Life can be complicated, and often, we aren’t always aware of hope our behaviour can affect people around us. In our recent Annual Bullying Survey, we found that only 30% of young people disagree with the statement that the behaviour of politicians has an impact on the behaviour of peers at school. So essentially, we have a role model problem.
If we really want to, we can all change our behaviour for good, and now more than ever, we all need kindness in our lives.
Look at how people around you treat each other. What do you dislike? What do you think is nice? We aren’t suggesting you police the morals and interactions of others, but rather just have a think about it by yourself. How would you respond if someone said or did something like that to you, or to a loved one? Learning from others is how humans are made, and we should never stop doing it.
Listen and absorb
Ask those around you, how do you feel when I do or say this? How would you feel if I changed it? It can be hard to take criticism, especially from those we love, but we can’t know how to treat the people we love better, unless they tell us how.
Think about how you would want your best friend to be treated
We’ve all heard the saying, treat others as you would want to be treated. But, we don’t do this. A lot of people can get caught up in acting the way their friends or family do, even if this isn’t the best way to treat other people. So think, what if your best friend was being treated the way you might be treating others at school? Would you like it? Would you step in? What would you do?
Change small things, and slowly
The reason why so many of the changes we make in life never seem to stick is we try to change too much, and too fast. We can’t wake up one morning and be a completely different person, and nor should we try. It’s important to remember that humans are mostly good and well-meaning. Changing the odd thing about how we treat others around us though, is a great way to make the world a better place.
Keep a journal
A key reason why we don’t treat others well is that we don’t treat ourselves well. We might be piling on the pressure, be dealing with difficult personal situations, or dealing with issues such as depression or anxiety. Keep a journal that’s just about how you feel at the beginning and end of every day. Write a few notable things that happened in the day, whether they were interactions you had with people, or stuff that happened just to you. It will help you monitor your own mental wellbeing, and get on the way to improving it.
Remember; you are not alone in wanting to be better
Nobody is perfect. There is not a single person on the planet who is above reproach, and we all make mistakes. Making mistakes is the most incredibly human thing we all do. You are not alone in wanting to treat others or yourself better, and you are not alone on your journey of self-improvement.
And not all of you has to change
It’s incredibly brave to take some steps to become a better person or to recognise that maybe sometimes you treat people in a negative way. It’s incredibly important to remember that you are not alone, and that you are an amazing person. Like we said above, no one is perfect, and all we can do in the end, is try to be kinder.
In our research, we found that almost half of us have experienced bullying at one point or another. Given what a high number of people that is, it is still very common to be on the receiving end of advice that although means well, isn’t always very helpful.
We also know that an alarmingly high number of us never report it and suffer in silence instead. If a friend or loved one does decide to open up to you and share what they are going through, sometimes it is hard to know how to appropriately respond.
With this mind we have compiled a list of things to avoid saying to them, as well as a helpful alternative:
1. Don’t say: ‘Ignore it’
This old chestnut can be very damaging. Being told to ignore something that is causing you stress and anxiety is not helpful. Ignoring the bullying unsurprisingly doesn’t actually work and saying something like this might stop them from sharing anything else in the future. This could have a serious effect on their mental health and lead to things such as depression, and more extreme outcomes.
Do say: ‘Let’s talk about it’
This is a way more helpful and compassionate response. Feeling like your voice is being heard is extremely important as it makes us feel less alone. It also lets us know that someone cares and is interested in what’s going on in our life, without looking to fix or dismiss the problem.
2. Don’t say: ‘It’s just a part of growing up’
Whilst experiencing bullying growing up is all too common, it does not mean you have to accept it as a rite of passage. Saying this also offers no advice on how to deal with the problem at hand.
Do say: ‘What’s been going on?’
This question gives the person the opportunity to talk honestly and openly if they wish to get what’s bothering them off of their chest.
3. Don’t say: ‘Stop being so sensitive’
This piece of advice is particularly harmful. It implies it is their reaction to the bullying that is the problem, and that if they were less ‘sensitive’ the issue would magically disappear. This is not the case. You also might embarrass them by referring to their reaction to the situation as ‘sensitive’ as it implies they are overreacting. This might stop them speaking up and seeking help in the future.
