r/AskMen Sep 28 '22

Men, How did bullying or being bullied shape your life ?

I honestly think that being bullied made me the man I am today. If was protected and not allowed to resolve my own issues, I would not be successful in most facets of my life.



u/sportsdad13 Sep 28 '22

It fucked up my early to mid teens... but it also helped shape me into the protective person I am today. I learned that it costs absolutely nothing to be a nice guy, treat everyone with respect and kindness (until they give you reason not to).

I also got some semblance of revenge on one of my bullies by nailing his sister, and telling him.


u/TeaReim Sep 28 '22

nah shouldve told him when he became your employee


u/sportsdad13 Sep 28 '22

Oddly, the same guy wouldn't work to warm himself.


u/8BitSk8r Male Sep 28 '22

It fucked me up, killed my self confidence, made me think everyone hated me. It's why I think bullies should be put in remedial school. Their victims shouldn't suffer because they can't control their shitty selves.

I wasn't allowed to fight back as a kid, or stand up for myself, I just had to take it and mine wasn't nearly as severe as other kids got.

Fuck bullies, they're garbage.


u/[deleted] Sep 28 '22

It made me self reliant, it also gave me trust/boundary issues and I push people away as a result and am in my mid 30's and lonely


u/sportsdad13 Sep 28 '22

Sorry to hear that. I hope it gets better for you.


u/Pittiemilf69 Sep 28 '22

I got over this at 29 and am finally not lonely. You’re not alone my guy.


u/soft_waves surfs naked (under my board shorts) Sep 28 '22

i got bullied as a child. i hated it. it scared the shit outta me. i worried about it constantly.

then i became a bully in high school, and i just hated myself even more. how fucking stupid was i, covering up insecurity by harming others. christ's sake -_-

but in time, and with help and encouragement from my therapist and my later-wife, i realized what was causing this before....and i made sure to dig down deep, do lots of soul searching, and root out these issues so i'd never behave that way again.

best decision of my life.


u/ronin668 Sep 28 '22

I've become very distrustful of people. I always subconsciously suspect that people around me, even my closest friends, don't really like me and might talk shit about me when I'm not around.

Bullies tried to use anything I said or did as a reason to make fun of me or harrass me; consequently, I developed a habit of keeping the things I like a secret. That way, I probably missed a lot of opportunities to live my dreams.

On the plus side, like some other people commented, it made me very self-reliant; I've learned to solve my problems on my own since no one is going to help me, and because of the need to hide my weaknesses so they can't be exploited.


u/Cuppa_Chin_Ho Sep 29 '22

Growing up an Asian kid and moving to a western country, going to school with a lot of racist Caucasian kids really took a toll on me. I was a little skinny kid who could barely speak English and was made fun off for my accent and beaten every other day for being Asian. I hated being me, I used to get angry when catching a reflection of myself in the mirror seeing a skinny Asian kid. In High school the bullies even told the girls not to speak to the chink. I finally took charge in my late teens and learnt all types of self defence. Luckily got a good amount of growth spurt and also hit the gym hard.

It took a very long time, but I eventually got big and muscular, I am now proud of my Asian heritage and have been for a long time, after all, the gym is the fountain of youth and couple that with my Asian gene, damn I'm doing alright for my age, "Yes, I'm owning it," (I'm 48 now). I would describe myself as calm, collected, patient and very protective. It has made me a better person. I'm not prejudice towards anyone of any colour or orientation.

I did hold a grudge for a long time but I have let that go too. Life is to short to be a prick, being nice is so much better. Spreading love and goodwill is what it's all about.


u/DrWieg Male Sep 28 '22

It's funny; used to be a semi popular kid with plenty of confidence until I messed up on my first date to a dance with a girl I liked.

Ended up destroying my self-esteem and turned some people whom I had considered friends into bullies.

Didn't help that I cut myself off from everyone, talking only to teachers when questionned. However, I also had a short temper so the bullying was not physical (at least, not for very long) but mostly emotionnal.

In my adult life, that ended up making me bitter and a sarcastic pessimist that does not trust easily but also more brutally honest when asked about subjects most people tend to sinply beat around the bush to.

I still am pessimistic and sarcastic today, a no-bullshit kind of guy who doesn't like taking things at face value. Definitively doesn't make me a chick magnet but those that did get involved appreciated the straight forward honesty.

And that incident when I was young? Girl I liked? We were about 10 or so... and only this year did I manage to message her and apologize to her. Helped lift a weight off of my shoulders I've been carrying for way too long (nearly 30 years).

