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by Ron Kurtus (updated 28 May 2023)

The purpose of the bully is to show status or power by lowering the position of the other person.

Bullying is a predatory competition that can take the forms of a physical attack, verbal abuse, or attacking through electronic media, which is usually called cyber-bullying.

Bullies can be seen in the schoolyard, at work, and at home. Sometimes, the person attacked will counterattack and change the competition into a head-to-head battle.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Predatory competition

In a head-to-head competition, both sides usually agree to compete. One will go on the offense, attacking the opponent or seeking to score points. The other side will be on the defense, preventing any scores until they can go on the offense themselves.

In a predatory competition—such as bullying—one side attacks the other, who is usually much weaker. The bully attempts to "score points" by physical, verbal or mental abuse. The victim of the bullying often will not defend himself or herself. If there is some defense, the bully will often punish the person even more.

A new form of bullying is called cyber-bullying, where the bully may send nasty emails or post abusive material on a social media site, such as Facebook.


There can be bullies in the schoolyard, at work and at home.


A schoolyard bully will often pick smaller and younger children, pushing them around, taking their lunch money, or making them cry. This type of bully is usually a boy, but there are girls that act tough and bully others too. The schoolyard bully enjoys to see other children cower and do what he wants with little resistance. He will beat up those that try to defend themselves.

Student bullies will often insult and demean their victims.


In the workplace, there are bosses who are bullies. They have the power to fire their workers, so they use that power to demean the workers and make them feel insignificant. The boss builds himself up at the expense of his subordinates. Again, the workplace bully is usually a male supervisor, although there are many female bullies too.


There are marriages where one spouse will bully the other with verbal and psychological abuse. Men will act rude and disrespectful to their wives, who seldom fight back. But also there are women who bully their husbands, who will just stand there and take the verbal abuse.

Head-to-head surprise

Sometimes a bully will attack a person who will surprisingly fight back. Although the bully usually picks on someone weaker, he or she may underestimate the foe. In such a case, it may turn into a head-to-head competition or battle.

Since bullies are usually not accustomed to having defend themselves, they may become cowards and run from the counterattack. Or they may be thoroughly beaten.

There are several examples of bullies getting their comeuppance. One case is when several victims gang up on a schoolyard bully. At the workplace, an demeaned worker will quit the job at at critical moment in a project. Or the worker will file a discrimination suit against the boss. In a dysfunctional marriage, the abused spouse may file for divorce.


A bully picks on a weaker person to prove he or she is more powerful. Bullying is a form of predatory competition where one side is attacking and the other side is only trying to defend him- or herself. Sometimes, the defending person will counter-attack and change the competition into a head-to-head battle, even defeating the bully.

No one likes a bully

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