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Why do people ignore what is in front of them?

I was bullied for twelve years. People to this day are still being bullied. People see it daily, yet they do nothing to help, and some don't even acknowledge the problem. Why?

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    Apr 9 2014: Because becoming involved takes a completely different type of courage.
    When you stand up for a bully victim, you are intentionally putting yourself into harms way. There is no (tangible) reward. There is a chance, however, that you will simply join the bullying victim. That you also will be taken under the bully's abusive wing. At least that's what we tell ourselves. "If I help them, what will happen to me?"

    Also, not many people want to create conflict with a typically aggressive and instigating character. Most people generally attempt to avoid conflict. You will indubitably create conflict by interrupting their (bully and victim) abusive relationship with your critiquing comments. Of course, you don't have to come face to face with the bully to try to help the victim. There is also the, "consult a faculty member" option. The common fear here is the fear that others will find out you attempted to help and view you as,well, a snitch. Being in high school, I can tell you that the primary view of being a snitch is not generally a positive one. And that's tragic. That helping someone could be viewed as a negative thing.
    I suppose, all in all, the reason people ignore bullying is fear. To a victim I imagine it sounds pathetic. Which it is. But everyone sees the pain the victims go through, and in turn, avoid it at all costs.
    • Apr 9 2014: I'm a senior in high school as well, so I know the concept of snitching. it just pisses me off something awful when something like that happens. I mean, I'm a bully victim, I'm fully aware of getting the crap kicked out of me, but I still try as hard as I can to stand between the victim and the enforcer....I just don't get it
      • Apr 9 2014: Is the situation at school, home or in the neighborhood?
        • Apr 10 2014: Depends on who you're talking to, to be honest. For me, it used to be at school. Couldn't be at home, since my brother grew up and moved out, and it can't be in the neighborhood because I have no friends here.
      • Apr 10 2014: If is is at school you should be able to get help from administrators, teachers, and counselors, but you nee to engage them.. They can't be everywhere, but they can be alerted to existing situations, separate kids, and pay special attention to problem areas or people. Bringing an adult into the situation changes the " his word against mine balance" as well.

        Learning how to avoid bullying situations or defend yourself if threatened are other options.
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    Apr 10 2014: Austin, If the answer was easy then we could end the practice ... it's not. I have a background in law enfrocement and cannot count the number of time I have heard the statement I don't want to get involved.

    At school ... if I jump in to help a victim then I get punished for fighting .. or .. go to the principals office to report it then I get to face the bullies, make reports, and if bad enough testify. Depending on my standing in the school I could be either a hero, a snitch piece of crap, or next.

    In public by helping / telling you become marked. Bullies run in packs like most cowrads.

    At home the sad truth is that until it becomes radical or deadly it is often ignored. Neighbors seldom want to become involved ... for many of the same reasons.

    The term bully has expanded since I was a kid ... it remains that there is such a thing as people we do not like and there will be friction ... Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively impose domination over others. Do you accept this defination? Then teachers, principals, bosses, etc are all bullies because you must do as they say or face consequences.

    Today bullying has become easier as we can do it from long range by computer, cell phone, etc .. for those who lack the guts to face someone. We see it on TED with those who refuse to identify themselves and enter conversations for the sole purpose of stalking or entering a fight.

    The problem is that bullying can not be legislated against ... assult is ... schools cannot just take your word and punish others ... so again I say the answer is not easy.

    Most bullies do not want to be at school but the law forces them until a certain age .. so if you kick them out the school loses money and the bully get what he wants by using you as a doorbell to get the door opened for him to leave.

    A solution will be found ... but the situation never eradicated.

    Be well. Bob.
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    Apr 10 2014: Dear Austin,
    As I read your profile, I was reminded of my son, who was also into reading, acting, and music when he was in school, and bullied for years. I am so sorry that you had those experiences, and I'm glad you are hear on TED....welcome.

    Why do people ignore it? I think because we have "normalized" it in our society....boys will be boys.....that's just how it is.....that kind of justification. We now have lots of girls who bully others, so some of the generalizations do not work at all!

