The Basics of Bullying and How to Stop It

“All cruelty springs from weakness.” —Seneca, 4BC-AD65

There are those who say that bullying is behind all forms of violence, conflict, persecution, abuse, harassment, discrimination, and prejudice.

The death of Phoebe Prince in 2010, a 15-year-old Massachusetts girl who hanged herself after being harassed by a group of students from her school, puts a spotlight on bullying among teenagers. And in fact, there have been many notable cases of teen bullying, on and off the Internet (i.e., cyber-taunting on Facebook) that come to mind when we think of bullies.

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However, it isn’t just children and teenagers who bully. Although it may not be as obvious, or as easily identifiable, adult bullying may be more widespread. “Independent research suggests that bullying is happening to around 1 in 4 people” (from “Life After Adult Bullying”). Bullying impacts many of us, regardless of our age.

What Is Bullying?

Bullying is defined as “an act of repeated aggressive behavior in order to intentionally hurt another person, physically or mentally” (Wikipedia). It is characterized as behaving in a manner to gain power over another person. And it is a form of abuse. I would suggest that if you rephrase the descriptive action from “repeated aggressive behavior” to “taking frustrations out” on those who are weaker or different, bullying becomes a much more commonplace and identifiable act. In fact, it is pervasive.

There are different types of bullies and different environments in which they proliferate. There are verbal bullies, physical bullies, serial bullies, gang bullies, cyber bullies, subordinate bullies, unwitting bullies, work bullies, sadistic bullies, and psychotic and sociopathic bullies. There are bullies at work, at home, in schools, in governments, in religious organizations, on the Internet, and in social cliques.

What Kind of People Bully?

Usually people with low self-esteem and a certain amount of unconscious resentment (envy, jealously) that pushes the bully to project their own feelings of inadequacy onto you while denying that anything is wrong with them. Not all bullies are serial bullies. Sometimes the average person loses it under pressure and takes out their feelings in a bullying manner. But regardless of how or why it is happening to you, it is not acceptable.

What all bullies have in common is the use of power to satisfy one’s own psychological shortcomings. Each time a bully moves against someone weaker, he/she feels better about themselves for an instant. But because that feeling doesn’t last, they do it again and again. Sometimes the bully appears to lack insight into their own behavior (unwitting bully), but more often the bully does know yet elects to ignore the moral and ethical considerations by which the majority of people are bound. The rules don’t apply to them. Or they have projected so much self-hatred on the other that they truly believe that those they are bullying deserve exactly what they are getting.

Why Are There So Many Bullies in Society?

One of the reasons bullying is so prevalent is because most bullies commit non-arrestable offenses. And so bullying becomes unconsciously acceptable. It’s an outlet–a way to express–frustration and/or rage.

There are adult bullies we can easily identify. Hitler was a bully; racists are bullies. Parents and older siblings have been known to bully. Certainly, gang members bully. But what about those who threaten, shame, or intimidate you into doing things you don’t really want to do? It happens to most of us, and when it does, we are being bullied. Even when it comes from a person or institution that you love, respect, admire–your government, your church, your significant other, a family member, a professional colleague. Sometimes there is a fine line between harmless coercion and harmful bullying. But you can feel the difference. You know when you are truly ambivalent and open to being talked into something versus when you are being pressed against your better instincts, wishes, or values. And if you are being bullied by more than one person (i.e. an organization or group), it is even more difficult to stand up for yourself.

More insidious and pernicious is the type of bullying that has less to do about forcing you to do something and more to do with “putting you in your place”–minimizing or even destroying you in order to make someone else feel better about themselves. People do this consciously or unconsciously because of a hole inside of themselves that they try and fill by being better than someone else. It gives them a sense of power and authority in the world that they may not otherwise experience. It is a way to externalize their own feelings of insecurity, inferiority, and/or rage by putting those feelings on someone else and then attacking them.

Some bullying is so subtle that you really believe the bully. They make you feel unsure of yourself; bad about yourself. They can even do it in the guise of friendship or love. It becomes more of a mind game than an outright violation. But it is bullying just the same. We will not be able to rid the world of bullies, but we can learn how to stand up to them.

How Do You Stand Up for Yourself to Stop Bullying?

