First before we go any further let's acknowledge what bullying is and that there are different types of bullying. Here's a definition of bullying from Google, 'The use of superior strength or influence to intimidate, typically to force him or her to do what you want.' And here is another definition of bullying from Wikipedia, 'The use of force, threat or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others.' Then just to make the discussion more interesting, there are four main types of bullying which I shall list below, however I am guessing if you were studying this topic you would probably find it broken down further.
- Physical Bullying:includes hitting, kicking, tripping, pinching and pushing, or damaging property.
- Social/ Emotional Bullying: also called "relational bullying", includes behavioral actions designed to harm a child’s reputation or cause humiliation, like lying and spreading rumors, playing mean jokes to embarrass or humiliate , mimicking the person in a mean way, encouraging social exclusion of a person, etc.
- Verbal Bullying: includes name-calling, insults, teasing, intimidation or verbal abuse.
- Cyber Bullying: includes taunting or humiliation through social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or the Internet, cruel websites targeting specific youth, humiliating others while playing online games, verbal or emotional bullying through chat rooms,
For this blog post I am personally writing from my experiences as an adult. I feel like it is a necessary topic to discuss. In the same way we can be victims, we can unknowingly participate in bullying and not know the long lasting effects on the individual. I have never personally experienced physical or cyber bullying so the steps I am providing would probably not be useful in those situations. I am also not an expert, I am writing based on the coping strategies that helped me get through some challenging moments so please bare that in mind. Here are my ten tips for coping with bullies:
- TAKE A STEP BACK~ Usually when we are in the midst of getting bullied, we get lost in the overwhelming emotions of feeling inadequate and inferior. Take a deep breath...take a mental step back and see the situation for what it is. Is there really a problem or is someone trying to convince you that you are a problem?
- STAY CALM😶~ Don't let your emotions get the best of you. This is the best advice my father has given me. Sometimes this person will use triggers, they will find ways to frustrate you and humiliate you in front of others. It's important to learn to remain calm and as mentioned in step one, take a step back and start seeing the situation for what it is.
- 'ALL ATTACK IS A CALL FOR HELP' 💣-~I think this comes from a A Course in Miracles. Hurt people hurt other people. In this day and age of social media, we have become experts at editing our life into what we want people to see and know about us. Unfortunately this means that some people never feel safe enough to admit they are hurting or they need help. It isn't your responsibility to help the bully but you do need to know that their behavior is a refection of who they are and not who you are. They will try to convince you, that you are the problem, stick to steps one and two. Remember this isn't about you...this is about their inability to cope in healthy ways with situations they do not like. After all the bully is a human being.
- PRAY🙇~ meditate, pray, find your quiet amongst all the chaos. It will help you think through steps 1,2,and 3 Whatever works for you. Consulting with God helps me in my daily life
- TALK TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST~Find a confidant who is not emotionally attached to the situation and discuss it with them. Sometimes this will help you see everything from a fresh perspective and they may have advice to help you cope better
- DOCUMENT WHAT HAPPENS ~ Write it all down, write everything that happens, so you don't feel like you are going crazy. Social/relational bullying can be very subtle and the victim may often feel like thy are overreacting. Write it all down. It may help you assess whether you really are being bullied
- DEVELOP A STRATEGY IF YOU NEED ONE ~ sometimes ignoring the behavior helps, because it shows the bully that you will not stoop to that level. Sometimes confronting the bully in an assertive face to face discussion helps, because strangely enough some bullies are afraid of confrontation, because weirdly enough they are victims too.😜 Either way you need to assess the situation, do some research , seek professional help if possible and decide what is best for you ( I have used the word 'situation' toooo much in this blog post 😂)
- DON'T LOOSE FOCUS 💪 ~ This is what the bully wants you to do, loose focus. Forget your purpose, dull your shine. They need to feel better and they think that will happen if they come for you. Make a list of all the things you need to achieve if you have too...re-focus and get your tasks done. Don't waste time focusing on the bully. Remember to find small things that bring you joy, like reading a book, meeting up with friends, watching your favorite series etc. Your life is bigger than this moment.
- HEAL & FORGIVE 😇~ Bullying can leave a person with a lot of unhealthy side effects, for example depression, anxiety, panic attacks, isolation, headaches etc... It can often feel embarrassing to admit that someone has had such an effect on you. Seek professional help if you need too. Find time within your life to heal and forgive, so that you can move on.
- SELF- EVALUATE ~You might be a bully too, or you may participate in bullying behaviors towards others. Take the time to know yourself and the people around you, make an effort to stop bullying behaviors in your circles.
“You should be nicer to him,' a schoolmate had once said to me of some awfully ill-favored boy. 'He has no friends.' This, I realized with a pang of pity that I can still remember, was only true as long as everybody agreed to it.”
Comment below with your coping strategies, I would love to read them.
(Btw find me on Twitter @mariajulietrose 😀)