It’s a horrible experience to be bullied. All kinds of people have been victims of it – including Hollywood stars like Megan Fox and Christian Bale – and it can happen for all sorts of reasons, but it’s never something you should have to put up with. Read on to learn how you can tackle bullying and take charge.
What is bullying?
Bullying can happen anywhere, from schools to workplaces. It’s the term we use when a person is singled out for their looks, personality, religion, race or sexuality (amongst other factors) and repeatedly subjected to hurtful behaviour. There are four main forms of bullying, and they can all leave us feeling small, stupid, isolated or even scared.
- Physical bullying: when someone causes you actual bodily harm
- Verbal bullying: when you’re insulted, teased or threatened
- Emotional bullying: when the abuse is more subtle, like excluding you
- Cyberbullying: when you are subjected to hurtful comments online
How do I know if I’m being bullied?
It can be hard to pinpoint when banter and joking amongst your peers turns into bullying (and that’s why there’s no legal definition). Essentially, though, if you don’t find the situation funny, you feel physically at risk, or you’re repeatedly being made unhappy by what’s going on, you could be a victim of bullying. If you’re being physically harmed, that definitely constitutes bullying – and is potentially a matter for the school authorities or the police.
How can I help myself?
If you’re being bullied, it’s vital that you address the problem, rather than burying your head in the sand and just hoping it goes away. Here’s some advice to bear in mind.
Don’t react to the bully: showing your anger will only give them pleasure and could make the bullying escalate. If you remain calm, rise above the bully’s behaviour and simply walk away, they may quickly lose interest.
Tell someone: whether that’s a family member, a form tutor, a colleague or a favourite teacher. If talking face-to-face is too difficult, you could write them a note or an email. This might well stop the bullying straight away but if it doesn’t, report it again.
Find support amongst your peers: if the bully is picking on you, they’re probably doing it to others, so bond together and you’ll be a much tougher target. Boost your confidence by making new friends outside the bully’s sphere of influence, too, perhaps by joining a new club or society.
Stay positive: being bullied might feel horrible right now, but you’ll soon escape this situation and move on – while the bully is likely to face problems caused by their hurtful behaviour throughout their life.
If you’re being cyberbullied on a social media website, check the site’s safety centre to see how they can help stop it. For instance, Facebook has introduced the Bullying Prevention Hub, and even lets you report bullying and harassment that happens on other people’s pages.
How can I get support?
If you feel you need help for issues with bullying, then it’s good to talk to someone you trust – sharing how you feel with a parent, friend or teacher can make a big difference.
If you live in Gloucestershire and are aged 9-21, you can get support from our TIC+ counsellors. TIC+ works hard at raising funds so they can arrange for a counsellor to see you for free, all you need to do is call us on 01594 372777 or text us on 07520 634063 to arrange an appointment. We know it can be hard to take that first step but, like the other young people we’ve helped, you’ll be so glad you did.
If you need to speak to someone urgently, call Childline on 0800 1111, NHS 111 (on 111) or the Samaritans on 116 123. There’s always someone there to help, and any conversations you have with them are confidential.
For more advice check out our SUPPORT RESOURCES page!
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