First and foremost, recognize what is happening and remember that it is the bully who has the problem, not you. Unless they are physically threatening you, bullies are “paper tigers.” If you stand up to them calmly and confront their behavior rationally while asserting your rights, they will back down. If you call them out on their actions, they usually have no place to go–especially if others are witness to these actions. You don’t have to attack a bully; you simply have to calmly and self-assuredly stand up for yourself. You don’t want to give them reason to escalate by engaging in a heated or emotional manner. You may be thinking that this sounds easier than it would actually be. So start slowly. If you can’t immediately stand up to a bully, at least don’t play into their behavior by trying to appease them.

Let the bully know by your reaction that you are not cowed and quietly walk away. Think about what you want to say and either talk to them later or wait until the next time they behave that way and then call them out on it. Bullies don’t have any real power once they realize that you won’t engage in their game. Once you have exposed them; they will fade away.

© Copyright 2010 by Roni Weisberg-Ross, LMFT - West L.A. Psychotherapy Group, therapist in Los Angeles, California. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • JUDE

    June 14th, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    My boss is such a bully…has a special liking to bullying me and a few others…handles us some lenghty work at the last moment and gives us unreasonable deadlines and keeps shouting at us and keep telling us just how inefficient we are and how we can never match up to his younger past…I’d like to just slap him and tell him that he is nothing more than a bully and I am better than him,atleast in the aspect of treating others with some respect!

  • Julia

    June 14th, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    How do adults allow themselves to be treated like this? How poorly do you have to think of yourself as an adult to still allow this to happen to you?
    I can understand it happening to you as a kid, you have no real way to defend yourself. But as an adult you should have the ability to stand up for yourself and tell someone that he or she is doing wrong!

  • cynthia

    July 14th, 2016 at 8:14 PM

    way to be a bully Julia….!

  • Lisa

    June 14th, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    Roni, I’ve been told before that the worst thing you can do to a bully (in their eyes) is laugh at them because it takes away their power. Would you advocate that as a strategy? I’m thinking more of online bullies, not bosses or a person you have to deal with face-to-face. I would think brushing off what they say with a jokey comment that shows it doesn’t bother you would be a good tactic.

  • Teach

    June 14th, 2010 at 7:15 PM

    I just read a new study that came out in Canada about workplace bullying. The findings were that workplace bullying can be worse than even racial or gender harrasment. It’s a serious problem there and up until now, it’s not been illegal. A new bill that’s coming in this month addresses that.


    June 15th, 2010 at 4:24 AM

    I have never been bullied and have never bullied anyone either. But I just don’t understand this online bullying…I mean, size or position does not matter online, does it…? Also, you have the option of ‘turning off’ the bully, right…?

  • Steve

    June 15th, 2010 at 4:45 AM

    adult bullies are laughable- they are doing it all to prop up their own fragile egos- let them know that you know that about them and I guarantee the bullying will stop faster than it began.

  • Earnshaw E

    June 15th, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    @Jerry:you’re right.its not like they can follow you and taunt you in the real world…but they surely do,in the cyber world…its not as easy as just switching off or logging off…suppose you’re on a social networking site and this particular person is bullying you by posting fake info about you and writing to can block that user but he will only create another user-name and get back to bullying you.and you would’nt want to delete your own account,would you…?!

  • Martha

    June 15th, 2010 at 7:58 PM

    Phoebe Prince wasn’t a Massachusetts girl. She was from Ireland and had only moved to the US months before. Her heritage was part of what made that poor beautiful girl a target too. Jealousy was at the root of this bullying, over a boy she was dating. Those kids killed her with their words and taunts as surely as if they had shot her.

  • Cameron

    June 16th, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    Wouldn’t ignoring them to be a better strategy than joking about what they said, Lisa? Because when you joke about it, you’re drawing attention to whatever they posted. If you ignore it, it doesn’t get the attention they crave that it will. All the online bullies I’ve ever came across hate nothing more than their rants and bitchy comments being ignored as if they aren’t even there.

  • Pearl

    June 16th, 2010 at 11:14 PM

    I had a boss once that bullied every youngster in the place. He eventually was removed from the job because a complaint was made against him. Employees need to know they do not have to accept workplace bullying! You can report it to HR. Bullying bosses feed on your fear and assume you’ll never do that. Make it official if you can.
    Once you do, it’s all on record and they can’t bully anymore because of that. They know that HR will be watching because they don’t want a lawsuit on their hands.

  • rare

    August 3rd, 2010 at 9:12 PM

    only those who experienced being bullied can truly relate to those who are being bullied but help ,more often than not must come from those who have not experienced bullying. its easy to say how one can allow oneself to be bullied but its a fact its happening and the bullied are helpless. they dont ALLOW others to bully them far from it, if they can leave that situation, im sure they would but they cant. i dont know if im making any sense at all, maybe those who are being bullied can understand what i mean.

