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Why do people bully?

Generally speaking, people who bully have a desire for power, respect and control (many of these things aren't present in the home environment). Also people who bully may have low self-esteem and lack confidence; they try to build themselves up by tearing others down. 

People who bully use fear tactics to repeatedly remind their victim that they are in control. When their bullying behavior isn't addressed they begin to think it is okay. There is no consequence for their actions and they're getting away with it... That is why it's so important for victims to tell someone and get help. Equally important, bystanders need to speak out when they see someone being bullied. The message needs to be loud and clear --- Bullying is not acceptable.

William Stillman
Health Education

I think that people bully because they have low or weak self-esteem; they feel bullying is an opportunity to detract from their own perceived shortcomings; or because it makes them feel superior, accepted or included with the "norm" or mainstream by singling out individuals who are considered very unique or different.

Oftentimes, bullies are, themselves, the victims of abuse; and instead of efforting to rise above their circumstances by vowing to conduct themselves with honor and integrity, they succumb and surrender to their plight by becoming abusers themselves. They are, in essence, mimicking how they've been made to feel (or conditioned to believe is true of themselves) by perpetrating bad acts against others perceived as weaker or more vulnerable than they.

This enables the bully to feel powerful, in control, and even omnipotent...until they are compelled to face the reality of their predicament or are held accountable for their actions.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Bullying may be a power-trip, but people don't bully because they're powerful. In this video, celebrity television host and Dr. Oz Show guest Tyra Banks talks about the deep-seated reasons people bully, and how an understanding of that dynamic can help victims of bullying feel stronger.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.