There are four general categories of bullying: physical, verbal, exclusionary and internet. Physical bullying involves pushing, shoving and any intimidating behavior. Verbal bullying involves taunting, teasing and spreading rumors. Exclusionary bullying is when one person tells another person, or a group, to intentionally exclude someone. Cyber bullying involves intimidation and harassment through any electronic media. Generally bullying occurs in peer groups but it can also involve a teacher and a student, a boss and an employee, a parent and a child or a married couple. Boys more typically engage in direct physical bullying while girls will be more indirect and spread rumors or exclude someone from their group.


  • Teasing and taunting
  • Negative group power against a victim
  • Threatening and intimidating behavior
  • Stealing
  • Hitting
  • Spreading rumors
  • Socially isolating a person
  • Internet harassment

What is normal?

In some cases it’s hard to distinguish bullying behavior from peer group pressure or power differentials where one person is stronger and another is weaker. It’s also normal for some young people to feel left out. It is when there is systematic and consistent physical or emotional intimidation that is harmful to the victim that bullying occurs.

When you should seek help:

Here are some warning signs:

  • Complaints about unfair behavior at school or work
  • Grades falling and/or refusal to go to school
  • Social isolation
  • A sudden interest in self-defense classes or guns (for the victim)
  • Abuse in the home and a lack of affection (for the bully)
  • Defiant or oppositional behavior (for the bully)
  • Weaker than peers (for the victim)

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