anger management for bullied targets

This article aims to answer the above question about why anger management could be useful in supporting bullied targets who could in some cases develop into people with anti-social personality traits. I have described in many articles on this website why anger therapy sessions could be useful for people with obvious anger issues. Today, I am going little more deeper and I will try to provide the reasons for why such sessions could be also useful for targets of bullying.

I had researched the topic of aggression in the work context for my doctorate thesis and that also included exploring the causes of bullying. The research clearly indicated that one of the many reasons people develop bullying behaviour is because they were targets of bullying in childhood. The fact that bullied targets could develop anti-social personality traits (in lay terms, criminal tendencies) is consistent with my clinical practice. In fact,  logically this hypothesis makes a lot of sense. Imagine, that you are being beaten and bullied daily by your parents throughout your childhood, psychologically abused or beaten at least by one of the two parents and seeing the other parent turning a blind eye to the abuse. How do you think you will end up feeling as a child that is unable to intellectually or physically defend oneself or receive no support from the people who are meant to provide the safety and care? Obviously you will end up feeling defeated, powerless and helpless having no one to turn to for a help and you will embody this daily torment because you will not know anything else. You will highly likely carry the embodied parental domestic torment everywhere you will go including the school context where your embodied fear and a sense of powerless will fall pray to aggressive predatory children. The continued vicious circle will further reinforce your sense of powerlessness and helplessness until one day you may snap and you will in a state of despair strike back. It is then that you will realise that aggressive striking makes you feel empowered, and that it might work better for you than spiralling down into a pain and despair.


Some people develop something that we call overcompensatory coping strategies to stress that were very well portrayed in the Hitchcock’s film Psycho or most recently in the series Bates Motel where Norman Bates’ coping strategy to stress and helplessness becomes dissociating and later violence. It is understandable that many targets of bullying develop a rationale for their violent behaviour later in life and this rationale can be deeply meaningful and the suggestion of the anger management sessions could be perceived as threat to a system that restored despair with a sense of power. However, as the life goes on, one has to consider and review one’s coping strategies acquired in the past and that were somehow meaningful but became gradually more damaging and counterproductive than useful.


If you have a child that has been a victim of violent parental behaviour, or school context bullying, it might be worthwhile to consider booking a few sessions to work through damaging memories or maladaptive coping strategies. If you are an adult with history of violent past directed at you and if you struggle at the moment with managing your violence that outweighs any benefits then the anger management sessions could be definitely useful for you. The sessions are delivered in caring, non-judgemental and logical manner and based primarily on cognitive behavioural therapy that focuses on reality and evidence based thinking, collaboration and objectivity.