So, how does it work? Do you simply choose a person, scan for flaws, plan a strategy to use those flaws as a weapon to destroy their self-esteem and wreck their lives, then happily walk away? Maybe you don’t even need a flaw and just go for it, anyway.
Is that how bullying works? Did I get it right? If I follow these steps, can I become a successful bully and ruin lives? Possibly end them, too?
I always wondered what goes on in the minds of those who bully. I could never relate. And to this day, I can’t draw out a rational explanation for their actions. Do they lack empathy? Empathy is the indicator in your brain that tells you a person is hurting. So when someone acts against it, is it by will or is it unintentional?
Isolation can be ruthless. When a person is bullied, not only are they physically and/or mentally harassed, they’re also isolated. It can be maddening. All that trauma and no source of comfort can drive a person towards self-harm.
It’s a questionable act to those unaffected; why would anyone want to inflict pain upon themselves on purpose? It has to be understood that the ability to think straight and make rational decisions is impaired in such cases. No one in their right mind would think to do such a thing. Therefore, we must seek to understand what drove them to do it in the first place.
Middle-schoolers, teenagers, adults—it doesn’t matter what age group the victim belongs to, bullying can really shatter a person’s self-confidence. When you’re constantly made to feel worthless, reminded of your flaws, disrespected and abused, your confidence diminishes.
There comes a point where your own identity begins to fade. Your sense of identity is the one thing you have to keep it all together through whatever it is that’s thrown your way. It’s heart-breaking to see how people can move on knowing that they’ve destroyed someone’s anchor of living.
In my book, ‘The Fire You Don’t See,’ a young woman faces bullying in high school as well as in college. Her struggle with self-harm takes a major leap when things get out of control.
By including details of her struggle in the story, my aim was to show the side of a victim that bullies refuse to see. And to comfort the victims with the fact that there is hope, that giving up is not the solution, even when it feels like the only way out.
Another important fact is that bullying is sometimes disguised. It can be confusing and might feel like a bold step to label what you’re going through as ‘bullying.’
So, how can you tell if you’re being bullied? Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you being made to do things you don’t want to?
- Are you being prohibited from doing things you want to?
- Are you repeatedly taunted?
- Do you feel defenseless against their ‘confrontations’? And are you regularly ‘confronted’?
- Have you begun to dread mornings because of the fact that each new day will unfold another episode of harassment?
There are many other questions you can ask yourself related to your situation to conclude if you are being bullied. Once you’ve established problem, ask for help.
Whether you’re being bullied physically or mentally, whether you are a girl or a boy:
Ask. For. Help.
Everyone needs to realize that help is out there. Ask for it. Maybe, in some situations, you will be denied help the first few times, and as hard as it is to keep your hopes up despite rejection, keep going. It’s unfair that you have to struggle, but sometimes only you can do justice to yourself.
We often hear that confronting your bullies is important. But we need to acknowledge the fact that not everyone has the ability to do so. It depends on their state of mind, and the situation in which they are planted. Asking for help does not make you weak. You’re strong enough to say ‘enough is enough’. Standing up for yourself and accepting that you no longer want to be in the situation is brave. Asking for help is brave. Not shameful.
Fight back. Fight back by confronting. Fight back by accepting help. Fight back by raising your voice. Fight back by refusing to stop your growth. Fight back by protecting your light. Fight back with every inch of your body.
There’s a lot of good in this world. Going through painful situations such as bullying can make you bitter and make it seem as though there is nothing to counter the negatives. But, believe. Believe in balance. Believe in goodness. Believe in better days. Know that you are worth it.