How do I make bullying not affect me?


How do you ensure that bullying doesn’t affect you? If it’s going on for a long time and its making you depressed but you can’t go away from it

crying girl

Expecting bullying not to affect you is unrealistic. It can cause PTSD. The emotional depression is real and not a sign of weakness. It’s what happens when you are traumatized repeatedly by bullies.

There are things you can do to minimize the harm being done. It involves emotionally distancing yourself from what is happening. You do this by developing feelings of compassion and pity for the people bullying you. It sounds counterintuitive but it works.
Here’s the basic technique. First: Take a deep breath from the stomach. Make sure to practice breathing deep and make sure the belly button goes out. We carry tension in our stomach muscles and intentionally relaxing them by breathing in deep from the belly helps us relax those muscles and keeps them from getting tight.

Second: Remind yourself to feel sorry for these jerks. They are so damaged they are attempting to damage other people. That’s sad. When you do this – you will stop thinking of yourself and your pain and focus on their pain. This feels better immediately.
Third, get away from them. Strategize your schedule to avoid them if possible.

The better approach – done in concert with the above is to figure out how to get them to stop. Bullies are creatures of habit. Start documenting their habits and then develop a strategy to get them to stop.

You need a neutral response to their taunts. Something you can say that will let them know you aren’t bothered by them, but what they did was not ok and they are kind of pathetic. Short and sweet is best – and polite. You are going for neutral calm. So – “that’s not ok” is sufficient. You have to say this while making eye contact (or as close to it as you feel comfortable) and being calm. It is best to practice saying this out loud in a role play with a friend.

You don’t need to argue with them. Just – one standard response said calmly with eye contact in a bored tone of voice. Doesn’t matter what they say – it’s it’s no ok – say so – just say so in a bored unemotional way. You REALLY have to practice this.

What this will do is remove the reward for bullying you. You will be boring and not fun to bully and they will look increasingly bad if they continue. What the bully will do in response to you doing this is to escalate. They are going to try and get you to go back to doing what you had done before. Don’t take the bait. Continue with your chosen phrase “that’s not ok.” That’s all you ever have to say. Just do it consistently – like 100% of the time they challenge you.

They will continue to escalate (this is called an extinction burst, it’s part of the process and it means what you are doing is working). As they escalate and their behavior becomes worse, it’s going to get more and more obvious to the people witnessing it – that what is going on isn’t ok. Eventually people will start to intervene.

You need to document everything and start reporting them to. Every time they continue to hassle you – document and report. It is the consistency over time that makes these situations stop. Join this website and poke around for more information and access the toolkit to help you develop a strategy to stop bullying. (available free – see site for details).

(originally posted on Quora)