Why Are Introverts Vulnerable To Being Bullied? (5 Things To Keep In Mind)

Sep 6, 2021

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Introverts are people who prefer a calm, less stimulating environment to recharge and get energised by introspection. Unfortunately, introverts are often portrayed as shy, weak, or undesirable in mainstream media.

For example, the proverbial beta male nerd in movies who never gets the girl. Or the dorky girl who doesn’t get asked to prom in high school.

Both stereotypes often display introverted traits like the need to be alone or to read a lot of books.

Based on that we can assume that in general our Western societies don’t really think highly of introversion. With this prejudice in place could it perhaps mean that introverts are more vulnerable to being bullied?

If so, what could be some of the reasons? Let’s look at 5 things to keep in mind! (If you are a victim of bullying, please find some helpful resources on the United States’ Government website: stopbullying.gov.)

Why Are Introverts Vulnerable To Being Bullied? (5 Things to Keep In Mind)

1. Introverts might be vulnerable to being bullied, because they deviate from the social norm

Sadly, in most of our modern Western culture, extraversion seems to be favoured above introversion. Being social, sensation-seeking or any other displays of being an outgoing person will most likely put you in a positive light for most.

Not only do many people strive to showcase their extraversion, they also kind of expect it from others. The reason is because extraversion is kind of seen as the default personality trait.

In her book Quiet, Susan Cain talks extensively about how extraversion became the default in Western societies. This puts introverts at a disadvantage, because the daily lives in societies are shaped more to suit extraverts.

A few examples are:

-The full-time day jobs where you’re expected to be interacting with other colleagues or clients all day.

-People always avoid silences by tenaciously clinging on to small talk, thinking everyone wants to talk all the time.

-The hasty energy throughout the atmosphere and the obsession to be most efficient with our time in everything we do.

In many Western societies introverts clearly are challenged in meeting their needs for introspective down-time, autonomy and a less fast-paced overwhelming life.

Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels

Yet, to function in society, many introverts try to put on an extraverted front.

Unfortunately, this is very exhausting and that mask keeps slipping. When introverts however do stay true to their introverted needs in a public setting, they may be seen as the odd one out.

Because, distancing yourself from others, being not so talkative or stimulating can easily be seen as boring, unsocial or bad mannered even.

Introverts might be more vulnerable to being bullied, because they deviate from the social norm in many group settings of extravert dominated societies.

Being bullied or being scrutinized by the group is a risk when introverts don’t comply with its social rules. I absolutely don’t condone this, but sadly it is a harsh reality.

Most people don’t like it when there are non-conformers within the groups they participate in. As such introverts may have a harder time being themselves.

2. Introverts might be vulnerable to being bullied, because they seem more timid or shy

Unfortunately, introverted people have to deal with the stigma that introversion is the same as timidness or shyness.

While being introverted doesn’t mean that you are automatically timid or shy, many introverts do deal with shyness or a form of social anxiety.

Sadly, in our Western modern societies, introversion, sensitivity or being quiet is seen as a weakness. Bullies are opportunistic and look for weaknesses in others they can exploit with minimal risk of negative consequences.

Because of the stigma around introversion, when bullies encounter an introvert, they may always expect a lesser risk for push back than perhaps dealing with an extravert.

Extraverts are known to be more social, because they tend to rely on getting energy from external sources of stimulation.

For example, social interaction is a form of external stimulation. As extraverts in general engage more socially, they have more time to develop social skills and some level of confidence when interacting with other people.

While there are a lot of introverts who do have social skills or confidence when interacting with others, it is perhaps assumed that is less likely.

So bullies might expect lesser verbal skills and social awareness and therefore fewer obstacles when targeting introverts.

3. Introverts might be vulnerable to being bullied, because they may struggle with standing up for themselves

Like mentioned above, introverts are expected to have less social skills, or social confidence. As such they might be unjustly seen as shy, timid or “weak”.

When bullies detect or expect these traits from someone, they also assume that person would not stand up for themselves. Read more about being bullied as an introvert in my INFJ Male Bio Series

Introverts, who are many times soft-spoken, reserved and sensitive to stressful social situations, might lack the assertiveness to set strong boundaries and the ability to verbally and/or physically fight back against the bully.

Photo by Keira Burton on Pexels

The introvert’s heightened sensitivity for socially stressful situations might easily bring them in a state of overwhelm when the bully starts bullying them.

And this overwhelm might render them helpless. To the bully this all signifies an easy target for them while not risking any push back or negative consequences.

4. Introverts might be vulnerable to being bullied, because they are often alone

As introverts need a lot of alone time to process their emotions through introspection, they prefer to be alone a lot. Introverts tend to engage in fewer social interactions even when out in public, because too much social stimulation drains them.

Because of this, introverts may be more vulnerable to being bullied, because bullies see people who are alone as easy targets.

For instance, the students at school who are more often by themselves would have less friends or moments together with friends who could help prevent or defend them against the bully’s attack.

If they fail to fend off the bully, the bullying continues. Over time the introverted victim might isolate him or herself even more.

The negative emotional consequences and the lack of enough social support could cause further isolation. Making it even easier for the bully to continue bullying this particular victim in the future.

5. Introverts might be vulnerable to being bullied, because others envy them

Introverts spend a lot of time introspecting. This way, they can gather and process their thoughts and impressions from the day. Introspection fosters self-knowledge and wisdom.

By frequently going to see what’s going on inside of themselves, introverts are actively on a path to better understand themselves and the world.

They can apply self-knowledge to their everyday lives or perhaps offer advice to others. Introverts also read and learn a lot about the things that interest them during moments of solitude.

So even-though, introverts might not always say something. When they do speak, chances are they have something interesting to say.

The introvert’s wisdom can be of great help to some people.

However, some might find the introvert’s wisdom and intellect annoying. Now, they might find the introvert arrogant or a “know-it-all”. They might envy the introvert’s intellect and try to put them down to perhaps feel less intimidated by it.

Another trait others might envy in introverts, is their great capacity to be alone. Being alone or ending up alone is one of the greatest fears among many people.

Most introverts don’t seem to have a problem with it.

What’s more is that they actually need time alone. However, some people might feel insecure about their own inability to be comfortable by themselves.

When the introvert deliberately chooses to be alone, others might try to scrutinize or bully the introvert. Because the introvert now functions as a giant mirror and gets attacked for it.

Conclusion

In this article we’ve looked at several reasons why introverts might be more vulnerable to being bullied, put down or disrespected. In the end who knows what’s really going on inside the perpetrators when bullying introverts?

For all we know they secretly admire introverts, but have a very poor way of showing it. Nonetheless, the consequences of bullying can have lasting disastrous mental health effects.

If you are being bullied, or have been bullied in the past and need help dealing with the negative effects. Please find some essential resources on the United States’ Government website: stopbullying.gov. You are not alone!

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