If Bullying Happens To You
Sometimes teens do not know what to do when they are being bullied. Here we will provide you with specific actions to take to stop the bullying.
Relational bullying usually happens behind your back and can be upsetting and confusing to deal with. Because the bullying is not happening directly to you, you may not know why you are being treated this way. This can lead to assumptions about what other people are thinking or doing. These assumptions can get out of control and lead to thoughts that are usually the worst case scenario.
- "Everyone hates me."
- "She must be mad at me because she did x, y and z."
It is easy to assume these thoughts are true without proof, but this also makes you less likely to deal with the situation directly. But, learning to stop making assumptions and dealing with the problem directly can help stop relational bullying.
- Do not blame yourself! No one deserves to be bullied.
- Feeling confused, angry and sad happens to everyone who is relationally bullied.
Click here to lean about controlling emotions (DOC).
Here are some tips and ideas to use when you are being relationally bullied.
Do not gossip.
Don’t add to the cycle of bullying. It can be easy to talk about someone behind their back but this can make the situation worse.
Talk to a friend.
Being bullied can be embarrassing but telling a trusted friend about what is going on will help relieve some of the stress. They may have had the same problem and can understand what you are going through.
- You can tell your friend you just need someone to talk to.
- Ask them for advice or to help come up with ideas to stop the bullying.
- Ask them to help you tell an adult.
Talk to an adult.
Relational bullying can be hard to “report” because there is usually no physical evidence it happened. But an adult is someone who will listen and offer advice.
- Tell anyone you feel comfortable talking to.
- Before you tell the adult the details of what is happening, tell them what you want from the conversation such as you want help problem solving, or you just want someone to listen. This will help the conversation go better.
- If you feel nervous or are not sure what to say, write it down or ask a friend to go with you.
Click here to learn how to talk to an about about bullying.
Remember it's not tattling if…click here to learn the difference between tattling and telling (DOC).
If you decide to respond to the group or to the bully.
Before you respond:
Take the time to figure out what to say to the bully.
Strategizing about what to say will help keep you from over reacting and will help prepare you for the next time it happens. It can also build your confidence. Use our Action Plan to help come up with ideas for what to say and do.
Practice what you want to say.
Practice helps make perfect. By practicing you will be more confident and prepared.
- Practice in a mirror.
- Practice with your friends.
- Practice with your parents.
- Even practice with your pet.
Be assertive and confident.
Being assertive and confident can stop the bullying from happening again by showing you are not an easy target.
- Keep a calm steady voice.
- Stand up straight.
- Keep good eye contact.
- Keep your hands to your side.
- Say what you think and feel in a confident way.
Talk to each person individually.
By doing this you can keep the problem from getting worse and may keep the bully from feeling embarrassed.
- Ask to talk to them when they are free.
- Wait for them if you know they will be somewhere alone.
- If she is not ready to talk, tell her you are ready to talk when she is.
Being relationally bullied can feel like it is affecting every part of your life, but you can choose to not let it.
- Join extracurricular activities.
- Put more time into studying.
- Join a club in something you are interested in.
- Spend more time with your family.
- Make new friends.
Here Molly and Mary show several possible ways to deal with being relationally bullied.
Take a look at how Molly handles the situation when Becca and Jen start excluding her.
Watch as Mary stands up for herself and confronts those who are spreading the rumor.
Think you know?
The following questions are to help you better understand what to do if you are being relationally bullied. Work by yourself or with a friend and come up with answers on your own before looking at our answers.
Questions about the video:
It is obviously difficult for Molly to talk to Becca and Jen. How does she overcome the negative feelings when she confronts them?
When a girl knows her friends are upset with her it is easy to believe that confronting them it will make the situation worse.
Molly overcame this WCST by realizing that the only way to clear up the problem was to talk about it directly.
When she confronts her friends, she is assertive and confident, which always builds more confidence. She is not confrontational and says, “It’s okay if you don’t want to talk now but can you just tell me what is wrong?”
All of these actions keep the situations from escalating and helps keep everyone calm.
What are some other things Molly could have done?
Talked to a friend or an adult about what happened and ask for advice.
Thought about, planned and practiced what she was going to say to Becca and Jen.
Talked to Becca and Jen individually about why they were upset at her.
What are some other things Mary could have done when she found out about the rumor?
Talked to a friend or an adult about what happened and asked for advice.
Other things to think about:
How can you keep situations like this from becoming a bigger fight?
The first thing to do is keep your emotions in check. If you let your emotions control your thoughts and actions the situation will almost always become worse.
Next control your thoughts. “Worst case scenario thoughts” are negative and only lead to negative thoughts and actions.
Think about what you want to say and deal with the situation directly.
Use our Action Plan to help prepare you for dealing with relational bullying.
What happens when you don’t stand up for yourself when you are being relationally bullied?
If you are being passive about being relationally bullied, it is probably not going to stop on its own.
Once a bully realizes you are an easy victim she will most likely continue to pick you out of the group as her target.
Because girls use relational aggression to move up the social ladder, other girls may also target you as a way to gain popularity.
What were some of the things that Molly and Mary did that you feel comfortable doing?
Let's take a look at what happens next in Bring It Together →