Ateneo bully needs 'a lot of help': psychologist

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 27 2018 12:50 PM

MANILA - The Ateneo de Manila high school student dismissed for bullying some of his schoolmates needs "a lot of help" considering the "disturbing" cruelty he showed in the viral videos, a psychologist said Thursday. 

Dr. Honey Carandang, who has been lecturing about bullying for over 2 decades, said just dismissing the high school kid would not help him change his ways, and may even make him angrier in a different setting. 

"He definitely needs a lot of help. As a young person like that to be able to be cruel and harsh is extremely disturbing," she told ANC, referring to the video where the bully is seen asking his schoolmate to choose between losing his dignity by kissing his balls or be beat up. 

"It's really very disturbing to begin with. Because the cruelty that was seen was really an intense kind of lack of feeling, lack of empathy, lack of compassion for a human being," the psychologist, who also taught in Ateneo from 1965-2002, added. 

After "a thorough investigation that included listening to all the parties involved," Ateneo has already dismissed the high school student who was caught on video punching and kicking his schoolmate. 

Ateneo president Jose Ramon Villarin SJ said the student was no longer allowed to return to school and that Ateneo has offered to help the families of the victim and the bully as the investigation progresses. 

Meanwhile, Carandang commended parents of the bullied high school kid for issuing a statement that says their child should not be seen as a loser. In a way, she said, the bullied kid could be seen as a hero for bring attention to the issue of bullying. 

"Maybe in a way he's a hero because he was able to bring an issue that was not discussed and not given a lot of attention it deserves. Now it has the attention of the people," she said, stressing that the victim also needs psychological help. 

'Bullying is an issue of power'

Carandang said the high school bully may have some family issues, and that the kid's attitude showed that while he was confident with his physical strength, he was not confident about who he is. 

The seasoned psychologist said in most of the cases she handled, bullies have either been bullied before or they have been ignored or maltreated—physically or verbally—in a family setting.

"He is not confident about who he is. He has to bully, has power over another, in order to feel good about himself. A person who has self-worth does not have to put down, or bully another because he's okay. He doesn't have to prove his power to himself," she said. 

"Bullying is an issue of power. It is not just power but power over another. The bully must find a victim to bully by definition in order to feel his power. Whatever size, but he sees that person weaker," she added. 

Carandang said bullying does not only happen in school as anyone can be a victim in a family setting, in places such as offices and even in the society in general, with people in power using their positions to insult individuals below their ranks. 

"National bullying can be seen as a person using his authority or position to insult other people because he has authority, using their power in terms of their position to put down people, insult their dignity," she said.