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  • meganadler24

Be a Buddy, not a Bully

Updated: Nov 14, 2022

"If you have to hurt other people in order to feel powerful, you are an extremely weak individual." - Bobby J. Mattingly.

Dominance and Power are universal themes that have been at the core of human interactions since modern human beings developed the intellectual capacity to think. Individuals percveived as weak are bullied due to the feelings of power and control it illicits. Individuals perceived as superior are bullied due to jealousy. Some people, such as Narcissists, HCPs (High-Conflict Personalities) and those with Borderline Personality Disorder bully others for the sheer enjoyment of it. There is no one explanation for why individuals make the decision to intimidate others. But at the heart of these intense interactions lie two important features; power and control. Why are power and control so exhilarating? Why do individuals feel the need to dominate others as a way of feeling better about themselves? That age-old addage - a bully who harasses others is revealing far more about their inner thoughts and feelings about themselves than their victims - ultimately, has a great deal of truth to it.

The aforementioned quote is a resounding reminder of the realities of this all-too-important issue. With Anti-Bullying Awareness Week beginning today, I have decided to put words to an issue I have long been a stouch activist against. This week, just as with any week of the year, I stand in solidarity with organisations such as the Anti-Bullying Alliance and the By-Stander Revolution. I have chosen these organisations for the astounding work they do for victims of bullying, harassment and domestic violence, as well as the plethora of resources they offer to these victims. These organisations need support. This issue needs voices.

However, oftentimes the definition of bullying can be miscontrued or misunderstood as it covers a wide range of actions and harmful behaviour. At its core, bullying refers to actions designed to intimidate, harass and victimise others. It can be phsyical, verbal, non-verbal (recall the clique of girls turning their backs on a victim in the school playground), emotional and, unfortunately, psychological. It is the psychological impact that is so understated when it comes to expressing the torment victims endure at the hands of bullies. But the key element of bullying is the repetitive nature of the harassment without provocation, with the intention to harm. And with the technological revolution we currently find ourselves in, bullying no longer solely refers to playground violence and harassment. Cyber-bullying has become a real world-wide issue with 1 in 10 young people finding themselves victims to cyberbullying, according to research conducted by BeyondBlue. That means every 1 in 10 young people will grow into socially anxious adults with higher rates of intimacy and trust issues as well as a much higher statistical rate of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and suicide ideation. Cyber-bullying can involve any kind of unwanted and repeated attempts to contact another including attempts to contact one's friends and inner circle, the use of fake accounts to harass and provoke, as well as denigrating and slanderous posts submitted to social media platforms. Many victims may find themselves at the mercy of bullies completely unprovoked and even more victims become perpretrators of bullying themselves when they engage in reactive abuse. Reactive abuse is the result of a victim snapping and taking a stand against their bullies, which is often used by the initial abuser against the victim. See the vicious cycle? See how ingrained bullying and abuse towards others can become in our society? This is a universal crisis with more resources needed to better support these victims and convey the message that bullying, at any age, on any platform, and in any way, is NOT OK.

As a teacher, and someone who has experienced and witnessed the devastating harm bullying can inflict, I am committed to raising awareness of the impacts bullying and harassment can have on an individual, particularly an individual who cannot take a stand for themselves. I have witnessed, first-hand, how consistent and relentless harassment can impact lives. It has the power to alienate, to destroy one's self-image and self-esteem, to convince the victim there is no escape and leading many to believe suicide is their only option. Bullies cannot comprehend this impact. Many lack the self-awareness to identify they are bullies. And many simply lack the empathy needed to self-regulate their actions. These are your HCP's and disordered individuals who will never stop exercising their perceived control over others, for the simple reason being that they are so totally ignorant of their own behaviour and actions. Unfortunately, the reality is that bullying doesn't just stop when bullies graduate from high-school. These individuals progress through life destroying the self-worth of others in the workplace, in friendships, in intimate partnerships, to their children and even towards complete strangers on the internet. They continue to harass others because, especially with the anonymity afforded by social media, they continue to escape accountability for the harm they cause others. Control and power is what it is all about.

To combat this issue, I have employed Anti-Bullying week at my former high school St John's College. Odd Sock's Day will be held today whereby students are encouraged to wear odd or crazy socks to celebrate what makes us all unique, and take a stand against Bullying. Posters have also been circulated around the school to encourage victims and bystanders to reach out for support as well to help stop bullies and hold them accountable for their actions.

This is how simple and effective Anti-Bullying activism can be. To all the victims reading this blog, there is help and support available to you and I am here for you. And to the bullies, you know who you are... be better.

So take a stand with me and support the organisations that work tirelessly towards helping victims and raising awarness for this very real, and very serious, issue. You can show your support by donating to these various organisations, use your platform to educate others and spread awareness, or take part in anti-bullying intiatives such as 'Odd Socks Day'. Or simply commit yourself to becoming an ally for victims who cannot be one for themselves. The Anti-Bullying Alliance even offers free courses for those who need to educate themselves on how bullying harms others, with downloadable certificates available at the completion of the course.

And if you need some more convincing as to why your support is needed, visit the By-Stander Revolution website and hear from the victims, and perpetrators of bullying and domestic violence.

Take a stand and support the real victims of bullying and domestic violence. They need your help.

Meg xx

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