Being bullied when we were young can have long-lasting adverse effects, particularly if we were sensitive and socially anxious as children.
The form that bullying takes can be both overt (blatant and obvious) or much more subtle, The subtle forms of bullying are more difficult to detect, but they include :
– betraying a trust
– excluding people
– isolating people
– making unreasonable demands
– innuendo and gossip
When the above techniques are used to bully others, they will also be accompanied by a deliberate attempt to control and/or exclude the person on the receiving end of the bullying. Bullying also involves victimization, humiliation and intimidation.
EFFECTS OF BULLYING :
Bullying can create social anxiety or reinforce and exacerbate existing social anxiety. Five main areas it can affect in this regard are :
1) Effects on our beliefs
2) Effects on our attention
3) Effects on our behaviours
4) Effects on our self-consciousness
5) Effects on our assumptions.
Let’s look at each of these 5 types of effects in turn :
1) Effects on our beliefs – e.g. people cannot be trusted, I am unacceptable to others, people will always exclude and reject me, I do not belong etc
2) Effects on our attention – constantly and/or obsessively checking on how people are responding to us e.g. are they frowning? do they look bored? do they look irritated? etc. Often, this goes hand-in-hand with imagining a person disapproves of us when there is, in fact, no objective reason to suppose this
3) Effects on our behaviours – e.g. excessive need for the approval of others, becoming withdrawn and ‘keeping ourselves to ourselves’, behaving according to expectations of others at the cost of our own individuality
4) Effects upon self-consciousness – excessive worry about how we behave/look/speak, excessive concern about offending others, easily embarrassed by even the smallest social error/indiscretion etc.
5) Effects on our assumptions – e.g. living by the policy that, in social situations, ‘attack is the best form of defence’ leading to over-aggression towards others, the assumption that everyone will take advantage of us, the assumption that we must not get involved with anyone in a position of authority and influence etc.
David Hosier BSc Hons ; MSc ; PGDE(FAHE).