Is victimization in school age a good indicator of future life success?

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Offline researcherer

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Hello friends,

I had a conversation with a scientist friend of mine.

My friend, during the conversation, disclosure to me that he was a bullying victim in school. I responded to him, almost automatically, that I had been also a bullying victim in school.

Indeed, I had some bad experiences when I was schoolboy but I do not know if these experiences corresponds directly to the definition of bullying: “a repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behavior that is harmful and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons.”

I have to say that I am a religious person (I am a Christian). I am a scientist that believes in God.

My response to my friend had also a religious basis. I told him that I was also a bullying victim first to make him feel more comfortable and secondly for justifying the help of God in my life. Moreover, our conversation was on religion issues.

My concerns:

Did I do right by saying to my friend that I was also a bullying victim?

Searching in the scientific literature I found out that the majority of studies connect bullying in childhood with poor adult outcomes.

Check for example the following study:

Wolke, D., Copeland, W. E., Angold, A., & Costello, E. J. (2013). Impact of bullying in childhood on adult health, wealth, crime, and social outcomes. Psychological science, 24(10), 1958-1970.

The above study found that victims of childhood bullying including those that bullied others (bully-victim) were at increased risk of poor health, wealth and social relationship outcomes in adulthood.

How I will “legalize-justify” my today academic and social successful position if I was a bullying victim in childhood?

Searching on the internet for famous person who had been bullied by their peers in school, I found mainly artists, singers and actors.

I did not found any famous scientist. At a first glance, this seems logically because a strong mind in school (a potential scientist) would find a solution for the bullying problem or would have the respect of the peers.

The only science-related person that I found is the former US president Bill Clinton (Google “15 Famous and Successful People Who Were Bullied In School” and “President Clinton interview on Bullying”). Bill Clinton has a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree.

However, I do not think that Mr. Clinton experiences connected directly to the bullying definition. As a politician tried to empower bullying victims through his experiences (how much repeated the bullying behavior was?). 

Another famous non-artist-singer-actor person that I found is Sir Ranulph Fiennes who is explorer (Google “15 Famous and Successful People Who Were Bullied In School”).

I also found a Ph.D. candidate (anonymous) in a Bullying-related forum.

What is your opinion regarding the above?

Did I acted right by responding to the other person that I was also a bullying victim?

For the Christians of the forum, is the “dilatation” of our negative experiences for relieving other people a right practice or it is a kind of lie (or “white lie”)?

Is it dishonored for a scientist being a bullying victim in the past? What would you think of a scientist former bullying victim?

Do you think that being a bullying victim is, at least partially, of the responsibility of the victim?

(See for example that following article:

Cook, C. R., Williams, K. R., Guerra, N. G., Kim, T. E., & Sadek, S. (2010). Predictors of bullying and victimization in childhood and adolescence: a meta-analytic investigation. School Psychology Quarterly, 25(2), 65. )

Thank you in advance.


Offline alancalverd

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Many comedians have said they learned their trade as a response to bullying. Churchill apparently developed exceptional rhetoric and strategic cunning in similar circumstances: bullying was always a part of British public school life and his distaste for "rum, sodomy and the lash" certainly reformed the Royal Navy if not the entire armed forces, into a very professional killing machine based more than most on respect rather than fear.   

It has been remarked that most politicians are the sort of people who had no friends at school and are desperate for admiration, but the stereotypical scientist tends to form friendships around mutual interests rather than a psychological need to be liked. In fact, if I and my scientific friends and colleagues are anything to go by, we'd rather be right than liked, and popularity eventually grows from a reputation for being right. I suspect that not worrying about popularity or being in the gang tended to make us less rewarding as targets for bullying, and possibly more content with middle management than striving to become a CEO.

helping to stem the tide of ignorance


Offline evan_au

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Bullies tend to pick on people who don't have a strong support group.

This includes the small, the weak, the insecure, people who are a bit slow, loners and nerds.

A lot of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) practitioners are drawn from the "loners and nerds" category. So I would not be surprised if bullying is fairly common in their backgrounds.

Schools today have a strong anti-bullying message - but I heard of a recent case where a larger child was telling a smaller child "You are bullying me because you aren't doing what I say...."!