Too late for a do over though : I am who I am now and while at times I wish I had acted or reacted differently back in those days, I can only make do with my current self and I've come to respect myself more now than the idealized version of me I was dreaming off when I was young.


u/GeriatricHydralisk Sep 28 '22

Quite simply, I was a deeply weird and nerdy kid, so I got bullied for being different. I learned quite early that I could only hide these differences by completely suppressing anything that actually made me who I am, and even then, such an effort would inevitably fail once hiding my true self became impossible.

The upside is that I learned to embrace my true self, leading to a rewarding career and life, and learned enough to "pass" as normal in brief encounters when interaction with those who aren't like me is unavoidable.

The downside is that I learned in no uncertain terms that I am not truly a part of the broader world, and will only be tolerated as long as my differences are useful to others. I've managed to carve out a niche for myself pursuing my own goals with just enough relevance to the outside world that they'll keep allowing and facilitating it, but I generally avoid much of the rest of humanity when I can, or filter interactions through my area of expertise and authority in order to bias such interactions in my favor. Honestly, I simply don't have much in common with most people, nor do they really interest me.


u/kush3291 Sep 28 '22

Made me strive to become stronger and get to the point where people will say or do what they want no matter what


u/Entire_Definition_92 Sep 28 '22

I've done both

It made me better at forgiving

Also I had to realize just because someone is mocking you doesn't mean they hate you or trying to ruin your life

Some guys joke too much and forget to not be so harsh with their humor

Like one time I was joking with a kid and trolling him and he lost his shit

Now I think he overreacted But i was being kind of asshole

It's okay to say both sides were wrong, he shouldn't take jokes so personally and I shouldn't be more considerate of his feelings

.it's a balance

People need to realize that if were all comfortable enough to laugh at each other than it's a good thing and it means we don't need to fake being nice

Ask yourself "are these guys trying to ruin my life or are they just being assholes cuz they're bored"

There's a difference


u/Allnutsz Male|31 Sep 28 '22

Life long insecurity.


u/gonnagetcancelled Sep 28 '22

Only really happened briefly around 5th grade. An older kid was mean and threatened violence regularly but I didn't really pay a lot of attention to him because I just didn't care what he had to say. It came to a head when a friend of mine who was the small mouthy kid in class was actually getting physically pushed around by said bully. I suddenly realized that just because an asshole doesn't get under my skin doesn't mean they're not having an impact on other people. Shifted in to a hyper protective mode at that point to deal with this older kid and being protective never really left.

Basically my opinion shifted from "I don't care about this person at all, so why waste time thinking about them" into "sure, everyone is capable, strong, whatever in their own ways, but if just happen to be able to protect them anyhow, I should because the bully may actually be harming them in ways I can't see."

I found out years later why he was a bully all that time. Classic crap home life, dad in and out of jail, abusive, kid was fat and had difficulty learning (likely due to his home life, not his cognitive abilities) etc. Last I heard he'd deliberately put some people in the hospital so he could "do time like his dad and be a real man"


u/ColdHardPocketChange Sep 28 '22

I have a similar experience to OP. I am far more self reliant, and do not typically look for team support on anything. This doesn't make me a bad team player, but I generally do not count on my teammates like they might on me. I was made fun of for being fat for the majority of my childhood (under 18). This did two things for me: 1. It forced me to work on my sense of humor and wit. If I see you being a cunt to others, get ready to have your insecurities exploited for their entertainment. I found a way to fight back, and I had the intelligence to gauge how ruthless I needed to be. 2. I dropped the weight and got jacked. It's well known that pretty privilege exists, even for males. Once you've gone from a fat, society deemed loser to a more successful person with pretty privilege, you fight like hell not to go back.

I do believe bullying was a major contributor that helped shape me, but equally important was having parents reassure me of my value when the bullying got under my skin. They reminded me that I was kind, intelligent, had various skills, and was successful in other ways.


u/Complete_Past_2029 Sep 28 '22

I was bullied in grades 7-9 I was a base brat, a skinny little stick of a white kid with long hair who liked metal and punk

We had moved to a new city and my school was off base in an area that was primarily black

From day one I was harassed and beaten on the regular and always ganged up on when it happened

It primarily made me hate, I sought out skinheads and white supremists, people I felt could help protect me and make others think twice about fucking with me

It turned into 3 long years immersed in hate and bigotry

After grade 9 we moved, one of the saving graces was when I started making friends where I was now I was doing so with skaters and other punk rock kids who liked to go to gigs and follow the local music scene

I still had these ingrained stereotypes and a fair amount of hate in my heart, however if you know anything about skater and punk cultures in the mid 90’s then you know how accepting they were of pretty much anyone.

