By Dr. Joe Rubino
Bullying is a problem of alarming proportions that can cause children to diminish their self-esteem and begin the downward spiral of diminished expectations in life by creating a self-fulfilling prophesy that the world is a harsh and dangerous place and they do not possess what is necessary to thrive or even survive in such an environment. It is estimated that there are approximately 2.7 million children that are the victims of bullying each year. Frequently, the bullies themselves are the victims of abuse at home and their actions are an attempt to exert domination over those weaker than themselves. Bullying can take the form of physical or verbal abuse, name calling, gossiping and rumor generation, destruction of another’s clothes or possessions, and the growing problem of cyberbullying. No matter what form bullying may take, the following behaviors are effective ways for those bullied to deal with any bullying episode.
1. Don’t take the bullying attack personally (even though it may seem to be awfully personal!) Ask yourself, "What must it be like in the bully’s world to have him or her do such a horrible thing to another person?" Remember, that the bully is acting out because he or she feels unloved, abused, frustrated, or otherwise dominated or controlled. The bully’s actions can be seen as a cry for help. The person being bullied merely represents a convenient way for the bully to feel temporarily powerful and in control of his or her life. We certainly do not condone this reprehensible behavior but when you realize that their bad behavior is an indication of the internal pain and the low self-esteem they are experiencing, you can understand that their actions are about them, not the person bullied as the object of their aggression.
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