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Bullied to Bully: The Vicious Cycle of Bullying

“Hurt people hurt people” – Will Bowen

Some children dominate the core of the bullying food chain. They are intimidated by bullies, but bullying itself is often perpetrated. These "bully-victims," rejected, victimized and violent, tend to have more psychological issues than just "pure bullies" or "pure victims."

Traditional bully victims (someone who bullies and is bullied) have negative attitudes or opinions of themselves and others. He or she has social interaction difficulties, does not have strong social problem-solving skills, performs poorly academically and is not only ignored and alienated by peers, but is also adversely affected by the peers he or she communicates with.

Bully-victims are born due to suffering from constant bullying. They bully people who are weaker than them because they were bullied too. Typically, their goal is to recover a sense of control and power in their lives. It is very common to have this sort of bully. A significant number of children who bully others have, in fact, been hurt by peers themselves. For them, bullying is a tool to retaliate for the pain they experience.




The bully-victim may also come from a domestic violence household or faces bullying from an older sibling. Bullying is a learned trait in these situations.

Moreover, bully-victims are more prominent than you would imagine. Currently, a significant number of bullies themselves have also been abused.

Moreover, most bully-victims are usually loners or are at the bottom of the school social ladder. This reality adds to the sense of powerlessness and rage of the bully-victim. They also seem aggressive as a result, which holds them in a position of low social status and perpetuates the bully-victim loop.

Bully victims experience more emotional trauma than any other form of bully or victim as opposed to other types of bullying and more passive victims. Anxiety, depression, and isolation also cause them to suffer further. As a consequence, emotional disorders, including psychosis, drug abuse, and antisocial personality disorder, may be at greater risk.


Bully-victims also have a tougher time socially than their peers. They are also less friendly than those around them and less sociable. Their peers are more likely to avoid them. Bully-victims tend to be loners most of the time because they often have a few, if any, mates.

Bully-victims will sometimes unwittingly allow children to bully them again because, by lashing out, they respond intensely to name-calling, threatening behaviour and confrontation. They are also predisposed to be bullied over and over again because they fail to regulate feelings, suppress resentment, and cope with frustration. They then turn on others and cause pain, and the cycle continues to repeat.


Bully-victims also suffer the same consequences as other victims of bullying. They may be dealing with depression, anxiety, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder, for example. Similarly, they also face all the risks and risk factors faced by bullies.

However, there are several steps that can be taken to prevent this situation. Bully-victims have negative attitudes and views about themselves and others. Act for such convictions to change. Enable them to see that there is good in other people. Constructing resilience and self-esteem, for example, will do this. If bully victims have confidence and are assertive without being violent, they would be more likely to break the cycle of bullying.


Not only do peers adversely affect bully-victims, they frequently reject and ostracize them. Making friends is an effective way to support the victim. Friendships not only deter bullying, they provide the emotional support that is often missing for bullying victims.


Bully-victims also sometimes fail to control their feelings. Often, they have an enhanced sense of knowledge of what is happening around them. As a result, they react to even normal disputes quickly and aggressively. They also respond to name-calling, teasing and bullying strongly. Instead, victims should be provided with requisite skills to act in a calm and rational way. Lashing out is a response others are looking for. So, work with them to change their responses.


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