Dealing with bullying and peer victimization is possible for anyone regardless of age or gender. Most often, peer victimization is found within schools including middle schools and high schools, where adolescents are attempting to define themselves while discovering who they are in life. Although peer victimization is most commonly found in schools and while children grow into adults, it is also found in many workplace environments today, primarily office workspaces where work politics often play a role in hiring and firing.
Harassing another peer is possible in the form of psychological, emotional, physical, and even mental abuse. Understanding the various types of peer victimization that are most prevalent in today’s society is a way to pinpoint potential threats and individuals who are acting out as bullies or those who are more likely to become targets of bullies themselves.
Defining a Victim
Although it is not always easy to define victimized, as many victims who have been through traumatic events suffer differently depending on their personalities and response to threatening environments and situations. A victim is any individual who has been affected mentally, emotionally, or physically by another person or due to another individual’s own independent actions. Victims often suffer long-term mental and emotional torment when confronted with bullies or when repeatedly harassed and ridiculed by others over months and years.
- Lying about whereabouts, emotions, feelings, and daily activities
- Social withdrawal
- Physical wounds or complaints of pains and sores
- Avoidance when discussing the possibility of being bullied
- Avoiding eye contact when confronted with the possibility of bullying
- Ignoring the discussion of bullying when it involves him or her directly (often deflecting questions and the topic altogether)
- Rumors of bullying and harassment surrounding a friend or loved one you suspect may be the victim of any form of abuse
Confronting Your Loved One or Friend
When you believe your loved one or friend is being bullied by a maladjusted individual who is out to mentally, emotionally, or physically harm someone you know, it’s important to confront your family member or friend directly about your thoughts, worries, and feelings regarding the matter. Although you may be met with hesitation and resistance, it’s important to help lend a hand and to talk to your loved one and friend about building a support group and putting an end to the peer victimization they are experiencing each day.
It is also essential to consider building a support group for your family member or friend who is dealing with bullying or peer harassment on a day to day basis. Regardless of the severity of the abuse and bullying, building a support group is a way to help your loved one rebuild their self-esteem and the control they have over their own life altogether. The more in-control they feel when confronting their bullies or standing up to them, the less likely they are to give in and to continue to be a likely target.
Reporting Bullying and Peer Victimization
Although not all bullying can warrant a police report, it is essential to review your options if you have a friend or a loved one who has continuously dealt with harassment or even physical attacks, pranks, and harm. Always be sure to take note of any form of harassment your friend or loved one has dealt with in order to build evidence for any case you may need to follow through with in the future. The more evidence you have against an individual who is stalking, harassing, or threatening someone you know, the easier it is to get a restraining order and various forms of protection for your friend or relative.
Whenever you are in fear for your life or if you have a friend or loved one who has been physically threatened, reporting the incident to the police immediately is highly advisable. It is also important to consider taking out a restraining order or a PPO against any individual who is consistently stalking, harassing or threatening a friend or a family member of yours.
Whether someone you know is experiencing bullying locally, at school, at work, or even online, there are plenty of resources to report bullying, cyber-stalking, harassment, and peer victimization.
It is also possible to report bullying and various negative behavior to school authorities including principals, administrators, counselors, and even individuals who have been elected on the school board or the local city council and board.
The more you reach out and draw attention to bullying and harassment in your area or school, the more likely you are to make a difference while having the ability to influence those in power to ensure you are protected at all times when in a public area, including schools and places of work.
Coping With Peer Victimization
Even after a bully is no longer in an individual’s life it can be difficult to readjust to a new way of living without fear and with an attempt to rebuild one’s self-esteem. Understanding how to go about coping with peer victimization is a way for those who have been affected by bullying and victimization to get their lives back, regardless of the number of years they have felt out of control and tormented by others.
Counseling and Therapy
Counseling and therapy is highly recommended for any individual who has been bullied or dealt with peer victimization. Talking one on one with a counselor or therapist is a way to vent and share emotions while also getting feedback on how to better cope with any negative emotions, feelings, and energy you have throughout each day. Meeting weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly with a counselor is a way to air your feelings and emotions to another individual who is not judgmental and capable of assisting you through feeling better about yourself altogether.
Group Therapy Sessions and Meetings
Another option to help with rebuilding self-esteem and confidence includes attending group therapy sessions and meetings with others who have also struggled to overcome issues involving peer victimization. Talking with others who have also been mentally, emotionally, and even physically tormented by peers is a way to feel less alone while connecting with individuals who are understanding, caring, and want to to help one another to overcome the loss of power that was once felt in the past.
Meeting in group sessions is a way to help with finding relief while also having the ability to openly share your own story and any challenges or hardships you have had to overcome personally when dealing with bullies and other individuals who have harassed, mocked, or put you down in the past. A support group and group counseling is helpful with rebuilding self-confidence and self-esteem whether you have been bullied for a year or for most of your life.
Having the ability to talk openly and honestly with others who have also been in your shoes is a way to feel more at ease when sharing your story and anything that may have made you feel embarrassed of in the past, regardless of how long you have been bullied.
Using a Support Group
Finding a support group is one way to help with feeling welcomed and not alone any time you have found yourself as a victim of peer bullying and harassment. Finding local support groups can be done through community centers, city halls, and other local establishments near you. If you do not have any options locally, searching online for support groups and joining online communities on your own is another method of feeling less alone and more supported by others. Online support groups can help to boost self-esteem while allowing you to rebuild your confidence over time with the help and support of one another.
Discovering Yourself Again
Knowing how to discover and love yourself again is an essential part of overcoming any peer victimization and bullying you have experienced in the past. Experiencing new adventures, enjoying hobbies again, and rediscovering old interests and new interests is a way for you to break free from feeling trapped and tormented mentally, emotionally, and even physically as you may have in the past.
The more willing you are to stay open-minded when rediscovering yourself, the less likely you are to doubt yourself when you choose to begin moving forward in your life without the influence and effect of bullying and harassment from other individuals who are not worthy of your time.
Understanding everything there is to know about peer victimization is a way for you to help a friend or loved one who may be ridiculed or suffering from the ostracization of others around him or her on the daily basis. The more you know about peer victimization and the signs of bullying that are most prevalent in victims of harassment, the easier it is to pinpoint ways you can help your loved one to overcome the bullying altogether, regardless of the severity of the situation.