Coping with Bullying and Emotional Abuse - Web Articles



The site is probably the best on the Web for resources.

All the best and Please Take care!



A Streetwise Guide to coping with Bullying

* How do I know I am being bullied?

* They get me on my own, going home from school!

* How can I spot that someone else is being bullied?

Bullying: how can you tell?

Bullying can be obvious - someone hitting you or threatening you - but it can also be harder to pin down. Bullies will often claim that what they are doing is a joke or a game. If in doubt ask yourself:

1. If it is a joke, is everyone laughing?

2. If it is a game, is everyone enjoying it?

3. If it was an accident, is anyone trying to help?

Having fun at someone else's expense is bullying.

Why do people Bully?

Bullies are not special, not strong, not tough. In fact they usually need to appear powerful because they are secretly feel weak. They may be: jealous of other people; unhappy with themselves; insecure; bullied at home; afraid of being unpopular; unable to show their feelings. They may also be adults. Bullies often try to make it seem that the bullying is the victim's own fault. This is NEVER true.

You are in the middle of a group of people, all laughing at your clothes or hair style. You start off by laughing too but you feel more and more miserable and embarrassed. You try to tell them it's not funny any more but they go on laughing.

Are you being bullied or is this just a joke?

You are being bullied. This laughter is at you, not with you. Do not feel you have to go along with it.

Who is bullying you - everyone in the group? The person who started it? The person laughing loudest?

It may feel as if everyone is bullying you but most people in the group are just following the ringleader. Do not play the bully's game by concentrating on him or her. Try to pick the weakest member of the group, look them in the face and ask why they are going along with it.

What can you do to stop it - walk away? Hit the ringleader? Yell 'shut up'? Go on laughing?

Do not hit out - you are outnumbered and may be blamed for starting a fight. You are not amused, so why laugh? You can try yelling, but you must make it a loud, angry yell and then walk away at once. Try just walking away.

You try to walk away, they block your path and start pushing you. What do you do?

Be careful how you defend yourself - you do not want to make things worse. You will need to judge the situation: sometimes you can wait these things out by trying to attract attention meanwhile. The best bet might well be to shout loudly, then get away as soon as you can.

Do you tell anyone?

Yes - always tell someone. Go to a sympathetic teacher, explain what happened and identify the bullies. Teachers are now trained to tackle bullying. Tell your friends too - and if they were involved, ask them separately why they did it.

School is out . . .

Bullying sometimes happens on the way to and from school. If this is happening to you, tell a teacher. Their interest in you does not stop at the school gate and they may be able to help. Tell a police officer too - the police are always keen to stop bullying, wherever it happens.

Let them go.

If you are bullied for possessions like money, personal stereos, clothes, food or computer games, do not try to hold on to them at all costs. Give them up rather than put yourself in danger, get away as soon as you can. Tell an adult at once. Report it to the police.

Face to face.

Bullies often work in groups. Sometimes people who have been friendly to you before will turn on you when they are in a group. Try to find them alone (but in a public place) and ask them each, face to face, why they need to gang up on you. You might prefer to ring them up and talk to them by phone. You might be able to shame them into stopping.

Ways of coping with bullying.

1. Ignore nasty comments, insults or teasing. Do not be drawn into arguing.

2. Try not to show you are upset. Do not think of yourself as a victim - you deserve better than
that. You have a right to put a stop to this.

3. Tell a sympathetic adult, parent, teacher, relative or friend. Ask them to help.

4. There is safety in numbers. Stay with your friends, or if that is not possible, with groups of people.

5. Shout 'NO' and mean it. Practise in front of a mirror.

6. Walk tall and confidently, even if you feel scared.

7. Do not fight to keep possessions. Your safety is more important.

8. Find out about self defence classes in your area. These teach you how to respond to different situations and give you confidence.

9. Think before you fight back. You may be making things worse.

10. Get away as soon as you can.

11. If anyone tries to make you feel bad about your race, sex or appearance or abilities do not listen. They are just showing how ignorant they are.

12. It is good to be an individual. If you are different in some way be proud of it.


Things to notice

Do you know someone who is suffering because of bullying? If you have a friend, brother or sister who:

* hates going to certain places

* is unhappy or feels ill at the same time every week

* keeps losing their money or possessions

* has mysterious cuts and bruises

* has become quiet and nervous

* cries at night or in secret

then this person might well be being bullied. Ask them sympathetically what is wrong and tell an adult you trust about your worries.

Could you be going along with bullying? Could you even be leading it, perhaps without realising? Stop and think - do not make someone else's life a misery.

