How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
What is bullying?
Bullying is a global problem. Here's a description of what it is.
Bullying can be both physical and psychological. In practice elements of both may occur together.
Physical bullying is carried out through the use of the body, threatening or harming the other person or things with which they identify. In doing so, it applies direct control to the victim.
Physical bullying is more common amongst boys. Girls are often more subtle, as are adults of both genders.
Physical bullying often has a psychological element, although the physical side may be more visible.
Whilst physical bullying can be terrifying, psychological bullying can be even more harmful and can have much longer-term effects. It seeks to demean the victim by attacking their identity, changing their self-image and self-esteem.
Girls and adults can be good at psychological bullying, as it can be done without visible damage.
The core difference that makes bullying what it is, as opposed to teasing, playing and so on (as bullies will often claim) is in the intent of the bully.
The bully builds their sense of control through the control of others. They enjoy the sense of power this brings and feed off the fear of their victims. People who do not show fear of bullies are typically left alone, at least after a concerted effort to bully has little effect.
Bullies typically lack empathy, not really feeling what their victims feel, although at the same time they may be surprisingly fearful, possibly due to a historic and early reversal where they were the victim.