Should Adults Speak Out About Bullying?

Researchers discovered a strong link between bullying and depression.   Both bullies and their victims are more likely to suffer from depression than youth who are not involved in bullying.  This connection can be long-lasting; people who are bullied as children are more likely to suffer from depression as an adult than children not involved in bullying.

Depression can have serious effects on a person’s life. The link between bullying and depression can also extend to other problems, like:

  • Low self  esteem
  • Anxiety
  • High rates of school absence
  • Physical illness


The relationship between bullying and depression is not limited to face-to-face bullying.  The Cyberbullying Research Center found that victims of cyber bullying were more likely to suffer from low self esteem and suicidal thoughts.  They suggest further research needs to be done to see if low self esteem is a result of being cyber bullied or if it makes a person more likely to be a target of cyber bullying.  A recent study by the US National Institute of Health found that victims of cyber bullying showed more signs of depression than other bullying victims.  This may be because cyber bullying can be more relentless and more frightening or discouraging, especially if the bully is anonymous.


One would think that as people mature and progress through life, that they would stop behaviors of their youth.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case.  Sadly, adults can be bullies, just as children and teenagers can be bullies.  While adults are more likely to use verbal bullying as opposed to physical bullying, the fact of the matter is that adult bullying exists.  The goal of an adult bully is to gain power over another person, and make himself or herself the dominant adult.  They try to humiliate victims and show them who is boss.

There are several different types of adult bullies, and it helps to know how they operate:

  1. Narcissistic Adult Bully:  This type of adult bully is self-centered and does not share empathy with others.  Additionally, there is little anxiety about consequences.  He or she seems to feel good about him or herself, but in reality has a brittle narcissism that requires putting others down.
  2. Impulsive Adult Bully:  Adult bullies in this category are more spontaneous and plan their bullying out less.  Even if consequences are likely, this adult bully has a hard time restraining his or her behavior.  In some cases, this type of bullying may be unintentional, resulting in periods of stress, or when the bully is actually upset or concerned about something unconnected with the victim.
  3. Physical Bully:  While adult bullying rarely turns to physical confrontation there are bullies that use physicality.  In some cases, the adult bully may not actually physically harm the victim, but may use the threat of harm or physical domination through looming.   Additionally, a physical bully may damage or steal a victim’s property rather than physically confronting the victim.
  4. Verbal Adult Bully:  Words can be quite damaging. Adult bullies who use this type of tactic may start rumors about the victim, or use sarcastic or demeaning language to dominate or humiliate another person. This subtle type of bullying also has the advantage to the bully of being difficult to document.  However, emotional and psychological impacts of verbal bullying is felt quite keenly and can result in reduced job performance and even depression.
  5. Secondary Adult Bully:  This is someone who does not initiate the bullying, but joins in so that he or she does not actually become a victim down the road.  Secondary bullies may feel bad about what they are doing, but are more concerned about protecting themselves.

Workplace bullying is when a person or group of people in a workplace single out another person for unreasonable, embarrassing or intimidating treatment.  Usually the bully is a person in a position in authority who feels threatened by the victim, but in some cases the bully is a co-worker who is insecure or immature.  Workplace bullying can be the result of a single individual acting as a bully or of a company culture that allows or even encourages this kind of negative behavior.

Workplace bullying can take many forms:

  • Shouting or  swearing at an employee or otherwise verbally abusing them
  • One employee being singled out for unjustified criticism or blame
  • An employee  being excluded from company activities or having his or her work or contributions purposefully ignored
  • Language or actions that embarrass or humiliate an employee
  • Practical jokes, especially if they occur repeatedly to the same person

There are some things usually not considered workplace bullying:

  • A manager  who shouts at or criticizes all of his or her employees.  While this is a sign of a bad manager and makes a workplace unpleasant, it is not bullying unless only one or a few individuals are being unjustifiably singled out.
  • A co-worker  who is critical of everything, always takes credit for successes and  passes blame for mistakes, and/or frequently makes hurtful comments or jokes about others. Unless these actions are directed at one individual,      they represent poor social skills, but not bullying.
  • Negative  comments or actions that are based on a person’s  gender, ethnicity, religion, or other legally protected status.  This is  considered harassment and, unlike bullying, is illegal in the U.S. and gives the victim legal rights to stop the behavior.

According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, up to a third of workers may be the victims of workplace bullying.  About twenty percent of workplace bullying crosses the line into harassment.  The NY Times found that about 60% of workplace bullies are men, and they tend to bully male and female employees equally.  Female bullies, however, are more likely to bully other females. This may be because there is more pressure on females trying to succeed in male-dominated workplace, and more competition between females for promotions.




Are Children Bullying or Becoming Bullies?

