Bullying is rife these days, both in schools (and even worse online, which we never had to deal with). Then we have workplace bullying, media bullying (Caroline Flack etc) and people even like to watch TV programmes where people bully each other. There’s a general kind of nastiness about all those programs (Big Brother, I’m a Celebrity, Come Dine with Me, Four in a Bed). All of them seem to delight in being nasty in underhand ways, when actually if you’ve ever travelled to Europe, their version of Come Dine With Me is very nice, with no gossiping or bitchiness at all.
The best way to prevent bullying is to not be around bullies. Hay! That’s easier said than done. Alas the kind empaths among us often fall prey to narcissists (who seem to be able to hone in on empaths) and make them feel like everything they’ve done is their fault (gaslighting). So if you go around being nice and others tell you you’re not, it’s likely you’re being gaslighted. So no, it’s not your fault. And the results of bullying can last a lifetime, leading to self-sabotage of your dreams, so it’s important to both prevent it, and make peace with the past, so you can move on. And if that means dropping friends (even from childhood) that still make you feel bad about yourself, so be it.
One man who was bullied in school as a boy had terrible times, and had to leave. Years later, he decided to seek out the bully for a radio show. He found him – and discovered that the other boy had felt so bad, he had been tracking him on social media for years, to ensure he was okay! They did not become friends, but it was kind of healing.
All studies show that school bullying is cured, when the teachers agree that it can be. Just saying ‘all bullying happens’ is not good enough. Children can phone National Bullying Helpline. If you are being bullied at work, call ACAS.
ReThink is a wonderful app, created by an Indian teenager, who was upset on hearing that a teen in the US had died, due to alleged bullying. It basically ‘reads messages’ before children send them. So if a child reads ‘I hope you die’, the app quickly retorts something like ‘Are you sure you really want to send that, it could do terrible things’. Then most children don’t send it.
how Lizzie took on the bullies!
Lizzie Velásquez grew up in a Mexican Catholic family, her faith very important to her, as she battled bullying, due to being born with a rare congenital disease that left her blind in one eye and prevents her gaining weight. One day she was surfing online and found people calling her ‘the ugliest girl in the world’. So you know what she did? She gave an inspirational TED talk (very funny too, saying she never has to worry about diets!) and gained the love of the world. She now writes books on kindness and has even had a film made about her. Way to go, Lizzie!