Bullying – Bullismo



Visiting a k9 school here on Lipari I saw a paper on the wall with the title “Progetto bullismo” (in English, “project  bullyism”)”


I asked a teacher if they have problems with bullying at the school and she answered”Oh yes, we have big problems in the school with bullying and  the teachers can not do anything about it”.

I was not the aggressive type. 6 years old 1959, I was for some reason afraid for the bigger boys in the villa area I lived in, outside Göteborg, so  I did not want to go to the school nearby, where these boys went. My parents let me, therefore, start and attend a Catholic school in the town center of Göteborg, with nun teachers. I went with the tramway every day to that school when I had a school 50 meters from home.   I was not bullied in that school. 



Definition of bullying and types of bullying

It looks like bullyism in Italy is a kind of violent mobbing. Some may think that bullyism is when someone insults or beat someone else.

I found a definition

In http://bullyonline.org/index.php/what-is-workplace-bullying : I read this definition:

“Bullying is conduct that cannot be objectively justified by a reasonable code of conduct, and whose likely or actual cumulative effect is to threaten, undermine, constrain, humiliate or harm another person or their property, reputation, self-esteem, self-confidence or ability to perform.”

  • In Tim Fields original bully online website at http://bullyonline.org/old/workbully/mobbing.htm  I readMobbing involves a group of people whose size is constrained by the social setting in which it is formed, such as a workplace. It might seem to the target as if many people are involved but in reality, the group might be small. The group members directly interact with a target in an adversarial way that undermines or harms them in measurable, definable ways. Mobbing has absolutely nothing in common with a conspiracy theory known as “Gang Stalking” 

Types of bullying

  • ignoring
  • harassment
  • Socially excluding – excluding from social network
  • hurting with words, face signals and physically live or via Internet
  • somebody (e.g. a headmaster) who just appreciated nothing that you did.
    touch frequently your heart button making you feel bad.

Workplace bullying

We normally hear about bullying among youth in schools. But workplace bullying seems to be very frequent in the US.  I have experience of workplace bullying in my work in Sweden too but I don’t know how frequent it is there. This video is a good one informing about this ugly phenomenon.  I added a Ted down under “How to survive bullying”. I found that interesting. You may look at that too.


Bullying origins

In an article from Scientific America from 2011 blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/the-origins-of-bullying/ Hogan Sherrow writes:

When we see modern human behaviors that are universal in nature, it tells us that these behaviors have their origins deep in our evolutionary history. … However, universal behaviors can pre-date a species origin, having been inherited from a previous ancestor.

I observed my neighbors dog. I discovered that the dog bullied the house cat that got one leg broken under a car wheel. The dog does not do the same with other grown-up cats.  How is it in the animal world when someone is different? Is that an inherent clean-up mechanism that we humans have inherited?

Out of this, a thought comes up that

bullyism maybe has always existed

as a teacher and friend of mine said. “bullyism had once another name.”

But why did I not experience bullyism in Turin in  the sixties?  Maybe was it something normal, no one reacted about?


What triggers bullyism?

To understand how bullyism starts among school children, I  wonder if an answer can be found by looking at how bullyism can start in a workplace.

bullyonline.org/index.php/what-is-workplace-bullying explains workplace bullying like this:

“The target may unwittingly provoke the bullying because they are competent, popular, successful, have integrity or otherwise characteristics that the bully perceives as a threat to their status, fearing that the target will – inadvertently or deliberately – expose some negative aspect of their activity.” 

Here is a list of triggers that may start bullyism in a school. It is by no mean a full or correct list. I update as I know more.

  • Someone has a funny name
  • Someone is looking, thinking, or behaving differently
  • Someone is shy
  • Someone is felt like a treat in a group hierarchy as he/she
  • may have been recognized for some talent.


effects of bullying

effects of bullying I have found documented are among others:

  • emotionally compromised and later professionally compromised
  •  sleeping problems
  • depression
  • suicidal thoughts
  • extreme uncontrolled aggressiveness
    (One of the US school shooters was a bullyism victim (2) )


Bullying in the world

Jeanne Sullivan in her Ted  “Master the minefield – dealing with bullies, bozos & buffoons”from 2015,  said this:

there’s actually a workplace bullying Institute and it actually has measured that more than 72 percent of the people in the workplace have either observed bullying or been part of that world and being bullied. “

Due et al (2005) used 12 physical and psychological symptoms associated with being bullied to measure the effects of this behavior on the youth in the study. They found that the amount of bullying experienced by kids in those 28 countries varied greatly, with the least severe happening among girls in Sweden (ed. 6.3%)  and the most severe among boys in Lithuania (ed. 41.4%). However, despite the variation in the amount of bullying, there were

no countries where bullying was completely absent.

