Bullying and Being Bullied - All You Need to Know

Medically reviewed by : Dr. Ilbey Ucar – PhD (Psychology)

Last updated date : March 18, 2023

We are all familiar with the term bullying or bully. That can be because once in our lifetime we were a bully, we were being bullied or watched someone get bullied. It can also be because you are a concerned parent who is worrying about your child being a victimof bullying at his school or nursery. You may be even more worried about the fact that they are hiding the extent of it from you.


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Chapter 1:

Bullying – Defined

Crying, stressed lady kneeling on the ground with two bullies standing over her

So what exactly counts as bullying and not just fun stuff. Bullying is the behaviour, actions or words spoken that is repetitively done to cause interionic hurt and trauma towards another person or a group of people. Bullying can result in psychological, physical or social damage towards the victim. These results can be immediate or long term. It can destroy one’s self-esteem, confidence, and mental health, and this deteriorating quality of life can be observed if paid attention. Bullying normally counts as a problem that exists among school-aged children. However, some elders can also be immature enough to turn into bullies in the corporate world or domestically. According to research, those who bully and are subjected to being bullied have deep issues that need to be addressed.

Most of the time bullying results as a misuse of power by the bullies. As long as it causes harm, bullying does not have to be physical fights. It can happen over the phone, online, hidden or directly. For incidents to count as bullying they need to be repeated. One time incidents do not fall under this category. Usually, the reason for bullying can be figured out by a simple investigation.

Chapter 2:

Types of Bullying

Bullying differs based on how the bullying is executed.

Verbal Bullying

verbal bullying is bullying that is done through words. This includes insults, mean remarks, abusive words, that are said or write to someone with the purpose of hurting them. Some of the verbal bullying techniques are,

  • Name-calling
  • Sexual remarks that are unwelcome and are not appropriate
  • Insults shortcomings
  • Taunting
  • Threatening
  • Mean remarks
  • Explicit and abusive words
Social Bullying

What comes under social bullying is things that are done to hurt someone’s place in a social situation. This involves anything that can mess with the way one appears in society. Social bullying involves,

  • Excluding someone from the team when everyone is together
  • Spreading rumors’ about someone
  • Telling the others not to associate that person
  • Telling your children that the person is not be associated with for no reason
  • Public embarrassment
Physical Bullying

Every type of repeated physical harmed inflicted on an individual or a group counts as physical bullying. This type of bullying damages someone physically and could sometimes be fatal depending on the type of force and any injuries caused. This type of bullying also involves any damage that is done by the bullies towards things the victim owns or find dear to themselves. A few types of physical bullying include,

  • Pinching
  • Pushing or pulling
  • Punching
  • Hitting
  • Tripping
  • Spitting on or at
  • Breaking or damaging someone’s things
  • Offensive physical gestures
Cyber Bullying

Cyberbullying takes place online via social media platforms, anonymous message platforms, etc. Cyberbullying is mostly covered but can also come from someone that the victim has known. The most common type of cyberbullying comes from online relationships where one party uses the information extracted to bully the other into getting something they want. Things can get ugly especially when the victim has never met the bully and therefore does not have a way to act against them. More types of cyberbullying include,

  • Mean comments
  • Judgmental remarks under social media posts
  • Abusive or threatening messages
  • Nuisance phone calls which may or may not include abuse, threats, etc.
  • Emails that contain abusive or threatening material
  • Uploading content for the viewing of a wider audience that is hard to be taken down
  • Reporting your social media accounts for no reason

Chapter 3:

Why Does Bullying Happen?

Young man looking at the computer screen with angry emojis with accusing hands in the air pointing at him

As we generally know and understand, those who bully are the lower people compared to those that become victims to it. However, the problem can be much deeper than that.

The Need for Acceptance

When digging deep into the causes of bullying and the mental health of those that are involved in bullying others, there have been causes that have a lot to do with self-esteem. Bullies identify bullying as a way to get what they want. This sense of dominance need can come when the bullies do not receive enough attention or chances to voice their thoughts within their homes. The sense of invisibility makes them want to release their pent up anger on someone they pick to be weak and choose to be dominant to feel like they still matter.

Bullies also try to dominate other people to improve their social status, especially at high school or college. Thus is the ear of teenage hormone deadliness causing shifts in personality, making every kid want to shine and stand out. Kids with difficulties at home and who receive no acceptance from society may pick being a bully as their platform to shine.

Bullies With Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem is also another reason why people bully. The idea of not ever being good enough, not being able to achieve things and the overall idea of themselves being losers can push someone to the core of envy, which makes them want to bully those that are doing well, or better than them. This is like filling a deep aching gap within them by trying to dishearten someone who is actually looking forward to starting a new and successful day.

