This is a representation of bullying or abuse, but why are there three people? Surely bullying takes only two. Bullying often starts as a battle between two people but one person over time begins to lose. Let me give you an example, let us suppose there is woman called Mary she is married to Tom who abuses her, so Mary is the victim and Tom is the persecutor. Mary gets to a point where after many months she can take no more so she rings the Gardai who dutifully arrive and after listening to Mary’s story the Garda begin to ‘give out’ to Tom. What does Mary do? She says to the Garda ‘Don’t you talk to my husband like that!!’ The Garda are now the persecutor, Mary is now the rescuer and Tom the victim. This is the nature of bullying. It is a game where everyone plays their role and the object is power.
The answer is to stop ‘playing the game’ to stop being a victim. To do this you need to get help for yourself not help to defeat the bully. Find a way to improve your own self-confidence, join clubs make contact with others, hobbies outside your own family, sports, hill-walking, chess clubs, drama whatever works for you but get out and do it. Increase your own self-esteem so you can realise that you do not need or want approval from others for living your own life, you can be whatever way you want regardless of what others think.
What you can do for you.
- If necessary, take steps to rebuild your self-confidence.
Bullying can affect your self-confidence and belief in yourself. Finding activities you enjoy and are good at can help to restore your self-esteem. Take time to explore new interests, or clubs and develop new talents and skills. Bullying can also leave you feeling rejected, isolated, and alone. It is important to try to make new friendships with people who share your interests. Consider participating in extra-curricular activities or joining a group outside of school, such as an after-school program, church youth group, or sports team.
- Refuse to join in if you see someone being bullied.
It can be hard to resist if a bully tries to get you to taunt or torment someone, and you may fear the bully will turn on you if you do not participate, but try to stand firm.
- Attempt to defuse bullying situations when you see them starting up.
For example, try to draw attention away from the targeted person, or take the bully aside and ask him/her to “cool it.” However do not place yourself at risk.
- If you can do so without risk to your own safety, get someone to come help immediately.
- Speak up and/or offer support to others when you witness bullying.
For example, help them up if they have been ‘slagged’, tripped or knocked down. If you feel you cannot do this at the time, privately support those being hurt with words of kindness or condolence later.
- Encourage the bullied person to talk with someone they trust.
Offer to go with the person if it would help. Tell someone yourself if the person is unwilling to report the bullying. If necessary for your safety, do this anonymously.
If you are experiencing difficulties with bullies and would like to talk about the problem in a safe and non judgemental way please contact Michael Fitzgerald at the Dungarvan Counselling Centre.