The Psychology of Bullying

“Strong people don’t put others down. They lift them up.”

Psychology can assist in understanding bullying behaviour – I’ve made my opinion very clear that I have a zero tolerance for bullying – however why are people “driven” to this sort of behaviour?

People Who Put Others Down: Psychology Of Bullying

The need to feel superior to others; Psychology says those who feel this need bully to knock others down. By making another person feel small, a person who bullies feels bigger.

Childhood trauma; Childhood trauma has a great effect on how people relate to the world around them as they grow up. Verbal and mental abuse are among the things that most people consider childhood trauma. These are not the only things that cause this type of behavior, though. Sexual abuse, being involved in a natural disaster, or losing a parent could also cause this type of behavior.

Low Self-Esteem; Low self-esteem is a major motivator to bullying. This goes along with needing to feel superior to others in a way, but it also has its own set of causes, as well.

A poor home life; If someone were to grow up in a home where ample amounts of violence occurred, these are the coping mechanisms that will result. Verbal abuse at home begets verbal abuse at school and in life as a child grows.

They have been bullied themselves; Studies have shown that people who have been bullied are far more likely to bully others.

Poor Education; Poor education or the lack of access to quality education is a leading cause of bullying. Social skills and moral responsibility are among the first things we learn when we are in school. If a person doesn’t have access to a good school system with teachers that care and want to guide children, the children are at a disadvantage.

Lack of Empathy (major warning sign); If a person doesn’t understand the way their actions affect others, bullying can result. A lack of empathy means the compass inside that tells us what might hurt people is broken.

Underlying mental health issues; Underlying mental health issues such as depression or anxiety are common triggers for people who put others down. Psychology explains that the way a person’s brain works has a lot to do with the way they act.

Insecurity; this is another common theme.

“Often, bullies target those who are different than they are or are least likely to fight back. This is because the bullies can use their power and feel better about themselves. If they went after someone who could easily fight back, it would not be as much fun to them.” – Mary Elizabeth Dean

About Stu Dunn

With a background in sales and behavioural science, I enjoy learning more about people, behaviour, psychology - which led into motivation - and more recently - sales again. Having started my own real estate company with my wife, it's time to merge interests.
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