and words can also kill me.
It seems to be common misbelief that people cannot hurt others with their words, but you look at the reality of it, words can hurt just as much, if not more as sticks and stones that people throw at you.
In my previous post on bullying I discussed 6 Signs Someone May Be Being Bullied, but it has recently occurred to me that a lot of people don’t seem to know what constitutes as bullying. People seem to think that bullying is only physical, but that’s not the case in the slightest. Bullying can take place in a variety of different forms, which is what I will be discussing in this article.
To start things off, I thought it would be appropriate to address what the U.S. Government constitutes as bullying. According to stopbullying.gov, for a behavior to be considered bullying, there must be a power imbalance in which one uses their power—such as embarrassing information, strength, etc.—to control and/or harm others and the behavior must also be repetitive or has the potential to be repetitive (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services). In some cases it can and will be easier to decipher if a behavior or series of behaviors are bullying, but in other cases it will be a lot more difficult especially if it’s not a physical behavior.
As I said previously, bullying is often seen as solely being physical, which isn’t necessarily always the case. I believe that people believe it’s an overall physical occurrence because it’s easier to see cuts, bruises and so on, while it’s not as easy to notice that someone’s moods and behaviors have significantly changed over a period of time. Emotional and mental damages are a lot more difficult to detect especially because it seems as if people are very good at masking what they are thinking or feeling unless they are seeking help from others. I mean, if you think about your friends, family and co-workers, it’s not always unusual that their moods and behaviors change; however, these “natural” changes usually happen over a long period of time, while changes from being bullied seem to happen more quickly. So, it’s important to keep a close eye on someone who you think may be being bullied for these sudden changes that may occur—especially because mental and emotional bullying can lead to serious damages.
People think that if they call someone a name that they’ll get over it the next day, but you have no idea what could be going on with that person and how much that one negative comment can affect them. For someone with low self-esteem who is going through a lot in their life at their breaking point, a single word can lead them to suicide. Take the word “worthless” for example, it seems like an insignificant word that can do no harm, but if that’s the only word that is being yelled and screamed at a person day in, day out, then it’s going to have a significant impact. And don’t forget about rumors, there’s a reason they’re referred to as “vicious.”
Rumors start at a young age and follow you throughout your life; there’s no escaping them even when you think you have, it’s only a matter of time before one pops up again. Some rumors are started on in good fun, but you never really know how it can and will affect someone. Rumors are actually a type of bullying, it’s considered to be verbal bullying much like when someone makes fun of another person. Words can hurt and they can lead someone down a path that neither they nor anyone that they know could have seen them walking down. So make sure you think twice before starting a rumor or telling someone how worthless you think they are. It can potentially cause a lot more damage than a physical injury.
We all know that when we’re physically injured whether from being bullied or some other circumstance, it’s painful. The thing about physical injuries is that people have tendency to heal from them easier and more quickly than someone who is damaged emotionally. When you’re hurt emotionally, it’s as if a knife has been plunged into you and turned over and over again just to cause more damage. That feeling, that pain stays with you wherever you go and you just cannot escape it because words can stick with you, forming into a belief that you are what they say even if that’s not the case. Emotional and mental damages are nothing to joke about because they can and do cause a lot of pain for the person experiencing it. Yes, there are circumstances in which being physically injured can lead to life-long problems or even death, but think back to the worst physical pain you experienced in your life and compare it to an instance where you experienced emotional pain. Which hurt worse for you, which went away quicker and took less time to heal? Being injured either physically or mentally/emotionally can both lead to death, but it’s best that you’re aware that they both hurt a tremendous amount no matter which way you look at it.
At the end of the day bullying is bullying and whether it’s physical, mental or emotional, it can and will hurt others in ways that the person doing the bullying may never even imagine. People need to understand that just because they say something that may be hurtful that a person will bounce back from it easier than if they were physically injured. Words can and do cut deep, so be careful of what you say to others and always think before you speak.
The question you’re probably asking yourself now is, “What do I do if I or someone I know is being verbally, mentally or emotionally bullied?” As was mentioned in my previous article, don’t ignore it, do something! If you’re the one being bullied, tell someone, let them know what’s going on. If you know someone who is being bullied don’t just watch it happen. Be there for that person as a comfort, be that person they can turn to and let them know they aren’t alone. Remember that sometimes just being there is enough, but if it’s not and you’re really concerned make sure to take steps to get further assistance with handling the situation.
Until next time, stay safe and be proactive in the fight against bullying!
Retrieved from Department of Health and Human Services website: http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/definition/index.html
Please leave comments and questions below; I’ll make sure to answer here or in a new post!
Photo Credit: Lisa monster
Posted on April 10, 2012 by Felicia