How Bullying May Shape Adolescent Brains

While studies have long focused on bullying’s impact on the body and nervous system, research suggests it may affect victims’ brain structure, too.

In recent years, a steadily increasing volume of data has demonstrated that peer victimization — the clinical term for bullying — impacts hundreds of millions of children and adolescents, with the effects sometimes lasting years and, possibly, decades. The problem is even recognized as a global health challenge by the World Health Organization and the United Nations. And yet, researchers maintain there is still a limited understanding of how the behavior may physically shape the developing brain.

Researchers believe more than 3.2 million American students experience bullying every year. That’s about 1 percent of the nation’s total population.

Bullying is usually defined as repeated and intentional verbal, physical, and anti-social behavior that seeks to intimidate, harm, or marginalize someone perceived as smaller, weaker, or less powerful. Among younger children, common forms of bullying include abusive language and physical harm. This behavior may grow subtler with age as adolescent bullies routinely exclude, insult, and mock their targets. Sometimes this behavior escalates into “mobbing” among groups of bullies in school, work, or cyberspace.

Researchers believe more than 3.2 million American students experience bullying every year. That’s about 1 percent of the nation’s total population. Among these students, about 10 to 15 percent experience “chronic” or persistent bullying that will last more than six continuous months. Experiencing chronic peer victimization is associated with lower academic achievement, higher unemployment rates, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

Most of the research into the neurobiological processes that might contribute to these negative health outcomes has occurred in the past decade, much of it focused on bullying’s impact on the body’s stress response system. A paper published last December in the journal Molecular Psychiatry sheds some light on a different area: brain architecture. The trauma stemming from chronic bullying can affect the structure of the brain, according to longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data collected by an international team based at King’s College London. The findings echo previous research, which has demonstrated similar changes in children and adults who experienced what’s known as “child maltreatment” — neglect or abuse by adult caregivers.

Long-term changes to the brain’s structure and chemistry are an indicator “of how sinister bullying is” says Tracy Vaillancourt, a developmental psychologist at the University of Ottawa. Along with others in the field, she is hopeful that studies like the one from King’s College will be a catalyst for further research which could ultimately be used to inform policy decisions and support anti-bullying interventions.


The King’s College researchers used a dataset that included clinical, genetic, and, neuroimaging data of 682 youth from France, Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom collected as part of a European research project known as the IMAGEN Study — one of the first longitudinal studies to research adolescent brain development and mental health. In longitudinal studies, data is collected over a number of years. This allows researchers to track kids over time and determine whether certain experiences — such as being bullied — are associated with structural changes in the brain. The youth completed questionnaires at ages 14, 16, and 19 on the extent of bullying in their daily lives. MRI scans were acquired at ages 14 and 19. The researchers identified nine regions (left and right) of interest that are associated with stress and maltreatment.

It’s not possible to tell whether the decreased volume depicted on the MRI represents a permanent or temporary state.

Analyzing changes in brain volume at age 19, they found that participants who experienced chronic bullying had significantly steeper decreases in the volume of two regions involved in movement and learning — the left putamen and left caudate — with the former showing the stronger effect. These participants also experienced higher levels of generalized anxiety.

“The relationship between peer victimization and generalized anxiety was due at least in part to these steeper decreases in volume,” says Erin Burke Quinlan, a neuroscientist at King’s College London and the paper’s lead author. She says this “suggests — similar to the maltreatment literature — that the areas of the brain are getting almost too small.” An earlier study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 2010 also reported abnormalities in certain brain regions that correlated to reported verbal abuse by peers, though the research was not longitudinal and involved participants aged 18 and older. Even though her work shows changes over time, Quinlan notes that “the brain is plastic throughout our life. That’s how we continue to learn, that’s how environment continues to shape our behavior.” So it’s not possible to tell whether the decreased volume depicted on the MRI represents a permanent or temporary state.



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Research on the neurobiology of peer victimization is roughly 15 years behind similar research on child maltreatment, says Vaillancourt, a Canada Research Chair in Children’s Mental Health and Violence Prevention at the University of Ottawa. “Just saying maltreated children ‘were sad’ was not enough to get funding” for research and targeted interventions, she says. That change didn’t occur until experts testified before Congress and showed brain scans of children who had been maltreated. Vaillancourt believes the scans provided persuasive evidence that children are measurably impacted by abuse and neglect. The study of chronic bullying, she suggests, could follow a similar path.

Quinlan’s team was not able to determine which biological mechanism altered the brain volume of the youth in their study. Vaillancourt and other researchers suggest that findings from the child maltreatment literature could provide one possible explanation. In these studies, “toxic” stress and the stress hormone cortisol appear to alter brain development.

The body’s stress response is regulated by the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis. The hypothalamus — an almond-sized region near the base of the brain — helps regulate vital sensory data such as metabolism, sleep, temperature, hunger, thirst, and, emotions. The hypothalamus is activated by the amygdala — an important region for processing emotions — when danger is detected. Following their initial release of adrenaline, if danger continues to be perceived, the adrenal glands release cortisol into the bloodstream. Higher levels of cortisol allow the body to operate at higher performance when it is exposed to an acute stressor. But chronic stress — such as experiencing persistent bullying — could have just the opposite effect because memory, cognition, sleep, appetite and other functions are continually on “alert” and not allowed to repair.

Cortisol receptors are in most cells throughout the body. The toxic stress of experiencing chronic bullying could lead to damage to receptor sites and the death of neural cells, some researchers believe, and thus the many downstream negative outcomes, such as lower academic achievement and depression.

Romero has studied elevated rates of bullying, depression, and suicide ideation among Latina teens.

The literature consistently finds that maltreated and bullied youth typically have low cortisol, says Vaillancourt. “That is very important because we see that blunted cortisol signature with other psychiatric issues that are associated with extreme trauma [such as in] post-traumatic stress disorder, individuals who come back from combat or who have been repeatedly raped, or in concentration camps during the Holocaust,” she says.

The longitudinal data of Quinlan’s team is “fascinating,” says Andrea J. Romero, a social psychologist at the University of Arizona who researches the intersections of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, and psychology. It “doesn’t seem far-fetched and makes sense during the adolescent period because it is a period of critical growth.” It’s interesting, Romero adds, “to think there are direct physiological pathways of social experience that are affecting mental health.”

Romero has collected data on peer victimization as well, including a study on the elevated rates of bullying, depression, and suicide ideation among Latina teens. The psychologist echoes Vaillancourt’s belief that neuroimaging could have a powerful impact on government and policy interventions to address bullying. But additional qualitative research is also needed, she says. For example, this could take the form of a daily diary where young people as early as fourth or fifth grade document their bullying experiences. The results “might be very unique based on intersections of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and gender expression,” says Romero.

One of the most interesting findings by Quinlan’s team, Vaillancourt adds, were the brain regions that experienced the steepest decreases in volume. “The regions that they are correlating with peer victimization did not seem obvious to me,” she says.

“They’re looking at things that are historically related to motor control, so I was kind or surprised by that,” Vaillancourt adds.

Vaillancourt says that the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) “or another region implicated in social pain research” may have been a more obvious choice. The ACC is one of the brain regions that processes physical pain. That same neural circuitry is activated when someone experiences the “social pain” of events such as grief, rejection, exclusion, humiliation, or bullying, according to a number of studies over the past decade.

The participants in IMAGEN are largely Caucasian, Western European, and middle class, says Quinlan. The researchers are keen to add socioeconomic and racial diversity to their sample. The team is now working with researchers in China, India, and the United States to share neuroimaging and genetic data of adolescents and young adults.

