Coping Mechanisms to Manage Bullies

18th Mar, 2015 Categories: Blog

Keep reminding yourself that there is normally a reason why someone is a bully and this has absolutely nothing to do with you. That individual may have bullied many people in the past and is often a reflection of their own turmoil that they are experiencing. Whilst this does not make it right, you should find some solace in knowing that you are most likely bearing the brunt of someone else’s insecurities or difficulties that they are struggling with. You are being targeted and there may be no rational reason for it. If you are being bullied and find that it is affecting your emotional wellbeing, consult a friend or family member, immediately. They may be able to support you through this process. If you find that your low self-esteem or low confidence persists then you may want to seek the support of a qualified healthcare professional to support you through this difficult stage.

Self-esteem and emotional wellbeing after being bullied

Recovering from bullying can be a difficult process. I would recommend reading around bullying so that you understand the psyche of a bully. Bullying can start as being completely random and once the bully sees they are getting the desired reaction from you, they may persist. There is a great deal of research that shows a variety of reasons why people bully and these include family issues, social issues (receiving more attention for negative behaviour than positive), having power over people, lack of guidance or boundaries, the cultural normalizing of aggressive behaviour (TV shows, movies, video games) and many more. Therefore, you could not to take it personally as much of the time the bully will be externalising their own vulnerabilities and you may just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you are a child or adolescent, your parents and friends would be best placed to support you to rebuild your confidence and self-esteem. Avoidance of social situations or circumstances that make you feel nervous, anxious or self-conscious may contribute to keeping your negative self-beliefs alive.

Focus on things you enjoy

By not focusing on what a bully does, and instead focusing on things you enjoy doing, it will help to lift your mood. Try to engage in any hobbies or interests will help to get you back on track.

Keep busy and distracted

Spend time with family, friends and loved ones, as they will help your confidence and self-esteem. Getting involved in group activities will reinforce your sense of belonging.

Get some exercise

There’s a lot to be said about the positive effects of physical activity on your mental wellbeing. It releases endorphins – a happy hormone – and gives you a chance to reduce the negative thoughts that you get and it will help to clear your mind.

Keep a journal

Write down some positive self-talk; this would include writing down a few short positive phrases about yourself that you know to be true. Something like, ‘I’m good at my job’, I have good friends at school’, and ‘my work colleagues invite me out for social events’. If you are finding this difficult perhaps you could ask a friend or family member to write down one positive thing each about you. You can then reflect and read these back to yourself throughout the day.

Reporting abusive behaviour

If you feel that someone is bullying you or going out of their way to be unkind, then this should be reported. If you’re a young person or adolescent being bullied, the best course of action will be to tell your parents or a teacher at school. If you don’t feel that you can do this, then tell someone that you can trust, and they will most likely be able to give you some advice on how to manage it. I would encourage young people to not try to manage it on their own or just see what happens, because the sooner it stops the better it is for you.

You should also feel that you are not alone: many people experience bullying and many people will feel that it’s wrong. Being united in the approach of managing bullies is a great way of reducing it or preventing it from continuing. Don’t fight it alone, it’ll only make it more difficult to resolve. With adults, the approach should be much the same in that reporting or highlighting it may be the best way to manage it. Many adults experience bullying, either at work or even by loved ones. Share your story with family members or if at work, with your line manager or a colleague you trust, sometimes it’s good to hear how other people would manage in your situation because you may find that you can’t find a solution yourself.

It is worth noting that if you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, I’d encourage you to meet with a healthcare professional that can support you through this difficult time.