Bullying 101: What is it, why does it happen, and what can be done to stop it

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Everyone has been teased at some point in their life, but if the thought of heading to school, work, or even out your friend door is something that you actively DREAD then you might identify with being bullied.

Although it can be a hard one to categorise, bullying in its various forms is something that can really grind on a person's self-esteem, and sadly, it's effects are more long-term than you would immediately expect.

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So, what is bullying actually defined as?

Put short, bullying is any attempt by a person to assert their own dominance through the use of threat, intimidation, or manipulation. 

Although there are no rock-solid definitions of the term, most people acknowledge that the definition should include three minimum criteria: (1) hostile intent, (2) imbalance of power, and (3) repetition over a period of time.

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What are the types of bullying?

There are four main types of bullying that people report experiencing, although it should be mentioned that there is often a cross-over in peoples experiences. Eg. Many people who are verbally bullied will also experience cyber-bullying as a result of that.

The main subsections of the very broad term of bullying include: Verbal, Physical, Emotional, and Cyberbullying - which is something you can read more about on our channel for Cybersmile. Hey, there's even a Prince on there.

What causes someone to be a bully?

Most studies have pointed out what your mum, your granddad, and your brother have ALL said about bullies - they're envious and controlling people, who feel better about themselves when they drag others down.

As for some other things studies have discovered - bullies tend to have an inflated sense of self-worth, don't do particularly well at school, and surround themselves with people who are easily manipulated into following their lead. Take Crabbe and Goyle, for example. Yeah.

People are always talking about the cycle of bullying, and actually, there IS some truth to it. Bullies themselves have often been on the other side of bullying - or have grown up in a house with a lot of unhappiness and conflict.

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So why are you being singled out? 

First of all, being bullied is never your fault, and never something you should feel shamed into not talking about. 

There are a whole host of random factors at play as to why you've been targeted - maybe you don't have a huge circle of friends, maybe you wear your heart on your sleeve, or maybe you appear physically weaker than others.

Another factor that increases your chances of being bullied is being perceived as 'different'. Even though great strides have been made at schools to combat this, the instances of LGBTQ+ people being bullied because of who they are is still sadly prevalent.

What are your options from here on?

It sounds so predictable to say it, but talking to someone about what you're experiencing is the first step to overcoming it. There are many people in your life who will take the time to listen to you - your parents, your friends, your teachers, or carers, are all people who can and will help.

We totally get that it's a big step even starting that conversation, so if you feel too intimidated bringing it up, we'd suggest writing a note or dropping them an email to open up the conversation.

Finally, although being bullied can be an incredibly isolating experience, please do check out some of the major campaigners and charities sites for advice, reassurance, and tips on what to do next.

Check out Childline, BullyingUK, and the NSPCC for more information.

Your thoughts on this? Let us know with a tweet @sugarscape or drop us a comment in the box below.

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