Are you being bullied?

Bullying can take lots of different forms.

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Physical or psychological.

Being beaten

Being talked about

Being ostracised

Being belittled

They are all painful, alienating and in some cases can be frightening.

Whatever form your bullying takes, it can make you feel anything from irritated to devastated.

You might feel worthless, alone, tearful and unsupported.

And it’s not always the case that you only feel like this when the bullying is going on, often it’s all the time.

If you feel this way then the bully has done their job.

The purpose for the bully is usually to make you feel lesser than them.

To make you feel that you’re not as good as others.

That you don’t matter.

That you are worthless and no-one cares.

This isn’t true.

None of it is true.

You are worthy, you do matter and people do care.

I do understand how it feels to be bullied. I also understand that telling you at this point in time that you are worthy may not seem totally plausible. But believe me you are.

Something to understand about a bully is that they are not happy within themselves. They are very insecure. They are essentially taking their frustrations and insecurities out on you.

If they make you feel a lesser person than them, then by default they can feel better than you. Not a very satisfactory or sustainable way for them to feel good.

It is quite sad that their only way of rising above others is to physically or metaphorically beat them down rather than rising in others estimation by being nice.

So how does knowing this help, you may wonder?

I believe it can. Here are some tips for the immediate future, starting with how that piece of knowledge can help:

1. Believe in yourself. You are worthy, you do matter and people do care. Being bullied is not a negative reflection on you but a negative reflection on those who are treating you badly.

Remember that you don’t deserve what they are doing to you. They are the ones at fault. Think about this. When you are alone, concentrate on yourself. Think about what we’ve said here and remind yourself every day that these people are having problems of their own. You are a valid and worthy person.

2. Talk to someone. Do you have a friend, sibling or partner that you can talk to? If so, call them or text them right this minute and tell them that you need to get together to talk.

Tell them what’s going on. They may be in a position to support you either practically or emotionally.

3. Take action against it. What that action consists of will depend on the type of bullying that you’re experiencing. It may be the case that you walk away from the crowd of friends that are ostracising you.

It may be that you report it to a person in authority.

A very difficult pill to swallow is that no-one can make you feel anything. The choice of how to react to any given situation is yours.

I appreciate that this may feel like a slap in the face at the moment but remember it because it will help you as time goes on.

The way that we choose to act or react says a lot about us. It sends off signals. It might say ‘I love myself’. It might say ‘I’m not worthy’.

If it is a bully that is reading the signals that we’re giving off , to them, you may be saying ‘I’m fair game’.

The fact that we give off signals is tricky one on a couple of different levels.

The first is that giving off these signals isn’t necessarily a conscious thing.

What we’re feeling is ’I’m really nice, a bit insecure and in desperate need of some friends’.

Someone nice reading those signals might take you under their wing and protect you.

Someone else may see it as a great opportunity for some bullying.

The second is that sometimes we give off these signals for a reason.

An example if this might be that you’ve just started a new job. It’s your dream job and you don’t want to do anything to jeopardise things. When the boss then starts being rude about you in front of others, you laugh nervously, knowing that the boss's actions are unacceptable but unwilling to risk this great work opportunity.

Before you know it the whole work place treats you with the same derision that the boss did on that first day and it becomes unbearable for you.

So it’s not a failing in you that might make you end up being bullied.

It's very often just circumstances.

What is in your control however is how you react to it.

I had very much first-hand experience of bullying when I was at school.

The ring leader was expert at it and to be fair I’d watched her do it to others since we first started senior school but didn’t realise the impact it was having until she turned on me during the last year.

It was cowardly bullying in the form of ostracism. I didn’t see it coming and didn’t recognise it for what it was in the beginning.

To this day I don’t know what it was supposed to be about although I know the real reason to be insecurity on the part of the ring leader.

The way I chose to deal with it was to carry on as if I hadn’t noticed. This kept me safe in one sense but it was a horrible year.

Prior to this, bullying was ‘tried’ on me on several occasions.

And this is how I came to the conclusion that it’s how we chose to accept it that determines how it plays out.

Now I wasn’t a hard-nut by any means. And I wasn’t part of the cool crowd.

The thing that saved me from bullying was that I didn’t recognise it as a concept.

I simply didn’t accept that someone could treat another person in such a horrible way when they weren’t anything special themselves.

If the bullies at my school had been impressive people maybe I wouldn’t have had the same experience but to me they were very mediocre run-of-the-mill people and so I couldn’t see the power that they apparently had. I didn’t get it.

As a result, any attempt by them at intimidation fell on deaf ears.

The consequence of that was that I didn’t get bullied by them. Whilst it wasn’t a conscious strategy, I didn’t let them bully me and so they couldn’t.

Whilst I wasn’t part of the cool crowd, I would say hello to them quite happily. I fully recognised they were cool and I wasn’t - which I was Ok with – and inevitably they would hang around in a different group to me. We were just two different groups of people as far as I saw it.

So my experience was that because I didn’t ‘let’ them bully me, they couldn’t.

This wasn’t a conscious thing at the time. Had I fully grasped the situation I may well have felt nervous and fallen foul to it but the point I’m demonstrating here is that I believe that what saved me was the fact that I didn’t respond or react and therefore they had no power over me.

So,

Key points to keep you from bullying:

1. Believe in yourself.

2. Recognise the failings of the bullies

3. Know that they are essentially cowards and will only pick low hanging fruit.

4. Don’t be low hanging fruit! Head up high and refuse to accept that they have any power…..because they don’t unless you give it to them.

I appreciate that these things are easier said than done.

Whether you are the bully or the bullied, I urge you to get some help from someone.

Talk to someone. Get to the bottom of why you are doing it to others, or why you are allowing others to do it to you.

As a bully your behaviour may not simply rectify itself as time goes on and you may spend your whole life in this mode. It will make those who come into contact with you miserable but it will also leave you miserable and unfulfilled yourself. There will be underlying reasons for your behaviour and despite what it might feel like at the moment; it isn’t ‘just a laugh’. It will be affecting you as negatively as it's effecting those that you bully.

As a victim of bullying, if you leave the emotions that you are experiencing unaddressed, they may stay with you for years. You may find yourself in a life coaching session at the age of 50 talking about how the bullies at school ultimately made you feel that you couldn’t pursue the career that you wanted, the relationship that you wanted, the happiness that you deserved.

Bullying is unacceptable behaviour and you deserve to be free from this and able to enjoy your life.

On both sides, with good self-confidence and self-esteem, bullying wouldn’t exist.

​PLEASE TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT IT.

GET SOME SUPPORT AND HELP.

You're not alone.​

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by Jessica Hylands Confidence Coach

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