  • kc

    November 20th, 2010 at 6:24 AM

    Most often there is nothing you can do to a bully boss. Yes their superiors know it. You become a child dependent on abusive dysfunctional parents. If your a government employee. Only God can help you.

  • kit

    July 25th, 2016 at 2:26 PM

    Yep. Gov. Agency. I told a story once to a boss how previous boss got reported for unethical behavior and fired and I was involved. I wasnt bragging, it was a what would you do ethics question. Ever since then shes been very covertly staring me down and consistently “suggesting” this or that when things go awry. Meanwhile, shes made equally as many mistakes on the scheduling or other appointments. Which I never complain about. These people’s quality control and “you have a performance issue” is a joke and double standard. I will not work under that. I regret my honesty. Shes obviously threatened and has been

  • bullied

    January 22nd, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    KC, You’re right about that. As a government employee, my boss is one insecure guy. He’s about 6 years older than me and will harass or make comments on a weekly basis in passing, sending a zinger my way or commenting about my name. I always feel like he wants me to quit but says that I’m doing a good job. He’s got some health problems and is in pain but makes some of the most outrageous comments I’ve ever heard or known a manager to make. And upon review, he’s done it in staff meetings and to our group as a whole. It’s amazing that he hasn’t been taken to HR and warned about this. He also confided to us that he taught high school history, a student drew a knife on him and he broke the kid’s arm. He was fired, but I’m sure he verbally provoked the kid. The kid’s actions weren’t justified but adults are capable of fostering and antagonizing just as easily as children and teenagers. The only thing that assuages my angst is that I consider the source and realize the immaturity and delayed development of this individual. I often wonder if he ponders the thought about the mind/body connection and how it may be worsening his debilitating illness. Yes, I pray about this and other situations at work regularly.

  • roneyrode

    February 20th, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    they always mention what a bully hitler was and how evil he was. yet they forget to mention what a bully stalin was who had killed far more people than hitler did more brutally and stalin was a jew. you forget to mention what a bully the united states and israel is to the innocent palestinians murdering and massacrering and raping men and women. oh yeah it is also a typical techinique of the bully to call the victim a bully. thanks to malcolm x, louis farrakhan and kamau kabon and leonard howell thousands of innocent white people are being bullied everyday. you know the words: cracker, honkey, white boy etc. isn’t tha racial bullying?

  • Courtney

    April 22nd, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    @Julia that’s a pretty insensitive comment. People who are bullied don’t want to be and usually are preyed on because they may be shy or timid or don’t like to stir the pot.

    Also – what if your HR manager is the one DOING the bullying?

  • Steph

    March 24th, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    one of my Supervisers is a Bully to me and we work with kids and we have it posted every were this is a Bully free zone and I went to my manager and I need help on this. I tried doing everything in my power to say something and she goes to the boss and says Steph is Lieing I never did anything that is she saying to me.

  • Martha

    October 19th, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    I am 46 years old and am currently being bullied by my sociopathic x-husband’s sociopathic first wife. We were divorced over three years ago and this week, his first wife decided to call my current boyfriend’s x-wife (who she doesn’t know) and tell her a bunch of lies about me. Although all the information was false, this phone call has caused so many problems on so many levels and has hurt so many people I love that I am completely overwhelmed by my feelings of powerlessness. X wife #1 has been trying to ruin my life since day one and I thought when I divorced the sociopath that I had seen the last of her as well but she was just waiting for an opportunity. And, frankly, I don’t care what her childhood was like. Yes, adult bullying is real and it can happen because there are people in this world who have more hate than love in thier hearts.

  • Wendy

    November 22nd, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    I am a 36 year old woman who has been “mobbed at work”, my manager was a friend who has at every turn manipulated and abused her position as my manager. After years of this and plenty of attempts to discuss the issue and try and resolve it, i then complained to HR. BIG MISTAKE -The bullying escalated until everyone was constantly making personal comments and intimidating threats. I was unable to continue working
    any longer and i am now on the sick with depression and stress. My name is “MUD” and i have no redeeming qualities. I had started to feel better, however i have just had a massive shock!! People are abusing me online, the comments are EXACTLY the same as they were in work and although they haven’t mentioned my name it is very obvious who this is aimed at. I can’t stop crying, i am absolutely devastated. Can anybody help me? Has anybody got any advice which would enable me to be able to cope.

