In Bullying Tips

Bullies, the Bullied and Self Pity

Self Pity

When bullies target their victims, they do so because they don’t feel good about themselves. Some of them may experience feelings of self pity and, to make themselves feel better, they go after their chosen victims. As their victims experience more and more bullying and cyber bullying, they may also begin feeling sorry for themselves, wondering how they are going to stop the cycle of bullying so they can resume a normal life. 

Over time, victim and bully both find themselves caught in a cycle of taunting, bullying, self pitying and trying to pull out of this useless emotion. If they are successful, they will come out on the opposite side, growing stronger from everything they have experienced.

Self Pity Definition 

People – adults and teens – begin to feel sorry for themselves because they believe they have had more bad experiences than others they know. The official definition: “Pity for oneself; a self-indulgent dwelling on one’s own sorrows or misfortunes,” according to Merriam-Webster Take a look at the words “self-indulgent:” The person indulges themselves with feelings of pity. “Poor me! I’ve experienced more bad stuff than anyone I know!” When you define self pity, you may believe that it’s a normal reaction to everything you’ve experienced as you’ve been bullied. It is a natural reaction. But you should indulge yourself for only a short period of time. Acknowledge your bad feelings, anger and sadness. Then resolve to take control of your situation with the help of family and friends you trust.

As you talk about your experiences with someone, they may ask you, “what is self pity?” They ask you this because they see you stuck in a vicious cycle of feeling sorry for yourself, without moving beyond the “poor me” stage. Listen seriously to this question and to your friend. They want to see you move into the action stage, where you begin to face your bully and take positive steps to stop the abuse. Don’t wallow in self pity any more! Find out what you can do to stop your bullying, then do it.

Wallowing in Self Pity or What This Emotion Costs You 

Bullies manipulate their friends, family, parents and teachers by using self pity to appear to be victimized, according to StoryLine. It works like this: The bully realizes they are about to be caught and punished for their actions. To prevent this from happening, they slip into the role of the victim, rather than the bully. (Cue the bully wearing a sad face.) They do this for one reason. They want their victim to look like the bad guy so they get punished instead.

History is full of bully-victims. Richard M. Nixon, former President of the U.S., is one such person. He played the victim role perfectly, especially after he lost the presidential election in 1960. He held a press conference, in which he told the press they wouldn’t “have Nixon to kick around any more.” Did it work? Hardly. But while he was in the moment of his “victim role,” he fully believed that the press had made him into their victim. This act served to protect him from the reality that he had run a bad election.

Instead, going to someone you trust – a relative, teacher, school counselor or coworker – and explaining what is going on, then asking for suggestions on how to deal with the situation is not “playing the victim” or wallowing. Instead, it is looking realistically at your situation and trying to find a workable solution that helps you get the bullying stopped.

The Self Pitying Mentality 

What is the self pitying mentality? This is a whole range of emotions, all of them negative:

º Self pity.

º Pessimism.

º Life is out of control.

º Repressed anger.

This mentality isn’t a positive one, because the victim doesn’t progress beyond feeling sorry for themselves. They don’t come up with positive solutions that might make the bullying come to an end. Instead of thinking of talking to someone at school or a family member, they remain stuck in the “feel sorry for me” attitude. Instead of finding ways to track down a cyber bully, they communicate that they want others to pity them, according to Dr. Shirin.

We talked a while ago about bullies who fall into a self pitying attitude as they manipulate others around them. Bullies don’t claim any responsibility for their actions. Instead, they get angry and act out against their victims, saying all the while, “Well, if you’d only do what I want you to do, I wouldn’t have to mess with you!” Here’s a little secret: Bullies want others to fear them. They want others to believe that they don’t feel bad about themselves, but they do. They feel powerless against a world they believe to be heartless and cruel. When they lash out, they forget that others have feelings just like they do.

Take Responsibility for Being Bullied – Or Continue Feeling Sorry for Yourself 

You shouldn’t be bullied. Look past this fact and see what you’re doing (or not doing) that allows the bullying to keep happening. What are you actively doing to make it stop? More to the point, are you doing anything to make your bullies stop targeting you? If not, why not? If you’re sitting in your room, feeling sorry for yourself, that’s not going to make them stop.

Stop avoiding action. If that means verbally confronting your bullies, you’re going to have to decide ahead of time what you’re going to say. Tell your parents or another trusted adult. Tell your school’s principal what’s happening. If necessary, call the police, because taking even one small step can make you feel much stronger, according to Burgoyne Middle School.

If you feel angry about being targeted by bullies, this is natural. Acknowledge your feelings, then let them out in a safe, positive way. If you can release your anger by hitting a punching bag or going for a fast run, do it.

If you’re thinking that your bullying should never have happened to you, you’re on the right track, according to Psychology Today. You need to move outside yourself and remember that bad things happen to others as well. Knowing this, you are responsible for others to fix your bullying situation. Others can help, but you also have to help yourself. Think about the life you want – filled with acceptance and peace. Now, even though you are being bullied, imagine yourself being happy. Look at other areas of your life where you can create peace and find acceptance. Adopt a take-charge mentality, telling yourself, “It is what it is. I need to make life better for me, nobody else.” Slowly, you’ll start feeling stronger and more able to confront your bullying situation. One day, you may even be able to look your bullies in the eye and tell them to stop – or face the consequences.

Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself – Mental Health Effects of Bullying

Victims of bullying are more likely to develop depression and other psychological issues. Those who are more likely to be bullied may have:

º Lower self esteem even before the bullying begins.

º Shyness.

º Overprotective parents.

º Speech issues.

º Intellectual disability.

º Membership in a minority group.

While students in each of these groups are more vulnerable, it is more likely that being bullied may lead to psychological, social and health issues, according to Response Ability.

Victims of cyber bullying may try to avoid bullying and those who are bullying them. As they realize their bullies are able to reach them 24/7, they become withdrawn and depressed; their grades suffer and they may skip school. If the bullying doesn’t stop, eventually, victims of bullying and cyber bullying may develop chronic physical illnesses or attempt suicide, according to the Pleasant Valley Community School District.

Self Pity Quotes 

Survivors (not victims) of bullying can confront their feelings of self pity by finding quotes that help them understand they can rise above their situations. Some of these quotes include:

º “Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.” – Helen Keller

º “Self-pity in its early stage is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.” -Maya Angelou

º “I tell people to monitor their self-pity. Self-pity is very unattractive.” – Patty Duke

º “When I was being brought up, we weren’t allowed to wallow in self-pity, which was a thoroughly good thing. We were all fine and healthy because that was what we were told to be.” – Maeve Binchy

º “I’m a fairly tormented artist, and I’m less willing to indulge myself in self-pity, outside of songwriting.” -Dave Matthews

º “I used to have a real problem with self-pity. Every time the devil would throw a pity party, I would attend.” – Joyce Meyer

º “Self-pity is never useful. It tends to distort like a fun-house mirror.” – Anne Rolphe

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1 Comment

  • S.e. Ingraham
    Jul 07, 2015 at 08:04 pm

    Who wrote this? Please don’t pass this on without confronting the author. This an unsigned article with much unfounded “advice” about bullying, and many quotes taken out of context. I am not sharing.

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