Bullying seems almost like a rite of passage. Pretty much everyone experiences some form of it. Some experience more extreme forms of it than others. The experience can leave long-term emotional, mental, and psychological damage on an individual later on. Even for those who seemingly overcome it, bullying leaves an imprint that can change the course of your life forever.
Many people are not aware of what comprises of bullying as it can be so common place. Often times teenagers are told by adults to "toughen up" when "teasing" happens to them. However, bullying includes a broad spectrum of behaviors that focus on making someone else feel inadequate or small. It can include harassment, physical harm, repeatedly demeaning speech and/or efforts to ostracize another person.
Sometimes its most obvious to notice bullying when it takes on an extreme form. Physical bullying can be seen and leaves physical scars, which more people can observe. Usually, it involves kicking, punching, or some other similar activity that is meant to instill fear in the one targeted. It can be an attempt to coerce a victim to do something that they don't want to do.
Verbal bullying can be harder to identify. When someone verbally abuses another person, he or she uses language to hurt another person's self-esteem. Bullies who use verbal techniques may say belittling things and use a great deal of sarcasm with the intent to hurt others. They may even try to do these things in secret, believing their intelligence or social status allows them to get away with things and to go unpunished by others.
Emotional bullying is more subtle. It can cause long-term clinical depression and a lack of self-esteem. It can cause bad grades in school or performance in activities. It can lead to feelings of isolation or self-harm, such as cutting or suicide in the victim. In this case, it is important to never let someone else's bad behavior affect your own well-being.
Studies have shown that those who have dealt with bullying are at a higher risk of anxiety or depression. However, just because you experienced it, this doesn't mean you are doomed. It is important to get help and find an outlet for it. Dealing with emotions is important rather than repressing them and making them a part of you.
Some teenagers offer advice to those who have been bullied. Their advice includes finding support systems; often times you are not alone and people have experienced with you have. You may have friends you don't know about other there who know exactly what you have gone through. Others recommend that you channel your energy on something positive. Surround yourself with things that make you happy and be engulfed in it. Don't let 'haters' hate contaminate your life.
While it it may be hard to sympathize with the person who made your life feel like hell, sometimes feeling pity for them can help you heal. Often times bullies are those who have been victimized in the past. They perpetuate the cycle potentially because they are victims of abuse themselves, either in the home or having been bullied before and not having a proper outlet themselves for their own behavior.
According to research, psychologists believe that bullies have high self-esteem. Bullies are described as having a sense of entitlement and superiority over others, and lack compassion, impulse control and social skills. They can be cruel to others and sometimes use bullying as an anger management tool in the way a normal person would punch a pillow. They are not healthy individuals.
Bullies may have high empathy as in the ability to put themselves in your shoes. However, they may use their ability to recognize your emotional state to hurt, manipulate, or control you. Empathizing with someone and understanding what the other person feels does not necessarily mean you will respond sympathetically or compassionately. Bullies destructively use their empathy to cause others pain or to exploit them emotionally. They are able to withhold their compassion for the distress that they cause others to feel.
If you have been bullied, it doesn't mean this is your fault. The fear of being a bully's target often keeps others from protecting a victim. Those who witness a bully's actions might even appear to go along with a bully's behavior. Their fear of being excluded or bullied themselves or need for acceptance by the confident bully may lead them to do things to save themselves.
In the Bullied Anthologies, the stories of those who were victims of bullying and how they overcame it are described in great detail. Wildly successful people have been subjected to it. Best-selling authors, celebrities, businessmen, teachers, philosophers, lawyers, social workers, and champion athletes have gone through it. Instead of making it a defining moment in their lives, the horrible experiences transformed them to overcome the odds and to be better than those who mistreated them. If you are a victim of bullying, it is important for you to know there are resources out there for you. Many wildly successful people were victims once too.