I’m A Bully – And I Want To Stop

How to get help when YOU’RE the bully…

There’s a lot of advice and support out there for people who are being bullied, but there’s very little help for those who are doing the bullying. If you’re here, then we want to say well done. You’ve made the first step towards getting help and making positive changes to your behaviour.

How Do I Know If I’m A Bully?

It’s not always easy to know if you’re a bully. You might think that the things you say are just ‘banter’, or that you’re only joking around and don’t mean any harm. Try to think how you’d feel if you were in the other person’s shoes. Be honest

It’s not nice to think of ourselves in a negative light. We try to avoid admitting our faults and even make excuses for our negative behaviour, even when we know deep down that we’re in the wrong.

Ask yourself these questions and answer honestly. Do you ever:

  • Repeatedly upset someone, perhaps a classmate, sibling or friend?
  • Find it difficult to empathise with others? This can be difficult to see in yourself so you can ask friends or family for their thoughts.
  • Feel like you’re at your strongest when you’re around insecure people?
  • Deliberately pick on someone to make yourself feel better?
  • Make passive aggressive comments?
  • Get aggressive with others?
  • Spread rumours or spill secrets?
  • Deliberately isolate people?
  • Send unpleasant messages or make mean comments on social media?

If you’ve answered “yes” to many of these questions, this is an indication that you need to pay more attention to how you treat others. Negative behaviour can cause a lot of damage which is why it’s so important to be considerate and careful with your words and actions.

Why Do I Bully?

There are lots of reasons why a person might bully. It’s often complex but, more often than not, a bully has some trauma or pain going on in their own life. It can help to understand why you are bullying. You may be experiencing:

  • Family issues such as a divorce or arguments in the home.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse issues.
  • The death of a relative.
  • Issues with siblings.
  • Being bullied yourself. People who are bullied can sometimes become a bully themselves.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Insecure relationships with family, friends, or both.
  • Pressure from peers – feeling as if you must behave in a certain way to keep your friends.

Once you identify your triggers, you can look for healthier ways to deal with your feelings and emotions. Changing behaviour patterns often takes time and practice, so don’t beat yourself up if you slip-up occasionally.

It can also help to understand the impact bullying can have on others. Bullying can take its toll on a person’s mental health and self-esteem. It can be incredibly isolating, upsetting and scary. The damage caused by bullying can impact a person for years to come or, worse, drive them to harm themselves.  

Getting Help

There’s no shame in reaching out for support. You have identified areas where you need help with your behaviour and that’s something to be applauded. You’re taking ownership and taking steps to make yourself a better person.

You don’t have to do this alone – talk to a parent, teacher or adult you trust to get help. Or speak to one of our trained counsellors on the Hidden Strength app. Together, you can look for different ways to channel your frustrations, stress and anger.

Read more about bullying here.


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