Bullying is a deliberate harmful behaviour that is usually repeated over a period of time.
It happens when one person tries to use power inappropriately over others. Bullying could be in different ways:
- physical - such as hitting and punching
- verbal - such as teasing, taunting, threatening and name-calling
- non-verbal - such as ignoring or excluding
- It could also be via mobile phones or social media like sharing photos and videos, phone calls or text messages.
The reasons children and young people may bully others, can be to show off, to make themselves look tough, to get attention, or to make others afraid of them.
We are less likely to think that our loved ones could be bullies, but bullying behaviour can also occur in close relationships.
Bullying in a relationship can be seen when one partner bullies the other because they have the overwhelming need to command and dominate, to compensate for how vulnerable they feel. They yell and hit to subdue their partners, and they control through fear and physical intimidation. “The Name Calling Bully” creates insecurity, to control their victim. They look for weakness and seek to destroy self-confidence, by constantly making fun of their partner.
What can you do?
At the end of the day, the only behaviour you have power over, is your own. Understanding your role in the bullying cycle is necessary for you to be able to make healthy decisions in the relationship.
People can become stuck in patterns that are harmful to their well-being. Recognising what is happening to you is the first step. Understand that it is the bully who has the problem, and that it is their problem to fix, not yours.
Being the victim of bullying can cause serious emotional distress and you may need to seek support from a professional. This will help you regain control over your life, re-establish your self worth and enable you to make healthier decisions in your relationships.