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.
Sadly, bullying has no legal definition. However, it can be distinguished as a behavior with the objective to bring repeated harm to another person physically, verbally, or emotionally. Verbal threats, name-calling, physical assault, gossiping, and Internet bullying are just some of its many shapes.
Bullying has an effect that can force an individual to feel isolated, self-depreciative, and unhappy. It can also devalue a person by breaking down their self-esteem and making them sense that nobody cares.
“The longer a bully has power over a victim, the stronger the hold becomes. Oftentimes, bullying begins in a relatively mild form—name calling, teasing, or minor physical aggression,” wrote Signe Whitson, LSW.
However, though the action can be very devastating, there is help available in many forms such as counseling. It is why victims of bullying are encouraged to speak up and not take bullying as a regular occurrence in their lives. Counseling can provide the victims of bullying the help they need to change their perception of their lives.
“The shame surrounding bullying makes it extremely difficult to reach out for help,” notes Kathryn Stamoulis, Ph.D. In result, “[i]solation can worsen the anxiety, depression and poor self-esteem associated with the victims of bullying.”
Meeting with a counselor can help victims of bullying to privately disclose the things about what they are currently experiencing without being hated. Discussion with a counselor can enumerate the possible options they have on how to get through the hard times of the assault. The counselor can help the victims understand the situation and provide strategies on how to cope with the struggle positively.
Counselors who specialize in bullying can assist the victims using the following methods:
- Assertiveness techniques – Counselors will teach the individual how to express their rights confidently and openly.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT – Counselors can help the individual remove negative patterns of thinking to produce a positive impact on their behavior.
- Transactional analysis – Counselors will examine the individual’s behavior and their reaction to other people’s behaviors.
Long-term Effects on Victims of Bullying
Bullying can significantly change an individual’s life. It doesn’t discriminate age, gender, race, or religion. However, various people react to bullying differently. It can be as diverse and complex as the whole act itself. An individual’s defense mechanism can show long-term consequences such as initiation of incessant isolation, excessive avoidance of conflicts, over suspicion and distrust of most people. It also results in the loss of emotion and interest regarding people, things, and places.
In some cases, other individuals may react to bullying by fighting back. However, they may start fighting individuals who are weaker if their action is ineffective. The long-term effect of mutual consistency can result in overly defensive reactions, unwillingness to accept mistakes, self-destructive behaviors, substance abuse, and addiction, and criminal issues with the law. However, an individual that freezes during bullying may also develop over forbearance during conflicts, may lose the sense of self, decision-making problems, and eating disorders.
Worse, Dr. Aida Midgett, department chair and associate professor in the Department of Counselor Education at Boise State University, says, “Students who are targets of bullying can experience negative emotional states, increased rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.”
Bullying is a serious issue that needs global awareness. Seek counseling and help if you have a family member, a friend, or any person important to you that is a victim of bullying because your concern can have the power to change their life for the better.