Bullying: The Long-Term Consequences And Healing
When I was a youngster, there was no such thing as National Bullying Prevention Month. And no one referred to what occurred to me as bullying back then when a “friend” began gossiping about me behind my back and aggressively isolating me from our group of friends. Bullying, especially emotional bullying, was something you were supposed to suffer through in quiet until graduation put you (ideally) out of harm’s way.
Physical bullying was often tolerated in schools back then as well. When my brother came home with scrapes and bruises from being shoved and attacked, the school’s vice principal told my mother that he should just punch back.
When my mother questioned, perplexed, if the vice principal encouraged physical aggression in his school, he merely shrugged. (At that point, my parents decided to relocate to a different place to keep my brother safe.)
But no one ever talks about the long-term consequences of bullying, long after the cuts have healed and the insults have faded. Even now, more than 20 years after I last saw my bully, I can feel its presence in my friendships. (Which makes me wonder how youngsters nowadays keep going when the insults and ugliness are immortalized on the internet.)
Let’s take a look at the various long-term consequences of bullying
1. Lack of Ability To Trust Others
When someone is bullied, they acquire a great mistrust of other people. This may not be apparent in the child’s early years, but as they grow and mature and begin to form interactions with others, this underlying mistrust for others begins to surface and can have long-term detrimental repercussions on friendships and relationships.
Students who have been harassed or bullied at school have been connected to over 75% of school shootings in the United States. When these youngsters believe that no one cares about them, rage takes over, and school shootings occur. We could save lives by teaching children about the value of respect and acceptance.
3. Dropouts from school
It may surprise you to find that one out of every ten pupils who drop out of school did so because they were bullied. Why would someone want to go to a location where they can’t be welcomed for who they are every day if they can’t be accepted for who they are? These bullied children miss out on opportunities to grow and profit from their education.
4. Learning Capability
Children who are bullied struggle to retain information throughout the day. When kids are continually concerned about when and where they will be bullied next, adolescents spend less time learning.
Bullying has a deleterious impact on the receptors in the brain. This results in inattention and despair.
5. Academic Impact
Bullied children frequently struggle academically. Bullied children find it difficult to concentrate on their studies. In fact, one of the first symptoms that a child is being bullied is a drop in grades. Bullying may also cause children to forget about tasks or have problems paying attention in class.
Bullied children may also skip school or classes in order to escape being bullied. This technique may potentially result in lower grades. And when grades begin to slip, it adds to the stress that the harassed child is already under.
6. Social and Emotional Implications
Children who are bullied on a regular basis can suffer emotionally and socially. They not only struggle to establish friends, but they also struggle to sustain healthy friendships.
Part of this difficulty is caused by low self-esteem. A lack of self-esteem is a direct effect of the cruel and harsh remarks made by other children about them. When children are constantly branded “fat” or “losers,” they come to believe these labels.
Bullying victims may feel a range of emotions. They may experience feelings of rage, bitterness, vulnerability, helplessness, frustration, loneliness, and isolation from their peers. As a result, individuals may miss classes and turn to drugs and alcohol to dull their suffering.
7. Physical Impact
Aside from the bumps and bruises caused by physical bullying, there are also bodily expenses. Bullied children, for example, frequently develop anxiety. 2 This stress on their bodies will also result in a number of health difficulties, such as becoming sick more frequently and suffering from ulcers and other disorders caused by chronic anxiety.
Bullied children may often complain of stomachaches and headaches. Bullying may also aggravate other pre-existing illnesses such as eczema. When a youngster is bullied, skin diseases, digestive problems, and heart conditions that are increased by stress all deteriorate.
8. The Effect on Family
When a child is bullied, it is not uncommon for the child’s parents and siblings to be affected as well. Parents frequently face a variety of effects, including the sensation that they have no control over the situation.
They may also feel alone and secluded. Furthermore, they may become obsessed with the problem, often at the expense of their own health and well-being.
When their child is bullied, it is not uncommon for parents to feel a sense of failure.
They may question their parenting abilities as well as their failure to safeguard the child from bullying. They may even be concerned that they missed indicators of bullying or that they did not do enough to protect their child from bullies.
Healing From Bullying
Bullying has been shown in studies to have long-term consequences. In fact, one study discovered that peer bullying may have a bigger impact on mental health in adulthood than previously anticipated. Furthermore, the consequences may be far more severe than being abused by adults.
Remember that the experiences that people have as youngsters help shape them into the adults that they become later in life. As a result, it is not unexpected that the consequences of bullying last well into adulthood. This influences their future thinking, including how they perceive themselves and others.
How Children Can Heal
When a child is bullied, the road to healing may be more difficult than you imagine. Indeed, the impacts of bullying can linger long after the bullying has stopped. 6 Furthermore, if bullying is not addressed immediately, it can pose problems for your child later in life.
There are numerous critical actions you must take to help your child heal from bullying. These involve not only modifying your children’s perspectives on the issue but also how they perceive themselves after being bullied.
You want to ensure that your child does not let the bullying define them. Instead, they should concentrate on what they have learned and their future objectives. To begin, your youngster should acknowledge what happened to them but not dwell on it. Instead, they should concentrate on self-care and personal development.
It’s also critical to assist your child in coming to terms with the situation. And, as strange as it may sound, forgiving the bully might help your child recover from the trauma of the encounter. Remind them that vengeance will not make them happy. Instead, individuals should let go of what happened to them and concentrate on the things over which they have control.
How Can Adults Heal From Childhood Bullying?
When a youngster is bullied, the psychological damage is permanent and does not fade as the child grows older.
If you were bullied as a youngster and are still suffering from the consequences, the first step toward rehabilitation is admitting what occurred to you.
Do not reject or belittle what has happened to you. Be honest with yourself about the pain you felt.
You must also prioritize healing. Take care of yourself and think to consider speaking with a counselor about your experience. A counselor can assist you in making sense of your feelings and moving past your bullying experience.
While it may be hard to recall your childhood bullying if it is still affecting your daily life and how you see yourself, it is best to confront the issue. You’ll be on your way to healing once you’ve accepted what happened and modified your perspective on yourself and others.
It could take some time. So be gentle with yourself. However, with a little effort, you will be well on your way to a better way of thinking.
Also read: 8 Ways to Help a Child Overcome The Habit of Bullying