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What are the Different Types of Bullying Behavior?

By Kevin Gill
Updated May 16, 2024
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Bullying behavior is an ongoing abusive series of actions. It is done as a means for one individual to hurt, demean, harass and ultimately gain dominance over another individual. This dominance is a form of power, which might be physical or social. The three basic types of bullying behavior are emotional, physical and verbal.

The goal of bullies is usually some form of coercion or manipulation. The basic forms of abuses are continued to maintain a status as dominant. Bullying is usually not an isolated incident. Persons known as serial bullies will choose more than one target and possibly have multiple targets at once. The individual committing the bullying behavior typically suffers from low self esteem and a lack of empathy.

The types of bullying behavior stem from the three basic abuses. Intentionally hurtful acts that involve verbal and physical attacks as well as emotional manipulations are all part of the intimidating behavior. This harassment can come in the form of school bullying or workplace bullying and can even exist on a national level — jingoism is considered a type of bullying.

The basic types of bullying behavior include the following actions physical abuse such as punching, slapping, kicking, biting or any other action that inflicts harm on the target's body. Verbal abuse includes insults, mocking or degrading talk and any statements intended to hurt the target or make other people think poorly of the target. Coercion in order to make the target perform actions that are harmful to the target or people other than the bully is another type of bullying behavior. This might involve self-inflicted injury, attacking others, theft, cheating, telling lies and other actions that the target will regret or that will result in injury or damage.

Bullying behavior also includes exclusion that results in isolation so that the target suffers from loneliness and lack of interaction as well as organized attacks — either physical or verbal — by several people. Cyber bullying includes the sending of insulting and degrading messages and emails. This might include posting pictures or messages on Internet pages that humiliate or degrade the target.

Spreading rumors that defame or insult the target is another form of bullying. This bullying activity can include blaming the target for starting a rumor in order to direct the anger of others at the target. Setting up a target to take blame for the action of a bully is another form of bullying, as is purposefully doing something harmful and making the situation appear as though the target did it is another way to inflict social harm on a target.

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Discussion Comments
By anon999744 — On Mar 07, 2018

I got bullied and no one helped me except my friends. No teachers, no parents. To others they might have thought about suicide but I didn't. I stayed on the bright side. So let me tell all of you targets out there.: Don't give up. Ask people to help you! It will get better if you tell others about your problems!

By croydon — On Sep 05, 2014

@pastanaga - I've been bullied a few times in my life and it's usually the case that the person doesn't really know they are doing it. TV makes bullying look like it's always perpetrated by a smug, evil character, but it's just as likely to be a boss or teacher who thinks they are doing the right thing by "cracking down hard" on someone who doesn't meet their expectations.

No one should be blamed for being a victim of bullying, but if you have the chance to improve your situation, you should take it.

By pastanaga — On Sep 04, 2014

@Ana1234 - It's true that bullying might sometimes happen because of a misunderstanding, but the onus always has to be on the bully to stop bullying because of the nature of it. You can't blame someone who is already being made to feel like they aren't in control of a situation for not ending the situation.

There is sometimes a place for aggressive behavior but people need to monitor themselves, particularly if they are in any kind of position of power.

By Ana1234 — On Sep 03, 2014

People might just not realize that what they are doing is bullying behavior. And I don't mean that in the sense that they don't understand right and wrong. They might just not realize that something they consider to be fairly benign is actually hurtful.

I was a very sensitive kid growing up and my father was a coach who believed in harsh discipline. My sister completely understood the way he acted and had a great relationship with him.

But every time he yelled I felt like the world was ending and grew upset. He didn't mean for me to react like that, and I couldn't understand that he meant me to just grow a thicker skin. I'm sure there are cases where someone doesn't mean to hurt another person's feelings, but says the wrong thing at the wrong time and it just happens.

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