The next steps in the research, says Quinlan, will be to review data from the latest phase at age 22. The researchers collected a significant amount of brain imaging data in addition to genetic and epigenetic data. Through the end of this year, the team is also planning the fourth follow-up for ages 25 and 26.

“What I theorize was that if I were to image the brains in early adulthood, say age 25, that perhaps by then these processes will continue. So, when they are adults these [brain] regions would be significantly smaller,” says Quinlan. “But that was a limitation in that we don’t yet have that brain data available, but we hope to in the next two to three years.”


UPDATE: A previous version of this piece incorrectly described Tracy Vaillancourt as a clinical psychologist. She is a developmental psychologist.

Rod McCullom is a science journalist in Chicago. His work has been published by Undark, ABC News, The Atlantic, The Nation, Scientific American, and Nature, among other publications.

Top visual: MoMorad / Getty Images
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66 comments / Join the Discussion

    Just wanted a clarification, the article says at one point that kids who are bullied are found to have “low” cortisol, is this a mis-print? Logically it sounds like it should be “high” -“The literature consistently finds that maltreated and bullied youth typically have low cortisol, says Vaillancourt” If cotrisol is low I’m curious about the mechanism given cortisol would be released as a result of the chronic stress. Does the body’s store of it get depleted over time?

    Reply

    I was bullied as a kid, really bad. I decided to fight back when I was 16….I am 50 now. All I can say, is (LOL) bring it on. When I was 16 I realized I can kick anyone’s bottom….try me!

    HC

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    because of bullying i now have ptsd that is worse than the guys coming home from Iraq depression functional movement disorder which is a severe neurological disorder bipolar disorder schizophrenia schizoafective disorder anxiety
    i will now be living with mental illness for the rest of my life because of bullying and it was not just other students that bullied me also many adults and teachers did as well
    today i have learned to make the best of what i have been given but i have a hard time with emotions making friends trusting people among other things
    one must learn from this costly mistake don’t let anyone else end up like me mentally ill for the rest of their lives because you couldn’t act nicely and i say this to adults as well because many of my abusers were adults and teachers the very people i was told to trust when i was growing up
    if you can’t act nicely and encourage a kids interests then you need to reexamine your life and make sure your impact on others is not bad because you don’t realize how much damage one person can do on a kid because it only takes one person to cause a kid to be mentally ill for the rest of their lives
    this is my warning to America please learn this message before it is to late

    Reply

    I appreciate you including the astounding finding that motor skills seen to be diminished in bully targets.

    Is this causation or correlation? Many of us already were the last children chosen at recess because we were clumsy. Additionally, some of us were being abused at home with the attendant bruising, malnutrition, and underdevelopment.

    This does, at least, explain yet another reason, along with head injuries that my typing skills improve little, if at all, with practice. Of course, it will not satisfy the liars who claim I/we are too lazy to learn that or other motor skills.

    Reply

    This topic, I’m sure, is as old as time. We just didn’t give it the focus and attention we do today and we also did not have names for the various conditions many children suffer (ADD, ADHD, Aspergers, etc.)

    As the one poster here mentioned, feeling like and considering yourself a “warrior” can help with these situations in life. But can they, really? Perhaps the poster only “feels” much better and therefore, the effects of bullying doesn’t hurt so much anymore. Because he can knock it down if need be, when it’s a one on one situation. Perhaps, because he knows developed better posture and a brighter outlook. that, he feels safter and somehow, insulated, against bullying? But PHYSICAL is only part of the battle, isn’t it? What about the whole other part of it?

    Perhaps, being bullied, mistreated, disrespected, both as a child and as an adult, is a fact of life that I just cannot imagine any laws or hyper-focus, halting it forever.
    Some people are just plain mean, imho. Others are plain ignorant. The two combined, are dangerous, for sure.

    Some bullied persons, seem to blame the bullying they encountered on their own race, alone. And that may well be a valid claim. Yet, sadly, racism isn’t likely to disappear, due to any particular legislation, either.

    I believe that there is much in our world, that leads to bullies/bullying and other forms of denigrating another person, animal, , etc., It is the multitude of not so great changes in our society over the past 50 years or so. It’s like everyone wants/needs to be a star, an influencer, a trend setter, SOMEONE who gets noticed, above and beyond the rest. Not necessarily for any particular talent they posses or a high I.Q., but just because they may feel that they are NOBODY, unless they make a big spalsh. Even if that splash is overall negative. With the advent of the Internet and social media, life certainly changed and not all for the better. Technology has a way of accomplishing that. And the positives of technological advances drives much of the competition in our world. And yes, it filters right down to our children. Children who already see their parents more engaged with technology than they are engaged with their family members and their communities.

    In a world, where a child needs the latest, greatest, most expensive phone or pad, in order to be accepted, then yes, that’s a major negative. If their clothing isn’t the best or most trendy, then that’s a big negative.
    Many more things than these, of course. Just a few examples. In response, you have parents working sometimes two jobs to try to get their children more acceptable items or clothing, etc.. Trying to save for that big vacations they can all post about, and awe everyone. WHY? To be accepted? Respected? Liked? Treated fairly? How many Facebook posts and many others, are untruthful, by painting a picture of their lives, that just don’t really exist? Which creates yet even more competition about just LIVING, right down to body image!

    What IS the importance of family? Shouldn’t caring and kindness be the primary focus in families? What can possibly matter more to us? No matter what else is going on in the world, families should be there, caring, supporting, fostering good values, and loving one another regardless. Sticking up for one another, when needed, and never being too busy to listen or to care. And never being too tired, too over-burdened to stay plugged into each other. Yet, with the struggle to make ends meet in today’s world, that’s just not how it works and that seems to have become acceptable. We have experts telling us repeatedly how “resilient” kids are, yet statistics would paint quite a different picture of our children. The multitude of mental disorders/dysfuntions, Often unaddressed until some of those things lead to a life of crime or early death in our children.

    Do people really just “snap”, or are they damaged from a liftetime of misfortune, mistreatment, and insecurities they cannot overcome/address in a positive manner?

    Perhaps if we could just say, through both action and words, that we like someone else just fine, no matter what they wear, what they drive, how much money they make or don’t make, then just maybe the world may evolve into a better, safer, healthier place in which to live and thrive. Of course, we are not all the same. We do not NEED to be all the same. Our diversity, differing cultures and skin tones, different philosophies and different ways of thinking, different languages, are all as colorful and dynamic as each one of us, as individuals. Just what is it that we fear so much, that we cannot learn to believe that yes, we all deserve the same basic things in life? Peace in our lives and a certain license to live it as we see fit. WITHOUT feeling the need to put down, denigrate, bully or try to subjugate anyone who is different from ourselves! Are we not ALL on this planet together? Do we not all deserve peace in our lives? A livable wage so we do not need to endure the pain of standing in live at foodbanks, so we can feed our children and our familieis and maybe even help a neighbor or friend in need, as well? Where did we get so far off course of the really important things in this life and so hung up on the haves and the have-nots?

    Bullies should be publically reprimanded. Swiftly and effectively. Totally NOT tolerated. No child should become wrecked due to bullying. No adult should need to leave their jobs due to bullying/disrespect. These are all major influences upon our lives and can damage our self respect, self esteem and leave us adrift. Not everyone is built to overcome such things happening to them. And no one should feel that the only way out of such miseries, is to end their own precious lives. Or to take the lives of others, because their own pain and misery is just too much. Isn’t the broken and tattered life just as important as the life of anyone else? We have large numbers of our society, at every level, who suffer because they do not know what to do, where to turn, how to start over. In both the haves and the have-not camps of living. That just shouldn’t be. If we can open our hearts and become more mindful of both our actions and our behaviors, perhaps we can begin to turn the tide of despair that exists today in many areas of our society.

