There are two kinds of people: those who bully, and those who get bullied. As a child, I fell in the second category. I was often bullied mainly because of my frail physique. It was so troubling at that time that though it’s been about 23 years since I saw them, I distinctly remember the faces of the two guys who would leave no chance to mess around with me — sometimes verbally and often physically. They terribly frustrated me, making me want to do to them what a group of friends did to Nick Stahl in a 2001 independent American movie, Bully: Kill him.
But before I could execute my murderous plans, the two moved out of that residential area. They saved their lives and I strongly feel that their families should have at least sent me a Thank You note. But they did not show any gratitude.
These two ungrateful guys were history for me till about three years ago when I came across a handwriting sample that reminded me of them. The handwriting was shown to me by a 40-something man who had contacted me after reading my graphology articles in Mumbai Mirror. The sample belonged to his 15-year-old son.
“This guy is giving you a tough time, isn’t he?” I said the first thing after looking at his handwriting.
The well-built man just looked at me sternly without saying a word. I feared he might hit me for having got that wrong. Suddenly, he started coughing. I offered him a glass of water. A few seconds later, he said: “I am sick of my son’s behaviour. He does not listen to anyone. Hardly does a week pass when I don’t get complaints against him. I think he is getting out of hand. I punish him every now and then. But I am not able to beat sense into his head. I am tired of this, but he is not…”
I said with nervous smile: “He has become an intractable boy… something like a bully…”
“Oh yes!” he said, interrupting me. “He often beats up friends, forcibly snatches away their things. And I don’t know why he needs to do all that. There is nothing we deny him.”
Our meeting went on for the next 40 minutes, during which the man talked about his son’s “bad” attitude and recounted how he had put him in trouble quite a few times. He also spoke at length about his strong belief in the theory that children can be kept under control only if they are dealt with an iron fist.
Ironic, isn’t it? I felt the same. With such a bully in his dad, the child could not have behaved otherwise. The boy, I got to know during the conversation, had all the reasons to become a bully:
1) He had family problems
2) He was being bullied himself
3) He was made to feel bad about himself. Hence, he wanted to make other feel bad too
4) He was feeling insecure and unimportant, and bullying empowered him
The boy’s handwriting in general was disorganised and pasty. It was mostly angular, which suggested he was filled with aggression and was tense all the time. The pressure was too heavy, which showed that he did things quite intensely, and felt unloved. Besides all this, his handwriting was fraught with t-bars going downhill, which indicated an individual’s tendency to control and force others into behaving in a certain way. In short, a bully.
We discussed more about the boy from whatever I saw in his handwriting. I suggested a handwriting exercise for his son. He said he would force him to do the exercises. At this point, I asked him to go a little easy on his son. As expected, he refused, saying, “You don’t know how vicious he is. He doesn’t understand nice words.” Now, I was curious to see the handwriting of this man. But I knew I was going to be disappointed because he had made up his mind that I would have none of it, especially after I vehemently disagreed with his strong belief that cane is needed to make a child behave.
The man left after some time, while I stayed there for a while wondering who needed counselling: the father or the son. Maybe both, I guess…