9 reasons a bully bullies


If we think about murder or another criminal activity, the characteristics of the targets are often irrelevant. For murder to occur less often, we look at what really matters: the murderer profile. How does he tick? Why does he resort to murder? Only when we understand the motivation can we start to prevent the behavior.

Workplace bullying is another immoral behavior that requires looking at why bullies bully to understand how to stop it. So let’s steer the workplace bullying conversation away from bullying targets and onto the bullies. In his blog post “Why do people bully? 9 reasons for bullying,” Samuel Ha goes into the mind of a bully.

The workplace bully:

1. Has been bullied before

Family and peer bullying lead to targets feeling worthless. Targets then feel so angry that they take their anger out on others. For those who experienced bullying in childhood, bullying may be all they know (though with awareness, many do not grow up to be bullies).

2. Is lonely

Bullying gives those who feeling unimportant or left out a sense of importance and power. Regardless of how much attention he gets, a bully may need more attention and resort to bullying behavior to get it.

3. Has problems at home

Physical or verbal abuse can cause aggression. Often, bullies are targets, too.

4. Has low self-esteem

Putting someone else down helps a bully feel good enough. “However, they’ll find out sooner or later that it’s a losing strategy because someone will fight back. Unfortunately, they will probably just go back to finding a weaker person to pick on,” says Ha.

5. Is jealous

Jealousy is often a motivator for a bully to take out his frustrations on a target, and popularity is a common motivator for jealousy.

6. Is part of a pack

Bullies often bully in groups to have security through backup in case a target fights back (though not all group members are necessarily bullies).

7. Has a big ego

Some bullies simply have big egos. They truly believe they’re better than others.

8. Likes to impress

Bullies seek attention. When they lack skills or talent to get attention in a healthy way, they use such negative tactics as bullying to get attention.

9. Sees you as different

A bully may simply see you as different – by race, sexuality, disability, or a different reason. “They will single you out and verbally and/or physically abuse you. Usually, they won’t let you know the reason but most of the time it’s obvious,” says Ha.


One comment

  1. Robert Hosmer

    Great info. As a victim, my life’s events, in one way or the other, covers all nine items listed here. The bully, that terrorized me for over 3.5 years, before I walked away from my career, in my home town, is female. The pack, that she was “the kingpin” of, are women. I would not have been accused of stalking anyone, 3 times, before I would have been, fired, and arrested. I reported, everyday, for years, with nothing being done to even try to deter it. I am not criticizing, Please, don’t take this the wrong way. He/she, or just plain “the bully” is, I feel, in this day and age a little more appropriate.
    It takes great courage, for anyone to stand up, against an epidemic, like workplace bullying. Especially, since this problem is not recognized in the form of law. Although, that will be changing soon. I became a member of bullyfreeworkplace.org, in California, about six months ago. The signed proclamations from cities and counties, that we received, for “Freedom from workplace bullies week”, covered 25% of the state of Ca! We are now working on the Bill and backing to get laws into place.
    Again, Great work, Great info, Be Safe, happy Holidays

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