Psychological Disorders and Their Role in the Bullying Problem

What are the most common Psychological Disorders and what is their role when it comes to bullying?

Psychological Disorders

There are many reasons for bullying, and often it is just a matter of kids who enjoy pushing others around, getting their way and using manipulative tactics on others. Even psychologists admit that some kids like to be a bully. However, in some cases, psychological disorders are the impetus that drives this behavior. We will talk about a few of these here and also how bullying affects the victim in the form of psychological disorders so that we will address both sides of the spectrum.

Psychological Disorders In Bullies

Psychological Disorders In Bullies

Many psychological disorders may drive bullies to act as they do. Some of these are considered “personality disorders.” Personality disorders run from mild to extremely severe, including narcisstic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and sociopathic personality disorder. Sociopathic personality disorder often gets the most attention in the media because it is believed that many killers fall into this category.

Sociopath Defined

It is difficult to define the thinking of a sociopath, but in short, they seem to have no conscience. At some point, they lose their ability to have and show empathy for others, and therefore they feel no guilt for their actions, even in the face of doing great harm to others. Killers often fall into this category, but so can others, such as bullies.

A bully with a sociopathic personality tends to enjoy pushing others around, using them to get what they want, or even causing physical harm to the person. And the problem is that, once they do this, they will feel no remorse. These people have a deep-seated self-preservation motivation but no apparent motivation to help or preserve others.

This combination makes them especially dangerous. Suppose you believe someone in your school who exhibits bullying behaviors is a sociopath. In that case, you should talk to your counselor and see if the person needs an evaluation to decide the best course of action.

The term “sociopath” is often misconstrued with “psychopath,” which brings to mind images of serial killers, but a sociopath is more accurate. Someone with “psychopathic illness” of any kind, in which they are not responsible for their actions, might be considered a psychopath, but a sociopath has no care for others. However, they may NOT be insane legally.

It is important to understand the distinctions between these terms and to realize that Who cannot help the sociopathic personality until they want to be helped. However, it is not a hopeless case. There is help for the person with this personality disorder, but only if they wish to change. If they seek help for their problem, they may be able to rethink their view of others and life and find their conscience once again.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The Narcissistic personality is not dangerous in general like the sociopath is. Still, they may see the world as just existing for them, and therefore they are, in a sense, delusional. The Narcissistic personality doesn’t set out to harm others, but if their illusions are challenged, or they believe someone is getting more attention or fame than them, they may react negatively. One of these ways may include bullying. In the bullying act, such personalities may feel superior to the ones they are picking on and create a sense of power for themselves.

Other Personality Disorders

Several other personality disorders may exist among kids, which may serve as the basis for some bullying behaviors. Some badly disciplined kids experienced a traumatic childhood, or other situations may create a personality disorder. The problem with personality disorders is that they are so interwoven into the fabric of who they are that it is difficult to separate them from their behaviors. Such kids can only change if they truly want to, which comes from a place of morality and ethics that only they can be motivated to address.

Other Types Of Psychological Disorders

Hundreds of disorders, phobias, neuroses and mental problems plague kids sometimes and could be at the root of bullying. This is not implying that this is always the reason. But, if you think that a child has a psychological disorder and that it may be the factor influencing their behavior, there is help to be sought via mental health counseling and therapy.

Talk to your school counselor and see if they could do an observation of the child to determine if further evaluation is needed. When we address these issues head-on, and early, we will begin to make a dent in the problem of disturbed kids at school.

The Effects On The Bullied Victim

Just as there are sometimes psychological disorders underlying the reasons why bullies do what they do, there are also psychological problems that result from such attacks on the part of the victim. Many victims of bullying feel scarred for life in many ways and sought therapy for years after the attack. Why is bullying so devastating?

The answer may lie in the idea of generalized thinking. When a child is bullied by someone else, it is not just about that bully or that one kid. Kids seem to be critical of themselves when bullied and wonder, “Why did they choose me?” “Why did they pick on ME?” causing them to internalize the bullying almost as if it were their fault.

They may also generalize the thinking to circumstances beyond the bullying situation to believe that others in the world will do the same. And this, in turn, can create psychological disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Paranoid Personality Disorder, and others.

For this reason, victims of bullying must receive help from mental health professionals and school counselors immediately following the bullying incident and weeks or even months later. They should be allowed to express their fears to professionals and close family members and openly discuss their experiences. By discussing their experience, they may eliminate some of the frustrations and problems such trauma creates and believe in themselves again.

Some indeed take bullying harder than others. Certain personality types are naturally more prone to letting such an incident get to them. But some of this depends upon the severity of the bullying, whether they had their reputation damaged and lost friends over it (such as in the case of cyberbullying, etc.) and how much support they have from peers and close family members.

Bullies seem to quickly get over the bullying incident and often forget what happened. But the victim does not. Statistics show an alarming fact that many victims of bullying became school shooters later to show others that they did not want to take it. Still, others get involved in other petty crimes when they are still in their teens, and many have adjustment problems that reach far beyond the boundaries of the school grounds.

With cyberbullying playing such a large role in bullying incidents these days, it has become even more important to help kids recover from these incidents and resolve them to prevent such attacks from happening in the future.

It Takes A Village

The old saying, “It takes a village,” could apply here. Bullying is and will continue to be a big problem in our schools and the world in general. We cannot solve all of the world’s problems. But we can do something about it in our schools, communities, and towns. One way is to work with teachers and school officials to form a group to stand against bullying. Only when we make a public statement about the damaging psychological effects of such child behavior will we help the victims (and the bully) to stop these incidents when they occur.

Teaching other kids to stand up for the bullied victim whenever they see it is another way people can get involved and stop the cycle of bullying.

Being more vigilant toward the media and social platforms children are on on the part of parents may also thwart some of the instant access bullies have to their victims online.

There also needs to be more legislation regarding the lines between school and off-campus behaviors and to regulate the problem of cyberbullying and call it what it is: terrorism.

Great psychological harm is being done to bullied victims. And often, the reasons it is done are also due to psychological disorders, including personality disorders and other problems on the part of the bully. More education on these problems is needed, and a higher level of coordination and communication between schools and the community is called for.

This is what we try to do at We are focused on providing resources for parents and communities, and schools, to try to raise awareness and offer resources for bullied victims and their families, and to serve as a resource also for parents of kids who bully to get them the help they need to move forward with better attitudes and respect for others.