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Why do people bully?

29 replies

toptramp · 12/08/2012 11:12

Hope relationships is the right place.

I was bullied at school and didn't fight back unfortunately. I was also abused by an ex. Today I am much more able to stick up for myself but I can't help feeling that I was bullied as I was a weak individual who failed to stand up for herself.My weaknesses being a bit a plain and shit at sport.

I don't think that the bullies are stronger than me but I do feel bad about humans due to my experiences and I now feel that humans just love to pick on weaknesses of others.

OP posts:
maples · 12/08/2012 11:14

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheSmallClanger · 12/08/2012 11:19

People that witter on about "standing up for yourself" are curiously silent on exactly how we are meant to go about that. Probably because they don't know.

wannabedomesticgoddess · 12/08/2012 11:22

IME bullies bully for reasons relating more to their own lives than the lives of their victims.

They do it to make themselves feel better, or look cool, or to take out their bad mood on someone. They do pick on weaknesses but only because they are insecure about their own weaknesses.

Whatever the reason, it wasnt your fault. The people who bullied you were going to bully someone, it just happened to be you there at the time.

NoComet · 12/08/2012 11:46

wannabe that is a brilliant post, you have just stated DD1 and I's experience far better than I could.

The girl who bullied me was the only one from her primary. She didn't know anyone. She spotted that I was the one who got teased and took it to a new level to fit in with the group.

The boy who was nastiest to DD1 was a small WC lad in a class of taller MC boys.

Having had a run in with his family, it's obvious he had been brought up with a real chip on his shoulder. Bullying any one slightly odd was perfectly Ok. (DD is dyslexic and can be socially inept and was easy to get to fuss).

A great pity because chatting to him since he can be really nice, but I worry that he's left wandering the streets far to much.

NoComet · 12/08/2012 11:56

WC is a horrid stereo type and actually I think the better off parents at the DDs small rural primary are equally at fault.

They are very cliquey and thoughtless about DCs who can't afford this after school activity or that school event.

I come from a more isolated rural area, no commuting to profitable jobs and frequently find them very insular and thoughtless.

MrsJREwing · 12/08/2012 11:58

They want to control others, they have anger issues, compulsion issues, empathy issues the list goes on, note their issues to put others down to boost their ego.

MagicHouse · 12/08/2012 11:59

Bullies bully because they are insecure and have very low self esteem or confidence. They are like that often because they have been bullied in the past, e.g. as a child by an abusive parent. They have been through a time where they have been completely unable to control situations, so later in life they bully, because it makes them feel powerful to intimidate someone else. They crave that feeling of power and being in control that they lacked, but have been given no life skills or experience to get it in any other way than by bullying.
Bullies will try their tactics on lots of people around them, and if they find someone who finds it difficult to stand up to them, they will pick on that person. They pick on weaknesses because that is cowardly, and underneath all bullies are cowards. Almost without fail, if you consistently stand up to a bully they will back off, because underneath they are the same intimidated little person that caused them to have all the problems in the first place. (Though that is so hard to do, especially for a child, and especially once the bullying has become established.)

MrsJREwing · 12/08/2012 12:02

I disagree, bullies have a high self esteem, recent findings got rid of the low self esteem theory.

MagicHouse · 12/08/2012 12:04

Really - where did you read that? (Not having a go - just interested). I was talking about someone I know mostly, and the low self esteem thing is very true in that case.

MrsJREwing · 12/08/2012 12:08

I think it was psychologies magazine. The.theory is they are on the scale of antisocial personality, narcacissistic personality or were brought up with those values and morals so its more a learned behaviour/attitude.

D0oinMeCleanin · 12/08/2012 12:08

Dd1 is bullied a lot. I believe it is because she makes herself an easy target. She is too shy to tell the teachers and only tells another adult once it becomes too much for her to deal with. She cries the instant someone looks at her wrong, which means it is easy for them to get a reaction.

Dd2 is never bullied but she has a wicked temper and fears nothing. If someone picks on dd1 while she is there she is straight in there defending her, even when the bully is older and bigger than her.

I don't think it dd1's fault, it's not, the fault lies only with the bully, but I do think her personality and shyness contribute to the bullying, however that is the way she is and she can't just wake up a different person, nor would I want her to feel she has to change herself.

Ilovedaintynuts · 12/08/2012 12:11

I think the psychological profile of bullies is very complex. I think some bullies do it because they are insecure and have low self-esteem. I think some certainly are not. Some are lacking in empathy and treat others with a lack of respect and disdain, even amusement.
I don't think there is one 'type' which is why it is such a difficult problem to eliminate both in schools and in the work place.
As a manager I have employees who are prone to bullying from (I suspect) insecurity and some from sheer arrogance. One employee I suspect is prone to bullying purely because of a distinct lack of empathy.