Do say: ‘It ok to feel upset/angry’ etc
You need to reassure them that whatever they are feeling is perfectly normal and natural. Try and make them understand that there is no right or wrong when it comes to feelings – all we really need to do is acknowledge them.
4. Don’t say: ‘Just stand up for yourself’
As a piece of advice, this doesn’t work for a few reasons. It can make the person feel powerless as they might not feel able to stand up for themselves or know how to go about standing up themselves. They might also be fearful of the consequences.
Do say:“I’m here for you, what do you want to do about it?”
This lets the person know you care and that you want to help them through this tough situation and most importantly, it is not their fault.
5. Don’t say: ‘Fight back’
Bullying isn’t always something you can meet with force as it can very easily spiral out of control. Often reacting in an aggressive manner can make the situation worse and can put them at risk of physical harm. If they feel it is a safe and appropriate action to take, maybe encourage them to try talking to the person who is doing the bullying.
Remind them to challenge the behaviour, not the person – so instead of accusing the person of being a ‘bully’, explain why their actions or words are causing distress.
For example, instead of saying “you’re upsetting me”, they could say “what you said/did has upset me”. It might be appropriate to suggest that a teacher or responsible adult hosts a mediation between them. A mediation can feel scary for those involved but is often incredibly powerful; it is essentially a face-to-face conversation between the person who is being bullied and the person doing the bullying in a controlled, equal environment.
Do say: ‘How can we deal with this together?’
Understandably it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you are being attacked and therefore they might feel like they are facing the problem alone, with no one they can depend on for support.
Your friendship could make all the difference to them right now. Spend time with them, make sure they know they are not alone and try to do things that will boost their self-esteem and confidence. It’s important that they still look after their health and maintain a good diet, exercise and things like meditation and yoga. It is also important that you remember to look after yourself as well and don’t take too much on.
6. Don’t say: ‘Just avoid them’
By saying this, you are minimising and undermining the problem. It is also not realistic to think that these situations can be easily avoided. It is better to acknowledge what is happening and try to think of ways to combat or resolve the bullying.
Do say: ‘You don’t deserve to be treated like this’
Remind them that they deserve to be treated with respect. Often people who are bullied can feel like a ‘victim’ but it’s important that they don’t disempower themselves and let the bullying dictate who they are. They need to find ways to regain control, confidence and self-esteem – we have a great guide on how you can rebuild your self-esteem here.
Remind them as often as you can that they are worthy, in control and that things will get better. Head to our blog to read stories of how people have overcome similar situations and gone on to do great things, it will help reassure them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
7. Don’t say: ‘Telling someone will just make it worse, so don’t bother’
Almost 1 in 2 young people who experience bullying never tell anybody for this very reason. A mixture of embarrassment, fear and a lack of faith in the current support systems stops people reaching out. Please don’t encourage someone to suffer in silence.
Do say: ‘Talk to someone you trust.’
It can feel exposing and uncomfortable talking about our experiences of being bullied, that’s why talking to someone we trust can make a difference.
It is important they share with someone what they are going through – they shouldn’t go through something like this alone as it is extremely stressful, and can be emotionally draining to endure bullying.
This stress can have an impact on all areas of your life, including your mental well-being, ability to communicate with others, performance in school/work, self-esteem and confidence.
It is therefore incredibly important that they tell somebody they trust about what they are going through; it doesn’t even have to be an adult – it could be a friend or somebody at Ditch the Label. It is vital, during a traumatic time, that they have a support system and people who they can rely on when they are feeling low, or unable to cope.
Join the community to talk to digital mentors or other people who are going through bullying – you do not need to go through it alone anymore…
Sometimes people just need someone to talk to, someone to trust and confide in, someone to spend time with and talk through their favourite things. Sometimes, we all just need a friend.
So how can we tell if somebody needs a friend right now? Here’s six ways.