  • Erin

    December 7th, 2012 at 6:19 AM

    Would the owner of this post email me if you can? I would like permission to add it to a facebook page I am creating, “Resisting Adult Bullies”.

    I am currently dealing with a pair of adult bullies as well. SMART adult bullies. They never attack when there are witness’ around. I’ve resorted to purchasing a voice recorder in the hopes that at the very least, it will deter them from bothering me. It will either do its’ job or make matters worse…

  • well did it help

    October 21st, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    There more ways of torture than hitting or such, music,
    Roaring of a game, Motercycle s, small engines , how to Handel it and where to go for help.

  • Tanya

    December 10th, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Wendy, So sorry to hear that you are in pain over being bullied. Before you record someone, BEWARE. That may not be legal in your country/state/city. If your bullies are smart, combined with punishing and vindictive, you could find yourself looking down the barrel of a LAWSUIT. My bully is an extended family member who claims to be religious but is a nasty, nasty woman with control issues. She’s kind of sick right now because she abused me in front of a number of people and she’s been (in my opinion) spinning and spinning the story ever since to make her look good. Her mistake (and I think she rarely makes one when bullying) is leaving WITNESSES. I was completely faultless in what I did to “earn” her abuse and…get this….everyone agrees I did nothing. So, this is a rare time she has been CAUGHT and she is reeling from that. I stood up for myself in the moment (without yelling, naecalling, or anything else) and I am so proud that I chose to assertively (not agreessively – I’ve heard that the difference between assertive and agreessive is that assertive protects oneself whi9le aggressive over-steps protecting oneself and begins to trample on another’s boundaries). Now all she is left with is trying to convince others how wrong I was and the conflict is threading its way through the witnesses, with her even demanding apologies from the witnesses who have attempted to respond to her propaganda. The only sentiment I have for her is: CAUGHT. So, to all of you who have been wrongfully bullied, take my scoring justice as a karmic score on your behalf. Love and light to you all!

  • Tanya

    December 10th, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Oops, my recording comment was actually meant for ERIN,

  • Jen

    January 5th, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    I have just had a run in with one of my very best friends. He’s turned it into something quite nasty and upsetting so in a bid to find out how to address it I hit the internet.

    It was such a relief to read this post. I could identify his behaviour exactly, it’s almost a box-ticking exercise. I know I’m not perfect either, who is, but it was good to see that his disproportionate anger and attack was not really deserved. Having always played the peacemaker/conciliator, I feel encouraged to stand up for myself for the first time in 10 years of friendship.

  • Kel

    February 6th, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    I recently watched Dr. Phil after a lengthy period of not viewing his shows. I stopped watching because, to me, he seemed to bully his guests quite a bit by the way he treated them. I got the same feeling this time. After reading this article I am more convince than ever that my instincts are correct and Dr. Phil is a good example of an adult bully. We see more examples all the time just listening to judges put contestants down on shows like Idol etc.

  • Claire

    February 16th, 2013 at 8:11 AM

    How does one find help against bullying and sexual harassment not related to an ex-husband or job?
    I need help and I need it fast! I do not know what to do! I feel helpless and right now hopeless!
    Anyone with any information, please please help!

    Thank you!

  • Dave

    July 1st, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    I am presently being bullied by an “organization” related to a rare but important fact about myself. Anytime I find someone like me in this regard, this corruptly run group eventually also finds this person and then turns them against me.

    I’m looking to find or form a support group for people a victim of similar misconduct.

  • judi van emmerik

    October 21st, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Hello, I was intimidated into having a hysterectomy that I did not need; because of a relatively minor incontinence problem I had. And I have found that I cannot complain about that to friends or family, they are not in the least even sympathetic about it. I am 58 years old and experience has taught me that even what I wrote above would be denied by those few in my personal circle. I do have some legal help out of state right now, and I do not talk about it to anyone around me. Sorry to have used the term “I” so much in this post.

  • Jim

    February 6th, 2015 at 9:43 AM

    I have never met a bully who was not a coward. When they are confronted by anyone equal in size and strength or bigger and stronger they show their true colors-SPINELESS. I have witnessed this more times than I can remember. I have no sympathy for bullies and when they choose the wrong “victim.”

