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Types of Bullying With Examples: Emotional Bullying

Loree Montelli, Gaines Arnold, Lesley Chapel
  • Author
    Loree Montelli

    Loree is an experienced Psychology lecturer. She holds a degree in psychology from Nevada State College,

  • Instructor
    Gaines Arnold

    Gaines has a Master of Science in Education with a focus in counseling.

  • Expert Contributor
    Lesley Chapel

    Lesley has taught American and World History at the university level for the past seven years. She has a Master's degree in History.

Learn about emotional bullying as compared to other types of bullying. Discover examples and effects of emotional bullying and examine ways to prevent it. Updated: 06/24/2022

Table of Contents


What Is Emotional Bullying?

The definition of emotional bullying is the use of words to tease, mock, or isolate another person. Emotional bullying, as the name suggests, targets a person's emotions. I can affect their joy, optimism, self-trust, self-worth, and confidence. When a person is emotionally bullied, they are likely to be negatively affected and can portray signs of fear, self-doubt, insecurity, hate, and feelings of unworthiness. Also called mental bullying, this type of bullying is a form of emotional abuse that affects an individual's mental health and can subject victims to guilt and shame.

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Types of Bullying

There are various types of bullying that individuals can experience. Some types of bullying are easily noticeable, while others can go unnoticed. Types of bullying include:

  • Physical bullying: Physical bullying is one of the most commonly recognized types of bullying. It includes physical acts of intimidation such as biting, hitting, punching, kicking, and hair-pulling. This type of bullying is often the easiest to identify because it leaves physical scars.
  • Emotional bullying: Emotional bullying causes emotional pain. It often involves disempowering victims through shame, fear, embarrassment, and guilt. Emotional bullying does not leave physical scars like physical bullying, but it also has negative effects.
  • Racist bullying: Racist bullying involves unfavorable treatment of a particular race. This type of bullying can include making fun of people's cultural customs and speaking or writing racial insults.
  • Sexual bullying: Sexual bullying consists of sexually abusive comments or actions, including spreading sexual rumors, sending sexual videos or photos, and grabbing or touching someone without permission.

Emotional or Mental Bullying Examples

Emotional or mental bullying can have various forms. One common form of emotional bullying is cyberbullying. This generally refers to posting, sending, or sharing negative, false, mean, or harmful comments about someone electronically. An example of cyberbullying could also be taking embarrassing pictures of a person in private and sharing them online without the person's consent. Cyberbullying can take place on messaging platforms, gaming platforms, or social media. In the current world, social media is a major source of bullying.

Mental bullying can also occur in religious settings. In these instances, people who act against a religion's rule or belief may face religious exclusion, or isolation. For example, certain religions prohibit their followers from having extramarital affairs. Using demeaning language toward a person who has had an affair to intimidate them or isolate them from the religious community would be an example of emotional bullying, which could greatly affect the person's self-worth.

Emotional bullying can also take place in the form of comments regarding physical appearance, which may be particularly hurtful if the person has little control over the physical aspect under criticism. With the popularity of social media, there are different standards for what is acceptable in terms of appearance, and people who are not considered to meet these standards may be criticized. For example, making negative comments about a person's weight gain or loss is a form of emotional bullying. Celebrities often face bullying based on their physical appearance online.

The use of derogatory terms and slurs, which describe individuals in a negative way, is also emotional bullying. For example, terms for mental or physical disabilities that express inferiority are considered derogatory. These kinds of terms are very sensitive and can affect a person's self-esteem.

Effects of Emotional Bullying

All individuals are different and can exhibit different behaviors after undergoing emotional bullying. The effects of emotional bullying include:

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Prompts About Emotional Bullying:

Graphic Organizer Prompt:

Create a poster, chart, or some other type of graphic organizer that lists the three elements of emotional bullying as noted in the example of Frank. At the top of your graphic organizer, provide the definition of emotional bullying.

Example: One element is having been bullied by other people.

List Prompt:

Make a list of five long-term effects of emotional bullying. You can refer to the lesson, but try to recall as many as you can from memory.

Example: Self-harm and/or suicide.

Essay Prompt 1:

In approximately two paragraphs, write an essay that explains why emotional bullying can be more damaging than physical bullying. Also make sure your essay addresses why emotional bullying is on the increase.

Example: The effects of emotional bullying sometimes require professional help to address.

Essay Prompt 2:

Write an essay of approximately one to two pages that describes how emotional bullying can be stopped. Be sure to address the elements of recognizing the problem, being an advocate, and creating a healthy environment. Also explain in your essay why emotional bullying is often a silent problem.

Example: Being an advocate means that you speak up when you witness emotional bullying.

What are the effects of emotional bullying?

Emotional bullying has negative effects on an individual's mental health. These effects can include low self-esteem, isolation, depression, and suicide.

What is the definition of emotional bullying?

Emotional bullying is a form of abuse in which individuals use words to isolate, mock, criticize or scare others. Emotional abuse targets a person's emotions, which can affect their self-esteem and confidence.

What is the definition of emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse is the attempt to control, frighten, or isolate another individual. Emotional abuse does not include physical violence but can involve violent threats.

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