If you are being bullied, ALWAYS tell someone. You can do it quietly picking your moment. By telling someone, you can help yourself and possibly help stop other people being bullied.

The Metropolitan Police Service gratefully acknowledges KIDSCAPE for providing many of the suggestions contained on this page. With thanks also to Celestine Keise, General Inspector Islington Education Inspectorate, for her help and advice.
Last edited:




Emotional Blackmailers:

Threaten to make things difficult if you don't do what they want.

Constantly threaten to end the relationship if you don't give in.

Regularly ignore or discount your feelings and wants.

Tell you or imply that they will neglect, hurt themselves, or become depressed if you don't do what they want.

Shower you with approval when you give into them and take it away when you don't.

Use money as a weapon to get their own way.

Emotional blackmail is a powerful form of manipulation in which people close to us threaten (either directly or indirectly) to punish us if we don't do what they want. At the heart of any kind of blackmail is one basic threat, which can be expressed in many different ways: If you don't behave the way I want you to, you will suffer. A criminal blackmailer might threaten to use knowledge about a person's past to ruin her reputation, or ask to be paid off in cash to hide a secret. Emotional blackmail hits closer to home. Emotional blackmailers know how much we value our relationship with them. They know our vulnerabilities. Often they know our deepest secret. And no matter how much they care about us, when they fear they won't go their way, they use this intimate knowledge to shape the threats that give them the payoff they want: our compliance. Knowing that we want love or approval, our blackmailers threaten to withhold it or take it away altogether, or make feel we must earn it. For example, if you pride yourself being generous and caring, the blackmailer might label you selfish or inconsiderate if you don't accede to his wishes. If you value money and security, the blackmailer might attach conditions to providing them or threaten to take them away. And if you believe the blackmailer, you could fall into a pattern of letting him control your decisions and behavior. We get locked into a dance with blackmail, a dance with myriad steps, shapes and partners.

Emotional blackmailers hate to lose. They take the old adage "It doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game", and turn it on its head to read "It doesn't matter how you play the game as long as you do not lose." To an emotional blackmailer, keeping your trust doesn't count, respecting your feelings doesn't count, being fair doesn't count. The ground rules that allow for healthy give-and-take go out the window. In the midst of what we thought was a solid relationship it's as though someone yelled "Everyone for himself!" and the other person lumped to take advantage of us while our guard was down. Why is winning so important to blackmailers, we ask ourselves. Why are they doing this to us? Why do they need to get their way so badly that they'll punish us if they don't?

Below are some specific ways to answer the most common types of responses. It can't emphasize too strongly how important it is to practice saying these statements until they feel natural to you. How to respond to the other person's catastrophic predictions and threats. Punishers and self-punishers may try pressuring you to change your decision by bombarding you with visions of the extreme negative consequences of doing what you've decided to do. It's never easy to resist the fear that their bleak vision will come to pass, especially when the theme they're pounding home is "Bad things will happen - and it'll be your fault." But hold your ground.

When they say:
If you don't take care of me, I'll wind up in the hospital/on the street/unable to work.
* You'll never see your kids again.
* You'll destroy this family.
* You're not my child anymore.
* I'm cutting you out of my will.
* I'll get sick.
* I can't make it without you.
* I'll make you suffer.
* You'll be sorry.

Then you say:
* That's your choice.
* I hope you won't do that, but I've made my decision.
* I know you're very angry right now. When you've had a chance to think about this, maybe you'll change your mind.
* Why don't we talk about this again when you're less upset.
* Threats/suffering/tears aren't going to work anymore.
* I'm sorry you're upset.

When they say:
* I can't believe you're being so selfish. This isn't like you. You're only thinking of yourself. You never think about my feelings.
* I really thought you were different from the other women/men I've been with. I guess I was wrong.
* That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
* Everyone knows that children are supposed to respect their parents
* flow can you be so disloyal?
* You're just being an idiot.

Then you say:
* You're entitled to your opinion.
* I'm sure that's how it looks to you.
* That could be.
* You may be right.
* I need to think about this more.
* We'll never get anywhere if you keep insulting me.
* I'm sorry you're upset.

When they say:
* How could you do this to me (after all I've done for you)?
* Why are you ruining my life?
* Why are you being so stubborn/obstinate/selfish?
* What's come over you?
* Why are you acting like this?
* Why do you want to hurt me?
* Why are you making such a big deal out of this?

Then you say:
* I knew you wouldn't be happy about this, but that's the way it has to be.
* I here are no villains here. We just want different things. * I'm not willing to take more than 50 percent of the responsibility.
* I know how upset/angry/disappointed you are, but it's not negotiable.
* We see things differently.
* I'm sure you see it that way.
* I'm sorry you're upset.

