Peer harassment is becoming a common topic in our society. At European level, an epidemiological study involving a sample of more than 16,000 adolescents, determined that 20% of them had suffered bullying at some point.
These data reflect the idea that a significant number of high school and high school adolescents experience high levels of interpersonal stress, experience complex situations that can lead to emotional disturbances and in some way affect their development. psychological.
The main objective of this article is to educate victims of bulliesThat is, adolescents or children who have suffered or continue to be bullied and who, for various reasons, have ended up becoming both aggressors (bullies) and victims (victims).
What are bullies?
Before describing what victims of bullying are, let’s give a definition of bullying.
According to Olweus (1978, cited in Olweus, 1998), bullying is a type of violence that occurs a power imbalance relationship between the stalker and his victim, Repeats and extends over time and includes behaviors of various kinds (physical, verbal and psychological aggression). In this sense, harassment is a sequence of repeated actions between protagonists, aggressor and victim, the relationship persists over time and develops a certain well-known dynamic.
The victims of bullying would be those young people who, after being directly victims of bullying, end up becoming abusers themselves, while at the same time, they may continue to be victims of bullying. In other words: minors who have been harassed by others and who themselves harass their peers are called victims of bullies.
Types of bullies or abusers
Scientific literature on the subject suggests that victims of bullying form a different typology among bullying perpetrators. In general, there are 2 basic types of aggressors (in English “bullies”):
It is the aggressors who trust each other. They intimidate others and harass them without hesitation. They fit better than others into the aggressive stereotype of children with the desire to externalize their will to dominate others. Usually, these children or adolescents are generally not victimized by other abusers.
Victims of bullies
As we explained above, in this group they can play both roles, both victim and aggressor, although as a rule, they do not attack their attackers, but other minors that they perceive as more vulnerable.
Characteristics of victims of bullying
These victimized abusers suffer from a wide range of problems; compared to “pure” bullies, victims of bullies are more anxious, alone, usually in high stress states (Hypervigilance) and usually have more depressive symptoms than others. They rely very little on others, which causes them to remain vigilant if an episode of bullying reappears.
Andreou (2004) states that victims of bullies show more “Machiavellian” attitudes: Lack of faith in human nature, tend to manipulate and deceive others more, are more suspicious and often hide the truth as a form of protection.
According to Stein et al. (2007) victims of bullying show more physical injuries and at the same time, they pose a greater danger to their peers. For example, a study by Kochel et al. (2015) found that victims of bullies tend to be involved in more acts in which they play the role of perpetrators than “pure bullies”.
Victims of bullies, victims for so long, they respond to their peers in a hostile manner. Some American studies point out that these young people are more likely to carry guns with them to school, As they consider that in this way they will be protected.
Several studies have shown that victims of bullying often suffer from anxiety, depression (even suicide), social isolation, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder compared to other children who do not. have not been bullied.
In addition, children who are abusers in the dynamic of bullying they experience social rejection, behavioral problems, anxiety, academic difficulties and tend to be a challenge for adults.
When a minor is both victim and aggressor, in addition to being able to feel all the symptoms described above, he generally has more difficulty than everyone else in “integrating” into his social group (They have less social skills and have difficulty establishing and maintaining positive friendships), suffer more intensely from states of over-excitement that they cannot handle, and more academic difficulties in school.
How to Become a Victim of Bullying (The Bullying Cycle)
Emler (2009) talks about being bullied this can have a negative impact on the victim’s capacity for empathy who, far from understanding the behavior of the aggressor, will try to defend himself by showing an equally hostile behavior. This would be the specific case of victims of bullies.
Some authors (Carroll, Green, Houghton, & Wood, 2003; Lereya et al., 2013) have developed an explanatory hypothesis concerning the existence of “bully-victims”: when the adolescent is the victim of bullying and has not the emotional support of a social network of adequate protection (group of friends, parents, teachers) or does not accept this help, you can turn to the search for an informal alternative of protection against attack situations.
In this way, the adolescent will try to forge a social reputation based on the image of a rebellious, strong and anti-social person; the implicit message to attackers would be that he is a courageous person, strong and has the resources to defend himself. Victims may start to behave aggressively as a form of self-defense against future attacks.
It has also been claimed that victims of bullies they usually come from violent or dysfunctional family environments. They may have been abused by an older sibling, or they may have seen a family member abuse another relative. In fact, many of the negative behaviors associated with violence are learned during childhood and adolescence in the home environment, and so is bullying in school.