Stop Being Bullied

Bullying is a serious issue that affects people of all ages and can take many different forms. However, the overall goal of a bully is to cause another person to feel worthless, attacking their self-esteem. Learning how to best deal with a bully can help you safely stand up to them, build your self-confidence back up and end the bullying.


Handling a Bully

  1. Don't react with more bullying. Although it might seem tempting to fight back with bullying it can cause further problems. Bullies enjoy feeling as though they have power over you or that they are able to get a reaction from you. Bullying back or getting angry will let the bully know they are hurting you. Do not respond to the bully with more aggression in order to get them to leave or stop.[1][2]
    • Tell them calmly to stop bullying you. For example, “You are being really uncool right now. Please stop.” or “That's enough. Don't talk like that again.”
    • Avoid getting angry or sarcastic in your response.
    • Try to keep your response short.
    • If they don't stop, walk away from them.
    • Do not fight with a bully, either with words or physically.
  2. Cut off the bully's power. Bullies try to take away your own sense of power and self worth so that they can enact their own power over you. Every time you give into the bully's tactics you make it more likely that they will bully you again in the future. Standing up to the bully by denying their demands will likely stop them from identifying you as a target. [3]
  3. Identify and avoid bullies. Bullies will often act aggressively or intimidatingly in order to cause you to act how they want. They will use negative tactics to hurt you in some way, causing you to give in and do and feel what they want you to. Learning when you are in the presence of a bully can help you avoid being around them. Review some of the following qualities of a bully:[4]
    • Bullies will often be individuals who engage in risky behaviors such as heavy drinking or crime.
    • Contrary to popular belief, bullies will usually be very popular and overly self confident.
    • Bullies may either physically or verbally attempt to harm another person.
    • Violence or bullying may be a learned behavior from a bully's home life.[5]

Dealing With Specific Types of Bullying

  1. Handle a verbal bully. Verbal bullying occurs when someone says something to you in order to hurt you or lower your self-esteem. Don't be afraid to be assertive and stand up for yourself but avoid being combative. You can also let others know that you are being verbally bullied and ask for their help.[6]
    • Don't respond with anger or emotion.
    • Bullies want to knock you down or start a fight. Deny them this by staying calm and positive.
    • Let the bully know that their attitude and behavior is unacceptable.
    • Calmly listen to the bully and ask questions. For example “It sounds like you think I'm stupid. Why do you feel that way?” Bullies won't often have actual reasons and will generally stop once you open an honest dialogue with them.
  2. Deal with physical bullying. Physical bullying occurs when physical violence is used against another person in order to intimidate and control them. This type of bullying is very dangerous and needs to be addressed immediately. Don't be afraid to seek help if you are being physically bullied.[7]
    • Tell someone immediately if you are being physically bullied.
    • Bullies may threaten you with further violence or you may feel too embarrassed to talk about it. Don't be afraid to speak up, someone will help you.
    • Physical bullying tends to escalate. The sooner it is addressed the safer you will be.
  3. Deal with cyberbullying. Cyberbullying occurs virtually but its effects are just as real and serious as any other form of bullying. This form of bullying will usually occur when a bully makes threats or remarks on-line that aim to demean, hurt, or scare another person. Thankfully there are some established methods you can use to stop a cyberbully:[8][9]
    • Ignore any messages the bully sends to you. Bullies want you to get mad and respond. Ignoring them lets them know that you are not a target.
    • Threats of violence made on-line are taken very seriously. These can be reported to police or the FBI.
    • Save all instances and evidence of cyberbullying. For example, any emails from a bully that demonstrate their bullying should be downloaded or otherwise stored securely.
    • Cut off communication. If you are able, block their email address, phone number, or whatever method they are contacting you with.
    • Tell someone if you are being bullied online or through some other form of technology.

Getting Help

  1. Be aware of bullying around you. Bullies will generally need to keep their victims alone and cut off from support. Part of preventing bullying is being aware of it and being ready to speak out against it. A bully won't continue if only one or two people stand up to them and defend the person being bullied. Be vigilant and don't be afraid to speak up and involve others to let the bully know their actions are unacceptable.[10]
    • If only a few people confront a bully they will usually stop the behavior.
    • Get your friends to help stick up for you if you are being bullied.
  2. Try not to be alone. Bullies usually select their victims based on how easy they think it will be to bully them. People who are alone might appear more vulnerable and can become appealing targets for bullies. Try to always be around friends, peers, or others during your day to become less of a target for a bully.[11]
    • If you are a student try to always be around adults.
    • If you feel unsafe try asking a friend to accompany you when possible.
  3. Talk to someone. Bullies like to isolate and attack victims that they think will not fight back or offer resistance. Although it can seem difficult or scary, seeking help is one of the best ways to overcome the bullies attacks and gain support. Don't ever be afraid to ask for help when being bullied.[3][11]
    • If you know someone who is being bullied offer your help to them.
    • If your child is being bullied at school tell them to seek help from a principal or teacher.
  4. Seek professional help. If you have been the victim of severe bullying you may want to seek professional help such as a counselor or psychologist. These professionals can help you or someone you know deal with bullying by building up self-confidence and self-worth again, undoing the effects of bullying.[1]


  • Try not to be alone around a bully.
  • Talk to someone if you are being bullied.
  • Do not bully or fight back directly against a bully.
  • Avoid giving into any demands that a bully might give you.
  • You and your friends can stand up to bullies by letting them know their behavior is unacceptable.
  • If you see bullying at school, try to tell someone else or tell an adult.
  • If you see someone bullying someone physically tell an adult immediately. Never handle it by yourself.
  • Do not give in if the school dismisses it, tell other people, your parents, their parents, a counselor and or therapist.
  • If you are being bullied by your friends, just ignore it and find new friends.
  • Remember, bullying isn't your fault.


  • Bullying can have serious and very harmful effects, possibly resulting in suicide.[12]
  • Even witnessing bullying can have a negative effect on a persons mental health.[12]

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Sources and Citations