Aggression, as defined by Wikipedia, is “overt, often harmful, social interaction with the intention of inflicting damage or other unpleasantness upon another individual”. It can be either direct, which involves hurting someone using physical or verbal behavior, or it can be indirect, which involves causing harm to the social relationship of a person or group. Additionally, there are also two types of aggression: controlled-instrumental and reactive-impulsive. The first is done with purpose, but the second is more uncontrollable.
I personally would not consider myself to be an aggressive person. Although I do get angry at times and feel like I could hurt someone, I usually never act on it. I tend to be pretty good at keeping my feelings inside and processing how I’m feeling before talking with the person I’m angry with. When I do get aggressive with somebody, however, it tends to be direct (using verbal behavior) and controlled-instrumental. Further, when I get aggressive, it’s because somebody wronged me or hurt my feelings and I want to get back at them; I’ve never felt like I couldn’t control my actions like in reactive-impulsive aggression.
The readings that we were assigned for this assignment made it pretty clear that aggression and bullying have been around for a very long time (even all the way back to 1847!), and if anything, it has only gotten worse through the use of technology and social media sites, which was very evident in Francie Diep’s article, “Confronting My Cyberbully, 13 Years Later”. Being able to hide behind a screen and remain anonymous to your victims has allowed bullying to go to new extremes, for example, suicide and death threats. It really is sad to think about all the people who loss their lives to selfish acts of aggression from their peers.
Many times when somebody is being bullied, it seems like the perpetrators enjoy making the person upset. For example, when I was in high school, a girl from my soccer team committed suicide because people kept slandering her online for having sexual relationships with someone else’s boyfriend. These comments go way beyond “slut shaming” and questioning her character, but rather they consisted of “you don’t deserve to live” and “everyone would be much happier if you weren’t alive” comments. And they would laugh about it and screenshot her comments asking them to stop and turn them into a further joke. I think this relates a lot to what Doug Gross mentioned in his article on online trolls that the people who post such cruel comments are actually more likely to exhibit sadistic and psychopathic tendencies, defining sadism as “a tendency to take pleasure in other people’s pain or discomfort”, which explains why these bullies found her pain so enjoyable.