  • Eddie

    February 6th, 2015 at 9:59 AM

    This is where the article fails the real-world litmus test: “If you stand up to them calmly and confront their behavior rationally while asserting your rights, they will back down. If you call them out on their actions, they usually have no place to go–especially if others are witness to these actions.” In the real world, this is where bullies either double-down with their insults, get physical, or their friends jump in and gang-up on you.
    There are several different strategies and tactics for dealing with bullies, however the reality is that few things will make a bully stop. YOU are one of them. Facing them head-on (online it’s metaphorically)and letting them know their behavior will not make you blink no matter how much they escalate usually deflates them. Usually when they realize they will not “win”, or will not be able to “defeat” you, they seek out another target.

  • Jenn

    February 7th, 2015 at 9:21 AM

    A bully is irrational. They cannot and will not listen to reason.

    The best way is to get out before it affects your health or mind. Why? Because the bully (or mob) is toxic and they will spread their toxicity all around them. Bystanders/witnesses will become quiet because they don’t want to be the next target. People will shift their focus from their work to avoiding pulled into the conflict or becoming the next target. Productivity goes down. Morale goes down. Customer service/satisfaction goes down. Revenues goes down.

    The only alternative is to get out of that environment before it affects your health and confidence. While you plan your escape, you need to stay on your toes. Document every encounter with the bully or mob – that is write all that was said. Paraphrase what was said, how it was said, who said it, where it was said, time and date – as well as any witnesses as possible. It will be a you said versus they said and the bully (and or mob) will lie. They have a goal and that goal is the elimination of you.

    To stay sane, read up on bullying and mobbing. Find articles online. Google Kenneth westhues, Anton hout, Tim fields, the Namies (Gary & ruth – founders of the workplace bullying institute)…these people have done a lot of work in the workplace bullying and mobbing field.

    Use your health benefits while you have it – talk to a therapist who has dealt with workplace bullying/mobbing.

    Go for walks. Get exercise. Meet friends. Take care of yourself and your mind. Do n

  • Jenn

    February 7th, 2015 at 9:34 AM

    Sorry, I accidentally clicked submit!

    One last point. Donor stay quiet. Talk to friends or a therapist. A bully wants you to stay quiet so that you become isolated. The bully wants to make you feel small.

  • Faieza

    February 17th, 2015 at 5:40 PM

    I’m a mother of two adult kids who bullies me and my husband specially my 25 year old daughter never knew until I came across a article on youtube describing my daughter and I was shocked angry confused all the years I blamed myself and confused I do whatever for her but nothing is good enough very sad to see nothing I do pleases her.I migrated from one place to the other butto be with her when we find out she’s pregnant but nothing is good where I’m concern.She humiliates me speak behind my back so sad how can a child do son recently copies her and they got no concern for my 10 year old who’s emotionally a wreck because of all this.we now moving back as many articles tell you to get far away from such people as she really emotionally drained me

  • Pat

    March 4th, 2015 at 12:38 PM

    I am being bullied by my landlord. If I defend myself she throws a temper tantrum and starts messing with my lease and deposits and raises the rent. I can’t move because of money issues and pets. She feeds her sick ego with her ability to scream at me while I have to listen to her verbal abuse and take it, or end up homeless. Her comment to me is, “you don’t know who you’re messing with.” I already had a meeting with the state housing reps. They told me to move and wondered why I’m staying there, but as I said, not many places accept dogs, cats and a horse at an affordable price. If she’s outside, I go in. I stay away from her, but she always is lurking on my rental property with her animals and friends and then finds some fathom thing to literally scream and threaten me and my husband for. She found a perfect unbeknownst victim as I am quiet and soft-spoken.

  • Darlene

    March 5th, 2015 at 10:34 AM

    I am a victim of gang stalking as the result of a viscious neighbor who lied and said I didn’t smething to her and now my good name is blacklisted. I am on some type of registry as a potentially voleent and ow I am montiroed 24/7. I have no privacy.As soon as I leav emy home and email or text message is sent out to a network of people and I am followed everywhere I go–in my vehicle and on foot. I have never done anything to this woman but she has been trying to run me out of the neighborhood for years. Now she has taken her harassment to a different level. Anyone aware of a registry like this, what it mght be called and how can I clear my good name. She apparently issued a false complaint against me and I was not contacted to get my side of the story. My life is a living nightmare if you can imagine. Prayer is the one thing that helps live through this but I would like my life and peace of mind back. Thank you or any thoughts you might have on this matter. There is alot of information on the Web about gang stalking. It is real.

