top of page

Victimized-Bullies Explained


In bullying, we know (or think) that there are only three types of people — the ‘pure’ bullies, the ‘pure’ victims, and the bystanders in some cases. But you probably didn’t know that bullies lie on a spectrum; not that there are good bullies and bad bullies (bullying is indeed negative and ‘good bullies’ do not make sense), but there are various types of bullies depending on the intensity of bullying. Some are unintentional bullies (the most common type of bullies who unintentionally hurt others), some are victimized bullies, and then there are pure bullies who need no explanation. Victimized bullies are the most complicated type of bullies. They are often born out of repeated bullying and bully others to feel good about themselves. But wouldn’t victims of bullying understand what other victims are probably going through rather than copying the bully? That is not always the case. In this article, we would be discussing ‘Victimized-Bullies.’

Understanding Victimized-Bullies

Apart from unintentional bullies, victimized-bullies are also pretty common but they often try not to show their vulnerable side. Not only have these people been bullied, but they bully other people as well. A lot of bullies had once been victims and are using bullying as a tool to vent the pain they had experienced in the past. They face internalized as well as externalized pressure. A study found that victimized bullies face more psychological problems and are more maladjusted as compared to pure bullies and pure victims. According to the study,

“Their adjustment difficulties include both internalizing problems, such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, and poor self-esteem, and externalizing problems, such as being aggressive, highly emotional, hot-tempered, and hyperactive.” [1]

It is due to the internalized problems they face that they are often considered hostile and are often at the bottom of the social pyramid. These bullies, who were also once victims, are at a higher risk for emotional problems such as psychosis, substance abuse, and antisocial personality disorder [2]. They are also at risk for generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, panic disorder, and suicidal behavior [3].

Dr Clayton R. Cook, of Louisiana State University, and a few other researchers from the University of California, Riverside studied what environmental and personal factors cause a person to be a bully, a victim or a victimized bully. The researchers had found that boys are more likely to be bullies than girls and that a victimized-bully has a combination of traits of bullies and victims such as having negative beliefs about themselves and others, not having good problem-solving skills, trouble with social interaction, poor academic performance and often face rejection by peers [4].

How Can They Be Helped?

The above findings were definitely not sunny. However, victimized bullies can be helped through intervention by parents and teachers. Parents and teachers could help them manage stress through various relaxation strategies, impart social skills, help them make friends and build their resilience and self-esteem. Affixing a label on a victimized bully can be harmful. Victimized bullies can also seek professional help in case they are going through a lot of emotional problems. For the victimized bullies out there, there is a good resource that can help break the victim-bullying cycle — check this out! Bullying is harmful to both the bullies and victims, and we as a community must support each other and work together to combat it.


[1] Yang, An. "Bully-Victims: Prevalence, Psychosocial Adjustment, and Responsiveness to Intervention." University of Turku, 2015.

[2] Gordon, Sherri. “Understanding the Challenges Bully-Victims Face” VerywellFamily

[3] Copeland WE, Wolke D, Angold A, Costello EJ. “Adult Psychiatric Outcomes of Bullying and Being Bullied by Peers in Childhood and Adolescence.” JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70(4):419–426.

[4] Steele, Anne. “The Psychological Effects of Bullying on Kids & Teens.” Masters in Psychology Guide.Com.



Sahaana Vijay

I am a proud INTJ who is passionate about Cosmology and Theoretical Physics (Especially Quantum Gravity). Being a STEM enthusiast and an amateur writer, I founded STEM 4 Everyone last year, which combine my two passions. Apart from writing and STEM, I also like to research, solve puzzles, learn new languages (I currently know 4 and I am learning 2) , and to travel.

28 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page