We need to talk about Bullying

For the past years, we have been paying close attention to bullying episodes to bring awareness to the severe problem of this harmful behavior. Bullying can cause emotional or physical hurting and long-lasting consequences for children and everyone involved, including their families.
Before we talk about such consequences, it is vital to identify the perpetrators of this type of violence.

Yes! Bullying is one of the ways violence strongly manifests itself.

Studies identify three types of bullying participant roles:
• Author: engages in bullying behavior;
•Target: a person or group of people who are targets of the bullying behavior;
•Author / Target: someone that can be both - the target of bullying and engage in bullying behavior;

Precisamos falar sobre Bullying

 

For starters, we have to understand those three participant roles but first, let’s keep in mind all of them have experienced some violence beforehand.
So far, we know that no one - adult or child - becomes violent or is violent prone without some form of prior violence, and it is not rare to this occur in what was supposed to be a safe zone: their own family.

Some studies have shown that children with overprotective or aggressive mothers are prone to suffer bullying.
Hostile or permissive parents have little conflict resolution skills and encourage their kids to fight back at the slightest sign of teasing.
The fragility of family cohesion, the use of physical violence as a form of discipline, and exposure - both as a witness and as a victim - to direct interparental or parental violence (between parents against their children) are also risk factors.

The more severe the violence perpetrated by the parents, the more likely the child is to be the target OR the author/target of bullying.
What are the consequences of bullying?

All bullying victims are affected by this experience. However, each one of them lives and reacts to it in different manners.
The form and intensity with which this happens depends on several factors, among them: psychological characteristics, degree of self-esteem, life history, protective factors, etc.
At the time the event occurs, we often see behaviors such as hyperactivity, aggression, offishness, sadness, shyness, difficulty in relating with others, feelings of inferiority, depression and bullying over other groups, for example.

Later, this person can become introverted or expansive; a mediocre professional or a successful person; a bitter, vindictive, selfish or loving, welcoming, empathetic person; and showing compromised self-esteem, insecurity, relationship problems, difficulty in dealing with frustrations, feeling of inferiority, excessive need to please. But whatever the adult that child becomes, he/she will carry the marks of this experience that is invariably painful.
But whatever the adult that child becomes, he/she will carry the marks of this experience that is invariably painful.
But what makes you choose to be this way or that way?

Your personality characteristics and performance strategies.
For example, choose to be:
a) Introverted / extroverted: despite being diametrically opposed strategies, they have the same objective: to hide their feelings of inferiority, compromised self-esteem or fear of relating to others;
b) Mediocre professional: for taking as a truth the negative qualities that were attributed to him/her in his/her childhood or successful person: to prove to him or herself that he/she has the capacity and to his/her aggressors that they were wrong. However, the reasons are the same: doubting his/her ability, taking as truth the accusations that his/her aggressors made him/her;
Porém, as razões são as mesmas: duvidar de sua capacidade, tomando como verdade as acusações que seus agressores lhe fizeram;
Bitter, vindictive, selfish person: due to suppressed revolt and aggression; or loving, welcoming, empathetic: for recognizing in the other his/her own life experience and trying, in some way, to alleviate his/her suffering through solidarity.

Are adults also bullied?
Yes! They are.
And the fact that they are adults does not make this experience less painful and traumatic. On the contrary.
Those who find themselves in a situation of bullying only find it difficult to react to this practice because they have been victims of some type of violence in the past and have not received adequate support to overcome them.

We must not forget that moral harassment, in all its breadth, is also a form of bullying, but not the only one that affects the adults.
The religious discrimination, ethnic discrimination among others like geographical (against Northeastern and retirantes*), gender (LGBTfobia and misogyny), physical complexion (obesity, emaciation, dwarfism, claudication, intellectual disability), xenophobia, aporophobia (aversion to indigent people, poor or with few resources) are some examples of reasons used for the practice of bullying.
What to do to overcome this experience?

The ideal is to seek professional help and in this sense, the psychologist is the best option.
Psychology is dedicated to helping people to understand this experience, the reasons that led the person to give them this or that meaning and help them to reframe it - give them a new meaning - in order to be able to look at this situation without this continuing to bring them discomfort or suffering.

This work will be just as less arduous, painful and time-consuming as the person's willingness and ability to make contact with these experiences.
Regular physical activity, healthy eating and quality rest are also important factors for successful treatment.
Throughout the process, the psychologist will be able to identify the need for multidisciplinary work - often involving psychiatry - and will define with the client, the best way to do this.

Often times this is a point of strong resistance on the part of the client, due to what we call psychophobia - resistance to accepting the participation of psychiatry and drug assistance in the therapeutic process - and in this case, it is important that the psychologist deconstructs his beliefs and prejudices, not only in relation to mental disorders, but also clarifying that, frequently, the use of this medication will be temporary and totally safe, with reduction of side effects and without the risk of causing dependency, when indicated by a competent professional and properly managed.

Do you identify with any of these situations?
Or do you know someone who fits that profile or is in emotional distress / suffering?
Don't be afraid to seek help.

Talk to friends, family and health professionals you trust, looking for referrals from well-referenced professionals to accompany you in this process of self-knowledge and overcoming.

American writer Alberto Camus wrote:
“(…)In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”

And psychology can help you find your inner summer..

Note: this article can be freely reproduced or distributed as long as the author is properly credited.

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