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26/03/2014

The Psychological Effects of Bullying

A great number of people have been victims of bullies throughout the school years. Many children are prone to abusive behavior that leaves their victims in despair. The lifelong psychological consequences of bullying are not easy to solve and usually require therapy. When it comes to bullying, teachers are mainly concerned about protecting the victims and punishing the bullies. They are rarely interested in discovering the reasons that lead to such destructive behavior. We cannot eradicate the phenomenon of bullying without understanding the severe traumas that turn normal people into bullies.

Bullying is most commonly related to the school environment, but the phenomenon has expanded beyond these boundaries due to the digital revolution. The agony of bullying victims continues when they start using social media, so they don’t feel safe even in their homes. The actions of bullying don’t always involve physical violence. The psychological consequences of verbal insults, threats and intimidation are much more serious. In such situations, people defend the victims and label the bullies as troublemakers without proper education and manners. However, the reasons behind their behavior are very serious.

When educators try to explain the actions of bullying, they usually name negative personal characteristics as causes. However, bullies don’t always mistreat other people because they are jealous, envious, cruel, selfish or spoilt. Not many children become bullies because they want to become the center of attention and don’t care about the feelings of their objects. Although violence and aggression can become part of one’s genetic predispositions, the explanation of the bullying phenomenon cannot be based solely upon genetics.

When we look into the roots of abusive behavior of bullies, we will find domestic violence to be the foundational cause in most cases. Children who witness violence and are being mistreated in their homes tend to develop a defensive mechanism. Educators mustn’t neglect the fact that bullies may be trying to hide serious family problems through their improper behavior. Some children become bullies because they have been mistreated by other classmates. As a result of their aggression, bullies don’t have close friends that could support them in times of trouble. The isolation and loneliness leads to disappointment and further aggression.

Even when their behavior makes other children feel bad, bullies crave for the attention they get. Bullying is not based on genetics; abusive behavior is a response to a certain stimulus. If teachers want to eliminate bullying from their classrooms, they need to consider the unpleasant psychological background of bullies. Both bullies and victims need a helping hand.