I regularly work on transforming bullies I find online into friends. This is not true for all bullies but for many online bullies, they are people who want to have friends but never learned the proper way to make them.
They tease. They poke. They create hurt. But what do they want?
They want to be noticed. So, I notice them. It takes different amounts of time for each of them. I let them work on me. Get it out of their system.
Then what’s usually left is a friend.
More often than not, their bullying slows down or ceases entirely because somebody took the time to show them how to be a proper friend.
I keep an eye on them for a bit of course. I don’t get preachy. I turn their targeting off the other subjects onto me and diffuse them with a bit of absurdism and a lot of agreement [when they’re onto me].
I can help fix online bullying. I can teach people to cope and remove the victim status from their labels. I probably spend more time with that than anything.
But offline is difficult. Offline bullies there’s sometimes little to be done. I can teach how to handle one-on-one bullying. But group bulling? Chasing down the street? Rock throwing bullying?
That’s an area that’s much harder.
One of the keys at least with online bullies and those they target is maintaining a positive outlook – a “this is my friend already” outlook.
I still have a long way to go, but when you mentioned how bullies can be formative: they CAN – and it’s not likely they’ll ever fully go away…. but I try to eliminate them by trying to eliminate the bully/victim dichotomy as best I can. Doesn’t always work. Sometimes it fails. Sometimes a victim becomes a group bully, gathering together forces in a victim-alliance to target the bully and drive them away.
But drive them away to where? Off a network? A friendless sad individual who never learned how to make friends properly? What happens next? I think of those things.
But I know progress is always possible.
[sorry for the off topic expressing there. I had just finished working with someone for a few days when I could; a person who was indeed a master troll/bully, to get them to a point _beyond_. I await future progress but I saw a line cross over today… but was feeling somewhat victorious because I was ready to give up. It’s not something I talk about much because it sounds boastful and I try to avoid it… but marvelous post about seeing the positive (and I’d say the absurd of it all as well) and it’s benefits reminded me of this person, who ultimately, I hope to get to see the positive in positive sake so they can see possibilities in themselves and others that go beyond their habits, without actually making them aware of the changes happening to them].