In the previous article we discussed bullying by the violent unstable kid, sometimes called extreme bullying. In this article we’ll examine how to deal with the bully who may act violent but is just a jerk. The jerk is simply someone who likes to pick on others to make himself feel better but is pretty scared deep inside. Having to deal with the bully who is a jerk is not easy to deal with but often this person is so insecure that when you stand up to them, they will shrink away from you.
Sometimes this kid is jealous of you or feels threatened by you and so they feel that they must attack you to make them look stronger. Ever seen a small dog bark loudly to a much larger dog? These bullies react in a similar way. They don’t like that you are different or they perceive that you are weak so they pick on you. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.
- Avoid them if possible. As with the violent bully, there is no sense in creating problems where there are none. Don’t try to hang around with a known bully but you should not live in fear of them either
- Don’t give them the reaction they are seeking. Some bullies want you to cry or act scared. They cannot stand it when you do not act scared and, in fact, you act like you don’t care. Like spoiled kids they hate it most when you just ignore them. If they say something to you to hurt you or try to get you to argue or yell at them and you just look at them blankly then turn around, they may say another thing or two but then will often leave you alone and try to find someone else.
- Stand up to them. If they do confront you and will not accept a blank stare for an answer, calmly but firmly tell them to leave you alone. If they persist, more firmly and a little more loudly tell them to leave you alone and walk away. The jerk does not want the attention of an adult (remember they are acting out of fear inside), they will often stop when they know they might get in trouble. Again, ignore any comments they make while you are walking away. What they say about you doesn’t matter!
- Report bullying. As in the first article, if they do not quit bullying you, report it to an adult. The jerk will not welcome the attention from the school officials and will stay away from you to avoid more problems in the future.
- Pray for them. It’s hard to think that one could pray for good to come to their enemies but that is exactly what Jesus taught. Ultimately you should desire that they turn away from being a jerk and embrace the love of Jesus. Think how much happier they will be and how much better the world will be if they were to embrace kindness and goodness. In any interaction with them reflect the beauty of Christ in your life and show kindness to them. They are expecting others to react angrily to them so your unexpected kindness may light the way to a better way of living.
Most of all, remember that anything the bully says reveals more about who they are than who you are. Don’t listen when they talk about what you wear, your hair, or other physical features. When you hear the words, picture the crying kid inside of them that wants love and attention and is not receiving it. They are trying to hurt you because they are hurting. Do not take to heart what they are saying; it is not based in reality.
When I was in high school there was an older and taller kid who used to pick on me a lot. He’d thump my ear when I sat in front of him or poke me and would say dumb things. One day I was fed up and turned around and asked, “What joy do you get in picking on me? I’m not telling you to stop but I need to know how it is making you happy because it is really bugging me.” He got this funny look on his face and said, “I don’t know. I just do it.” After that he didn’t pick on me again and, in fact, we became friends and had fun joking around together. One day this older and bigger kid who was definitely a violent bully started picking on me, challenging me to a fight, when the teacher left the room. I just ignored him and some of my classmates were telling him to leave me alone. The ear thumper came around and tackled the other kid and started to fight with him. It wasn’t the reaction I wanted but it wasn’t the only time that someone who used to pick on me actually protected me from another bully. But that is a story for another time.