We all know bullying is an awful, hurtful, destructive thing, but it still can exist in every aspect of our lives, both online and offline.
When people don’t know how to channel their sadness or frustration in a positive way, it comes out in anger, and can often be channelled towards one person who has done nothing to deserve it other than to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. For the bully, it’s about feeling like they have power because in so many aspects of their life, they feel powerless.
Remember this: Hurt People Hurt People.
Here’s the thing though, while a bully might make you feel powerless, you can control your own reaction. Walking away without responding takes a lot of bravery, but try it. You’ll probably find that, when the bully doesn’t get the reaction they are looking for, they move on very quickly.
It takes two to tango, it also takes two for a bully to be successful. It’s a two-way interaction and both parties have some control over how it will go down. There’s a great video on YouTube by Brooks Gibbs (check it out below) in which he acts out a scenario with a willing volunteer. Watch how quickly they run out of steam when we fail to react…
If that doesn’t work, speak up, tell someone you trust. Bullying is never okay.
If you’re being bullied, here’s what we want you to know…
- Tell someone. Lots of us are afraid to tell anyone because we think it will cause everything to blow up and make it worse. Also, we are embarrassed and don’t want others to know we are victims of bullying. Just start by telling one person you trust; a parent, a teacher, a guidance counsellor, a doctor. If you have been holding it to yourself for a while you will feel instantly better. Then you will be able to come up with a solution together.
- Know that you probably haven’t done anything to deserve it. Being a victim of bullying is rarely actually anything to do with you. If you had done anything differently, looked a different way, said a different thing, or worn a different outfit, it probably wouldn’t have made a difference. Think of it this way, when you are upset, frustrated, insecure, or angry, there is nothing more irritating than someone who is the opposite of those things. Bullies try to drag others down to make themselves feel better. Don’t change a thing about yourself to try to please them.
- We all want to be liked. Of course, we do. But this world is made up of millions of different personality types, and it needs those types to keep it spinning. Sometimes those personalities just won’t gel. That’s okay. We need to learn to respect those differences and not expect everyone to come around to our way of thinking. It’s okay, let it go. Stop trying so hard.
- You are not the only one. Divide and conquer. That’s how bullies work. They want everyone to feel alone so they don’t form alliances and stand up to them. Look around you, there is someone else in your school who is just as alone and scared as you are. If she’s sitting alone, go sit with her. You never know, you could make a real, honest and lifelong friend.
- When they go low, we go high. Don’t behave in a way that you will regret. Don’t sink to the same behaviour. It will only make things worse, and you will feel bad about yourself, because you know better.
- Don’t let what they say give you insecurities. They will keep making comments until they find the one that gets the biggest reaction. They’ll say you have a big arse, a small arse, you’re too tall, too short, too skinny, too fat. Own it. You are you, and the things about you that are different are the things that make you stand out after school when those who are different are considered awesome, interesting and attractive to others.
- Remind yourself that the bully is usually in a very bad place. If you knew exactly what their life entails, you probably wouldn’t swap lives with them in a million years. They are clutching for some form of power and control, a diversion from the things that are making them so unhappy. This doesn’t make it right, but it might help you feel a bit better.
- It will pass. It might not seem like it now, but they will get bored after a while and move on. They always do. And when they do, don’t let it put you off ever trying to make new friends, try new things, or push yourself to achieve your goals. That would be an awful shame.
Also, you’re in good company. Did you know:
Lady Gaga was called a freak in school
People said Rihannas green eyes and boobs were weird
The Girls in Miley Cyrus’s class called themselves the “Anti-Miley Club”
Winona Ryder was beaten up in school. The bully later asked her for an autograph in a cafe.
Jennifer Lawrence had to switch schools because she was bullied.
Hang in there, it will pass x
SPUN OUT: This is a one-stop shop for all mental health issues. The articles are very matter-of-fact, helpful and all bases are covered.
TACKLE BULLYING: Lots of resources for kids, parents and teachers on dealing with bullying.
CHILDLINE: Helpline and online support, offering advice and support to young people under 18.
TURN2ME: Support for anyone feeling anxious, sad, or lonely.
YOURMENTALHEALTH: Lots of information about Mental Health in Ireland.
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