Often what happens is that we allow the bully to get away with it and the bully is being rewarded by other people – who think his abuse is funny. The victim – by “playing along” is making that seem socially ok. After all – if the victim isn’t really being hurt – what is the harm.
Bullying plays havoc with our self-esteem, with our sense of worth AND it can cause trauma, which can rewire the brain’s fear circuitry. If you have been bullied and have been emotionally traumatized by it, it isnt’ enough to get the bullying to stop, you also need to do some work to repair the damage that the bullying did to your thinking process.
if you are in a school as an adult – you NEED to learn what actually works to get bullying behavior to stop. Also, you need to take bullying seriously because left on its own this behavior escalates. We have decades of research on behavior that explains exactly how and why this happens. Stop being caught off guard, learn the science and start dealing with this appropriately – in other words, in a way that will actually help to make it stop because – you know the science of how to get behaviors to stop.
When I started teaching people about bullying, I did so because I was incredibly frustrated at all the misinformation there was regarding bullying. People have all sorts of crazy theories about why bullying occurs. The simple truth is, bullies bully because it works.