It is a general perception that people who have been bullied at some point in their lives, often go on to bully others. This is a perception often reinforced by Hollywood and the media, however as is often the case with Hollywood representations, this is not always a realistic portrayal.
People make unconscious decisions to either externalise or internalise their emotions. In many situations, the emotions that result from being bullied are internalised, however, as pressure builds people need to find a way of releasing this pressure. In so doing, one of the options may be to externalize this need. One effect of such externalization may well be to project negative emotions on other people and to follow through perhaps with the physical act of bullying.
The use of self harm as an externalisation of negative emotions however, is generally less understood, and carries with it a high level of stigma and many more negative implications. In this case, the harm is inflicted on the self rather than on other people.
Self harm as a result of bullying is an issue that needs to be addressed, especially in the case of adolescents who are already at an emotionally and physically challenging stage in their lives. The self harm therefore only serves to mask and compound the complications of these emotions, possibly triggering a downward spiraling effect.