In Bullying Help, Health Professionals

Helping the Bully Victim Survive and Heal- Part II

Helping the Bully Victim Survive and Heal- Part II

Healing the bully victim through Expressing One’s Experience through Drawings

Drawing one’s thoughts and emotions can break defenses simply because the person drawing things will be unguarded in his process of visually expressing himself. The drawing that one does about himself and his emotions are believed to be symbols of what one feels and thinks about the self and his surrounding environment. Every stroke, shade, color and pressure applied while drawing will mean something.  The presence of heavy shading in a bullying victim’s drawing for example may indicate anxiety. Thus, the person trying to help out the bullying victim can always take note of this and decide whether it’s the right time or not to confront the bully victim with his emotions. Through such means, one can take a look into the bullying victim’s private thoughts and emotions without arousing any defense mechanism in the bullying victim at all.

What has been drawn may also give light to things that the bullying victim may not necessarily be aware of. If for instance he had drawn a lion as himself, his choice of drawing such savannah animal can be explored. There might be things about the lion that the bullying victim can actually relate to and thus chose to use this animal to describe himself. Through exploring such possibilities, the bullying victim can be helped to become aware of the things he might not be consciously aware of about himself. A plus factor even when one draws these things is that what has come to light in the bullying victim’s course of discovering self-awareness is the idea that the end products can somehow serve as a reminder of the healing process that has transpired. Unlike with merely talking where insights and realizations can be forgotten or distorted by other things, in drawing ones’ thoughts and emotions, everything is placed on paper, thus nothing would be unremembered and altered in any way. The insights and realizations will be concretely seen in the drawings that the bullying victim would make about himself.

The drawing process itself can be the bullying victim’s personal journey to empowerment. The bullying victim can be made to understand that what he is doing right now is already a simple step that can enable him to deal effectively with his experiences and move forward in his life. He can be taught that his own participation in his healing is already a choice that points out to discovering that he can do something about what had happened to him. In this event, the bullying victim is allowed to see and feel that he can overcome the effects being bullied had given to him.

Additionally, the bullying victim’s sense of empowerment would be awakened too when he is not only made to realize that engaging into his healing process is a step towards recovery but at the same time asked to actually draw himself in scenarios where he would be forced to socialize and be with other people. Thus, not only ones’ thoughts and emotions can be expressed using drawings but as well as solutions to possible challenges and changes can also be drawn too. The bullying victim and the person trying to help him out can both explore the possible actions and responses that the bullying victim will have towards the different situations he may find himself in when he goes out to the real world.  In such manner, the bullying victim is given some sense of readiness to face whatever difficulties he will get into in his life once he’s about to reintegrate back to society.  The bullying victim consequently can turn from a helpless victim to an empowered survivor.

When things are drawn, the process of healing for the bullying victim’s part may occur naturally, that is, nothing is forced and nothing is demanded immediately from the bullying victim. The person helping him heal from his pain does not impose anything at all because he patiently waits for the bullying victim to unveil himself through his drawings. The person helping the bullying victim will not be asking too many questions that can make the bullying victim clam up instead of share things. Asking too many things from the bullying victim may put pressure on the healing process, and thus the bullying victim will not learn to trust the other person at all. This may affect the recovery that would have come out if trust was established between the bullying victim and the person trying to help him out in the first place. And should the drawings the bullying victim make portray masks, at least the person helping the bully victim and the bullying victim can explore these masks, break them  and eventually find a common point where they can work things out together.

When things are drawn, the bullying victim is allowed to express all his anxiety, anger and frustrations on paper by letting him use deep pencil pressures and even crumpling things up. When thing are drawn, the bullying  victim may displace all these emotions on the drawing process. Whereas when things are just verbally talked about, the bullying victim may be limited in his medium for expressing his anxiety, anger and frustrations. It’s possible that he may want to scream and release all the tension he feels inside but would refrain from doing such because the other person helping him out after all is not the one causing these pressures the bullying victim is experiencing within. If the bullying victim feels such way, then healing will be hindered too and will not come as easily as possible.

The bully victim may also feel shy about expressing his needs and desires for support because he may see himself as a big burden to the ones helping him. But when things are drawn, the bullying victim can express these needs and desires for support without literally saying he needs them in words and thus the people lending him aid can see these things and give these things even if the bullying victim has not literally asked anything at all.

The reasons given why drawing can aid children and adult bullying victims’ coping process are all important in understanding how visualizing things can lead to healing. However, there are two things that the people who have concern for the bullying victims must put in their minds. In any form of aid they would want to lend to the bullying victims, be it through just talking, drawing things up or something else, utmost regard and unconditional acceptance should be practised by all those involved in the healing process. Utmost regard means respecting the bullying victims, their personalities, traits, decisions. Unconditional acceptance means valuing the bully victims and recognizing their differences and weaknesses.

Utmost regard and unconditional acceptance may be seen in the following scenario. If the bullying victims choose to distant themselves first before trusting anyone at all, this has to be respected and understood. But it does not mean however that the bullying victims should be left to heal on their own because they have decided to isolate themselves from others. Isolation can be a normal reaction of people who have experienced traumatic events and being bullied is definitely traumatic. Rather, respecting and understanding mean that those who are eager to help in the recovery process, should wait things out until the bully victims themselves are ready to heal, at the same time, make the bully victims feel that they are not alone and their stories of pain are not theirs to carry by themselves.

Clearly the things that have mentioned fully indicate that drawing one’s stories about the bullying one has experienced can pave way to a healing process that does not require big leaps from the bullying victim. This means of helping the bully victim out with his pain recognizes that the small steps taken by the bully victim are actually already milestones towards getting better. Through such healing process, the bully victim can pull through his struggles at the right time and right place. This means that whenever the bully victim will claim that he is already mended, other people can be assured that he really has mended well by then.

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