The Pain of Bullyism and How to Understand It

Bullying Hurts

As noted in the illustrations above, these suffering characters do appear to be exhibiting much pain and anguish as the object of verbal and emotional assaults by dysfunctional perpetrators, Bullies.

Research into this topic has documented a strong link between bullying and depression. Depression can have a number of significant effects in a person’s life. The link between bullying and depression can also extend to additional emotional dysfunctions such as low self-esteem anxiety, physical illnesses, and poor career performance.

Before a discussion is presented on bullyism, we do need to define our terms and understanding on what is a bully.  Bullying is seen as purposeful attempts to control another person through verbal abuse which can be in the tone of one’s voice or in content such as teasing or threats. Exclusion from a group or even repeated physical abuse or violence that are deemed unwanted by the victim. Bullying occurs in schools, workplaces, is in homes, on playgrounds, in the military and even in nursing homes. Bullying is the most common type of violence in contemporary American society. It should be noted that bullying is considered to be separate and distinct from sexual harassment.

What causes one to become a bully? There are so many factors that create such a negative individual such as cultural factors, institutional causes, social issues, family issues, power and the bully’s  personal history. Cultural factors regarding our fascination with winning, power and violence which influence the compulsive drive to seek power contribute highly to the formation of a bully.The high rate of domestic violence does impact upon our young people growing up to expect that is an acceptable method of getting what we want. Our institutional environments precipitate violent, bully-like behaviors if there is the absence of behavioral standards regarding interpersonal relationships or the tendency to ignore complaints of bullying from the victims.

Unfortunately, the bully does acquire more social recognition for negative behavior than any positive actions. Situation comedies and reality television significantly contribute to this societal dysfunction as well as the volume of violent reports in our media newsfeed.The family system is, indeed, the core of creating behaviors that mold the fabric of our world. If there is an absence of love and respect and a high incidence of violence and rage, the children will absorb these behavior patterns and bullies will evolve from this milieu. Bullyism begins in the womb of the dysfunctional family.

~Fran White

(this article originally appeared on Fran White’s website at

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About Fran White

I am first a wife of fifty years, a mother of an adult son and daughter and a grandmother of nine angels that the Lord has blessed me with and provided me with the inspiration to counsel and write. For over four decades, I have been a member of the "helping profession" as a psychologist, marriage and family therapist and author of three books, a Blog and media publications. Most of all, I am a survivor not a victim of the bullies in my journey of life. You can read more about me at and
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