I want to share a video from SAFE International Sydney director Jeff Phillips. In this video he addresses the topic of bullying from his experience as a self defense instructor, school teacher, and as one who experienced bullying in his younger years. Please watch the video and I will offer some additional thoughts after.
In a short time Jeff offers some excellent tips in addressing bullying. Far too often all the focus is put on the bully and how to deal with them, when in fact the victim of the bullying has many strategies that they might implement to stop it. Here is how I internalized what Jeff was saying with a few of my own thoughts as well.
1) Accountability - the one constant in any scenario is you, so if you are the victim of bullying you have a part in it whether you try to ignore it or no. Is that victim blaming? No, it is accepting one is a participant whether by choice or not. Once one establishes they have some ownership they are able to become an active participant in stopping it rather than just hoping it will stop or that someone else will stop it. Taking accountability provides some initial strength and confidence to move forward in dealing with it. Far too often people think if they ignore something it will just go away, but nothing could be further from the truth. Most times it will get worse and continue in all phases of your life. Also, people think that if they can just wait till they get out of high school it will stop, or if they move jobs, or move cities, it will stop. It will never stop until one changes their actions. Stopping the bullying starts with changing oneself first.
2) Tell Someone - it is far too easy to also blame the teachers for not stepping in and doing anything. If a teacher does not know, they can't help. Sadly, teachers are expected to do so much more than just teach these days, but with some pretty large class sizes, it is impossible for them to know what is going on with each and every student. I also agree the vast majority of teachers would be more than willing to help, but you need to tell them. If one teacher does not listen, tell another and on and on till someone listens to you. If not a teacher, tell a friend. If not a friend, tell someone you respect. Many do not tell out of fear that they appear to be a snitch or weak. If it is happening to you, it is happening to others so you might be saving someone else from similar bullying.
3) Outwit/Outsmart Them - this is an excellent idea cause the bully loves having the ability to control their victim. As Jeff mentions, what they might be making fun of might actually be a positive for you if you really think about it. Admittedly it does take some level of self-esteem to realize this, but sit down, think about their words and think of a positive because as Jeff says, your perceived limitations might be an opportunity. And they are JUST WORDS! Those words used to hurt or control you only have the power you allow them to have. If you can make the bully see that their words no longer have any power, they often lose their motivation since they are no longer getting the payoff they want.
4) Violence Might be The Answer - mention the word violence in front of a school adminstrator and the often cringe and say there is no tolerance for it particularly on school property. But you know what? They are not the ones being followed, taunted, verbally abused, physically abused day after day so easy for them to say. In fact I once had a conversation with a school Principal on this topic and how they had zero tolerance in regards to fighting back or defending oneself. When I turned the tables and asked if the bullying was happening to their son or daughter they became very uncomfortable and said that was not fair for me to make it personal, but the answer was obvious that they had a different answer when it was their loved one. Violence is a last resort, but might be necessary in order to survive. Make no mistake, bullying is anti-social violence that may appear as seemingly harmless comments, pushes or kids just being kids, but bullying has also resulted in many cases of death and everyone has the right to defend themselves.
5) Reach Out ForSupport - already mentioned above in regards to telling a teacher, but seek out others who have experienced bullying, how they dealt with it, seek out a coach like Jeff who has experience in teaching this sensitive topic. Do not let it keep eating away at you day after day as I can promise you there are people who will and want to help.
FOR MORE INFO on Jeff Phillips and SAFE International Sydney, visit his Facebook page by going here: https://www.facebook.com/safesydney/ or http://www.safeinternational.biz/local/sydney-australia/self-defence-classes-sidney-australia.html