    Not sure I’ve added much to what is is both a complex and troubling topic. I feel strongly that many of these maladies in our lives, can and do lead to damage, of varying kinds and degrees. And not necessarily just damage from bullying. We CAN do better as a brotherhood and sisterhood of people who do not want or need the moon, so to speak, but who just want and appreciate peace in our lives and by valuing the right of everyone else to also have peace in their own lives, by being cared about and treated well, regardless of where they came from or what their culture or clothing may be. I think we ALL have far more in us, to give to one another, than what we often display. Perhaps we’re just too concerned that it may not be “cool”, to show it, live it and be it, or perhaps we just never were taught how.

    Reply

    I’m just going to keep it simple due to my tendency to talk too much. I bullied people when I was a child nearly immediately after starting school. Not only my fellow peers but also any authoritative adult in my presence. It’s what I witnessed in life, the strong prey on the weak. I believed myself to be weak. My own insecurities made me act out to secure my place in the social hierarchy not as a victim. Around my 6th year in school I came to understand that I was going about it in the wrong way and stopped victimizing the weak. I started bullying the bullies. I found it to be much more socially acceptable and my “weaker” peers began to “respect” me more. I started to feel like I could just fit in this social system better. This pretty much continued to be the case until I graduated high school, at which point I came to no longer even care about social structures and went my own way.

    With that little anecdote out of the way, how is anyone even surprised by the information presented here? We already know that environmental influences affect phenotypic variation. This whole “study” is just a means to secure funding for more studies leading to the development of “treatments”. Whether they be psychological, pharmacologic, or some combination thereof. The end game almost certainly being to make a living off the suffering of others. All hail our saviors, capitalism is great..

    Reply

    Our organization the Shimmer, Sparkle, Shine Project realizes that in this imperfect world, as much as we try to teach about anti-bullying, our youth may very well still be be targets. So instead of an anti-bullying program we give young girls tools they can use to control their reaction to others actions. We focus on 5 keys THEY can control. Those keys are:

    1. Personality – During this key Sparklers review personality traits in women they look up to and discuss how they can embrace their own unique personalities and share them with the world.
    2. Good Friends vs Bad Friends – Girls learn to recognize the difference between good friendships and bad friendships. Sparklers also discuss how to be a good friend to others and how to create healthy and uplifting relationships.
    3. Making Your Mark – Everyone has talents and abilities to share with others. At this key sparklers learn to identify their talents and how to use them to serve and help others.
    4. Comfort in Your Own Skin – The objective of this key is to educate the young girls about programs such as Photoshop, and how they are used to distort our perception of beauty. Our participants are encouraged to shift their mind set and focus on what they love about themselves instead of trying to live up to the media’s unrealistic portrayal and expectations of women.
    5. Healthy Living – There’s even more to a healthy lifestyle than taking care of our bodies through a healthy diet and staying active. During this key they learn techniques for dealing with stress and taking care of their mental and emotional health.

    We have to teach our youth to LOVE themselves and to LOVE others regardless of their differences. We don’t all need to be alike, or even like each other, but we do need to respect each other. That’s a lost focus these days. It’s an all or none mentality and it’s causing havoc in our youth.

    Reply

    Well yeah. Verbal, mental and verbal abuse aka “bullying” tends to have an effect on the brain. If its ADULTS being abused, they get help to get out of the situation. If kids are being abused by other kids, they are told to ‘deal with it’. Lets start calling out abuse for what it is, no matter the age its happening from!

    Reply

    #MeToo..Yes, I was a target and it scarred me for life. Even with a reasonably high IQ, I always felt the inability to achieve at a high level. Suffered with insomnia, depression, broken relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, and a general feeling of never “fitting in”. I’m 69 now and have become a hermit. I hate it, but not nearly as much as I hated feelings of not fitting in.
    Though the strangest part is when people tell you, you’re a good, kind, considerate person, with a lot to offer. Smart, knowledgeable, and great at the profession that chose me. Balllroom dancing instructor. The scars from childhood never let me really enjoy it. Now I’m just worn out, and alone.

    Reply

    “THAT ALL MAY BE ONE”,
    OVERCOMES.
    “THE TOO SOON GONE”, our precious children,
    and others, is something we as a nation, must over come,
    and soon. One resource I recommend that muti-fatihs communities,
    and in this 150 Birth Year of Gandhi, the 90th birth year of King,
    and the challenge of GANDHI/KING/MANDELA, a living legacy that
    has overcome world colonial in three major nations, perhaps this is the
    year to do an EXORCISM on the vile, and hatefiling atmospheric environement
    we all have alllow to fester and grow. OUR CHILDREN WILL NOT BE SAFE UNTIL
    WE FILTER THE HATE FROM THE ATMOSPHERIC AIR WE ALL BREATH, THAT MOVE FROM
    THE ADULT STATOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT, STRAIGHT INTO THE INNOCENT AIRS OF
    OF OUR CHILDREN. ITS TIME TO EXORCISE THE DEMONS OF VIOLENCE AND HATE.OUR
    THE RACISM OF AMERICA AS ITS ORIGINAL SIN, IS NOW DEVOURING OUR CHILDREN’S
    FOR A POTENTIAL ENCHANTED WORLD, NOW A HATE FILLING, VIOLENT ATMOSPHERE,
    WE MUST NOW FILTER AND TRANSFORM INTO A BELOVED COMMUNITY AND BELOVED ECONOMY
    WHERE PEOPLE WILL HAVE LESS TAIL WINDS OF DESPAIR AND DESPERATION, AND GREATER HEAD
    WINDS OF LOVE AND COMMUNITY. LET’S SAVE EVERY CHILD ON PLANET EARTH

    Reply

    this whole last few generations are a bunch of sissies ..cant take a little ribbing or criticism ,,its a generation of feminine men and SJW feminazis ,, I am so sick of what our society has become,! and how they shove it down your throat, all over the media with all the TRANS crap, and safe space cry babies!!
    i was picked on as a kid..it didnt make me more of a victim, or turn me into a mass shooter..made me tougher..and more thick skinned , and able to handle tough situations, without curling up into a fetal position and playing the oh poor me game ,,like they all do now.. Jeez we need a bunch more General Pattons in this world, to straighten up these soy boys!!

    Reply

    Interesting article and points made. I was bullied most of my life and I feel that because I was bullied, I have not developed proper coping skills. I do my best on a day to day basis, but I know that because I lack in a lot of areas because of bullying, I feel that I am helpless when it comes to helping other people. People need to be informed/taught what the consequences are when people are bullied I wonder if role reversals would be an effective way to teach people some strong examples of consequences. I know that when I was constantly bullied by the same people, I have told them they might end of regretting it someday. When one of them asked me how, i told him that I would never be a lifeline for him. He didn’t take me seriously then, but I wonder if he would take me seriously now. I do care about people, but I will not waste my time caring about people who bullied me.

    Reply

    I was bullied for all of first grade and about half of second grade. What stopped it was me placing a kiss on one of my tormentors. It just changed everything. I don’t know why, but shortly afterwards I noticed that I was somewhat accept into games and other group activities. I am not gay, but my actions seems to have stopped the worst of the bullying. The bullying affected my whole life as I have a very hard making friends and working in group activities. This affected my professional life as I tended to not be able to work in groups and could not my ideas expressed to others. It also affected my personal life as I had a very hard time getting to know women. I usually had to get a bit drunk to approach a woman.

