Your Bully is as Depressed as You Are
Everyone knows a bully. The kid who picks on the child with glasses or red hair. The one who pokes and prods on the playground until someone breaks down and cries. Bullies are everywhere, and although they like to appear full of confidence and pride, they’re not. No, bullies tend to be depressed and have low self-esteem.
Why? Because bullies aren’t born. They’re made.
Bullies are children who have been bullied themselves, either at home or by peers and have learned to utilize that negative behavior as a way to gain control. It has an impact on more than just the playground. Bullies, as well as those they victimize, are more likely to be depressed and to think about suicide compared to their peers who are not bullied.
Bullies and Depression
Bullies are the result of bullying. Most bullies have been victims of bullying at some point in their lives and are suffering from low self-esteem. Many of these children are still being bullied or mistreated at home. The bullying behaviors they exhibit with their peers are the same behaviors they’ve learned by watching their siblings or parents.
Children who are victims of abuse, or who have witnessed abuse of a loved one, feel powerless. By bullying, they gain power and control. They exert this power through bullying their peers because it gives them a sense of control.
Sometimes bullies are children who feel invisible at home. While their needs may be met, they do not receive love and attention. They become angry and lash out at others, seeking attention through negative actions. When these bad behaviors get them the attention they’re seeking, the behaviors are reinforced, and the bullying continues.
While bullying is never okay and should not be tolerated, it’s important to remember that bullies are still children, and there’s a reason they’re acting the way they are.
Bullies and Self-Esteem
Bullies often have low self-esteem. Many are lacking a positive support system, both at home and in school. Many bullies have a home life that’s not healthy and have strained relationships with their parents. They act out at school for attention and become a problem student. Without a positive peer group and social support, bullies often feel lonely and sad.
Because of these issues, bullies often feel out of control and bullying becomes a way to gain it back.
Bullies are more likely to develop other risky behaviors associated with low self-esteem including alcohol and drug abuse, physical violence, poor school attendance, criminal activity, and risky sexual behaviors.
Learning to Deal with Bullies
Being bullied is no fun, but you can learn how to address the situation. Remember that bullies are seeking control. When you refuse to acknowledge that a bully is bothering you, you’re not giving them control. Once the bully realizes you’re not going to react the way he or she wants, the tormenting will stop.
If bullying continues, talk to an adult you trust. It’s not tattle telling; it’s being responsible. Bullying is never okay, and it’s not okay to just deal with it. Schools have policies in place to encourage anti-bullying and keep victims safe.