Handling Silence

But what about the person who blackmails through anger that is expressed covertly through sulks and suffering? When they say nothing, what can you say or do? For many targets, this silent anger is far more maddening and crazy than an overt attack. Sometimes it seems as if nothing works with this kind of blackmailer, and sometimes nothing does. But you'll have the most success if you stick to the principles of non defensive communication and stay conscious of the following do's and don'ts.

In dealing with silent blackmailers, DON'T:

* Expect them to rake the first step toward resolving the conflict.
* Plead with them to tell you what's wrong.
* Keep after them for a response (which will only make them withdraw more).
* Criticize, analyze or interpret their motives, character or inability to be direct.
* Willingly accept blame for whatever they're upset about to get them into a better mood.
* Allow them to change the Subject.
* Get intimidated by the tension and anger in the air.
* Let your frustration cause you to make threats you really don't mean (e.g., "If you don't tell me what's wrong, I'll never speak to you again").
* Assume that if they ultimately apologize, it will be followed by any significant change in their behavior.
* Expect major personality changes, even if they recognize what they're doing and are willing to work on it. Remember: Behavior can change. Personality styles usually don't.

DO use the following techniques:

* Remember that you are dealing with people who feel inadequate and powerless and who are afraid of your ability to hurt or abandon them.
* Confront them when they're more able to hear what you have to say. Consider writing a letter. It may feel less threatening to them.
* Reassure them that they can tell you what they're angry about and you will hear them out without retaliating.
* Use tact and diplomacy. This will reassure them that you won't exploit their vulnerabilities and bludgeon them with recriminations.
* Say reassuring things like "I know you're angry right now, and I'll be willing to discuss this with you as soon as you're ready to talk about it," Then leave them alone. You'll only make them withdraw more if you don't.
* Don't be afraid to tell them that their behavior is upsetting to you, but begin by expressing appreciation. For example: "Dad, I really care about you, and I think you're one of the smartest people I know, but it really bothers me when you clam up every time we disagree about something and just walk away is hurting our relationship, and I wonder if you would talk to me about that."
* Stay focused on the issue you're upset about.
* Expect to be attacked when you express a grievance, because they experience your assertion as an attack on them as an attack on them.
* Let them know that you know they're angry and what you're willing to do about it. For example: "I'm sorry you 're upset because I don't want your folks to stay with us when they're in town, but I'm certainly willing to take the time to find a nice hotel for them and maybe pay for part of their vacation."
* Accept the fact that you will have to make the first move most, if not all, of the time.
* Let some things slide

These techniques are the only ones that have a chance to interrupt the pattern that's so typical of a silent, angry blackmailer, the cycle that goes "Look how upset I am, and it's all your fault. Now figure out what you did wrong and how you're going to make it up to me." I know how infuriating it is to have to be the rational one when you feel like strangling the other person, but it's the only way I know to create an atmosphere that will allow change to take place. Your hardest job will he to stay non defensive and to convince the quietly angry person that it's OK for them to be angry when they've spent lifetime believing just the opposite.

Information on this page comes from: Emotional Blackmail : When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate You by Susan Forward, Susan Forware, Donna Frazier Price: $10.40 Paperback - 272 pages 1 Harper edition (March 1998) paperback) ISBN: 0060928972


Business Bullies and Prejudice

Coping with Business Bullies (could not copy/paste article and could not find other maybe more focused, better articles neither yet)


Coping with Prejudice

Components of Prejudice


* A biased, often negative, attitude formed about a group of people.
* Includes belief structures about the group of people along with expectations concerning how those members should behave.

* Components of Prejudice


* A set of rigid beliefs, positive or negative, about the characteristics or attributes of a group.
* An extension of our predisposition to categorize.
* Becomes a problem when categorization is rigid and overgeneralized.

* Components of Prejudice


* Overt behavior directed toward individuals simply because they belong to a particular group.
* An extension of a general learning principle.
* Occurs even in the absence of underlying prejudice. Also, prejudice can exist without discrimination.

* Ways of Expressing Prejudice I


* Talking in terms of negative stereotypes and negative images.
* Common form seen as harmless: Jokes
* Antilocution itself MAY not be harmful, but it sets the stage for more severe outlets for prejudice.


* Members of a majority group actively avoid members of a minority group. No direct harm is intended. Harm is done through isolation.

* Ways of Expressing Prejudice II


* Behaviors that have the specific goal of harming minority groups by preventing them from achieving goals, getting an education or job, etc. Discrimination is actively trying to harm minority.