    Reply

    I was bullied for years as were generally anyone vulnerable (isolated, different) at my school. It seems that those denying it or those like the strange “MGTOW” person, those with no experience of it, learn everything about Bullying from hollywood movies and TV shows, where bullies are stereotypical loud-mouthed brutes in packs of 1-3 who gang up on a student with wedgies and slurs until finally the other students step in and stop them or the victim beats them up.

    In reality the bullies are the entire popular/successful student body, male and female. Those that are the top sports and social stars, those who will go on to be successful, not bag groceries like media myths talk about (“bullies will go nowhere in life”). Bullies come from the wealthiest, strongest families in the area usually, like politician or business leader families. Not the alcoholic single-father trailer parks that Movies show

    They operate as a group, and if you are in a class with 12 of them they will all work together. Nothing crosses the line and none will ever have remorse or step in to say “this is too much”. They don’t do overt things teachers could see. They try to work together to make the victim as uncomfortable as possible the entire school duration. Constant sexual remarks and rumors, constant tripping/hitting/throwing things/pulling chairs/sexual groping (even by straight jocks). The girls usually talk about how ugly/disgusting someone is, quiet enough a teacher can’t hear but loud enough the victim can.

    One defining thing in both the US and Canada both I experienced was that the popular kid caste, the bullies, would also bully any social differences beyond mainstream popular-jock behavior as being signs of homosexuality, and also harass/make fun of any student who says something “smart”. Knowing anything beyond what you are “forced” to learn in school bothers them, knowing things about foreign countries or cultures, scientific facts or showing an interest in things other than sports/partying gets punished. Thank goodness I had the internet to talk to adults about anything from science to fiction to gaming to music to learning languages….

    The following things are taboo (in the bullies vocabulary, “Gay”) and will get you bullied:
    Any religious thing other than Christianity/Judaism including secularism
    Any clothing type they don’t wear
    Any music other than rap and country
    Any gaming beyond sports and FPS (mainstream)
    Hobbies beyond sports/partying/cars
    Large or unknown “big” words that they don’t understand
    Knowing geography, politics or things about foreign countries/cultures
    Foreign languages
    Reading (even required books, they just cheated)
    Knowing scientific facts other than what you’re “forced” to learn in school. They’ll forgive you for knowing any “Gay geek shit” that school makes you learn for a test, but learning voluntarily is “very gay”

    Yeah. Do any of the above and you’ll be harassed and bullied for it, and its permanent.

    The student body never stands up and says “Hey, bully, knock it off” like movies depict, because the bullies are not only a substantial number of the student population, they’re the ones that both staff and lesser students look up to and never want to get in the way of.

    There’s not much teachers can do, both because the bullying happens every minute a teacher isn’t looking (which is most of the time) but also because the popular/athletic students are the most loved by staff/teachers. The only time a teacher got involved when it “Crossed a line” was when one overheard the bullies betting on if one of the students they constantly tormented would commit suicide as they were trying to make said student kill themselves. But the teacher only scolded them for a few minutes so the bullies learned (that pack of them in that one class) to whisper more.

    You can’t get rid of bullying without breaking up the “popular” kid elite class that forms in schools, randomized assigned seating, mixing classes up and forcing groups, and staff monitoring the schools social atmosphere to note when large popular-student groups form to torture other students and collectively break/punish them

    Reply

    i was very quiet and brilliant. IQ 160. I had nothing in common with the local kids. They did not understand me so they just took turns at punching me in the face every day.
    So when people say they are discriminated against. I just laugh because I know they did not get the beatings I got at the hands of the biggest most stupid people in the school. Many of them now politicians and Rich Bankers because their parents had enough push to open doors closed to me.
    I was same race and culture so you cannot complain racial hatred.

    Reply

    The problem isn’t bullying…. The problem is that kids have been feminized to be weak inclusive, sensitive weaklings, and that everyone should get a participation trophy so no one gets their fee fee’s hurt. Let’s reverse this into the adult world, should I get a participation degree in the medical field or legal fields even though I never completed my courses or graduated? I think I deserve something to compensate my feelings. Should I go up to my boss and demand recognition or higher pay just because I showed up for work? Or I’ll do you one even better, why not demand my own climate controlled gender neutral bathroom? How about maternity leave with pay while we’re at it?… Are you assuming my gender?

    I have been a MGTOW monk for 8 years now (long story), I encounter young Men all the time, who are reeling from Feminism’s impact on their lives, they have no direction, no family support, no father, no mentorship, and have no idea what they want to do or where to start? I blame single mother homes, after all 80% of the US prison population resulted from single mother homes. I also blame impotent teachers, and common core brain wash, coz that’s exactly what it is. The elementary school down the street from my house is staffed by 99% Women, and 1% Homosexual Man. There is absolutely NO MASCULINE INFLUENCE IN THESE CHILDREN’S LIVES, and there is absolutely no way you or any “scientist” can tell me that, “this is normal”, without me laughing into your lying face.

    I was lucky to have a father figure in my life, he understood what a “rite of passage” was, and he understood that being bullied and picked on was party of it… It tests your mettle as a Man, no different than how a US Marine Drill Instructor tests the mettle of the soldiers in his charge, a Drill Instructor is the ultimate bully, make no mistake about that. If you think the school bully is bad, you have no idea, or concept of what a real bully is until you join the Marine Corp. But imagine for a moment how effective our military would be without them, there would be no discipline, and no will to fight the enemy. Every boy needs to go thru this rite to learn how to stand up for himself, for if he doesn’t learn how to do so at a young age, how do you expect him to stand up to real world bully’s in the adult world?

    One thing I have learned from my own experience in life, is that there will always be bully’s! So,… Instead of trying to stop bullying, we should be teaching kids on how to confront it, how to counter it, and punch it in the face and break it’s nose. Mastering the skill to stand up to one’s enemies, be they bully’s or tyrants, has always traditionally been a Man’s responsibility, it is as much a crucible of masculinity, as it is a crucible of war… Anything less will ultimately lead to the fall of civilization.

    After all, it only took Feminism 200 years to bring about the Fall of Rome, so tell me… How long do you think Western Civilization has?

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    The Marine Corp does bully in recruit training. The conditions that recruits are put under is means to a positive end in the development of the individual.
    Bullying is a form of sadistic torture. We all get pushed or teased through out life, but when harassment takes on a never ending form with no end in sight with no way out. I will say you can not develop and learn under those conditions. If you are in a high school and you are constent threat, then you are a flight or fight mode continuously. The brain can not focus beyond that.

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    You talk real tough just like your dad taught you but what you wrote basically tells us you are a whiny little wussy with no empathy or understanding beyond your own little world. Strong men like feminists. Weak men are threatened by them.

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    “No father” also, “feminisms fault”.

    I believe you are correlating two entirely different cultural and family structures that do not effect one anther at all. A man without a father, a woman without a father, are equally traumatic and have nothing to do with feminism. It has everything to do with weak narcissistic men who can not handle being responsible as fathers. They can not educate. They do not learn. And they have to systematically blame everything and every one else but them for their failures.

    How does an irresponsible man have anything to do with the movement that is feminism? It doesn’t.

    So, here, we have a man giving an excuse for men who sired children and refused to take care of them. Instead saying “hey look at those darn feminists and how soft they’re making you!” When, in truth, that isn’t it at all.

