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Why do Bullies Bully?

Updated: Apr 2, 2021

When people deliberately use words or actions repeatedly against an individual or a group to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm, we call it bullying. They usually want to make the person feel less powerful or helpless. A bully is someone who perpetrates the act of bullying and tends to use their power to hurt other people.

Why does this act occur? There can be a variety of reasons for people to pick on and harm others ranging from stress and trauma, difficult home life to low self esteem.

Bullies are more likely to have experienced a stressful or traumatic situation in the previous five years as compared to the general population. For example, their parents/guardians may have had a divorce, a relative may have died, or they may have gained a younger brother or sister. People respond to stress and anxiety in different ways. Some may have a positive take away and use meditation, therapy or exercise to deal with these emotions. However, others may turn to negative behaviors like bullying to help cope with the trauma. This is not viable as it may only provide short term relief but makes the issues worse in the long-term.

Insecurities and low self-esteem also play a major role in causing bullying. Some bullies divert attention away from themselves in order to hide the negative emotions they feel towards themselves. They try to deflect any negative attention that is directed at them. When a person intimidates others, he or she feels strong, and powerful. When someone is insecure, they are afraid of looking weak in front of others. To cover up their own flaws, they go out of their way to discover and expose flaws in others. All of this is done to divert attention away from themselves and make them feel better by portraying themselves as more powerful than others.

Peer pressure is another factor. To fit in with a clique, some kids bully others, even if it means going against their morals. They are often more concerned about fitting in and being accepted by the popular kids rather than with the consequences of bullying. Some times, children bully because they are merely following the crowd. Bullying can result from a child's fear of not being accepted or of being the next victim.

Teens who come from abusive homes are more likely to bully than other children because they are used to aggression and violence. Children who have permissive or absent parents may also resort to bullying. It gives them a sense of authority and control that they don't have in their everyday lives. Bullying may be used by children with low self-esteem to compensate for their lack of self-worth. Bullying at home can also lead to bullying at school. When one is being tormented at home, they may resort to taking out their anger and frustration on others at school to regain a sense of control and power.

These reasons are not meant to excuse or support the act of bullying, but rather to understand the causes of the problem and where it stems from. By understanding the root of bullying, we can hopefully gain a better understanding of the issue and seek to resolve more efficiently and effectively.



Gia Sareen

Ever since I was a little girl, I always had a passion for reading books. Now that I'm older, the idea of creating my own stories appeals to me more. When I’m not engrossed in reading or frantically writing like a maniac, I can be found watching chick-flicks and old, sappy movies or singing my favorite songs at deafening volumes. I’m not sure of what I want to do in the future, but I do know what I want to be- an outspoken, headstrong and bold individual, who constantly challenges herself and lives life to the fullest.

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