Why do insecure people feel the need to pick on people when they know what it's like to be picked on?
Last Updated: 05/14/2019 at 6:14pm
Rory Boutilier, Registered Professional Counsellor
I use a human-centered approach to help you reach your goals. You are the expert on you! Particular areas: life changes, decision-making, men's issues.
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From someone who was both a victim of bullying and a bully, I'll say this: When I was in pain, even though I knew what I was doing was wrong, hurting someone else gave me a moment of 'control' that I didn't have. I was bullied at school, abused at home, and I'd tried many times to reach out to others, but after many, many failures thought that no one cared. Abuse was -familiar- to me. I knew abuse more than I understood anything else. I didn't -want- to hurt other people, but at the same time I truly believed no one loved me or cared. I figured it was better to be hated, then to get close to another and risk getting hurt again. For a bully, It's a brief moment of feeling like you are on top of the world, and nothing can hurt you, and as someone who's been hurt many, many times... That feeling can be incredibly addictive, and you'll do anything to feel 'powerful'. I was insecure at myself, bitter and furious at the 'wrongs' I felt the world placed on me, and I wanted to show others the pain I felt. Is it logical? No, not at all. Was it right to hurt others for my own sake? Course not. But when you are hurting, being abused, alone and in pain, you'll take almost -anything- to kill the pain. Some self harm, some drink their pain away or otherwise, and some abuse others. As for me? I wanted nothing more than to forget the pain in my own heart, and to feel like the world wasn't constantly crumbling under my feet. I didn't want to hurt anymore. I didn't want to cry. I wanted to feel like, even for a moment that I had -value-. I'm sure there's a lot of people out there that can relate to this. And despite how many bullies are often in denial, I can tell you a lot of them know what they are doing is wrong, and they know what it feels like to be in pain. They drown themselves in denial to avoid feeling even further pain from their cognitive dissonance. It's a cruel world sometimes, and everyone chooses different ways to deal with it, healthy or not. I'm not sure if -this- was the answer you're looking for, but hope this helps in giving you a glimpse into a former bully's head.
In my opinion, being insecure is feeling completely vulnerable about what you are insecure about. So it is easier to attack someone and pick on someone as a self-defense mechanism (even if they are the nicest person) to ensure that you are the 'attacker' not 'attackee' and deter people from messing with you. It also distracts people from your insecurity. That is why it is commonly referred to as reflecting your self image on others, if you believe you are not beautiful, you will make fun of others who are not beautiful.
Usually those that pick on people have inner conflict. The old saying "hurt people, hurt people" is very true. Most people who are hurting others are hurting inside themselves.
When people have been bullied, they often become a bully because they have felt inferior and want others to feel the same to "gain" power back. It is a sort of revenge act.
Often, they do not do it consciously, but by automation - it's what they know. In many cases, if you confront them with this question, they will be baffled; and hopefully realize their mistakes and change.
they do it because they have the need to feel better and put others down the way they have been put down.
Because, they do not know what else to do to get these feelings to go away, some of use more harmful methods and less harmful methods to getting rid of these kind of feelings.
I think they are trying to hide their own problems with bullying and might think that this will make them feel strong and rise their self esteem.
Because they want the person to feel like them
This is a great question, because it can be applied to so many situations in life. I've always thought that it relates to this sort of inbuilt hierarchical requirement we have in life. If a person is being bullied, the reason they'll then bully someone else is to convince themself that they're not at the absolute bottom of that hierarchical structure - ie. that as low as they feel, there's someone else lower. Clearly it doesn't work, because it doesn't stop the original bullying from happening, and it requires a lot of effort to subject the victim(s) to that ongoing treatment - basically, it changes nothing, other than to make more people unhappy.
From what I can tell, it's because they want to regain the power taken from them. If they had previously been bullied, they might feel insecure and powerless. From their previous experiences, they only know of one way to take power, which just happens to be the same way they lost their own power.
People like that puck on people who cant defend themselves, so that they could feel strong and that they have power over this person, because they didnt have power on the people that picks on them, so they feel weak, thus they need someone to pick on to feel strong, and the cycle lasts forever
Because then the person they pick on has the same level of insecurity that they have and they feel equal and more powerful. It is sad really, but true. One has to be ready to manage this behaviour by treating it with silence. It is important to know the signs and watch out for this kind of behaviour and not to take it personally or seriously. Insecurity eats away at people and sometimes it stems from a bad experience that someone has had in their childhood or adult life. This makes them behave in this way. it is cause and effect.
Perhaps it is their way to feel powerful for once. Strangely enough we don't always learn from our own experience.
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