Are You Being Bullied? 5 Examples of Bullying

By Darby Faubion

Updated November 14, 2019

Reviewer Audrey Kelly, LMFT

Have you ever felt like someone is making fun of you or trying to degrade you in front of others? Has someone made you feel like you had to earn or pay for protection from them? If this sounds familiar, you may be experiencing bullying.

While most people think of school-aged children when they think of bullying, this is not always the case. Bullying among high school and college students, and even among peers at work, is very common. No matter what age bullying happens, it hurts.

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Bullying may occur in different environments and may take on different levels. Learning to recognize the warning signs of being bullied, and who potential bullies are, is crucial to decrease the number of bullying incidents.

Why Do People Bully?

There is no good reason for one person to bully another. However, without addressing the cause of such behavior, bullying will continue. The truth is, it could be anyone or several of these reasons. Some common reasons for bullying include:

  • Feeling socially or academically inadequate - Society often places unrealistic pressure on individuals to excel. While success is great and self-improvement is positive when a person feels pressure to accomplish things that may be unrealistic, that pressure often spills over into their treatment of others.
  • Low Self-Esteem - Individuals who experience low self-esteem may feel the need to do whatever it takes to fit in or have others notice them.
  • Anger Issues - Anger issues that remain uncontrolled may lead to behavioral outbursts and result in bullying others. Many times, the person experiencing anger issues may not have anything against the person he/she is bullying, rather, that person simply becomes the object at which the anger is directed.
  • Being a Previous Victim of Bullying - Much like domestic violence, unless there is intervention, bullying may become a cycle that is repeated. Often a victim becomes the one who victimizes others. Issues of bullying must be addressed as early as they are noticed to help combat the continuing cycle.

5 Examples of Bullying

Bullying knows no bounds with regard to ethnicity, gender, or age. There are several environments in which bullying may occur.

  1. Bullying in School

It may seem a little easier to recognize bullies among school-aged children. Usually, the child who wants attention from other students or is accustomed to being the center-of-attention outside of school may display aggressive or bullying-type behaviors so that he or she can continue to be the focus of others.


College students often socialize within groups, such as athletes or academic-focused students. One group may bully another. Also, among high school and college athletics, some players who are more experienced may bully less experienced players. While many of them may not consider their behavior as bullying, if it causes emotional distress, feelings of insecurity or fear, it is bullying.

  1. Bullying in the Workplace

For some, even adulthood does not stop bullying behavior. Unlike school-aged children or college students, many adults do not report bullying. Some adult victims are too embarrassed to report bullying incidents. They may fear retaliation by their co-worker or supervisor and may feel that putting up with the behavior is better than going through the shame of reporting it. Unfortunately, ignoring the situation usually only makes it worse.

Examples of bullying among adults could be manipulating someone to do a job that they don't want to do or withholding the opportunity for job promotions unless demands are met. Belittling employees or co-workers, threatening, or stealing are other examples of bullying. One of the most extreme cases of bullying among adults is sexual harassment. Any unsolicited sexual advances should be considered an act of harassment and should be reported.

  1. Prejudicial Bullying

While bullying often occurs when there is little to no supervision, whether from an adult or another authority figure, prejudicial bullying may occur regardless of who is around. Prejudicial bullying is a type of harassment that focuses on what the bully believes makes the victim different from others. Those differences are seen as "weaknesses" or reasons to be considered an outcast.

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Prejudicial bullying occurs when a person is singled out based on factors such as:

  • Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Physical or mental disabilities
  • Gender identity

While all people have a right to their own opinions, no one has a right to force those opinions on others or to single others out for having different beliefs or lifestyles. In some cases, prejudicial bullying can lead to being accused of, or charged with, a hate crime.

  1. Bullying in the Home

When a family member, or someone sharing living space, is abusive or tries to manipulate another person in the home, this falls under the definition of domestic violence. Physical abuse does not have to be present for someone to be the victim of domestic violence. Bullying behavior in the home, such as threatening violence or harm, withholding food, clothing, or financial means are all examples of domestic violence. This is a very serious concern for all of society and should be reported as soon as possible.

  1. Cyberbullying

While technological advances have created some great opportunities for people to advance their careers or degrees, to connect with friends and family who live far away, or to launch a business, it doesn't come without risk. Today, what may be considered the most "modern" type of bullying happens via forms of electronic communication.


Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, to name a few, are common links between individuals who want to stay in touch but don't have time or resources to travel. The internet offers a wealth of knowledge for anyone who wants to learn. Just like anywhere else, though, there is the possibility of being singled out or threatened using electronic means. Some examples of cyberbullying include:

  • Sending threatening or hurtful messages through email or text
  • Gossiping about someone on social media
  • Creating fake email or social media accounts to trick someone
  • Taking photos of someone without his or her permission and posting them on social media

Overcoming Bullying

If you or someone you know is being bullied, it's important to report the behavior and seek help. If you are in school, talk to a teacher or school counselor. If you are experience bullying at work, report the incident to your supervisor. If your supervisor is the one committing the act of bullying, follow your chain of command and talk to the next person in a supervisory position.

Seeking help from bullying is a sign of strength, not weakness, as some bullies may have you believe. Taking care of yourself is important and safety is crucial. If you are feeling overwhelmed or depressed because of being bullied, talking to a counselor could be a way to learn coping mechanisms and healthy ways to put a stop to being bullied.

If you live in an area where there is a counseling center nearby, making an appointment for a consultation could be the first step to gaining control over the situation. Alternatively, if you would like to talk to someone but are not comfortable with meeting someone in person, online counseling could be a great option for you.

Online counseling is becoming a popular trend in mental healthcare. Services, such as those offered by BetterHelp, allow individuals to speak with a licensed, experienced counselor or doctor who is knowledgeable about mental health and wellness. These therapists educate clients on ways to address life issues on their own terms, usually from the privacy of their home (or wherever they feel comfortable) and at affordable prices.

Below you'll find some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"Sharon Valentino has helped me through so much! Since we started working together, just a few months ago, I already feel like I have more power and control over my life. I have let go of some very painful things, I have moved away from abusive relationships and really gaining skills and tools I need to keep myself safe and happy. She has taught me that I have the power to control my thoughts, my anxiety, and most of all my company. I really like how direct she is, it helps me get grounded and connect to myself. I can't wait to see where I am after working with her a year!!!"

"I have been talking to Dr. Briley for about 2 years. I had just gotten out of an abusive situation and he helped me navigate and begin the healing process."


Bullying occurs on many levels. But without proper intervention, bullying may result in a cycle of continued behavior where victims may later victimize others or where bullies continue to do so. If you feel that you or someone you know is being bullied, help is here.

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