Bullying takes place in the workplace, school and in cyberspace! Yet again it hits the news with the tragic loss of Hannah Smith 14 who took her own life after suffering abuse on a social networking site. Cyber Bullying, as this is known is where the bullying is online or through your mobile phone via social media sites, text or other instant messaging services. In the case of Hannah the site she was using, Ask.fm, allowed people to anonymously send the messages therefore there is little recourse. A quick Google search of ‘Teen Suicide after bullying’ shows that this is not unique to the UK this is a worldwide issue and a common one at that. Most young people will have experienced Cyber Bullying at some point and it is very distressing to the individual.
Whilst there is no legal definition of bullying it is pretty much recognised that it is usually repeated behaviour towards someone that is intended to cause emotional or physical pain in some way. It usually consists of one or more of the following; name calling, teasing, physical assault, making threats either face to face or by cyber bullying. Race, religion, sexuality, disability are often aspects that bullys may target but they may also pick on a person’s appearance, personality or family – in other words bully’s will pick on anything they think will get under your skin in order to have an impact.
Bullying is by no means confined to young people, schools and colleges. Adults can also be targeted and workplace bullying is noticeably around. Feeling undermined at work or having rumours spread about you are just two of the things that both might constitute workplace bullying. Domestic Abuse is also a form of bullying and more information about this can be found here.
The impact of bullying whether you are young or old can be devastating. At the time it makes you feel victimized, powerless and anxious. The longer you feel like this the more it impacts upon yourself esteem and the harder it becomes to feel you can do anything about. Living in fear or anxiety affects your ability to think clearly, to sleep and to get on with your life leaving you more vulnerable to depression and negative self-esteem. Historical bullying can have a lasting effect upon your life and your ability to trust people, making relationships and friendships difficult. It can be hard to rid yourself of those taunts and not to incorporate them into your being as negative self-beliefs and truths.
Whatever your age or situation talking to a Counsellor about your bullying can help work through your experience. With the support of your Counsellor you can take positive steps to make changes and perhaps challenge some of the negativity about yourself that the bullying has left you with. You can express your feelings of maybe anger or helplessness and move forward in a way that is right for you. Counselling can also be a good place to start to help rebuild your confidence and self-esteem.
If you are concerned about bullying, there are a number of websites with help, advice and information as follows:-
www.bullying.co.uk is a fantastic charity for young people, adults and families. They have a dedicated helpline (which is diverted to Samaritans at night) so no matter what time of day or night you can talk to someone. They also have online chat and skype so getting in touch is made very easy.
For Parents they have a section for those who are worried about their children www.bullying.co.uk/advice-for-parents as well as advice for schools and a section on workplace bullying.
Acas have some information and help here for those who feel they are being subject to workplace bullying including a helpline.
The original article regarding Hannah is here.