  • Me

    April 9th, 2015 at 1:48 PM

    Male family member has been bullying us for years. Now realizing he is not must a “jerk” but a bully who intimidates, criticizes, he is always right etc. Recently has hwon more signs of physic al intimidation – moving close to person, “Cornering” at times, very ugly mean grimace on face. Family is now talkingtogether about this. Some ignore, some having difficulty not taking personally wanting to “help” him. Should we be concerned about physical violence that now seems to be mounting? I feel this is possible. What to do to protect selves?

  • N

    May 14th, 2015 at 8:34 AM

    My Sister In Law is a Bully. My Mother & Father lets her Bully me in front of them. I tell my Sisters they won’t Lison too a word I say they tell me too be nice too Lori witch I have been doing so! Lori all those years before my Brother was Marryed too Lori & after he had pass on now she talks very bad about him. I even over Hurd bad things comeing out of Lori & her Aunt Rafina s mouth very bad about my Brother who is gone now my Family takes her side Lori smiles when I get in too troble by my Family. I can’t take it no more.

  • N

    May 14th, 2015 at 8:38 AM

    One time I told her off my Mother told me too Applagize too her she fakes cry too my Mother my Family takes her side she’s been very evil for her bad ways.

  • Evette

    May 30th, 2015 at 1:11 AM

    My brother is a bully. He loves to bully my when my mum and dad are not looking. One Saturday, we were looking for some newspapers to read as it was in the timetable of ours. He told me to find some Chinese newspapers but I was to busy finding mine that I didn’t hear him. He then kicked me in the stomach. It was too pain that I had to kick him back. He continued to pull my hair,kick me, punch me. Please help me get rid of him. Please….

  • The Team

    The Team

    May 30th, 2015 at 11:35 AM

    Thank you for your comment, Evette. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at

    Warm regards,
    The Team

  • dandelion

    June 23rd, 2015 at 8:08 AM

    I’ve been living with my family friends for 3 years now, 2 years back from now the daughter in law for this family has been hating on me, then liked me, then hated me, and now its been a year since, the thing is she thinks I’m dating “her husband”, which I’m not. And now she keeps swearing at me and she keeps threatening me in everyway she possibly can. I’m tired of this I really am, I tried talking to her husband but he told me to do what ever I can to act on that that’s how she is and he’s also tired of her… The thing is I need to do something that’s gonna hurt her for the rest of her life, something that’s gonna put her in her place… Please help me

  • GoodTherapy Admin

    GoodTherapy Admin

    June 23rd, 2015 at 8:25 AM

    Thank you for your comment, Dandelion. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about emotional abuse at and additional information about what to do in a crisis at

    Warm regards,
    The Team

  • Suzanne

    August 11th, 2015 at 6:35 PM

    I have a new sister in law that is apparently intimidated by me. She went bridezilla on me at their wedding for no reason and then proceeded to yell at my mother in law, calling her a liar. There are 2 sons and I would never do anything to hurt their brotherly relationship. This girl is using her new husband to fight all her battles. I publicly apologized for my so-called wrong doing accusation at the wedding (I still don’t know what I did…) via email and sent it to my brother in law (because that was the email address I had.) I was then in trouble for not sending it to her. I can’t win. And yet she has admitted no wrong doing or inappropriateness. She is an only child and spends most of her time with her parents. My brother in law came to see me and my husband by himself, when we were in town. She will only see my in laws if they’re going out to dinner and, of course, if I’m not there. This target on my back needs to come off. I hate what it’s doing to my husbands family but I feel like I’ve done everything I possibly can yet she hasn’t accepted any responsibility for her actions. I’m tired of her bullying….

  • Laura

    December 2nd, 2015 at 2:44 AM

    This sounds so similar to my situation. My brother’s partner hates me and accuses me of all kinds of things. I have no idea where it comes from. My brother is fiercely defensive of her. It’s difficult when all the advice is to walk away from a bully- it’s difficult and seems impossible to walk away when they’re in your own family. I’m now heavily pregnant and she’s still doing it.

