Bullies And Dominators

The desire to dominate others often begins in childhood, but it can come from a number of factors. A little boy who bullies other kids and gets away with it can obviously develop this desire to dominate, since he already gets a charge out of it and does not receive consequences for it. That's a kind of a little "monkey" compulsion that lots of normal kids have, both boys and girls; it's seen in ma...ny other animals, also. Humans are supposed to guide their kids how to interact civilly and respectfully, but sometimes they don't, won't, or can't ~(that boy's parents might be chronically ill or something of that nature; you would think another adult would step in, but people don't do that much anymore mostly due to the Narcissism epidemic, and the fear it creates).

The desire to dominate can also come from the other side of that coin; being a target of bullies, or especially a group of bullies. That could happen at school, in the neighborhood, or unfortunately in the child's own home. Plenty of human beings act like bullies toward one or more children in their family, and this behavior can also occur in group homes and foster homes.

Nearly everyone has experienced or witnessed bullying in childhood, especially in school. Groups of bully boys or bully girls will pick on other kids, targeting for all kinds of reasons, but the common denominator is always the "getting away with it" factor. Bullies target kids who seem weaker than themselves, or "different" in some way, ANY way, and ALSO kids who intimidate them for any reason, kids who they envy, fear, or are jealous of.

There are different "types" of bullies on the outside, like the "thug" kids, or the "jock" kids, or the "rich" kids, or the "street" kids, but on the inside they all have the same thing in common: the desire to display domination.

So, targets of bullies can develop the desire to dominate ALSO. The desire to dominate people who they see as over-confident, stuck-up, or are leaving them OUT. They can often feel very defensive, resentful, and even fearful around anyone who displays bully signals or behaviors. This is understandable, however they, like the bullies, are responsible for their behavior and their emotional and mental health when they reach adulthood. If they don't tend to their own healing, they can suffer for years with the affects. Unfortunately, they may also MISINTERPRET the actions and motivations of others, and believe they see bullying, clique behavior, betrayal and condescension where there is simply healthy self-confidence, open discussion, or healthy camaraderie.

In cases of family, foster family, or group homes where children are bullied within the walls of the home~ how does a child survive living with severe bullies if no one is protecting him or her? The child usually does one of two things~ either make themselves scarce, "invisible", which can be very painful and emotionally damaging, or become someone that the bullies fear (also painful and emotionally damaging, but also can provide a sense of relief, some freedom, and a sense of pride/confidence, albeit incomplete, but more than being invisible).
Lots of kids join groups and gangs to become "one of them", which can seem like a way to NOT be a target (either a target of that same group, or of another group.) To children, the world appears as a closed system. They don't KNOW that there is more to the world beyond what they grew up in, they're CHILDREN. So they have no way to understand that there are a thousand other ways of life out there that would give them happiness, peace, or joy.

Many seem to wonder why such a child would not simply join a sports team if they want to show that they're tough or competent, or get good grades in school. The answer to that is that children who have been bullied and/or abused have been emotionally beaten down, and therefore no longer have the confidence, the mental peace of mind, or the belief in their future that is required to even try out for a team, or improve their grades on their own. This child would NEED a strong caring person to help them heal, and protect them from further bullying and chaos, just like if they had a broken leg or an illness. Many people can only understand what they can physically SEE with their eyeballs, like a broken leg or a kid in a hospital bed, so they can't mentally comprehend why a kid would need someone to protect them and help them heal, or mentor them. These uncomprehending people can also make it difficult or impossible for another adult to step in and help a child to heal and grow.

If a child grows to adulthood without anyone to mentor them who is not part of a bully dynamic or culture, they may not ever even know that there is a whole other way to live. They may only think of people as either "Dominant" or "Submissive", "Leader" or "Follower", "Important" or "Insignificant", and not have any idea that they have only seen a small corner of the picture that makes up reality.

Such an adult will interpret the actions of OTHERS as either "Dominant" or "Submissive". This is why they are so reactive. They feel okay when they feel like they are in control, i.e. when they don't feel like they're being challenged, or left out, or humiliated. They can't simply listen to another point of view, or simply share their own, or discuss both without emotional investment, because they see everything as black or white, either/or, right or wrong, good or bad. If your point of view is different from theirs, you are seen as "wrong", or "stupid", or even "oppositional", or further still, "abusive".
They also usually have a hard time with staying on topic, because they quickly dissolve into trying to dominate the other person in a discussion. They often use condescending or personally insulting language directed at the PERSON, instead of keeping their focus on the actual TOPIC. They are always emotionally reacting to others and what others say, and their focus is on the PEOPLE in the room or in the discussion instead of on the actual matter at hand. It is extremely difficult to resolve any issues or matters of importance with such an adult. It is extremely difficult to have a conversation about anything beyond the current weather.

Dealing with such adults requires compassion, understanding, patience, and healthy, well-maintained boundaries. Sometimes distance is required as well.