There are times in our lives that we encounter bullying. Though we might think about how damaging it can be, there will be those days that we want to change the situation whenever we can. It’s undeniably true that a person will want to have the ability to get things back on track and move forward with it. But the decisions we do can sometimes end up on things that shouldn’t happen.
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There will come a time in our life where problems and stresses will take over our subconscious level. Since our mind occupies a lot of different things, we might be able to have complications in dealing with our stressors. However, the power of positivity can make a validation on improving a person’s relationship, career, and life as a whole.
Going with the natural flow of life is cool. Your clients and bosses love your spontaneity and you accomplish and experience a lot of things without inhibitions. Despite that, this attitude also makes you susceptible to diverse forms of negativity, including disappointment, stress, pressure, and more.
Most people will connect bullying as an event that occurs during our years in the playground of our youthful days. It is much more frequent to occur at school, but the truth is it can happen anywhere at any age. Bullying can be seen at work, home, school, or even on the internet. Continue reading →
Bullying is indeed one of the leading causes of anxiety and depression among teens nowadays. There is too much tension in the emotional and mental aspects of kids who try hard to understand different societal norms. The impact of bullying is unsullied that it often leads to severe isolation and sometimes suicide attempts. But how does bullying relate to mental health issues? What are the triggering factors that can identify its existence? Is there a way to address bullying situations that lead to depression?
It Creates Physical, Emotional, And Mental Torture
Bullying comes in many forms. But regardless of its ways, it always ends up in severe overall damage. There are cases that the act can immensely harm someone physically. It causes bruises and wounds, and sometimes fractures or long-term injuries. On the emotional aspect, it creates an explainable fear or trauma that sometimes leads to isolation. And for mental health impacts, it damages psychological balance where most victims become open to self-harm and suicide attempts.
“Previous studies have found a link between bullying and a higher risk of mental health problems during childhood, such as low self-esteem, poor school performance, depression, and an increased risk for suicide,” explains Dr. Andre Sourander, a professor of child psychiatry at the University of Turku in Finland
One of the triggering factors of bullying starts with individuals’ being different. It is where they think, dress, look, speak, differently than the rest. Other people view them weird or unusual because of their behavior and responses. These individuals appear judged, condemned, and unaccepted because they are not like everyone else. With that particular instance where people point out their unique personality, these bullied ones feel upset about themselves. Eventually, it becomes a case of social anxiety and clinical depression.
Honestly, there is no way to address bullying when the victims can’t identify their weak points. If these individuals never learn to stand up for themselves, they will never escape the continuous torment and agony of such act. Yes, battling with all the emotional and mental torture is not easy. But these bullied individuals must understand that it is the only way. Because being afraid is not an option here. What these bullied people need to do is to gain back their confidence no matter what. Because if they don’t, they will end up miserable for the rest of their lives. They will forever become a victim of an act that never promises to stop.
“Because adults often are not there to observe it, we need the kids to be the ones to stand up and say it’s not okay,” Kelly Lyn Mulvey, Ph.D. says. “It sounds like a scary thing to do. But peer intervention really works. Speaking up and standing up to bullies tends to reduce the attacks.”
Mental Health Matters
Bullying may be a physical or cyber act, but its goal looks forward only to one thing – emotionally and mentally hurt others.
“(Our study) calls attention to just how serious bullying can be, and it reinforces what we’ve been learning, which is that bullying is not just a rite of passage, it’s not just part of growing up and all kids experience it and they’re stronger for it,” Dr. Mark Schuster said.
So instead of accepting it as part of the societal norm, people should learn to figure out how to eradicate its existence. Yes, the process can take a long way because people seem to get used to it. However, it is not an excuse to make others feel miserable and hopeless just because they are weak or different. Everybody deserves to have a stable mental and emotional state, so bullying should be out of the picture. But to be able to do that, people must learn to understand the importance of fighting their own battles with or without the chances of winning it. Because in the end, winning is not everything. Sometimes the fight itself is more than enough to tell the world that bullying is depressingly unacceptable.
