“Bullying is a horrible thing. It sticks with you forever. It poisons you. But only if you let it.”
*this is an opinion piece*
Most of us, actually all of us have experienced bullying to some degree, whether we’ve done it to someone or someone’s done it to us. One thing you think of when bullying comes to mind is that it stays with you. It doesn’t leave, you just learn how to take the sting off and protect yourself from it happening again. I’m on the fence about this, I believe that people bully on purpose, that it’s perfectly calculated by I also believe some people don’t realise what they are actually doing. I mostly sit on the first idea though and I’ll explain why.
When you’ve been bullied, they always seem to know your soft spots, they seem to know how to crawl under your skin. They know the right words and the right actions, hence calculated. It’s sadistic also in that these people only have one emotion and that’s happiness to see you emotionally damaged and/or destroyed. They almost plan out exactly what they are going to do and they do it, without hesitation. There’s a huge bullying epidemic in our schools and if you think it simply stops at school, you’d be wrong. It happens a lot in adulthood as well. Bullies know exactly what they are doing and the damage they cause, it’s all on purpose. Every bit of it.
I could go and message everyone that’s bullied me and told them that I had to get counselling, that I cut my arms up, that I cried and contemplated suicide, that I wanted them to get a taste of their own medicine. But I won’t, because it’ll fall on deaf ears. They won’t and don’t care. We could slash out half of the epidemic by being more loving and caring to people but it’s all psychological, bullies aren’t bred by their parents, they’re made by themselves. They’re made on the need for power and control against others and a deep fear within themselves.
Can you spot a bully?
Look at the people around you, do you know if they’re bullying someone or they’re a victim of it? If you knew the signs, you’d be right onto it. It’s best to step in before things get out of hand if you can, sometimes it can be really difficult to actually stand up to bullies and I’ll share my story on that a bit further down!
The personality traits of a bully:
- They have an aggressive communication method
- They are always the hero in their story, unless it benefits them to be the victim
- They don’t take responsibility for themselves
- They blame others for their misfortunes
- They’re quick to point out faults/problems with people
- They don’t have a hobby
- They have trouble maintaining friendships and relationships on a healthy level
- They don’t comprehend or perceive other people’s emotions
- They hold no responsibility for others or themselves
- You can never do right by them
So if you think you’re being bullied, here’s the ‘symptoms’:
- A person will invade your personal space
- You’ll feel demeaned, intimidated and anxious around them
- They target you psychologically
- They can get physical with you
- They make comments and accusations
- They give you destructive criticism rather than constructive criticism
- They lie about you behind your back as a way to defame you
- They single you out from a crowd, or not include you
- They spread rumours about you
- They set you up to fail
The bystander effect
This is an interesting one. The bystander effect is that no one stands up to the bully or does anything because they think someone else will, no one does. In affect, this makes bystanders just as bad as the bullies as they do nothing to help the situation. In saying that though, a lot of people are afraid to. I think if we can all stand up to bullies we might be able to tackle the issue.
Why people bully
As I’ve mentioned above, it’s all about power and control. People want power and to control people and that can be done through fear mongering to the people around you. This isn’t a healthy mind set to have in the slightest. I’ve also known that people have targeted me on things that are actually their insecurities and not mine which I found rather interesting. The accusations people make also show a level of insecurity the person has.
The people who bully have usually been bullied in the past and never learnt emotional intelligence and therefore, continue the bullying cycle. I cannot fathom how someone can be bullied and know how it feels, but then wants to inflict it on someone else? That’s the question I have trouble answering. I really do. I’ve always looked back on situations from different perspectives and that one question baffles my brain. Do they want to experience the same level of power? Do they want people to be afraid of them? I’m not sure. What I can say is, no one mentally sane goes out to harm people emotionally or physically. I think there’s a lot of professions that need regular mental assessments done.
Throughout my primary and high schooling I experienced a few teachers that were mean to me without any real explanation and I think that shows the whole power thing. I think it’s important that when you’re teaching the future generations that you don’t belittle them or try and convince them they have a disability (it happens…). One teacher I had in grade 2 often went out of their way to humiliate me, yell at me and constantly belittle me over how I learnt things and demanded that my parents got me tested for a disability. There was one kid who did have a disability in my class and they were treated wonderfully, so was everyone else in that class except me…and I still don’t know why. Good luck to them anyway.
The one time I stood up to a bully
I’ve gone deep into this topic in prior posts but I never really dived into the moment that made me change my own life. I’ll set the scene, after 10 months of being bullied that borderlines abusive, it was the last day of high school. I felt incredibly depressed, and because you can’t control your emotions you can’t do a whole lot about it.
Anyway, I was standing in a group of people when the ring leader stormed over to me and starting saying things to me like “why can’t you be happy?” “You’re such a downer” “just be happy for once” and that was pretty much my tipping point. I can only take so much before I break.
You know when you hear people say they felt something snap in them? I felt that snap. A physical and psychological snap that I had never felt before or since and I lost control and geared up to stand up for myself. I yelled “shut the fuck up” (simple words, right?) my voice broke halfway through so I thought they didn’t take me seriously, in fact I had a whole speech lined up for after yelling that. I never got that speech, because they ran off crying.
They could literally abuse me for 10 months but couldn’t handle being shouted to shut up? That says a lot to me. I believe they had a go at me in front of people hoping I’d bow down and apologise or just cry and be reduced to nothing, I wasn’t going to give them that satisfaction. I stand up for myself in the right time, when I need it most. Every time I’ve been bullied they’ve all underestimated me and expected me not to do anything in return, what a bad assumption.
Would I ever go back and tell my bully what they did to me?
No, probably not. People who bully never mature enough to have a conversation like that. In saying that, there’s a chance they read here so they probably have heard everything I’ve wanted to say.
My life changing experience
After that snap I spoke about above, a part of me realised something. No one can harm you if you block them out right? They don’t get that power. So I made a promise to myself that if it ever got to that point that I would stand my ground and do what I had to do to keep sane.
I’ve blocked quite a lot of people from Facebook, Instagram, snapchat, twitter and even through my phone provider because, why the hell would I want contact with someone who tries to destroy me? You should all do the same. It really helps. And the best part? You feel a million times better.
Some words of wisdom
People have no power over you unless you give it to them.
Let them talk and gossip about you, chances are they don’t even actually know you well.
Sometimes, the trash takes itself out.
Don’t ever give up or give in to the bullies, it’s a hard road but if you get the appropriate help you will learn to deal with all the emotional scares.
You shouldn’t have to pay for someone’s misfortunes or lack of emotional control.
Why did I write this?
Well, I wrote this for one reason. I recently realised I had found peace over the worst bullying of my life. I made it through to the other side! While it took me 3 years to get here, I did make it and that’s important. I also made this post so that people don’t have to go through what I went through and also to let people know that they aren’t alone. Everything will be okay, you just have to trust that it will. It’s also an example that bullying can haunt you for years, for me, since 2013/2014