  • Hannah

    September 4th, 2015 at 2:55 PM

    I started being teased at a young age. Two girls started to bully me through middle school all the way into High School. I was followed everywhere I went, down hallways, followed into the bathroom, constantly being tormented. I had no friends, everyone was taken from me by the bullies or due to rumors. I spent most of my high school years in isolation to hide from this. It only stopped after the two girls left school in my late junior year. After High School, I slept for two weeks straight. I had no friends when I graduated, and started to try to change that. I thought now that I was out of school that it would stop. It didn’t. My sister started to bully me. She was so horrible that it was worse than anything I had ever gone through. It is still happening. It started out of hate or jealously, or something. She had always been an attention grabber. Now I know that the term for her is a “Serial Bully”. She began to do small things like stomping past my room everytime she walked by, constantly ignoring me, taking over areas in the house, glaring at me everytime she saw me, and much more. As small as those things were, they effected me the most. I couldn’t live in my home comfortably, these occurrences happened everyday. The thought of me being happy or succeeding made her be worse or devise more plans to get to me. It got to the point where she started to whisper things near me, and harass me when no one else was around. So only I knew what was happening. One day I was fed up with no one believing me. One day her Facebook was logged on and I used the search bar in the message box to search for my name, cuss words, the word she, and many others to find out any proof that I could of her talking bad about me. What I found out was more disturbing than I thought. She said to her fiancé “let’s hang up on her”. Yeah did. Living in a house where two people are being serial bullies is like living in a bottom of a small dark hole. I was hopeless. So I printed it out and showed my parents. They confronted her about it as well as her fiancé. They denied it. Yet I had it on paper. It’s been three years now. They moved out, and it’s still continuing. I am constantly paranoid, I can’t live a normal life, I’ve been ripped of growing as a person, and the worst part is my family knows and they still don’t do anything. I stood up to them once, and all I got was smirked at and talked down to. They’re sick people. And it’s mental, not physical. I don’t know what to do and I can’t live like this anymore. I’ve explained the truth and fought for myself and nothing has changed. It’s hopeless. I don’t know why I’m writing this here, I’ve never done with this before. I guess I still am not ready to give up. I’d like to think something can be done about this and I can start living again.

  • Jane

    September 29th, 2015 at 6:48 PM

    This is great information but I’m wondering what should we do when the fake profiles and blogs these cyber bullies have created in our names starts showing up in google search results. Is there a non-profit organization that helps you drive those profiles and help you to promote positive sites regarding oneself until you can have said profiles and blogs removed? Also, I think there should be a cyber bully registry, especially for these serial cyber bullies.

  • Nancy

    October 2nd, 2015 at 11:16 PM

    I could not agree more with these sentiments! It’s cowardly and hypocritical. Judging others constantly is a sad way to live.

  • J. Anita

    October 23rd, 2015 at 6:55 PM

    I am a woman, age 59. My brother bullied me in every way possible while growing up. Nobody did anything to stop it. He tried again after I turned 18. I pulled a knife on him with full intentions to use it. My life, past present and future flashed before my eyes but it didn’t stop me from protecting myself. When he took a step toward me, I stabbed at him but he jumped out of the way. He left me alone after that. That was 40 years ago and if he ever messes with me again I won’t miss.

  • Claudia

    December 21st, 2015 at 3:14 AM

    Thought-provoking analysis!

  • Chandra

    February 18th, 2016 at 4:49 AM

    Ignoring Adult Bullies is not always an option.
    For the better part of a year I have been dealing with the ramifications of a campaign of relational aggression instigated by a former contractor. They have damaged my social standing and business reputation with their lies and actions – to the point that I have had to close down my brick and mortar business (a small dance studio) all together. When this bully (and their associates / cohorts) felt they were not making enough of an impact on ME – they set about targeting those associated with me, and my business (blacklisting students and teachers contracted with me from performance opportunities and events).

    I am currently reworking my business model into something that will (hopefully) make it harder for these Bullies to affect our ability to earn a living with our art. I just had to let all of you know that ignoring bullying doesn’t make it go away… Evil / malicious people will still do evil / malicious things because it is in their nature to do so.

  • Liam S.

    March 5th, 2016 at 1:30 PM

    I was a target of workplace bullying for four years, which my parents were orchestrating. It has now progressed to gang stalking and has taken on a life of its own. I’ve lost nearly everything, and may now have no way out. My advice is to deal with these situations early before they get out of hand. If you’re in a toxic workplace then do whatever it takes to get out. Unfortunately, there are truly evil people out there who will stop at nothing to destroy others. Please see my blog below where I am documenting my experiences:

