As I told you, I have been a victim of bullying for centuries. That’s a very long time. But what is bullying? First, you need to know that there are several forms of it.
1. Physical bullying
2. Verbal bullying
3. Social bullying
I am 3911 years old, so I have had the time to experience many forms of bullying. Believe me when I say that I have a pretty good knowledge of it, hurray! Whether it’s verbal, social, or physical bullying, I’ve seen it all.
Nowadays, with cyberbullying, everything has become even more challenging. If social networks existed when I was 1300 years old, I would have suffered even more.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think any form of bullying is any less harmful than others. All types of bullying are violent. All these types of violence can have dramatic consequences for the victims, both in the present and in the future.
When you don’t know you’re a victim of bullying
I am about to tell you something that may sound strange to you: it took me years to realize that I was being bullied.
It started so early in my life that I got used to being the one that other children didn’t like.
For centuries, I knew nothing but insults, name-calling, mockery, and rejection. Even though I hated it, it had become the norm for me. So instead of seeking help and trying to find solutions, I suffered it without ever saying a word about it. Even my parents were unaware of what I was going through.
When I finally understood that the violence wasn’t normal, I didn’t say anything either. I was held back by a combination of fear of retaliation from the bullies, doubts regarding my parents’ ability to help me, and above all, shame. I was already a victim at school; I didn’t want to be a victim in my parents’ eyes.
As a result, they were never able to help me because they ignored everything about it.
Bullying: the most important thing is to talk about it.
With this list, you will be able to find out if you are being bullied yourself.
If you are, I want to tell you something that is of the utmost importance: you need to tell an adult and seek help as soon as you can. Tell your parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles, teachers, principal, school counselor, psychologist, any adult person you trust.
Don’t be afraid to make things worse than they already are. Let me tell you why: you are already experiencing the worst, and it is NOT NORMAL. There are solutions to overcome this situation, even if you don’t believe it yet, but first, you MUST TALK ABOUT IT.
If, for some reason, there is no adult person you know that you trust enough to talk about what you are going through, there are numbers you can call where you will find someone to talk to. I’ll give them to you at the bottom of the post.
Whatever happens, the most crucial thing is that you don’t stay isolated and silent.
Please trust me on this. I know what I’m talking about. I’ve been through it before. I’ve been through the same ordeal you are going through right now.
Identifying the different types of bullying at school
I will now describe to you the different types of bullying. First, for you to know if you are being bullied yourself, and second, for your parents who are reading this so they can be informed and aware of the signs. Although it’s not always easy for them to determine if their child is being bullied at school, there are always signs, and it’s crucial to watch out for them, especially if, like me, you don’t talk about it.
What is bullying?
1. The three pillars of bullying
2. Why do we get bullied?
3. The different types of bullying
1. The three pillars of bullying
Three characteristics are always found in any form of bullying:
– violence occurs (physical, verbal, psychological) with the intention of harm
– it’s recurring: it repeats itself and lasts over time
– if you are a victim, you end up isolated, unable to defend yourself
Bullying is perpetrated in groups. There may be a leader, but the bully always needs his or her group because his or her goal is to give an impression of strength and superiority to other kids by demeaning someone who doesn’t know how to defend themselves. It is by using this desperate need of being popular that a child can defend him or herself against a bully. Is becoming popular the only reason why a child bullies you? Of course not. I’ll tell you more about bullies soon.
2. Why do we get bullied?
The truth is that any reason is a good one. Anything and its opposite can be the cause of bullying at school. Anyone can be the target of a bully.
– physical appearance (the color of your skin, being taller or shorter than others, fatter or thinner, wearing glasses, having bigger ears than others, having hair of a particular color or texture)
– an atypical personality (shy, solitary…)
– disability, physical or mental
– communication disorder (stuttering, lisping…)
– belonging to an ethnic, cultural, or religious group (racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia…)
– social class differences (being poorer or richer than others, parents’ occupation, having an unemployed parent…)
– gender identity (an effeminate boy, a tomboy girl, androgynous, transgender…)
– sexual orientation (real or presumed)
As you can see, once you are different, no matter how, you are at risk of being picked on.
