Bullying is a topic that’s talked about a lot on social media and the news, yet not enough or not clear enough to stop it from happening. And not detailed enough about how bullying affects mental health. The truth is, that it is something that probably won’t ever be stopped. Unfortunately it seems that the rates are only going up with the use of social media, so even when you physically remove yourself from that situation, it continues in your home on your phone.
How to find the bully
Bullies come in all shapes, sizes and age groups. If it’s the kid in school that makes everyone laugh at you, or the mean person at work, who is so nice to everyone else, but for some reason they single you out. It could even be a former “friend “ who you disagreed with Or a partner who wants to control you.
The definition of bullying is one of the hardest things to figure out, because there’s only so much someone can prove, in the end it’s all about how it affects each person individually and that’s a hard thing to put on paper as facts.
Bullying can make you feel worthless, useless, never good enough, like your opinion doesn’t matter, it can be ignoring you or the things you do, or putting your work down. It can even be taking things away from you, that are important to you and sometimes it can get physical. Verbal abuse is also a major issue, because words can cut deep and stick around for a long time.
What bullying does to your mental health
There’s a lot of kids that commit suicide after being bullied, because it seemed to them, that this was their only way out of this hopeless situation.
I have experienced my fair share of bullying in my life and I’ve only recently started to discover, what it is and where it comes from, and most of all how to prevent it in a lot of cases. When I was younger, my mum would often tell me to grow a “thicker skin” I didn’t know what that meant, but I think she was doing the best she could, it just didn’t help me.
The list of my bullies starts pretty early, my dad is a bully, I’m sure he doesn’t even know. Most bullies think they’re right and therefore don’t take any responsibility of the harm they’re causing. This makes it worse for the bullied person, because they even get told by supporters that they’re over sensitive or over reacting.
Long term bullying causes depression and anxiety, once you are in such a situation, it’s hard to “snap out of it” so your mind gets more perceptive to little stabs that otherwise wouldn’t hurt or you could just brush off. This causes people to think less of themselves and get more insecure, don’t want to share their thoughts or feelings in fear of getting laughed at or be annoying to others, which in turn the bully uses to increase their power over that person.
It can feel extremely hopeless and I have had thoughts like, what if I just wasn’t there anymore tomorrow, if I could just die and not deal with this for another day? It actually seems like an option someone would consider, compared to what you have to face every day. Of course, I don’t support this in any way, but I get it, I’ve been there.
Why do bullies bully?
The short answer to this is, you don’t fit into their reality. Bullies are control freaks and anything that is different to what they know, threatens them. So if you are different in any way, you need to be controlled. If you look different or do things differently or you just have a different opinion. If you have more money or less money than them. If your view of the world is different or if you’re naturally a happier person than them.
They are actually very insecure about themselves, quite unhappy with their life and choices, but still want to force that same mentality onto you. They think they can lift themselves up by pulling you down. This never works in the long run because they still end up at the same level they’ve always been on. They’re hurt people that are unwilling to make changes in their own life.
Why are they bullying ME?
Some people are easier targets than others. I was an easy target for most of my life, in primary school it was my skin that tanned darker than the other kids, in high school I was a bit chubby, when I started working I was the youngest person there. This would not make me an easy target, though. What did, was the conditioning by my dad, that I could never seem to do anything right, I took home A’s from school and I was told it wasn’t an A+ , I would rake leaves and it wasn’t in the right spot, I was a girl, when he wanted a son…. So I was never confident, my whole life I was told I’m over sensitive and I carried that with me and became the perfect target for bullying, because I didn’t think much of myself, I was looking for approval from outside sources. And guess what, no matter how hard you try, you can never make everyone happy, or like you.
It doesn’t have anything to do with you
So what can you do, to not be a target? Nothing anyone says or does, has anything to do with you, but has EVERYTHING to do with them. If they don’t like you because of your opinion, they’re probably too scared to voice their own. If they don’t like you, because you’re a happy person, their life most likely sucks. If they don’t like you because you’re skinny, they probably feel like they need to lose weight. They’re projecting all their negatives onto you and make you the enemy.
Don’t get caught up in their stories, don’t play the game, you won’t win. Don’t get angry, the only person you hurt with that is yourself. Don’t give your power away. Detach yourself from that person by knowing that there’s no issue with you, it’s theirs. And for that you don’t even have to leave the room.
Educate your kids, that there is nothing wrong with them, tell them that the bully has issues in their life and what they’re saying and doing is only about themselves. Build their confidence. That way bullying might not stop, but it’s effects will be less.