    People who bully others are insecure in seems like you have figured that out? We project out into the world, what we have in our heart, so bullying practices are a reflection of the person who chooses to bully. Often, one who bullies, presents a tough guy, strong, controlling persona, when what they may be feeling inside is weak, out of control, and insecure. Those who bully have often been bullied, and that is no justification at all for the is simply another piece of the bullying puzzle.

    I think we (society) are beginning to recognize bullying for what it is....hopefully! People who see bullying sometimes don't know what to do about it....they are afraid the person who is bullying may turn on them if they try to intervene. Another factor, is that because some folks still normalize the behavior, they dismiss it. Non of these ideas are justifications in any way....just some thoughts and ideas to address your question.
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    Apr 10 2014: There are only two reasons:
    Either they are walking tall or they are in deep shit. And you should be brave enough in order to ignore them.
    If you are able to ignore those who try to bully you then you should not be having any problems with them.

    Here is a suggestion for you: Make a promise to yourself, every time they make efforts to bully you, you are gonna make it more difficult.
    How? Just keep smiling :)

    Quote for you: "Everyone just wants to be liked and accepted, Except for Adam..... Adam doesn't give a shit"
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      Apr 10 2014: Hi Rohan,
      I agree that sometimes, without a reaction, one who is bullying may feel less powerful mentally, and they still have physical strength.

      .Austin described some pretty horrifying situations in his profile, which would be difficult to NOT react to, and those situations would be difficult to ignore. Beating and pulling a knife on a person is a crime, and needs to be treated as a is assault with a weapon.

      I do not agree that those who bully are truly "walking tall". They are generally insecure individuals who lack confidence and self esteem, who put on the persona of walking tall.....not genuinely "walking tall". In my perception, a person who is truly "walking tall" has respect and compassion for others.
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    Apr 12 2014: @Brendan
    1) bullying doesn't have to be physical but also can be psychological, hence an appropriate defense doesn't have to be physical either.
    2) defending yourself doesn't make you a bully. Does shooting somebody who wants to kill you makes you a killer ?
    3) being an alpha male (animal or human) only means that this individual has the highest ranking in its group. The alpha status can be achieved through different means, being aggression only one. Also being alpha in one group doesn't mean you are alpha in another group.
    For example, gorillas use intimidation (bullying ?) to establish their alpha status.
    4) as to Bill Gates: in a group of computer geeks BG probably established himself as alpha, while in a group of survivalists in the middle of the Amazon he probably wouldn't have been alpha.
  • Apr 11 2014: Paying attention requires energy. People ignore what is in front of them to save themselves the bother.
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    Apr 10 2014: Why do people ignore what is in front of them or ignore a problem that everyone is aware of?

    - Many of us care but are scared to get involved.
    - Some care but are not sure what to do.
    - Some don't care enough.
    - Some don't care at all.

    Real heroes are rare.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke

    • Apr 11 2014: We must all fear evil men, but there is another kind of evil which we must fear most and that is the indifference of good men
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    Apr 10 2014: I think it may have something to do with filters people have created. In order for something like bullying to be acknowledged as a legitimate issue by the observer there needs to be something that triggers a conscious awareness of wrong doing.

    That may be a confusing way of putting it.

    Ex. A teacher witnesses a student calling another student a bad name. The teacher has a filter up that allows them to look at a situation like that and think it's not uncommon and so not a big deal.

    The same teacher was called names from time to time as a student but it never escalated into a substantial problem. To view the interaction as a problem the teacher would have to let the scenario sink through their own "similar" experiences.

    However, take a different teacher, one who was teased mercilessly as a kid and had a hard time dealing with it, viewing the same interaction, it will pass through a filter that compels the teacher to respond in some way.

    Society helps create a lot of filters in all of us and in order for certain things to affect us we have to let our observations sink in past those filters so we can truly view the heart of the situation the way the person experiencing it first hand is viewing it.

    I think that sympathy, empathy, and compassion, are essential to really "see" what's right in front of us.
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    Apr 10 2014: Do not get upset with people or situations, both are powerless without your reaction :)
  • Apr 10 2014: Our society is pretty screwed up. It is so irrational (insane). Ours is a fear-based culture. Bullies bully because they lack self-esteem. Bullies feed off your fear. When you stop living in fear, and move into a different reality (worldview), you will not see yourself as a potential victim. You will live in your power rather than in your fear.

