Last week, I talked about the character traits of Bullies. Today, I will cover the personality of the Bullied or Victims of Bullying. It is obvious that for someone to be a bully, they need a victim. You probably wonder why some kids are bullied and others are not? Well, it is because there is some dynamic between the bully and the bullied and some behaviors are easy targets for the bully.
The most obvious reason kids become a target for bullying is being different in some way. It is not easy to avoid being different somehow, because something as small as your type of hair or the size of your body can be easily used by the bully as a weakness.
During the school years, fitting in is very important for kids and by trying so hard to fit in and hide the differences, they attract bullies to their weakness. In his 2007 research, Field found that children who are bullied have 2 main problems:
- They stand out as being different
- They have challenges with their social skills
Victim of Bullying are Easy targets
If you understand that bullies need to overcome a real or perceived threat, you will understand why they need to pick easy targets. The main idea is to regain their missing power and for them, winning over the weak is good enough.
If we want to eliminate bullying, we need to understand what victims of bullying do or do not do that marks them as targets. Lots of research regarding behavior of victims of bullying has found that:
- Victims of bullying show the bullies that they are sensitive and have weaknesses. Kids all have weaknesses, but victims of bullying openly express their weaknesses or at least do not try to hide them.
- Victims of bullying react easily to a bully’s behavior. They are upset and frightened easily, so even if the bullies are not convinced at the beginning of their bullying attempt they have found an easy target, they know they have picked the right target immediately after.
- Victims of bullying have body language that appears weak. As most of the communication between kids is done non-verbally, the bully can pick from the posture, tone of voice and general body language that a certain target lacks confidence. Research done on psychopathic criminals discovered they pick their targets in the same way, targeting easy prey by reading their body language.
- Victims of bullying are passive, quiet and shy. They do not stand up for themselves and lack assertiveness skills. Because they are quiet, shy, and do not stand up for themselves, a bully knows that there will be no resistance.
- Victims of bullying may be socially withdrawn and do not have a supportive group of friends. Again, research on bullying discovered that the support group can change the whole dynamic of a bullying act by defending the weak, but when there is no support group, it will make it easy to find the victims alone and bully them.
- Victims of bullying may put up with negative attention instead of being ignored. Some victims do not like being alone and miss the attention, so they will sometimes survive the abuse just to get some form of attention. A bully can easily pick up that need for attention as a weakness and use it.
- Victims of bullying often come from overprotective homes or receive the protection of school personnel, which immediately makes them easy targets, because they appear unable to defend themselves.
- Victims of bullying tend to blame themselves for any problems they have with others. The bully picks this up very quickly and knows that they have the self blame mentality and that after a bullying act, they will blame themselves for it and that will keep the bully out of trouble.
Understanding why some children are bullied is important, because this can help parents and educators focus on developing strategies to prevent the bullying or help when it already happens.
In the next chapter of the bullying series, I will cover the “other players in the bullying game”. Until next time, find out if your child fits into the victim profile and look for ways to give them the confidence to change it. I will be offering ideas about what parents can do in future posts.
This post is part of the series Bullying:
- Bullying Facts and Myth
- Bullying Statistics are Scary
- What is NOT Bullying?
- Types of Bullying
- Why Do People Bully?
- Victims of Bullying
- Bullying Bystanders
- Home of the bully
- Home of the bully (2)
- Workplace Bullying
- Workplace Bullying (2)
- How to Help Bullying Victims
- How to Help Bullying Victims (2)
- How to Help Bullying Victims (3)
- How to Help Bullying Victims (4)
- How to Help Bullying Bystanders
- How to Help Bullying Bystanders (2)
- How to Stop Workplace Bullying
- How to Stop Workplace Bullying (2)
- How Workplace Bullying Bystanders Can Break the Cycle
- How Organizations Can Stop Bullying
- How Organizations Can Stop Bullying (2)
- Bully Parents
- How to Stop Parental Bullying
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (2)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (3)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (4)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (5)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (6)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (7)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (8)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (9)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (10)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (11)
- How to Stop Bullying with Empathy: The Story of Two Apples