The article below is taken from Lextells, the original can be found at:
From the ideas of Ingeborg Bosch, Past Reality Integration (PRI), bullying is a much less elusive phenomenon that it may seem to be. I will discuss this in this article.
Origin of bullying
Where does bullying come from? Why do children bully? Are some kids just plain bad? No, they are - fortunately - not!
Bullying is behavior related to one of the survival mechanisms a child uses to deny the truth that they are not getting what they need.
Not getting what you need is, in a child's perception of life, a very crushing, literally life-threatening experience. It is like this: a child is completely dependent on its parents, it has no choice and no (well-developed) sense of time. Try to picture this… These 3 elements of the child's perception of life make not getting what you need is a terrible experience. So awful that you can't let it penetrate your consciousness.
Our innate psychological immune system ensures that we hide those experiences in a separate part of our consciousness. We can even deny that they happened. We often really don't remember them. The psychological defense system then creates illusions in which we come to believe. We believe in that because the real truth (namely, you don't get what you need) is too overwhelming. One such illusion is, for example, that we could still get what we need, as long as the other person changes. We will then project our misfortune onto the other. Bullying, taunting, belittling, feeling superior to another, becoming violent, etc., it is all a consequence of this. In other words, this behavior is not natural. Indeed, its source is not the core of the child (its true self), but its developed survival mechanism as a result of (perhaps systematically) not getting what it needs. So the bad news is: the child is bullying. How good news is, it's not intrinsically bad.
The innocent child
Because we ourselves as children were not always getting what we needed, we in turn raise our children without fully realizing what their natural needs really are. We ignore it more often than is good for them, no matter how hard we try. They are blind spots for us. So we don't even see them.
This is very painful for the child. It has to employ all kinds of survival mechanisms to hide the reality that it has to grow up with parents who are often unable to give it what it needs. He is bothered by this, but also by his environment. And especially when it has grown up later. Then the survival mechanisms have become obsolete. The child needs the mechanisms for survival, the adult no longer needs. An adult is no longer dependent on his parents for his survival, he does have a choice and a sense of time. However, due to the way our brains work, the survival mechanisms remain active. And we really only suffer from that.
Just look around you. We really shouldn't think that bullying is only a problem for children. Bully adults too!
So bullying is a survival mechanism, no matter how strange it may sound. The child starts bullying because the world is very threatening to him. He has learned that he can make others smaller so that they are no longer a danger to him. It is a way of maintaining a certain sense of control over one's environment. It is very likely that the child often lacks this sense of control at home. There is also a good chance that it is regularly not respected at home, and maybe even humiliated or belittled (no matter how subtle or teasing). It could also be that it is left too much to its own devices, or that it does not receive any support and that it is hardly seen or heard in its needs.
In my view, the child is always innocent. So also the bullying child is. The behavior he shows is therefore not necessarily justified. It means that we have to look at the root causes of the behavior. Bullying is not natural, it says something about underlying problems in the child. For it has strayed from its nature. It only had to do that to protect itself because it grows up in an environment where its needs are denied.
The role of the adult
So we adults need to look to ourselves when the topic of bullying comes up. For we are apparently unable to see, recognize and fulfill the needs of the child. How aware are we of the child's needs? How often do we give it what it needs? How respectful are we to our children? How often do we set a good example for our children? In other words, how safe do we make the environment for our children so that they need few protective mechanisms? Until we face our own unresolved past, we will not be able to properly sense the child's needs. Then the blind spots remain for us and the world remains unsafe for the child. It will have to grow up when its parents usually don't know what it needs. How threatening is that? Very threatening and just as threatening as our own childhood has been to us.
The PRI method is a very effective and practical way to unravel your own unprocessed past. In this way, we dismantle the destructive survival mechanisms that we still unconsciously deploy and that often cause us to lose real contact with the child. We then look at it through the glasses of our past instead of seeing it as it really is: small, pure, dependent, and with very big needs.
Bullying will not just stop. After all, a survival mechanism does not just give up. In any case, punishment makes no sense. By punishing you achieve that a child needs even more survival mechanisms. The use of bullying behavior is an unconscious mechanism for the child, it does not consciously choose it. Stopping bullying must come from himself and not because the environment puts him under (serious) pressure to do so. The best way to let it come out of himself is to treat him differently as adults. Create a safe climate. We can do this by working on ourselves to learn how to fully see and recognize his needs and fulfill as much as possible. As a result, it will slowly begin to feel safe and learn that it does not have to protect itself by bullying others.
As I said, this is a long-term task. But one that tackles the problem at its root, something that the many well-intentioned campaigns and actions have not yet succeeded.
By the way, of course adults can't let a bullying child go about their business while we are working on ourselves. Direct intervention is absolutely necessary when a child is bullying. The (emotional) health and safety of the victim is at stake and damage can also be caused. But we can try to let our intervention happen in connection with our heart, so with an eye for what is really going on in the here and now, with both 'perpetrator' and 'victim'.
A new vision of the child
Since I started training as a PRI therapist, the realization has really started to dawn on me how much we are doing violence to our children. We often don't see them as fully-fledged people. But they are so fragile and dependent, and at the same time so pure and true, that we should approach them with the utmost care. We should want to know everything about the child's needs and experiences. Of the influences of physical and emotional violence on their development. We should give them all the space to let them discover their passions and talents. We should do everything we can to keep them in touch with their inner knowing. We can certainly realize that, but we ourselves have often lost contact with our inner knowing due to the consequences of our youth and the unresolved trauma therein.
It is such a strong vicious circle that we are in. And it is so difficult to admit that we are doing that violence to our children because in doing so we must recognize that we ourselves are walking around with a tremendous amount of unresolved pain from our own childhood. We prefer not to suffer that pain. This is understandable, but that is how we stay in that negative spiral. Yet the only way out is to start the process with yourself. And it is not as scary as it seems. We survived our childhood, it is over and we are still here! It is our defenses that hold us in and make us think it is dangerous to investigate our unresolved past. However, there is nothing to fear. It is this fear that stands in the way of real healing and thus a real breakthrough in the education of our children.
Recently I got the following thought:
“Children are the future, but what do we do? We give them our past. ”
A child can only give what they get, so let's stop burdening them with our past.
-) Wikipedia on Past Reality Integration