7 Unhealthy Responses to Bullying

Things a victim of bullying should never do


When it comes to healing from bullying, there are healthy ways to overcome the effects of bullying and there are unhealthy ways. Unfortunately, once a child experiences bullying, they may gravitate toward unhealthy ways of coping if they are not guided through the healing process. Here are the seven most common unhealthy responses to bullying that parents should watch for.

Plotting revenge. Bullying is a painful and humiliating experience.

And some kids want to get even with bullies for the hurt another person has caused. As a result, they may spend time plotting ways to get even. This might include everything from cyberbullying the person who targeted them to enlisting the help of others to hurt the bully. Whatever the means, it is never healthy to seek revenge against a bully no matter how horrendous his actions.

Engaging in bullying behavior. Many times victims of bullying become bully-victims and start targeting people weaker than them. The root cause of this behavior is that the victim feels powerless from being bullied. So to regain a sense of power and control in their lives they begin bullying others. It is a vicious cycle that needs to come to an end.

Dwelling on the bullying. Some kids just cannot stop thinking about the bullying they experienced. They replay the incident over and over, long after the bullying has ended.

These kids need help reframing the bullying experience. Help them learn to stop these thoughts and think about positive things or set future goals. Sometimes kids who struggle to stop thinking about a traumatic incident would benefit from outside counseling.

Owning what the bully said. When bullying was ongoing for a long time, victims will sometimes begin to believe what the bully said.

They allow the negative words and actions to define who they are and lose sight of their true identity. In other words, if a bully calls them loser every day, the victim will begin to own this and believe they truly are a loser. The best way to overcome this type of thinking is to get your child to focus on the positives. Also take steps to help improve their self-esteem.

Embracing victim thinking. Some kids who are bullied cannot let go of the fact that they were victimized. As a result, they struggle to become an overcomer. Instead, they dwell on the injustice of bullying. Sometimes they even latch onto the attention that being victimized gets them. But victim thinking is harmful. When a child holds onto or embraces being a victim, he then feels like a victim in every situation he is faced with. He begins to believe everything bad that happens in life is someone else’s fault.

Engaging in self-destructive behaviors. Sometimes kids who are bullied will resort to self-destructive behaviors as a coping mechanism for the pain.

For instance, some kids engage in self-harm or entertain thoughts of suicide. Meanwhile, other bullied kids may develop eating disorders or struggle with sleep disorders. If you notice any of these tendencies in your child, you need to contact a doctor right away. Kids benefit significantly from getting the treatment they need for these conditions.

Remaining silent about bullying. It is not uncommon for victims of bullying to remain silent about what they are experiencing. Bullying is a painful and humiliating experience and talking about it often causes embarrassment. Victims of bullying often worry that others will believe that they deserve the treatment or agree with the bully. For this reason, it is crucial that parents and educators are able to recognize the signs of bullying. Kids should never ben expected to handle a bullying situation on their own. In fact, with proper intervention the bullying will end and they can go on to live a happy and productive life.

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