I am just a girl who loves reading and talking about books
I recently watched a very captivating movie called “Cyberbullying”. This was a movie about a young girl who was mercilessly bullied by her peers on an online page. They started by posting insults and even demeaning videos about her. Overtime, the bullying escalated to the extent of affecting her friends. However, instead of defending her, they all decided to alienate themselves from her to stop from enduring the effects of the bullying. This pushed the bullied girl into depression. At one point, she attempted suicide by overdosing on pain medication. The movie was heart wrenching and it was clear to see just how cruel kids can be. Sadly, this is not an isolated case as there are other real-life stories of teenagers who have ended up committing suicide as a result of bullying. Interesting enough, bullying is still not considered a very serious issue and in most cases it is ignored.
One of the reasons why bullying is ignored is because it does not always involve physical harm to a person. Calling a person names may not be considered a crime. However, physical harm and threats are what most people would consider serious. In the case of cyberbullying, the anonymity maintained online can at times means that the bullies cannot be identified easily. In other cases, bullying online may be considered as part of freedom of expression. For instance, if a group of people decide to start spreading rumors and taunting you about your character, this may be considered expression. In this case, it is assumed that the people are simply expressing their opinions about you.
Most people ignore the emotional scaring that comes from bullying. People who are bullied tend to lose their self-esteem. In other cases, they end up losing their confidence. Constant harassment makes one feel weak and this can damage their pride and self-worth. Other effects of bullying include:
ü Making a person feel anxious, scared and depressed. This may adversely affect one’s ability to eat well, sleep well and even to remain productive in their areas of work. There are people who fail to achieve their full potentials and pursue their activities of interest due to being victimized by bullying.
ü Bullying can affect the mental and physical health of a person.
ü Suicide- There are many people who end up committing suicide out of desperation arising from the bullying
It is also a fact that people who witness any type of bullying may also be affected. For instance, if you happen to see your friend getting bullied, you may be affected in the following ways:
ü Suffer from depression and anxiety due to being victimized directly or indirectly
ü Suffer from poor mental health as a result of feeling hopeless due to your inability to help the bullied person
It is also a fact that bullies also suffer from a number of effects. For instance,
ü They are likely to be involved in violence or aggression due to the pent-up negative emotions
ü Most bullies end up abusing drugs or alcohol so as to get the guts to bully others and avoid the negative feelings such as guilt that may arise
ü Become abusive to their spouses or partners
ü Suffer from lack of self-worth and struggle with this for the rest of their lives
There is a general assumption that children are the ones who are bullied. In Kenya, most people assume that bullying happens to “Form ones” or much younger people. However, the surprising fact is that even adults of all ages can be bullied. In fact, adult bullying is very rampant and has dire consequences. This bullying can take place at work, home or even at the least expected places such as churches. In most cases, this kind of bullying is largely ignored since it is guised as other thing. For instance, it may be mistaken for personal differences, mismatch of characters. To know whether or not you are being bullied, consider the following scenarios.
ü A bully will constantly put you down in front of others or even when you are alone. They will open criticize everything that you do. They may even turn you into a laughing stock by making comments to embarrass you.
ü A bully will sabotage you. They will look for ways to cause you to taint your own image. For instance, if at work, the bully may not tell you of an important meeting hence making you miss it. They will cause you to be perceived as a poor worker by knowingly sabotaging you.
ü A bully will attempt to ruin your image by spreading gossip about you. They will start rumors and share half-truths that make you look bad. They will not care whether there is proof of their allegations or not.
ü A bully will try and intimidate you and be-little you. They may ensure that you do not get a chance to talk or share ideas. They will make you seem incompetent and incapable of making any useful contributions.
If you or your loved ones are being bullied, one of the most important things to remember is that you should never blame yourself. In most cases, when a person is bullied, they start to wonder what warranted the treatment. This may easily lead to the person blaming themselves. They start believing that they do deserve the negative treatment. However this is never true. A bully will attack you because of how they feel about themselves. Research actually shows that most bullies normally have very low self-esteem camouflaged as bravado. They feel bad about themselves and have no confidence. They then try and attack others who they may view as being weaker. This is done in an effort to feel and seem more superior to their victims.
You should skillfully stand up for yourself. This does not mean being aggressive. It means letting the bully know that they cannot get away with the negative treatment. Let them know that you know what they are trying to do. You should ask them to stop the behavior. You should also avoid looking scared or hiding from the bully. This will only fuel their intent to make your life miserable. Look at them straight in the eye and face them at all times. Do not be confrontational but at the same time, do not be a coward.
One thing that you should never do in the face of bullying is trying and get back at them. If you get on their level and exude a strong emotional response, you will only worsen the situation. They will retaliate with a vengeance. To the bully, your reaction shows that their tactics have managed to get to you. This will give them more motivation to keep bullying you hence worsening the already bad situation.
There are times when acts of kindness may actually work in stopping the bullying. For instance, if a workmate is constantly putting you down, you should not retaliate. Instead, you can decide to adopt the approach of being friendly instead. Remain courteous and as much as you may be hurting, do not show this. This may discourage the bully from bullying you. They may be frustrated when they fail to get the expected response from you. They may also be dissuaded from the bullying out of shame. This is because, their own reputations will be tainted and they may be perceived negatively if it seems like they are attacking you with no provocation.
There are bullies who are that way because of past experiences. They may have undergone bullying and hence they become bullies themselves. If you treat such people with kindness, this may stop the bullying. This is because it changes their expectations of a negative treatment by those around them. In turn it may encourage positive responses from them. However, you need to know that act of kindness doe not entail you going out of your way to please anyone. They entail doing simple and courteous things such as greeting them and generally not showing any animosity towards them. If you find the bully being unresponsive towards this approach, you should then stop it.
If you feel that you are unable to stop the bullying, then you need to seek help by speaking up. You should let another person intervene in the situation. You can approach a colleague, supervisor or a superior person for their assistance. For instance, if the bullying takes place at work, you can discuss it with your supervisor. Do not get into depression and start wallowing in self pity. You need to stand up for yourself and get help if necessary. Talking or confiding in someone will help you think clearly and avoid the negative emotions that normally come with bullying.
There are also instances whereby you have to walk away from the situation. For instance, if a person is bullying you at work and you fail to get any help, consider looking for another job. You do not have to be in a situation that can gravely affect you. You can walk away and save yourself from the long-term effects of the bullying. You need to know that walking away does not mean that you are weak. At times, walking away is the smart thing to do.