1) They get stuck on the negative side of things
If someone in your life is being overwhelmingly negative about stuff that’s going in their lives, they probably need a helping hand to see the brighter side. Sometimes, if there is a lot going on with us, we might only want to stew on the negative stuff and when this happens, finding the positive becomes almost impossible.
If someone is being overwhelmingly negative about what’s going on, reach out and see if they need some cheering up. Chances are, just the gesture of this will make them feel a bit more connected and cared for.
2) They might try really hard to chat when you see them, even if they have nothing much to say
You might think they are just waffling for the hell of it, but when someone feels lonely or like they need a friend, they might just be talking because they really haven’t had the opportunity to say much to anyone at all recently.
3) They might be spending a little too much time on social media
The thing with social media is that it really isn’t all that social for a lot of us. Sure, the group chat is great, but the rest of it is actually kinda isolating. If someone feels a bit lonely and like they need someone, they might be spending a lot of time on social media because they want to feel connected to something. But watching stories or liking photos doesn’t necessarily mean they are OK, and it actually might be making them feel worse.
4) You might not hear from them a lot
This might seem like a bit of a contradiction. Like, if you’re feeling lonely, why would you spend so much time alone? Well it could be that a few symptoms of depression are coming on. Maybe they don’t want to feel like a burden to you and your other pals, and so the only solution in their head is to stay away. They might turn down a lot of offers to hang out in big groups of people as well, which we know can be frustrating when you’re trying to help. Check out this article on how to help a friend who’s isolated themselves.
5) They might tell a few half truths
Obviously lying is not a great trait to have in a friend, but sometimes people tell a few half truths when stuff isn’t going great for them. Whether it’s to escape what’s happening, feel better about it or even just get a little bit of love and attention from those close to them, people do it. The important thing is that these are not hurting anyone and that someone speaks to them about how damaging it can be if they carry on with this kind of behaviour.
6) Overreacting to cancelling plans
If a mate of yours is feeling lonely or isolated, they might really overreact to you cancelling on them. We aren’t saying you should have to do something you can’t or don’t want to all the time, but it’s important to remember that they are probably getting mad at you because it might be the only plans they have had in a while and need someone to talk to or hang out with
Need to talk to someone? You can speak to one of our trained Digital Mentors in confidence here.
Wondering how to help a lonely friend who has isolated themselves? Sometimes, friends can get wrapped up on what’s going on with them and become a bit distant. It can be hard to know if you should even try to help them, let alone how to help them.
Plus, when the nights draw in and everyone decides to stay at home with hot chocolate and the dog, sometimes it’s even pretty hard to tell the friend that’s become isolated from the friends that are just pure chillin’.
Well, in order to tell if they are going through something, take a quick read of this. Feel like you want to help them? Read on.
1) They haven’t become distant to hurt you
When a pal becomes distant or isolated, it can be easy to think that the reason is simply that they no longer want to hang out with you. But, when someone is going through something, they can withdraw from the people around them.
It’s important to remember that they aren’t doing this to hurt you, and they aren’t doing this because they suddenly hate you.
2) They might just have a lot going on right now
Life is always about the ups and downs. Sometimes, when we go through a particularly rough patch, we kind of go back to what is familiar and comfortable for all of us, and spend more and more time alone.
3) Try reaching out in a casual way first like over WhatsAppor Facetime
Talking about what’s going on with us is always a tough one. Try reaching out to them in a casual way first like through WhatsApp or Instagram, just to see if they want to talk. They might not want to, but the action of checking in with them is enough to make them feel like they are not alone for now.
4) Don’t force them to do things
So jumping straight on the accelerator might seem like a quick fix for getting them back into the swing of things, but it might not be the best idea. For one, they might have isolated themselves for loads of reasons, and one of them could be anxiety or another issue that makes being around lots of people difficult.
Check out our article on how to help a friend who has social anxiety for some tips and tricks here.
5) Be understanding
Like we mentioned above, jumping in the deep end might not be the best idea. But even asking them over to yours or out for a walk might end up with a resounding ‘no’.
The more someone rejects us like this, it’s super easy to take it personally, but the important thing to remember is that helping most people takes time and patience. Take a step back, take care of you, and then try again a little bit further down the line.
