Bullying is a problem just about everyone experiences at some point in their life. It doesn’t just occur between children either, it can happen in adolescence and adulthood as well.
What is bullying?
Bullying takes many forms, and can happen just about anywhere. It happens when a person is experiences aggression from another person, or persons. This aggressive behavior can be verbal, psychological, or even physical.
- Verbal: this kind of bullying is very visible and easy to identify. This includes calling someone names, threatening them, abusive phone calls, even good-natured bantering between friends can turn into verbal bullying.
- Physical: physical bullying is also visible and easy to identify. This can include being hit or punched, having your belongings damaged or stolen or even sexual abuse.
- Psychological: this type of bullying includes being isolated from others, or having rumors spread about the victim, using peer pressure to intimidate the other person, and giving the victim threatening looks or gestures. It can be difficult to identify, but is often one of the most hurtful kinds of bullying for the victim.
- Sexual Bullying: this can include a mix of all the above types of bullying, but in regards to sexually abusing the victim in some way. It can include unsolicited sexual comments, spreading rumors about the victim but in regards to sexual behavior, or even sexual assault.
- Cyber Bullying: this is when all the bullying behavior happens online, and is becoming more and more of a problem. This could be receiving hurtful and abusive emails, having someone attack you using social media websites (facebook, twitter, etc.), having rumors or hurtful pictures spread around on these websites, or even having your account hacked into.
Overall, bullying can have some seriously long-lasting, and hurtful effects on the victim. It can cause feelings of isolation, loneliness, lowered confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth.
Why does bullying happen?
Usually, there is never one reason why someone decides to bully others. It could be that they have low self-esteem and hurt others in an effort to raise it. It could also be that they have tendency to be more aggressive and act this way with everyone, not just one person.
What can I do?
If you are the person experiencing bullying, there also things you can do to empower yourself.
If you’re being bullied…
- Talk to someone you trust. Try reaching out to a close friend or family member to let them know what is going on. Sometimes just getting it off your chest is so relieving, you can already feel more empowered to stand up for yourself. They have some good suggestions or be able to help you deal with the bully.
- Talk to someone in an authority position. If you are in school, make sure you tell a teacher you trust or the school counselor. Most schools, if not all, have a zero tolerance bullying policy. Let them know what’s going on and they may be able to help you. If bullying is happening in the workplace, talk to your supervisor or someone in Human Resources. Abuse in any form at the work place is not tolerated is because it is often considered a liability to the company.
- Meet with a counselor. You might not feel comfortable talking with a friend or someone at work yet. This is when a counselor can be a great help. Sometimes talking to a third-party who isn’t involved in the situation can help you look at the situation in ways you wouldn’t have noticed before. They can be a great outlet to express your frustrations and get help.
- Don’t give up. When you first go to someone, they may not take you seriously. It’s important to note that this isn’t okay! Don’t say silent! Keep bringing it up to them, or someone else until you get help. Don’t suffer in silence.
- Stay with a group of friends. Bullies are more likely to attack someone, especially verbally or physically when the person is by themselves. When you’re surrounded by others, you have the support of the others around you. Even if they do physically do, or say anything, the bully will see that you are not alone, and you are more likely to have someone come to your defense.
Bullying is a serious issue and should never be taken lightly. For more help and information, check out the following suggested reading list. Have you dealt with bullying in the past, or know someone who has? What has worked for you to overcome it? What did you do?
- Bully4U – website aimed at raising awareness and empowering those who have experienced bullying in the workplace and/or at school.
- ReachOut.com: Bullying – factsheet on bullying by ReachOut
- Dealing with Bullying and Cyber-Bullying: Tips for kids, teens, parents, and teachers – Article by