come in all shapes and sizes, and most of us have to deal with them at
one point or another, mostly as children – recent statistic show that 1
in 4 kids deal with bullying. However, bullying is a serious problem,
not only in schools, but also in the workplace, home, the military,
playground and even nursing homes. They need to be dealt with carefully
and the cycle must be stopped.
Developing Coping Mechanisms
Show minimal reaction to their bullying. Do not show the bullies
that you feel hurt and they've succeeded in affecting you; just walk
away. Bullies gain satisfaction from making others feel hurt or
uncomfortable, so reacting to them will only encourage them further. The bully wants attention and if you show them that they are emotionally
hurting you, they will get more pleasure out of doing it.
You cannot talk sense to an irrational person. Walk away with
dignity, saying you have better things to do with your time. If it
continues, stand up for yourself. Whether it continues or not, be sure
to stand up for others who are being bullied.
Feel your inner strength. Everyone has an inner strength to draw on;
the problem with bullying is that many bullies try to make you feel
that you lack this strength and that you're less of a person because of
this. It's not true; beware the deliberate attempt to belittle you and
cause you to feel weak.
Sometimes we think they can take everything we have as a person
away from us. Believe that you are stronger than they are, because deep
down you are stronger than they are and stronger than they ever will be.
Work your way around the bullies. Try and avoid them in school and
social situations. If they take the same route that you do, try a
different way; if they can't find you, they can't bully you. Try your
best to avoid them but don't show that you are avoiding them. They will
usually read this as fear or success, and they will bully you more as a
Always walk with a friend; there's safety in numbers. Most
bullies will be deterred if people in their camp aren't around. They
don't want to get in trouble, and if your friends are around, that could
Do not make jokes at your own expense to try to prove that there is
nothing that the bully can do to hurt your feelings. This will only
please the bully, and they will often chip in with their own ridicule
and humiliation to lower your self-esteem. You're just sinking to their
level with the target still being yourself.
There is nothing funny about bullying, and agreeing with them –
whether it's about you or someone else – is just exacerbating the
problem. Jokes aren't appropriate in the situation, even if it feels
like they're diffusing the tension. They're really just fueling the
Avoid insulting the bully if they have a history of physically
bullying you, since this instigates a conflict you can't win. Instead of
exacerbating the situation, walk away. Report this to an authority
figure if you believe you are in danger.
Outsmart the bully. Bullies usually aren't very smart or witty, so
you can use this to your advantage. Here are a couple of ideas:
Laugh at everything they say, and the worse the insult, the
harder you should laugh. Try to think of it as something really funny
and actually laugh. This is undeniably frustrating to bullies, because
they want you to cry, not laugh.
Building Your Own Strength
Take martial art lessons. Consider Karate, Kung Fu, Taekwondo or
something similar. This will boost your confidence, prime your physique
and enable you to gain combat or defensive skills. Bullies like to prey
on those they perceive as being weaker than them, so developing a battle
aura can help deter them.
Martial arts skills will also help you learn
how not to appear to be an easy target.
You don't have to look like a fighter, just be a no-nonsense
type with a don't-mess-with-me aura. It's better to be combat ready and
not need it than to be black and blue wishing you could've defended
Be smart and aware of everything. Study the surroundings for
possible escape routes, hangouts, conflict zones, safe zones, and
territorial boundaries. Be aware of the bully's patterns including
possible connections, as most bullies have a pack of underlings.
the enemy and the surroundings could mean a lot when evading but, most
importantly, during a direct confrontation.
Be confident when walking about. Walk with a purposeful
confidence and a don't-you-dare-mess-with-me attitude. Walk with your
head up looking forward in the direction you are walking and use your
peripheral vision to be aware of the people around you. No matter how
untrue it feels to you, act confident and stand tall. Everyone will be
none the wiser.
Develop a deep understanding of yourself (and how great you are).
Know your strengths, weaknesses and goals. Know what you want and what
you're capable of. This self assurance can be helpful when dealing with
verbal bullies, as their words of insult won’t reach your core. Verbal
bullies usually require an audience when dishing out insults and their
words are rarely based on what's true but rather what's catchy.
Try to overcome the rumors: tell everyone it's not true and that
the bully just wants attention. Turn the negative spotlight back onto
them. Point out their bullying tendencies and how incredibly insecure
and unhappy they must be to have to pick on others.
These insults and the way this person is treating you has
nothing to do with reality, nothing to do with you, and everything to do
with them. This is their insecurity and unhappiness showing through.
When they're done with you, they'll likely move onto someone else.
Don’t be tempted to bully back. The last thing you want to do is to
sink to the bully’s level. While you should definitely point out why
they’re bullying and find holes in their argument, never, ever, ever
resort to behavior like theirs. That’s just another way of giving them
power. It makes you as bad as them.
Preventing the Cycle
Recognize the type of bully you and others are dealing with. Bullies
cross the spectrum – some abuse physically, others verbally, while
others play mind games and toy with you emotionally. Many bullies use a
combination of these strategies. Whatever the type, it helps for you to
understand the approach taken by the bully.
