One of the worst things about bullying is that it happens everywhere. I was bullied at school and even around the neighborhood for having a huge head and a thin body. I kept telling myself to ignore them, but they didn’t go away. In fact, I think I gave them more reasons to taunt me. The bullying went on for years, and it only stopped when I went away to college. But even though the bullies eventually went away, they left effects that I’m going to have to deal with for the rest of my life. It’s hard, and there were definitely times where I wished I would stop existing, but I didn’t give up. Even though the things they did to me left me having depression and anxiety, I didn’t let go. Now looking back, I would like to share some of the things I did that helped get through one of the darkest chapters in my life. I’m not saying that they will be practical for everyone, but they were for me so I am hoping that maybe I could help make things better for someone out there. And if you think you’re that person, read on.
Acknowledge What Happened
Ignoring your bullies will not make them leave; I learned that the hard way. Most victims of bullying follow the “ignore them” and “just stay away from them” methods, but those don’t work always.
“Clearly, ‘intent to harm’ starts us down the slippery slope—perhaps more slippery than imagined, for it not only involves the purported aim(s) of the bully, but the equally subjective determinations of that intent by bystanders and authority figures,” wrote Laura Martocci, PhD. “Their perceptions –the corresponding, discretionary counterpart of intent–undeniably guide any adjudication of claims to have been bullied.”
Sometimes you need to face the issue head-on so you can think of a solution or a way out of it. That’s what I did, and it allowed me to make a plan on how to make things better.
Tell Yourself It’s Not Your Fault
It is essential. Never let yourself feel like you deserve the act of bullying. It is not your fault, it never was. Bullies target people who possess something they hate or want to have. They love the feeling of being in control so take that away from them. Be in charge of the things they make you feel. Never let yourself get defined by the things they tell you. You’re not the problem, they are.
Susan Heitler, PhD, asserts, “Do not minimize the incident.” She says that for parents, it is important to “[s]ay explicitly that what the bully did was not right.”
There’s No Shame In Getting Help
I tried to fight the bullying alone, but I failed. If there’s one thing I indeed learned from the whole experience, that is that there is no shame in asking for help. Luckily, a couple of my friends and family were there to fight for me and put the bullies in their rightful place. Did the bullying stop? No, it did not, but it gets lessened because they know I’m not alone.
According to Miki Kashtan, PhD, “Those who have someone to talk with, even in the context of serious abuse, have far greater chances of managing their adult life in a way that works for them, even if nothing can be done to change the circumstances.” Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially now that forces are working on making it more available for anyone who is getting bullied.
These are just some of the things I did that helped me survive to bully. It’s hard, but as long as you have the strength and hope that things will eventually get better, they definitely will. It’s a cliché, I know, but I’m going to say it anyway – hold on and you will get through it.