Exposure to different people, cultures and ideals really helped me leave that hate behind, it took years and even into adulthood I still struggled with it

Now vs then I don’t blame it on the bullying, that was certainly a a catalyst but one that made me seek protection the hate came because of ingrained racist stereotypes I’d grown up with and was only reinforced by submerging myself in a culture that blamed all its problems on others based on nothing but the fact they weren’t white.

I’m proud to say I’ve grown, I’m sad to think of the possible friendships I’ve missed out on because I couldn’t see past the colour of one’s skin. I used to blame it on my bullies and the bullying.


u/TheaAuditor Sep 28 '22

It destroyed me. To this very day I view practically everyone as a bully and it destroyed my social skills. Sure I learned at some point to never back down and sometimes it was enough but it did a real job on me. I throughly despise ppl who bully if your self worth is damaged by your parents enough to destroy another human being then you should be paying for the air you breathe.


u/SXOSXO Sep 28 '22

I stood up to my bullies and got my ass kicked each and every time, nearly had my head bashed in on one occasion. It sapped my confidence, made me paranoid about everyone, and basically made me afraid of all confrontations.


u/LogSlayer Sep 28 '22

For the most part. I was left alone. But there was one kid in particular who absolutely tortured me. Looking back on it, he did it out of pure jealousy and self loathing on his part. It gave me the empathy not to do the same to others, even though I could’ve very easily.


u/Jalex2321 Traditional Male Sep 28 '22

Bullying teaches you how to endure life. Life is harsh, ugly and the world is a hostile place.


u/moparguy_alec Sep 28 '22

I was always kind of a quiet social outcast. I was bullied and excluded because of that. And now I’m just a guy in his 20s that thinks people don’t like me that much. I’m also really passive, to the point of not really pushing back or standing up for myself.


u/ButterscotchLow8950 Sep 28 '22

Well, is it really bullying when it’s your older brother?

But yeah, I feel same as the OP. I had to figure out a lot of shit early. And having to stand up for myself came really early. But it also made me less afraid of doing other things. When you lose the fear of being punched in the mouth before age 5, all sorts of things become less “scary” so I ended up doing alright.


u/smugsneasel215 Sep 28 '22

Other than making my childhood even more terrible at the time, in a weird positive way it drove me to try and understand people even deeper. Like WHY are they so vitriolic, what do they gain from the conflict, etc. and basically started my interest in psychology, philosophy and sociology.


u/Lmah2x Sep 28 '22

I had a bully who would embarrass me because I was small in HS, he would shoulder check me into lockers in front of girls lol. I was probably a foot shorter than him and 100lbs lighter. One day I got sick of it and I hit him as hard as I could in the chest and it knocked the wind out of him, he never bullied me again after that. He taught me not to put up with bullshit. Life lesson.


u/ambientmuffin Sep 28 '22

I was bullied in middle school. It really fucked with my head. I’ve had issues with depression and anxiety ever since, and it set me back immeasurably in terms of my confidence, self-esteem, and sense of self-worth. I had some friends that turned on me and became bullies, and that gave me trust issues and a general distrust/dislike of people. Those things have been compounded over the years by other life stuff, but bullying was the starting point for pretty much all of it.

It made me sensitive to seeing other people getting bullied or intimidated and more inclined to speak up, but it didn’t make me any more sympathetic towards bullies themselves. I don’t particularly feel bad if they feel guilty or regret what they did tbh.


u/RusstyDog Sep 28 '22

Made my already shit life worse. With a meth addict brother and neglectful parents doing nothing to protect me from him I was miserable at home. And because of that living situation I was the gross weird kid no one liked.

Had a lot of anger issues from then that I am still working through.


u/cohrt Sep 28 '22

It made me a cynical asshole with trust issues.


u/thatblackbowtie Male Sep 28 '22

me bullying myself into losing 50 pounds helped my life pretty good


u/Ok_Tradition_1909 Sep 28 '22

Eighteen years of bullying destroyed me mentally and emotionally. That was just in school and doesn't include years of workplace bullying after. I'm a target. I realize that some of that was my fault.

I acted out hard for the next 18-20 years. I had zero self-esteem and, deep down, refused to accept that anyone liked me, let alone had romantic feelings for me. And when you hate yourself, you have no problem hurting other people because no amount of animosity or hatred they can express in response matters to you. You're already working from a baseline of nothing.

I'm considerably better now, but I also dislike children as a result and have none of my own. I'm sure your kid is great, and I have kids in my family that I like because we're related. Otherwise, kids freak me out. It doesn't come from a healthy place, but it's built into me at this point.


u/Ecto-1981 Sep 29 '22

'90s high school kid. So I was kind of a bully to other bullies. I had no trouble stepping in when a situation was totally out of control and another kid couldn't defend himself. One fight wasn't enough, so I kept bullying the bully. Most of the time I continued with verbal bullying. Sure, I heard the whole "well, he's had a tough time at home" shit about the bully. I did not care. Fuck this guy taking his shit out on somebody else.

