Choosing to Move on from Bullying Trauma: Coping through Choice Theory
Everyone is born with the capacity to choose his own destination and no one just lives following the dictates of another person. As individuals, we behave in manners of our own choosing and we technically only operate to satisfy what are usually important to us — particularly, those needs that are related to survival, love, power, freedom and fun. And among these, what is most probably essential is love because belonging, closeness and relatedness spring from it. Without love, we as individuals will not be able to satisfy all the other needs because such needs can only be met through establishing relationships with others – and establishing relationships would mean getting close to others, finding some connection through relating with them and feeling that sense that you actually belong to these groups of individuals. Without love then, we put walls between us and the others, we isolate ourselves from the possibilities of establishing good relationships between us and the next person and we instead choose to become destructive in how we operate in our daily routines.
The paragraph above is a simple description of what choice theory is all about, and choice theory is one of the good solutions to help someone recover from the bullying trauma experience. In choice theory, the victim of Bullying Trauma is taught to see that only he is capable of moving on from his bullying trauma and that no one can control his behavior and make him do things that he does not want to do. The only thing that those who would like to help him can do is to facilitate his recovery by teaching him that he has the power to choose what he is feeling and thinking and how he is behaving. In a gist, this solution seems to merely emphasize a change in one’s decision-making process and can be seen as a very practical and convenient or easy coping mechanism for the bullying experience. Practical – yes, since coping through changing one’s decision-making process underlines being direct to the point with no dilly-dallying on the pain and hurt that someone feels, but easy – no, because people more often than not make choices that are based on their current emotional states, and thus, choosing to feel otherwise when one is hurt can be easier said than done.
But even if using the choice theory to help someone recover from his trauma is not easy to do it does not mean that it is impossible, thus the purpose of writing this article for those who want to help out anyone who is a victim of bullying.
How to Use the Choice Theory to survive a bullying trauma?
What would the person’s role then in the victim’s process of recovering from his experience? Remember that we operate in order to fulfill our love needs. The victim thus would want to fulfill this need by hoping that someone will understand his predicament, and that someone can be the person intending to help the victim. The person who wants to help the bullying victim would serve as someone who will technically be giving the victim a “dose of reality” in a very people friendly way. This means that the truth that one has to lay out to the victim can be a little harsh, because the person has to tell the victim that he has to take control of his emotions and his behavior if he wants to overcome his experience. It is his responsibility to tell the victim that the victim has the freedom to make the choices that can alleviate himself from his situation. It is his responsibility to tell the victim that the victim has actually chosen to become a victim even if he is not fully aware that he has done so. If we are the victim of a bullying trauma, these words will be something that we may not want to hear at all, besides, it is easier to just cry, feel helpless and wait for others to offer sympathy and do things to alleviate us from our pains. To add to these, it is easier to have someone or something else to blame for the things that are happening to us, like the bullying case in this matter, than accept the fact that we can choose to feel and think differently from what we currently feel and think.
Emphasizing an external control of things may work out for a while as placing the burden of responsibility over one’s feelings and situation on others may provide temporary relief to the bullying victim. There is relief because the victim is able to receive love from the other through behaving in ways that would draw the other person’s sympathy to him. In a sense, the other person is again someone who the victim can relate to and belong to at the same time. However, this is actually an ineffective way of fulfilling such need. Eventually, behaving in such ways will tire the other person and make him feel that the victim would need to pick himself up and move on from his hurts. This moving on can only be done if the victim becomes responsible enough to make a decision that will help him recover from his trauma.
When using the choice theory, the person who wants to help out the victim of bullying must also help the victim realize that solving his problem through wallowing in the past cannot help his current situation. Thinking that there are things that could have been done to prevent one from becoming a victim of bullying would only add to the victim’s stress since he would think that he isn’t capable of handling things like this on his own. The one helping the victim should instead emphasize that aside from the necessity of getting in control of his life, the victim also must need to focus all his energy on the present and the future. The victim thus must redirect his focus towards gaining control over his decisions and present feelings and in turn create better results for his future. This doesn’t mean that what has happened in the past is not revisited when one chooses to apply choice theory in order to cope with his experience. What happened in the past is looked into to see the reasons why the victim has become a victim of bullying. Once the reasons are explored, the victim has to move forward then to the present in order to come up with some solution to his current state and then as a result recover his chance of having a good future.
But before achieving the control that has been described in the previous paragraph, the victim still has to go through some step by step process to be able to shift his focus on things and overcome his experience. The person who wants to aid the victim would need to assist the victim clarify what he really wants first so they can work out something that’s plausible to achieve. However, prior to making up some plans on how to move on from his experience the victim would still need to internalize first his current thoughts, feelings and behavior and evaluate if these are working out for him. Once he acknowledges that his present perspectives of his situation merely serve as obstacles to his recovery only then can he make plans. Thus, in a chronological manner, the victim, through the assistance of another person will have to again, clarify his desires especially those that are related to his healing process, identify his present state of heart and mind, identify how this is affecting him, and make some choices that are clearly possible for him to achieve.
The process of recovering from one’s bullying trauma through the use of choice theory does not end with making the plans that can help the victim heal from his pain. What comes next after such plans would be putting these plans into action. If for instance, the victim had decided to engage in activities that can provide him the venue to assert himself in order to prevent further experiencing being bullied, then the other person should commit himself to such activities then. They can even role play to see where the victim may have difficulty in asserting himself and then practice more using such situations.