Hoga Sherrow used https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/15/2/128/567084 

as source. 

Bullyism in Sweden and Italy – my own experiences

Scientific American and the studies shared, tell about bullyism today. But how was it e.g in the sixties?

When I came to Turin 10 years old,  I came to land apparently without bullyism. I had typical bully triggering signals:
I was special, being treated differently by teachers; I helped my school mates wtih German; I was a blond Swede and  I was a shy guy especcially with good-looking girls :).  Children and youth wanted to be with me because I was special to them.
Despite being special I never met bullies. I felt welcome and were appreciated by others and I had many friends around me.  I don’t remember any case of bullyism during the 9 years I lived in Italy.  bullyism seemed not to exist at all in Italy in the sixties. 

Bullyism in Sweden in the sixties


Known cases of bullying

It is very painful to listen to bullying cases. But I think it is good to look at these anyway to try to understand why. Here are a few videos I looked at trying to understand the hate and lack of empathy of these bulls.

This video has been done by an adult woman telling how she was bullied in school:

Here are three known cases of bullying.

  1. The bullying of Henry Thomas alias “ET-boy”
  2. The bullying of StarTrek Jack Lloyd
  3. Mamzer Jesus

Henry Thomas

ET-boy. was bullied after his role as Elliott in the film ET (extraterrestrial) 1982. He had a hard time after that film being called ET-boy. He recovered from that bullying and continued as an adult actor  in several films like :

  • Desperation (2006) (TV) …. Peter Jackson
  • The Deal (2006/I) …. Frank
  • “Masters of Horror” …. Jamie (1 episode, 2005)
  • Tennis, Anyone…? (2005) …. Matt Erhorn
  • The Hard Easy (2005) …. Paul Weston

See the full list in this source:  whereisthatactor.blogspot.com )

Terminator child star Edward Furlong

Edward was a child star in the 1991 hit movie Terminator 2: Judgement Day. He became a heroin and cocaine addict and spent years in prison.  (Source:  https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/terminators-teen-heartthrob-edward-furlong-9100914  ) The reason for his illness and bad life maybe wasn’t bullying but the death of his mother in a movie   ( http://articles.latimes.com/1992-08-31/entertainment/ca-5984_1_pet-sematary-ii  )  

Jack Lloyd

Jake Lloyd however, learned to hate cameras. Jack Lloyd was badly bullied after his boy role in Sknown for his boy role in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999). The bullying was supported by the Start trek producer telling that it was the last time he had children in his films. About Jake “for what should have been the role to launch his promising career to the next level turned out to be the worst possible decision of his life…”

The story of Jake Lloyd is told in two YouTubes. Look at this one telling about the traumatic effects of the bullying.

jake said that after the film “other children were really mean to me…

 He is a living witness for how serious and psychically harming bullying really is. He ended up really sick and later arrested after really crazy behavior.

IN this second video it looks like he has regained self-esteem as he answers this unempathic journalist in a really tolerant way. He tells he is studying film and psychology. Jake was interviewed in 2009  (10 years after the film)  in this video by a journalist who seemed to have no idea about the difficult life of Jake. I am happy for Jakes comeback.

A workplace bullying victim – Sherry Benson-Podolchuk

Sherry tells about her workplace bullying experience in this Ted:

Mamzer Jesus

NB This is not a known case of Bullying. but have a hypothesis that Jesus may have been  bullied in his childhood and youth. I will try to explain why.
I am reading Jonas Gardell’s book about Jesus.

In one of his chapter, he writes about Mamzer Jesus. A Mamzer is the Hebrew name of a son of an illegal partnership. Mamzers were not allowed to enter the Synagogue with their parents.

A vision of a Bullied Young Jesus has grown up in my mind with Gardells book. The Pharisees were hunting him trying to get him sentenced to death, something they finally succeeded with. How did the other children and youth treat him during his childhood and youth?