In psychological studies, people find it more appealing to address and cater to the needs of those individuals who experience bullying. There is an assumption that these individuals are suffering the worst types of anxiety, stress, and depression. However, what some experts miss out is the fact that bullying consists of two individuals. There is a bullied individual and a bully one. But since most health professionals are more focused on the victims, they tend not to notice the treatments needed for those bully ones.
Not all bullies are born bullies. Some of them also have mental conditions. In some unfortunate cases, almost half of them are battling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and even dissociative identity disorder (DID). Not all bullies are bullying others intentionally. There are cases that some of them are not even aware that they are hurting others.
“Those who behave like bullies tend to have high self-esteem and hubristic pride. They attack others to take away their shame – which allows them to remain unaware of their feelings,” clinical psychologist and professor Dr. Mary Lamia says.
These individuals sometimes cannot identify the wrong behavior towards the right one. That is because their environmental orientation tends to be different from the rest. There are cases where their families, friends, and other people surrounding them are accepting the behavior as part of these individuals’ personality. But for some, it is an act based on a negative attitude and inconsiderate trait.
An Unintentional Bullying
Sometimes, unintentional bullying has something to do with people being brutally honest. Since a lot of people do not want to hear the truth, someone’s honesty becomes a threat. Meaning, no matter how truthful bullying individuals can become, the things they say get considered as an attack to someone’s life, personality, and beliefs. Therefore, even if they prove a point, their views and opinions become worthless. That is because society sees them as individuals without considerations. That no matter how honest they can be, as long as they are hurting other people’s feelings, they are always the bad guys.
Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D., tells us that, “When we fail to distinguish between bullying and ordinary meanness, we trivialize the very serious cases of peer abuse.”
In some cases, unintentional bullying refers to someone who physically hurt others without reason. More likely, it becomes a habit. There are cases when people hit, kick, slap, and pull others’ hairs simply because they want to. It gets referred to as bullying because there is physical violence involved in the act. But for some individuals, they see to it as a regular thing. Somehow it represents an emotional discomfort too.
Bullying is not acceptable by all means, and people believe it. However, some individuals want experts to focus not only on the victims but to the bullies as well.
“The toughest part of the entire bullying dilemma is how to respond to those who bully,” wrote Miki Kashtan, Ph.D.
These individuals are not at all bad people. They are also victims of their past traumatic experiences. Therefore, judging and condemning them without knowing the story behind their suffering is far worse.
I would never agree with the act of bullying. But I will also not close the door in helping those people who hurt others intentionally or unintentionally. We all create mistakes and sometimes, understanding and looking beyond things is all we need to get along with each other. Let us be fair and help both victims of bullying and their bullies.
A lot of my friends say that I am mean, rude, and disrespectful. I don’t care. They can say whatever they want because I feel better about myself when I am like this. I find myself powerful, unpredictable, and full of confidence in such ways. I agree to them that I am not a genuine person. But honestly, I am not trying to be one. I might as well stay as a bully because I love the power of controlling things and people. It makes me alive. Or so I thought.
I Don’t Want To Feel Weak
I am a bully because I do not want people to know I am weak. I do not like the feeling when someone is hurting me because I know that my inner self will not be able to handle it. I want to stay as a bully because I can hide my weakness. I can make people believe that I am capable of everything when, in fact, I am afraid of lots of things. I am a bully because I cannot accept the fact that I have more imperfections rather than desirable qualities. I am an individual who wants to gain validation in whatever circumstances. “Every once in a while, in a particularly vulnerable person, the despair or rage or both erupt into violence, either against the self or against the whole school, and only then does school bullying become an issue to the larger community,” Peter Gray, Ph.D. wrote.