But why does one child get bullied, and another doesn’t? Well, it’s because all children who are bullied have one thing in common. We will get back to that in a later post.
3. The different types of bullying at school
Here is the list I put together for you. Remember, violence at school is not just about getting beaten up or pushed around, and you can be the victim of one type of bullying, several, or even all at once.
1. Physical bullying
It is the easiest type of bullying to spot. Although boys are more often subjected to it than girls, it is not a rule.
You are a target of physical bullying if, at school, on a regular basis:
– you get hit, pinched, pushed, scratched, your hair gets pulled…
– you get spit on, thrown water, objects, or food at
– kids steal and/or damage your stuff
– someone uses physical force, threatens you, or blackmails you into giving them money, your coat, your phone, your food…
– you are subjected to unwanted physical/sexual touching, you are being forced to kiss someone
– you are forced to play dangerous games (challenges, choking game, pass-out challenge…)
2. Verbal bullying
This type of bullying is particularly devious. The bullies often keep a low profile in the classroom and act out of sight of the adults. Therefore, it is not always easy to prove, and you may find yourself in a situation where it is “your word against his.” Moreover, parents often underestimate this type of bullying, which is essentially verbal (unlike physical violence), and tell you that you to “just” ignore it.
For all these reasons, you may not talk about it, you may try to hide your pain from others, and you may not get any help at all.
This form of bullying can cause severe psychological damage and emotional distress (lasting and significant complexes, anxiety, depression, self-destructive behavior, desocialization, suicide…).
You are a victim of verbal bullying if, at school, on a regular basis:
– other children make fun of you; they make jokes at your expense
– they insult you and call you names
– they give you unpleasant or humiliating nicknames
– they humiliate you
– they belittle you
– they threaten you
– they spread fake rumors about you
– you’re being blackmailed
– you get comments with sexual connotations
3. Social (or relational) bullying
This type of bullying is the most common and can happen to you, whether you don’t have friends or are part of a group.
You are a victim of relational bullying if, at school in general, or within your group of friends, on a regular basis:
– you are left out
– you are not allowed to participate in group games and activities
– when you take part in something, you are deliberately ignored (not listened to, not looked at, other children don’t include you in any way)
– you are never invited to birthdays
– no one wants to team up with you for work or sports classes
– other children won’t let you sit with them for lunch, and you end up eating by yourself
– you often see kids you know post pictures on social media of events you weren’t invited to, which makes you feel even more excluded
This type of bullying is the most recent and appeared with online social networks (Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok…) and cell phones (SMS, instant messaging…).
The tragedy about cyberbullying is that it never stops. You are bullied at and outside of school, 24 hours a day.
It is also very difficult, if not impossible to control.
If you don’t tell anyone about it, you end up completely alone facing this violence, and you feel totally unsafe.
You are a victim of cyberbullying if, on a regular basis:
– you are being bullied digitally (you receive repeated messages of insults, threats, incitement to suicide, or embarrassing photos via SMS, instant messaging, or on social media)
– you are being harassed online (fake rumors about you via social networks, gossip, mockeries …)
– people impersonate you (your name, your picture…) to send messages to people you know (insults, sexual messages, pictures) or to create a fake account on a social network and use it to make you look ridiculous or pretend to be someone you’re not.
– you are filmed in a sensitive situation (being humiliated, insulted, beaten, abused), then the video is posted online
– someone shares, without your agreement, secrets you have confided to someone, or private documents to humiliate you (photos of you, screenshots of messages you have sent to someone, videos in which you appear)
– someone creates a page or an account on a social network solely to insult you and say that they publicly hate you (Hate Sites.)
Now we know the different types of bullying at school. Soon, we’ll to look into the signs that should alert your parents.
Phone numbers to call if you’re being bullied and need help
Here are some of the numbers you can call for help, depending on the country you live in.
United States: 1-800-273-8255
United Kingdom: 0800 1111
Australia: 1800 55 1800
Ireland: 1800 666 666
South Africa: 08000 55 555
Books about bullying, empathy and self-love