Podcast | The Psychology of Bullying: How It Shapes the People We Become

Not Fine, Thanks Ep5: Two people from either side of the line talk about bullying, and coping with the trauma.

3 min read
Hindi Female
Edited By :Garima Sadhwani

Ever heard of the saying 'sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?' We all know that's not true. Words can hurt, and they may not break bones, but they can break spirits.

You know, sometimes I think back to my school days, the kids who got bullied and picked on, and even the kids who did the bullying, and I wonder about their lives now, as adults.

On this week's episode of Not Fine, Thanks – FIT's podcast series on everyday mental health – we talk to two young professionals in their twenties, Arefa, a 26-year-old who works in the social sector and was bullied growing up, and M, (who doesn't want to be named), a 23-year-old sports journalist who admits to having bullied other kids when he was in school.


Both these people have self-reflected since then, and have come a long way in their journeys. In this episode, they share their experiences with bullying, coping with the trauma, and how it's shaped the people they are today.

We also speak to Ipsa James, a psychologist who shares their professional insights into the matter.

‘It Made Me Feel Unsafe'

Arefa says that she was bullied in college by the 'cool kids' because she was just 'easy to pick on.'

"There was a lot of anxiety, and a lot of self hatred. That's just how I lived for two years," she says.

"Every time I entered college, I felt extremely unsafe, and I couldn't wait to leave because I knew that people are looking at me, and judging me."

Why Do Bullies Do It?

Speaking to FIT, psychologist Ipsa James says, "one thing that is very often seen is that a bully is also a person who is bullied."

She says young kids who experience violence first-hand, or see others inflicting violence, and getting things their way, as a result, become inclined to think that violence can give them an upper hand in situations.

"To a certain extent, some people might also bully because they have a low self-esteem, and having that power over someone else gives them a boost of self-esteem as well."
Ipsa James, Psychologist

M talks about being an introverted, new kid in school that was picked on by the seniors, and how that led him to pick on his juniors when he got older.


"When we reached that stage, I had a kind of vengeance mindset in me where I felt like if that happened to me, now I should make someone else feel that way," he says.

"At that point of time, I don't think I was thinking right, neither did I want to do the right thing, I just wanted to do what made me feel better."
M (Name changed)

The Toll It Takes, and Growing From It

"There was definitely a lot of self hate," says Arefa, adding that she feels like she started internalising the things they were saying about her, and believing them to be true.

She goes on to say that she has become sensitive now to the comments people make about her and her body.

"It brings back memories of that life, and it just gets me very upset," she says.

She admits, however, that the realisation only came to her once she was out of that environment and started going to therapy.

As for M, he says that his experiences, of being on both sides of bullying, have made him more empathetic to others with time.

Speaking of an incident where he met the person he had bullied in school, M says they talked about it, and he apologised for what he did.

"It was a liberating feeling, and I'm happy with where life has taken us now," he adds.

Tune in to listen to the full conversation!

Not Fine, Thanks is the Quint's new podcast series where host and health reporter Anoushka speaks to young Indians about everyday mental health. Catch new episodes every Wednesday.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Mental Health   Podcast   Not Fine Thanks 

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