Bullying occurs in many forms. Physical, mental and online or cyber bullying can have devastating effects on the victim. Each type of bullying has distinct characteristics, while the effects are similar only varying in the degree of severity.
What Is Mental Bullying?
Mental bullying is the act of tearing down another person through words, actions or any other means that affect their mental state. In some cases, the bully does not even realize the words they say or their actions are causing harm to the victim. Unlike physical abuse, the scars of mental bullying are invisible. They cannot be seen, only felt by the victim. The words and actions of the abuser work to alter how the victim perceives themselves. If a person is exposed to mental bullying for long periods of time, thoughts of worthlessness can cause them to feel hopeless and along. In extremely severe cases, the victim may consider suicide.
What is mental bullying? The tools used are basically the same, the effects vary from person to person. Some can tone out hurtful words and comments, while another person may take them to heart and believe every word. The intentions of the bully can also have an impact. A parent who says something demeaning to a small child may be hurtful, but in the end the child still has knowledge the parent loves them. In a school setting, a bully who wants to control another student through intimidation creates a cycle that continues to build on itself until it spirals out of control.
Tactics Used in Mental Bullying
There are several tactics used in mental bullying. A few of which include:
- belittling comments
- degrading comments
A mental bully will use any means they can to make their victim feel inferior. They may also employ these tactics as a way of gaining control over another person. No matter what the relationship is between the bully and the victim, tactics such as these can severely affect the mental stability of the person being bullied. The negative impact of the words and actions can force the victim into a downward spiral that is hard for them to recover from.
Most incidents of mental bullying do not end after one altercation. Many continue on until the school year ends, the victim or bully changes jobs or someone actually puts a stop to it through reporting it to authorities or confronting the situation. Many tactics can go unnoticed and are often extremely hard to prove. Diligence and perseverance is the key to stopping mental bullying and reducing the negative impact it has on its victims.
The Effects of Mental Bullying
What is mental bullying? Mental bullying is intended to make the victim think they are worthless or inferior in some ways to others. The effects of mental bullying can last for years. The scars from this type of abuse can remain hidden for years, rearing their heads any time self doubt begins to take hold. A few of the telltale signs of mental bullying include:
- low self esteem
- dramatic drop in grades or work performance
- unkempt appearance
- feelings of hopelessness and despair
- thoughts of suicide
When a person is continually being told they are worthless, stupid, dumb, etc., he or she will begin to believe it. Years of this type of bullying can cause a person to have severe doubts about their abilities, worth and their life in general. After years of emotional and mental abuse, it is difficult for them to see past the “victim” state and find something inside of themselves that holds value. This is not any easy task for someone who has years of scars that need to heal.
Preventing Mental Bullying
Mental bullying is not as obvious in some cases as it is in others. The signs may be present, but catching the bully in the act can be difficult unless you know what tactics they employ. In some cases, the most effective way of preventing mental bullying is to remove the victim from the bully. Be it through divorce, the changing of schools or through relocation, taking the victim out of the hostile environment is often the first step of the healing process.
In cases where the bully does not realize how their actions and words are impacting the victim, counseling may be beneficial. Both parties need to work through their respective issues concerning the bullying and the resulting affects, but together, a more positive relationship can be built.
What is mental bullying? It is a process that can be stopped if both parties address the issue and begin to take control of it. Mental bullying can be stopped if those involved care enough to take the right steps forward.