Understanding Bullying

Bullying is a distinctive pattern of harming and humiliating others, specifically those who are in some way smaller, weaker, younger or in any way more vulnerable than the bully. Bullying is not garden-variety aggression; it is a deliberate and repeated attempt to cause harm to others of lesser power. It's a very durable behavioral style, largely because bullies get what they want—at least at first. Bullies are made, not born, and it happens at an early age, if the normal aggression of 2-year-olds isn't handled well.

Many studies show that bullies lack prosocial behavior, are untroubled by anxiety, and do not understand others' feelings. They typically see themselves quite positively. Those who chronically bully have strained relationships with parents and peers.

Electronic bullying has become a significant problem in the past decade. The ubiquity of hand-held and other devices  affords bullies any-time access to their prey, and harassment can often be carried out anonymously.

Bullies couldn't exist without victims, and they don't pick on just anyone; those singled out lack assertiveness and radiate fear long before they ever encounter a bully. No one likes a bully, but no one likes a victim either. Grown-up bullies wreak havoc in their relationships and in the workplace.

Increasingly, children are growing up without the kinds of experiences that lead to the development of social skills, and free play has been in decline. Yet, it's in playing with peers, without adult monitoring, that children develop the skills that make them well-liked by age-mates and learn how to solve social problems.

Recent posts on Bullying

Pride in Mental Health: Advocacy

An interview with Jillian Weiss of Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, and Calvin Stowell of DoSomething.org.

Monumental Los Angeles Bullying Verdict Rewards Homophobia

By Izzy Kalman on June 23, 2017 in Resilience to Bullying
No one seems to realize that an unprecedented award of $17.4 to a homophobe in a Los Angeles workplace bullying lawsuit represents the ultimate insult to the gay population.

Our Worst Angels: Inconvenient Psychological Truths, Part 1

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on June 22, 2017 in Insight Therapy
What might rappers, gender studies academics, and abusive parents have in common?

How to Keep Disagreements from Becoming Fights

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 21, 2017 in Ambigamy
Supreening: posturing or preening like you're the supreme judge deciding who's right—you or your opposition.

Pride in Mental Health: Education

An interview with GLSEN (creating safe schools for all, regardless of orientation or identity) and The Hetrick-Martin Institute (a safe space for LGBT youth and families).

The Para-professional–Student Relationship

Para-professionals wield tremendous power over their charges. After reading “My Paraprofessional Was Supposed to Help me; instead, she Bullied me” I went looking for an interview.

Pride in Mental Health: Crisis Intervention

An interview with David Bond, Vice President of Programs at The Trevor Project, and Shoko Morikawa, Crisis Counselor Supervisor at Crisis Text Line.

9 Tips to Manage Adult Bullying

Mean Girls isn't just a Tina Fey movie; it's a real-life struggle. Keep reading for some tips to keep bullies at bay.

The Bully on the Screen

With the explosion of social media, the proliferation of screens, and the rapid rise in screen time, children are more exposed than ever to cyber-bullying.

Learning to Be Hostile

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on June 05, 2017 in Memory Medic
Pray for a return of the regard and respect for others that we used to have.

Bullying

Bullying goes beyond physical - it is the mental harm that lives on for years.

Of Gods and Burqas: on Seeing a Student in a Burqa

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on June 02, 2017 in Excellent Beauty
We are losing the fight between religion and both science and morality. The ghost of Orwell smiles.

False Courage: Why We Pretend We’re Stronger Than We Are

How the art of bluffing helps us stand tall. When courage is called for, a good bluff can turn the tides of fortune and upend expected outcomes.

Authoritarianism Comes with a Huge Price

Empathy is the key to conflict resolution and lack of empathy is the source of great conflict.

The Five Best Ways to Ruin an Apology

Here's how to de-code those relationship-busting apologies in love and work.

The Making of a Mass School Shooter

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on May 27, 2017 in How To Do Life
A short-short story.
Kylie Walls/Shutterstock

The Child Mental Health Crisis

Childhood mental health issues are on the rise. It will take a village to identify and treat them. Better understanding them is a start.

Betsy DeVos Is Okay With Schools Banning LGBT Students

By Jack Turban MD MHS on May 25, 2017 in Political Minds
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos says she will not require schools with anti-LGBT policies to end these policies in order to receive federal funding.

How Am I Supposed to Feel?

“Take a deep breath and walk away” is advice that often translates as “continue to take it.”
PixelAnarchy/Pixabay

Are You the Black Sheep of Your Family?

Five strategies for staying resilient if you are the black sheep of the family.

Inside the Mind of The 'Celebrity' Serial Killer Ian Brady

...why this serial killer never garnered the media attention that others... did, include the fact, unlike the 'Moors Murderer', Trevor Hardy did not have a catchy nick name...

Preventing Cyberbullying Among Children and Adolescents

Cyberbullying is linked to increased problems in youth such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and decreased performance in school. How can it be addressed?

The 7 Stages of Gaslighting in Relationships

How gaslighters emotionally manipulate, traumatize, and exploit victims in personal and professional relationships.

What are 'Horizontal Hostilities?'

Horizontal hostilities occur between groups whom one would expect to have close affinities. "Compromise" becomes the stuff of betrayal, more heinous than straight-out opposition.

Bullies Beware: Rule Breaking Required

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on April 28, 2017 in The Dolphin Divide
It is easy to be intimidated by bullies, but breaking a few social rules can turn would-be enemies into fast friends.

Psychology in "13 Reasons Why"

The psychology behind Netflix series "13 Reasons Why"
Geralt/Pixabay

How to Respond Gracefully to Destructive Criticism

6 ways to cope with the critics in your life.

The Wall With Mexico: Fear and Loathing

Inspired by kindled fears and prejudice, the U.S. will build an exclusionary wall between itself and Mexico based on irrational reasoning, at enormous expense, and with futility.

Did Trump’s Election Make Men More Aggressive?

Research is finding that overtly sexist, aggressive attitudes and behavior towards women appears to be increasing post-election.