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How to Protect Yourself from Bullying

no_bullyingPeople, from the moment of birth, to the day they die, are influenced by everything happening around them. A child, for instance, from day one, up till the age of six  is considered ‘a fertile field’ where his surrounding environment is allowed to sow either weeds or rose seeds that will grow into the mental frame of the child. Likewise, although less sensitive, any person is prone to and is likely to be affected by his environment, the effects of which can leave lifelong scars, or the basis of a bright and colorful future.

A huge number of us, unfortunately have been, or are victims of some kind of bullying, and we go through it lonely, scared, and depressed. We feel as though we are the only ones with problems as such, and we wonder what we ever did to receive treatment like this. Everything we ever thought good about ourselves takes a nosedive, and like the scattered remnants of a crashed plane, we are left to salvage the broken pieces of ourselves long after the perpetrator of all that pain and suffering is long gone – Depressing huh?

One more thing before I plunge into all the gory details – This article maybe written from a teen’s perspective, but it isn’t excusive to us. Don’t write off bullying as a ‘teen issue’, it can happen anywhere, whether you’re a fifty year old business manager, or a ten year old trying to buy a lollypop. It’s around you. And it’s affecting you. Don’t let it get out of hand.

Bullying can come in unlimited forms, but the two categories it falls under are Verbal and Physical. One must keep in mind that something as trivial as the tone of voice used when delivering a sentence is also considered bullying. Teasing. Taunting, and Threatening – more obvious forms, also fall under the category. Some deem the title ‘bulling’ is only crowned after repeated attempts at it, however, other acknowledge single instances and age into the definition. Either way, the bottom line of bullying is control. The bully likes the feeling of control he gets over his victims, and tries to do his level best to keep things with him on top.

As I keep mentioning (like a broken record player, I might add), anyone can become a victim of bullying. However, there are certain characteristics that bullies look for in their victims, certain consistencies that make their self-appointed tasks all the more easier:

  • People who don’t have that many friends.
  • People who tend to be more serious about the more important things in life, like school, or work.
  • Different people.
  • People who feel awkward in social situations.
  • People who appear vulnerable.
  • People with LOW self-esteem.

As a victim, there are ways you can bring bullying to a halt:

  • Ignore: Bullies crave attention. They love it when they get a big reaction to their meanness. Pretending you don’t hear them and moving away from them, acting as though they simply don’t exist, and giving no reaction can sometimes help with certain bullies.
  • Feel good: Bullies are drawn to those of us feeling inferior with ourselves like files to cow patties. If there’s something about yourself you don’t like, or feel embarrassed or shy about, work on changing it. Exercise, if that’s what will help build up your inner self. Do whatever you need to do to climb up that ladder of self-esteem and confidence.
  • Stand tall: I know it’s not always easy to feel brave and confident around a bully, but even pretending to – at least in the beginning, can help immensely. If the bully is doing something you don’t like, stand up for yourself and say “NO!” .Don’t let them mess around with you. If you just go along with what a bully tells you to do, then that’s just an invitation for them to come back – which they will. Don’t give them that pleasure.
  • Have a friend – and be one: It’s not very frequent that a bully picks on someone who has a friend to back him up. If you have a friend who’s being bullied, face the bully together, there are more chances he’d back off under such circumstances. Don’t stand in the sidelines if you’re not the one being bullied. Saying nothing is almost as bad as the bullying act itself.
  • Don’t bully back, and never use violence: Although it can be very tempting at times, never, ever stoop down to the bully’s level, and turn into one yourself. This will only make matters worse, especially if the bully feels threatened or humiliated, he can make things worse. Resorting to violence can lead to the same outcome. Someone could get hurt, and you could get in trouble. Take the high road. Deal with it if you can. If not, speak to an adult who can help.
  • Tell an adult: You don’t have to keep it a secret. It’s not a burden you have to carry on your own. There are so many adults out there who are willing to help you, if only you take that first step. They can’t always identify when you need help. Approach them, and they will do everything in their power to keep the same thing from happening. Bullies usually tend to stop their acts once they know an adult has been brought into the picture out of fear of getting into trouble with their parents. It’s not considered tattling – bullying is wrong. Period. By bringing it to a halt, you’re helping numerous victims, and future victims,consequently drastically altering their lives for the better.
  • Befriend the Bully: It may not work all the time, but sometimes, on those rare occasions, it is possible to     draw a silver lining around that dark and gloomy cloud. Try reaching out to him, find common grounds. Who knows, perhaps the two of you have a crazy obsession with peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. You never know unless you try. However, one main point you should never forget, is to never sacrifice yourself in the process. Don’t bend over backwards to please the bully, because that’s not befriending him, that tuning into his personal slave.

As a victim, I know it’s easy to depict the bully as a monster who leaves nothing but destruction and pain in his wake. But what we must try and understand is. Everyone is Human. We all screw up some time or the other. Nobody’s perfect, and sometimes, all we need is a second chance to right all the wrongs we’ve done. Everyone has some good in them, it’s just that some of us don’t find it easy to show and express it. The bully might also have been a victim of bullying himself which may have subsequently triggered his own bullying trait. As the saying goes, “hurt people hurt people”.

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