Hurt People Hurt People – Understanding Bullying Motivation

Hurt people hurt people

Hurt people, hurt people. That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation after generation. Break the chain today. Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion and cruelty with kindness. Greet grimaces with smiles. Forgive and forget about finding fault. Love is the weapon of the future. ~ Yehuda Berg

One of the more ironic aspects of bullies and bullying victims is the idea that “hurt people hurt people” or that those that have been abused or bullied will take the opportunity, when presented to them, to hurt others if given the chance as a coping mechanism for their own self-pain.

Much of the reasons that this happens is that the hurt person is looking to feel better about themselves. They are desperate to find anything that they hope will make them feel better. Because of the damage to their own self-esteem, a person in great emotional and mental pain will lash out at others when the opportunity arises.

This is why approximately 85% of youth say they are bullied. The question asked is how can that statistic be so high? Who then are the bullies?

The studies show that the bullies are also hurt people who hurt people. So bullying becomes a vicious cycle of people that have been hurt, hurting others to feel better about themselves. At the root, it is why we need to deal with both the recovery of the bullies and the bullying victims. In many cases, both are bullying victims.

This also explains how it can be that a bullying victim might go home and lash out at their parents and siblings who love them. For many parents, this is one of the harder parts of bullying to deal with, the anger from their own child,

But this problem must be understood better. An example in many of bullying victims stories is one of when given a chance, also contains a story of them bullying others. This explains how the statistic of those that say they are bullied could also be answering that they have bullied. This is an important concept to why we need to address that recovery among both the bullied and the bully. We also must look deeply at the bully’s life and see if some sort of bullying for them is taking place at home.

This is another part of the issue. Bullying is not just a school problem, but also a problem that happens at home, by parents and siblings, by other family members, and at work.

So if you are looking to help in the support of preventing bullying, you need to also look at the fact that hurt people hurt people and make sure this awareness is part of the empathy you use when dealing with issues of bullying resolution with others.

I am aware of this problem and even talk of my own experience with it in my memoir “A Ladder in the Dark”. It is also a theme in my new book, “Crossing the Line”. Of course, the idea that hurt people hurt people only gives us knowledge, the solution to stopping it is at the heart of our understanding and working with both bullying victims and bullies.

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About bullyingrecovery

Alan Eisenberg is a Certified Life Coach with a niche in bullying and abuse recovery, Bullying Recovery activist, and author of "A Ladder In The Dark: My journey from bullying to self-acceptance". and "Crossing the Line". He has been writing and speaking to various audiences about the issue of C-PTSD and Bullying Recovery. Mr. Eisenberg has been featured on several print, radio shows and podcasts on this issue, including NPR and in the Boston Globe
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