In abusing their targets, bullies objectify them- they reduce their targets to things, mere instruments or tools to make use of and then discard until they need them again.
To objectify someone is to dehumanize them by degrading them to the status of a thing. Targets are treated like things rather than people. Just as male chauvinists and sexual perverts objectify women and girls, bullies do the same with their targets.
Here’s how bullies objectify their targets:
1.Bullies consciously or unconsciously believe they own their targets. And it shows in that they violate their targets’ boundaries- talking down to them, putting their hands on them to cause bodily harm, nosing through, taking, or destroying their targets’ belongings, grabbing their targets and physically moving them if they happen to be in the way, sitting in their chairs, and leaning on their cars. This conveys that the bully thinks they own the target, that the target has no boundaries nor rights, and, therefore, the bullies feel they have carte blanche to do anything they want to them.
2. Denial of freedom, autonomy, and self-determination. Bullies will strip their targets of personal freedom. They boss them around, telling them what to do and how they should conduct themselves. They coerce their targets to do what they want them to do. Bullies also use threats of physical harm to make their targets submit. From the bullies’ perspective, targets have no right to protest nor question their abuse.
3. An instrument. Bullies often use their targets as tools to fulfill their own agendas. An example would be to hate on the target in a group to solidify the bully pack and tighten bonds with one another as they are abusing the target.
4. Silencing their targets. Bullies render their targets voiceless by taking away their voice. They use fear and retribution to keep the target from speaking.
5. They deny their targets’ humanity. To be human is to have the right to choose, be free to pursue your own goals and outcomes, deciding what is and isn’t valuable, and discovering ways to promote what you value.
This is the difference between being human and being an inanimate object. Unlike inanimate objects, humans have dignity. Bullies deliberately take all this away. Bullies are never mindful of their targets’ humanity nor will they consider it. Therefore, the bullies purposefully break the target’s will and reduce them to mere objects of sadistic abuse.
When the bullies succeed in breaking the target’s will by force, they can then possess the target’s autonomy, and with it, their humanity. Once the target loses their humanity, the bullies can then mold them into a thing to be used.
There can be no equality and therefore, no reciprocation in the surrender of the target’s will and humanity to bullies.
The more we learn about the bully mindset, what makes bullies tick, and the inner workings of bullies, the more we will be able to protect our self-esteem, our dignity, and our overall right to live and thrive in this world.