What Is Bullying & Tips for Breaking Free

Were you bullied as a child? Are you being bullied now? Have you been the bully? Whatever the circumstances, bullying is harmful. It can damage your self-esteem and alter the way you see yourself. Bullying can also damage close friendships and relationships— often to the point where their hard to repair.

If you’re being bullied, there are strategies for dealing with it and getting help.

If you’re the bully, it is never too late to change your ways, seek forgiveness from those you’ve hurt and find peace.

Are You Being Bullied?

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if you’re being bullied, or if it’s just conflict. Bullying is when someone is being super aggressive towards another and there is an imbalance of power. This scenario is often repeated over and over. Here are the most common signs of bullying from people who’ve reached out to TheHopeLine:

  • Verbal, Physical, or Emotional Abuse
  • Mockery
  • Public Humiliation
  • Isolating and Abandoning Others
  • Damaging Others’ Property or Belongings
  • Online Harassment

Like other types of abuse, bullying can leave physical and emotional scars. You could feel depressed and anxious, even when the person bullying you isn’t around. Being bullied might make you so fearful that you avoid being around people and doing things you’d otherwise love to be doing.

Breaking the cycle of bullying starts with reaching out to people who can help you, in a place where you feel safe. That could mean talking to an administrator in your school, chatting with TheHopeLine, talking to your pastor or therapist, or calling a friend or family member you trust. In many cases, people build a network of support from more than one place.

Have You Been the Bully?

People who have been bullied aren’t the only ones hurt by the unkind actions, thoughts, and words. If you’ve been a bully, you’ve likely experienced guilt, shame, and fear. The hurtful patterns you’ve developed will repeat themselves in a new relationships or friendships you actually want to get right. The good part is you can stop this toxic cycle of abuse.

It’s likely the pain you’ve caused others comes from your own unresolved pain or trauma.  Maybe, in your darkest moments, you felt you wanted to punish yourself. You are not your past choices. You can get confidential help without fear of judgement. You can find a way to accept your faults, and forgive yourself  for your mistakes.

Breaking Free From Bullying

Whether you’ve been bullied in the past, or have been cruel to others, your difficult and painful experiences do not define you, and they don’t have to shape your future. You can free yourself from the harmful impact of bullying on your self-worth.

We’ve seen people who have been bullied reclaim their confidence. We’ve helped people who have hurt others understand the roots of their own pain, and work toward greater kindness and compassion. No matter how dark things have seemed in the past, you can heal from the painful scars of bullying, and that healing can start today. Not sure what to do first? Chat with a HopeCoach!

We have lots of resources (blogs, ebooks, podcasts, and more) to help you sort through the difficult emotions caused by bullying. Search our library for answers to important questions like:

  • Will someone who is abusive ever change?
  • How does faith help heal a broken heart?
  • How can I learn to love myself again after being bullied?

FAQ on Bullying:

How Do You Stick Up for Someone?

If you see someone using their power to harm someone else physically or emotionally: Decide if you have the tools to rectify the situation without putting yourself in harm’s way. Speak comfort to the person being bullied. Offer a listening ear or a hug. Tell someone in authority about the abuse of power. The only way we’re going to defeat a problem this pervasive is by supporting one another.

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Most Recent Blogs on Bullying

What Is the Relationship Between Bullying and Depression?


Most of us are familiar with the statistics–victims of bullying, as well as the bullies themselves, are at a higher risk of depression and other mental illnesses than those who never encounter bullying. Mental health research has even been looking at the link between bullying and suicide, further cementing the..Read more

Bullying: Living in Fear


I Tried to Be Invisible I was trying to get to my desk in history class when he said it. Twenty years later I can still tell you that he was wearing a burgundy shirt that day. I remember that he started to walk away and then turned back for one..Read more

Am I a Bad Person if I Don’t Stick Up for People Who Are Different Than Me?


If you’re wondering how to deal with bullies, you’re absolutely not alone. Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Bullies can be kids. They can be adults. They can be students. They can be teachers. They can be coworkers. They can be bosses. They can be baristas. They can..Read more

How Does Childhood Bullying Play a Role in Future Relationships?


You Can Have Strong Relationships After Being Bullied Bullying is a difficult thing to overcome, especially if it happens to us as children. We recently got a message from someone who lived through childhood bullying, and I think their struggle is one many can relate to: "I was bullied as a kid,..Read more

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Podcasts about Bullying :

Videos on Bullying:

eBooks on Bullying :

Ask Dawson:

Stories on Bullying :

Bullying: They Hated Me So I Hated Myself


I’m Dewinsar and I’m 19. Every day after going to school, I just sit in my room doing nothing. I wonder why I’m still going to school. No one wants me there. They hate me and said that I’m not wanted. They push me away like I’m a monster. Sometimes..Read more

Suicidal and Depressed: I Was Worthless and Ugly


I Thought My Brain Was Broken I hope I haven’t always been, but ever since I was little I used to think there was always something telling me I was worthless and ugly; I thought my brain was broken. When I grew up my brother was going through a hard..Read more

My Suicidal Battle, I Felt Worthless


A Nobody That Deserved to Die Death is what I desired as I thought it was the only solution. The voices in my head were too much. It broke my heart into pieces and my soul was engulfed with sorrow. I felt worthless, I thought that I was a nobody..Read more

Eating Disorder: I Stopped Eating to Become “Good Enough”


I had to think long and hard about if I should share my story. Then I came to the conclusion that it would be worth it if it lets someone else know they aren’t alone, and it could be therapeutic for me. So here is my story and what led..Read more

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Resources for Bullying :

Spiritual Perspective :

Verses of Hope

Free eBooks


Free eBook: Understanding a Relationship with God

Free eBook: Understanding a Relationship with God Do You Feel Like Life is Meaningless? Are you wondering what your purpose is? Do you have questions about what Christians believe or what it means to be a Christian? At TheHopeLine we believe real and lasting HOPE can only come through a relationship with Jesus. And this […]

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Additional Resources

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