Bullies realize their behavior does not happen in a vacuum, but they don't seem to care. Bullying behavior such as yelling, exclusion, ignoring, and belittling can trigger strong emotions from their target's past. Being yelled at by their boss may bring back memories of being yelled at by parents or teachers. Being belittled may bring back painful memories of high school. Being excluded from group activities may bring up feelings of ostracism and a lack of belonging in a person's life.
Bullies intentionally try to hurt their targets, but they can't control how hurtful their behavior is -- sometimes the bully's behavior hurts their target more than the bully meant it to.
What may seem like a small event in the life of a bully may have a huge impact on the life or career of their target. Or it could even end the target's life entirely. A severe bullying episode can cause a depression attack or even a suicide attack. Organizations should consider their liability for enabling a bullying culture to harm their employees in such a way.
Depression Attack: An immediate depression caused by experiencing a traumatic event.
Suicide Attack: Serious consideration of suicide by someone who has not thought about suicide before.