Both my husband and I were victims of bullying as Children. And, although, we think we have grown into fully functioning adults – we both admit bullying leaves scars. And, we both promised ourselves that we would do anything and everything to protect our children from it.
This is hard because we know that bullies do not fit into a neat little box. They come from all walks of lives, all ages, all genders, all races, and all cultures. However, we also learned that bullies are very often people who have been bullied or abused themselves. And, sometimes they are experiencing life situations they cannot cope with, or that leave them feeling helpless and out of control.
Human nature since the beginning of human civilization has been associated with competition among one another. People have always been trying to be better than someone else they know, someone else they admire, someone else that they never met; they always try to better themselves. Human beings never believed in equality, and it has always been an ideal situation.
So, why is it so hard to stop bullying? Because like previously addressed, equality is ideal, and if there is no equality, someone must be more authorized than the others, and then either the less authorized people would start bullying to feel superior, or the more authorized people would bullying the less authorized people.
Maybe times have changed. During our time as children, bullying was an unavoidable part of childhood and adolescence. For this reason, I think bullying behaviors were ignored or not even noticed. However, as we have seen there are serious consequences to dismissing such detrimental behaviors as commonplace.
I think many people have the belief that victimization is a normal rite of passage in childhood and while it certainly does happen to most kids, it’s not acceptable.
Bullying creates a climate of fear and anxiety, not only for the direct victims, but for the bystanders as well. This negative climate may limit a child’s opportunity for a safe, healthy learning environment.
And, unfortunately, turning 18 is not a magical age when you leave all of these experiences behind, most people do seem to carry these experiences with them.
It would be great if we all possessed unshakable self-confidence, but this just isn’t how identity works. Identity is a social process. Other people contribute to it. Particularly when people are young and have not yet survived a few of life’s trials; it is difficult for people to know who they are and what they are made of.
Much of what passes for identity in the young (and in the older too) is actually a kind of other-confidence, which is to say that many people’s self-confidence is continually shored up by those around them telling them in both overt and subtle ways that they are good, worthy people. This is one of the reasons we like to belong to groups – it helps us to feel good about ourselves.
Bullying teaches people that they are explicitly not part of groups; that they are outcasts and outsiders. It takes an exceptionally confident (or otherwise well-supported) person to not internalize bullies’ negative messages and begin bullying yourself by holding yourself to the same standards that bullies are applying to you and finding yourself a failure.
In other words, it is rather easy for bullying victims to note that they have been beaten up and to then start thinking of themselves as weak, no-good, worthless, pathetic, and incompetent. These are the sorts of thoughts that lead to depression, or, if they are combined with revenge fantasies, to anger and feelings of rage.
What’s more interesting is the idea of the link between “Bullying” and Depression. Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States.
And, a depressed person is just like any other person. Bullying has shown us that words hurt and emotional pain lasts a much longer time than physical pain.
But, as we are learning the inner person can be transformed and renewed by “faith” even in the midst of the most relentless inner pain.
Consider a Proverb.
The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit?Proverbs 18:14.
King Solomon asks a rhetorical question, where the answer to the question is smuggled in the asking of it. Who can bear a broken spirit? The answer is, of course, no one. The heart of depression is that your spirit is broken.
In Proverbs 17:22 Solomon says, “A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”
A broken spirit can be mended.
You can find help in the bottom of a bottle. A pill can help. But, a pill cannot change the heart, which is ultimately where many depressions begin.
Live and Learn. We all Do.
Thanks for reading. Please pass this on to someone who means something to you.