Emotional bullying results from the malicious attempts of an individual or group to intentionally hurt a person or make them feel inferior. This often occurs in a school setting or in the workplace and the target is normally an individual who chooses to keep to themselves or doesn’t have many friends. Individuals with low self-esteem are easy targets for bullies who want to make themselves feel more important than they actually are. So what is emotional bullying?
Bullies choose vulnerable targets because there is less chance of the person retaliating or going to the authorities, teachers or members of management. They can get away with making others feel miserable without worrying about being disciplined or punished. Friends or family members are often the ones who notice the subtle changes in their family member or associate and take steps to resolve the problem.
- Drop in grades or work performance
- Unkempt appearance
- Refuses to try new things or meet new people
- Unexpected changes in weight (extreme loss or gain)
It is more difficult to see the changes in an adult unless you have close contact them with on a daily basis or they are a co-worker you spend several hours with each day. Children, on the other hand, begin to display signs within a relatively short time. While unexpected mood changes may be the first things that are noticed, a significant drop in grades can eventually be the indicator of how severe the abuse and bullying has become.
Methods of social or emotional bullying can take many forms. Some are more obvious than others and are easily perpetuated within a group setting. The resulting actions are similar to a domino effect with one person starting the taunting that leads to the entire group becoming active participants.
Methods of social or emotional bullying : Refusing to allow someone to participate in a group activity is common among children and teens. Choosing to purposely single out one person and refusing them the ability to participate in an activity or event is also a form of discrimination. In a school setting, a child who is intentionally not allowed to participate in a game can endure emotional upset and have their feelings hurt. Teachers often watch for this type of behavior and try to prevent it whenever possible. They encourage children to interact with others and stay within social norms when it comes to playing fair.
Methods of social or emotional bullying : Socially berating or targeting an individual through words or actions can be hurtful and demeaning. Name calling, taunts, berating comments and starting rumors are all facets of emotional bullying. For bullies who are unwilling to use physical means to taunt their victims, verbal threats are used. In some cases, these types of tactics cause more harm than physical actions. The scars left behind by hurtful words last for years and are often thought of when the victim is alone or depressed making the situation worse.
Methods of social or emotional bullying : Using tactics that are intended to humiliate or degrade another person such as displaying images of a person that have been altered to make them seem unappealing or lacking in intelligence affect a person’s reputation and character. Bullying tactics of this sort are common in teens as well as in the workplace. A bully that uses these types of tactics strives to make themselves more important than those around them.
In recent years, bullying has become socially unacceptable, especially forms of social and emotional bullying. Federal agencies and school systems across the country are encouraging friends, family members and citizens in general to watch for signs of bullying and step up to put a stop to the situation. Statistics suggest that victims are reluctant to report their bullies because they fear continuing harassment and repercussions. The more support a victim has, the more likely they are to defend themselves against their abuser.
If you know someone or see someone who you think is being bullied. Talk to them. Find out their story and let them know they are not alone. Encourage them to seek help from local authorities, a school official or a member of management. By showing them even a modest amount of support, it reinforces the fact they aren’t alone and will not have to face the situation by themselves.