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Bullying

Counselling4you cannot do anything directly about bullying but it does take the consequences to your emotions and quality of life very seriously. The results of bullying can be far reaching and have adverse effects on your confidence and self-worth, possibly leading to anxiety, fear and depression.

What is Bullying?

Bullying is the act of intentionally causing unhappiness to others through verbal harassment, physical assault, or other more subtle methods of coercion such as manipulation. There is currently no legal definition of bullying.

Bullying is often described as a form of harassment perpetrated by an abuser who possesses more physical and/or social power and dominance than the victim. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a target. The harassment can be verbal, physical and/or emotional.

Bullying can occur in any setting where human beings interact with each other. This includes school, the workplace, home, church and the local neighbourhood. Bullying can exist between social groups, social classes and even between countries.

The effects of bullying can be serious and even fatal. About 85% of bullying victims suffer long term psychological damage and stress related disease later in their lives. Mona O’Moore, Ph.D, asserts that "There is a growing body of research which indicates that individuals, whether child or adult who are persistently subjected to abusive behaviour are at risk of stress related illness which can sometimes lead to suicide."

Victims of bullying can suffer from long term emotional, academic, and behavioural problems. Bullying can cause loneliness, depression, and anxiety as a bullying victim begins to believe that something is wrong with them. Victims can also have a loss of confidence and an increase in susceptibility to illness.

Research indicates that adults who bully have personalities that are authoritarian, combined with a strong need to control or dominate. It has also been suggested that a deficit in social skills and a prejudicial view of subordinates can be particular risk factors.

If aggressive behaviour is not challenged in childhood, there is a danger that it may become habitual. Indeed, there is research evidence, to indicate that bullying during childhood puts children at risk of criminal behaviour and domestic violence in adulthood.

Bullying does not necessarily involve criminality or physical violence. For example, bullying often operates through psychological abuse or verbal abuse. Bullying can often be associated with street gangs, especially at school.

School Bullying

In schools, bullying usually occurs in areas with minimal or no adult supervision. It can occur in nearly any part in or around the school building, though it more often occurs in PE, exploratory classes, breaks hallways, bathrooms, school buses and waiting for buses, classes that require group work and/or after school activities. Bullying in school sometimes consists of a group of students taking advantage of, or isolating one student in particular, and outnumbering him/her. Targets of bullying in school are often pupils who are considered strange or different by their peers to begin with, making the situation harder for them to deal with. Bullying can also be perpetrated by teachers, especially vain or mean teachers.

Work-place Bullying

According to the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute, workplace bullying is "the repeated mistreatment of one employee targeted by one or more employees with a malicious mix of humiliation, intimidation and sabotage of performance." Statistics show that bullying is 3 times as prevalent as illegal discrimination and at least 1,600 times as prevalent as workplace violence. Statistics also show that while only one employee in every 10,000 becomes a victim of workplace violence, one in six experiences bullying at work. Bullying is also far more common than sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

Unlike the more physical form of schoolyard bullying, workplace bullying often takes place within the established rules and policies of the organisation and society. Such actions are not necessarily illegal and may not even be against the firm's regulations; however, the damage to the targeted employee and to workplace morale is obvious.

Particularly when perpetrated by a group, workplace bullying is sometimes known as mobbing.

Other Forms of Bullying:

•    Cyber-bullying - cyber bullying occurs in electronic space.  Bullies will even create blogs to intimidate victims worldwide.
•    Political bullying
•    Military bullying
 
The Signs

Bullying takes many forms, like name-calling, hitting, spreading rumours, stealing, excluding people and turning someone’s friends against them. You can also be bullied via abusive text messages or online.

It's Not You, it's Them

Although it’s hard to feel sorry for bullies, it might help to understand that happy people do not need to make others feel unhappy or small. It is the bullies who have a problem, not the people they target.

What To Do

Speak out. You have the right to live without being tormented. Keep a diary of what happens. It will help you decide what to do. It should also stop you missing out anything important and help show that you are telling the truth. If you are being bullied through texts or phone calls, save the messages and call records if you have space in your phone. If not, write down the time of the call/text, what was said/written and the caller/sender’s number if you have it. And do not reply to any texts – it is just what the bully wants.

If you are being bullied in a chat room, do not respond to nasty comments. Name and shame the bully, make it clear to everyone in the room who is bullying you so other users can support you. Good chat rooms are moderated, so email the moderators/hosts and complain, using examples from the chat.

Who Should I Tell?

As many people as you can. Sometimes just having things out in the open can be enough to make bullies stop. If it is at school, any of your teachers should be able to help (your school should have an anti-bullying policy). If you can not tell your teachers, ask a parent or another adult to speak to them for you. If you do not trust any adult enough, the help line below may help.

How to Beat Bullying: Child Line’s Top 10 Tips.

Here are some ideas about how you can deal with bullying. Think about your situation, and what options might be best for you.

1. Do not ignore bullying – it will not go away on its own and it may get worse.
2. Tell someone you trust – such as a teacher, parent or friend.
3.  Remember – it is not your fault. No one deserves to be bullied.
4.  Keep a record – and save any nasty texts or emails that you have been sent. (Download a Child Line bullying diary)
5.  Try to stay away from the bullies or stay with a group when you do not feel safe.
6.  Ask your mates to look out for you.
7.  Try not to retaliate – you could get into trouble or get hurt.
8.  Check your school’s anti-bullying policy. This will tell you what your school should do about bullying.
9.  Try to act more confident – even if you don’t feel it.
10.  Call Child Line for extra help on 0800 1111