As someone who was badly bullied in school, I had to learn several ways to cope with bullying. It was never easy. There were days when I would refuse to get out of bed because I couldn't face the torment. But I stayed as strong as I could and the following methods helped me get through. Here are 7 helpful ways to cope with bullying.
1. Avoid the Bully
I'm not saying you should rearrange your life to avoid a bully, or run away without standing up for yourself, but sometimes avoidance is one of the best ways to cope with bullying. Take a different route home, ask your teacher to seat you on the other side of the room, and steer clear of places that bullies frequent. Sometimes out of sight is out of mind. They can't bully you if they can't find you.
2. Don't Stay Silent
The bullying continues if you don't break the silence, and keeping the pain and humiliation inside can be dangerous to your well-being. Be open with your friends and any adult you trust. There's no shame in confiding in someone who cares, especially if they can help stop the bullying.
3. Laugh It off
When someone is trying to be tough, laughter is the most confusing reaction you can give them. Laugh genuinely, as if this is the most hysterical thing you've ever heard, and walk away. You'll leave the bully flabbergasted, scratching their head instead of keeping up their attack. Plus, laughter feels good, so this can be one of the best ways to cope with bullying.
4. Try to Ignore It
Pretend as if you aren't hearing what the bully is saying, and stay preoccupied with something you're actually engrossed in, like a good book or a conversation with a friend. This takes a lot of practice, and it isn't easy, but when a bully sees that they're truly not getting a reaction from you, and can't penetrate your wall, they're likely to give up.
5. Take Self-defence Classes
Self-defence is a great life skill to have, as long as you don't abuse it. Don't hide it, either. If word spreads a bit that you know how to defend yourself, bullies are going to mess with you a lot less. Just don't use it as a threat, and never bust out your self-defence moves unless you need to fight for your safety.
6. Be the Adult
Look the bully in the eyes and say; "I'm really sorry you're so insecure that you feel the need to humiliate others. It must be really hard for you, but this behaviour isn't appropriate and I won't stand for it." Bullies are used to people running from them, and they feed off that power. Calling them out on exactly what they are will throw most of them for a loop. It may not end the bullying full-stop, but it'll make them think twice. If nothing else, it will surprise the heck out of them!
7. Safety in Numbers
Try to walk around with at least one other person. Bullies are less likely to target a group, so have friends walk you home and avoid being alone when you're in the same place as a bully.
I'm not an expert. This advice is based on my experience. Every situation is different, and sometimes none of these tips will work. If you're being bullied, and if you've been physically harmed or threatened, report it immediately. Bullying is serious stuff, and must not be tolerated. There are things you can do, and one of the most important things to remember is that it's not your fault. Have you suffered at the hands of a bully? How did you cope with it? Let's get a conversation going!