Does the person abuse you physically? Aggressive bullies like to
hit, punch, kick and pull hair. They will do it without hesitation.
Such a bully isn't beyond starting a physical fight, only to blame it
all on you or cry that they're hurt and you started it.
Is this person a name-caller, someone who insults you verbally?
Taunting bullies are verbally abusive (calling names, making jokes,
Does the person pretend to be your friend, but then makes fun of
you in front of others without warning? This is just one type of
emotional bullying. Others include threatening to hurt or break
something you care about, doing something to cause you to be ridiculed
(such as having a "kick me" sign on your back) or telling lies about you
to other people to try and make them hate you. Indirect bullies,
sometimes known as backstabbers or gossip-mongers, spread rumors,
exclude others, and harass their victims whenever possible.
Understand that cyberbullying is as real as face-to-face or real
life bullying. Cyber bullies harass other people through instant
messaging, e-mail, and any other electronic means. The best way to deal
with online bullies is to delete their messages and not read anything
they say. Be sure to block the bully as well.
If this is happening to you, it is just as legitimate as
face-to-face bullying. Do not hesitate to tell your parents, your boss,
or the police, if necessary, about your situation. This is not okay and
should not be tolerated.
Report all bullying to an authority figure. Consider your parents,
school guidance counselor, principal, boss, the police, or someone else
who can deal with or punish the bully and protect your safety. It's
important that you talk to someone about your problem to get it to end.
This is not cowardly of you. This is brave of you to come forward and
make yourself vulnerable.
Do not worry about revenge that the bully may take if you report
the incident; they will hurt you anyway and appeasing them doesn't
solve your problem or anyone else they are bullying. You could also go
to tell a good friend – a good friend includes them standing up for you
and you standing up for them as well.
If there is a bullying survey in your school always write your
name down. Do not be embarrassed. You will probably be asked to talk to
someone who is very experienced and this can be surprisingly helpful.
You might feel very small but in reality you are bigger than the bully.
Help others through their situation. Bullies are people who try to
make themselves look good. All they want is attention, and they have
probably learned their bullying from home or friends. Take that away
from them and they have nothing! Since you've experienced the problem,
you know how it can hurt, and you know how to help others!
One of the simplest way to help others feel better in the face
of bullying is to change their understanding of it. Emphasize to them
that bullies themselves are unhappy and frustrated and are trying to
have control over their feelings to finally feel good themselves. It’s
kind of sad, if you think about it.
If someone comes to you and they're in a situation similar to
yours, go with them to report their problem. They'll greatly benefit
from the morale support. If they don't have their own strength, they can
soak up some of yours.
Spread the word. Bullying is a real problem. It is not something
that needs to be shoved aside and dealt with quietly. Take your issues
and talk about them. Ask your school to hold talks or seminars putting
it in the front of everyone's minds. Make everyone aware that it happens
every day. Only when people are looking for it can they do something
You may think you're alone or that you don't know anyone that's
gone through something like you have, but that's likely because those
people are too shy to speak up. If you break the ice, you may be
surprised how many people join you in your fight.
Ignore them and walk away – that's your best bet. All they want is attention. Whatever you do, do not actually fight the bully unless you are in serious danger of injury.
Some bullies might just be jealous of you. They only bully you
because you have a great talent that they don't have, so be proud of
what you are doing. Calling names is not fun. Actually, what's deep
inside those bullies is they don't have the guts to do what you do the
Don't take anything bullies say to heart – they are not worthy of
your tears! Do not let their words stop you from achieving your goals!
Show confidence, and show to them that their words have no effect on
Remember that bullies can't hurt you. They just want to show that
they're powerful, even though they show just the opposite: they are
cowards. Really powerful people show their power in other ways, not by
humiliating others that are "weaker" than them. Show them that you're
not afraid of them.
If your school doesn't act on reports of bullying, try to have your
parents put you in a private or a charter school that will expel or
suspend a bully.
Stay calm at all times, as this will puzzle and frustrate a typical bully at their attempts to elicit a negative reaction.
Tell someone the second you feel threatened. If you've read any
terrifying stories about people being bullied for 8 years, the main
problem is lack of communication.
Always tell a member of authority (teacher, policeman, adult) and do
not stop until you are listened to. Ignorance is a good way to combat
bullying, yes, but making your voice heard is a better way.
Many children are taught that bullies will not get physical if they
are only making fun of you. This is not always true, as it can always
escalate. Be careful around any bully, always stay in public places or
amongst others (especially authority figures) when a bully picks on you.
If the bully is an adult or young adult and is threatening you or
hurting you, that is called abuse. Talk to someone immediately.
Once again, don't take anything they say about you to heart. Don't
be fooled by them either. If they try to act nice to you and they look
like they mean it, give them a chance. If they look like they're faking
it, ignore them.