* Doing physical harm to members of a minority group (e.g., lynchings of blacks, pogroms against Jews in Europe, tarring and feathering Mormons in 1800s).


* Attempt to liquidate entire group of people (e.g., Native American population, Final Solution of Jewish Problem, Ethnic Cleansing in Bosnia, etc.).

* Personality Roots of Prejudice

* The Authoritarian Personality

* Submissive attitude toward authority-tendency to accept what an authority figure says.
* Rigid beliefs that are not easily changed.
* Tendency to be racist, sexist, and have prejudicial attitudes towards minority groups.
* Highly ETHNOCENTRIC, authoritarians see their own cultural/racial group as superior to others.
* Tendency towards a PREJUDICED PERSONALITY. Authoritarians tend to be prejudiced against a wide range of groups.


* Tend to have been raised in a home where the authoritarian parenting style was used.
* Although a compelling idea, the authoritarian personality cannot account for the wide range of prejudices expressed. Generally, there is a low relationship between personality traits and overt behavior.

* Cognitive Roots of Prejudice I

* In-Groups and Out-groups

* We tend to define our social world in terms of "in-groups" and "out-groups." An in- group comprises people we perceive ourselves to be similar to (e.g., religion, gender, skin color, etc.). We feel a sense of solidarity with members of the in-group.
* An out-group is defined as those who don't fit in the in-group. The solidarity and cohesiveness of the in-group inevitably leads to defining others different from ourselves as an out-group. Members of the out-group are seen in negative ways.

* Cognitive Roots of Prejudice II

* This tendency to categorize people is powerful (e.g., Tajfel's minimal group experiments discussed in CH. 1).
* The basis for SOCIAL IDENTITY THEORY is that identification with a group contributes to our self-concept. Identification with a group helps us maintain a positive self-concept.
* Identifying with a group confers on us a social identity. Pigeonholing others is a part of the social identity process.
* Two key assumptions of social identity theory:

* 1. When we feel threatened, we will show more in-group bias.
* 2. In-group bias increases an individual's self-esteem.

* Cognitive Roots of Prejudice III

* The OUT-GROUP HOMOGENEITY BIAS: Because we have information about members of our own group, we recognize differences between members. However, for the out-group, we perceive members to be more similar to one another than they really are.
* As a consequence of the out-group homogeneity bias, we assume that the behavior of a member of an out-group is representative of all members of that group.

* If a member of an out-group does something bad, we attribute the behavior to the characteristics ascribed to the out-group.
* If a member of an in-group does the same thing, we are not likely to blame group characteristics. Rather, we attribute it to the specific person's characteristics

* Cognitive Roots of Prejudice IV

* The in-group/out-group distinction is further reinforced when a "minority group" remains separate from the "majority group." This increases prejudice and stereotyping directed at the out-group.
* A "VICIOUS CIRCLE" (Myrdal, 1944) may develop. Prejudice forces minority to remain separate, separateness perceived by majority as evidence the stereotypes are correct, leads to more prejudice, and ultimately to the minority group becomes more isolated.


* Social Roots of Prejudice I

* Historically, there has been much prejudice (e.g., attitudes toward blacks shaped by pre-Civil War stereotypes, persecution of the Mormons in the late 1800s and early 1900s, extermination of the Jews, etc.).
* Despite changes in interracial attitudes, prejudice still exists and surfaces at various times. Prejudices persist because

* 1.We pay"lip service" to the idea of equality and see a group as getting a raw deal by the system, but also partially blame the group for its own plight,
* 2.We tend to see members of a different group as having values different than members of our own group.

* Social Roots of Prejudice II

* Currently, prejudice is not as overt as it once was. It is no longer socially acceptable to express prejudices. However, prejudice may exist on a more subtle level.
* The concept of MODERN RACISM suggests that prejudice is expressed in subtle ways (e.g.,believing that a minority group is "pushing too hard," or opposing civil laws).
* Critics of modern racism suggest, however, that it is illogical to equate opposition to a political idea with racism and that the correlations between modern and old-fashioned racism are quite high.

* Stereotypes as "Judgmental Heuristics" I

* A transgression is perceived to be more likely to recur when it is stereotypic than nonstereotypic.
* Recommended discipline for a transgression was more severe when the transgression was stereotypic than nonstereotypic.
* Individuals recall fewer facts/less information about a case involving a transgression when the transgression is stereotypic than nonstereotypic.
* Individuals use stereotype information to infer reasons for a transgression and then base judgement on those inferences. Other information considered only if there is no stereotype information.