    It takes a small mind to stoke rage and hatred in those who are suffering. Even worse if that man teaches a child how to use his anger to be hateful, distrustful, and resentful of others.

    Sure, boys, girls, every where in between, if your father or mother left you, be angry with them. Don’t take advice from Sir MGTOW to take it out on other groups or belief systems.

    The best defense and offense against irrational is education. Knowledge is actually the real power. And if you put aside emotion and belief, there’s more in common with these groups who are ignored and repressed with the abandoned children.

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    Your sweeping “feminisation” theory does stand up to scrutiny. All you have done is fit an extreme preconceived conclusion onto a study which we know have very details of beyond that those involved were middle class and from Northern Europe. First, you have no insight into how many of the cases referred to in the above article where physical evidence of changes in the brain was located were brought up in a fatherless households! Since fathers are more generally involved in the parenting of the social groups referred to than many others (say Afro-Caribbean inner city families) it is likely that the assumption you are making which is convenient for your argument is wide of the mark. By the way would you include girls being brought up by a single mother as being “feminised”? And what about girls or boys brought by single fathers? Does this open them to a potentially epoch changing effect of “masculinisation”?

    As for your history it is just as over simplistic and off as your sociology. In what sense was there ever any feminism in the Roman Empire which was a patriarchy from beginning to the end? In any case its fall had complex socio-economic and political causes so pinning it down to just one is absurd. But even if we could if this alleged feminism was so significant why did I take two hundred years to take effect? No serious historian (and I am one) would base their key cause on something which took two centuries to develop. In any case considering ward were far more common before the 21st century killing so many men it follows that there were far less male role models around at a time when you appear to believe that “feminisation” was not an issue. That is some contradiction in your thesis. With men either away at war, dead, at court or any number reasons to be absent, by your theory in the ancient, Middle Ages and early modern period there should have many more feminised men then there are now.

    But it’s your whole philosophy of “feminisation” and the contrived link to feminism which is so dubious and obviously the cause of you remaking reality to fit your theory. There is nothing contrary to the thinking of most feminists about the need for people to stand up to bullies in fact if there is an overriding point here it is that they encourage girls and women to do so as much as males like us should! Historically women have stood up to bullies as long as they have had to i.e. from the very beginning. Boudicca, Joan of Arc and the Resistance women who fought the Nazis in WW II are just some you will have heard of but a quick search of the internet will find many more (for example: https://www.rejectedprincesses.com/women-in-combat). There is also a difference between the military challenging recruits and bullying them but that is another issue just as the point is that even those who were not as lucky as you and I to have had good fathers as role models can still learn to stand up for themselves whatever their gender.

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    Thank you for this ray of sunshine! This article is a bunch of hyper-glossed neurosundance derived from false ideas and high levels of bias. Bullying is highly subjective. To think you can reduce it to brain processes and measure it with changes in brain weight is dehumanizing, just plain stupid, and shows how far what passes for “science” these days is in need of being flushed down the toilet. Misguided, unintelligent feminist ideology masquerading as “science” is truly destroying Western culture.

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    Interesting that commenter Bullets blames bullying on the rise of feminism. He has I guess never met a truly strong woman, or perhaps has and it did not go well.

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    Here is a perfect example of someone with a very limited grasp on how the world works reducing very complex problems to conveniently fit into his very simple narrative. I guarantee you that there is no topic you could bring up that this man couldn’t bring back around to a rant about feminism and participation trophies.

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    The research you cite to support your harangue is unassailable!

    Oh wait, there is none. Because there is no scholarly support for your ideas.

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    Quite simply, bullying today consists of varying types of CRIMINAL ASSAULT, specifically Terroristic Threats, Stalking and Harassment and Assault and Battery. Bullying today is not the same as the bullying that took place in my Junior High School back in the 1960s where one kid would punch the other in the nose and it was over. School bullies operate on a much higher and more deadly level now–the object is NOT to humiliate but to actually kill the other child in one way or another. The idiotic notion that one should teach one’s child to “fight like a man” is the highest form of folly because bullies today typically travel in ARMED packs like wolves. There are documented cases where bullied children have actually been murdered by the bullies or have committed suicide to escape the terrorism. More parents of bullied kids need to resort to involving the police. Bullying is criminal assault. When my daughter was bullied and her property destroyed at school, I informed the principal that the next assault would bring the arrest and jailing of the kids who hurt her. I later found out that I did a service to the whole school because the two girls who were harassing my daughter were also assaulting other kids. No, don’t arm your child or tell them to fight. Involve the police at once and have the bullies arrested!

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    Actually, I agree with some of this. The way to deal with bullies is to find the toughest one one can take and smack him down and then watch the rest back off. Note also that a bully is always a coward and fink and authority figures are generally abusive bullies too so be prepared to fight many of the staff as well who will tend to side with the bullies. Often it is a good technique to have some of the bullies hit one in a public setting, block their blows, and let them hti long enough so they are seen as being the perpetrators. The one who hits back tends to get puished, but then again there are times when that is the right move to make as well. Violence is frequently absolutely necessary or the human history would not be a litany of it. However, it is also important to use violence in a manner that is selective and proportionate so as not to be overly desctutive wasteful and cruel.

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    Wow, you sound like the archetype of a bully. If you have a son, I fear he will be crushed or turned into a bully himself. Hope I’m wrong.

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    I like your approach: “..we should be teaching kids on how to confront it, how to counter it, and punch it in the face and break it’s nose..”.

    This is how I teach my kids:

    Step 1 – Tell the bully to stop
    Step 2 – If they don’t, report the behavior to the authorities
    Step 3 – If everything fails and it gets physical, get serious and defend yourself by all means (with your fists), even for the price of being suspended from school

    Bullies only get stopped by force. Once they are stopped, they’ll never approach again.

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    Wow. your comment was so ignorant and offensive that is scares me that you are someone out there influencing people in your daily life. Did you read the article or are you commenting on the title? From the fact that kids who are bullied come from ALL genders to the offensive assumption that the reason they’re bullied has ANYTHING to do with how sensitive or feminine (a social construct) they are. Kids are bullied because of their skin color, their language, their clothes, how much money they have, their weight…if they have a disability of some kind, their religion, their accent, or ANY way they they are different.
    I am hopeful you are simply a troll looking to get people whipped up and you’re not really as ignorant and closed-minded as you come off.

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    Responding to Bullets MGTOW–The problem isn’t feminism. The problem is the toxic masculinity exemplified in your screed. Bullying is not a rite of passage. Inflicting cruelty is not “toughening up”. There is an undercurrent of unspoken repressed rage in your comment that testifies to the damage inflicted upon you.

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    Yes, there is no question that bullying causes trauma… I also notice a pattern in the comments of highly intelligent, sensitive people somehow being the targets of bullying, and of finding friendships/acceptance among peers later in their school experience (but still carrying insecurities with them for many years). The addition of ADHD to the mix also doesn’t help (when that is a factor). Then, there is an added burden if the child being bullied is from a minority group, or in some other way doesn’t “fit” due to physical or social characteristics.

    So, how do we encourage children that are likely to become targets of bullies? How do we make them resilient? I’m not sure, but a good start might be to identify safe places (outside the environment where the bullying takes place) where they can socialize with and relate to other children more similar to them. Build up the self-esteem of these children. Teach them not to personalize what other people say or think, not to absorb it – and yes, that is much easier said than done, and yes, many adults still have difficulties with that at any age. Teach them to recognize that when someone says or does something mean, or hurtful, that it is not their fault and it is not acceptable. Again, easier said than done.

