Bullying is a common part of human life.
It happens in all types of society’s from children at school, to adults in the work place.
A bully is someone who repeatedly makes someone feel worthless, powerless and afraid either physical, emotionally or verbally.
These are the 3 main features of bullying:
Distress and pain.
According to Beat Bullying, a minimum of 20 UK children and teenagers commit suicide each year due to bullying. In addition to this, the number of people who have suicidal thoughts and engage in self-harm are significantly higher.
Bullying can be devastating and traumatic.
Its hard to imagine someone disliking you that much to want to hurt you and make you feel worthless and irrelevant in life.
Counselling can help build confidence for teenagers, children and adults who have experienced bullying.
It also helps educate people on bullying as a whole and helps them to overcome depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and low self-esteem issues.
What makes people bully?
Bullies come from all backgrounds, genders and ages around the world, its rare for people not to come across them at some point in their lives, but what makes a bully different from a victim?
Bullies have a number of characteristics including:
Often from families that use violent behaviour, manipulation in normal day to day circumstances.
High self-worth- thinking their needs are far more important than others.
Bullies were often victims of other bullies themselves.
Bulling is never excusable.
For a victim, sometimes its noble to accept a bully is unhappy or perhaps comes from a difficult background however this should not stop you from reporting their behaviour to someone, and taking action against them, before they cause substantial damage.
Bullying at school
Bullying is most common in schools, and is easily witnessed by pupils. In accordance with the NSPCC, 46% of children experience bullying at school. Some adults think that bullying is inevitable amongst students, and that it ‘builds character’ which prepares them for realities in later life, however this is a controversial opinion as bullying can leave people feeling terrified, humiliated, powerless, and no one child deserves to feel that why.
Types of school bullying
Name calling and teasing
Hair-pulling, kicking and spitting
Exclusion from school activates
Signs your children are being bullied
It can be difficult to tell if your child is being bullied, its often the case that children are too afraid to tell parents/teachers because their too afraid of their bullies, however there are a few signs you can look out for:
Inability to sleep
Damaged or missing possessions
Short tempered or aggressive towards family members
Complaining of illness –usually headaches
Refusing to go to school
How can I help my child?
Sometimes parents find it difficult to distinguish between being a ‘supportive parent’ or an ‘interfering parent’ but if you have worries about your child, you’ll have to talk to them find out, yet this can be hard, especially with independence-seeking teens, however there ere are a few steps you can take:
Talk to your child- sit them down in a quite environment and calmly broach the subject. Make sure they understand that bullying needs to be dealt with and that your there to help them.
Talk to the teacher- if you have evidence then letting a teacher know can help stop the bully.
Talk to the head- sometimes teachers are unable to stop bullies, so taking it up with the head teacher can help resolve the problem.
Stopping bullying at school
Bullying can have a long lasting effect on people and can severely damage someone’s confidence levels, and although bullying usually only occurs in schools, it can affect adults later in their lives with their jobs, relationships, and mental health. Schools need to introduce better strategies to tackle bullying, as more awareness and openness about these issues can help reduce the amount of bullying that occurs in schools.
Now that more people have access to the internet, cyber bullying has become a growing issue. With the increased use of social networking sites, instant messaging, emails and texts, cyber bullying can occur anywhere in the world and can affect almost everyone.
These are the common types of cyber bullying:
Email – people can send inappropriate material to other users, along with viruses, abusive messages and so on to humiliate their victims.
Instant messages – a direct form of bullying
Social networking – Facebook and Twitter allows bullies to view peoples profiles and abuse them on their posts, pictures and statuses.
Online gaming – bullies can use online gaming to humiliate victims virtually.
Mobile phones – Allows people to send a lot of harmful, abusive messages straight to someone’s phone, and even prank call them.
Sexting – This is when someone voluntarily sends sexually suggestive images or messages to someone. Sometimes, one is being exploited by the other by sending the photos to other people, which can be humiliating and embarrassing.
Bullying doesn’t stop in the playground, bullies often continue when they grow up and use this behaviour to benefit themselves in the workplace. Bullying is a serious problem in the work place and in accordance with an NHS survey 3 out of 5 hospital staff have witnessed bullying at work.
Different types of bullying at work include:
Public verbal abuse – being made to feel inadequate and unprofessional in front of your work colleagues or senior members of staff.
Contract manipulation – Being threatened to loose your job if tasks are not completed.
Gossiping – When colleagues or other members of staff spread rumours or talk about your personal life or appearance in a negative way behind your back.
Isolation – being left out of social events
Emotional manipulation – When your colleagues make you feel guilty to try and get what they want.
Bullying usually occurs in the workplace because jobs can be very competitive and people may feel threatened by others. If certain issues cannot be resolved in a professional manner, some people revert back to childhood ways and use bullying tactics from school.
Workplace bullying effects
Bullying at work can affect your physical and mental health in a negative way, here are some symptoms that it can cause:
Loss of confidence
High blood pressure
Headaches and nausea
Stopping workplace bullying
Bullying should never be ignored and left alone if noticed. Some people think in a business environment it’s the ‘natural order of things’ however nobody should be victimised at work.
If you are being bullied this is what you should do:
Take notes of all the abusive things you’ve suffered from, making sure you include dates.
Speak to your manager
Inform the bully your willing to take action I the behaviour continues. This does not have to be face-to-face, this can be done over email, letter or via your manager or a colleague
If the bully still doesn’t stop, you can make a formal complaint
Bullying in the family home
More commonly known as domestic abuse, this can include anyone you live with from parents, siblings to grandparents. Types of domestic abuse include:
Criticism – verbal threats, name calling, shouting and mocking
Physical – the use of physical violence for example slapping, punching etc to punish and scare someone
Harassment – This normally occurs when one family member keeps a constant watch on another family member. For example a jealous spouse might track, and monitor their partner to find out what their doing.
Sexual – Most bullies use sex inappropriate touching, sexual comments and rape to establish their dominance over someone else.
Bullies often seek out the weak and vulnerable as their victims. The elderly are at a disadvantage due to them frequently being unwell, frail and confused.
It can be difficult for the elderly to speak up about bullying, especially those with disabilities however if you are worried about someone, here’s what you should look out for:
Acting out aggressively with no valid reason
Not wanting to be left alone in the same room with certain people
Change in their behaviour for example becoming more tearful
Counselling available for bullying
If a bully is affecting your home life, work, health and happiness then it is advised to consider seeing a professional counsellor to seek advice and help, especially if any of these circumstances apply to you:
Are you dealing with someone who constantly tries to make your life a misery?
Do you constantly see your child being cruelly treated by other children?
Is your adult life being effected due to being bullied in your past?
Professional counsellors can hep give people a deeper understanding of bullying, the effects it has on people and can educate people on its destructive nature, why people bully and help people recover. Sessions can also address the side effects of bullying including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and low-self confidence.
Here are three professional counselling techniques that could help you:
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)-A way to help alter thought patterns in a positive way.
Assertiveness techniques-teaching how to express someone’s rights in an honest way.
Transactional analysis-analysing your behaviour and other.