, then it is going to be second nature to them, something they won’t even have to think about, but these guys are exactly the kind of guys the bully will avoid. The bully will cross the street and walk around the block twice before even thinking about approaching a confident soul and even then, when the bully does think about it, chances are he will change his mind and take the path of less resistance.


Oh, and by reputable academy, I am not talking about one run by thugs whose answer to everything is to hit first and think about it later, because they don’t have the IQ to think about it first. You know you can be a fighter and a thinker both, right?

To throw a punch at a person well known for violence takes courage, skills (both emotional and physical) and justification. A knowledge of consequences is an asset too. The consequences of being physical can be devastating. Serious injury, police involvement, prison and to the very, end, death. Not many tell you this when they are taking your money to give you five minutes of their time in their dojo.


There was an incident when I was on the verge of becoming a young man. I had neither the physical skills nor the confidence to fire back, but it was drilled in me by a disappointed father that I must fight back, I must hit first. This was from a man who would not let me join the local boxing club. Kind of like, give them the responsibility but don’t give them the authority.


And so, one sunny afternoon, in the last year of school and barely holding it together, I did as I was told, skills or no skills damn it!

After another slap around the head and an arm-twisting session, I saw red and with my father’s voice in my head, (“Stand up for yourself for God’s sake), I turned on my foe and threw my best shot. It was nowhere near good enough. He simply smiled and asked, “Do you want me to forgive you for that?” and round two began.


So, if you are going to be physical, at least know you can be before you try. And if you are that parent who shouts, “For Pete’s sake Tommy, hit him!” Then give your kid a shot at building confidence first. There are not many strikes thrown by a frightened wallflower that do the trick.


We can move on from the physical because what about the other type? The emotional type. The type that a cohesive individual will thrive upon. Some people may be so weak that they are easy pickings. There are those out there who consider it their God-given right to have you do their bidding for them.


“I need this picking up, I need the use of your car, I need to loan some money (which you almost never get a return on), I need, I need, I need…and I need it all from you.”


How is this combatted? It takes an awful of nerve and courage to say no to someone who has some sort of hold over you, maybe up to the point of blackmail. What do you say to someone who doesn’t raise their fist, just their voice?


Again, it boils down to confidence, the confidence to say no and there are certain triggers that can help us make the right decision. Firstly, ask yourself the ‘what ifs’ and ‘worse cases.’


“What if I say no to his latest demand,” and “What is the worst-case scenario?” Establishing the fact that this person will not resort to violence is a must and there should be indicators of this, though nothing is guaranteed.


“Has this person ever shown violence to me or anybody else before?” You will almost certainly know the answer to this so you must make an educated decision. If you decide that the physical is, thank God, not going to happen then straight away you have ruled out the worst-case scenario so what is next?


There is not a text in the world that holds every answer to this complex issue, but if you do not comply with his demands, then this:

You are banished from his life, no more friendship, no more buddies, no more. You are simply told to f**k off out of his life and did you really want to be in it anyway?


The same can be said for humiliating you. If your friend, husband, wife, partner etc is the kind of person who will make an example of you in public, then should you even really be out with them anyway?


Have the confidence to say no to the things that make you uncomfortable and there are many ways of finding confidence later on in this article.


Take away the bully's power, bit by bit or in one giant step. Just tell them “No.”


Here are my thoughts for what they are worth. I hope you appreciate them and if not, at least respect them. If it is neither then we must go our own ways.


Adult or child, bullies know no boundaries. Your size, gender or colour don’t matter. If in their eyes you are ‘it’, then you are ‘it’. So sadly, the matter is in your hands. There are two ways you can deal with it, and this might sound like a contradiction.


Physical should be an option, but always a last resort and so training in a Combat Style is never going to do any harm (except with the less reputable in the industry). Seek an instructor whose first goal is to give you confidence because trust me, and I speak from experience, the more confident you are, the less likely a target you will be.


Learn body language and hold positive posture. Examine the way you talk and if need be, correct it. Talk confidently and if need be, for now, bluff it. Make eye contact and hold it. Looking to the ground is a subconscious way of looking for an escape which in the bully’s mind equates to you being terrified and this, he will abuse at his will.


Learn to control fear and there are many books on this subject which will indeed help, but there is no substitute for the real thing. Learning to control fear means being confident and whilst many are born with it some of us have to go out a earn it.


How do we do this? By facing things that frighten us but doing them anyway. Joining a local boxing gym, taking part in a white-collar boxing match, giving a public talk, taking a grading, having the courage to write and publish a book, singing, joining a band, all of these and more will increase confidence and make you less of a target.


Accept that when you reach the grand old age of eighteen there are no free passes and violence from the teens may follow you into adulthood. Try and deal with it in the ways outlined here because this is written from personal experience, both physical and emotional.


Forty-five years of training, I’ve lost count of the studies of violence and violent people I have undertaken, been involved in more conflicts than I care to remember (and have never instigated one of them) and taught Self Protection to civilians, police officers, military, the UK Courts, fighters, and boxers. I have enjoyed every minute of them and by the large, avoided the blow-hards that believes that violence and only violence is the answer.


Sure, be physical if need be and you can, but it is confidence that holds the key.


I hope this article has helped somewhat and please feel free to reach out if you feel I can help.


“Where there is courage, there is hope.”

Simon Morrell








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