What is Psychological Bullying?

Article Details
  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 29 September 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
The population density of Manhattan has decreased by nearly 25 percent since the early 20th century.  more...

October 14 ,  1962 :  The Cuban Missile Crisis began.  more...

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.


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.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 10

I was bullied psychologically from elementary through high school because I was different. I am still living with the scars. I tried telling teachers and they didn't believe me, said the kids who I told them were bullying me would never do that. My escape from them was in books. Have you ever noticed how most of the bullies are in the crowd are not in honors and AP classes? I graduated at the top of my high school class and went to a better college than they did.

I now am a volunteer official for an Olympic sport and we are required to do Safesport training every year, which involves teaching us to recognize the signs of abuse, harassment, bullying, and hazing and how to report it. I can't get through that video training without a panic attack and crying through most of it.

Post 9

anon358700 post 6: She is not your friend. She is known as a frenemy.

A frenemy is a person who appears to be a friend but is not.

Frenemies systematically destroy their targets by undermining

their confidence, self esteem and happiness. Frenemies have personal issues like jealousy, and they cannot change. If their jealousy is not aimed at you, then it is aimed at someone else.

You are not the source of the jealousy so you do not have to feel guilt.

Time to dump your frenemy and find real friends.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?