Bullies: Types and causes

May 13, 2010|By Diana Olson

Part 2

Because bullying is a current problem in the home, schools, workplace and cyberspace, I want to fully address the subject.

There are different types of bullies. It is important to be able to identify bullies in the home, school and workplace. Author Susan Coloraso identifies different types of bullies:

1) Hyperactive bullies are void of social or physical cues.

2) Detached bullies plan attacks and are charming to everyone but the victims.

3) Social bullies have a poor sense of self and use manipulation, gossip and meanness.

4) Bullied bullies get relief from their own sense of helplessness.


5) Victims of bullying at home bully other, weaker ones.

6) Those lacking social skills are unable to think deeply about conflicts and solutions.

I want to add another type of bully: cyberspace bullies, who often target those with low self-esteem, are passive, withdrawn, and those who have difficulty solving problems that seem to be insurmountable.

Those who are most vulnerable to the bullies often have negative self-talk, pessimism, low tolerance for frustration, and give up easily.

According to research, there are various circumstances that create bullies. Dr. Larry Craft, author/developer of the Parenting Profile Questionnaire and Three Dimensions of Success, stated that bullies often have low self-esteem and worth because of possible destructive criticism, anger and abuse in their home. In the home, some parents use destructive criticism, in which the character is attacked rather than the behavior.

Mastery of a skill contributes to development of self-esteem. If negative labels are used to discredit the child, this can create a child who can be afraid to take initiative and is afraid of failure, and is unable to develop self-esteem.

Because of this treatment, bullies may be created that possess low empathy, sensitivity toward others, and lack successful peer relationships. Self-confidence occurs with healthy social relationships.

Other key reasons that bullies are created are: critical or absent parents, those who lack loving discipline, boundaries, compassion and empathy. Bullies can lack compassion and empathy because they have been influenced by a parent’s prejudices about sex, wealth, race and achievement. Aggression is rewarded, and then there is intolerance and humiliation toward others. From the negative parental role models, they learned how to demean others in order to feel better about themselves.

An opposite type of bully may have excellent self-esteem, a sense of entitlement and superiority over others, but lack empathy, compassion, impulse control and social skills. They may enjoy being cruel and have difficulty with anger management.

Get in touch DIANA OLSON, MA, AICI, CIP, is an image/etiquette and civility specialist who conducts consultations and seminars. “Petite Etiquette for Parents & Children” classes will be held May 22, June 19, and July 17. E-mail her at, phone (626) 584-9761 or go online to

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