Bullying: An Act of Self-Hate

bullying: an act of self-hate

“People who love themselves, don’t hurt other people. The more we hate ourselves, the more we want others to suffer.”  Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

A recent special needs client came into a session for apparent recent anger outbursts with his family. The client was open and honest but because he’d never seen a therapist, he was  a bit hesitant about sharing his feelings.

After we had gotten to know each other and he became more comfortable, we discussed feelings such as anger. He began to share how he had recently become angrier and had a shorter fuse with his Dad.

He re-lived the happy moments with his dad of the past but became more agitated about his frustration of not being able to talk to his dad and not being able to share his feelings of late.

The client had shared with his dad frustrations at school but the client felt his father was telling him to suck it up, it will work out in the long run.

As he became more comfortable with me he shared how recent events in school had gotten worse relative to being picked on. The year before, he had been continually picked on in school and he had to spend half his day at home taking on-line schooling courses.

My client stated he was a social person and loved interacting with teachers and fellow students (in particular friends) and felt disassociated working from home. After some questions, my client shared that being picked on in school had become unbearable.

He shared that classmates regarded him as different and weak as well as having inappropriate looks and mannerisms. He shared – they felt that I was less than normal and nit under their list of qualifying features.

Even today as we continue sessions my client would not share with me the one worst word they called him – to him. It was too embarrassing to repeat.

Fact Check

A recent post in, listed the following information in regards to bullying in schools:

  • Over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year.
  • Approximately 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying.
  • 17% of American students report being bullied 2 to 3 times a month or more within a school semester.
  • 1 in 4 teachers see nothing wrong with bullying and will only intervene 4% of the time.
  • By age 14, less than 30% of boys and 40% of girls will talk to their peers about bullying.
  • Over 67% of students believe that schools respond poorly to bullying, with a high percentage of students believing that adult help is infrequent and ineffective.
  • 71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.
  • 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying.
  • 1 in 10 students drop out of school because of repeated bullying.
  • As boys age, they are less and less likely to feel sympathy for victims of bullying. In fact they are more likely to add to the problem than solve it.
  • Physical bullying increases in elementary school, peaks in middle school and declines in high school. Verbal abuse, on the other hand, remains constant.

Reasons Why recently posted the following reasons for individuals to become involved in bullying tactics in school:

Bullies come from dysfunctional families.  A large number of bullies come from homes where there is little affection and openness. They may often witness their parents being aggressive toward friends, siblings or other members of the family.

Bullies need to be in control. Kids who push others around are often driven by the need for power. They enjoy being able to subdue others.

Bullying behavior gets rewarded. They also get rewarded by gaining popularity, attention or the power of having others afraid of them. These unintentional rewards reinforce bullying behavior and encourage the perpetrator to keep pushing others around.

Bullies don’t care how others feel. Some children either lack empathy or just relish seeing others in pain.

Bullies can’t regulate their emotions. When kids don’t have the ability to regulate their emotions, small annoyances can provoke them and cause them to severely overreact.


Bullying: An Act of Self-Hate

Steve Greenman, MA, LPC, NCC

Steve Greenman, MA, LPC, NCC is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in northern Michigan who has a passion for reading, writing, music and helping others. He specializes in counseling complex family situations, substance abuse, and parenting. Steve’s counseling philosophy is holistic, approaching each issue on its own merit and evaluating influences to help overcome life’s dilemmas.


APA Reference
Greenman, S. (2016). Bullying: An Act of Self-Hate. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 1, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 14 Jul 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Jul 2016
Published on All rights reserved.