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How do respond to a bully when I know that the bully himself is struggling?

15 Answers
Last Updated: 04/03/2018 at 4:36pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
Moderated by

Lisa Meighan, MSc Psychology


Hello, I am Lisa and I work in a person-centred approach mixed with cognitive behavioural therapy. I believe we all have the potential to be the best we can be.

Top Rated Answers
November 7th, 2017 12:10pm
Tell him that what he is doing isn't okay, but also offer your support whenever you can because he will often feel alone.
February 16th, 2015 8:44pm
99 percent of the time the person bullying is dealing with things on their own. Bullies crave a reaction - the best response is no response.
March 15th, 2015 9:22am
Wow, you certainly have good observation skills and compassion since you're here asking this question. :) Good on you! As for this situation, you can be empathetic to the bully, but you should tell him that bullying you won't help him with his issues at all. Tell him that although you understand that he is bullying you because of his problems, he also caused you harm, and you are struggling because of that. But be careful about being empathetic to the point where you're just pitying the bully. Pitying may hurt the bully's pride, which may cause negative impacts to you.
May 2nd, 2015 6:05pm
understand that obviously what they are doing is no excuse for what they have gone through but don't retaliate and remain aware of the fact that they are going through a difficulty even though they are putting you through one too.
May 8th, 2015 12:48pm
Not caring about the bully will kill him inside and make you on the top of him/her. This is the best way
June 17th, 2015 5:30pm
Never embarass him. Be patient and honest and reliable, saying that i have compassion/pity for him and if i can trying to get him on the path of self acceptance. But i protect myself because i cant save everybody
December 22nd, 2015 8:07am
A main cause for a person bullying is because they are having problems of there on. When determining how to respond to it you have to know that the bullying has to stop. And then talk to the bully try to help them come to terms with there problems. If there problems are really severe and you are not capable of handing the momentum of the situation tell about 7cups or provide him with some hotline numbers is what I would do if I were in this situation.
January 19th, 2016 3:16am
sometimes its best to just ignore the bully. if you are concerned with hurting his feelings even tho he is hurting yours in the process then its best to ignore him.
March 7th, 2016 4:36am
Make sure they know that you're not taking this to heart and you are there for them. It is important for the bully to know that you are able to see through the shield they're putting up and you want to help them.
March 7th, 2016 6:14am
Don't take his offences personally. Stay neutral in your feelings - don't show feelings of hurt or anger. Don't try to fight back in public. Try to talk to him privately and just ask him how he's doing. Tell him what you think and ask him if he wants help or just someone to talk to. Show your support. LISTEN. We all have our struggles. You are a very kind and amazing person :)
August 15th, 2016 6:00am
You could try responding to them with empathy and just be kind. Chances are the bully has never had anyone be nice to them and you might be surprised by how it might turn around the negative bully-bullied relationship you have.
June 13th, 2017 6:21pm
Most bullies are hurting people because they are hurt themselves and by hurting you it helps them feel better. When I see a bully I like to ask them what they need. But you can't do this when you are around an audience so you need to pull them to the side and really find out what is going on. Being that support to them may reduce the bullying behaviors.
August 15th, 2017 5:51pm
Do not respond in a negative way. Ask to pull them to the side and talk to them about why they have chose the route they chose. Tell them you are also struggling and can help them find another way to cope with it.
December 11th, 2017 6:59pm
Empathize with your bully. It may be hard, but consider what he is going through. You should respond with compassion and kindness.
April 3rd, 2018 4:36pm
Tell him that the way he's dealing with his problems isn't healthy. And, that doesn't make his problems less valid but it doesn't excuse his actions as well.