    It's hard to explain in so few characters, but may I suggest that you go to the school link before you look at the others at the following site. Meditation, 2ce/day, every day (never on a full stomach, so before breakfast and dinner or bed).
  • Apr 10 2014: I believe a shortage of proper nutrition is the root cause of violence. Violence takes on many forms. It starts with physical and progresses to mental health. It is our bodies way of rejecting foreign things both physical and mental. It takes a toll on our mind and bodies and slowly wears us down until suicide becomes a almost welcome solution at which point some decide to take a few people with them. At that point it does not really matter who.
    However some people find a way to hang on and use all that anger and resentment to forge a "new" life going in a "new" direction. They drop all those old ideas, old friends, old places, old habits and begin the first day of the rest of their life with their only true friend (their mind). They get help from people they find who have a long track record of healthy, stable, positive, happy, compassionate living. They are in a constant search for knowledge and form new positive habits to replace the old ones that kept leading them back into trouble.

    If you can find Colleen in here, listen to ever word, she will never, never, never ever steer you wrong, I would bet my life on it.
  • Apr 10 2014: Hi dear Austin Riley,I think bullying is still everywhere around us.From daily life to all over the social environment.Because I think bullying it doesn't mean phsical but more mental or spiritual issue.We hardly are aware of bullying when we do that,Because we aren't conscious of bullying in our behaviors.

    I am a teacher at school,a few years ago,I started to question myself:what is the so called:good education?Can we teachers really keep equal attitude to teach students?For keeping equal right ,talking is easier than doing:it depends the quality of understanding quality of equal right:very simple example:how many teachers can reall keep ourselves as a sincere learner when we teach students?Because of the priority or authority of being teacher identity,it requires us to be the most conscious of that whenever we are together with students.

    Infact lots of teachers' behaviors at schools do hurt students.But we often ignore them,because we always have reason to explain why we behave like that:blablabla...

    So I think bullying issue not happen alone,it connects to education,the whole environement,social issue...We ignore that in front of us,Because we humanbeing ,there is still long way to go to be civilized.
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    Apr 10 2014: Bullying is not just a human thing, but exists also in the animal kingdom. Perhaps some form of establishing ones alfa position in a group;
    My question is what is it that makes you the victim ? Why are you the chosen one and not somebody else ?
    I also think that the more you appear as a victim the more you will get bullied. It's like the dog that smells fear and attacks.
    • Apr 10 2014: Well, for some, becoming a victim is yes, appearing as an easy target. Hunched shoulders, lack of eye contact, scrawny or weak complexion. But for some, I believe being a victim can simply be because people just wanna watch you burn. I am a kind person, and I give every single person as much kindness as I can give them. But when they can spit in my face when I offer kindness simply because I don't look like them, or stomp on my shoe because I don't walk and talk like them, that's when it becomes difficult to remain on top. Different victims are for different people, I guess you can say. A Rotweiler can attack while a Pit Bull can lick your fingers. Not a matter of the dog, but a matter of the trainer, in my opinion.
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        Apr 10 2014: Again, why do you think that you are chosen as the victim and not somebody else ? I also think that once a bully figures that his victim is an easy target (for example because he doesn't defend himself) he will try it again over and over because he knows he will get away with it.
        People usually go the way of least resistance. If you show the bully that you aren't that easy a target he perhaps leaves you alone.
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    Apr 9 2014: My answer would be that everyone sees him/herself as a potential victim if involved in violence. It is scary when you know that you cannot make any sense to those brainless attackers - they are mentally very sick people.

    I saved my life a few times - I spoke to those violent individuals as if I was the one to UNDERSTAND THEIR PAIN! I reminded them that they ARE in pain themselves. They were shocked and let go.

    They are in pain, trust me! See them as if you're a nurse. WHY? When the attackers attack - they expect you to scream and behave as a VICTIM - they so enjoy this - control your emotions! (cannot control their own)

    Never Behaive as a Victim!! even when it hurts. Do not argue with them or prove anything - you speak with Your mentally unstable patients. BE above emotionally and mentally. You will be the conqueror.