6) Suggest having a chill meet up and chat about what’s going on
Ease them into social stuff by asking them for a chill coffee and a chat about what’s been going on with them. Let them choose a space that they feel comfortable in, whether that’s your front room, in the park or in their favourite cafe place, and let them get to talking about it at their own pace.
7) Read these ideas on how to start the awkward conversations
A healthy relationship will always make you feel happier and safe – filled with trust, love and good communication. Relationships are also different for different people, with differing levels of commitment expected and individual ways of showing love. The age you are will also change what is expected in a relationship.
While no relationships are perfect, these are all signs that you should aim for in a relationship.
And did you know that up on average, a third of women and a quarter of men have experienced abusive relationships. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline in the US, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States alone.
So let’s look at the 10 signs of being in a healthy relationship.
1. You aren’t afraid to say what you think.
Being able to speak your mind in front of your partner without fearing their reaction is incredibly important. Respecting each other’s opinions – even if they differ – means that you will minimise time spent arguing. If you can share and discuss with one another the good, the bad and the ugly, then you know you can truly be yourself in each other’s company.
2. You have your own space.
As Kahlil Gibran once said of relationships: “Stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” Giving yourselves the opportunity to grow individually as people will only help you grow together as a couple. Checking up on one another constantly or needing to be in each other’s company every second of the day might be a sign that you are lacking trust in the relationship…
3. You trust each other.
This is probably the most important factor in any healthy relationship. Trust is the foundation which any successful relationship is built upon and it takes time to earn. If you trust one another, then you are able to give each other freedom without awakening the green-eyed monster that lies within, you are able to be vulnerable in their company because you know that instead of judging you, they will be there to support you.
4. You compromise.
There are ups and downs in any relationship, romantic or platonic. You are not always going to agree on the same things and there will be times where you will need to compromise; if you can meet in the middle then you know you are both mindful of each other’s needs and your shared desire to make the relationship work far outweighs any need for personal gratification.
5. There is common ground.
As important as it is to have your own sense of identity and set of interests, it is also vital that you and your partner share common ground. Having a mutual love of something creates a bond and means that you can simultaneously take pleasure from the same thing, rather than having to ‘endure’ your partner’s hobbies, passions or lifestyle.
6. You let things go.
Rather than cause an argument or hurt each other’s feelings, you both choose to let things slide. This does not mean that you are pushovers however, it just means you don’t make mountains out of molehills. Life’s too short. Even Rose let go in the end.
7. You get along more than you argue.
Fighting is an inevitable part of being in a relationship, but it should by no means be a regular occurrence. If you find that time spent arguing is more than, or equal to the time you spend enjoying each other’s company, you might want to consider whether you are well matched.
8. You support and encourage each other’s ambitions and passions.
You may not find one another’s endeavours interesting or appealing but you would never dampen each other’s enthusiasm by saying so. Instead you support and encourage each other’s pursuits and are not threatened by the possibility of either one of you achieving success.
9. You are accepting of each other’s pasts.
Everyone has one. Rather than continually delving into each other’s pasts or getting jealous of each other’s exes, you have acknowledged what went before and appreciate that it has shaped you both into the people you are today.
10. You regularly make the effort to show each other you love one another.
And not a grandiose way. It’s the little, everyday things that you both do to show each other you care.
Because intensely boring into the back of someone’s head like you have x-ray vision and can see through their skull and into their brain isn’t creepy, much.
2. Stalk them on social media.
So you were just innocently admiring their new profile picture and then suddenly five hours have passed by and you have clicked through, scrutinised and compared yourself to everyone they’ve ever dated. Somehow you have ended up on the Facebook page of their first cousin once-removed’s step-mum. Your self-esteem is at rock bottom, you are hangry and you need a wee.
3. Pretend you don’t like them.
Hint: If you are mean to them, they are going to think you are fundamentally, a horrible person. Thus, your fantasies (marrying them> having all of their babies > divorcing them > having a brief fling with their BFF > rekindling your romance > remarrying them> dying wrinkled, grey and entwined with one another in a bed on a sinking ship) will unlikely play out how you had hoped.