I Am Lonely
I am a bully because I cannot find happiness on things around me. People question my existence and judge me for being me. It makes me lonely because society wants me to become one of them. I bully people because I want them to notice me, regardless if it appears negatively. I want to feel that I am not alone, that is why I make sure that when I bully someone, that person never forgets about me. I tend to like bullying others because it makes me feel that people who can recognize my existence surrounds me. I am a bully because I believe that I am better off with this attitude. “Our emotional lives are a bit like wells. In order to invite more positive feelings into them, we have to get rid of the negative ones,” Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D. says.
I Got Bullied
“To say that we are inclined to act on a particular feeling is not to suggest that doing so is always advantageous or appropriate. Or, to put the matter differently, we have evolved feelings that are useful to us in most circumstances; but not all,” says Fredric Neuman, M.D.
I am a bully because I experienced getting bullied by others too. I am all alone, and no one dares to save me from the miserable and unfortunate circumstances that I was having. I realized that when I become one of these bullies, I can guarantee another life for me. I can become powerful so that no one can harm me anymore. I am a bully because I do not want to get bullied again. So instead of me trying to fight these people, I choose to become one of them. I came up to the realization that instead of getting hurt, I might as well sacrifice others’ emotional and mental state so that I can save myself.
I am a bully because of my choice. I know people will never like me, and they will never accept my reasons for becoming like this. I am not going to push myself towards their approval, either. But honestly, if I were given a chance to change things, I would. I am too tired of acting tough because deep inside, this bully is dying.
One of the toughest times in teenagers’ life is finding the right circle of friends. Shirley Vandersteen, PhD, highlights the value of finding the right friends: “Good friends are vitally important to your mental health and to the quality of your life.”
Since there are a lot of diversities out there when it comes to personality and opinions, it becomes hard to look for those peers that appreciate values and respect one another. But even so, there are instances that young adults can identify which types of friends are best fit for them. As long as they have the standards of choosing which ones are beneficial to their overall development, there is a guarantee that they will have the best companions.
Loving The Imperfections
With society’s view on what is in and out, teens are fonder of giving themselves to those people who are not contributing a healthy environment for them. There are too much judgment and bullying that seem to control what types of friendship these young adults should choose. It is as if these kids are always trying so hard to look good for others and not considering their emotional and mental needs. With that, instead of loving their imperfections, they work so hard to change themselves only to be accepted by their chosen peers. In line with this issue, teenagers must realize that friendship is not about perfection. It is about loving everything about the person. It should not have to limit one’s potential of becoming himself. There must be an avoidance of judgment and bullying.
The concern with a lot of people is they try so hard to do everything that pleases everybody. With the current trend and social media impact, everyone wants to fit in. With that, most young adults get confused with their personality because there is a bit of a standard that seems to take over their right and wrong choices. So, instead of hanging out with people who are also lovingly different in their ways, most of these confused teens prefer to enter a circle that shares the same personality, opinions, and perceptions. That includes getting in the wrong direction. What these kids should realize is that being different is not a crime. And trying to be unconventional is something that is not shameful at all. The best circle of friends encourages each of their peers to become more confident with their individuality.
Shainna Ali PhD, LMHC, notes, “In a healthy relationship, your friend does not have to be your clone to understand you. Even when your differences are highlighted, compassion, respect, and empathy can help you to feel understood and are crucial in a healthy friendship.” If that is not the kind of people teenagers’ share their life with, there is a guarantee of undesirable growth.
A great friendship is not measured by how much one can give to another. It is not about who gives more and who gives less. Friendship is something that develops, supports, and encourages people to become themselves. Meaning, there is a focus on lifting each others’ strength and not bullying them and destroying their confidence. Yes, finding these types of circles is indeed hard because no particular teenage group shares the same values as everyone.
Suzanne Degges-White, PhD, adds, “The investment we make in friends – both those who provide instrumental or emotional support – is well worth the time involved in building and maintaining these relationships. There is no price that can be placed on the security of knowing that people will be there for you when you just don’t feel up to being there for yourself.”
However, young adults should remember two things. If there is too much cultural toxicity, they should leave immediately. If there are self-growth and development, they must keep the friends they currently have.
