Anti-Bullying Week 2021: The Impact of Bullying
It may have happened years ago but the effects are still there, the tears are quick to return even at the mere fleeting of a thought of the enormity of the bullying. The lack of acceptance, the loneliness, the heartbreak, the tragic feeling of having no one to talk to. It’s as though I were invisible in a world I didn’t belong and didn’t want to be a part of. I could never think of a reason why it happened and why only to me, what was wrong with me, was I that unlovable, was I that different, why didn’t anyone care enough to want to get to know me.
I tried on many different hats, tried being so many different people just to fit in, the intellectual one, the funny one, the quirky one, but they were just masks that could never encompass the person I actually was; a combination of so many different facets. I felt constantly consumed within my isolation, I’d look at the other students smiling and laughing and having fun and wondered so tirelessly why I couldn’t have that too.
The impact of bullying on children
I felt sad all the time, cried many nights, lost myself in my head, wracking my brain for an explanation as to why I didn’t fit in. I found it hard to trust people, talking about my feelings felt shameful, almost selfish, I internalised so much I created gut issues that still affect me now. For quite some time I didn’t want to be seen, never wanted to look in a mirror and couldn’t maintain eye contact in fear of being rejected all over again.
The effects of bullying are very far reaching, can takes years to heal and changes a person’s trajectory in a way they never anticipated. Although now I can look at myself in mirrors, and maintain eye contact I find it very hard to trust people, I find it hard to talk about feelings, in fact I find it hard to connect to my feelings as I don’t want to feel consumed by them. I don’t like groups, talking in them or being part of them. I like to be behind the scenes, I like to create things but not be centre stage.
But most of all I lack a kind of self-confidence that I admire in others. I still feel shame, I still don’t love myself as much as I should, I still doubt myself and my abilities. Bullying goes deep, the effects are like roots which can take hold of every asset of your being. To entangle myself has taken years of self-work, years of therapy, years of trying to heal.
I’m not saying everyone’s journey will be the same as mine, I just want my voice heard, especially from that little child who so desperately wanted to be accepted and heard and most of all loved.
The Anti-Bullying Alliance’s ‘One Kind Word’ Campaign
Many of us will know how it feels to be hurt by someone’s words or actions. Even as adults we may sometimes find it difficult to deal with insults or aggressive behaviour, so it is easy for us to understand the harsh impact that bullying can have on a child.
Bullying is considered an adverse childhood experience (ACE), which is a traumatic experience that can have long term effects. Bullying can have a destructive influence on a child’s emotional and physical development, school performance, and mental and physical health. These effects can often be carried into adulthood, limiting their ability to interact and connect with the world.
The wider impacts of bullying
There are negative consequences for everyone involved, including the victim’s family, the children who witness bullying, and the children who bully. It is vital that we all play our part in supporting our younger generation to overcome this social issue, the question is how?
Watch this 30 second video by The Anti-Bullying Alliance. ‘One Kind Word’ is the theme they have chosen for Anti-Bullying week, which will run from 15 to 19 November 2021.
Words are like spells. Never underestimate the power of your words. When used with love and care; they can heal, transform, and inspire. Let’s be mindful with our words and set the intention to cast spells of kindness everywhere we go. Kindness is contagious, so let’s infect everyone we meet in the hope that we can build a happier new world for everyone.
Find out more about Anti-Bulling week and how you can get involved in stopping bullying.
By Cassie Wilson
Safe Space Support Worker
If you need support, please reach out to the below services:
National Bullying helpline: 0300 323 0169
Childline: 0800 1111
Free national helpline for children and young people in danger and distress. Also booklets on bullying
Kidscape Campaign for Children’s Safety
Parents Advice Line 020 7823 5430
Telephone helpline providing support for parents and produce free parents guides on issues relating to bullying. Also run one day courses for children who have been severely bullied.
Education Otherwise Association Ltd – Telephone information and support for families who wish to educate their children outside school
Advisory Centre for Education – Helpline offering advice on special education needs, exclusions, admissions, bullying
Posted on: 12th November 2021