Bullying is something that 1 in 2 people under 25 will experience in their lifetime. There is no singular definition of bullying because it comes in all shapes, sizes and subtleties. Despite the varied nature of bullying, here are a few things you should know that will help to you identify it, and hopefully understand it a little better.
No one is born a bully – true story. Bullying is a learnt behaviour and not an innate characteristic of anyone. According to Ditch the Label research, there are lots of reasons why people bully and these are explored further in Why People Bully, The Scientific Reasons.
The dictionary definition of bullying is “the use of strength or power frighten or hurt weaker people.” This is not a very nice definition if you ask us. First things first, being bullied does not mean that you are weak. What’s more, this definition doesn’t account for many facets of bullying such as online abuse, subtle bullying within friendships such as manipulation, intimidation and social exclusion, as well as indirect bullying such as the spreading of harmful rumours, be it online or elsewhere.
Persistence is key
Another important thing to note is that for something to qualify as bullying – it is persistent. A one-off comment made about your appearance is hurtful and horrible to have to go through but a common factor of bullying is that it is a regular and persistent occurrence that takes place over time.
“I’m probably overreacting?” “I’m just being over-sensitive” “It will probably stop soon”
Sound familiar? Well, these are all things we tell ourselves when we are in denial. We somehow coast through life thinking, “yeah bullying sucks but it can’t happen to me…” then it does and it hurts, so we ignore it or pretend that it’s nothing. Denial is a trick to make us think that everything is fine, even when it’s not. The first step to overcoming bullying is to acknowledge the fact that you are being bullied. This can sometimes be the hardest part: no one wants to admit that their ‘friends’ are bullying them.
How it makes you feel
The best way to determine whether you are being bullied is to analyse how it makes you feel and if it makes you feel this way on a regular basis. Take the Ditch the Label quiz if you’re still unsure about whether or not you’re being bullied:
I’m being bullied – what should I do?
The most important thing you can do when being bullied to protect yourself is to talk about it.
Start by joining the Ditch the Label Support Community to speak to a digital mentor and take the first steps to overcome bullying. If you’d rather speak to someone in person, drop us an email here.
Alternatively, pick a friend who you trust, a family member or teacher and tell them what’s been going on. Don’t forget to tell them how it makes you feel and how long it’s been going on.
If you don’t feel like talking right now, that’s OK – check out some of these resources that have helped thousands of people overcome bullying…
Statistically speaking, those who experience bullying are likely to go on and bully other people. The very best way to overcome bullying once and for all is to understand those who bully and the reasons behind why they do it. By showing compassion towards those who bully, no matter how hard that might seem at the time, we can truly overcome bullying. Read this to find out more…
Not only do we work closely with those who are being bullied, but we are also determined to help those who are doing the bullying. If that’s you, have a browse through the resources below for information on how to stop: