Learning to control your emotions when you are fearful or angry.
Bullying takes an emotional toll. It is very easy to become fearful, have anticipatory anxiety about what will happen next and to get angry that people are making you feel so afraid. Fear leads to anger and anger leads to hate. Learning how to calm yourself down so that a) you don’t succumb to the fear and b) so you can respond strategically to get a bully to leave you alone is an important life skill to learn. And it is learn-able.
The first step is to acknowledge your own emotions. When you get worked up – think about what it is you are feeling. Are you angry, upset, fearful, a combination of the above. By acknowledging your emotions, you take some of the power away from them. You aren’t at the mercy of them, you are able to think outside the emotion to know – ahhhh- – this is why I am feeling the way I am – I am afraid.
Emotions are physical sensations. It isn’t always clear what you are feeling. But taking the time to think about it and label what you are feeling, you become slightly more rational about the experience.
Once you recognize that you are experiencing fear, now you can decide what to do about that. Is your fear justified? Irrational? Overstated given what is happening? This is harder to do and don’t worry if you have trouble with it. The point of even asking yourself these questions is to get yourself out of your own head.
If you are in the throws of fear sensations, it may feel catastrophic, when in reality – what is happening is someone was rude to you. If you can step back, even just a little bit from your emotional turmoil, you can get a little bit more perspective and control over your emotions. You can experience the emotions without feeling like you have to act on your emotions. And this last bit is important.
If you are going to respond strategically – you need to not act upon your emotions. You need to chose your response and you can only do that if you acknowledge your emotions but don’t act on them.
If you have made it this far, congratulations. Now, the question is – what response is going to work to make this stop. Once you ask this – you can be strategic.
The answer is: You act in a way that denies the bully their reward while remaining calm. Don’t ignore them. Respond in a way that the bully doesn’t like, while still being calm and polite so that you don’t get in trouble, but they do.
Having something you can say that is factual – like – stop or I will report you. will do the trick. And if they don’t stop – report them. This wasn’t a command you gave them. It was a statement of fact, if they don’t stop – you will report them. And then report them.
They should learn very quickly that a) they aren’t upsetting you and b) that bullying you isn’t worth the hassle you are going to give them by virtue of reporting them.
A note of caution. If you chose this route – don’t let them get away with what they are doing ever. Once you take this approach – you must respond to every infraction by them the same way – stop or I will report. If they stop – thank them. If they don’t – report them. You are doing yourself and others and the bully a favor by reporting them. You really are.
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