Bullying is a form of aggression that comes in many different forms, but three main factors differentiate bullying from other types of abuse
– the behavior is intended to cause harm or distress
– it occurs repeatedly over time
– there is an observed or perceived imbalance of power among the parties – often physical or psychological, but it can be manifested in many different ways.
If you’re being bullied then you’re not the only one.
Bullying cause long-lasting damage to a young person’s self-esteem and overall well-being. Along with psychological harm, bullying can result in physical injuries, social and emotional difficulties and academic problems. In the most severe cases, victims resort to more drastic measures, like suicide, as an escape from the constant torment.
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Types of bullying include
Verbal Bullying. Most common form of bullying; speaking to or about a person unkindly (Name-calling, teasing, sarcasm, insults, and yelling).
Physical Bullying: Second most common form of bullying; harmful actions against another person’s body or property (Hitting, pushing, kicking, poking, spitting, biting, physical intimidation).
Relational Bullying: Common among girls; also known as emotional bullying (Exclusion, alienation, spreading rumors, hurtful gossip, social humiliation).
Sexual Bullying: Bullying based on gender; unwarranted sexual behavior (Sexual comments/photos directly or online, unwanted physical contact).
Cyber Bullying: Bullying in which cell phones, social media and online outlets are used to ridicule a person (Harassing text/photo messages, emails, social media sharing).
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How to help bullied victims
- If bullying is in the early stages, set boundaries for yourself and protect yourself. For example if the bully approaches you and you feel cornered and isolated, tell the bully that you will talk elsewhere. Chose a place that is convenient for you i.e. a more public space. By being in a shared space, the bully has less opportunity to fill that space with his, or her, toxic projections.
- If you hear a rumor about someone else, do not participate and never ever pass it on. If you are spreading a rumor some bully has started, you are helping them bully someone else. Remember, if you take part in bullying anyone else, one day you might be the target.
- If you feel safe enough: speak to the person who is bullying you. Sometimes, the person who is bullying you may genuinely have no idea that it is affecting you. Equally, they are probably going through a difficult time themselves and will relate to how you’re feeling. This is why that speaking to the person who is bullying you can be really effective.
- Find support groups who can help you. These support groups may include the ones who have been involved with the bullying or even been bullied in the past. When you are able to send a victim to these groups, it is easy for them to start to feel better about what they are doing.
- If you are thinking of revenge, your bully has won. Thoughts of revenge originate from feeling weak, so try to get rid of those thoughts. Revenge only makes the bullying worse, so it is far better to find ways of stopping the bullying and even to get along.
- Learn to recognize that everyone around you is human and makes mistakes. Many bullies are bullied themselves. It will help you not to make a big deal out of everything they do.
- Did you know that bullying is a criminal offence? It is up to you to decide upon how serious you perceive the bullying, but if somebody physically or sexually attacks you, uses prejudice language towards you (such as homophobia and racism) or shares your private information or images online – these are all key signs that you should probably report it to the Police.
- If you cannot avoid thoughts of revenge, at least never act on them, because this only makes things worse. Bullies do what they do for power, so if you make them feel weak, they will escalate the bullying and make their actions more dangerous, which might put you at risk.
- Don’t see yourself as the problem. The reason people experience bullying is not because of their sexuality, gender identity, race, appearance, disability or any other unique factor; it is because of the attitude towards the factor. The only thing possible to change is attitudes. The person who is bullying you is the one with the issue, not you.
- Learn not to live by what other people think about you. Directing yourself by what others think of you is living by their rules and being dependent on them, and that makes you vulnerable. Have your own rules of living and stick to them. This is the way to build self-confidence.
- Look after your health. Eating a good, clean diet and working out can really improve your physical and mental health and reduce stress. Reductions in stress increase your clarity and break down difficult situations, making them much easier to deal with. Other things you can try include meditation, yoga, cooking, running and swimming.
- If you are cyber-bullied, do not give your contact details to everyone. Switch your online identity, share the new one only with people you trust and stop looking at the old one. Never ever reply to a bullying message. If the bully gets no reaction, they will stop, change your phone number or email address.
- Never hurt yourself because someone has bullied you. If you hurt yourself, it means your bully has won, because instead of hurting you, they have used you to hurt yourself. You can only win by taking good care of yourself.
- Learn to love and appreciate yourself and your skills. Practice complimenting yourself in front of the mirror or in writing. This will build your confidence and you can remember it in bad moments to feel better. Remember, self-confidence is a bully repellent.
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