    As for the bullies, I would like us to come to a day where such behaviour does not come with attention or notoriety, but where other children come stand beside the target or simply say “that’s not ok” and don’t give the negative behaviour any sort of encouragement. If bystanders showed empathy towards the target, then that would defuse a lot of the anger that can start to build up around these experiences. It is also less likely for bullying to escalate when bystanders step up.

    At the very least, we speak about the harm caused by bullying openly now, it is a subject of research and inquiry, which is a quite different situation to decades ago. Children also have very creative solutions and can take action themselves better than the adults around them can prompt – remember the original story behind Pink Shirt Day? Brilliant.

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    I was bullied twice as a child, I’m 60. The first time I had a paper route. The kid my age would have his pals pick on me while on my route. I saw him pedaling his bike by a friend of mine house. He was alone and on his way home. I yanked him off his bike after foot chase. Told him to leave me alone your not so tough without your buddies. The second was an older kid in middle school. He was a 10th grader, I was in the 8th grade. He tripped me one time too many, I decked him and knocked him on his tail. Teacher saw it and asked what happened? He said I tripped, the end. If there was fight in school, you had to put on boxing gloves and settle it.Then shake hands afterwards, no school shootings then. What has changed is the issue in 50 years???

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    I emigrated to Canada at the age of ten. Brown and with a “funny” accent, at first I was deemed amusing as I was average sized and a fairly well socialized. It wasn’t long before I was in middle school and dealing with a particularly rambunctious grade 7 class. The ringleader boys were a nightmare of hyper-sexualized and violent bullying against the girls in our class. This lead to some pretty significant problems for the girls. The gentler boys in our class took on varying degrees of bullying throughout those middle school years. I found my self on an ever-escalating conveyor belt of bullying tactics and attention that culminated in an end-of-middle-school fight that was severe enough to leave me with physical scars that never went away.
    The mental scars manifested as anger and determination to take control of my body. The summer before high school saw my friends and I attending a martial arts class regularly and learning how to handle ourselves. Our physical strength improved greatly as well as our posture as we gained skills and combat experience. I never got into a (out-of-ring) fight again and am now in my mid-fifties. I have been able to defuse several situations over the years and I credit my changed/hardened view of violence and bullying for this peaceful period.
    I strongly advocate the traditional martial arts as a way of “growing” the attitudes of young boys and girls. Boxing, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, etc., teach young people to see fighting differently. The training provides an understanding of the self and the scenario so that, instead of a panic response to a confrontation, a person can maintain composure and clinically analyze their situation. This state of control is in stark contrast to the state of panic that the aggressors in these scenarios are expecting. It often serves to introduce a strong sense of doubt about the expected outcomes of planned bullying. This unexpected doubt serves to open opportunities to diffuse and disrupt the intended activity because, ultimately, bullies don’t want to bully if it seems that they might get hurt; bullies only bully when they expect a sure win. I credit the influence of my teachers over the years for helping me to gain control of myself as a person and for my ability to keep a cool head in the face of a potential adversary. There’s no substitute for the composure that comes from fight training. Knowing how to receive a strike and knowing how to dish one out (I mean – REALLY knowing) puts a look on your face and into your posture that, regardless of your size, causes bullies to pause and rethink the wisdom of their intentions.
    Honestly – you’ve been bullied? You go out and start training and learning and growing? You may not be so lucky as I’ve been – you may very well have to prove yourself in a real world situation. I believe that – and you’ll have to make a decision whether to fight or take flight or do a little of the former before resorting to the latter. BUT – you will be acting with wisdom. You’ll be looking at the situation as a warrior who understands rather than just as prey to the predators. Teach this to your children and they’ll do so much more than survive. They WILL thrive!

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    Thank you for sharing this important research. Indeed, this study needs to be expanded to include people of color. This study could be vital in building on work done looking at micro-aggressions experienced when living as “Other” in a hostile environment (covert or overt).

    Studies of this nature would also be useful in tracking brain changes when the “bullying” and “micro-agressions” persist throughout life, as does Living-While-Black in this country.

    One question I do have is, how does this research link with that of Rachel Jehuda’s work on generational transmission of traumatic experience “memory”?

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    I wonder whether this is a “derailing” of normal aggression and reasonable confrontation of children, when the veneer of learned appropriate social responses has not yet been assimilated.
    If that IS the case; e.g., and as a species, we are “hard-wired” for NORMAL aggression, might we be seeing the result in violence escalation where appropriate behaviors from responsible persons are not able to be recognized, mimicked, learned, or applied?
    If so, does this situation not speak to the concept of open monitored discourse of differences?

    I also was bullied by peers, but perhaps because I am a female, it took different forms in high school. It was CERTAINLY always there, in the background or more rarely in the foreground, but never to the extreme levels I see today.

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    I’ve always “bullied” in response to some unreasonably irritating, abnormal and socially unacceptable defect that for whatever reason really bothered me and made me strongly dislike the person I was seeing it in. I felt compelled out of annoyance and irritation to retaliate against the person for letting their strange, weird, awkward behavior aggravate me. Call me intolerant, I dont care. There’s way too many people on this planet to tolerate the defects.

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    Your statement here is an admission by you that you have a mental illness. Apparently, someone being different can set you off, send you into a rage. You NEED counseling to prevent yourself from being sent to prison eventually for your aberrant responses to people acting or looking different from you.

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    At 60, I read the article and wondered if it applied to me. I’ve been a bully attracter all my life. My younger sister, stronger than I, harassed me constantly. At school, I was the skinny kid with braces and glasses who carried a stingy lunch and wore homemade clothes. I was verbally attacked, set up, and occasionally physically bullied. Girls are awful bullies.

    Studied hard, got the grades my parents wanted, went to college. Attracted the attention of the Dean of Students, who waited until I was ill to call my father to take me home from school out of state. I failed the semester because of it and had trouble getting into another college. Moved out of state and ended up in fast food, then food management. If you think retail is hard, you should try fast food – or management there, where you work 90-100 hr/wk with a progressively lower pay rate for more hours. It affected my health to the point that I had to resign at my doctor’s direction.

    Went back to school, struggled through a degree and found I was good enough for grad school, where I felt like an imposter because I was succeeding. Got a professional job, very rewarding, until a female bully boss ground me up in the gears of academia. I was a department scapegoat, kept my head down, it affected my health but I worked through that. When I required a series of surgeries, and developed narcolepsy, she and the asst. department head started literally changing department policy to target me. I was warned by HR that they were planning to fire me, at age 60, which would have denied my pension and health benefits. I retired at that HR meeting, was met by the two bullies when I returned to my office, and ordered into the department head’s office. I will forever cherish the look on their faces when, as they pulled out the papers to fire me, I announced that I had resigned and was back to clean out my office.

    Lifelong bullying has affected my memory and cognitive function, along with the standard sleep problems (chronic insomnia from hyper-alert state), depression, anxiety, weight gain from cortisol, and [possibly] triggering auto-immune arthritis. From my psychology training, I recognized that I probably have undiagnosed Asperger’s, or Stage I Autism – High Functioning as it is now designated. The bullying from cradle to near the grave left me open to a acquaintance rape, shallow friendships, and a life partner who is verbally abusive, although my psych training allowed me to help break the cycle with our daughter. It would interest me to see my MRI. I wonder what’s affected in my brain.

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    Kitty,
    I also am a life-long bully magnet, and some of my health problems are similar to yours. Your posting resonated with me and gave me food for thought. Thanks for posting, and kudos to you for stopping the cycle.

