Are you being bullied?22 Jul 2021
How to deal with bullies either online or real time in two easy steps.
Are you being bullied?
Yes, you read that correctly, bullying is not what it used to be, it can be there in your own home just by picking up your phone.
According to DigitalTrends.com (April 8th 2020) there has been a 70% increase in bullying amongst children and young people since lockdown.
Unlike the ‘old fashioned’ bullying of the school yard bullying behaviour online is amplified behind the protection of the device.
It is so hard when people say unkind things on social media, it hurts, it makes the blood boil, you want to put them right.
Our team works a lot with children and young adults with dyslexia, we work directly with the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand. With this diagnosis can come bullying, children can be picked on because they are different.
Recently, our team spent time with an expert Bec Cousins‘The Kids Coach’ based in the UK, on how to help children and adults being bullied. I want to share what we learned from Becs’ work.
Step one. Online bullying.
We understand the mind of the bully, we look at what drives this behaviour, this allows the ‘victim’ to see it for what it is. It is more about the bully than it is about them.
The bully picks on people at school or at the workplace who are easy targets, people who are good, kind, quiet, intelligent, soulful and care about others. The bully bullies to feel power, strength and control, the bully does this to feel these things because these are lacking naturally. Really they are insecure and envious of the qualities their victims have naturally.
Social media is different, all you need to do is hop onto a FB group and read some of the comments about a post that’s quite innocent. People argue, say unkind things, rant and vent, typing away furiously proving their point is ‘right’ or at least trying to.
COVID has contributed to this, here’s why.
I worked with a top lawyer in London, he was in his late 60’s, he was fed up with this behaviour that had developed during lockdown.
He did not like being told what to do, he hated the constraints that were being ‘made’ up with no common sense and he wanted to take back control.
He became vicious on social media, looking for things to have a go at, looking for a fight and boy did he get them, lots of them.
To the point where his entire evening was taken by proving his point to people who didn't care and didn't matter. He caught himself; he did not like who he had become and worked with me to change this. He realised this was a complete waste of energy.
Just recently a friend of mine who is in his late 50’s was trolled on social media, his reaction was a good one, he ignored it and saw it for what it was.
“It says more about them, than it does about me. I am happy with who I am and do not need to justify myself.”
See it for what it is, a waste of time with someone who you don't know, don't want to know and is wanting a response, silent is powerful. Turn off and spend time with those who do matter.
Step two. Real time bullying.
Recently I worked with an 11 year old, he was being bullied at school, I also worked with a 32 year old, she was being bullied at work.
What I did with them was this: on a piece of A4 ( horizontal) we wrote down in small writing at the bottom of the sheet the unkind things that had been said, in black.
Then I asked each client to think of 4 people they loved and trusted and asked them to write down 3 things they would say about the client if I asked them what they thought about them.
We wrote these at the top of the sheet in colour and large.
The words are always so powerful. Then I ask them “Who do you trust and who don’t you trust? Who is right and who is wrong?”
The answer is always the same, the bully loses power, the client gains their sense of self and their qualities that make them who they are.
I invite the client to see the bully as a person who is struggling, has a hard time at home, and doesn't have the life they have.
To feel for them, not fear them. To know they are doing the best with the resources they have right now, they can’t help it. The bully, in fact, is the victim.
My friend who was being trolled on social media wrote this quote, which I think sums up what I have written beautifully.
“ You can’t compete with me.
I am on your side.”