The right way to deal with a bully

The right way to deal with a bully
Highlights

Bullying is one of the not so good aspects of childhood. However, bullies must not be ignored or suffered. One must take a stand to report them, and those being bullied must seek help, other wise bullying might leave the victims permanently damaged psychologically, affecting self-esteem, education, and career.

Bullying is one of the not so good aspects of childhood. However, bullies must not be ignored or suffered. One must take a stand to report them, and those being bullied must seek help, other wise bullying might leave the victims permanently damaged psychologically, affecting self-esteem, education, and career. Our experts share how…

I am a 17-year-old boy. I am facing a lot of bullying in school. I am afraid of going to school and I am unable to tell my parents. I am teased, beaten and sexually teased.

My studies are getting affected. My girlfriend has left me and teases me too. People say I am effeminate and call me really bad names, troll me and put bad memes on social media. I am developing self-harming tendency and feel suicidal. Please help!

Bullying is unacceptable, and I understand that it is a painful experience. It seems you are trying to manage by not arguing or confronting your bullies and avoiding school. It appears you are isolating yourself and being isolated because of the bullying. You must be feeling hurt that you are being teased even by those you trusted, like your ex-girlfriend. I suggest that you expand your support system, try to make friends inside and outside your school as well, and definitely talk to a trusted adult, a teacher or relative about this, and talk to them clearly so that they also understand your feelings and you are able to express yourself. It is not your fault at all, and you do not deserve this treatment!

Just because there is a trolling joke or meme (which is the most often used weapon by your generation bullies), do not let it affect your self-esteem! Do not let someone else define who and what you are. You are a young adult with talents, capabilities and experiences that no one else has, and do not let this make you feel as if you are incapable. In fact, often, an important tactic to deal with bullies is feeling confident in oneself and being unaffected. However, do not taunt, tease, or respond back negatively to trolls, as they are looking for an emotional response or reaction like anger, or sadness from you. If you act like you aren't affected, they will most likely lose interest in teasing you. Avoid confrontations with your bullies, and if you need to communicate with them, make sure that you are not being aggressive or angry, but stay balanced in what you are saying so that you are not showing fearfulness. This means you might have to practice talking assertively in front of a mirror at home. Added to this, I would suggest you think about your positives, and practice introductions talking about what's interesting about you, as well as practice conversing skills in front of a mirror. This might help you make new friends, and school can become a better experience for you. Seek help from empathetic peers or from professionals. It is important to learn the skills to overcome this kind of challenges, which you know are quite rampant in your generation.

With regards to your self-harming and suicidal feelings, I suggest you seek the help of a professional, as this is a limited medium to help you. Harming yourself is never the solution! You have bright potential to change your life, and it gets better, don't let negative words make you doubt that.

- Vasuprada Kartic ,Anthroposophic Counsellor and Psychotherapist.

I wish I could wave a magic wand and reform all the bullies of the world...big and small!! But unfortunately, one must face the ugly truth that bullying, and teasing are becoming increasingly common and more and more oppressive.

I can understand how you feel, and I am truly sorry that you are facing all this.

Please understand that it's hard to put a stop to this if you don't talk about it.

1. Tell a parent or a cousin, uncle or any relative who you trust.

2. Establish a support system. I understand your fear of the backlash of complaining to elders, but you have to bring it up.

3. Try talking to a schoolteacher, counsellor or a senior who you trust. You might get advice on how to handle this.

4. Never react in anger or hit...it only makes it worse.

5. Practice the 'stoic' face; look the other way with a deadpan expression.

6. Do not try to laugh, jeer or joke…it encourages the offender.

7. You may ask for a change of section if it makes a difference.

8. Concentrate on your studies and score well; bullies are always afraid of good students as they have a lot of support from teachers

9. See if your parents can speak to their parents in order to try make peace.

10. Don't indulge in drugs or dangerous activity just to mollify them.

11. Try to 'buddy' them and see if it helps.

12. Never get bullied into doing their homework or indulging in anti-social acts.

13. Try to move around in a group. Being alone makes you a target.

14. Sexual harassment of any sort is an offense. Be sure to report it right away.

15. Remember, there is no such thing as masculine or effeminate...those words are seldom used today...ignore the meaning.

16. I'm particularly sorry that your girlfriend has resorted to teasing you. It could be because she was afraid of being singled out and bullied herself. Forgive her and move on.

17. All this must have taken a huge emotional toll on you. Work on your self-esteem and don't hesitate to take professional help.

18. Read lot of self-help books, practice meditation, pick up a new hobby - anything that is a healthy diversion.

19. Please talk to your parents about your self-harm and suicidal thoughts/impulses immediately and take help.

If all this doesn't help, try changing your school. It will be hard in the higher classes…but there is no harm in trying.

Please understand that bullying is a serious issue and India has serious laws that protect survivors of bullying and cyber bullying.

I wish you power, and perseverance to deal with this issue. Good luck!

- Dr Purnima Nagaraja Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist.

- Do you have any relationship related queries or issues with your friends, loved ones or family? For informed advice by professionals, send in your questions to features.thehansindia@gmail.com.

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