* Stereotypes as "Judgmental Heuristics" II

* Once a stereotype-based explanation is formed, individuals look for evidence to confirm that explanation.
* Transgressions that are stereotype-consistent are attributed to stable internal characteristics. Hence, they are likely to be seen as an enduring pattern of behavior and punished more harshly than stereotype-inconsistent transgressions.

* Stereotyping and Emotional Labeling

* Although stereotypes are cognitive categories that include beliefs about attributes of members of groups, they also have an emotional component,
* Based on a stereotype you LABEL a person (interpret, evaluate, or judge members of a social group).
* The label we apply may affect how we perceive a person and how we judge that person's behavior.
* The affect generated by the label attached mediates our judgements of a person's behavior.
* The affective component (liking/disliking) of a stereotype is more crucial when judging behavior than the cognitive component of a stereotype, although the cognitive component is NOT irrelevant.

* Consequences of Prejudice I

* Jokes playing on stereotypes are common and often funny. However, they can have negative effects on the targeted group.
* Women find sexist jokes less funny than nonsexist jokes (LaFrance & Woodzicka, 1998).

* Female subjects report feeling angry, upset, disgusted, and hostile.
* They also touch their faces more to sexist jokes (embarrassment) and roll their eyes more (disgust) compared to nonsexist jokes.

* Consequences of Prejudice II

* Compared to men, women enjoy sexist jokes less, find it less acceptable, and more offensive (Ryan & Kanjorski, 1998).

* Men and women did not differ in actually telling sexist jokes.
* For men there was a positive correlation between enjoyment of sexist humor and acceptance of the rape myth, adversarial sexual beliefs, and the likelihood of engaging in forced sex or sexual aggression
* This may confirm Allport's idea that antilocution sets the stage for more extreme expressions of prejudice.

* Consequences of Prejudice III

* Recipients of perceived prejudice feel aggressive, sad, and anxious (Dion & Earn, 1977)
* Attributing one's failure on a task to prejudice generates strong negative emotion and high levels of stress (Dion & Earn, 1977)
* When a stereotype about one's group is activated, members of that group perform more poorly than if no stereotype is activated.

* Black subjects perform more poorly than whites on a test if it said to be "diagnostic" of one's academic skills (Steele & Aronson, 1995).
* Blacks and whites perform equally well on the same test if it is nondiagnostic (Steele & Aronson, 1995).

* Consequences of Prejudice IV

* The Stereotype Threat (Steele & Aronson, 1995)

* Presenting a test as diagnostic activates a stereotype about blacks and a greater tendency to self-handicap.

* Activation of the stereotype causes apprehension and a sense of "stereotype threat" that inhibits performance (Steele & Aronson, 1995).
* If individuals know that their race will be known to a test administrator, performance drops.

* This is likely because the stereotype becomes readily available and creates a stereotype threat.

* Generally, existence of a negative stereotype about your group leads to self- confirmation of that stereotype, stereotype threat, and poor performance

* Consequences of Prejudice V

* Steele and Aronson have extended the findings on the stereotype threat to other groups.

* Women perform more poorly than men on a math test if the subjects are told that there were past results indicating a gender difference in math performance.

* If no gender discrepant instructions are given, men and women performed equally well on the test.

* Stereotype threat can also operate by reducing positive expectations that a person has about his/her performance.
* Stereotype threats also lower one's expectations about performance

* Once negative expectations form, a self-fulfilling prophecy is activated and behavioral confirmation occurs.

* Coping with Prejudice I

* Raising the value of a stigmatized group

* Convince members of own self-worth and then the rest of society

* Ways of raising self-esteem among members of a stigmatized group

* Attribute negative outcomes to prejudice of the majority
* Comapre oneself to members of your own group rather than members of another group

* Anticipating situations in which prejudice will be encountered.

* The individual can decide how to react and minimize the impact of prejudice

* An individual could confront the prejudice directly
* An individual could decide to avoid the situation

* Coping with Prejudice II

* Compensation for Prejudice

* Members of a stigmatized group could use compensation to cope with prejudice.
* There are two types of compensation (Miller & Myers, 1998):

* Secondary compensation involves changing one's mode of thinking to psychologically protect oneself from prejudice.

* Minimizing the importance of a goal (e.g., a college education is not that important)
* Disidentifying with the goal (members of my group don't often go to college)

* Coping with Prejudice III

* Primary compensation involves reducing the actual threats posed by prejudice.

* Coping strategies are developed to help a person achieve his or her goals (e.g., studying harder, becoming more persistent, developing new skills)
* Using primary compensation reduces the need for secondary compensation
* In the long run, primary compensation is more productive than secondary compensation.