By this I mean, you assume very posed and unnatural stances every time they look at you in an attempt to look sexy. This is until you either miss your leaning post and fall over or catch sight of your reflection and realise you look like a darn fool. A darn fool! People still say that right?
5. Think about them constantly.
You can’t concentrate, sleep or eat because your stomach feels all fluttery and your heart feels like it is going to explode every time you think about them – which is pretty much EVERY WAKING HOUR OF THE DAY. I mean, you’re even dreaming about them. They have literally invaded your unconscious thoughts. They are basically like a really cute version of Freddy Kruger.
6. Pretend to like the same things as them.
Long story short: sooner or later you gonna be found out hunni.
7. Check your phone every second and a half to see if they have text you back.
Impatience and paranoia are just two signs that you are a product of the Apple-generation. So while I applaud you that you made it to the stage where you have actually exchanged digits with your crush, I now welcome you to phase 2: compulsively checking your phone to see if they have text you/replied to the message you sent 5 minutes ago. Your BFF assures you that if your crush leaves longer than 1.5 seconds between texts, they can’t be that into you. Even though you hate to admit your BFF is right, you have to acknowledge the fact that all millennials have superglued their phone to their hand and would be able to respond instantly if they really wanted to. I mean, it’s not like people have actual lives to live.
8. Pretend to like their BFF in some weird attempt to make them jealous.
Not only does this make you look pretty fickle, but it also means you will probably end up dating, marrying and sinking on the Titanic (see point 3) with someone you don’t actually like.
9. Think they couldn’t possibly like you back.
Because they just might – and you kind of want to avoid reacting like this when you find out they do #Playitcool:
10. Laugh maniacally at all of their jokes even when they are not funny.
Because impersonating Mr. Burns every time they say something vaguely funny probably isn’t that much of a turn-on. Also, if you do end up dating, you are setting the bar too high my friend – you’ll be faking the LOL so often, your face will begin to ache and the constant pain in your cheeks will lead you to resent your crush.
Slowly you’ll begin to loathe the relationship you are in and you’ll forget how to authentically smile. Your brow will furrow. Your relationship will end, you’ll forget how to smile and your brow will permanently furrow. It’s too tragic for words.
If you have questions about relationships, join us in our community and ask us anything about it!
What does it mean when you fancy someone?
It typically means you are attracted to somebody
How do I know if I fancy somebody?
There are lots of different ways and sometimes you may not even realise yourself. But some of the common ways to know include them being in your thoughts a lot, a desire to spend time with them and overthinking each interaction with them.
Ditch the Label are an award-winning youth charity based in the UK. They release the annual bullying survey which is the largest study of its kind. A significant portion of the study looks into our attitudes regarding relationships and friendships. You can learn more about us here.
We live in an age of anxiety. With a combination of countless disasters in the news whilst being bombarded by constant ads, it comes as no surprise that the number of people in the UK being diagnosed with anxiety is at an all-time high.
In ordinary, everyday situations it is reasonable and some might even say good to be anxious, it can after all help us perform better. Even feelings of fear have a purpose, they are designed to help us survive scary situations we might encounter.
Back in the “good old days”, this made us quicker to respond to the threat of being eaten alive; forcing us to run, hide or for those who are a bit more courageous, throw a stone… (and then leg it!)
This response is known as the ‘fight-or-flight’ response which causes the heart to speed up, hyperventilation (getting more oxygen) and increased blood flow to the muscles.
We all get a bit nervous if we have to speak in front of a large group of people, right? Or if we have to meet someone for the first time? This is totally normal.
There are countless ordinary situations such as this that cause people who suffer from social anxiety to get cripplingly anxious and experience the fight-or-flight response which can be really disabling to their everyday lives. Social anxiety, simply put, is the fear of social situations.