In a previous job in the NHS a bully had a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder so we were all expected by HR to accept and cope with her behaviour(which was appalling) because she had an 'illness' Confused. In fact we were all offered sessions with a clinical psychologist about how to deal with her threats and aggressive outbursts.

bringbacksideburns · 12/08/2012 12:13

If they have low self esteem then they cover it up well by being overtly confident and outgoing then.

The Bullies i have known were all different. I don't think they shared a particular characteristic. Two at school were actually indulged and spoilt to a certain degree and insensitive, not given to much empathy.
Another i believe was bullied at home. Putting people down makes them feel good for some reason or they are just brash personalities who don't realise how much their actions hurt.

Snog · 12/08/2012 12:19

In the workplace (depending on where you work) there is often a culture that acceptsand tolerates bullying. I used to work in a large finance department where good people were often bullied out of their jobs, and the bullies are well thought of by more senior management and are regularly promoted.

So in this example, people bully because not only can they get away with it, it will also help them get promoted to show they are "strong" managers, who are prepared to get rid of people who they claim were under-performing (of course it is never them who have been underperforming. It was really pernicious tbh.

SoleSource · 12/08/2012 12:27

The effects of being bullied themselves never leaves a bully unless they seek prof helo. Being confidebt and outgoing does not make me a bully. I have never met a bully with high self esteem that is bs.

MrsJREwing · 12/08/2012 12:33

My bullying exh got a mh diagnosis after we split, I suspect the most recent bully in my life has Ocd and other issues from their behaviour. Both bullies have high.confidence, lack empathy and are very entitled individuals.

MagicHouse · 12/08/2012 12:41

I do agree it's complex. I just can't stop believing it's all linked to lack of self esteem/ confidence underneath. Even bullying in the workplace - the people who do it are usually the insecure ones, desperate to make themselves appear confident and in control. Yes, they do it because they get away with it -definitely, but what could they possibly be getting out of undermining others other than to boost how they feel about themselves. And why would anyone need to do that unless they lacked self esteem? If you're happy and secure in yourself, you just don't need to make other people feel small or unhappy. Why else would someone DO that?

Even the "indulged and spoilt" child - probably craves love more than material things and/ or senses there are no boundaries to their behaviour - which is known to make children feel very insecure.

I DO think that bullies learn this facade/ confidence to cover up insecurities. In my experience, without fail, every bully I have known has either admitted to some other person to lacking in confidence or worrying what other people think of them, or else backed down big time the minute you stand up to them.

I do know that's just my experience though, and maybe there are people out there who simply enjoy it for its own sake, but I would argue there are serious mental health issues coming into play there in that case.

MrsJREwing · 12/08/2012 12:45

No matter how high your esteem we all like a boost, mentally healthy people with empathy don't get a boost at the cost to another.

MrsJREwing · 12/08/2012 12:48

Have you ever researches narcacissistic or antisocial personalities, formally known as psychopath/sociopaths? Together they make up a shocking proportion of the population.

MagicHouse · 12/08/2012 12:56

Yes - I have studied personality disorders (admittedly a VERY, VERY long time ago now!) I guess I don't link bullying and mental health disorders in my mind - but see them as two separate issues. Might have another look into it now....... though I should get off this PC really before I take root!

maples · 12/08/2012 12:58

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SoleSource · 12/08/2012 13:06

People do not feel tbe need to bully if they feel ok about them inside. Fact.

MrsJREwing · 12/08/2012 13:11

I have only personaly found scared people with low self esteems support a bully in a group or be wound up by the bully to do the bullys dirty work to the obvious victim, the scared person could be viewed as both bully and victim.

SoleSource · 12/08/2012 13:17

Bullies are pretenders, sometimes clever manipulaters of people. They conginue to bully until challenged. Others make their performance eadier.

BeingFluffy · 12/08/2012 13:33

Interesting. I was badly bullied as a child, I was quiet and shy and self conscious. In my adult life I have been bullied at work but have fought back and dealt with it. I am however bullied by my sister in law. She lives overseas so I don't see her very often. The first thing she said to me was that she didn't approve of working mothers (I was pregnant with DD1 when we met). She used to ring up and always say something to upset me - it wasn't accidental it was like she had rehearsed some bitchy remark to say to me when I picked up the phone - anything from breastfeeding to nurseries to vaccinations to schools. DH prefers to think that I am imagining things and that his sister is just thick and doesn't know what she is saying. I have had panic attacks for the last couple of days at the thought of having to see her for a few hours next week when we visit DH's country.

I don't know what motivates her, maybe some weird psycho sexual thing that I don't understand because I don't have brothers. Maybe it is because I am educated and have a career. She failed at her career (teaching - she had a breakdown because she couldn't control the kids when she was training) and is a SAHM.

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