If you are being bullied, or suspect you might be, you are not alone. Bullying happens to young people everywhere.
No matter what, it’s not your fault. The good news is that you can take steps to protect yourself and stop bullying – wherever it’s happening.
How it feels
Everyone who is being bullied has a different experience. If you’re being bullied, here are some things you might be feeling:
Many young people who are being bullied feel trapped and scared. You might find yourself imagining future episodes of bullying.
You might find yourself wondering what you did to provoke the bullying, and feeling bad about it. Whatever you have done in the past, you don’t deserve to be bullied. It’s not your fault.
You might think a lot about how you can fight back, or get revenge on the person who is bullying you. Being angry is a natural response to bullying, but know that aggression and violence are not the right answer.
You might be embarrassed or ashamed that this is happening to you, which can make you want to keep the bullying a secret. Try to remember that being bullied doesn’t make you weak, and reaching out for help is a sign of strength and courage.
Bullying can make a lot of people sad. Sadness is a normal response to being hurt, and bullying is very hurtful.
Being bullied – even if no one’s hurting you physically – can really hurt. In fact, emotional pain can last longer than physical pain. If you’re experiencing bullying, you might also find that you’re more sensitive to other kinds of pain, or that you get more stomach aches or headaches than usual.
What to do
Reporting bullying isn’t tattling – it’s self-protection and it’s your right. Check your school’s anti-bullying policy to learn the process for reporting bullying (ask your Principal, VP, or any staff in the Main Office to see a copy). If you don’t want to report the bullying directly to your school or the police, try to think of an adult you trust, such as a parent or teacher, who can help you feel supported and give you advice.
Keeping a record of bullying incidents, saving harassing texts, and taking a screen shot of abusive posts can help your case if you do decide to tell an authority about the bullying.
Having people around that you can count on can help you feel better while you are dealing with bullying. Try opening up to people you trust about what you are going through, and don’t be afraid to ask them for help.
If you feel embarrassed to let your friends know you are being bullied, try to keep in mind that most young people disapprove of bullying behaviour, and will most likely be on your side. Our Self Quest online tool can help you figure out who in your life will support you .
Staying physically and emotionally safe is the most important thing to do while you are dealing with bullying. Ask yourself: How can I stay safe while I’m around the person who is bullying me? You might want to walk with a friend to school, avoid certain routes around your neighbourhood, or temporarily close your Facebook account. If you need help coming up with a safety plan, you can always contact Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.
Take care of yourself
It can be stressful going through bullying, so try to be kind to yourself. Eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and staying active and social can help keep you healthy as you go through this difficult time. Writing about how you’re feeling in a journal can improve your mood and help you find solutions to your situation.
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Last Reviewed October 2012 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team