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What Is Psychological Bullying?

Psychological bullying may occur at school.
Personal attack is one of the most common tactics used during psychological bullying.
Yelling and nagging from a spouse can contribute to psychological bullying.
Psychological bullying may come from harassing text messages.
Psychological bullying can affect negatively affect children.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 22 August 2014
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Psychological bullying can be defined as any kind of intentional and purposeful mental abuse. Sometimes people may feel as though they've been abused because something happened that hurt them emotionally, but it would generally only qualify as bullying if it were done purposefully, especially with malicious intent. People have many reasons for bullying others, including personal gain, vengeance, and self-esteem issues. Those who endure psychological bullying often have emotional problems that can linger for many years after the abuse happens.

One of the most common tactics used during psychological bullying is to personally attack people. When this happens, the bully may make jokes about some weakness or physical flaw in an individual. This is often done in front of other people for comedic purposes, or as a way to elevate the bully above his victim in the eyes of his peers.

Another thing that bullies often do is purposely make a big issue out of differences between people. For example, the bully might make jokes about a person's religious beliefs or race. Usually, the bully will only rely on these tactics if he can find some obvious way in which the victim is different from most of his peers.

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Some bullies take a more indirect route to harming victims. They may rely on rumor and innuendo, and often may even spread intentional lies about someone. In some cases, this may be done without the victim's knowledge, with the bully going out of his way to keep his identity secret.

Children are generally well known for problems with both physical and psychological bullying. Among adults, physical bullying still happens, but the psychological type is usually more common. This is partly because the punishments for physical abuse often become much more severe for people as they mature, with jail being a possibility.

Physical and mental abuse often go hand in hand. In fact, physical abuse can almost be seen as a kind of psychological bullying because it has a traumatic psychological effect as well. In addition, most physical bullies rely on the same tactics as psychological bullies to further torment their victims in addition to their physical assaults. what generally separates the two is that while physical bullying almost always includes a mental component, psychological bullying can potentially happen without any physical component at all, and in many situations, it does.

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Discuss this Article

anon924048
Post 7

I was psychologically bullied at school. The majority of people were against me and the rest just stayed silent as I was destroyed by the bullies. The teachers whom I did tell didn't really seem to take me seriously or care. One teacher tried to help, but by then there was no single bully, but many people out to insult me at every opportunity. I didn't really tell my family about the extent that I was being bullied. I mentioned that I got called some names but that was only the surface. I didn't want to worry them.

From the ages of 12 to 15/16 I was alone, carrying the weight of the bullying on my shoulders.

I would die a thousand deaths to never let anyone experience the pain I felt.

anon358700
Post 6

My friend Hannah is always mean to me. I think she hates me, but then gripes and moans when I don't talk to her. Then, I make the effort, and she moans even more. Sometimes I think she wants to stab my eyes with a fork, because once she cut my hand open with a knife.

ysmina
Post 5

I'm writing a paper on the psychological effects of bullying. I decided to go back to school and study psychology after my traumatic marriage to a man with narcissistic personality disorder. Psychological bullying is usually a hobby for adults with this disorder.

burcidi
Post 4

@burcinc-- Did you seek help from your teachers at the time? I'm sure they must have done something.

I'm a teacher and unfortunately, harassment and bullying is common in schools. It's especially true in lower-income neighborhoods where children deal with issues at home, whether it's poverty or an unhappy family life. Children with problems at home tend to carry those problems to school and act in abusive ways toward their peers.

As a teacher, I do everything I can to prevent bullying in my classroom. I hope that I am as effective as I think I am.

burcinc
Post 3

I was a victim of psychological bullying at school. I still don't understand how children can hurt each other so much psychologically. It does fit into the category of psychological bullying because children usually do this intentionally. But I don't think that they understand the consequences of it. I would like to believe that if those kids that mocked, bullied and humiliated me in school knew the kind of psychological damage they caused, they wouldn't have done it. Or maybe they would have, I don't know.

I had to change schools because of psychological bullying and it took me many years to get over feelings of humiliation and low self-esteem. I had to go to a lot of therapy. I'm at a much happier place now, but I do wish that parents and teachers could have intervened and prevented all this.

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