Psychology Wiki

Assessment | Biopsychology | Comparative | Cognitive | Developmental | Language | Individual differences | Personality | Philosophy | Social |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |

Social psychology: Altruism · Attribution · Attitudes · Conformity · Discrimination · Groups · Interpersonal relations · Obedience · Prejudice · Norms · Perception · Index · Outline

This article is in need of attention from a psychologist/academic expert on the subject.
Please help recruit one, or improve this page yourself if you are qualified.
This banner appears on articles that are weak and whose contents should be approached with academic caution


Brain animated color nevit.gif

Articles related to Abuse

Types of bullying

Forms of bullying


Related concepts

While on the surface, chronic bullying may appear to be simply the actions of an 'aggressor' (or aggressors) perpetrated upon an unwilling 'targeted individual' (or individuals), on a certain deeper level, for it to succeed, the bullying-cycle must also be viewed as necessarily including a certain chronic inadequate response on the part of the target (or targets). That is, a response that is seen by both the bully and the target as insufficient to prevent the chronic bullying-cycle from repeating itself between the given individuals. A suitable response to any given attempt at bullying varies with the occasion, and can range from ignoring a bully to turning a prank around so that it makes a 'pranksteree' out of the would be prankster,[1] to even summoning legal intervention. In any case, the targeted individual must necessarily somehow demonstrate to the would-be bully that one will not allow one's self to be daunted, intimidated, or otherwise "cowed" by the bully.  Those individuals or groups who are capable of reacting to initial bullying attempts in ways that tend to sufficiently discourage potential bullies from repeated attempts are less likely to be drawn into this destructive cycle. Those individuals or groups who most readily react to stressful situations by perceiving themselves as 'victims' tend to make the most suitable candidates for becoming the 'targets' of chronic bullying.[2]

Under some circumstances, targets may be chosen in what may be a completely random or arbitrary process, especially in groups in which the 'bully mentality' may have already succeeded in achieving domination within the group. In such groups, the defense mechanisms of the entire group may have already been 'broken down', and therefore the targeting of individuals no longer requires the seeking out of 'certain personality types' to become the 'next target'. The reversal of such chronic and well entrenched bullying behavior in such groups sometimes requires a much more carefully planned, coordinated, determined, and multi-individual response from a would-be target than in a group in which either the 'bully mentality' may not (yet) prevail, or ideally in a group that may have already taken a pro-active preventative approach towards bullying.[3] [4]

Typically, the bullying-cycle must include both an act of aggression on the part of a potential bully, and a response by a potential target that is perceived by both as a certain sign of submission. The cycle is only set in motion when both of these two essential elements are present. Once both of these two elements manifest themselves, the bullying cycle often proceeds to feed on itself over time, and may last for months, years, or even decades. The cycle is most easily broken at its initial onset; however, it can also be broken at any later point in its progression by simply removing either one of its two essential ingredients. While group involvement may seem to complicate bullying activities, the act is most often an implied agreement in principle between a chief bully or instigator and the target that the one has 'submitted' to the other. In the act of bullying, the bully attempts to make a public statement to the effect of: 'See me and fear me, I am so powerful that I have the ability to inflict pain upon the intended target at the time and manner of my choice without having to pay any consequences.' Should an intended target exhibit a 'defeated attitude' in response to chronic bullying, then the bullying is likely to continue. In circumstances where a 'bullying pattern' has not yet fully established itself, should the intended target respond with a clear attitude of self-confidence that somehow demonstrates that the bully's attempt to dominate is futile, then the bullying attempt will often quickly diminish or end all-together. Established patterns of bullying may require greater and more persistent effort to reverse. Institutions may reinforce bullying; for example, by telling targets of bullies that they're responsible for defending themselves, but then punishing them if they fight back. [5] [6]

=See also[]


  1. (2010). RWN's Favorite Quotations From Winston Churchill. URL accessed on 2010-11-27. Famous quotes from Winston Churchill. See especially quote #2 regarding Lady Astor.
  2. (2010). Problem Solving to Prevent Bullying. URL accessed on 2010-10-31. Discussion of typical psychological profiles of both bullies and their targets.
  3. (2010). Bullying and Hazing: What Can We Do About These Problems?. URL accessed on 2010-11-27. Attorney Fred Schultz discussion of hazing and hazing law
  4. (2010). Safe schools: Breaking the cycle of violence. URL accessed on 2010-11-27. Discussion of pro-active anti-bullying school plans by certified mediator, Meadow Clark.
  5. (2010). Jay Banks NBC TV-10 "STAMP Out Bullying". URL accessed on 2010-10-31. Youtube video of NBC report on Jay Banks' anti-bullying program, advising targets to "project self-confidence".
  6. (2010). Jay Banks Productions Youtube Homepage. URL accessed on 2010-10-31. Compilation of anti-bullying videos by anti-bullying expert, Jay Banks
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).