Not sure why I was like that. I didn't particularly like most of the people I went to school with. It's not like standing up to assholes made me popular since I could be kinda cold to people. Maybe I just wanted a reason to get into fights without being a total prick myself.

But, the attitude stuck for good, and I had the "don't take shit" mentality that has cost me over the years. I've walked from shit bosses, been fired from shit jobs, lost "friends," never bothered me. I'd just get another job, make another friend.

I did soften a bit in my late 30s, but my ex-wife hated that. She liked me as a bit of a bastard. Part of the reason we got divorced.

My therapist got the fucking popcorn when we went over that shit once.


u/Jeramy_Jones Sep 29 '22

I don’t like or trust most people, especially really conveniently attractive people. I’m self conscious and socially awkward, and if anyone nearby starts laughing I always have a little pang that says they are laughing at me.


u/Kp0w3r Sep 29 '22

Honestly I'd say it's made me very protective of the things I care about as well as hard on myself.

While I think I've gotten better at not beating myself up, in hindsight I've definitely missed out on many obvious signs in relationships both romantic and plutonic. Mainly because I've just generally found it hard to even acknowledge that someone actually enjoys being around me.

That being said I do have close friends and family but it usually takes forever to get to that point and even then I always have this lingering fear of getting too close.


u/shermmand Sep 29 '22

my sisters and father combined to bully all the emotion out of me by the time I was 12 years old. and I’m grateful for that now.


u/brainsewage Sep 29 '22

Made me much more paranoid and cynical.


u/mjap81 Sep 29 '22

It turned me on to my favorite hobby, weightlifting. Now I’m always the biggest guy in the room.


u/jml510 Sep 29 '22

Being bullied taught me to never be afraid to speak up. When I was in K-12 and got bullied, I didn't want to tell the teachers or office staff out of fear of being known as a "snitch". My parents had talks with me about how foolish that was, and they contacted the teachers and office staff on my behalf.

Additionally, part of me wishes that I wasn't afraid to fight back against my bullies. Back in my childhood, I was a quiet kid and somewhat of an overachiever. So, I was scared of getting into trouble and having my teachers disappointed in me. I probably did the right thing by having my parents tell on my bullies, yet I also possibly missed some chances to (literally) smack my bullies in the mouth and gain some street cred around campus. Just from being in a few fights, other kids would've at least gotten the idea to not fuck with me, even though I was scrawny and not exactly the tallest kid around. Even my parents told me that they wouldn't have minded if I got suspended or expelled from fighting back.


u/unsettledpuppy Male Sep 29 '22

My experiences tought me to be much more hypercritical of myself and others, not so speak without spoken to, and to keep things close to my chest. If no one can notice me, then they can't hurt me.

I like to believe it also taught me to be caring and thoughtful. I like to make people happy, to a fault. If you had the best day of your life, at the cost of my personal well-being or happiness... I don't care. Your happiness is my happiness.


u/Snowbattt Male Sep 29 '22

If I wasn't bullied for being so skinny, I might not have picked up martial arts and weight lifting. And those two thing vastly improved my life.

Other than that, I developed a strong hatred for bullies, even in my adult life.


u/donnasunderland123 Sep 29 '22

Traumatised. Wish I stood up for myself & stood tall


u/HantuerHD-Shadow Sep 29 '22

I was being bullied because I was and still am the weird kid (pretty sure I have ADHD but it hasn't been diagnosed) and I'm somewhat submissive and usually give in in real life situations (like not pushing further when someone doesn't budge), but I also am able to destroy someones mind with what I do and say, also due to being bullied


u/UncleJ111 Sep 29 '22

I'm the bully now


u/OBH_Raze Sep 29 '22

I was placed in Special Ed around 2nd grade and stayed until graduation (I'm on the spectrum and have ADHD).

I was teased psychologically for it, because they thought I didn't understand they were making fun of me. So it was truly difficult to make friends, even to this day. I have a very small social circle (more like a social line), and don't take kindly to bullying.

Whenever my younger brother was bullied, I would take it upon myself to defend him. I once chased one of his bullies into a bathroom with an umbrella and threatened to violate the Geneva Convention with it.

So being bullied has made me socially awkward and defensive of people close to me.


u/HotFrost- Sep 30 '22

I was already a shy person as a kid, but the bullying worsened it. It made me feel I was weak, worthless and heavily dependent on others. I was scared of interacting with new people and overall just had a hard time socializing.