We’re not sure what their goal is, but surely by bullying someone and making them despise a new day, their productivity can go down, and will no longer be able to perform as much as they originally did. This also creates a cloud of annoyance fear in the victims head, making them easy listeners of the bully. Especially when it comes to small kids, if their bully trips them over in the playground, they are unlikely to do anything about it, and they may simply try to avoid the playground the next day

No Idea About the Consequences of Their Actions

Not understanding the depth of their behavior can also result in bullying. However, in a twisted way, this can also be the reason for most of the types of bullying among children because the chances are they do not realize the extent of the damage it causes to the victim. In their eyes, it can be innocent fun and an act of play. However, it is unlikely that adults who bully do not understand the impact it can have on a person. Being thoughtless and immature is mostly a problem that plays a role in bullying among children and can is stoppable with proper education and guidance.

Inner Anger and Frustration

Channeling inner anger towards the rest of the world can result in bullying too. This issue is common among children who come from troubling backgrounds. When there is abuse going on in the house, or due to other reasons that are emotionally tormenting them, kids can grow up full of hate and rage towards the outside world. They may find satisfaction in relating that anger to weaker people and watching them suffer. They may also try to bully those that have a life better and more comfortable than them.

For example, a kid who has parents who mistreat him can bully a child that has a healthy relationship with his parents by calling him names or remarks which suggests he is too small to take care of themselves. Children who are let down by their families at an early age may not understand what it is like to be loved and spoilt by their parents so they may view it as weak. On the other hand, they may crave that energy and envy those who receive it.

A situation similar to this in adult life is a real-life experience of mine. While a father posts many social-media posts and stories admiring his family and every little achievement of the family, his pals who were all involved in extramarital affairs and had to fail family lives bullied him to a point he does not post anything anymore. This is not because all of the bullies involved don’t understand the value of family life. Some are already divorced and despised by their children for being bad parents. Thus, the cause for bullying can vary depending on the bullies background and expectations.

Previous Experiences of Being the Victim

Also, those who have been victims before becoming a bully can look to inflict this pain on another. Most often this is due to the major trauma they have experienced by bullying and the chance they see to inflict on others. Typically those who fall into this category are those that were bullied by bigger or stronger people they can not fight with, did not receive any help from a third party and has a lot of unresolved trauma due to the bullying. Since they could never be better than the bully, they might try to deal with that shame, pain and anger by becoming the bully.

Chapter 4:

Psychological Facts about Bullies

Psychologically, here are a few facts about bullies.

  • They do not have the necessary prosocial behavior. Anyone that does not have prosocial behavior intends on causing harm to society.
  • Unlikely to have anxiety. Specifically, the anxiety to cause someone deliberate harm.
  • Inability or the lack of understanding someone else’s feelings
  • Typically misreads the others thoughts and intentions
  • Likely to behave aggressively and hostile in calm and neutral situations.
  • They think highly of themselves. Especially around those that they bully. Others judgements about them do not phase them.
  • Troublesome past or family situations. This is common in most kids who have been bullying ever since they learned how to.

Chapter 5:

Is Your Child a Victim? How Can You Know?

Children may be unlikely to open up about their situation at school as a victim of bullying. This can be due to various reasons such as not wanting to be weak, not wanting to cause panic and worry, etc. However, a child that is being bullied will start to show pretty obvious and detectable signs if the parents and teachers keep a good eye and are keen on noticing them. Below are a few such signs.

For Teachers
  • Teachers noticing a kid getting to fights way too often.
  • Aggressive behavior in the classroom.
  • Do not voice their troubles
  • Drop in academic performance
  • Likely to by themselves
  • Does not have a group of friends to hang out with
  • Does not initiate healthy conversations. Mostly quiet.
  • Trust issues
  • Is a victim of mimics and roasts by other kids frequently
  • Does not attend extracurricular stuff like they used to.
For Parents
  • Parents may notice children refusing to go to school/nursery or where they are victims.
  • Trying to change their way of going to school such as not wanting to walk to school anymore.
  • Noticeable drop in performance. Academics or sports.
  • Does not sleep very well. Has frequent nightmares.
  • Comes home with bruises that they always blame on sports or unlikely events.
  • Has wild and frequent mood swings. Not themselves anymore.
  • A complete shift in personality to a lonely, sad and angry child.
  • Likely to either lose or damage their belongings due to bullying
  • Hungry at all times, even if their lunch should be enough to keep them full until they get home.
  • Stealing money
  • Nervous or scared to open notifications, emails or go online.
  • Being in a bad mood after using smart devices or reading a letter.

Signs of being a victim of bullying does not contain only these. Any behavior that turns your child sadder, more negative, angry, moody or upset should be alarming. If bullying lasts for too long without help, the child might be psychologically abused to a point they carry it with them for the rest of their lives, inflicting pain on their future relationships.

Chapter 6:

Who Do Bullies Pick On?

There is no right way to answer this question. However, it is safe to say that bullies pick those that are doing better than them in different contexts. When the children are small, they will bully everyone. When they grow older and are subject to the above mentioned mental traumas, their victims become more targeted and specified. Racist white kids pick on black kids. If the victims sufficiently stand up the first few times, bullies get the message that they can not get their mean fun out of the victims. So they might move on to more submissive, silent and easy to victimize people.

Their victims should be those who become visibly, awkward and upset when picked on because that is where a bullies satisfaction is. There is no fun in picking on someone who does not let it affect them. They like it better if the victim is a loner, a new kid who still has not made friends or allies and are a bit shy and nervous.

