Whether physical, verbal, or cyber, bullying is repetitive, intentional aggression aimed to activate an asymmetry or imbalance of power between the bully and the victim.
There are many reasons as to why a person may bully someone else. They may do it for popularity and power, or peer pressure pushes them into doing it. There are cases where bullying is caused by abusive homes and how their parents treat the bullies themselves, which can make them take out their frustration and anger on the people who surround them, not least those who appear weak or vulnerable.
I came across a piece written in 2018 by Alessandro D'Avenia, an Italian author and journalist who defines bullies as teens without perfume and a sense of purpose. A solid definition, but at the same time, sadly very appropriate, actual, and highly evocative. In his article, Avenia compares aggressors to the main character of Patrick Süskind’s bestseller, “Perfume.” The book tells the story of a young orphan, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, who was abandoned by his mother in a market. Jean-Baptiste was “born without love and was therefore devoid of any odor.” ( Avenia, Corriere della Sera, 2018). However, he was gifted with a unique sense of smell, and his dream was to find the perfect perfume to win people's hearts. And to make it happen, he is ready to do anything, even to kill twenty-four beautiful girls.
Every bully has different reasons for pursuing a specific behaviour or action, but I would tend to agree with Avenia that the common denominator is lack of love, which leads to a lack of identity. “For this reason, like the leading perfumer, they become violent and "seductive" in order to be considered and loved” (Avenia, Corriere della Sera, 2018).