One of the most predominant dilemmas of teens today is bullying. There is an estimated 25% of students between the ages of 12 and 18 are being bullied. Not one school is unaffected by it. Professionals who have dealt with this issue through testing, examination, and therapy have personally seen the harmful effects that bullying has done on a teen’s life. Therapists believe that teenagers and other individuals who were bullied need someone to talk with about their broken emotions. If they have absentee parents or no one else to confide to, there are plenty of resources for them on the Internet that can at least help them temporarily.
Oversensitivity Or A Personal Experience?
So what is bullying? Does it just happen to an over-sensitive student, or is it something subjective?
Bullying is a deliberately violent action that is targeted to a specific person. It is carefully and intentionally planned to harm another. Most doctors and mental health professionals describe it as using force to abuse or instill fear on others. For someone to be considered a bully, he must have an aggressive character and must also possess some kind of inappropriate power, a deliberate act of harming another person, and must do this action repeatedly.
Additionally, bullying can be performed in different ways, the most typical of which include:
- Scaring his victims
- Spreading gossip
- Physical, sexual, and verbal harassment
- Deliberate rejection from peers and other groups
Cyberbullying is a type of bullying that is very rampant among teens these days. It is the intentional and repetitive harming of a specific person through the use of electronic gadgets like computers and smartphones. This is a more convenient way of bullying because the bully doesn’t need to face his victim. He will only need to make an inappropriate or profane post on social media to embarrass or harass him.
Bullying is something of a sensitive nature, but sometimes, this is being overused. It is necessary to clearly distinguish the difference between bullying and impolite or offensive behavior. Dealing with mean or offensive people is part of almost anyone’s life experiences. On the contrary, bullying is deliberate, repetitive, and dangerous, and it must be stopped immediately.
“Bullying is more than just being mean; it’s hurtful and cruel,” explained Raychelle Cassada Lohmann PhD, LPCS. “People who have been victimized by bullying carry with them the scars of the past.”
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Bullying Victims
CBT is the most widely used therapeutic approach for people who are suffering from anxiety, substance abuse, and suicide. This is because CBT helps people understand their thoughts and emotions better. The approach also provides individuals with instructions on how to manage their actions, emotions, and behavior.
With victims of bullying, these teens often do not realize their violent behaviors and destructive thoughts. CBT guides these victims into utilizing coping mechanisms and learning to replace the negative patterns into positive ones. One of the techniques that are very helpful for bullied teens is positive self-talk. With the help of the therapist, the teen recites positive traits and things about him, slowly breaking the insecurity, self-doubt, and fear. Eventually, he will successfully be able to control these negativities and will not let them destroy him. He will have only positive ideas about himself.
Other potential benefits of CBT for teens include:
- Managing fears
- Developing good communication skills
- Shifting negative patterns and behaviors
- Competently challenge violent thoughts
About The Bully
Bullies, particularly teens and adolescents, have a higher likelihood of engaging in hazardous behaviors. Studies reveal that bullying has been associated with academic problems, drug or alcohol abuse, suicide, family problems, and mental health illness.
Therapists can deal with bullies through different means and strategies. They can communicate with these students personally, one-on-one. Being able to understand the teen’s family background and the academic situation can sometimes help find answers as to why he is bullying others. Mental health professionals can also educate the teen on how to know the certain emotions that he is experiencing – envy, anger, and insecurity – and provide them with constructive ways to work through these emotions. Finally, they can assist the bully in learning self-reflection and understanding how his impolite and offensive actions may destroy someone’s life forever.
On the other hand, perpetrators need the care and attention too, and mental health professionals can walk them through realizing how they affect others and what the long-term effects of their actions are. The therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist, can then work with them on developing values such as empathy and discipline.
“Kids engage in all kinds of behavior that isn’t a reflection of who they are as a person,” said Jamie Howard, PhD, Stress and Resilience Program director at the Child Mind Institute. She added, “They’re still figuring things out.” It is the professionals’ role to help the bully because the truth of the matter is, they are just kids as well.
