What Are the Causes of Bullying?


Bullies generally feel insecure and inferior to others. They put others down in an effort to build themselves up. This may appear to work for them but they have to continue this behavior to proceed to feel powerful. Victims and bystanders of bullies are at risk of low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. Bullying occurs in childhood and adulthood.


  • Bullying often occurs in groups. Usually the bully appears powerful and intimidates others by the way he treats his victims. People will follow the bully in hopes that the bully won't turn on them. Bystanders will stand by and do nothing to stop the abuse. This silently supports the bully. Bullies look for the weakest link -- the child who is isolated, withdrawn or has emotional or academic difficulties.


  • Bullies want control. Children may be abused or bullied at home by their parents or older siblings. They may come to school and continue the "pecking order." Bullies who get away with it often grow into adults who bully in the workplace or social groups where they feel threatened or competitive. The only way they know how to gain control is through intimidation. They use techniques such as spreading rumors to isolate their victims. They will even go as far as to ruin the victim's career if that is what it takes for the bully to get his way. Women often bully through social manipulation and humiliation. The easiest way for a female bully to keep her threatened competition away from "her" group is to gather her "allies" and force the victim to leave before she's even fully accepted.


  • A child may bully because of impulse problems or lack of social skills. The child is usually bullied himself or has been the bystander of bullying. He may not know what he is doing and will usually stop once it is explained to him. A bully like this often does not have a group joining in. In the workplace, this type of bully often has too much on his plate or is stressed in other areas of his life. He loses control and let's his emotions get the best of him.


  • A bully may engage another bully and gang up on a victim. Often, a bystander will sense the power, attention and respect a bully seems to have, and due to her own insecurities, she will join the bully. Even if the bully stops, the partner often continues. This behavior also occurs with groups out of fear of becoming the next victim. The bullies and their followers most often suffer from some low self-esteem, inadequacy and insecurity. They show their charming faces to the world while their victims appear emotional. By saying nothing, it appears the victim has the problem.

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