Bullying is a behaviour largely associated with kids and school settings, but it can happen to people of any age and in any setting, such as work, playgrounds and even within families and houses. In today’s world, online bullying has been on the rise as well. Bullying often manifests in various forms, from physical aggression to verbal abuse, and often leaves deep emotional scars on the victims. In this article, we’ll explore a few reasons why some people tend to bully others around them. Bullying is a complex issue and often a result of multiple factors. Some of them are:
  • It Is A Learned Behavior

  Many times, bullying is a result of learning from the external environment. For instance, if a child grows up in a house where they see their siblings or other adults using aggressive ways to get their needs met, they might end up believing that these aggressive behaviours are normal, and they might try to replicate them in other places such as school or playgrounds.
  • Need For Attention And Popularity

Some individuals resort to bullying as a misguided attempt to seek attention and validation from peers or authority figures. In school settings, bullying is often considered.  ‘cool’ and is associated with increased power and popularity. If a child feels ignored at school or home, they may resort to bullying to get noticed or negative attention from their teachers and parents
  • Insecurity

Although bullies might be associated with being strong and powerful, bullying could be a result of deep-seated insecurities within a person. When someone feels low or unhappy with themselves, they might bully others to make them feel unhappy as well. Bullying allows them to divert attention from their perceived shortcomings and provides a sense of power and superiority over others, serving as a confidence boost.
  • Lack of Empathy

Research suggests that bullies may lack empathy—the ability to accurately understand and feel what others are feeling. Bullies may struggle to understand or connect with the feelings and experiences of others. This deficiency in empathy allows them to engage in harmful actions without fully understanding the emotional impact on their victims.
  • Underlying Issues

This may sound odd, but sometimes people may become bullies because they have been bullied before. In a way, bullies may believe that targeting others helps them protect themselves from bullying. Bullying can also be a result of underlying issues with anger management, emotional regulation and unresolved childhood trauma.
  • Anonymity

In today’s digital world, it is very easy to drop mean comments under someone’s posts. Online bullies may take advantage of this anonymity factor on the internet to bully others, as there is less chance of them facing any consequences for their actions  

How To Overcome Bullying?

  Being bullied can cause severe psychological harm and leave a person mentally scarred for a long time. Thus, it is important to take action and overcome bullying. A few ways to overcome bullying are:  
  1.  Consider standing up for yourself and confronting the bully. Let them know that their behaviour is inappropriate. Once you show that you are confident and unaffected by the bully’s behaviour, they might feel powerless.
  2. Do not suffer from bullying in silence. Let the higher authorities in school or the workplace know what you have been facing so that they can take appropriate action.
  3. Seek support from friends and colleagues at work. Bullies are often afraid to face people in groups  If you have a strong support system of friends, the person engaging in bullying may reconsider their actions.
  4. Avoid displaying emotions when facing bullying. Reacting with anger or confrontation may only fuel the bully’s behavior, while staying neutral, and ignoring the behaviour, can increase the likelihood of the bully giving up.


Bullying is complex and is influenced by a variety of factors. From personal insecurities to learned behaviors and past traumas, understanding the reasons behind bullying is crucial for developing effective prevention and intervention strategies. One can overcome bullying by establishing boundaries and seeking support from friends and higher authorities. However, bullying can leave long-lasting mental scars. If you are facing the after-effects of bullying, consider consulting a professional for the same.


  1. 7 Common Reasons Why People Bully. (n.d.). Verywell Mind. Retrieved February 14, 2024, from https://www.verywellmind.com/common-reasons-why-people-bully-5496259
  2. Bullying | Psychology Today. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2024, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/bullying
  3. Ditch the Label, mental health platform. (n.d.). Ditch The Label. Retrieved February 14, 2024, from https://ditchthelabel.org
  4. The Top Reasons Why People Bully | BetterHelp. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2024, from https://www.betterhelp.com
Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin