How To Beat Bullies

The previous post, Phlegm, attracted a reasonable amount of attention from interested anti-bullying parties. That got me digging about a bit in the old grey matter and fanned my occasionally Neanderthal problem solving instincts.

I get the fact we are civilised people and have evolved the capabilities to go beyond curing problems with a well-aimed thump.   However, I think that we want to put our pasts behind us and embrace ever higher levels of civility to the detriment of recognising our basic flight’or’flight genetic roots . When we eschew the old ways of violence we are very pleased with ourselves as we have risen above base behaviour. There is also a Third Way. Read on Grasshopper…

The fact is that when one is being bullied it is pretty Neanderthal. It is a power game where one party abuses their power and derives an inner satisfaction from doing so. Let’s not get airy-fairy about this. It ain’t pretty now, it was never pretty and it never will be pretty. Get over it. And when one is the recipient of abuses of power the balance of power needs to be redressed and sometimes ,unfortunately for the squeamish higher order people, this requires a bit of disciplined violence.

You can intellectualise the bejesus out of it and wrap it up in various layers of well-intentioned fluff but the balance of power needs an immediate and sharp readjustment, with a bit of full on but careful agression. We all know bullies are deep-down cowards so I advocate the short sharp shock treatment when one is being repeatedly physically intimidated or actually smacked about. I talk from actual experience and am not standing back and theorising here. Additionally, this is not about triumphing it is about seeming to be quite unhinged and dangerous. The aim of your efforts is purely to escape relatively unscathed, run away like a coward – for that is what I am – and most importantly to be left alone in future.

When I grew up the male chit-chat often turned to fighting and the importance of “fighting fair”. Often referred to in the context of fist fights because I guess one is just supposed to punch the other person in a gentlemanly manner between midriff and jaw. Bizarre, as I was never trained to box.

As far as I could ascertain this meant no shin kicking, kicking someone who is down, bollock stomping, eye-gouging, nostril ripping, hair pulling etc etc. Essentially, all the good stuff that puny wimps need to use to win. We were conditioned that should one ever find oneself in the unfortunate position of having to fight then it should be a fair process. Eh? If you are fighting then you are fighting to win. Rules, don’t be soft. I believe the aficionados of scrapping refer to this as Cage Fighting these days.

May I humbly suggest that in my experience over several such encounters whilst growing up – I went to 11 schools so you figure out who got picked on – that when backed into a corner you go completely bat-shit crazy. If you are going to go down this route then don’t forget that famous intellectual Donald Rumsfeldt and his Shock and Awe speech. You are going for shock, awe but in addition a hasty retreat.

I suggest that you may like to commence the loving with a bit of bollock crunching. Get your head down and charge in and start by going straight for the crutch with your dominant hand, let the balls nestle in your cupped hand and then give them a good friendly squeeze just as hard as you can. This approach generally takes their mind right off the hitting/shoving/spitting that they had in mind and also introduces quite the element of surprise. Use this to your advantage and do remember keep your head down.

Young men are generally pretty homophobic in the early-mid teens (I know I was) so the friendly if unexpected straight in for the genitals approach also unsettles them mentally as it somehow “isn’t right”. Once you have shown intent and they have fought you off their battered sac it is time for a bit of head action. They ought to be reeling in surprise at this stage. On a good day, if you really get the pair nestled in your hand so you can bump them off one-another it may be all you need. You’ll know because they will recoil with shock and horror and scream unpleasant things. Make your peaceful intentions clear by retreating smartly and certainly out of range. If grabbed you’ll get a proper beating and having a fight isn’t the point as you’ll lose.

However, if you didn’t make a great fist of it then feel free to take advantage of the element of surprise. I encourage you to up the lunatic quotient a bit and grab the head. Start the getting to know you process by trying to scratch their eyes out. Additionally, if you can hook one or two fingers in a nostril/s and give the nose a firm and friendly tug upwards it gives them something to concentrate on other than their testicles, which is a kindness really if you think about it. A bit of banshee wailing never goes amiss. 

Your next step is getting the hell away. But…they now think you are a properly dangerous loon and some even lapse straight into victim mode as if you were the aggressor. Screw ’em. You both know. The aim is merely to reset the tone of the relationship where they no longer think it is ok to beat on you and humiliate you in front of others. You know that awful feeling of dread come lunch hour when you knew it would start? Yeah, that’ll be gone too. Trust me. It is such a wonderfully liberating feeling. If they start on the victim thing then do remind everyone how it was they that picked on you for some time first.

Hey, this really was about beating bullies. Good luck.

PS: I can’t believe I actually need to say this but I am assuming that you have tried the sensible approaches first like changing your routes etc. This is last resort stuff. It is definitely not cool to actually pop an eyeball out or Mike Tyson their ear. What is cool is if they think you might.