HazingWhy do people tease and bully people to the point that the victim wants to commit suicide?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Part of the growth seen in High School is the awareness of self and of others.  The notion of social popularity and adherence to the social order occupies great importance in the high school, and to a diluted extent, middle school because of the age in which students are, their awareness of self and of others, and how for many the sense of self- superiority must come at the cost of others.  The idea of a targeted individual at the demand of a clique or social order is one extrapolation of the idea that self- glory comes at the hands of someone else's suffering.  The other reason why there is a relentless expression of teasing and cruelty is due in fact to cruelty influenced by social expressions of the good.  On some level, there might be bullies who are simply mean and sadistic.  Yet, the socially motivated targeting that happens frequently at high school is done in the name of the particular group or clique wishing to establish their own dominance at the hands of another individual.  Given the fact that this is rather relentless because the good will needed to demand an end is probably the same good will which would have prevented this situation from beginning, it can reach a point where an individual feels that suicide is the only path free from this.  Consider for a moment the Emily Dickinson poem, "I'm Nobody."  The speaker is obviously relegated from a social order, and is someone who is not seen as one that occupies the higher or even middle end of the social configuration.  The only salvation for this particular individual is the fact that they can find another person with whom they "can be nobodys together."  When applying this to the high school predicament, if an individual cannot find anyone or anything with which to identify themselves, the loneliness and isolation could be so painful to experience that death might be seen as the only alternative to such a predicament.

anthonda49 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Even in nature, there is a "pecking order". Unless you are at the top as a leader of the group, there is someone less powerful than you are. To make themself feel more powerful, they prey on someone who has less status. Therefore, they feel powerl. To realize that  someone is less than you are makes you feel better about yourself. To achieve status in the eyes of others, the bully shows power and gains attention, usually positive because others laugh in appreciation. Someone with a good self-esteem will rarely bully because they have nothing to prove to their critical self. Anyone with internal issues will seek to make themselves feel better than another.