By: Nick Bloodworth, MFTA, MA Psychology
Bullying happens to numerous individuals. Not only do school children experience bullying, but college students and those in the workforce can fall prey to it. It can happen to anyone. When someone is bullied, they lose their sense of control to the bully. The power the bullies have over their victim is the reason they target individuals in the first place. Typically, the victim will have something that the bully does not have or wants. It can range from material belongings, special privileges, professional status, to some need that the bully has not found to fulfill in their own life. Bullies seek out individuals to beat up or push around so that they may feel superior. This is an effort to appease their own inadequacies. The bully will continue this pattern of behavior towards an individual because they must maintain the power they obtained the first time. Hence, the vicious cycle follows.
Some will say that bullying is nothing more than a part of growing up. However, bullying can have terrible consequences and ultimately lead to a broad range of destruction. Bullying can lead a person to experience depression, substance abuse, or suicide. But bullying doesn’t have to control all aspects of the victim’s life. Overcoming the trauma and scarring (emotional and physical) that results from the torment and ridicule can be a hard battle. People often feel humiliated and isolated which can torture victims for years after the bullying has ceased.
Therapy is often suggested as a means to coping with the trauma of the bullying. I utilize one of the most effective styles of therapy for healing the emotional distress caused by bullying: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Utilizing CBT, I teach individuals to better understand personal thoughts and feelings related to the bullying situation and how those thoughts and feelings affect actions and responses. Often, people are unaware of their destructive thoughts and behaviors because they have used them as a means to cope with the situations they have been put through. The experience of falling victim to bullying damages a person’s confidence, making it impossible to trust anyone, including themselves. CBT will help an individual in regaining their confidence and taking control back of their life and their future. Over time, individuals will no longer be a hostage of their past.