First of all, as many bullies at school or in the workplace are often bullied or have been bullied themselves and many guardians have bullied them to make them tough, and if they are popular, then the parents are proud “No one messes with my kids”. Having been bullied myself, in my experience it is often the behaviour rather than the bully being seen as offensive. Many bullies at school (I was bullied at home too) often relied upon me for support and friendship, therefor I never judged them on their behaviours. Some of the things they did to me were violent, some just plain jesting to draw attention to their ‘prowess’ and power over one individual.
Everyone does some kind of hurtful thing without realising it until it is pointed out to them, but it is better to express that, rather than learning the behaviour of being victim to it, the one thing that enabled me to stop being bullied was to just look at them as though to say “you look a prize fool” and know it is something they are expressing about themselves rather than me. As Michelle Obama famously said “When they go low, We go high” that is to say, just rise above it, it is not worth the tears or anguish. Easier said than done? well yes it is easier than you think, you just need to feel sorry for them, poor them, how on earth do they manage to jest when their lives are so troubled, we don’t know their circumstances, they may well think you are ‘above them’ and they want to ‘bring you down’ but we are all the same!
If like me you were in a dangerous situation and self harm was the only option, know from my experience that I had no one, a teacher (yet again!) saved me from that situation and what came out of that was that he told me “school is not forever, you will be able to do whatever you want when you leave school, it is all up to you and I have faith in you to do well” and he was soooo right.
But lets say, stuff is still being said, fun made of you, this is time to understand the bullies are being bullied themselves and they need to deal with their own stuff, make a promise to yourself to value your own person, no matter how jolly their instagram or facebook or twitter feeds are going on, it often transpires they will need your friendship one day.
Someone once said to me there are two people in this world, there are radiators, you put stuff in you get warmth out; then there are drains, you put stuff in and it just goes down the chute and you never see it again and it is cold. Which one are you? just remember that we all need warmth and maybe you can give a little to make a drain a bit happier to do it’s job!
Remember, bullies are people and they often want to look down upon others because they feel some kind of looking down upon themselves. It is best to realise that drawing the line, making the lines distinct and clear that you set those boundaries and they better look out, no warmth if you aren’t treated well and that should they choose kindness over cruelty or aggression then they will be rewarded.
I recall being a call handler and it was tough, it was for a firm that dealt with public services and many phoned up genuinely worried and others would be shouting down the phone at me. In my work treating them all the same due care and attention, because I know how hard it can be to access help, many of the customer service roles I have worked in have been tough but thank you to my bullies, I learned a lot more resilience than anyone else could have trained me for!