President Trump can be a bully. Bullies are made, not born, and it is easy to be sympathetic to President Trump’s upbringing. Multiple sources confirm that President Trump was raised by a psychopathic father and an indifferent mother. He learned that the only way that he could get his father’s attention was by bullying his brothers and ignoring his sisters. When he became an adult, his father proudly rewarded bullying behavior with admiration and money.
Unsurprisingly, President Trump was a bully in the Presidential Debate.
But what was surprising was how many debate onlookers criticized Wallace and Biden for not stopping the behavior. A quick review of the research makes it clear that it would have impossible to stop this behavior within the imposed limitations of the debate.
Ironically, October is National Bullying Prevention Month.
The education establishment has focused on eliminating bullying for decades. But it has been extremely difficult despite the extensive research and programs directed at the problem. Bullying is especially harmful to children. Duke University demonstrated that victims have health consequences well into adulthood.
Peer mediation and other programs have been tried, but research suggests that the MOST effective treatment to eliminate bullying are “upstanders.” Upstanders are bystanders who stand up for the victim. Bystanders often remain quiet because they fear retaliation, but if enough stand up for the victim, the bully loses his pulpit.
Adult bullies tend to fit into the following patterns:
- Narcissistic: A self-centered, unempathetic person who needs to “put others down” to feel good about himself.
- Impulsive: An individual who has a hard time restraining his behavior when he is upset and lashes out.
- Physical: A person who uses threats of harm or physical domination.
- Verbal: Individuals who create misinformation or use demeaning language to dominate or humiliate.
- Secondary: A person who does not initiate the bullying but joins in to prevent becoming a victim.
Adult bullies are more interested in power and domination. They want to feel as though they are important and preferred, and they accomplish this by bringing others down.
So what can really be done about an adult bully? Very little. Dr. Robert Stratton of Stanford University published a book The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt. While there are many tips, here is the gist of techniques to survive adult bullies.
- Walk away.
- Fight back with your own “army.”
- Use humor to deflect bullying behavior.
The bottom line is that a bully is an insecure person who feels threatened. But while it is important to be an “upstander”, it is equally important to be sympathetic. Behind that bravado, hides a scared, insecure little boy or girl.
Angela Rieck, a Caroline County native, received her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland and worked as a scientist at Bell Labs, and other high-tech companies in New Jersey before retiring as a corporate executive. Angela and her dogs divide their time between St Michaels and Key West Florida. Her daughter lives and works in New York City.