To The Parents Of The Bully And The Bullied
Parents are encouraged to communicate openly with their teens, thus creating an environment that is warm and accepting. They should be aware of the warning signs of bullying from the victim and the bully’s sentiments.
“I believe in general check-ins with kids,” Kristin Carothers, PhD, said. “If you want your kid to talk to you, you have to go and talk to your kid.” Both of these types of teens need help, and the first defense against this dilemma is for the parents to be more responsible for them.
As we all know, there are tons of reasons why a bully bullies someone. Sometimes, those individuals use those reasons to excuse themselves from the unpleasant behavior. Well, there are instances that they may get exempted from the wicked deed. But, as humans, we know they still deserve some punishments and all that. Because the more we allow them to do it repeatedly, they will never have the chance to learn their mistakes. That instead of us addressing the bullies, our consideration towards them becomes the reason why they won’t stop. But before we take account any punishments; we need to identify first the reasons why these bullies won’t seem to quit what they are doing. Here’s a professional view from a psychologist.
They Are Spoiled Individuals
Most bullies are spoiled. They believe they can get whatever they want. There is no room for compromise, and these people don’t allow any adjustments on their part. Once they heed for something, they take it by any means. That includes the act of disrespecting and not considering other people’s feelings. Bullies always focus on themselves because they believe that persistence is the key to getting everything.
They Often Want To Show Off
In case you did not notice, most bullies happen to be the popular ones. That is because of their status matters. It allows them to show off and impress their friends without the fear of getting judged. The society already accepted that when somebody that everyone knows to throw an unwanted comment or do something below the belt, it is a validation of their capability. That because others see that person as a “bully,” he or she already gained the right to do so.
They Feel Bullied As Well
Bullies sometimes want to feel power because others are also bullying them. Yes, that is correct. Most bullies are genuinely afraid of something above them. “We know anybody can be a bully or a victim depending on circumstances,” says Stephen Leff, PhD. They become the persons they are because they suffer from severe emotional, verbal, or physical trauma. As for that experience, they want others to suffer the way they did. It is their way of telling that if their bullies are capable of hurting them, so are they to others.
They Don’t Realize They Are Mean
Yes, some bullies don’t know that they are hurting other people’s feelings. There are instances that the things they do are part of their personality. Sometimes, their aggressive actions are merely the results of their interaction with their family at home or with their close friends at school. But still, it is not an excuse to overly damage someone else’s emotional and mental state.
They See Others Doing It
One of the primary reasons why bullies are confident in doing what they do is because they also see others doing it. With that, it becomes a validation that their actions are acceptable in a predictable way. There is this mentality that because some individuals get away with it, they can also receive an exemption card for hurting other people. Sadly, that is the way how things go. Most individuals live in a norm that when a lot of people are doing the act, others are entitled to follow and do it as well.
“It’s important for parents to think about how their behaviors might influence their kids—the way they speak to their children, the way they speak to their spouses, the way they handle anger—and to be realistic about whether or not this might be something that’s been modeled for the child,” explains clinical psychologist Kristin Carothers, PhD.
They Bully Others To Fit In
Individuals, mostly kids and young adults, think different when it comes to handling peer relationships. There is this pressure of fitting in to be able to feel wanted and accepted. By that, the challenge of gaining trust is something that requires multiple efforts. These individual see bullying as a way of winning friends. Because they are eager to widen their horizon, these young people focus on doing anything to achieve it.
They Want Attention
Bullies are attention seekers. They believe that they are essential compared to anybody else. There is this sense of entitlement to become the center of everything. They think they are better than others. These individuals crave for constant recognition. And when they don’t get it from others, they impose it.
“You’re feeding them, and making it more likely you’ll be cyberbullied further. Hard as it may be, if you ignore them and don’t respond, they’ll probably get bored, and move on to someone else,” says Elizabeth Laugeson, PsyD. These bullies don’t work hard for appreciation because they know they can take it by force.
Whether these bullies know or don’t know what they are doing, they better get reprimanded. Because if not, they will continue hurting other people.