The unseen causes and consequences of bullying

“People bully others, or tolerate being bullied by others, in an unconscious effort to protect themselves, either emotionally, or physically, or both”. Kim Knight

Bullying can appear in many shapes and forms, and in all walks of life: it can happen at school or university, at work or at home.

But why is it people become bullies?

Why is it we tolerate being treated unfairly?

And how do we put a stop to it?

These are all questions we need to ask if we find our self either a ‘victim’ or ‘persecutor’ on the bullying spectrum.

Being bullied is a serious issue with serious consequences, even leading to debilitating health conditions and major unhappiness if not addressed and resolved.

Victim, Rescuer or Persecutor – where are you?

According to the ‘Karpman Drama triangle’, we can often find ourselves in one of 3 places in our relationships with others: we may be the ‘victim’ at the mercy of our ‘perpetrator’, or we may find our self the ‘rescuer’ trying to keep the peace between the victim and perpetrator.

None of these roles are inherently healthy, and we need to learn instead to emotionally empower ourselves out of dysfunctional, co-dependent behaviours, and create clear physical, emotional and energetic boundaries with others.

To do that we need to understand:

(a) if we are the victim, why we keep ourselves powerless, and how to take our power back, and

(b) if we are the persecutor, how to stop treating others unfairly.

This requires introspection to understand where the cause of the problem really stems from:

Over the past 12 years of working in clinic with people who find themselves in abusive or dysfunctional relationships, the pattern has become clear:

We become and re-enact what we have unconsciously observed and learned at a young age, usually by the age of 7 years.

And we do this in an unconscious effort to protect ourselves, either emotionally, or physically, or both.

Why we become the victim…

If we look at what leads to becoming the ‘victim’, we will often find at a young age we were in some way disempowered, which led us to falsely concluding we do not have the right to stand up for ourselves, put ourselves first or allow ourself to feel our feelings. And so we hold everything inside, including all the pain and emotional hurt we have experienced, and allow others to walk all over us.

Why we becomed the persecutor…

If we look at why people become bullies, we often find the cause is the same. These people also received ‘unfair treatment from others’, were punished, abused, critisized, bullied, judged, hurt and more. However, rather than ‘introverting’, these people instead protect themselves emotionally by ‘extroverting’ into dominating or aggressive behaviour.

The reasons and causes for all of this need to be explored in detail in order to change the limiting beliefs, behaviours and negative consequences which have resulted from the original trauma.

The consequences of being bullied

The ramifications of being bullied are HUGE:

If we become the victim, we will allow others to walk all over us and treat us unfairly. We give our power away, never speak up for ourselves, hold all our true feelings and thoughts inside. The hidden consequence of this is we build up anger, frustration and resentment inside until it literally turns into physical pain. How and why this happens is always clearly explained in any training or coaching with Kim. But suffice it to say that many people turning up with conditions of chronic fatigue, ME, fibromylgia, irritable bowel syndrome and more have a history of being bullied and not knowing how to stand up for themselves. The exercises taught by Kim address these issues directly, turning them around 180 degrees, so that people become empowered and assertive without guilt or fear.

If we turn into the bully, we will treat others unfairly, but in so doing isolate ourselves as we build an armoured wall around our hearts to unconsciously prevent more pain coming in. We ‘dump’ all our repressed anger and pain on others, which not only damages others, but also hurts ourself, even if we are not aware of it.

The way forward to self-empowerment

Either way, the underlying reason for the need to become a victim or perpetrator is the same: to protect ourselves from feeling emotional pain long-held inside, to protect from ‘feeling bad, not good enough, rejected or unworthy’.

There is only one way out for either player: to become aware of the initial setup, to make peace with the trauma and pain from the past, and to change behaviour in the present.

Bullies need to learn they no longer need to dominate others to have their needs met, and victims need to learn how to create clear boundaries around unfair treatment without feeling afraid to do so.


You can check out the range of online programs and private coaching options on

Much of my work is around showing you how to become assertive and take back your power, and there are a range of programs to suit all budgets and personal needs.

Some of the programs address assertiveness and bullying, whilst other programs also address the physical consequences of illness that result from not standing up for ourselves.

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I believe there’s a better way – a much better way – to deal with most of the things that plague us including allergies, pain, fatigue, depression and even relationships. 
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