Mirror Magazine

No bullies allowed
Are you being bullied by someone? Then it’s time to take a stand and do something to change things. It can and should be done. Smriti Daniel offers a guide
You’re surrounded… you have nowhere to go and nowhere to hide. If it’s possible you hate yourself more than you hate them, simply because they have the ability to make you feel more weak, more isolated and possibly more ‘uncool’ than you’ve ever felt before. Bullies – we sure hate living with them, but let’s face it… there’s just no living without them.

Lots of us have been bullied in school, be it in playgroup when the big guy took our crayons, or in the first grade when the same person turned our lunch box over. It is at this crucial juncture that you begin to perceive the existence of ‘The Great Divide’ – the people around you split up into Group X and Group Y. Now Group X (the ones with a backbone and a healthy homicidal streak) set up their own bloodthirsty bands and proceed to enact the schoolroom version of “The Bullied Strike Back” with enthusiasm and flair. At this point (if things have gone well) the bullies have become the bullied and everyone else is left in peace. Unfortunately this strategy has some potential for disaster, in other words it’s a lose-lose situation. You see, there are only two logical outcomes: You don’t defeat the bully; so he’s still around and riding hard on your case or you have defeated the bully, but in his place another dark power has risen and that power is you!

Now Group Y follows a different path, which is comprehensively described in their oath. Raise your right hand and repeat after me:

l I will stay unobtrusive at all times, even if it means hiding in the bushes along the driveway when the Bully comes along.

lI will protect my body from kicks/name calling/chokeholds/mocking laughter and assorted terrors by making myself the smallest possible target, even if it means curling up in a ball of sobbing misery.

lI will be nice, and I will always laugh at the Bully’s jokes in the hope that the Bully will simply leave me alone. I will in fact go so far as to try and make friends with the bully.

And truly, by this point, help is getting a little hard to find… not that you’re really looking, because you’ve already given up on yourself.

As the years go by you try to bury those traumatising moments as deep as you possibly can. You shrug them off and tell yourself you’re over it – that you’re big now and that no one can get at you. You do realise, however, somewhere deep inside, that you are still carrying those old war wounds, and what’s worse that you may still be getting bullied. It’s just become a little subtler now; transformed from out-in-the-open viciousness to nasty rumours, back stabbing and petty personal politics. You feel helpless, believing there’s very little you can do to change something so intangible.

Now that we’ve looked into the deep dark hole, let’s take a nice (long overdue) deep breath and look at the positive side. Between Groups X and Y, there is a large category of people who successfully learn how to outwit bullies, and grow up to be well-adjusted human beings. Even once they are older, there are also loads of people who figure out better ways to deal with bullies than fight fire with fire. You can stop getting bullied. Now. All you need is a crash course in the psychology of the bully.

So where do we begin? Let’s start with compassion – bullies are essentially insecure, immature and socially challenged, or at least one of the three. They do what they do, because they can’t think of any other way to feel good about themselves. Individuals who are jealous of colleagues/classmates, have difficult home lives, or can’t cope with the demands of work or play are very likely to resort to bullying as a sort of defence mechanism. Some of them are even deluded enough to believe that this will make them popular, while others aren’t even aware of how much they are hurting their victims. Notably, many of them come from homes where all the communication is loud and aggressive and where very little love is shown. That doesn’t make you feel for them? Perhaps if you consider the fact that many of them feel deeply unhappy and unloved, you just may feel a stirring of some feeling.

But that’s all talk, isn’t it? What you need is a solution to your problem. So here are the Six Techniques of Defeating the Bully.

Act brave
Even if you don’t feel it, act it and (hopefully) soon you’ll be it. You’re probably not feeling your bravest at moments when you are about to be emotionally or physically tortured, but try to keep your chin up and your head high. The bully is bound to feel less inclined to tangle with someone who is not afraid of him.

Ignore the bully
Bullies can’t have half their fun, if there would-be victims act as if they’re not there. Initially this might cause them to try harder to get your attention, but they’ll soon have to give up. You just won’t be entertaining enough. Acting as if you don’t notice and don’t care is like giving no reaction at all, and this just might stop a bully in his tracks.

Speak out
If ignoring the bully hasn’t worked, use words. Use them to tell the bully to simply quit bothering you and then walk away. If the bully has been spreading lies about you, face him or her in front of some other witnesses and make sure he or she can’t keep on saying untrue things. This way, other people who have similar problems with the bully can also have their say. Together you’ll be much stronger and what’s better is that you’ll feel a whole lot more in control.

Take a stand when someone else is getting bullied
Don’t allow a bully to isolate and then victimise someone else. It might mean that the bully turns on you, but stand up for your friend/colleague anyway, especially if you know it’s unfair. Sometimes you may just be grateful to be left alone, but work on the principle that the sooner you stand up to him or her, the less likely it is that you are going to be the victim the next time around.

Get a friend to help
If you’re actually being physically hurt, having other people around may offer you some protection. Make sure you move around with at least one or two people so that a bully can never catch you alone. If lots of you are being victimised, hang together. If it still continues don’t hesitate to get the authorities involved. This may mean going to your parents, teachers or even the law enforcement authorities. Don’t try to hide what’s happening to you, if you do that no one can help you.

Don’t become a bully yourself
Freshman become seniors, right? So why do people who’ve been traumatised and tortured just go ahead and do it to someone else? Make sure you don’t become the thing you most despise.

Just remember, though the bully may tell you differently, it’s not something that’s wrong with you; it’s something wrong with the bully. Lots of people have gone through similar situations in the past and lots more will do the same in the future… but if you just keep a cool head and stay strong, you needn’t be one of them.


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