Whether its at school, work or within our social peers, bullying is something that can infect every part of our lives and can be extremely damaging.
According to a survey launched by Ditch the Label, an anti-bullying charity, 50% of young people have experienced bullying. Knowing how to deal with these experiences can be tricky, but here are a few things to avoid in order to stop the situation from escalating.
- Keeping it to yourself
Acknowledging that you’re being bullied is the first step, but you shouldn’t feel like you have to deal with it alone. Confide in a friend, family member, colleague or professional about what you’re going through – this will help you to release some of the pressures and anxieties that go hand in hand with these experiences and they’ll be able to support you through it. If someone is being threatening, giving out your personal information or putting your safety at risk, then contact the police immediately. Don’t sit and hope the bullying will just stop, as this may not always be the case.
- Blame yourself
It’s easy to blame the way you look, your beliefs, your hobbies or your religion as the reason you’re being bullied, but the truth is you being bullied has nothing to do with these things. The problem lies with bullies, their attitudes and perceptions of the way others think, feel or look. Remember that you don’t need to change to please others, you are unique, you are beautiful and you should be comfortable with being you!
- Victimising yourself
When being bullied, it becomes easy to identify with the persona of being a ‘victim’. However, this is a very unhealthy habit as you allow it to dictate and change who you are. Regain control and remind yourself that those bullying you have no hold on who you are and you will gain confidence from this.
- React with violence
An aggressive or violent reaction to a bully can make the situation a lot worse and puts you at physical risk of harm. If you want to talk to the bully about the way they’re making you feel, try getting someone to mediate between the two of you and address the situation by challenging the person’s behaviour as opposed to the person themselves.
- Isolating yourself
Friends, family and hobbies are a perfect distraction. Isolating yourself from these things will only make your situation worse as you slowly retreat into yourself. Having positive people around you will help to influence your mood, confidence and self-esteem; helping you to overcome any negative thoughts you may be having as a result of being bullied.
- Neglecting your health
44% of young people who have been bullied have also experienced depression. A further 41% suffer with social anxiety. Mental health problems are serious and potentially life threatening; be sure to speak to someone and take care of your mental health. If things feel as though they’re becoming too much, then try speaking to your GP or a counsellor who’ll be able to give you further advice.
A staggering 33% of those being bullied experience suicidal thoughts. Hurting yourself is not, in any way, a solution to bullying and if you’re having these thoughts please seek support from a GP, therapist or counsellor immediately.
You can seek further advice about bullying and get help by contacting Ditch the Label here.