Living with social anxiety can be frustrating and as with many things, change doesn’t happen overnight. You might feel like your mind has an ability to instantly jump a million steps into the worst-case scenario! Some of the signs of social anxiety are:
Finding yourself worrying about other people’s reactions
Experiencing extreme nervousness and anxiousness when taking part in social situations
Feeling really insecure about everything you say and do in social situations
Feeling overly judged
Avoiding social situations all-together
Experiencing physical effects on your body during social situations such as sweating, increased heart rate, or rapid breathing.
Avoiding eye contact
If you think you might have social anxiety, we would always recommend seeking a professional diagnosis from your GP.
Most importantly, remember that however isolated you might feel you are far from alone – social anxiety is the most common type of anxiety in the UK.
7 tips for overcoming social anxiety
Hiding or suppressing anxiety actually produces more anxiety. The most useful step is to share your experience with friends and family, or even talk about them online to us or someone else that you trust. Many people often feel ashamed of their anxiety and can be incredibly reluctant to share it.
The media often leads people to believe that mental illness is a weakness, which makes people less likely to admit to themselves and others what they are going through. We all have mental health and it is reported that up to 1 in 3 of us, will at some point experience a mental health illness and it’s okay to talk about it.
Your body is powerful. Learning the warning signs of when your anxiety flares up is important to help you take action; for some, this could be your body feeling tense and your mind feeling chaotic. Your body and especially your lungs can help.
Breathing exercises can help you control your anxiety. Having a steady breath has a direct impact on your heart rate and, in turn, your thoughts. Your heart will slow down as your breath does and as your breathing and your heart rate slow down your mind and thoughts will too.
3. Thinking isn’t reality
As much as it feels like anxiety controls you, anxiety isn’t reality and you control your own reality. It’s important to remember that social anxiety feeds on thoughts that emphasise danger and negativity. Symptoms such as a fast heartbeat and sweating emerge from this kind of thinking.
Luckily thinking is a habit and can, of course, be changed. The cure isn’t just positive thinking but realistic thinking. Try and examine your anxious thoughts such as ‘I am going to say something stupid’ they are often exaggerations of reality. Then try and produce thoughts that criticise and correct them.
4. Shift your attention
Anxiety has a way of grabbing your attention and turning it inward upon yourself, making you not only self-critical but suddenly noticing how your heartbeat has rapidly increased without your permission, meanwhile, you then suddenly feel yourself getting hotter, red in the face… sweaty… it feels like a domino effect that cannot be interrupted.
But instead, try and focus your attention on what it is you may be doing, so if you are speaking to someone try and pay close attention to what they are saying rather than worrying about what the right thing is to say next.
5. Face your fears
Avoiding social situations, yes will make you feel better at that particular moment. But remember this is only a short-term solution which prevents you from learning how to cope and will make you avoid social situations in the future more. As out of reach as it might seem, facing your fears in small steps you will allow you to work towards the more challenging situations and will give you coping skills.
If meeting new people makes you feel anxious you can begin by going to a party with a friend. You can then take the following step of introducing yourself to a new person. Remember, saying no will give you the same result each time. Saying yes, however frightening, means you’re taking a chance and living your life.
6. Stop trying to be perfect
It’s easy to forget that no one is perfect when we live in a world that aspires to achieve perfection. It’s also easy to forget that not everyone will like us nor does everyone need to.
Ask yourself do YOU like everyone (slim chances)? It’s also often forgotten that it’s okay to make mistakes as it makes us human.
7. Play the Rejection Game
The purpose of the game is to gain some sort of rejection through a series of different challenges. The purpose of the game is to encourage you to see rejection differently and to face your fears whilst maintaining a certain element of control over the situation.
Ask somebody you don’t usually speak to at school for the time
Put your hand up in class to answer a question
Give somebody a compliment
Strike up a conversation with somebody outside of your friendship circle
Ask for a discount at the checkout
Ask somebody to take a photo of you
Ask your strictest teacher for an extension on your homework, even if you don’t need one
Reach out to an old friend and ask if you can make up
Ask to go to the front of a queue
Fundraise for a charity (*cough* we’re a charity *cough*) and ask people you know to sponsor you
Go to a restaurant and ask for a tour of the kitchen
Request a refill on a meal you’ve just eaten
Dance in public.