(from (would recommend going onto the site itself though too as there are many links to explanations)

Cyber bullies, flame mail, hate mail

The Internet provides the perfect forum for cyberbullies, individuals whose aim is to gain gratification from the distress caused by provoking and tormenting others. The anonymity, ease of provocation, and almost infinite source of targets means the Internet is full of predators from pedophiles targeting children to serial bullies targeting ... anybody.

Cyberbullies get a perverse sense of satisfaction (called gratification) from sending people flame mail and hate mail. Flame mail is an email whose contents are designed to inflame and enrage. Hate mail is hatred (including prejudice, racism, sexism etc) in an email.

Serial bullies, whose behaviour profile you'll find in full at Bully OnLine, harbour a lot of internal aggression which they direct at others. This may include projection, false criticism and patronising sarcasm whilst contributing nothing of any value. It may also include a common tactic of "a number of people have emailed me backchannel to agree with me". This is standard bully-speak which I've experienced on several forums. In every case it's a fabrication or a distortion - usually the former. It's also a variant of the serial bully head teacher who says "a number of parents have complained to me about you...". When challenged, the identity of the alleged complainants can't be disclosed because it's "confidential". The purpose of this tactic is to wind people up. Don't be fooled into believing it has any validity - it doesn't.

People who bully are adept at creating conflict between those who would otherwise pool negative information about them. The method of creating conflict is provocation which bullies delight in because they know they can always coerce at least one person to respond in a manner which can then be distorted and used to further flame and inflame people. And so it goes on. The bully then sits back and gains gratification from seeing others engage in destructive behaviour towards each other.

Many serial bullies are also serial attention-seekers. More than anything else they want attention. It doesn't matter what type of attention they get, positive or negative, as long as they can provoke someone into paying them attention. It's like a 2-year-old child throwing a tantrum to get attention from a parent. The best way to treat bullies is to refuse to respond and to refuse to engage them - which they really hate. In other words, do not reply to their postings, and on forums carry on posting without reference to their postings as if they didn't exist. In other words, treat nobodies as nobodies.

The anger of a serial bully is especially apparent when they come across someone who can see through them to espy the weak, inadequate, immature, dysfunctional aggressive individual behind the mask. For instance, when serial bullies see themselves described at they usually send me an abusive email.

If you receive abusive emails or flame mails or hate mail, you can forward it to abuse@isp where "isp" is the service provider the abuser is using, eg "" or "". Although Internet service providers may not act on every complaint, the more complaints they receive about a particular individual (with examples of abusive email) the more likely they are to close down the person's account.

The objectives of bullies are Power, Control, Domination, Subjugation. They get a kick out of seeing you react. It doesn't matter how you react, the fact they've successful provoked a reaction is, to the bully, a sign that their attempt at control have been successful. After that, it's a question of wearing you down. The more your try to explain, negotiate, conciliate, etc the more gratification they obtain from your increasingly desperate attempts to communicate with them. Understand that it is not possible to communicate in a mature adult manner with a disordered individual who's emotionally retarded.
Last edited:


The Number One rule for dealing with this type of behaviour is: don't respond and don't engage. This is not as easy to do as it sounds. It's a natural response to want to defend yourself, and to put the person right. However, never argue with a serial bully; it's not a mature adult discussion, but like dealing with a child or immature teenager; whilst the serial bully may be an adult on the outside, on the inside they are like a child who's never grown up - and probably never will.

The second rule is to keep all abusive emails. Create a new folder, perhaps called "Abuse", and move hate mail and flame mail into this folder. You don't have to read it. When the time comes to take action, this folder of hate mail and flame mail is your evidence. Bullies, especially cyberbullies, are obsessive people and if their account is closed down you may start receiving mail from another address. This can later be compared to the abusive emails you've already received to identify the perpetrator. You'll find the same words, phrases and strategies occurring.

The third rule is to understand bullying. Read through Bully OnLine carefully, understand the profile of the serial bully. Recognise that you are not dealing with a person who has the same mindset as yourself. Bullying, and especially cyberbullying, has links with stalking - see for links to stalking sites.

Rule four is get help. If you're a young person, this is essential. Even mature experienced adults often cannot handle bullying and harassment by themselves. Sometimes you are dealing with a severely disordered and dangerous individual.

Rule five is become alert to provocation. It could be called "The Baiting Game". A provocative comment is made and those who respond spontaneously in irritation (eg non-assertively) are then encouraged to engage in conflict with those who respond without irritation (eg assertively). The provoker watches, waits and stirs the pot with the occasional additional provocation. What interests me is the sense of gratification that a provoker gains from watching others indulge in destructive interaction initiated by him- or herself. In this context, gratification is a perverse form of satisfaction akin to, but distinct from, pleasure.