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    So sorry to read of your lifelong bullying issues, which rang true for me as well. Had a horrible upbringing due to a hateful jealous mother and a monster of an older sister. Was bullied constantly, day and night, until developed anorexia at age 15 and they were both so happy during that period of time. When I gained weight, they would bully me back into submission, via self-starvation again. This happened over and over.

    Long story short, my health is awful, have many autoimmune issues, constant physical pain, insomnia and horrific anxiety. I’m sure something changed in my brain as the once beautiful young girl I was ended as per these awful women’s constant, lifelong attacks.

    I wish you peace and good health and maybe having an understanding of what happened to you, you can start to heal.

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    Uhhh adults bully too, not real adults but you know what I mean. The study shouldn’t just range between children to adolescents. Adults continue to do it with even less consequences for their behavior and most “organizations” will even tacitly accept or promote it. Millions and billions of dollars are lost every year to workplace bullying but it scarcely ever gets a mention predictably. But it is good thing to nip it in the bud so to speak so at least the kids have a change to fully grow.

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    So true! The most damaging bullying I received, during a lifetime as a bully magnet, was in work settings. While I realize how necessary it is to study developing brains and deal with childhood bullying, it seems like petty middle-managers and their “manager’s pets” are as destructive. They leave scars on the psyche and the resume’, so people are progressively ground down to despair.

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    Kitty, I agree with you that adult/workplace bullying warrants investigation. Frankly I am shocked that you got THREE replies trying to minimize its importance, when you clearly referred to lifetime of having been targeted for bullying. That is, what you were referring to would appear to represent the power of childhood bullying to amplify the impact of bullying later in life. If you read those replies and felt invalidated, please do not lose heart. I believe we are living through a time of hatred for vulnerability itself. It took courage for you to speak up, and what you wrote resonated for me. I too had terrible experiences being worn down in the workplace. Humans’ need for social connection is real, as evidence from research in social neuroscience shows (see Loneliness by Cacioppo and Patrick), and it seems to me that part of what bullies are able to do is separate us from the pack, and – seemingly, when we are under attack – from the rest of humanity. Yet you are SO not alone. The fact that several people have felt compelled to leave remarks in this forum that themselves smack heavily of bullying leads me to believe that – as your reply denotes – bullying and haters among the adult population are alive and quite well. Personally, I chalk up a lot of it to overpopulation: we seem to have reached a point where everyone feels like they’re competing for scarcer resources in an uncertain world, and some have started proverbially eating each other. It’s relational aggression, and it’s stupid and disgusting, but that’s what we are facing, and it appears to be positively endemic.
    I can highly recommend what another respondent suggested: studying a martial art. There’s nothing quite like learning to block in karate to facilitate feeling like you are worth defending. I also highly recommend reading Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine on trauma recovery; and The Undervalued Self by Elaine Aron. Neither addressed bullying as the main topic but both address consequences of bullying for the target (needs for trauma resolution, and to heal the Undervalued Self through positive social connection). Also Marie Forleo has some great free online videos and books that can help dig out of victim-like feelings, like Everything is Figureoutable; and Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly addresses vulnerability itself. Some great ideas, there; you have many allies.
    But even if you don’t feel like reading those, keep on trucking Kitty, know you are not alone, and keep on speaking truth to the power of the gang that dismissed your totally valid point: that – if I understood correctly – a history of childhood bullying means that you will experience adult workplace bullying in a way that can reasonably be expected to be much more severe than for those without that history; and that investigating differences in impact of workplace bullying on adults with and without a history of being a target of childhood bullying, respectively, indeed is a worthwhile endeavor for the very reason of the core focus of the article: because of a differential effect on the brain at an early age. Such investigations might also reveal the economic costs of bullying in childhood for the adults that childhood targets grow up to become.
    In any case, you tell ‘em, Kitty! :-) And I am with you and everyone else in this forum who bravely shared their pain about having become a target of childhood bullying, and how that affected you throughout your life. Each of you has opened eyes. And everyone here who responded without compassion also made it plain what you are all up against. Keep in mind that the anonymity of online discourse is convenient cover for people to say insensitive, hurtful things; and keep in mind how much courage it takes for them to do so (not a whole lot). You can still go find positive, supportive social connection with others who would totally have your back. Just keep an eye out for smiling faces. :-)

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    @Anthony, yes adults bully other adults too and yes that too is unacceptable – but adults brains are not still forming (they are less plastic) and therefore the long term impacts to the structure of the brain are likely to be less.

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    So then…what about the scenario I lived? Bullied, maltreated both physically and mentally/emotionally by my father and sibs who copycatted him, up until age 18 when I moved out quickly then. The kids at school were almost as bad due to the state I was in from home life. Not able to dress or have my hair ANYTHING that a normal teen would be able to do, including visits to homes after school or having anyone to our house. My school marks steadily heading downhill so I didn’t get college entrance requirements. Predictably. I chose abusive men in my life later on…

    My point is I believe in a case like this, brain plasticity would continue to erode and I know I suffer from most of the issues that were mentioned in the article from childhood to this day. Not a ‘woe is me’ story – just thinking it HAS TO BE continually suffering the neuro effects – lifelong …WHAT SAY YOU, ANYONE?

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    Yea okay, but workplace bullying doesn’t BEGIN to equal school bullying. Most of the stuff kids get away with doing to other kids would get you outright arrested in the adult world. Kids tend to bottle stuff up and not tell anyone. The abuse can last decades. The kids can’t leave their ” work ” like an adult can. They’re stuck there. It can get so bad a kid gets suicidal or homicidal and it happens a lot. A kid. Sometimes a little kid.
    The abuse is verbal, physical, and can be to the highest degrees imaginable. Again, lasting for YEARS and YEARS.
    To compare this to any kind of workplace harassment is honestly outright silly.

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    The point of the article was to demonstrate what takes place to a child’s brain which is still developing and the subsequent consequences of bullying and how it affects the child’s development. An adults brain is no longer developing and the results to brain structures are not going to be as significant or profound.

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    You don’t know what happens in the brain for sure. There is plasticity and to think that any human is unaffected by hate, no matter how old, is incorrect . If you haven’t experienced daily hate in captivity as an adult, you don’t have a clue. Blessings and good will to you, sir.

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    Bullying is a terrible waste of human talent. It seems to me……a victim of life long bullying….that people with intelligent creative minds are the victims of brutal louts and brigands. I suffered bullying becasue I was overweight and wore thick “coke bottle” glasses. I was called fatso and four eyes and experienced a tremendous loss of self esteem. I considered suicide in middle school…..I did not get a break until college in my 20s…when I made my first friendships. Life wa s tough working my way thru college but for the first time in my miserable life….i had friends and a social life…I married and got some self esteem as I succeeded in business. However when jobs went overseas I lost my lucrative job and had to work in demeaning and demoralizing minimum wage jobs. If you have never worked in retail you don’t know whet it means to be humiliated every day….can’t describe it here…One reason why “box stores” are closing is the demeaning sub human environment employees are put thru. I worked in many retail stores after loosing my good paying job. I say…”hooray for the death of retail”…Have you ever seen a Walmart employee look happy? Read the accounts of Amazon slaves in the fulfillment centers….disgusting….Then there are the Chinese slaves who make our cheap products…….I think the physical effects of bullying on people should be made public and it should not be tolerated….not in school and not in the work place……DEATH to the BULLIES…….for the terror they have perpetrated on us….