Don’t forget that there is always support available – whether you decide to access it online or offline. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to speak to somebody about social anxiety and/or bullying. Join our community to start a conversation about anxiety with others who have similar experiences…
According to our latest research, 1 in 2 people have experienced bullying in some form in the last 12-months. And trust us when we say, we know how difficult it can be to go through it, especially if you don’t fully understand the psychology of bullying.
In this article, we will be exploring the reasons why people bully, using the latest research and psychology to give you a greater understanding of the motives of those who are either bullying you right now or who have done so in the past.
You may have assumed that you get bullied for whatever makes you different or unique, for example: your race, religion, culture, sexual or gender identity, line of work, fashion sense or weight. By the end of this article, you will know that this is not the case at all.
If you want to talk about it – join our community today to start a conversation about bullying and speak to our amazing digital mentors who can help you anonymously without judgement.
The Psychology of Being Bullied
We will explore the reasons why later on in this article, but most frequently, those who bully others are looking to gain a feeling of power, purpose and control over you.
The easiest way of doing this is to focus on something that is unique about you – either preying on or creating new insecurity with an intent to hurt you either physically or emotionally.
What happens is, we, as the people experiencing bullying, start to internalise it and we become self-critical. We want to understand the reasons why we are being targeted and we start to blame ourselves.
As a result, we try to change or mask that unique characteristic in order to avoid the bullying. We dye our hair, bleach our skin, date people we aren’t interested in and cover up our bodies like they are something to be ashamed of.
It starts to affect our behaviour and the ways in which we see ourselves, which in turn, can go on to impact both our mental and physical health.
The way we see bullying is all wrong. It isn’t because we are different in some way.
The Real Reasons Why People Bully Others
In a recent Ditch the Label study, we spoke to 7,347 people about bullying. We asked respondents to define bullying and then later asked if, based on their own definition, they had ever bullied anybody. 14% of our overall sample, so that’s 1,239 people, said yes. What we then did was something that had never been done on this scale before; we asked them intimate questions about their lives, exploring things like stress and trauma, home lives, relationships and how they feel about themselves.
In fact, we asked all 7,347 respondents the same questions and then compared the answers from those who had never bullied, those who had bullied at least once and those who bully others daily. This then gave us very strong, scientific and factual data to identify the real reasons why people bully others.
It also scientifically proves that the reason people get bullied is never, contrary to popular belief, because of the unique characteristics of the person experiencing the bullying. So, why do people bully?
Stress and Trauma:
Our data shows that those who bully are far more likely than average to have experienced a stressful or traumatic situation in the past 5 years. Examples include their parents/guardians splitting up, the death of a relative or the gaining of a little brother or sister.
It makes sense because we all respond to stress in very different ways. Some of us use positive behaviours, such as meditation, exercise and talking therapy – all designed to relieve the stress.
Others use negative behaviours such as bullying, violence and alcohol abuse, which temporarily mask the issues but usually make them worse in the long-term.
The research shows that some people simply do not know how to positively respond to stress and so default to bullying others as a coping mechanism.
66% of the people who had admitted to bullying somebody else were male. Take a minute to think about how guys are raised in our culture and compare that to the ways in which girls are raised. The moment a guy starts to show any sign of emotion, he’s told to man up and to stop being a girl.
For girls, it’s encouraged that they speak up about issues that affect them.
For guys, it’s discouraged and so they start to respond with aggressive behaviours, such as bullying, as a way of coping with issues that affect them. This is why guys are more likely than girls to physically attack somebody or to commit crimes. It isn’t something they are born with, it’s a learned behaviour that is actively taught by society using dysfunctional gender norms and roles.
In order to mask how they actually feel about themselves, some people who bully focus attention on someone else. They try to avoid any negative attention directed at them by deflecting. But know they might look in the mirror at home and hate the way they look.
There is so much pressure to live up to beauty and fitness standards that we are taught to compare ourselves to others, instead of embracing our own beauty.
They’ve Been Bullied:
Our research shows that those who have experienced bullying are twice as likely to go on and bully others. Maybe they were bullied as kids in the past, or maybe they are being bullied now.
