So what is the Psychological Effect of Bullying on Children?
It is common knowledge that being bullied is a traumatizing experience for any emerging young person; but the extent of the damage caused by such an ordeal is less publicized, and at times covered up for the sake of protecting a school’s reputation or position.
Bullying has been linked to a number of mental disorders, some of which develop into long-term manifestations, appearing at a later stage of the victims’ life (after the bullying has ended and the connection with the bully has been severed):
-Victims have been known to resort to displacement (taking out their frustration and impulses on people who are less threatening to them, ex. Younger sibling, pet etc…) they unfortunately become a member of a vicious cycle; conveying further damage to other defenseless parties.
- Others opt for rationalization (where they try to explain an unacceptable behaviour in a logical manner) and they end up applying blame to themselves, which leads to a negative self-image, a low sense of security and minimal ego.
- Amongst other dangerous repercussions such is passive aggression (internal anger and implosive behaviour)
- and finally there’s Intellectualization (working to reduce anxiety by thinking about events in a cold, clinical manner; which allows the individual to avoid processing the stressful, emotional aspect of the situation) off course this leads to a detached, indifferent individual, with little ability to experience compassion or sympathy or other altruistic traits.
Children bullied during their early years are up to three times more likely to self harm than their classmates when they reach adolescence.
It found that half of 12-year-olds who harm themselves were frequently bullied. The research also showed that victimized children with mental health problems were at greater risk of self-harming in later life. The authors suggest that efforts should focus on improving the ways in which children cope with emotional distress. They also call for more effective programs to prevent bullying in schools.
Bullying victimization and risk of self harm in early adolescence: longitudinal cohort study Helen L Fisher and others. BMJ Online, 26 April 2012
Throughout the previous examples there has been no mention of the countless suicide attempts or mass murders resulting from chronic bullying- unfortunately these are the lucky cases in which the victim maintained a will to go on in life and persevere despite the experience; other cases are not so lucky.
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