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Q: I am being bullied at school by one particular person. I’m not sure why she has chosen me as her target, but she makes my life a living hell at school. I feel embarrassed and ashamed that I even have to deal with this. How do I make her stop? What do I need to do so I can feel good about myself again?
A: First, I’m sorry you’re going through this. Being bullied is tough stuff. As someone who was once bullied by her former best friend in the seventh grade, I know all too well about the emotional hardships of being bullied. The most important thing to remember is that you are NOT alone, and that there is a ton of help, love and support around you. Here are some tips on ways to help deal with a bully.
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1. Talk to a Trusted Adult
Make a list of the top five adults who you trust 100%. They could be a parent, a guidance counselor or a teacher. Go to these people and tell them what you’re dealing with. Be completely truthful. Speak from your heart, and ask for help. Someone will want to help you the best way they can.
2. Avoid Being Alone With the Bully
Whether you’re encountering verbal abuse or are in a situation in which you fear will escalate into physical violence, avoid being alone with your bully. Ask a trusted teacher or adult for their support if you are put into a scenario that places you in near proximity to them, like a class or an extra-curricular activity. Walk home with a group and stick close to your tried-and-true friends.
3. Ignore the Bully
Your bully wants you to engage with her. She wants to see you get angry and upset. Don’t take the bait. The bravest and most empowering thing you can do to a bully is…ignore her. Walk away. A bully wants to see that she can control your emotions. Don’t give her that power. After a while of ignoring her nasty comments and messages, she might just finally get bored and move on.
4. Surround Yourself With Positive People
No doubt your self-esteem has taken a blow since this bully showed up in your life. So now we have to find a way to build it back up again. Cut out the toxic people in your life and choose to surround yourself with only the people who make you feel GOOD about yourself. The ones who make you laugh and make you feel loved. If that means hanging out with family and your cat on the weekends, so be it. You need all the good vibes you can get.
5. Take Charge of Your Life
You might not be able to control the bully’s actions, but you can control yours. Decide that you want to live a happy life no matter what. Brainstorm ways that will help you feel good about yourself. Maybe it’s joining a gym, taking up a new activity outside of school, or attending therapy. Whichever it is, the confidence you gain from it will help you ignore the mean girls.