Chapter 7:

Adult Bullying

Sad young lady with crossed hands thinking of a man bullying her

Like we already established, bullying is not just a child plaything. It is however childish but also practised by adults for various reasons during various situations. You may expect bullying to end in your childhood, but the unfortunate truth is, as long as a bully exist, bullying can take place any time, anywhere at any age and in any circumstances. When it comes to adults, the execution is normally very smooth and cunning, but a bully will always be a bully with the above-mentioned signs.

Chapter 8:

Work Place Bullying

Workplace bullying is one of the most common adult bullying issues. This acts to isolate someone in the work environment using different methods such as mean, hurtful or judgmental comments. When it is between two people, it may be subtle and both parties have their allies. When it is a group against an individual, things can get ugly for the individual with nobody to reach out to. Workplace bullying does not just happen face-to-face but also in group chats, emails, and anything where the bully gets the upper hand.

Chapter 9:

The Effect of Bullying on Victims

No victim of impact come off better than they were before becoming victims of bullying. These are a few ways bullying can impact the victim negatively.

  • Feeling guilty because the victims are likely to blame it on themselves. For example, if a child bullies another saying they are poor, the victim may blame themselves for it.
  • Being hopeless about their situation, especially when they do not want anyone else to know. They may not see a way out.
  • Isolation, because either everyone joins the bully or the bullying makes the victim hate themselves and wanting to be alone.
  • Depression is due to the trauma caused by the abuse, and the helplessness, worthlessness they may feel in the process.
  • Not feeling like they are safe anywhere. Constantly looking over their shoulder to make sure no one is following them. Not walking in a corridor alone. Zero trusts in strangers who might actually be nice, to avoid new bullies found in by another person.
  • The confusion pertaining to the many ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions. Why do they bully me? How do I tell my parents? Also, the stress it may cause them by being unable to open up about their issues.
  • The shame of having to go through this in front of others. It can considerably cripple the victim’s self-confidence, self-worth etc.
  • Not feeling like they belong anywhere. They are hesitant to make friends or initiate conversations because they do not want someone else to laugh at them.
  • The sense of rejection, making you feel unworthy and like no one will miss them if they left.
  • Sucking up to the bullying because they have no one to or do not want anyone to turn to.

Chapter 10:

Why Is It Necessary to Stop Bullying?

Bullying and all the other negative that comes in the package, the laughter, the mocking, the isolation have been some of the top reasons behind why there have been school shootings in the past years. Every kid that initiated these mass murders were the nobody at school who was frequently the victim of bullying. Despite the catastrophe caused by them, if we understand just what they must have gone through as lonely individuals with a whole school laughing at them with every turn they take, we can imagine the mental agony they were in. They did not grow up to be bullies. Instead, they decided to be immature killers to put a stop to all of it, as soon as they can.

This is one classic example of why it is important to stop bullying as soon as it is noticed. Leaving victims, especially children to feel like no teacher, no adult, no friend will have their back could rob them of their sanity, mental health and every good thing about them. Not all of them will become mass murderers. However, most of them will become problematic and abusive parents, partners, future bullies, friends, etc.

Chapter 11:

What Can You Do to Stop Bullying?

If you want to stop bullying then chances are slim that you are a bully. You are either a victim or a bystander. Therefore, let’s make the options twofold.

To-Do as a Bystander
  • If at school, question the bully that tries to bully the victim. Have a set of friends with you who share the same interests. Group work is likely to intimidate the bullies better.
  • If the victim does not know his or her help options, such as teachers, principle or parents, make sure they have all the information.
  • Do not be a part of a bullying group. Be the first one to initiate a change, no matter how small.
  • Offer or take it upon yourself to walk with or hang out with the person who is being bullied. This way they will know that they are being cared for, and eventually, their self-confidence will grow. This will also send a message to the bully that they now have to deal with a whole group if they pick on one.
To-Do as a Victim
  • Understand that however much you may feel like it, you are NOT alone. Tell your parents, your teachers, your managing staff, support staff and whoever you think might help.
  • Not everyone is a bully. Let people reciprocate and have a conversation with you. Avoiding everyone won’t help.
  • Do things that build your self-confidence. Be better at what you do. Know yourself well so no one outside can mess with who you are.
  • As opposed to the unattractive bullies, be polite and friendly. They hate that. They may know how to knock down someone but they can’t deal with a genuinely nice person.
  • Engage in mind and body positivity methods to avoid them from ruining your life. The tension you feel may be enough to ruin your mentality and your relationships.
  • Understand that as long as you seem upset, that is the bully’s goal. Try your best to stay unphased.
  • Go for therapy or counselling if you think necessary.

Chapter 12:

How Can We Help?

We understand the mental strain bullying can have, especially on children. To make sure that your child/ you are going to get through this without long-lasting effects on their future, our practiced and professional clinicians are ready to help you. With our tested and proven methods, the quality of mental health and the betterment of life you aim for can be reached.

"Quick online learning, thanks!" Susan

92 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount