Published: January 6, 2023

Understanding the bully

Why People Bully Others: Understanding the Bully


While martial arts and specifically Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) give children great tools for self defense and handling bullies, there is much more to dealing with bullies than just knowing how to defend yourself.  BJJ at Darkhorse Jiu Jitsu in Longmont, Colorado has a comprehensive bullying program which teaches young people how someone becomes a bully. This is very useful when understanding how to deal with the bully. We will address how a person becomes a bully, giving you and your child further tools in handling the bully.


In order to deal with a bully, it is important to understand how another person becomes a bully. It is critical to understand the nature of a bully in order to be confident in handling the situation. We get a lot of questions about bullies at Darkhorse, so we have compiled some of the most common ones to share with you.


Five Common Questions About Bullies

  • Are bullies being bullied themselves?

Some bullies were created by being bullied themselves. This could be from a peer or a trusted adult. Sadly bullying can start at home. Verbal abuse and physical abuse in the home can break down a child’s mind quickly. When this comes from the primary person or persons of trust it is very quickly mirrored in their own interactions with others.  If a person doesn’t have a healthy role model, bullying behaviour is learned. 

  • Are bullies lonely or seeking attention?

Everyone needs a healthy amount of attention. When some people do not get the attention they need they can resort to bullying in order to fill this void. I like to compare bullies to marketing agencies, where even negative attention is “Attention’. There are those who suffer from low self esteem because they feel as though they have no skill or talent and therefore rely on unacceptable behavior to get the attention they need. 

  • Do bullies have low self-esteem?

Society and families can put undue pressure on a child which may effectively crush a child’s self esteem. Think of the images that the mass media portrays as beautiful and good. This can lead to lashing out at others in an attempt to bring other people down to their level of discomfort. 


Occasionally a bully is created by a person constantly getting their ego inflated. Someone who has been fed that they are perfect in all things can act rude, because it can normalize the person looking down on others as inferior or undeserving.

  • Are bullies jealous of their victims? 

Jealousy is rooted in our own self esteem. Feelings of inadequacy can open up unfound or even irrational jealousy. This jealousy can then respond in a very similar way as we discussed above. 

  • Do people bully because of their friends?

Often bullies who have insecurities find strength in numbers, giving them a false sense of confidence. Sometimes there is a bully with in a group who is trying to impress his peers. By leaning into the confidence of their group, people can act in poor ways with little thought for consequences. 


Why Bullies Bully:

Bullies act the way they do for a range of different reasons. The hardest thing for many to understand is that most bullies treat people poorly due to their own deep rooted insecurities which can be caused either by being bullied themselves or by something they’ve been taught. The bully is often a victim themself.