Often it’s used as a defence mechanism and people tend to believe that by bullying others, they will become immune to being bullied themselves. In fact, it just becomes a vicious cycle of negative behaviours.
Difficult Home Life:
1 in 3 of those who bully people daily told us that they feel like their parents/guardians don’t have enough time to spend with them. They are more likely to come from larger families and are more likely to live with people other than their biological parents.
There are often feelings of rejection from the very people who should love them unconditionally. They are also much more likely to come from violent households with lots of arguments and hostility.
Low Access to Education:
Without access to education, hate-based conversation directed at others may be the norm. They may not understand what hate speech is and why speaking about people in a derogatory way is not appropriate.
Finally, those who bully are more likely to feel like their friendships and family relationships aren’t very secure. In order to keep friendships, they might be pressured by their peers to behave in a certain way.
They are more likely to feel like those who are closest to them make them do things that they don’t feel comfortable doing and aren’t very supportive or loving.
So there you have it, some of the most common reasons why people bully others.
If you are being bullied, it’s time to put the knowledge to the test. Carry on reading with our article on overcoming bullying. If you are doing the bullying, here are 7 things that you can do to overcome it.
If you are looking for more help – our community is a safe space to discuss your issues and get support from trained digital mentors who will help you without judgement.
When someone hurts or betrays you, you might feel the urge to cause them distress in return, but take it from us – that is never a good idea.
Here are 7 reasons why seeking revenge is a bad idea:
1. It won’t make you feel better.
It was Shakespeare that said, “If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?” Revenge might seem like a logical – even inevitable reaction. You might be thinking that it will also provide great relief from the pain that you are feeling or some sort of satisfaction.
Sadly, evidence shows that people who seek revenge instead of forgiving or letting go, tend to feel worse in the long run. You are much better off channelling your energy into moving forward positively with your life.
2. In fact, it might make you feel worse.
I hate to break it to you, but if you consider yourself to be a decent human being, causing someone else distress or pain (whether you think they are deserving of it or not) might not put the smile on your face you were hoping for. In fact, it might make you feel worse; you might feel guilty, upset, regretful – and these kinds of feelings tend to linger and weigh heavy on your conscience.
While you might feel hurt or betrayed right now, eventually you will be able to put those feelings behind you, but if you burden your conscience with guilt, you are more likely to ruminate over your actions – this makes moving on much harder and only puts your life on hold.
3. It could backfire.
Gandhi once said, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” Think about the repercussions of your actions – you might end up in trouble with a teacher or parent for seeking revenge. You might even put yourself in harm’s way.
What can really be gained? It is far better to save yourself from the possibility of further trauma. Focus on the good things in your life and look at how you can move forward, putting the person who hurt you firmly in the past.
4. You are wasting precious time.
Not to sound cliche but life is short! Do you really want to waste your precious time on someone that doesn’t deserve it? Think of all the fun things you could be doing instead of acting like Mr. Burns and plotting, planning and focusing your energy on the negative.
How can you make way for new, positive experiences if you are preoccupied with wreaking havoc?
5. Because, karma.
Whether you believe in it or not, karma makes a much better friend than a foe – make sure to keep on the right side of it:
6. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Fact. Seeking revenge isn’t going to undo the actions of the person who has wronged you. So do the right thing, be the bigger person – you will be glad you did so in the long run.
7. You could get caught in an endless revenge loop.
So, you seek revenge on the person who hurt you. They then take revenge on your revenge…and the cycle continues. Make sure you don’t get caught in a loop, it will only cause you further pain and hurt. Try and leave negativity and people who bring you down in the past. They are not worth your time and energy.
So, is revenge worth it? No.
Has somebody hurt or betrayed you? Join our Community to discuss.
What is revenge?
Revenge is the action of hurting or harming someone in response to a grievance or wrong suffered at their hands.
What is an example of revenge?
Let’s say somebody calls you a rude name, an act of revenge would be to call them a rude name back.
Is revenge good for you?
No. It won’t make you feel better and it’ll probably make you feel worse. Spend your time on positive thoughts and experiences.
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