To be bullied is a compliment. To be cyber bullied is a huge compliment. The bully is seeing in the person bullied some attractive quality that the bully believes that he or she does not have. This quality is often a stand-alone self-confidence, brilliance, wit, skill or personality trait that the bully envies. The torment of not having or knowing how to possess that trait causes the bully to torment that object of admiration. Unfortunately, the bullied cannot see the teasing or being picked on as a compliment because he or she is too busy focusing on self-depreciation, which seems the norm in most cultures rather than self-appreciation, which is treated almost as a sin. Self-depreciating attitudes and behavior are commonly exhibited in social withdrawal, depression, falling grades, being too sick to go to school, etc. In extreme cases, self-loathing can cause suicide—bullycide as it is now called—or homicide. Nowhere is a better example of this that Columbine High School in April 1999 when two boys killed 12 classmates and a coach.


The boys felt picked on and snubbed for over a year at Columbine. Their smoldering self-loathing and resentment suddenly erupted in gunfire. At the time, few seemed to understand why the boys killed and wounded so many “innocents”, but as information was gathered from the boy’s journals, writings and websites, that which became evident about the relationship between the bullies and bullied helped to shape professions of education, law enforcement, psychology and others going forward. School counselors are now more aware of the dynamics of bullying and had they known before April 1999, this tragedy could most likely have been prevented. Professional counseling is key in helping the bullied interpret the teasing and torment as complimentary.


Professional counselors are trained to mirror for their clients the many facets of the personality is such a way that the client can better understand the self and take action to correct issues that are causing discomfort or pain. For the bullied, it is providing a sanctuary where he or she can safely discover and discern the truth about the self in relationship to those who torment. It is allowing the bullied to feel good about him or her self, to feel complimented about whatever it is that the bully or bullies envy. During the counseling the client can learn how he or she unconsciously or consciously participates in or perpetuates the bullying. Professional counseling trains the client to feel more self-confident and strong in the face of the bullying and in many cases learns to help the bully gain what he or she envies, thus stopping the bullying.


Being bullied is a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, like rape, that can ruin a person’s life if not properly treated by a professional counselor. Many adults can still break out in a cold sweat when they remember being held down and humiliated by a bully in grade school. The problem is “charged memories” that cause the same emotions felt during the bullying i.e. helplessness, fear, to control the body at any age.


For those children or adults who suffer from being bullied in Metro Atlanta Georgia, Lane Stokes is available to help. He is a Professional Counselor with 40 years experience and can be contacted for a free consultation at

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