Anger, frustration, disappointment, fear, unmet-expectations. The healthy human will experience all of these which we often label as “negatives”. As children, when these surface, we might lash out with a physical expression in an effort to communicate how we feel. Perhaps this lashing-out is because we haven’t yet learned how to form the correct series of words to express just how we feel. Perhaps it’s because the words we have used in the past aren’t working to our satisfaction. Perhaps it’s learned behavior because we’ve seen someone in our own tribe use this effectively – and we follow in the footsteps of those who have the “power” in a relationship.
As we use the physical expressions, some of us will find success with them and others will continue to fail their efforts to communicate this way. Those that find success with physical outbursts will rejoice and seek to further that skill-set – often to the detriment of developing their intelligent problem solving skills.
What sets adults apart from children is that as we age, we form the capacity to develop intelligence around problem-solving. Unfortunately, some of us forgo learning how to apply that intelligence when dealing with others with whom we share the planet. Granted, we all have the capacity to feel so deeply about an unmet expectation that we allow anger to rise to the surface – resulting in a severe physical expression. The flip-side are those who prefer to use such outbursts in an attempt to control a situation – i.e.
“to get their way”.
If it sounds like I am describing a temper tantrum, you’re spot-on. If it sounds like I’m also describing a bully, well you are correct their also.
The bully within
We all have one inside. The ugly part of our personality that yearns to control a situation with physical, emotional, or verbal abuse. Some of us hold it closer to the surface. some of have learned to control it, some have learned to suppress it, some have learned to ignore it, and others have come to a state a peace with their inner bully and it remains silent.
The emotionally intelligent and intellectually wise person will have developed a skill set that allows them to nurture a situation in a direction that exceeds their personal desires. This nurturing inspires others to do great things because of an internal desire to perform. The bully, like the two year-old, uses abusive behavior and language in an effort to force others to comply to their personal will. The end result is of course, doing only what needs to be done to avoid being abused.
The supreme teacher in this struggle is our ego.
Egoic attachment is the root source of many of our emotional responses including the anger, frustration, disappointment and fear that lead to the Bully Expression. Even the adult ego is like a two year old in that if it doesn’t get it’s way, it more than happy to throw a temper tantrum one that will range from mild to extreme.
Ditching the inter tyrant
With ego being at the root center of Bully Expression, some suggested steps in ditching your inner bully are:
- Accept that you have an inner bully.
- To become okay with that fact – avoid using it as a whip to punish yourself for past actions. Their in the past and you can’t change that.
- Do your forgiveness work. This is not to seek justification for your actions, but to seek to live in a space where you see your actions, what led up to them and how they affected others and yourself in disappointing ways. Then forgive yourself, resting in the knowing that from this moment forward, you will live differently and have greater meaning in your life.
- Work to be okay with not getting your way. Allow others to have their successes.
- Learn to nurture people in a situation, not command them. Playing dictator stifles those around you and limits your own life successes. Nurturing gives room for outcomes to exceed what our own minds thought to be possible by allowing for synergy.
- Discover your anger. When anger is triggered, make note of it so you may work on it at an appropriate time. If you are too angered to act rationally, calmly ask to be excused for a moment so you can calm down and become rational. Only another bully would deny you of that opportunity.
- Heal your triggers. Meditate on your triggers. Connect the dots as to why this triggers anger in you. This can be the most fulfilling phase of growth. You get to learn the ugly and the beautiful truth about you that was previously masked behind egoic responses. Then you get to let them go and work to change them. You get to life the weight of all that horrible bagage you have until now, insisted on carrying around.
- Be prepared to lose some friends and gain some new ones. Chances are very high that you have encircled yourself with others who think like you used to. It’s easy to see that a majority of them are bullies. As you release yourself of your Bully Expressions, you’ll clearly see those old behaviors in others and want to get away. Your friends egos will work diligently to hold on to their present state of being and do their best to bring you back to their side of the street. It’s a trap, but now that you know it’s coming you’ll see it and can avoid it. Eventually they, or you will give up on the relationship. Do your best to be okay with that.
With your new self emerging, you will become attracted and attractive to people who just like you, are changing their ways in life. You’ll begin to see the world with a heightened state of clarity. You will see things that have been their all along, but were masked behind your old personal need to micro-manage the universe around you. People will desire to lift you up – let them. They’ll actually desire to do things for you instead of doing them out of fear – let them. When we allow people to express their good in the world, good change happens. When we try to force people to do our will, we limit the outcome to our own personal will and miss amazing opportunities for greater outcomes – outcomes that exceed all expectation.
No matter how “well intentioned” a bully my be, wrong-action for the right reasons will never result in a better outcome than the right-action for the right reasons.
The bully around you.
Change comes hard from some. For most, change will only be triggered by a pain that takes them far removed from their comfort zone. Bully Expressors won’t feel a need to change, as long as their behavior is getting results. Hey if it works, why change it, right? What the bully doesn’t realize is that they can reach their goals faster with greater efficacy with the intentional assistance of others. They’ll get more done when people actually want to help them get there instead of people just doing something to avoid dealing with the bully’s anger.
We certainly can’t force someone to desire internal change, but we can lead them in that direction by demonstrating a better way. Bullies are blame-casters. If something goes awry, they’ll throw someone else under the bus long before admitting their own deficiencies. If it something goes right, it’s theirs to take credit for – if it goes wrong, it was the fault of someone else and often because that person didn’t do what the bully told them to do.
Through our own personal demonstration of self-accountability for our actions, nurturing people and situations, we can hope that the onlooking bully will eventually witness how your successes come with ease and grace. Perhaps they’ll begin to see how people will do amazing things when they are allowed to make their own decisions and learn from their choices. Potentially, the bully will discover that despite how your preferences weren’t met, a great outcome happened anyway and your not just okay with it, but excited about it.
That bully might eventually “get it”, or maybe they’ll never see it. Either way, that needs to be okay with you. They are not your responsibility to change. Trying to force change upon them just makes you the bully too.
If your relationship with a bully is too toxic to bear, you have a right to make the personal choice to make a change in your life, but not theirs. Maybe that choice is to walk away from the relationship, knowing that that bully might resist your efforts to control your own life. Perhaps if you are an employer, you choice is to attempt to counsel them through HR and get them help, or to release them from their commitment and send them on their way.
Respect yourself. Bully Expression is an unfortunate physical and desperate expression of limiting thought in action. If you seek to be all you can be, you need to release the limitations in your life manifested by the Bully Expression.
Live baby, live!