Blog 53. SEX AND ADDICTIONS: Do You Understand The Cycle Of Bully/Abuser Behaviour?
After reading many of my blogs you will have begun to understand that what we deduce as children from our parents, their behaviour, their relationships and even sometimes their belief system, usually becomes our blueprint.
An example of this is – if we have experienced a parent bully another or if we have observed our parents bully those around them, then this may seem like accepted normal behaviour and consequently, many may go on to repeat the exact same behaviour.
This, as well as what we may glean from any possible childhood trauma, can set off all sorts of behaviour within a child that is not always constructive.
Often the ramification of many childhood traumas such as sexual, physical or emotional abuse may leave a child feeling that is was their fault. Or, that they were somehow to blame and were responsible for what happened.
In many cases, this can leave a child with feelings of enormous shame and guilt.
And then in order to get themselves out of what I call the ‘Black Hole’ or feeling bad about themselves, many develop a narcissist belief system of self-importance.
They can do this by finding all sorts of ways of reinforcing this belief system – and one way is to bully others.
By stepping on others, by intimidating or controlling others or by manipulating or terrorising their chosen victims, allows a bully to feel more powerful and superior to others.
But the minute they feel attacked or inferior they may counter attack – often quite viciously. Although sometimes they may retract, withdraw and become victims themselves.
And even if they try to diminish others, often they have no idea of what they may be feeling themselves. This is because many have learnt to become experts at hiding their inadequacies and many prefer to keep their inadequacies hidden, even from themselves.
But the more they bully, the more they may find power in their behaviour, the more addictive the behaviour becomes.
Developing this sense of self importance, developing a need to show everyone around them that they are indeed in control and that they need to be obeyed – is in many ways a form of acting out either what they observed as children as normal behaviour or indeed the behaviour of an abuser.
Trying to control various situations can help a bully feel that maybe they couldn’t control what happened way back then, but thankfully, they can somehow control ‘the now’.
But heaven help anyone who dares to cross their path, heaven help any one who disagrees with them – because they will feel enormously betrayed – possibly by anyone in the network of people they try to keep around them as support.
In other words, we recreate what has either been done to us or we re-create the various emotions that we were left to feel.
And bullying can also be seen as an unconscious cry for help.
However, if this behaviour is not understood, addressed or confronted, if it is misunderstood and not taken seriously – it can remain unresolved – right through and into adulthood.
Unfortunately, it is often very difficult to know the difference between what seems like just a ‘naughty child’ and a child acting out or trying to communicate their trauma to an adult.
Sometimes it takes a professional to know the difference – but not all schools are equipped with child psychologists and professionals.
But unfortunately, if this behaviour, if the bullying is left unaddressed, the child and then adult may continue to act out the behaviour – without giving it much thought. Over time, it may just become an ingrained behavioural habit.
However, as adults we have many more choices than we did as children.
We can either address our childhood stuff or we can keep it buried – often because this is so much easier to do.
It is easier to find like-minded people who are willing to support, agree and reinforce our belief system or indeed our bullying and abusive behaviour, than it is to challenge ourselves.
Challenging ourselves might involve addressing painful experiences that lie deep within, and taking this kind of responsibility can be very difficult.
Consequently, many feel it is therefore easier to hang out with people who prefer to leave things buried and left well alone.
Except that that by now you will have realised that buried emotions and learnt behaviour never stay buried. Learnt behaviour can rear it’s ugly head and it can become a serious nuisance.
Once a bully or an abuser begins to find a kind of thrill or a feeling of powerful mastery over their prey, they may get hooked and addicted to the behaviour – and so the cycle of abuse may begin. It can happen very quickly especially if someone is not fully aware.
Usually the past shame and guilt often helps to feed the need to stamp on others in order to prove they are indeed not so bad or worthless. And this in itself can become an addictive behaviour.
Unfortunately, using techniques like this only makes things worse – not better. And it can alienate a whole bunch of people in the process.
Are You A Victim Of Bullying Or Are You Colluding With A Bully?
Bullies are also not just found in the playground. They can be experienced in the workplace, in politics, on social media and so on. They can even be your friend, your partner or a family member.
Bullies however, need allies – and they need victims.
They need supporters to make them feel powerful. And they can be very convincing. Take ISIl or their more common name ISIS. They have managed to brainwash swathes of people with convincing arguments. Arguments that you and I might find obviously flawed but to them and their followers their reasoning and techniques are persuasive.
Bullies can hide behind all sorts of facades.
They can hide behind family photographs, social media sites and they can be glib and even charismatic. In fact we have one of the best examples of bullying in our history. His name was Hitler. He was extremely charismatic and so convincing, that he persuaded thousands of Germans to send Jewish and minority groups to the gas chambers.
But never mind Hitler – a bully could be sitting next to you, right now.
And the strange thing is that when a bully is confronted – they become victims themselves. They often become cry babies running around bemoaning their fate.
Confronting a bully however takes enormous courage – courage that many people do not have. And the bully knows this. This is why so many bullies get away with their behaviour. And this is why so many bullies can amass tons of so-called loyal supporters.
Even if their friends and supporters do actually realise exactly who they are, the friends or supporters often fear the same bullying, reprisal or retaliation.
Unfortunately, by keeping quiet and by not exposing the bully for who they truly are, means that you can appear to be colluding or agreeing with the bully or bullying. But finding a way to do this can be very hard.
So What Can You Do?
a) You could remain friends with a bully because after all, birds of a feather flock together and you might even be a bully yourself or,
b) You could remain the victim of a bully.
There are however better options:
1) You could find a way of speaking up. Often just by telling a friend is the beginning of this process.
2) If possible, try to find people who will support you instead of the bully. Try to unite with your co-workers. Bullies hate feeling isolated and therefore this is often a good solution.
3) But sometimes it is very hard to confront a bully especially if they seem to be supported by others. If you are experiencing bullying, especially at work and if you rely on your job, and if you cannot find supportive co-workers, then the best way forward might be to find a support group or network outside of your workplace. They will help you deal with the problem objectively and they will help you find a solution. Worse scenario is that at least you will feel that you are not alone.
Bullying is a serious problem for many. As a result, thousands of people experience all sorts of bullying on a daily basis. For example, on Twitter alone there are 8 major and many more minor sites with thousands of followers that are victims of bullying.
If you feel that you are being bullied, please do not remain quiet.
Join a support group, tell a friend and get help.
Keeping your experience to yourself can have terrible effects on your self-worth and so on.
And remember this: ‘A problem shared is a problem halved. A problem shared is a often a problem solved!’
People Often Repeat and Perpetuate Their Own Abuse.
After reading many of my blogs you will most probably also have begun to realise that sadly, many people’s behaviour or reactions are as a direct result of what was done to them, what they observed or what they absorbed – from all those years ago.
Behaviour is often taught or it is learnt.
What is learnt is not always constructive or positive.
And it may certainly not help those who wish to develop long-term relationships, friendships or careers.
Thankfully we all have a choice. We can repeat the negative patterns of the past – but if they lead us to nowhere, then thankfully we can choose a different path.
This path can involve speaking to a friend, a priest, finding a therapist, a life-coach, or what ever it takes to heal what is holding you back so that you can begin to make different choices to suit your life’s goals.
Francis of Assisi once said, “ Men’s natures are alike – it is their habits that carry them apart”.
© 2017 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace
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