  • Her mother got him without a physical father according to the gospels. That story may have been invented later to get rid of bad talking about Mary.
  • Jesus had no known physical father other than being the son of a woodworker
  • Jesus may have looked different from the man of Mary, known as Joseph (green or blue eye instead of brown?).
  • People may have spread rumors like it happens today
  • He was not like the other boys in Nazareth.
  • Nazareth was a very small village of maybe 200 inhabitants 
  • When he was 2 years old he was talking in a synagogue with adults.
  • he later talked about children like he knew what being bullied meant. 
  • he knew how to stop bullyism.  J.D. Daniel used Jesus rules to help her daughter stand and stop her bullies

I am writing on an article trying to share my vision of Jesus childhood, mission, and teaching.


bullying political parties

Several political parties in Sweden are practicing some kind of bullying when they refuse to cooperate with the second-biggest party “Sverigedemokraterna” (SD) whose main goal is to stop immigration. 

It is understandable that the left parties S (socialdemokraterna) and V (Vänsterpartiet) can not cooperate with this SD but the right wing parties M (Moderaterna) , Kd (ristdemokraterna) and C  (entern) have several goals in common. So why refuse to sit in the same government? Most sympathizers of M (67%)  and Kd (74%) think that M and KD should cooperate with SD. (Source: Aktuellt television news 5/11 2018)




The reason for this group bullying why may be found below: 


How to survive bullying

Sherry Benson-Podolchukin the Ted above recommends:

  • training
  • remind yourself about being good
  • never give up
  • Stand up straight with your shoulders back ( Jordan Peterson rule 1)
  • Make friends with people who want the best for you 
  • Jordan Peterson rule 3)

In the Youtube  “dealing with bullies, bozos & buffoons”,  Jeanne Sullivan tells about her experiences of work bullying and how she dealt with it.

Jeanne recommends to :

  • learn from the bullying experiences
  • you cannot be nasty you’ve got to be sassy
  • you have to learn to stand up, to step up, and to speak up
    we have to learn to master the minefield of these manipulative people
    come up with the mantra for yourself  “I am enough”

I would add:

  • talk about it with someone you rely on
  • understand that the bully has maybe suffered bullyism, the bully tries to hide some weakness behind a shape of being strong, the bully is the one who needs help, maybe love.

How to stop bullying

In a Ted the story of a fathers fight against the bullying of her daughter …

  J.D. Daniel used Jesus’ rules to help her daughter stand and stop her bullies. My hypothesis is that Jesus with his father’s help (Josephs), found out the !love your enemy! strategy.  It is interesting that JD Daniel came to the same conclusion.

Alex Holmes

Alex Holmes was bullied in UK survived and is now  “ Head of the Anti-Bullying Campaign at The Diana Award. He received a Diana Award in 2004 for tackling bullying in his school and community, having been bullied himself. ” He shares is knowledge about how to fight bullyism.

Look at this Ted video:


Ben Smith has another approach than legalizing against bullyism, something that may be correct. I am however not convinced that you can stop youth and children with laws.

An extreme Swedish education policy?

Here is an example of what a father or a mother should not do with their children. I add this because information because I think that bullying may start in the home. The parents teach their children how to get respect, how to make their children to listen.  And children practice this with other children who do not listen to them.

try to understand your children

I am against using violence with children who do not obey or behave destructively. I am against that because you should instead try to understand why your children do not behave as expected.

As a teacher, I  have heard many times about children with ADHD  who were educated with slaps and punishment of all kinds. Even one of my students told me about this. he was ad adult and was bitter about that youth experience.

If you see that punishment does not help, try to find out what is going on.

Teach your children how to get respect

by talking and showing knowledge and love.  Just like Jesus did and taught us to do.

The Italian father Stockholm police case

When the son did not want to eat in a Swedish restaurant (he wanted to eat pizza), an Italian father gave according to witnesses a slap in the face of his son in Stockholm 2015 and was taken by the police and sentenced to pay 610 Euro. The sentenced parent could not understand why he couldnt slap his son.