The sixth rule is become an observer. Although you may be the target of the cyberbully's anger, you can train yourself to act as an observer. This takes you out of the firing line and enables you to study the perpetrator and collect evidence. When people use bullying behaviours they project their own weaknesses, failings and shortcomings on to others. In other words, they are telling you about themselves by fabricating an accusation based on something they themselves have done wrong. Whenever you receive a flame mail or hate mail, train yourself to instinctively ask the question, "What is this person revealing about themselves this time?"

The seventh rule is decide if you want to take action, and if so, prepare carefully and strike hard. Sometimes refusing to respond and engage will result in the cyberbully losing interest and going off to find someone easier to torment. Sometimes though, especially if there has been interaction in the past, the cyberbully is so obsessed that s/he cannot and will not let go. You will have to make that person let go, but only through swift, hard, legal action, and only when the time is right. Don't deal with the abuser yourself, use a third party such as a solicitor.

My page on stalking which includes a behaviour profile of the Internet stalker may prove interesting.

Bully OnLine is a gold mine of insight and information on bullying which identifies the different types of harassment and bullying, and exposes the principal perpetrator, the serial bully. Everyone, whether they're receiving flame mails or hate mail or not, knows at least one person in their life with the profile of the serial bully. Click here to see ...who does this describe in your life?

Have a look through this web site to recognise the bullies and bullying in your life ... start with Am I being bullied? then move on to What is bullying? To find out what you can do about bullying, click Action to tackle bullying. Have a look at the profile of the serial bully which is common to sociopathic managers, harassers, stalkers, rapists, violent partners, abusers, paedophiles, even serial killers of the organised kind.

If bullying and harassment have caused injury to health, commonly diagnosed as "stress", see the page on injury to health and the one on the psychiatric injury of trauma, a collection of symptoms congruent with the diagnostic criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.



Staying safe in cyberspace, a page from Bullying Online at

Conflict in Cyberspace: how to resolve conflict online by Kali Munro
The Psychology of Cyberspace by John Suler

Links to stalking sites

26 August 2004: article in New York Times, Internet Gives Teenage Bullies Weapons to Wound From Afar


Where do you find all this usefull information? Your posts are great, can't wait to see more from you :)
I'm 16 years old and i've been bullied pretty much all my life, even by my little sister. I've never been able to speak about it to anyone. No-one will understand. I'm kind of overweight and this fact haunts me. I used to skip pe at primary because i aint as good as anyone else, and they used to call me names. i'm always the one in the corner. but no-one can see how much it hurts to be called 'fatty' and 'whale'. I'm scared what people might think if i tell them this is what i go through. My friends say i'm not fat and they love me for who i am. but thats not good enough for me. i have to hide from the 'stronger kids' and school because they kick footballs at me,and throw things at me. The whole time i try to act strong, and i fake a smile. but at the end of the day i go home and cry and i cut. i find that its a regular pattern. its the only happiness i get. i want to talk to someone but i dont know who. i'm really scared.
Very interesting reading material. I retired 4 years early because I was being bullied and management knew about it but refused to do anything. I had cancer and radiation. Because the radiation affected my physical stamina and strength, i was bullied by one woman in particular. Everyone else went along in fear of her. I would come home in tears. My husband wanted me to put in my time and get my full pension, but realized that my emotional and physical health were more important. I sacrificed quite a bit financially. I think more has to be done about this problem.


~*Mod Extraordinaire*~
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
Bullying is such a common problem it’s easy to forget how serious it can be. There can be this attitude that it’s just some character-building part of growing up you have to deal with.

So someone is slagging you off; sticks and stones. So they knocked you around? Toughen up and shake it off.

The reality of the situation is everyday, sometimes without even realising it, loads of people are dealing with bullying.

It can happen to anyone at any age. It happens in school, at home, at work, on Facebook or even live on TV, and sometimes people can’t just shake it off. They shouldn’t have to, when you think about it.

For advice on how to deal with it, check what to do if you’re being bullied

What bullying is
Bullying takes a whole load of different forms and can happen in pretty much any environment where people have to interact with each other; in school or college, on the pitch, at work and at home, even in relationships.

Given that it can happen in so many ways, it’s hard to give one definition of what bullying is. We understand it as one person or a group of people intimidating someone else on a regular basis.

The reasons behind it are often pretty complicated. On the surface it can happen because of a perceived difference; sexuality, culture, physical appearance.

That said, you might even just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunate, but true.

