Talk to someone you trust and someone who can help you, if you're being bullied.
I'm being bullied, what can I do?
- Admit to yourself that you are being bullied and that the behaviour being aimed at you is unfair and unjustified. Try to look at your situation - and the bully - objectively. Ask yourself: would I accept this behaviour in someone I did not know?
- Believe in yourself. Don't believe what the bully says of you. You know that it is not true.
- If the bullying is affecting you physically, go to see your doctor. A talk with your doctor or a spell of sick leave may give you the space in which to bounce back.
- Try to stand up for yourself. If you need to, take assertiveness training.
- Train yourself to be able to stare someone out - it gives the impression of confidence - and teaches you to say 'no' emphatically, and then walk away.
- Check out your body language. If you stoop, hang your head and hunch over, you may be giving off 'victim' signals. Practice walking with confidence, standing straight with head held high and taking deep breaths.
- Try not to show that the bully has upset you - they may become bored with getting no reaction from you and then stop.
How can bullying be stopped?
- It is very difficult for anyone who is being bullied to talk about it, but this is what has to happen! Telling a parent, a teacher or principal, your boss, a youth/sports group leader or someone in a position of authority who can help, is very important. If you find it too difficult or you’re too frightened, ask a friend to support you and to be with you when you talk about the bullying.
- Make sure to tell a friend or work colleague about what’s happening: don’t try to deal with the bullying alone, the more support you have the better.
- Keep a record of every bullying episode that happens: note the time, place, what happened and if anyone else was a witness. This will help you explain clearly what's been happening.
If you see someone being bullied, what can you do?
- You can ask the person to stop the bullying but this is never easy to do because of the fear that you might become the next victim.
- You can quietly approach the victim and let him / her know that you saw the bullying episode and advise them to tell someone.
- You can report the incident to an appropriate person yourself.
- If the victim begins to discuss the bullying, it may seem to be all they can talk about. Be patient and let them go on - it's better for them to let it all out than bottle it up.
What to do next:
- Don't overreact, victims need rational advice and help, not emotional overload.
- Believe the victim and not any authority figure who may dismiss the claims of bullying simply as 'part' of growing up or 'part of the rough and tumble of life'. No one should have to put up with bullying.
- Ask victims if they have any suggestions about changing the situation.
- Seek advice from an individual or a support group with experience in this area.
- Keep an eye on the victim. If they threaten suicide, take this very seriously and get professional help immediately.
If you suspect that a friend or family member is being bullied... what to look for:
- A change in behaviour, such as suffering a lack of concentration and / or becoming withdrawn, excessively clingy, depressed, fearful, emotionally up and down.
- Appearing to have no close friends, not being part of groups, not discussing positive events from their experience.
- Happy at the weekend but not during the week. A drop in performance in school or at work.
- Physical signs: stomach aches, headaches, sleep difficulties.
- Making negative remarks about themselves including phrases such as "Nobody else thinks I'm any good".
- Having many unexplained cuts and bruises.
- Binging on food, cigarettes and/or alcohol.
What to do next?
- Don't question victims intently or ask them anything that might make them feel that they have done something wrong.
- Broach the subject indirectly, giving them the option to talk about it or not.
- Let them know that you are willing to listen at any time.
- When they start to talk, listen carefully to what they have to say.
Why does someone bully?
A bully is someone who gets pleasure from making someone else suffer. He/she may use the bullying to be accepted by others. It is said that bullies have low self-esteem but this is hard to believe because it seems that they are sometimes the most popular and outgoing people.
There are differences in how fellas and girls bully. It's more common for fellas to use physical means e.g. fighting, stealing, name calling and destruction of property. While it's common for girls to use exclusion and to give someone the 'silent treatment'.
Remember: you don’t have to put up with bullying! Don’t suffer in silence: TELL SOMEONE!
See the help section for supportive information and contacts details of support organisations.