When the bullied becomes the bully


"Normal is an illusion." ~ Morticia Adams
Apr 25, 2016
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There are about 15 million high school students in the US in an average year. Let's say half are boys: 7.5 million. Let's say 10% of them were bullied like that by the popular pretty girls. That's 750,000 bullied high school boys. Stats say there are about 25-50 serial killers in the US at any given time. That would mean, even if we had 25-50 new serial killers every year (which clearly we do not), 749,950 bullied boys do not go on to become killers. It's not the bullying. Bullying is awful, but it is not "the cause" or "the reason" people go on to kill.

Apologies in advance for this long post.

I mentioned I'd been bullied a bit in school, just enough to where I began to dread class and would ditch school. In my youth, I didn't understand them. Wished they'd like me. In adulthood, I now have pity for them and am glad they didn't like me. Their lives turned out as ones I'd not want for my own. A few died young from over-indulgence in drugs, unprotected relations (STD), or violence (by their own hand, or by others).
Interesting reads (especially if you have a child who is being bullied, or you see bullying characteristics appearing in your child).

A worried parent reached out to me, the school counselor, about her 14-year-old son, Adam. “After years of getting bullied, this year has been a gift,” Shauna said. “He’s made a bunch of new friends and turned everything around.” But then, Shauna told me, another mother called her. Adam had been mistreating her son, Nathan. In PE, Adam would make fun of the way Nathan ran. In social studies, Adam would roll his eyes whenever Nathan proposed an idea. He’d post altered photos of Nathan on social media, replacing his nose with images of penises and nipples. Then he’d tag him to ensure he saw all the mean comments.

Michele Borba, author of UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World, agrees that we can’t afford to overlook a child who resorts to bullying. “It’s learned behavior and can be unlearned,” she explains. “A big mistake is thinking it’s a phase. It’s not, and each time it’s repeated, it starts to wreak havoc with a child’s moral compass—he depersonalizes the other child and his empathy levels go down.”

They also won’t become hardened to the consequences of their actions. As Faris notes, kids who bully “learn techniques to rationalize pathological behavior, and that will not serve them well in the adult world.” But the greatest reason aggressors should stop, he points out, is the damage they’re doing to others.

In response to their pain and anger, the victims often retaliate with similar bullying tactics, either against the original bully or against a weaker target. As the abuse worsens, they may become desensitised to how serious it really is and the effect it can have on others.

I did not become a bully, but I learned to stand my ground. This typically confuses the daylights out of them. ;)


Rarely Speechless
Jan 4, 2010
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One or two people standing with the bullying victim, looking the bully in the eye will generally end the problem.

Now a bully with a pack of toadies, that can be very different.

We have a couple pages of threads around here about bullying!