Strategies For Dealing With Bullies

Strategies For Dealing With Bullies


We generally have this belief in, I don't know, society, universe or the human spirit, that people will be nice to each other. Some of the hurt that arises from being bullied is the realisation, time after time after time, that not everyone is nice all the time. There is bad in this world, even though we so desperately want to believe that life is fair and everyone wants to live in peace and harmony. So "expecting" the bully to behave a certain way can reduce the cumulative effect of having dashed hopes that "maybe this time they will be nice to me". It is just a little cognitive (in your mind and thoughts) strategy that can minimise the impact of bullying just a little. We can't wave a magic wand and change the bully's behaviour (though don't we wish we could sometimes) so we have to focus on how we let their actions effect us or not effect us. You can take it a step further also by reframing the negative interaction as a kind of game - again this is a game that you play cognitively (in your own head) to reduce the impact on your emotional well-being and build your resilience. This  depersonalises the whole interaction into words and numbers. Now words and numbers on their own can't hurt you, can they ?


So think of your specific situation. The bully isn't that smart, and usually just says and does the same thing over and over. What is one thing they say pretty often ? Write it down. Now how often do they say that in a day, or a week, or a class ? Have a guess, estimate it. Now the game is to see if you were right. Test it out, next time they bully you, start counting. Try really hard to cover up the little smile you will have when they say the those words you knew they were going to say. The bully is so simple (not real smart) and so so predictible. Keep counting and give yourself a silent "high five" in your head when you get it right or even close to the number you guessed. You win. You can't change their behaviour, but you can change the way you look at it and respond to it.


The bonus to this game is that you win all the time !

If the bully does the unexpected and doesn't say anything - that's a win for you too !



Don't play the role of victim - this is what the bully expects you to do. That doesn't mean you should react and strike back at them in any way. You can remain calm and be assertive or humourous. Practise some verbal comebacks at home before you try them out on the bully. Even just a simple "are you finished then ? ok bye, have a nice day" when they have exhausted all their verbal aggression and mean remarks will be enough to confuse them. Or you could get in early, BEFORE they say anything to you, and smile nicely or say hello and ask how their day has been. Again this will confuse them and likely embarrass them so much they might start avoiding you ! (Now wouldn't that be good !). The key here is to remain calm, confident and not respond the way you have in the past. Say something different, so the bully starts getting a different message. Start setting that balance of power more in your favour than theirs.


Remember, with cyberbullying especially, YOU have control over your own pages and what goes on them. So never respond to a bully online - it drives them crazy because they have no way of knowing whether you even paid any attention to their message in the first place !!!



You shouldn't have to hide away from the bully, or avoid whole parts of your life just so you don't get hurt. But you are at an age where you can think about expanding your life and your world to experience even more, right away from anything to do with the bully. There is no quota on friends, so you can branch out and find other avenues for socialising. Have a look at ways you might be able to take care of yourself better, be kind and appreciate yourself, seek some sunshine in your life. Start building back up your self esteem and your confidence. Start making your life enjoyable, empowering and extraordinary !



You probably get this advice all the time "Don’t take it personally, it's their problem not yours". Easier said than done, especially if you don't have any other way of looking at the situation. And especially because the bully is ok, while they make your life a misery. Think about it this way, the problem (the bullying, the mean words) originates in THEIR head and the ugly words spew out of THEIR mouths. So objectively it’s just ugly words that have come out of someone else’s mouth and mind - NOT yours !  So it's THEIR problem - NOT yours. Think of it like maybe mucus (aka snot or boogas) that comes out of someone’s nose - they have a cold or virus, not you , it is their problem that they need to do something about, not you. So when someone says or writes something it is a reflection of their personality, not yours. Their words are ugly, not you. So if you look at it logically, wiping your own nose when someone else has snot everywhere doesn’t do anything does it ? So thinking that you have to respond to or cover up THEIR ugly words and personality is a little silly and pointless, isn’t it ? Only they can change the ugly words, not you. All you have to do is make sure you don't have ugly words ever coming out of your mouth. Show them your smile and your inner beauty as much as they are showing the world their ugly side. And keep in mind what Samson, aged 10 said, "Just because kids are popular doesn't mean anyone likes them - just means most kids are scared of them".


PS next time a bully says something mean to someone, try and get a mental image in your head of a big ugly booga oozing out their nose - it can be very entertaining, comforting and certainly takes the power out of their words. So much easier then to see it as THEIR problem.


Love and light,
Sjana x