If you're being bullied, the first thing to know is that you're not alone. Unfortunately bullying is a very common problem which can have a huge impact on the victim, but several steps can be taken to help put an end to it.
Have you ever been bullied, and if so, what did you do to resolve the situation?
1. Confront the Bully
This is one of the hardest things to do if you are being bullied, and even the idea of it can be incredibly daunting and intimidating to think about. If someone is bullying you, it's very easy to feel scared or them and undermined when around them. It may take a while to pluck up the courage to confront them, but when you feel like you are ready, get a couple of friends to come with you and confront them about their behaviour.
Ask them why they are 'attacking' you or whatever you feel they have been doing towards you. Even if you don't get a direct answer, the confrontation will have surprised them and caught them off guard, which may make them think twice the next time they think about bullying you.
This is because they will remember how you confronted them and will know that you're not afraid to ask them about it directly. Bullies often target people who they think will tolerate the behaviour thrown at them and believe the victim won't confront them out of fear.
2. Tell Someone You Trust
This might be a teacher, a close friend, a sibling or a parent who you trust this information with. Chances are that if you trust them enough to tell them about it, they will be concerned for your safety and well-being and be more than willing to help you find a solution to the problem at hand.
It can seem scary to tell someone else about the problem, because sometimes we like to think that if we don't say it out loud it's not true and that once we share it with someone it then becomes a real problem with serious consequences. But this is no reason to keep it to yourself, bullies can affect their victims in so many ways and it's important to stop this in its tracks.
3. Seek Advice from a Counsellor
It may be helpful and a good idea to make an appointment with a counsellor, if you are still at school, then it would be a school counsellor.
Sometimes we wish to tell certain people in our lives but they don't have the time of day to listen or get distracted with other aspects, so a counsellor is a great idea since they have all the time in the world. They also have experience with talking through these matters and are trained to listen and help you work through a few solutions.
Everything you say with a counsellor should be kept strictly confidential, or at the very least be shared with your parent or caregiver. Although you may not wish for them to find out and be told, you have to remember that it's their job to look after you at all times. You are their priority and they will want to help if you're going through a rough time. Bullying is a very serious matter which affects victims in many different ways.
4. Avoid the Bully if Possible
Sometimes this can be impossible, especially if you're at school and share a few classes with the bully. But even so, there are still ways of avoiding them and staying out of their way. One way to do this would be to simply distance yourself from them, for example sit on the other side of the room and try to avoid making eye contact, because most of the time, bullies are looking for any little reason to pick on certain people. So don't give them any reason to do this, if you can help it! If you are able to do this, chances are they will start to leave you alone and hassle you less and less, until one day it stops altogether.
If you both leave school in the same direction, another idea to try is to simply wait a couple of minutes after them so that you don't have to cross paths, or you could even explore other options of getting home such as walking down a few different streets to avoid the possibility of running into them.
5. Surround Yourself with Other People
Bullies are much more likely to harass you when you are alone. They see this as an opportunity to attack since you become an 'easy target' and have no witnesses to confirm the bullying behaviour that may take place. They might also think that since no one is there to see it, no one will believe you if you tried to tell someone about it afterwards.
Of course it's pretty hard to be with someone else 24/7, but you can make sure you're with others more often than not. If you're at school and you tend to do certain things by yourself such as buying lunch, going to your locker or walking home from school, ask a friend or two to come with you for these activities so that the bully is aware that you have company.
That way, if you cross paths with the bully, they will see you have a witness and will most likely decide to keep quiet.
6. Ignore Their Bullying Behaviour
Know that the bully's behaviour is most likely nothing to with you. Not that it's an excuse, but usually a bully becomes a bully because their angry, frustrated, sad or upset with other areas of their life and find that bullying others is their only release for the built up emotions inside, plus it makes them feel strong, powerful and superior while doing so. This is how it can quickly become a habit for the bully and although this is a very unhealthy way to cope with their emotions, it spirals out of their control and they find themselves unable to stop their bullying behaviour, even if they wish to do this.
7. Record the Bullying Incidents
This will be very handy to have when you decide to tell someone you trust about what has been happening, or even if you decide to share it with a councillor.
Bullying behaviour can be an on-going problem which can lasts for years and years, and if this has been happening to you, it can be hard to recall each and every incident with the bully and what exactly has been said or done.
If you're being bullied, keep a record as early on as possible and keep it in a safe place where you know you can find it easily and add to list if you need to.
If you tend to be quite forgetful at times, it may be a good idea to back it up by typing it out on your laptop and saving it in a safe place, just in case you ever lose the physical hard copy.
8. Focus on Other Things
Bullies are good at making us feel miserable, isolated and like we can't enjoy the rest of our lives because of their harassing behaviour. Don't listen to them!
Remember all the positive aspects of your life, all your hobbies, strengths, sports, activities, friends and family! Do something you love in your spare time, or if you've had a particularly hard day involving the bully, choose something you love doing as a way to cheer yourself up and remind yourself that you have a great life, so much to enjoy and feel happy about.
Try to keep the bully in their own separate 'box' so it doesn't interfere with the rest of your life or the things you love doing. Otherwise, it will end up affecting almost every other aspect of your life and it will be incredibly hard to think of anything else, or even to still enjoy your favourite activities and hobbies.