When you hear the term “bullying”, what comes to your mind? Of course, most of you will easily imagine a group of people surrounding an individual. The individual is getting called by all kinds of words, being beaten, getting injured, etc. Am I right? I can be or cannot be, but one thing is for sure, bullying is something that we all have some opinion about.
The scene I mentioned is actually the cliché kind of scenario associated with bullying. We think that bullying starts only when this kind of encounter takes place.
Well, sorry to break it to you, but that’s not the case. Bullying is much more complex than you think it is. It is much more hurting and torturous. And it can be happening in front of your eyes, but in ways more subtle that your mind would be too blind to see what’s actually happening. As you see, humans may be the smartest of all creatures, but they too can be fooled very easily by their minds. The brain controls man and if the mind decides to ignore the gut feeling of something terrible happening in front of us, then our body obliges and does not register to the bullying taking place.
Once you understand what bullying is and the possible ways that a person can get bullied, you’ll be able to identify it well and, therefore, act according to the situation and save the victim or stop yourself from being victimised.
Bullying of all kinds are common during childhood and experienced at school and colleges, where bullies have the chance of ganging up with others they can control, to target others. A new school session is the time they search and select their new target and pick up from where they left in case of older targets.
It is, therefore, very important that you learn to recognise bullies so that you can make a plan to avoid or face them, depending on the bully and the situation. Let me point out something here — everyone has it in them to face and fix a bully, you just need to know how to do it smartly. But we will come to that later, right now let us zoom in on the main kinds of bullying that take place, to better recognise and understand them.
There are numerous ways of bullying a certain someone. It can be in a subtle way (most people don’t recognise this type of bullying easily). For instance, you’re seated with a group of people and everyone is all smiles as they are having a good time, joking around. You obviously would be too engrossed in having fun that you wouldn’t notice your surroundings. You wouldn’t notice the root of your laughter. You’ll definitely know the source of laughter, but you won’t know its root.
You wouldn’t realise that the root of your laughter is the humiliation of someone who is being made fun of or teased. You wouldn’t realise as you just made fun of someone’s insecurities or in general, made fun of his being. It is fun and games to you and others and not the person on whose expense all are laughing. He isn’t laughing.
It is a type of bullying, known as social bullying. Here those doing it don’t even realise what they are doing, but their actions are having a bade affect on the target. The bully wouldn’t even know that what he’s doing is bullying, as he too is oblivious. In cases where the bully does know that what he’s doing is bullying, he’ll continue to do that as it provides him with a sense of satisfaction.
There’s also a possibility that you’re the one being bullied, being treated as a laughing stock for the entertainment of others, no matter how insulting and humiliating it is for you. And you may not think of it as bullying until it becomes a routine.
Social bullying doesn’t hurt physically but emotionally.
As the name suggests, it’s basically bullying done on the internet or any electronic device which is used as a means of communication. It can be in the form of a text, an audio or a video.
This type of bullying has a great effect on the mental health of the victim and can ruin them easily if done constantly. Some even get so affected that they start to believe they are worthless because some stranger on the internet told them that they’re worthless.
Social media is where most of cyber bullying takes place, as it is a wide platform containing millions of people, where every other person is a stranger to one another, where anyone can say anything to anyone — and get away with it. Some bullies even make fake profiles/accounts and target others.
No one’s there to monitor the stuff that goes on. However, we can always report that page or profile which is allegedly involved in bullying. But the social media site and app makers must take appropriate and effective steps to prevent cyber bullying and there should have a very strict actions taken against bullies in general.
The kind of bullying we recognise more easily is physical bullying. And it is also very common. The most hurtful part about physical bullying is that when the victim gets asked about the bruises and scratches on his body, he is usually so scared that he lies and says he fell from the stairs, whereas in reality the bully caused this damage to him. What’s even worse is the fact that others tend to buy the lies the victims tell about the beatings.
Physical bullying is basically about showing power, having unexpressed anger or having been physically bullied or beaten themselves and hurting others is the bully’s way to get even or vent.
This too causes major emotional damage. Verbal bullying can be done by cursing, shouting, calling the victim names, verbal humiliation, etc. If you see anyone doing the acts stated above, then use appropriate measures to prevent and report it.
Next up, the type of bullying I’m going to talk about may sound odd to be considered as an act of bullying, but, trust me, it’s quite important and must be highlighted like the others. It’s a kind of verbal bullying.
It’s the bullying done actively by our relatives. Yes, you read it right, relatives. We live in a society where relatives are a very important part of our lives and we meet them frequently too. Since they are related to us, they think that they can treat other people’s children like their own. And some don’t even treat them the same kind of kindness.
Most say they treat us like our parents do but they don’t. All they want to do is to humiliate, insult and belittle other children so that they portray their own children as better, so that they can dominate the rest. Relatives like these do such acts out of jealousy. They would say literally everything that comes to their mouth without any filter whatsoever. They wouldn’t care about the ones they bully. Actually they won’t even realise that they’re bullying.
Some think that it’s very motherly/fatherly for them to pinpoint the possible flaws of the children they’re related to — but it’s not okay. They think it’s totally fine to humiliate the kid about his/her weight, height, talents, academic results, cooking, passion, job, life, etc.
Bullies have the tendency to manipulate their victims and all this results in most of the victims being quiet about their suffering. Saying that the victims are simply traumatised is an understatement. Never turn a blind eye on anyone who’s getting bullied and the one who’s bullying.
Those who bully others will get a taste of their wrongdoings one day. It can be possible for them to make things right before it’s too late but, then again, it depends on their realisation and guilt. Until then, stay safe and save others too. You never know who might be in desperate need to be saved by this agonising act of cruelty.
Published in Dawn, Young World, August 17th, 2019