A black eye or broken bone might heal, but the emotional wounds can remain for years. While we all may want a world where everyone gets along and shows respect, there will always be those who will prey on the weak.
In recent years more attention has been given to the effects of being bullied. Oftentimes people who are victimized in this way can face a wide-range of problems even years after the incidents. Research has shown that chronic low self-esteem, health problems, poor job performance, and an inability to stick up for one’s self are but a few problems bullied children face as adults. Sometimes the victims turn into abusers as they become adults and repeat the cycle.
Establishing self-respect, setting healthy boundaries and enforcing them is a learned skill that I can teach as well as help heal the wounds to the psyche. While I usually see adults in my therapy practice, I will see teenagers that are willing to get help. I would love to help heal a child soon after the abuse rather than decades afterwards when they are adults that have had their lives ruined due to the psychological damage suffered at an early age.
Bullying comes in many forms. It does not have to be physical violence. Emotional scarring can remain long after any physical bruise or broken bone heals. The damage can last decades if the wounds are never attended to. Depression, anger, anxiety and PTSD are a few of the diagnoses a person can endure. The shame and embarrassment can make a person not willing to want to even admit that they might need help.
Parents, if you suspect your teen is being victimized there are things you can look for. Some of these include:
- Isolating one’s self
- Being socially withdrawn
- Poor academic performance
- Appetite changes
- Being abusive toward one’s younger siblings or pets
- Being depressed, or socially anxious
Sadly, sometimes it can be an adult that is bullying the child. While many teachers or other adults in a position of power are wonderful at their jobs, some of them can be the bully. This is especially harmful because children can often be told to trust and respect adults. When that trust is misplaced or abused the child can blame themselves. They may believe they deserve what they’ve gotten.
Keep in mind, your child might not want to tell you what’s going on because they may feel a lot of shame and also fear of being further embarrassed in the eyes of their peers. Victims want the pain to stop but will often do everything they can to deny, minimize, justify, or deny what’s been done to them.
Simply reporting the abuse to other adults does not always help. The bullies may wait until there are no adults around to victimize their prey. Additionally the target of this abuse will have to one day learn to stick up for themselves if they want the abuse to stop. Sadly, bullies can eventually turn in an abusive boss that will prey upon whoever they think they can.
My hope for you would be to help you restore self-confidence, release the trauma, set healthy boundaries, and give you the ability to find our own strength that is within. As your learn how to truly see your own self-worth and value yourself you make yourself less vulnerable to the effects of being bullied. While bullies may be a part of life, their actions don’t have to be something you are condemned to live with.