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Fr Jim Cogley

Whether we like to admit it or not we have all at some point been both victim and perpetrator. It is a part of our shadow side that inevitably we will inflict hurt and pain on others, especially those closest to us. The person who is a victim of bullying or intimidation always has weak boundaries, and this is the real problem, much greater than the fact that he or she is always being picked on. In fact the greatest weapon in the hand of the bully is in the mind of the victim. It is this weakness that is instinctively picked up by the perpetrator, and used to his/her advantage. The victim is like a field that may have a gate but very poor fences. It is inevitable that at some point this weakness is going to be exploited and will continue to happen until the boundary fences are repaired.

A child, or even an adult, who is a victim of bullying usually finds it very difficult to speak about what is happening and to seek help. They seem to have little or no voice to address the injustice. It’s as if their voice has been taken. This gives us an insight into the nature of all forms of intimidation and abuse. The voice is the instrument of power, so what the bully is trying to do is to disempower his victim, and in so doing to bolster his own power. This suggests that the bully is a fearful coward who is quite fearful and weak. On the outside he or she may be able to maintain a facade of appearing to be the strong one but this is a cover up for his or her underlying feelings of inferiority, vulnerability and weakness. For the unfortunate victim the first step towards healing is speaking about what has, or is happening, and in so doing to reclaim his power.


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