Bullying is rampant.
Whether it is in the schoolyard, workplace, home, or on the web, bullying is rampant. It can take place in all domains of someone’s life:
- psychological, or
Most often, bullying takes form by name-calling and physical harm/threats, but can also take place through alienation from others, threats of status loss, or financial losses such as the taking of lunch money or taking credit for an idea in the workplace.
Read about the warning signs of bullying.
Bullying is about fear, power, and insecurity, not just of the victim, but of the bully.
Psychologically stable people do not bully.
Regardless of age, emotionally healthy and psychologically stable people do not bully. They feel no need to intimidate, hurt, manipulate, thwart, abuse, ridicule, or control another person. Bullies target others who make them feel insecure, or through their bullying, make them feel powerful or secure. Because bullies themselves feel threatened, and can be threatened by anything, they react in order to get rid of their own feelings of fear, powerlessness, anxiety, or insecurity. Bullies may not even recognize that they have these feelings, or the reasons behind their behaviors.
At best, bullying can be seen as an attempt to exert power and control in the bully’s life, who otherwise feel powerless, anxious and/or out of control. At worst, the goal of a bully can be to eradicate, or get rid of, the threat to themselves. In other words, bullying can be seen as an attempt to emotionally, physically, sexually, relationally, socially, psychologically, or financially murder another person, entirely or in part.
Internalizing the bully’s message.
Bullies often use personal tactics on their victim(s) in order to control, disempower, or psychologically annihilate their target. Because bullying happens over a span of time, and is done within a relationship of some sort, most victims will internalize the bully’s opinions and perspective almost without realizing that it’s happening. This psychological process is called “internalized objectification.”
Essentially, what happens is that a person’s positive self-perception is internally replaced by the other’s negative viewpoint, so much so that the person now only sees or evaluates themselves through the bully’s opinion of them. Bullying can rob a person of their self worth and identity.
Bullying can rob you of your self worth and identity.
Being bullied can lead to serious consequences: Image result for bullying images copyright free
- panic attacks,
- low self-esteem/self worth,
- suicidal ideation,
- inability to concentrate,
- appetite and/or sleep changes,
- avoidance, and
You do not deserve this. No one has the right to bully you.
Unfortunately, people who are bullied, when they try to get help, can be blamed, dismissed, minimized, or discredited. That is called victim blaming, and it is actually a subtle form of bullying itself. Helpers, untrained in working with bullying, may have unconscious and unprocessed bullying issues themselves which can get in the way. They may identify with the bully and not be able to help. However, there are many trustworthy people who want to help those who are being bullied.
If you are being bullied, get help.
If you are being bullied:
- Get help and keep searching for help until you get it. You may need to go outside of your personal relationships to find it, such as seeking counseling. Keep searching.
- Call it what it is. It is bullying, and even though it is very personal, the bully’s behavior is not about you. It is about them and their own lack of strength, power, and health.
- Fight back! Because bullies do feel powerless and insecure, they will often target victims they feel won’t or can’t resist their harmful behaviors. If you can, and it is physically safe to do so, don’t be afraid to make a scene. Call out behaviors when they occur and bring attention to the situation. If you are being physically harmed, get help, learn self-defense, and bring attention to these issues.
- You may also call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-kids.
If you are bullying others, get help.
If you are bullying another person:
- Stop and get help. You may not know that bullying is hurting you as much as it is the other person, but it is. It is ok to admit that you need help.
- People who have been bullied have often been bullied or abused themselves. While it is not ok to hurt others, it is ok to admit that you yourself have been hurt. Working with a counselor or another trusted adult can help you change your behavior and address your own hurt.
- Apologize or make restitution. It takes courage and strength to admit you have been wrong, but doing so can help the other person as well as yourself. Remember, actions are bad, not people. By naming your actions as bad, you can separate yourself from those behaviors.
Things you can do.
- A child you love: If your child is being bullied: ask your child how their day at school went. They may feel embarrassed about being bullied. They may feel the very real double bind that if they tell, it will make the situation worse.
- An adult you love: if an adult is being bullied, ask them how they are doing. Let them know that you care that they are suffering. Let them know that they matter. Their feelings matter. Let them know they do not deserve to be treated this way.
We can help.
If you or someone you love is having problems with bullying, please call us. We can help. We know how complicated this work can be, and we know how to help. We have experience, training, and compassion.
To book an appointment
Tony Grace LPC Specializes in Helping Children and Teens respond to and recover from the effects of bullying. If you have any questions, he would be happy to talk with you on the phone to learn more about your situation, and how it might be helped.
For more resources, check out these sites: