8 Things Victims of Bullying Should Never Do

Common sense advice for victims of bullying

Sad young teen staring at fence

Bullying is all about power and control. But if victims of bullying refuse to give away their power, they will cope with the bullying much more effectively than someone who gives into victim-thinking. Here are eight common sense things victims of bullying should never do when battling the bully in their lives.

“Don’t embrace what other people say about you.”

Bullying has the potential to define you, if you allow it.

Instead, remind yourself of who you really are. Surround yourself with friends that speak positively into your life and make a list of your strengths. Other things you can do include practicing positive thinking, reframing your thinking and repeating positive affirmations. The goal is to drown out the negativity so that the bully's words do not take root.

“Don’t blame yourself.”

Many times, when kids are bullied they feel they did something to deserve it. But that is not true. Bullying is always a choice made by the bully. Being different in some way would not have stopped the bullying from taking place. Instead of engaging in self-blame, place the blame and responsibility for bullying on the bully’s shoulders where it belongs. Self-blame keeps you locked in victim mode.  

“Don’t plot revenge.”

The bully has won if you are thinking about revenge. Thoughts of revenge come from feeling weak or helpless.

To alleviate those feelings, it is normal to fantasize about revenge. But remember, revenge will not only make things worse, but it also makes you a bully too. Instead, refocus your energy on your goals and what you want to accomplish. Don’t let bullies steal your time and energy. Do something positive instead of stooping to their level.


“Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.”

When you are able to laugh with other people, they have no power over you. Remember, bullies are hoping to get a negative reaction from you. They want you to cry, be upset or rattled by what they say. If, instead, you laugh along with them, they have failed to humiliate you. They might even move on and no longer target you.

“Don’t try to handle bullying on your own.”

Bullying is a complex problem that requires adult intervention. Tell your parents, a teacher or another trusted adult when you are being bullied or cyberbullied. The only way to end the problem is to expose it. Bullies gain power every time you remain silent. And most of the time, the bullying will continue to escalate until you tell someone.

“Don’t isolate yourself.”

When you are being bullied, it is a natural reaction to avoid going to school and to stop hanging out with your friends. But, having a support network is important. If your friends are the bullies, look for ways to develop new friendships. One way to do that, is to participate in outside activities. Also, be sure to communicate regularly with your parents, a trusted adult or a guidance counselor. To recover from bullying, you need to talk about your feelings and find healthy ways of coping with the situation.

“Don’t compromise who you are in order to fit in.”

Many times, kids will use peer pressure and bullying in order to control others. Girls, especially, will use relational aggression, name-calling and mean girl behavior to manipulate other girls. Do not join in, because groups like this are not loyal. Eventually, you could become the next victim of bullying. You also need to be able to look yourself in the mirror and like who you see looking back at you. Be true to who you are no matter how much you want to be liked by others. 

“Don’t hurt yourself because of bullying.”

Every day the news features stories about suicide and self-harm in response to bullying.

While tragic and sad, these are not wise ways to deal with the pain of bullying. If you hurt yourself, you are allowing the bully to win. The bully no longer has to hurt you, because you are willing to inflict the pain yourself. Remember, even in the toughest situations, there is always hope. Talk to a trusted adult or contact a suicide hotline if you are considering harming yourself or if you feel depressed and lonely. Never embrace the idea that hurting yourself is the answer.

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