Bullying, especially its modern-day variant, cyber bullying, is sadly on the rise. And whilst adults can be vulnerable to it, it’s children and teenagers who are copping it the most. Facebook and Twitter are not the safe havens we’d like them to be and. sadly, incidents of bullying-related suicide rarely seem to be out of the papers. However, the psychological harm caused by bullying is preventable, if you know how. One such in-the-know woman was Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady and wife of the 32nd US President, Franklin D Roosevelt. She famously said: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Want to learn how not to give that consent away? Then read on.
The bullies are everywhere, in schools, on the streets and online, and they have a very clever knack of getting right under your skin, of reflecting back your very worst fears about yourself, of making you hate yourself even more than they appear to. So, don’t let them.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? And it can be. Learning how not to let bullying affect you is a challenging process, sometimes a difficult one but, ultimately, it’s a rewarding one.
CBT has a very elegant approach not just mental health, but to most of life’s problems. It follows the philosophy that it’s not the events in life that disturb you, but what you tell yourself about those events that disturbs you. So, if you’re thinking, feeling and acting in a way that you don’t like, but don’t seem to be able to change, CBT doesn’t look at the thing, it looks at what you are telling yourself about the thing. Change what it is that you are telling yourself and you can change how you think, feel and act.
It’s not to say that the bullies are not an influence over how you feel because, quite clearly, they are. If they were not around, your life would be much easier. You would be happier in yourself. But still, it’s not the bullies that are making you feel shit about yourself, or anxious, or near-suicidally depressed, but the beliefs you hold about those bullies, about their words and their actions, that has you feeling that way.
This is an important and, hopefully, empowering concept: It’s not them. They have no power over you. They never did.
You have power over you; the power to change how you think about yourself, no matter what nasty piece of mud is slung your way. You have the ability to stand tall and walk proud, to be confident in who you are, for who you are, no matter how insidious the playground taunt, or malicious the Facebook post.
Every human being on this planet is amazing and that includes you. Yes you, sitting their reeling from the latest nasty online comment, dealing with that horrible feeling in your belly, too scared sick to go to school, or college, or work tomorrow.
CBT, delivered with empathy and support, will help you build a healthier and more accurate image of yourself. It can make it so those insults, whilst never pleasant; will metaphorically bounce off the walls of your confidence. Simply put, it can help you get on with your life, no matter where the bullies are.
To find a therapist or counsellor who can help you, you need look no further than me. However, if you feel the need to do a little research, you can also find plenty of therapists on websites such as The Counselling Directory and Natural Therapy For All.
This blog pretty much started with a quote, so it’s going to pretty much end with one too, this time from pop star, Christina Aguilera, who sang: “You are beautiful, no matter what they say, words can’t bring you down.”
Isn’t it about time you believed that?
What to do when cyber bullied:
- Don’t post personal information online
- Keep what information you do post as general as possible
- Never let anyone have access to your passwords
- Check the privacy settings on the sites you belong too, so that you control who sees your information
- Think carefully about the pictures you post, they can be downloaded and shared
- Never respond or retaliate to abuse, it makes things worse. Even though it’s hard, the best thing is to ignore it completely
- Block anyone who sends a nasty message
- Report anyone who sends a nasty message immediately
- Save and print out any bullying messages you receive
- Make notes of the dates and times you receive them, long with any other details you can get (such as their ID and the URL)
- If you are being repeatedly bullied, you might want to change your user ID, your nick or your profile
- Harrassment is a crime, so report it. Call ChildLine on 0800 1111
- What you say will be taken seriously, dealt with sympathetically and handled in the strictest confidence