How To Stop A Bully from Hurting You And Others

By: Gabrielle Seunagal

Updated August 28, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault

In the present day and age, bullies are an unfortunate part of life. Sometimes, they exist in the workplace or in large group settings. In other cases, bullies can exist in our families or they could wind up being romantic partners. Regardless of who a bully is or what role they play in your life, they're not good people and they come with a serious propensity to do harm. Understanding how to stop a bully from hurting you and others is imperative to your personal well-being and the well-being of others who are around you.

A General Overview of Bullies


Perpetrators of bullying engage in ongoing, mean-spirited behavior which targets another person. Bullying can occur verbally or physically and it's not always readily apparent, contrary to what some people may think. Individuals who are bullies know that their behavior is hurtful and ill-advised, yet they typically persist until they are forced to stop. There are countless reasons and factors which can determine why someone chooses to engage in bullying. However, nothing justifies targeting and mistreating another individual.

How Do Bullies Hurt Others?

Bullies hurt others with their words and actions. Being isolated, singled out, and made to feel less is not fun. Being trolled online, which is a form of cyberbullying, is not fun. The constant mistreatment is hurtful to victims of bullying because, on some level, this typically has an adverse impact on their lives.

Someone who is subjected to bullying in the workplace may struggle to perform their professional duties with the utmost quality. Someone who is being bullied in a romantic relationship may take hits to their self-esteem and begin to ask themselves if something they did cause the bullying. A child who is bullied in school may see their grades take a nosedive. The impacts of bullying can vary, depending upon the bully, the victim, and other existing dynamics. However, the impacts of this kind of mistreatment are always negative and hurtful.

Why Do Bullies Target Certain People?


For quite some time, people have wondered what prompts bullies to go after certain people. While reasons can vary on an individual level, collectively there are specific factors which are linked to bullying and the people who are targets of this abuse. One of the most common recurring themes is that victims of bullying generally stand out in one way or another. They may seem "different" from the rest and sometimes other people see that as a threat. It's been said many times that individuals have a pattern of fearing or hating what they don't understand

The personality of an individual who is bullied also plays a role. In many scenarios, bullies target people who seem nice to a fault or otherwise less inclined to fight back. The reason behind this methodology is simple: bullies thrive off of power and control. By going after someone who may be too afraid to defend themselves or fight back, sadistic bullies get what they want and the vicious cycle continues.

Individuals who are disenfranchised or powerless may also be likelier to experience bullying than their more fortunate counterparts. Bullies may be afraid to go after someone who has the power and means to push back against them. Therefore, they have the tendency to punch down and go after people who they view as defenseless easy targets. This does not mean that people of high stature are never bullied in life. However, studies have shown that bullies typically go after those who can't or won't fight back.

How to Protect Yourself And Others from Bullies

There will always be bullies in various settings and environments, but this doesn't mean that you have to be a victim. As a matter of fact, you can not only stop bullies from hurting you, but you can also stop them from hurting others who are around you. Collectively fighting back against bullying involves people taking steps to defend themselves and shattering the dynamics which bullies rely upon to mistreat other human beings.

Have A Healthy Support System


Having the right support system in your corner makes all the difference in the world. In many cases, bullies are less likely to go after those who they believe have friends to back them up. Having the right people in your corner also ensures that you are not isolated or alienated from other human beings. A healthy support system makes all the difference in the world and also allows you to be supportive of others in your group if they become targets of bullying.

A support system also makes a difference if you or someone else needs to report bullying to a higher authority. An established pattern and witnesses who can vouch significantly makes a difference and will speak volumes. Togetherness is the antithesis of isolation and the ultimate kryptonite for perpetrators of bullying.

Be Confident

Confidence in yourself speaks volumes and conveys a message before you open your mouth. People have a tendency to pick up on whether or not someone has high or low self-esteem. In man cases, bullies are less likely to go after people who exude high self-esteem and confidence. Furthermore, someone who feels good about themselves is usually less likely to put up with mistreatment from others. In many cases, bullies intuitively hone in on what they view as easy people to punch down upon.

Speak Up

If you see that someone else is being subjected to bullying, one of the best things you can do is speak up. The manner in which bystanders of bullying handle these types of situations truly makes a significant difference. If you are uneasy about confronting the bully face to face, you can always take the matter to a higher authority. Letting someone know what you witnessed can not only stop the bullies, but it can furthermore help the person who is in a tight spot. Standing up for others and doing the right thing feels good.

Don't Blame Yourself

When you're dealing with a bully, it can be very easy to question whether or not something you did prompted the bully to lash out. Bullies have a way of projecting their issues onto others; this can be emotionally and psychologically hurtful. You are not responsible for the actions of the bully. Each individual makes their own choices in life and must be accountable. Regardless of how a bully chooses to conduct themselves or what they may say to you or others, they alone are responsible for the choices they make.

Closing Remarks on Bullies

Contrary to certain beliefs, bullies are not healthy individuals. They may appear to be well-off or in a good position, but this is an illusion. People who are truly doing well in life don't have to punch down at others in order to get a leg up. They don't have to try to hurt other human beings and belittle them. You can tell a lot about a person based on the manner in which they conduct themselves. A person who bullies other individuals has some serious issues going on and needs the help of their own.


Never allow a bully to make you question who you are or what you know about yourself. This may be the bully's ultimate endgame, but they can only win if you allow them to do so. Remaining strong, knowing who you are, and taking the right steps against bullying is imperative. These steps can also boost your self-esteem and help you increase your levels of confidence. Stopping a bully from hurting yourself and others is an amazing light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, the bully will be able to learn a lesson from the experience as well; perpetrators of bullying need to work on themselves and figure out why they feel the need to go after other people.

Considering Online Therapy

If you are dealing with bullying or some other challenge in life, you may do well to sign up for online therapy with BetterHelp. Having the advice of a professional in your corner comes with many perks and benefits. Aside from providing additional support, a therapist can get to know you and evaluate your situation. Afterward, you will be given advice and things to think about. Even though human beings may face similar issues, the exact nature of certain situations can vary. Having to deal with all of this on your own can present a unique challenge and you shouldn't feel as though you're in it alone.

Online therapy has changed countless lives and helped people learn more about themselves. Working with a therapist does not mean that you will never encounter a bully or go through tough times. However, it does ensure that you don't have to feel alone as you push forward and overcome. Later down the line, you may also come to find that what you went through made you a stronger and wiser person. Keep the faith and never give up because life has a way of surprising us sometimes.

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