Something that I have come to realize about certain bullies are that they make the most ridiculous excuses to antagonize somebody else. I can immediately think of two instances of this, one in fifth grade, and one in senior year of college. In fifth grade, there was a boy, I’ll call him Phil to keep things discreet, who went out of his way to bully me. We were classmates and it just so happened that I was being annoyed a lot by somebody who I will call Mickey (not his real name, obviously). Mickey would like to touch other people, which I found gross, so I would often yell at him and call him out for it, telling him to stop, because it was unpleasant. However, our teacher felt like Mickey was being picked on a lot, because Mickey was socially awkward and nobody felt comfortable around him. Our teacher would tell everyone to look out for him, even though he was obviously harassing others and found enjoyment in doing so, because it was attention nonetheless for somebody was felt neglected. Phil took it upon himself to then bully me as well, claiming he was doing so to protect Mickey. He would call me ugly, a donkey, and other ridiculous insults every single day. I would not even open my mouth sometimes, and he’d still go out of his way to do this, just because I yelled at Mickey before, and I was repulsed by Mickey’s really inappropriate tendencies. Phil argued he was doing right, but he was no better than I was, nor did he even listen to that rationale.
I remember that just moments before I broke down crying, because I felt like I was being harassed to that degree, I called Phil out on his actions. But he then called me an ugly donkey, per usual, and then went on to say that I deserved the treatment I was receiving, and then went on to say a lot of things in Korean, to which my Korean classmates then laughed about; it was obvious that he was throwing insults at me, and again, he was being the very thing he was claiming to be preventing/defending against: a bully. Obviously, Phil had a lot of pent up aggression and anger that he was refusing to express. Instead of channeling that in a healthy manner, he took to bullying other people, i.e. me, and he obviously did not care about Mickey. He just wanted to vent, and used Mickey being isolated as an excuse to do so. It was highly ironic, because Phil was as much a bully as me to Mickey, or Mickey was to others. I don’t really know what happened to Phil after elementary school, because he transferred out of our district. All I remember was that he did get sent to the principle’s office, not for making me cry, but for enabling/empowering Mickey to touch other people and it just goes to show that again, he did not have Mickey’s best interests in mind. A true friend would not be bullying other people’s bullies and ignoring the main issues at hand, in this case, being that Mickey was physically harassing other people. They would help the victim out, and while standing up to an antagonist helps, there’s a proponent to reflecting on actions and trying to understand why somebody is getting bullied or bullying that needs to be done for everyone to actually grow as people. Phil could have just told me to stop yelling at Mickey. He did not have to go as far as bully me every day, calling me names and demeaning my physical appearance. He could have also told Mickey to stop touching other people too. But instead, he just manipulated the situation and used it so he could become a bully himself.
The other situation happened to my friend, who I will call Lily. While she was their vice president, she still got bullied in college by an Asian student group, or more accurately, by select members of said group. She had a conflict with a guy, who we will dub Harry, who was passive aggressively slinging insults at Lily. And when another member of that group, who I will call Clancy, hear, Clancy went as far as publicly screaming at Lily in front of other members of the student group. Clancy claimed that the reason why he was allowed to do this was because he was being a good friend to Harry, and that Harry was too nice to express his discomfort towards Lily. Obviously, this was a lie, since Harry was openly rude and showing animosity to Lily, and Clancy himself did not need to take Harry’s conflict into his own hands, nor did he need to even mention being a good friend, which obviously shows where his true motivations lied behind: himself. He wanted to feel good and he wanted to prove to everyone that he was a loyal friend. And he would go as far as to vilify Lily to make himself look like a hero. Clancy did not care that Harry and Lily were butting heads. He wanted to exert his dominance, as somebody with more seniority and higher presence than either of them. He was self-important, and quite frankly, an instigator. He wanted every conflict to center around him, so that he could “resolve” the issue, by isolating one person to generate more respect for him from the other people involved.
I won’t even bother getting into what Clancy did to me, because I am trying to be less self-important than he is, but I can say from that personal experience that people like him are not interested in hearing all sides of the story before making judgements or actions. When it comes to dealing with conflict, or antagonists, there is a fine line between actually resolving the issue or becoming a villain and escalating an already toxic situation. Both Phil and Clancy did that by essentially hijacking a conflict that they were not really involved in, just to get some sort of buzz out of antagonizing somebody. That to me is not being a good friend nor is it even being a good person. It is characteristic of somebody who has issues, either deeply ingrained in them, and likely from a source that does not even pertain to the current subject matter or conflict in question. In short, they have chips on their shoulders, and rather than dealing with their own problems, they choose to lash out on other people, and use whatever excuses, being conflicts between two people, that they can to justify their actions, to put themselves on a higher horse, and to feel empowered as a bully. To live a healthy life, it is more important to tackle your own inner demons and address them, and at the same time, do not get involved with conflicts unless they somehow affect you directly, otherwise, you’re just stepping into somebody else’s problems, and putting your own stake into a situation you did not need to. Being able to know who to talk to, and how to approach a situation, that is important to living a feather light life.