Psychoanalyst Saverio Tomasella deciphers the power struggles of school bullying

Psychoanalyst Saverio Tomasella deciphers the power struggles of school bullying

School bullying is at the heart of the news. Has this phenomenon progressed?

Hard to say. But certainly, digitization and the success of social networks have reinforced this. Furthermore, during the confinements of 2020 and 2021, young people found themselves even more alone in front of their screens, with their share of pornography and ultraviolence. This situation disrupted their way of socializing at school, losing the habit of interacting with adults. It also affected their ability to follow rules among themselves.

What is the profile of the harassers?

Harassers and harassed share an emotional fault. The bully does not accept his emotions and will attack his friend who expresses them more clearly. We know today that half of the harassers are or have been harassed themselves in their family, their neighborhood, their school. Some harassed people say “never again”, and decide to be part of the “clan of the good”, in other words those who do harm, to escape the role of victims.

Do mandatory empathy lessons in school seem like a good idea to you?

This is an excellent thing that I propose in my book*! But to be effective, such classes must be conducted at least once a week for a long period of time. This is not a question of simple cognitive empathy which allows us to decode the psychological mechanisms of others, even if it means manipulating them. We are looking for compassionate empathy that encourages people to take

Should adults also change their outlook on harassment?

Absolutely. Harassment also exists in the professional world, and it is doing very well, even if it is carried out in a much more refined, insidious way. How do you expect someone who participates in the harassment of a colleague at work to ask their son or daughter to stop targeting a colleague? If we want to put an end to this violence between young people, adults must set an example.

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