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    some people break and others snap and unfortunately the people who snap usually get the pointy end of the stick from not only the bullies but everyone else after they snap and loose they shit then suddenly the bullies are the victims and everyone comes to their aid and looks at you like your the enemy because you were dealing with abuse for months or years silently while nobody helped…. does the world really need another school shooting before people finally see how serious of an issue bullying is?…. and that’s a serious question id like people to think about before there’s another tragedy…

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    Regions of the brain that would tend to be smaller is the absence of communication skills. Extreme bullying turns victims inward. Area’s of the brains development in some areas will be acute. For one, you become more aware of your environment, as you rely more on your senses. You become more observant, before you go around a corner, and the imagination of any threat is countered by smart thinking.
    You have to know how to avoid conflict in school, by not appearing weak, which then takes a great deal of anger. So many bullied children end up turning into angry adults, or are emotionally burdened with sadness- grief.
    There is some solitude of happiness if you are born with the right personality trait, and a sincere will to break out of social hibernation. The part of the brain that shuts down, and refuses to develop. Its like walking blind, where everyone else can see.
    Being bullied by a pack of bullies, when you are small and feel very helpless- Its terrifying. Then its humiliating to have one person in the pack spit in your mouth, not to mention disgusting. You end up more hurt, than thinking about the disgusting spit. I didn’t cry, I just walked away, while they got their laugh.
    A great deal of courage, though, is when your really angry. I was very undeveloped for a 13 year old kid. So a lot of children were Goliath’s to me. One bully in the group was a heavy set Goliath, and he was always intimidating through name calling. I called him a name back, and he had threatened to beat my, you know what. He followed me, and punched me in the back, just underneath the ribs. As I held my side in pain, I got really angry. I forgot about my pain, turned around and watched his head turn in slow motion, and I gave him everything I had right between the eyes. I can never forget his face. I can recall the slow motion picture of his face, perplexed. He seen my pissed, and I was looking dead at him, focusing in the middle of his face.
    I couldn’t fight for anything, I would just swing, and ducked down from a swing that missed me and hit the chalk board.
    After that fight in school, never had problems with bullies in school again. Well, one kid kicked me when I was sitting on the bleachers. I pulled him out from under his feet. When I was climbing up towards his face, he was terrified. I have that face etched in memory too. Don’t make me angry.

    Reply

    Ok. Well there is more to this that what is reported above. As usual these folks get a lot wrong. One, it is not 1% of students who experience bullying but somewhere in the 10 to 30% range. Two it is not just those who are small weak or powerless who experience it but moreso those who are visible, vulnerable and odd, or those who among males who are just not athletic or girls who are fat and/or ugly. Poor and/or badly dressed folks get it a lot too. Also, it is frequently school staff who lead classes against targets. Generally there is a cominbation of staff and students in large numbers again a few isolated targets

    Reply

    The key to a lot of bullying is testing the boundaries of conformity. Not a single scientist I know of seeks the purpose of bullying or the role it plays in social development- instead everyone is attacking it as some sort of pure evil. It is the first step toward morality – bullying is often behavior driven -just like criminality and I feel it often stems from the same root cause. I have been apart of both as a young child victim and bully- and feel it is natural- if rejection is considered bullying than all choice is being attacked. We need to go back to strong family units and support structures -instead of strangers raising kids on medication with no sense of identity or morality.

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    I am surprised that no one has mentioned the El Paso tragedy here. There is a direct link from what the news has reported. While the press has focused on gun control, and Democrats and the anti-Trump folks have claimed racism as the primary problem, these facts here show how severe bullying can move a young adult into indoctrination by race blaming websites. In the El Paso case a friend of the gunman had described the incessant ridicule by students concerning his poor clothing and other. If an accurate representation, his school was not monitoring students acceptably on bullying. I wonder how many schools claim a “bullying zero tolerance” actually do so seriously.

    Reply

    That is an interesting question. Have you come across any credible research or speculation? Also interesting would be what motivates the typical bully. I’m pretty confident they are not all hateful psychopaths or even insecure. I think there must be some payoff that is more offensive than defensive. Curious.

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    They get a laugh out of it. Makes them look cool to their peers. At a young age, they are full of hormones, are territorial, and are full of mischief- when adults are not around, or paying attention to the children, right underneath their nose, because of distractions(other children) in the room.
    Bullies can come from good homes, or from poor homes. They can have all the good looks in the world, and be full of self confidence, or be ugly, with no self confidence. They can be smart, or dumb. Its has a lot to do with their personality trait, which is determined by genetics.
    Its also a component of instinct for survival. Some environments demand strong competition between others who are just as strong and demanding.

    Reply

    Like Barry, at about the age of 50, my doctor advanced the proposition that I had ADD, a conclusion to which I had come a long time ago. I also am mildly Aspergers. Some would call me “High-functioning, on the Spectrum.” Just finding this out helped explain a lifetime of academic and professional struggle, despite a high IQ and reasonable ambition.
    I also had an academic lifetime of being bullied. All the way through high school, it seemed there were always one or more people who made it their business to make my life miserable.
    So one has to wonder: what makes a bully-magnet? Are those brain changes effect, or cause?

    Reply

    I too seem to have attracted bullying behaviour EVERY where I go. I was sent to a boarding school by my parents hoping to give me a better education(in India). I was bullied by older children. At age 16 we moved to Canada, a small paper mill community where my Uncle was an Engineer(my father got a job in the same mill). I had different name, accent, COLOR. So at the beginning I was taunted by kids on those differences. We were the only 2 ‘different’ families in the town. My uncle had received his post grad education in Canada, married here too so his children blended well. Then I moved to a university in Western Canada. There too I was discriminated based on Color. When I moved back home, my parent discriminated by based on GENDER – I am a female. At first I thought they are not helping me financially or emotionally because being new immigrants they are having hard time settling. But when they did well, their focus was ONLY their boys. I thought perhaps I am a bullying attractor.

    Reply

    I was a middle child, my father cared most for my older sister and my mother cared most for my baby brother. Other children can sense who is the weakest in the pack. I wore glasses, was always assigned last to a team that needed a “body” in games, etc. Mainly stood up on the bus every day when going to Jr High School and High school, I had to collection pop bottlles and sell berries to get any money. We were poor and the most hurtful thing was being made to wear hand me down clothes and the girls gathering around to sing ugly songs and point and laugh at my clothes. It forever has made me paranoid and I’m 70 years old. I’m sure my fear of being rejected caused me not to live the productive life I should have.. I found out also that my IQ was fairly high so that hurt me instead of helping me in t his situation.

    Reply

    Brenda,
    I do not accept your analysis that your lifelong experiences made you paranoid. I do believe, however, that those experiences probably made you exceptionally apprehensive. There is a very big difference between those two states of mind.
    The thoughts that we choose to think regarding negative and positive events in our lives will determine how we choose to react. Never let the bullies in life make us think and react in the negative manner which their behavior might seem to demand. Instead, choose thoughts which strengthen our selves, while effectively placing the bad behavior of the bully into its proper perspective.
    Have sympathy for those depraved and damaged individuals who think that their only recourse at self justification is to demean and injure others.

    Reply

    It is welcoming to see gains made with these studys. At 52 years old I discovered I had ADD. I am now 57 and things have not gotten any easier. The decades of anxiety, depression, PTSD, lack of worth and self esteem have taken its toll. I’m tired. Tired of “doctors” repeatedly telling me there’s nothing wrong with me. Telling me “oh, I do the same thing”. I want to retreat to my own world, where I can be productive, creative, and relaxed with no expectations. Keep researching so no one leads a life that I have had to.

    Reply

    The way I cope with stress is to look at the Positive in my life. It always helps to change the FOCUS.

    Reply
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