In Expert Interviews

Interview: Bullies Mentality

Bullying Mentality

Emma Citron is a private Consultant Clinical Psychologist providing assessment and treatment using CBT and emotional processing for all social, emotional and mental health presentations for adults, adolescents and children. She talks to about the Mentality of a bully and the victims of bullies.

Emma Citron

Emma Citron


NB:What would be your definition of Bullying? what is the bullying mentality?

Bullying is the action/s of another or others that makes you feel uncomfortable, upset, distressed or excluded in any measure.

NB:With increased media coverage on Bullying and Cyber Bullying, is the situation improving?is the bullying mentality changing?

Yes the situation is improving as adults and youngsters are more aware of the broader concept of bullying. Like abuse of any kind, it is not just restricted to the more obvious actions of mean words said – it includes not being included in gatherings and made to feel bad in a whole variety of possible ways.

NB:Is Bullying or Cyber Bullying a big issue in your local area? and if so, why do you think that is?

Bullying or cyber bullying is not culture or neighbourhood specific. It occurs everywhere just like abuse of any kind.

NB:What should a school or parent watch out for in a child’s behaviour that might be a warning sign of bullying?

Any changes in your youngsters presentation or behaviour is a cause for concern. If you notice that they are spending longer in their room and isolating themselves or displaying behaviours that you have not seen before or with increased frequency them try asking them in a supportive way if anything is troubling them or making them feel bad.

NB:What can schools do to ensure they provide the best education and advice to children on Bullying?

Schools have inset days trainings on bullying and this is by far the best way of making teachers aware of  and trained to tackle bullying within their schools. A tutor/pupil meeting system on a 1:1 on a regular basis or a named teacher whom the children know they can approach and request a meeting are other ways of encouraging youngsters who are experiencing difficulties to come forward. School should also have clear anti bullying policies and procedures in place that are available to peruse on their websites.

NB: Have you knowledge of any severe cases and consequences of Bullying?

We all know that the most serious outcome of bullying is suicide or attempted suicide by the victim. I have not personally come across someone who has attempted suicide in my clinic but health professionals should and must take bullying very seriously.

NB:How do people Bully others today?

People bully others in the workplace and in any other environment where people get together- scouts, youth groups, schools, religious groups and any other environment. More subtle forms of bullying include not sitting next to someone at lunch, not showing kindness and care to colleagues or school mates- a duty we all have- and excluding people from social gatherings. Comments designed to criticize or undermine another’s sense of self worth is also sadly common behaviour.

NB:Is social media, mobile phones and easier on-line access making it easier for Bullies?

Yes social media, etc,  makes it easier for bullies to access a large amount of people and hurtful comments can be read by a lot of people instantly with often a permanent record. Texts and e mails can be blunt and damaging where people would not say the things they write to other’s faces.

NB:Any tips or advice on how a parent should approach Bullying with their children to ensure they understand how wrong it is?

Parents input to children/ teenagers:  This should be in keeping with parents general emotional education of their children. When they are young parents can try reading them books like “ tyrone the terrible” which addresses the feelings of the victims and how others( in this case a dinosaur) can make others feel. Reading them books by Michael Morpurgo and Malorie Blackman in later primary and encouraging them to read for themselves plus discussion of feelings which results from other’s actions can springboard from books such as these and should be part of the conversation fabric of families.

It helps make youngsters empathetic to others and this is the basis of preventing bullying.

NB:If a child has been Bullied – what is the best advice for them?

If a child has been bullied… At all times parents need to be tuned in with their youngsters and what is affecting them in their lives. Some children lend themselves to this more than others but we can talk about feelings within a family and role model the importance of this even if some youngsters are a bit closed with their feelings or find them hard to identify.  So if communication is healthy within the family, this is a great point of entry for youngsters to discuss what has happened or is happening with parents and others.  Tell the child that this is not “ grassing” as bullies will lead them to believe. Explain that this term enables the bullies to continue and is part of their ploy.   Depending upon the situation, school should be included in strategies for tackling bullying. In some cases, considering giving the youngster a fresh start at another school may be desirable. It is important that children know that we as parents take bullying and the effect of it seriously and do not minimize it and we are prepared to take quite brave action such as moving school if necessary.

 NB:Is there likely to be long term effects on children who are Bullied?

long term effects..  can include low self confidence, believing that they are somehow to blame because of certain character traits( this is part of what’s called The Victim Mentality), finding it difficult to trust others, difficulties regulating one’s emotions particularly  anger , low mood and withdrawal, aiming too low career wise because of low self confidence.

NB:What would you advise a person who is being Bullied in work?

Bullied at work: speak to your line manager or go even higher if the person immediately above you is too close to the one causing offense to be useful. You can try telling the person doing the bullying/ harassment ( as it is technically called ) that you do not like him/ her shouting, being so critical, touching you or making offensive remarks. If you feel you are being discriminated against for any reason, you can consult an employment lawyer or citizen’s advice in the 1st instance. HR may be helpful if they promise anonymity and confidentiality as many people feel they may loose their jobs if they tackle their grievances in house.

NB:Any current trends related to teens and children people should be more aware of?

These issues have always been around and thankfully we are now more aware of them.

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