According to the Swedish television, According to witnesses on the spot, Colasante took hold of the boy’s hair and gave him a slap in the face. in the Old Town of Stockholm.” Colasante said to the Swedish Radio P1 “Sweden is an absurd country where the children are allowed to get too much power over their parents,” The article continues “After the judgment against Colasante, it has become commonplace for the children in Canosa di Puglia, where he lives, to threaten their parents to escape to Sweden if the parents are too strict in their education, tells the city’s former mayor Fransceco Ventola in the program.”

The Swedish television continues ” In Italy, Gianni Colasante was described as a victim of an extreme Swedish education policy. ” Gianni Colasante said” I feel sorry for Swedish parents who do not seem to have all the tools for raising children. A slap  in the face  can be used as an enhancement when the words are no longer enough”

The Italian Article says “Scandinavian country in fact, by law, the handcuffs are taken even for a slap given to the children. Since 1979, a law has been in force in Sweden that prohibits any kind of corporal punishment for children.  Gianni Colasante said “I categorically deny having slapped my son”


How to educate children

As I mentioned above, parents must be good examples of how to behave and get respect from others, without violence, shouting or hurting. 

What should the Colasante father have done instead? Jordan Peterson gives some hints (especially from minute 40 I think can be useful when your children do not listen or follow rules. I add one hint, that I got from Jim Tamm:

  • Do not be a tyrannical father
  • Notice and encourage your children good behavior by telling them, when you see good behavior.
  • tell your child when you are not in a good mood.
  • Improve collaboration with your children:  
  • Don’t fall into defensiveness  starting to shout or use violence, as Jim Tamm explains in the  Ted I shared in www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/2018/02/04/cooperation/#Improving_collaboration )
  • Listen to your children. (Ask the child why he/she reacts as he/she does. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t) (Jordans rule 9)
  • When you talk with your children:
  • Be precise in your speech (Jordans rule 10): 
  • Set up achievable goals. 
  •  Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today. (E.g. talk about your own mistakes as a young one  and how you developed (Jordans rule 4)




Bullyism may be part of our animal snake heritage.

Bullyism starts for several reasons.

  • Someone has a funny name
  • Someone looks different
  • Someone behaves differently,  eg a girl behaves as a boy or a boy behaves like a girl.
  • Someone is seen as a threat.
  • To get respect and recognition and children do that the same way as adults (e.g parents, teachers) do.

Bullyism may start in the home.

Parents show their children how to get respect, by crying and maybe using violence. Angry parents who end up in defensiveness, may become bad, hurting their children with evil words like “You little shit!” etc

Bullies and aggressive red chicken

Bullies remind me about aggressive red chickens who inherited aggressive chimpanzee behavior. Those who are bullied remind me instead about the cooperating peaceful green chickens with Bonobo behavior. Red chickens (bullies) should NOT  be isolated as has been done with the red chicken experiment in the US.  At least temporarily you should take time to listen to and talk with them about how to get respect or respect with good manners.

It is known that bullies often have been bullied either by adults or by other youth.

Understand the bully

One has to understand the bully to know what is triggering the bully. We never stop bullies if we do not understand them, what triggers them to act destructively.

I do not think that isolating a bully is a good solution as this will not solver the bully’s need of adults’ attention.

The bully often needs recognition and love.  Teachers and adults must take over when the parents do wrong or are bad examples,  We must find time to talk with and listen to the bullies.

We must teach them to get respect without violence and hurting.

Jesus that I feel may have been bullied, learned maybe by his father in law, Joseph to behave the right way, getting respect with knowledge, calm and love.

I have still not found why there probably was no bulls in Italy in the sixties.

Why no bullyism in Italy in the sixties?

As said above the absence of bullyism is a presumption. However, if that was true, it could have depended on existing hierarchies and authorities that was clear here in Italy in the sixties.

The teachers were respected, the teachers and parents’ authority was respected and teachers and parents collaborated. I know that this is not the case here on Lipari, Aeolian Islands. Parents do not show respect to the teachers and children observe, learn and take sometimes destructive initiatives to fulfill their own needs.

Why bullyism in Sweden in the sixties?

I have still not found why bullyism did exist in Sweden already in the sixties. There were existing hierarchies and authorities that were clear in Sweden in the sixties. So I have no answer to this question yet.



  1. https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/15/2/128/567084
  2. blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/the-origins-of-bullying/ 
  3. http://www.thebullyexposed.com/ 
  4. https://www.stopbullying.gov/


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