The main types of bullying are:
  • Verbal –you’re probably familiar with this one. It’s name-calling, put downs, slagging or threats. It can be face-to-face, written or often over the phone. It can also include sexual harassment..
  • Physical – being punched, tripped, kicked or having your stuff stolen or damaged. It can also include sexual abuse.
  • Social – being left out, ignored or having rumours spread about you. Often one of hardest types of bullying to recognise and deal with.
  • Psychological – this type of intimidation can be hard to pin-point – dirty looks, stalking manipulation, unpredictable reactions. It’s often less direct than other types of bullying and you can feel like it’s all in your head.
  • Cyberbullying – being slagged off or harassed by email, text, on social networking sites or having your account hacked into. This is a new-ish and pretty tough type of bullying, because you can feel like there’s no let up from it. Read more on cyberbullying.
Being bullied can have a big impact on your self-esteem. You can start feeling isolated, sad and angry. Which you shouldn’t have to.

Keep reminding yourself it’s not your fault and you haven’t done anything to deserve it. It can happen to anyone, and it’s almost always because of something going on in the bully’s life.

You also need to know that you’ll get through it, and you don’t have to do it alone. Talk to someone about it.
Who bullies?
Who do you think of when you picture a bully? In reality, they aren’t always the stereotypical tough kid in school. They can be girls or guys.

They can be your age, older or younger. They can be your friend, girlfriend or boyfriend, brother or sister, or someone at work. Importantly, you may also come across bullies in positions of authority, like a teacher, parent, boss.

Keep an eye out for ways that you might be intimidating or isolating someone yourself without realising. You might find that tough kid in school is actually pretty nice.

Why do people bully others?
There are many theories about why people bully. Often, people who bully have low self-esteem or have been victims of violence themselves. They might be having a tough time at home or be dealing with stuff in their own lives. Whatever the root of it is, they’re using bullying as a way of making themselves feel more powerful.

If you’re being bullied, remember whoever’s doing it is probably not as tough as they make out.

Often bullying can become their way of dealing with their own problems; frustration, jealousy, lack of knowledge, fear or misunderstanding.

In other words, it’s their own stuff that’s making them behave that way. That doesn’t make it OK, but the point is it’s not your fault.

How bullying can affect you?
As well as affecting your self-esteem, bullying can cause physical injury, stress and make you feel alone. It can feel like there’s nothing you can do about it without making it worse. It can be pretty scary.

Ways that bullying can make you feel:

  • If it’s been happening for a while, you can end up thinking you’re to blame, feel guilty for wanting the bullying to stop, and feel like you deserve to be bullied.
  • You can feel like you’re stuck with it and it’s going to be like this forever.
  • Because bullying can be part of the culture in some places like school, work, social groups, sporting groups etc, it can sometimes feel like ‘the world’ is against you and that you’ve got to deal with it alone. It can feel like there’s no one you can turn to. There is.
  • You feel like you aren’t accepted by the ‘cool’ people or don’t fit in.
  • You might feel like changing the way you look or feel like hurting yourself – some people become anorexic or bulimic because it’s the only way they feel they can cope with how bad they’re feeling.
  • If you’re bullied for being good at something – school work, sport, music, art, work, or your hobbies – you can feel like giving up, hiding your talents because you want to stop others being jealous or hostile (some call it the ‘tall poppy syndrome’).
  • You can feel rejected or depressed.
  • You can feel like you have to put yourself down in front of others to get accepted.
  • You can feel like you have to become the ‘class clown’ so that people laugh at you rather than hate you.
  • You can feel alienated at school. Sometimes even teachers don’t understand. Sometimes teachers bully too. Sometimes teachers feel threatened by students who question and challenge decisions, who think differently or who know more than they do.
  • You might feel people look at you on the surface and don’t see the real you – for example, if you’re in a wheelchair they may only see the fact that you don’t walk, and not that you have a good sense of humour and loads of different interests.
  • You can feel in danger or afraid.
  • You can get confused and stressed.
  • You might end feeling ashamed of yourself, family, gender, race or culture, or economic position.
What can you do if you’re being bullied
It’s really tempting to say you shouldn’t feel like this, that you should know you’re not any of the things they say you are and you’ve nothing to feel bad about. It’s true.

If you’re feeling any of these things, remember it’s because of someone else, not because of who you are.

But sometimes it’s not as easy as all that. It can be hard to just switch off your feelings, and you might need some help getting through it and reminding yourself about all of that. Talk to someone about it.

By working out how you’re feeling and why, you can figure out how to deal with it, and how to protect yourself.

Please Donate to Help Keep SF Running

Total amount