What Is Bullying & Tips for Breaking Free

Were you bullied as a child? Is someone you’re related to, or in a romantic relationship with, bullying you now? Did something cause you to bully others in the past? Whatever the circumstances, bullying can damage close friendships and relationships— often beyond repair.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t find peace.

Are You Being Bullied?

When people are close to you, it’s sometimes hard to tell if you’re being bullied, or if someone in your life just needs help with anger management. Here are the most common signs of bullying we’ve seen from people who’ve reached out 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 likely feel depressed and anxious, even when the person bullying you isn’t around. Being bullied might make you so fearful of other pain or trauma that you avoid being around people and doing things you’d otherwise love.

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 live chatting or emailing one of our mentors, 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 safe relationship.

Have You Been a Bully?

People who have been bullied aren’t the only ones hurt by the unkind actions, thoughts, and words. If you’ve ever been a bully, you’ve likely experienced guilt, shame, and fear the hurtful patterns will repeat themselves in a new relationship or friendship that you want to get right.

It’s likely that the pain you’ve caused others comes from your own unresolved pain or trauma,  Maybe, in your darkest moments, you’ve felt you wanted to punish yourself with self-harm or suicide. 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 unkind 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? Request prayer, or an email from a mentor at TheHopeLine.

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.

Learn more

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Most Recent Blogs on Bullying

How to Respond to Hate With Love


Hate is defined as an “intense, passionate dislike” between people. Individuals can hate other individuals, or groups can form based on their hatred of people they perceive as different from them. Perhaps you’ve been treated hatefully by someone else, or you’ve seen a friend or family member be treated that way...Read more

What to do if you are being bullied


If You Are Being Bullied: What To Do Did you know that 1 in 7 students in grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying? Or how about the fact that 90% of 4th - 8th graders report being victims of bullying. If you are being bullied, you're..Read more

This May Be Why You Bully Others (Here’s What to Do)


Understand Why You're Bullying Sometimes we realize difficult things about ourselves. If you’ve noticed yourself blowing up at others or lashing out when you’re afraid you won’t get what you want or need, you could be bullying people around you. While that can be hard to accept, I want to commend you..Read more

The Toxic Name I Lived By—and How I Broke Free


Finding Freedom From Labels   Middle school. Seventh grade. That was the year I began living by the name that stripped me of my self-worth. “Stupid.” The first time I heard that name, it was from a couple of my neighborhood friends. I loved to make them laugh. And they laughed at stupid things...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. Everyday 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 I..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

Don’t Lose Hope In Tough Times. There Is More.


When you're losing hope, it's not always helpful to have someone tell you what to do or explain where you went wrong. You need someone to listen, to be there for you, and to remind you that you were created for a purpose. I rediscovered my sense of hope in..Read more

One of the Biggest Reasons I Never Killed Myself


You Are Not Alone in Your Struggles You know probably one of the biggest reasons I never committed suicide as a teenager, was because every Sunday night at 10 p.m. I’d go to my room and turn on my radio, plug in my headphones and listen to the Dawson McAllister..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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