    When this happened to me for the first time I was a tiny child, then a young teen, and since that my method worked always, so far.
    • Apr 10 2014: But what about the people whose life is given to them? Who have no worries, no cares, plenty of friends? I see pain in some. I'm actually rather good at reading people. But for some I just see sick enjoyment. I see resentment for those just because they are different, not even knowing that even though we are silent as the grave, in our eyes we are screaming at them to just listen. Everyday we see it. What I wonder is why? I may just be a high schooler, and I can be the first to stand up and say that kids can be very cruel, but it doesn't just stop there. It's everywhere, hidden behind an angel's smile while a devilish grin is plastered just below their nose. Do they do the things they do because they do not realize what they are doing? Or is it simply because that when they spend so much of their life having everything given to them on a silver platter with sugar on the side, they think they can spit on those who don't agree or don't look like them because of a lie painted behind their eyes that says, "You're invincible." Some of us can control ourselves just fine, but every man, woman, and child has their breaking point. I was silent for years, but they never left. They kept coming. My friend and I taught ourselves how to blend in with a crowd, or disappear from almost anywhere because she and I simply didn't know when they were gonna come next. We were victims because we were hunted....and the sick part was they enjoyed it.
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        Apr 10 2014: I very much want you to hear me - STOP PLAYING A VICTIM and change you behavior. Play their DOCTOR and HEALER but by meaning that. Doctors also get hurt in hospitals. Only then the Ill-minded will not enjoy their game any longer, because you would not scream for help. They WANT you to play with them as their Victim. If you do not change your own Mentality and Behavior of a Victim no one would be able to help you for real.

        I feel that you have some fears within you that you cannot handle yourself - I SO UNDERSTAND.

        However, This psychotic human world is hurting Everyone. I mean Everyone (those who "enjoy" the game - they are very sick and hurt by someone else). The most crazy dictators were scared, paranoid to death individuals, tormented by their own fears. They lived in hell even when cheered and supported by millions of people!!

        Trust me! Please try to find your strength within YOURSELF first! Little by little. Go to the mountains, to the forest and think within Everything around you, you will feel the mighty nature is behind you.

        Having your bad experience You might turn it into useful learning and become a great teacher - just give it a try.

        1. Never think of any revenge - it is demolishing your Self

        2. do not think of yourself is just a physical body at least for awhile - physical is extremelly vulnerable stuff!

        3. Do not depend on others for any help!

        4. Your strength within will change you from inside out - everyone Will Recognize You as a different person.
        • Apr 10 2014: I have long since burned out my desire for revenge, once blinded by the illusion of justice. But a line told in a movie once said to me, "Justice is about peace and harmony. Revenge is for making yourself feel better." I saw that revenge does nothing but make me have a temporary happiness, even if it costs me something. And it will demolish you. After a desire for revenge for so long, I find it hard to feel much of anything anymore. And thinking outside of a physical body is terrifying, but I love thinking there. Once someone steps out of the body and sees the world as it really is can create such an eye opening experience. I do depend on others, though. Twelve years of being alone, it's hard not to, ya know? and as for the strength....I have none. No self confidence, just rage. Rage and a lot of emptiness. I hope you are right ans someday teach others about these things, because I don't wish to see this happen to others. When treated like a victim for so long, it's hard to look at anything other than as a victim.
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        Apr 10 2014: Austin, you're a dear soul:)

        We need to remember - The most powerful minds were very lonely ... and as you know, they were standing against the whole world. You have Nothing to lose at all in your present situation.

        A person who does not know how to be a real victim would never know how to be powerful. Power is in peace - not in conquering and supressing others.

        I'm so glad you said this yourself: When treated like a victim for so long, it's hard to look at anything other than as a victim.

        This means you see the reason why you cannot change yourself yet.. it is already fantastic - because others are forever blaming everyone around, but cannot understand how they've become involved..

        What kind of books do you read?

        “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
        ― Mahatma Gandhi - He means no matter how much his body might be hurt his soul is forever invincible and untouchable.

        Have you ever read the book about Erasmus of Rotterdam who was a classical scholar? It is a written by famous Stefan Zweig book, called "Erasmus of Rotterdam".

        When I feel too exhausted and down surviving non-stop life challanges I read and re-read this book. Erasmus was a very sensative and physically fragile, sickly person. He lived when inquisition was devastating the whole Europe. The book is about rare psychology and mind of a scholar who miraculously survived..

        My very Best wishes!