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The Archetypal Bully

by Ryan McEntee

We live in a country where pop culture reigns supreme. Things come and go in the blink of an eye based on what is hot at the moment. Still, some things are enduring. Archetypal patterns of behavior are some of the most enduring aspects of life that we have. We may continually get new archetypes and some may even slightly evolve, but the core historical ones remain unscathed by pop culture.

What is an “Archetype”? An archetype is a basic pattern, almost like a cookie cutter mold. It’s a universal template in which individuality is built from, but it is uniform at its base. An example of an archetype would be a “Mother”. If you said to your friend that a stranger was very motherly or must be a mother because of her behavior, that would be an identification of an archetypal pattern. We all know cross culturally what a “Mother” represents, and how that symbolic energy feels. This is a universal pattern or one small example out of thousands of archetypal expressions.

The current archetypal pattern we are observing a lot of is the “bully”. Bullying is a hot button issue at the moment and its archetypal behavior is under a microscope. We have anti bullying campaigns, YouTube videos on bullying, and a government website dedicated to stopping the behavior. So what is bullying exactly? And what could we expect within the bullying dynamic?

The Bully: The bully is typically seen as a person who uses real or imagined forms of power to harm and/or intimidate those who are perceived as weaker in some regard.

The Victim: A victim is typically a person who is harmed in some way by another person or circumstance.

We know the basic definitions and concepts regarding bullying because it’s a pretty straight forward situation when looked at from the outside. Have we thought about the bully/victim similarities? Although the bully and victim are quite clearly at the opposite ends of the threat spectrum, deep emotional dynamics may be shared. Issues such as a lack of or not fully developed self esteem are prominent in our society, particularly at the level of school age bullying. With the bully we could possibly find a need to inflate the ego by abuse of a perceived power over another to increase a sense of importance and self worth, or to increase a level of control where they may not find any in other areas of life. The victim possibly shy and reserved and slightly different from others makes them stand out as a potential target of abuse. The not fully developed sense of self esteem keeps them down unable to defend physically or emotionally against the bullies tactics. These are generalizations though and not necessarily the dynamic in any or all of the situations you may have personally experienced.

The Bully is not new. In mythology we see the story of David & Goliath, in classic tv we find “Butch” the bully in the “Little Rascals”, and in more recent times Lindsay Lohan stars in what some would consider a cult classic “Mean Girls”. People pushing other people around are forever things. The behavior is historical, ever present and will find a future as well. The programs intact to report and help prevent bullying are important, and I believe that is a fact. People of all ages need to understand actions and consequences and learn to self moderate behavior.

We have all at one time or another found ourselves on one end of the bullying spectrum or another. We may have found ourselves playing the part of the bully or the role of victim. Emotional support and programs within schools or social services that help to develop self esteem and self confidence will hopefully go a long way in negating long term effects from the influence of bullying. These traits of healthy self esteem and self confidence are after all the ones that will make or break us, not the bully himself/herself. Finding a healthy balance of confidence, self worth and value in ourselves and encouraging it in others is living the golden rule and can be an aid to peace in our lives. We may all have a cookie cutter archetypal mold that strongly influences our perceptions, but it is the individual ingredients we add that truly flavors our experiences. The question then becomes, what batch of cookies do you want to bring to the potluck of life?

Ryan McEntee is the owner of Inner Strength & Fitness in Milford, NH. Ryan has 21 years experience with the psychic arts & witchcraft, and has been an active Reiki Master for 17 years. ReikiRyan@aol.com

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