Bullying has always been a serious problem, but only recently it has attracted such keen attention from government.  According to bullying statistics, more than 200 million children all over the world are being harassed, and not only at school.  These sad bullying statistics force government to take actions to reduce harassing behavior among children and teenagers. Indeed, the consequences of bullying can be more than sad both for children and their parents.  Not only are children willing to skip their studies, but also they show all forms of psychotic symptoms, depressions, suicidal tendencies, which often enough results in physical manifestations.  What’s worse, the consequences of bullying usually persist into adolescence and even adulthood.

The bullying statistics researched in 2012 shows that today almost a half of all American children are bullied at some point, and about 10% of them are constantly harassed either at school or online.  Children are bullied from the earliest age, but kids of 11 to 14 years suffer from bullying the most.

In order to protect themselves, over 100,000 of kids take guns and other weaponry to school.  One in four of these kids are being constantly harassed at home as well.  More than 160,000 students skipped their studies due to constant cases of harassment or physical abuse.  Each and every month, over 250,000 students are being physically harassed at schools and colleges.  This is the main problem that has been discussed so many times in the recent research made in the field of bullying statistics.

On the flip side, bullies should also be regarded as victims.  More often than not, young bullies are the victims of home abuse.  Many victims of bullying and cyber bullying admit that they have participated in some forms of physical or mental harassment.  Following the pattern they see at home, bullies harass other kids.  By their early thirties, 20% of bullies have criminal records.

Bullying statistics only shows how serious the problem of bullying is.  The sad truth is that almost a half of victims never report the cases of harassment to their parents, teachers or other authorities.  As for example, the events of bullying occur every 7 minutes at the playgrounds, but only 15% of children report these events to authorities or try to intervene the fighting.  Almost every hour a child attempts to commit suicide because of bullying or physical harassment.  It means that more than 19,000 children make such attempts each and every year.

As for the fights and physical harassment, 46% of boys and 25% of girls have been involved in bullying activities which resulted into fights.  Revenge is the main reason for teenagers to commit crimes, such as shooting or even homicide.

California, Illinois, Washington, New York and Pennsylvania are the states where events of bullying, cyber bullying, and physical harassment occur most frequently.

The worst thing about bullying as discussed in bullying statistics is that today children still feel uncomfortable about reporting the cases of bullying or physical harassment, and it is especially so when a victim is abused at home.  This makes it impossible for teachers and authorities to intervene the most difficult cases of bullying and physical harassment.  Still, it is very important to understand that both the victim and the bully need psychological help.

It may be hard to prevent bullying even when you already know that you child is harassed.  But it is close to impossible to protect our children not knowing they are the targets of bullying, cyber bullying, or physical harassment.  It is in our responsibility to pay more attention to our own kids, and to the children at streets.  The only way to influence bullying statistics in a positive way and to make this world a better place is to show our children that they can trust us and, consequently, each other.   Surely, kids prefer to keep their secrets rather than to share them with adults.  This is why they never tell the truth about such humiliating things as bullying, abuse and harassment.  But you don’t need to be a psychologist to understand that something is wrong with your own child.


My next source of information and research for you will be regarding adults in the workplace and in their daily lives also encountering bullying.  Does it happen often?  More than you may realize!  My next post will speak to these.





Are You Like an Angel or Something?



I hope the answer is “yes” and at this time of year especially, you will consider with more understanding and patience those around you who appear to have difficulties.

Remember Psalm 55:22
Friends are God‘s way of taking care of us.”

The following story touched me so deeply when I read it.  And recently a friend of mine told me of a voice, or feeling, in her which absolutely gave her peace and comfort – something she had not known in a VERY long time.  I feel certain these are specific signs were directed to me.  So I’m passing on the good news and maybe you “Are like an Angel” and will feel the same peace within.

This following, are you like an angel or something, was written by a Metro Denver Hospice physician.

I just had one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and want to
share my story with my family and dearest friends.

I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., and my car started to choke and splutter and die, I barely managed to coast, cursing, into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. It wouldn’t even turn over. Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the “quickie mart” building, and it looked like she had perhaps slipped on some ice and fell, so I got out to see if she was okay.

When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen; she was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, I picked it up to give it to her… it was a nickel.

At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95.

I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept
saying ” don’t want my kids to see me crying,” so we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and things were very hard for her right now. So I asked, “And you were praying?” That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, “He heard you, and He sent me.”

I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely, and while it was fueling, walked next door to a McDonald’s and bought 2 big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car, who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.

She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City. Her boyfriend left 2 months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn’t have money to pay rent Jan 1, and finally in desperation finally called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about 5 years. They lived in California and they said she could come live with them and try to get on her feet there.

So she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there.

I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said, “So, are you like an angel or something?”

This definitely made me cry. I said, “Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people.”

It was so incredible to be a part of someone else’s divine intervention. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I’ll put it in the shop tomorrow to check, but I suspect the mechanic won’t find anything wrong.

Be an angel to someone else whenever you can, as a way of thanking God for the
help your angel has given you … pay forward those Random Acts of Kindness.