Our research shows that almost half of us have experienced bullying at one point or another. Despite this being the case, when you are the one experiencing bullying it is often hard to identify the appropriate course of action to take, or the steps needed to address and alleviate the situation.
As a leading global youth charity, Ditch the Label is committed to helping you overcome bullying and all other issues that matter to you the most; with this, in mind, we have compiled a shortlist of things you should avoid doing if you are being bullied.
1. Keep it to yourself
When you’re going through a stressful or difficult situation, it can be hard to find perspective or see things with clarity. Bullying is something that affects the so many, but worryingly, our research revealed that 45% of those who experience it, fail to report it through embarrassment, fear or a lack of faith in support systems. If you are experiencing bullying it is incredibly important you go through the appropriate reporting channels; your first port of call should be confiding in a teacher/parent/guardian/learning mentor or another responsible adult. You can always join our support community for advice and support from our digital mentors.
If somebody is exhibiting threatening behaviour, giving out your personal information or giving you the impression that your safety might be at risk, contact the police or an adult immediately.
Even if you don’t want to report it, it is important you share with someone what you are going through – you shouldn’t go through something like this alone as it is extremely stressful, and can be emotionally draining to endure bullying. This stress can have an impact on all areas of your life, including your mental wellbeing, ability to communicate with others, performance in school, self-esteem and confidence. It is therefore incredibly important that you tell somebody you trust about what you are going through; it doesn’t even have to be an adult – it could be a friend or somebody at Ditch the Label. It is vital, during a traumatic time, that you have a support system and people who you can rely on when you are feeling low, or unable to cope.
2. Blame yourself
Remember that the person who is bullying you is the one with the issue, not you. It is in no way your fault; people experience bullying not because of their sexuality, gender identity, race, appearance, disability or any other unique factor; it is because of the attitude towards the factor. The only thing possible to change is attitudes – you are perfect the way you are.
3. React with violence
Often reacting in an aggressive manner can make the situation worse and can put you at risk of physical harm. If you feel it is a safe and appropriate action to take, maybe try talking to the person who is doing the bullying. Remember to challenge the behaviour, not the person – so instead of accusing the person of being a ‘bully’, explain why their actions or words are causing you distress. For example, instead of saying “you’re upsetting me”, you could say “what you said/did has upset me”. It might be appropriate to suggest that a teacher or responsible adult hosts a mediation between you and the individual who is doing the bullying. A mediation can feel scary for those involved but is often incredibly powerful; it is essentially a face-to-face conversation between you and the person doing the bullying in a controlled, equal environment.
4. Isolate yourself
Depriving yourself of any sort of support or friendship certainly won’t do anything to resolve the issue. We know it might feel like the best thing to do, but it will only make things worse in the long run by silencing you and reducing your self-esteem. Try to keep up with your normal social life and activities you enjoy – the distraction if anything, will help lift your spirits and remind you of the positive things in your life.
5. Think of yourself as a victim
Often people who are bullied can feel like a ‘victim’ but it’s important that you don’t disempower yourself and let the bullying dictate who you are. You need to find ways to regain control, confidence and self-esteem – we have a great guide on how you can rebuild your self-esteem here.
Remind yourself every day that you are worthy, in control and that things will get better.
6. Neglect your health and mental wellbeing
It is important during this time, that you take good care of your health and mental wellbeing. As well as finding a support system, you need to make sure you are looking out for yourself too. Little things like eating a balanced diet, exercising, getting a good night’s sleep, relaxing and having quality time with friends and family can really improve physical and mental health, which will, in turn, reduce stress. Reductions in stress increase your clarity of vision, allowing you to better analyse difficult situations, which will make them much easier to deal with. We also suggest that you seek emotional and mental support from a GP, therapist or counsellor.
7. Harm yourself
Hurting yourself in any way is not a solution. Refer back to point number 2 – you are not to blame for the fact you are experiencing bullying, do not hold yourself responsible or take feelings of frustration or anger out on yourself. If you feel inclined to hurt yourself in any way please seek support immediately from a GP, therapist or counsellor. You can also read our alternatives to self-harm and contact us for advice and support here.
If you are being bullied you do not need to go through it alone. If you ever need help, Ditch the Label is here for you. You can contact us here.