  • Laura

    March 8th, 2016 at 3:36 AM

    I have been the victim of social adult bullying for about 2 years now. I am quiet and shy and borderline anorexic. I am scholarly and a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry. I have never had a lot of friends and always focused on family and work. But about 3 years ago my husband and I found this band we liked, the lead took a liking to us and we ended up helping out. At first I became wildly popular, I had some parties with this band, and all of a sudden everyone wanted to be my friend. It was very strange. I never asked for it, it was not real comfortable but it was kinda fun and different. Then everything changed. His crew got jealous and so did a group of toxic fans. The crew pushed us out and blocked us and many so called friends started to move away. But we stilled so loved the band and his music so we stayed to support. But things got worse. This group of so call friends started taunted me psychologically. I don’t drink or eat much due to my eating disorder and they constantly posted pictures of themselves eating and drinking and saying how they were the best friends. One started at me. She got in with a phony promoter and stared acting like a VIP. Giving silly VIP and backstage passes, excluding me. Asking what was wrong, I told her, nicely and calmly. It didn’t work at all. It got worse. I tried to distance myself at shows and socially. She stared emailing and texting me. Implying I was neurotic and passive aggressive. I did not want to turn tail and run from the band scene, but it continued so it could not be proved. I blocked her on Facebook and stopped talking to her. It got worse. The texts, the emails, the accusations. I continued to ignore her so she started verbally attacking a friend of mine she barely knew. It got really ugly. My husband tried to reason with her. All weekend one weekend till I could take it. It was ruining and consuming my life. It was not just her either. It was a group of them. One is a lawyer with some money actually who I feel is the silent instigator. When I reached out to her she told me she didn’t care and just wanted to go to shows and have fun with these bullies. I finally ended up having to refriend the one to make her stop hurting innocent people. It was calm for a while. But it hasn’t ended. They did something a couple of weeks ago against me. Hard to prove. They are show offs, and boastful and one has money and she has parties and buys people drinks and stuff. They are still taunting me. People stay away from me. I can stop going to shows but it will still be there. They have made me feel isolated, alone and depressed and worthless. I have emails and texts but no one wants to get involved. They have not physically threatened me so I can’t get at them legally. But they have mentally abused me for over a year now and they won’t let it go. I’m at my wits end. It has destroyed my nice peaceful life and I don’t know what to do any more. I have tried all the psychological tactics as noted in article but nothing works. I’m at my wits end.

  • Tammy

    March 27th, 2016 at 4:56 PM

    This is a very good article. It is also very true. Adults do have bullies. I have seen it more so in the workplace with those who are in authority – bullying/emotional abuse to the staff. Companies stipulate that they are anti-bullying. However, an employee points out the behaviour to the upper management, somehow the employee who brought it forth ends up getting punished. I would like to see companies talk the talk & walk the walk. Protect your employees from internal bullying. If the person in authority is bullying/causing emotional abuse to someone at work, what is he/she doing outside the office – does the behaviour extend.

  • Evie

    May 19th, 2016 at 10:54 PM

    This article does a great disservice to victims. To imply that we allow ourselves to be bullied is like saying we allow ourselves to be raped. The suggestion that a calm confrontation will stop every bully — or even a minority — presupposes that all are fundamentally rational and willing to project the consequences of their own behavior. Furthermore, it assumes the bully recognizes that the necessary evidence can be gathered to report to an authority figure — presumed to exist — who’s willing to take punitive action. This is laughable. To whom does one report, for example, when a person is spreading vicious rumors in a social circle? The police? The author not only clearly lacks imagination but experience as a victim. Most bullies outsize their victims in either strength or status, and even when they’re lateral to their prey, a lifetime of experience has taught bullies that they’re not likely to be made accountable. Furthermore, subterfuge is their stock in trade, and they know how not to make tracks. Many have poor impulse control. Others fly into violent rage. It is in their own self-interest to be charming and manipulative, and chances are if a victim speaks, he/she might not even be believed. However horrific the effects, most bullying is so subtle that it leaves no evidence trail. My advice? There is almost always some means of retaliation, even if it comes through a back door. Get creative. Because all bullies have one thing in common: They never believe you can screw them back. And in almost every case, you can. Otherwise, they’ll continue for a lifetime with impunity. Help prevent the next victim.

  • Art

    June 2nd, 2016 at 8:55 AM

    It’s very alarming that Donald Trump is a bully. His inability to not assassinate or belittle the character of apparently anyone who promotes an opposing perspective to his views is meet with an un-proportional response which is very dangerous because of his power.

  • Maree

    June 6th, 2016 at 7:46 PM

    Bullying is rampant in our society.
    I have experienced bullying both in my family and the workplace. There is a way through. I am happy to assist others who experience this violence known as bullying.

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