6 Negative Lifelong Effects Bullying Has On Victims
Bullying is a serious problem in today’s society that should concern all parents as it can have long term consequences for our children if not dealt with now. Look at all the problems occurring in today’s world in Western Society. So many people are disrespectful. Many people dealing with a variety of problems that effect their daily lives and of those around them.
Let’s look at 6 negative lifelong effects bullying has on victims so we better understand the consequences of bullying. By doing so each of us as parents can reexamine what we are actively doing in our own lives and that of our children’s to help stop it. No child today should grow up being bullied. There are enough challenges we currently face for them to have to work extra hard to overcome something we can work together to put an end to.
It is a simple decision, what kind of world do we want our children growing up in? What kind of world do you?
Let’s begin looking at serious long term effect of bullying on children.
Issues With Mental Health
One life long effect of bullying is that victims can deal with mental health problems for part or the entirety of their lives. Upon doing research I learned that studies have shown around 20% of people who were bullied as children live with mental health problems later in their lives. Some people in their 50s were shown to have mental health problems as a result of being bullied in their youth.
I interpret the stat of 20% of people who were bullied as children have problems later in life as an indication that each individual and experience are different. If the stat is to be believe than 80% of people who were bullied come out unaffected by their experiences of bullying. Maybe this is a reason why to degrees it still occurs in today’s schools and people’s preconceived conceptions of bullying.
Even today in movies and on TV to varying degrees bullying occurs. Things that might seem funny from TV SHOWS AND MOVIES in real life are a lot less so. Even though I was bullied I still find some movie/TV moments of bullying funny. I just bring this up to bring awareness that bullying is still acceptable part in our culture.
Mental health problems in adults are not always easy to identify and diagnose. The individuals themselves may not realize they have such problems that are a result of being bullied during their formative years.
I believe it is important that we as individuals and society do not put pressure on people to get over it when they share how they were bullied and the effects it had on them. Unless you or I are trained professionals in psychology and know how to help these people we should do our best to be supportive.
The last thing you or I should say to someone who says they were bullied and are dealing with mental health problems is that they should get over it already because it occurred many years ago. I hope this does not occur since the human mind is complex and what works for one individual in overcoming problems may not work the same for another.
Issues With Social Anxiety
A second effect of bullying that has long-lasting impacts on individuals is the development of social anxieties. Individuals who are bullied can learn from the experience to be nervous in any interaction with individuals or groups since it was not safe for them when they grew up. Being bullied every day and living in fear of going to school is not an ideal situation for an individual to learn how to interact with peers and society in general.
I for one now recognize within myself social anxiety as I do not like large groups of people. I find it awkward to understand and follow social customs. I often get nervous about what I am expected to do and how to react. Failing to meet those expectations leaves me feeling worse and low on self-confidence.
Had I been able to work on my social skills as a child instead of worrying and trying to avoid being bullied during my youth I might be better now at this. Childhood is supposed to be a time in life where they learn how to interact socially with peers. This can be learned later in life but it does set one back in their development.
One of the more stressful effects of my social anxiety was my desire to have a social life and the desire to have friends. When you want something but can not have it like a social life it knocks your self-confidence down.
I have been working on my interactions socially like at work. But when it comes to new experiences my social anxiety comes back very strongly which until now I did not fully understand what was happening. So you can see how when children are bullied the effect it can have on them can last well into adulthood.
Issues With Depression
A sad effect of bullying on children is that later in life as adults they can deal with depression in their lives as a result. Mind you they could also become depressed while being bullied as well. In hindsight bullying effected me in this way as well despite having a happy personality growing up. I would get depressed sometimes when being bullied.
It is important if you or someone who was bullied look inwards to see if bullying made them depressed as it can and will effect your life today if not careful.
I learned online that individuals who were as children bullied may as adults have dreams of suicide and make attempts on their lives. This is very serious and as a society more need to take it seriously.
Issues With Self-Esteem
I learned after researching more online about bullying long term effects on individuals that problems with self-esteem and bullying even from our childhoods can be linked so if you or someone you know is depressed, deals with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder I encourage you to get help.
There is no shame in seeking help no matter the root cause of your depression whether you know or believe you know it is.
Others may demonstrate more subtle signs of depression which may be linked to their past. Professional help may be needed if you feel you may be effected by depression from childhood bullying experiences.
Being bullied during my formative years as a child and teenager has left me with problems I will have to continuously work to overcome.
To get an idea of what I am discussing here I want to give you an example. If I plant two seeds, nurture and love one while ignoring the other but give just enough water to survive the first will be much healthier than the second one. This is why it is imperative we protect our children from bullying and stamp out the cultural acceptance of it.
The problems with children who are bullied are too great to ignore when it is simply something we can work on to stop. There are enough challenges for our children to overcome in their lifetimes.
Bullying should not be one!
Issues With Anger
I was surprised to learn that some anger problems I find myself struggling with might be influenced from my past bullying experiences.
Bullies and victims as I discovered both feel anger but differently. Bullies act on their anger with aggressive behavior by attacking, belittling their victim. Victims of bullying on the other hand use passive aggressive behavior in dealing with their anger.
I am uncomfortable with being assertive to express my own feelings, wants and desires to others. Recognizing this fact has been liberating for me. I need to begin applying what I have learned in my own life.
So if you or someone you know was bullied as a child and they have anger problems now it might be because they were unable to learn how to express their feelings in a healthy manner. Telling someone to stop bullying might seem simple enough but if trapped in the fear and anxiety they might not have been able to say something nor reach our for help. It is worth exploring to see if their current problems with anger might be tied to these experiences.
Issues With Health And Trust
Imagine you are a child being bullied unable to ask for help and do not have the tools to deal with this yourself. Think of what an experience like that might do to an individual during their formative years. How alone it must feel and no way to make it stop. Then it becomes part of your life and the thought of changing it never crosses your mind. How would you deal with it?
Naturally as individuals whether a child or adult when we are under stress we turn to outlets whether healthy or not to provide a temporary relief from our uncomfortable situation. This can affect a child’s health as they may eat more than they should. They may if they are old enough turn to alcohol and drugs. Each of these can have dire effects on our children setting them up for serious health concerns later in life.
Trust is something children learn during their formative years. Trust in themselves, their peers and authority figures such as parents, teachers and government officials. When children are bullied and their peers do not come to our defense this does lead to a lack of trust in them. It is important as parents we teach our children understand the importance of standing up for their peers when they see them being bullied.
It will teach them to do right when wrong is being done in this world. It will also teach them how it feels when they do right verse when they do wrong but not saying anything. It feels good doing something that helps another person while not helping another in their time of need at the time and long after makes us feel terrible which can effect our self-confidence.
If someone is bullied as a child and no one came to their defense it can take years if ever to regain a sense of trust in others. I fear more often than it should occur our children are not doing this with their peers. Growing up it was an issue for me. Media, social media and movies today still have bullying part of the narrative. We as parents need to make it unacceptable.
It is my hope this post has provided you with a reason to reexamine your perspectives on bullying so we can work together to create a world where all our children grow up feeling school is a place they can be themselves. Where they can learn and grow as individuals and not be looking over their shoulder worried the bully is going to get them when they are not looking.
Each of us as parents needs to do our part in order to change the perception that bullying is ok. If it was already the perception than bullying would no longer be occurring and all parents would be working to stamp it out.
If you would like to read more about BULLYING I wrote a great post which explores it in more detail.
Thank you for your time,
Proud papa of two,