Whether you are an adult, a child or a teenager, bullies exist everywhere and can make your life very complicated. They can be your boss, a co-worker, a neighbour, a fellow student or teacher, a person at church or at your local mosque. It does not matter what shape they take or how old they are, if they make you feel insecure, threatened and intimidated, it is not acceptable.
In therapy, one can often be told that it is because one is insecure and has low self-esteem that one is being bullied and that one should start by working on being stronger and have a positive image of oneself.
I have to disagree with this approach and find it dangerous and biased. It puts, once again, the blame and the fault on the person being bullied, and this is WRONG in every possible way.
A feeling of guilt easily invades the person who has been abused, threatened, beaten or even worse (age aside, and with reference to any kind of abuse here, not only bullying).
However, what we must understand is that a decent human being will never take advantage of another, whether that other person is shy, insecure, or has serious self worth issues. This is what I should understand as "the NORM".
Normal human beings will be supportive and kind, and if not, at least, they won't care and leave you alone. So let us agree on this: if you are being bullied, it is NOT YOUR FAULT.
You have all the right to doubt yourself, be a woman alone somewhere, overweight or simply different and NOT be annoyed. Full stop.
You DESERVE to be respected and feel safe anywhere you go.
This is, not only true, but very empowering in itself.
When it is not my fault, I don't need to worry about what I was doing, how and why, no. (as long as, of course, my behavior does not suppose any annoyance or harm to the people around me, and only involves me, which is the case of insecurity. The person feeling insecure is the only one suffering from it and no one should get involved).
I take all that energy and redirect it back, showing the bully that he/ she is 100% responsible for his/ hers choices and actions.
How do I do that?
- I don't put up with it
- I don't give the bully a heated reaction because this is what he/she wants
- I tell them calmly that I am not impressed by their attitude and that I think they should seek help and advice for their aggressive ways
- I get away from them and avoid them, not out of fear, but out of respect for myself
- I talk to an adult if I am a child or a teenager
- I talk anyways to someone, a friend or a co-worker, or whoever might be "near" the situation. For one of the big pressures one can feel as a person being bullied, is the fear to talk. (exactly the same fear that comes along being abused in general), therefore, you MUST talk, exposing the bully's attitude.
After you have given the bully a calm warning, ignore him/her completely and should they come again, act as if they don't exist at all. This is powerful and shows them that you are not interested by the game they play.
This will calm the bully down and force him/her out of a boring game they play alone.
Having said all the above, we all know that hurt people hurt, and this also applies to bullies.
However, you are not asked or supposed to be healing everyone's problems everywhere you go. First, because you might not be able to (specially at a young age, or at any age as a matter of fact) and second, because this is not your job.
Hence, the attitude of calm and firmness, for it is protective of you and still respectful towards others, bullies and other kinds of abusers.
Please also note that this cannot apply to situations where the bullying is physical, for this can put you in danger. Any situation must be referred to and attended according to its specifications and the articles or youtube videos that you can watch cannot always be applied to your case.
If you think you are being bullied, contact someone now.
Don't stay alone and seek help. You are deserving of the help and cannot be blamed in any way for what is happening to you.