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Break the silence on bullying

Nurturing

TALK TO SOMEONE?If you are being bullied at school, tell someone you trust.

Mind Matters
Jannah Walshe

Bullying is not going away. It’s here to stay. There will always be bullies and there will always be people who are bullied. However, this does not mean that we have to turn a blind eye. Its silence that allows it to continue to the scale it does.
School is where a lot of bullying happens for young people. For some people, school is a breeze, for others it is a living hell. Bullying takes many different forms. Here, I name just a few. This list is far from comprehensive and is just the tip of the iceberg, as anyone who has experienced bullying knows.
Physical bullying can consist of kicking, hitting, biting, pinching, hair pulling and making threats.
Verbal bullying can include name calling, spreading rumours and persistent teasing.
Emotional bullying is the deliberate exclusion, humiliation and putting down of others. It preys on the person’s already low self-esteem.
Sexual bullying is unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments.
Cyberbullying is one or a group of children using electronic means, such as computers and mobile phones to torment, threaten, harass, humiliate, embarrass and target others.
Bullying is being cruel to someone who is perceived as weaker than you. It is about making yourself feel superior to someone else. Most of the time it’s about insecurity because someone who is completely secure and confident in their life would not feel the need to belittle someone else.
If you have ever been bullied, you may be able to relate to dread it causes. You may remember the dread you felt at the thought of going into school, the reasons you would invent to avoid going in, the anxiety, the stomach churning, the relief you felt when it was time to go home. However, once you got home, your mind would race going over everything that happened that day. Or, nowadays, the bullying continues online.
If you are being bullied, choose someone you can trust to really hear and believe you, and tell them what is happening to you. It can seem overwhelming and scary to speak to someone about this, but it is a vital step in getting some support for yourself. If you don’t feel like you can talk about it out loud or face to face, write it down or put it in an email to someone you can trust.
If feel like you’re not being taken seriously, or if no action is taken, it doesn’t mean that what’s happening is okay. Tell someone else, and keep at it until something changes.
If you are a parent, check in with your children and teenagers from time to time. Let them know that they can talk to you without repercussions. Also, speak to them about bullying from both sides. Teach and show them about what respect for others looks like. This is too important an issue to ignore.

More information on bullying can be found at www.alustforlife.com, www.spunout.ie, and www.education.ie.

>  Jannah Walshe is a counsellor and psychotherapist based in Castlebar and Westport. A fully accredited member of The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, she can be contacted via www.jannahwalshe.ie, or at info@jannahwalshe.ie or 085 1372528.

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