According to the American Psychological Association, “Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words, or more subtle actions. The bullied individual typically has trouble defending him or herself and does nothing to cause the bullying.” ()
It is my guess that most of us have been subject to some form of bullying during our lives. Perhaps a schoolmate, a sibling or even an adult has said or done something unkind or cruel to you. These aggressive actions make you feel unworthy, ugly or self–conscious. If it happens repeatedly, you start believing what the bully is saying, causing you to dislike yourself and question your own self worth. You become unhappy, angry and fearful. You ask yourself, “What is wrong with me? Am I really a bad person?”
The truth is, nothing is wrong with you. It is the bully who has the problem. A bully tries to exude an air of confidence and control, when in reality he dislikes himself, struggling with low self–esteem and a need for attention. He belittles others to feel better about himself.
If You’re Being Bullied
Don’t retaliate or let the bully think he has “gotten to you”, as it only causes him to continue his actions. If the bullying doesn’t stop, then it might be important to get help from good friends and confront him in a non-aggressive manner. Ask him why he feels the need to hurt others … suggest that he is simply projecting his own negative feeling of himself. If he knows that you see him as angry, jealous and unhappy, you will maintain control with strength and confidence. In time you may even be able to forgive him. You can catch him off guard by saying something kind and complimentary, perhaps making him regret his abusive actions!
Most importantly, if the bullying continues, talk to an adult you trust, such as a teacher or parent.
If You See Someone Being Bullied
Kindness comes easily to people who like themselves. Bullying can lead to troubling psychological issues that may have serious consequences that affect the bully and the victim. Remember, it’s important to stand up for what is right and immediately come to the aid of a friend who is being bullied. Siding with the bully makes you just like the bully … angry, jealous, unhappy, fearful and lonesome! Be kind to someone who is being bullied, so that they know they are not alone. And, as mentioned earlier, tell an adult you trust if you see someone being bullied.