How to deal with bullying

Carmen BryceBlog posts

Bullying can happen at any stage of our lives.

It can happen in the office, at school, at a club or even among friends.

It can be subtle or obvious for everyone to see – either way, it’s sure to have a very negative impact on our mental wellbeing.

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Bullying is aggressive behaviour resulting in habitual abusive treatment. Coercion, force, verbal, written, physical, ostracisation, rumour mongering are just some ways bullying presents itself. Bullies tend to pick on people who are “different” or don’t fit in with the mainstream.

Bullying doesn’t always result in bruises but for those who endure it, it may result in anxiety, depression, and stress-related illness which has far reaching consequences. Those who endure bullying experience loneliness and become isolated from their peers, however there are effective ways to stop it in its tracks. It commonly takes the intervention of two observers to prevent someone from bullying another. 

 Silence when witnessing this sort of behaviour is consent and permission. Everyone is responsible for a just and equal measure of fairness. Bullies believe they have the support of bystanders when no one intervenes and they get people on side through arbitrary and steady stream of injustices. It is a system which operates through servility and submission. Bullying can occur in academia, teaching, the medical profession, military and there is no typical profile of a victim hood.

Those who experience bullying may be able to help themselves by asserting their rights, being taught when it is okay to return hostility in kind. Believing in their right to be equal and to protect oneself. Teaching good social skills is of paramount importance, and acts as an effective tool to deflect and disarm verbal assaults. It also sends the message to the bully that one will not reward or validate outrageous behaviour.

Bullying also necessitates hierarchical change, a zero tolerance attitude must be adopted. It thrives within the confines of conservative hierarchical and entrenched structures. Policies of fairness, procedures of response must be drawn up and implemented and there must exist a culture of responsibility. Someone who experiences an initial bout of bullying can start the process by mustering up their right to dignity and telling the bully in clear and assertive terms to stop. Sometimes this is enough, if not, outside professional assistance is required.

If you are being bullied, remember:

  • Don’t blame yourself. It is not your fault. No matter what someone says or does, you should not be ashamed of who you are or what you feel.
  • Be proud of who you are. Despite what a bully says, there are many wonderful things about you. Keep those in mind instead of the messages you hear from bullies.
  • Get help. Talk to a friend, family member, teacher, counsellor, or other trusted adult.
  • Learn to deal with stress. Finding ways to relieve stress can make you more resilient so you won’t feel overwhelmed by bullying. Exercise, meditation, positive self-talk, muscle relaxation, and breathing exercises are all good ways to manage the stress from bullying.

If you are being bullied and need to talk to someone, our team can help. Below are the members of our team who work specifically with issues around bullying. To make an appointment with MyMind, email hq@mymind.org or call us at 076 680 10160. Alternatively, you can book online here.

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Ines Hasenfuss

Laura O’Brien 

Stephen Watkins

Alison Murray 

Kasia Purcell 

Anna Nauka

Mark Twomey

Brenda Pedrosa