What To Do If You Are Bullied By An Adult
It was her 9th birthday. A little girl with her hands covered in icing and her stomach stuffed with chocolate cake plopped on the countertop. She looked around and saw a house filled with her family, her cousins, and her friends all here to celebrate her special day. And she felt a warm feeling bubbling up her chest.
She felt so happy.
“Are you sure she’s not retarded Diane?” the little girl looked up to find the source of the voice. It was her auntie Susan speaking to her mother.
“Look at her. It’s like she’s mute,” she said. The girl looked away, knowing what the rest of the conversation was going to be. She’s heard these insults from auntie Susan a hundred times.
“She’s just a little shy. So was I,” her mother shrugged.
“Oh, she’s not shy Diane,” her aunt snickered. “It’s alright, don’t worry. Not all our children have to amount to something.” She slowly felt all the happiness, the warmth starting to fade away. She could feel something clog her throat as she tried to blink the tears away.
“I don’t think you should expect too much from this one,” she said, “I know children Diane, and I can already tell that nothing much is going to become of her.”
The little girl looked around, a dozen eyes on her. They heard everything her aunt said. They just listened. She looked up at her mother, hoping she would protest. She had her head bowed down.
Why isn’t she defending her?
Did she think her aunt was right?
This story is written based on the true experiences of a little girl who was bullied by her aunt until she was 14. The experiences left a deep psychological scar and she struggled with self-esteem issues for years. Despite being very accomplished in her academics, she spent nearly half of her adult life believing she shouldn’t dream too big, because she felt she didn’t have what it takes to amount to anything.
A large number of children suffer bullying, sometimes to the extent that it could be categorized as psychological abuse in the hands of adults. These adults are usually people they have been taught to trust: family, teachers, or relatives. According to a survey, 42% of kids in the US were victims of school bullying. But no such statistics exist when it comes to bullying by adults. Yet the consequences of being this form of bullying are much, much worse than being bullied by kids of the same age for two reasons. One, when we are bullied by our peers we reach out to authority figures like our parents or teachers for protection. But who will they ask for help if these authority figures are the ones bullying them? Two, we have been taught to trust our families and teachers. To us, their words have much more weight than that of our peers. So if one of your jerk classmates says you are worthless, it is comparatively easier to convince yourself that he or she is wrong. But when the same words come from an adult, they are much more difficult to shrug off. The wounds they leave stay with us for a very long time.
Often the child feels hopeless and utterly lost as they have no one to turn to. As adults they are more like to suffer from depression, anxiety and are more prone to suicide. As a victim of such abuse I am going to try my very best to let you what you should do under such circumstances.
If you are someone who is currently suffering from such bullying, first of all, I am truly, truly sorry that this happened to you. No one should have to suffer what you are going through. If it is physical or sexual abuse, seek help immediately, no questions asked. But if it is psychological, things can be more complicated.
The most effective thing you could do in this case is standing up to them. Tell them that it is not okay for them to treat you this way, to treat anyone this way. If you are afraid that others might take their side and attack you instead, do this in private. Be prepared for them to insult you back but stand your ground and know that it is not normal for a person to be spiteful towards a child. They are the way they are as a result of their insecurities which they are trying to project on you. Their words are far from the truth. This is not about you, it’s about them. Be respectful, but be strong. I understand that standing up for yourself becomes more doable if you are a teenager or an adult but it is very daunting if you are a child who is under thirteen. I know there could be a lot of kids reading this post. So if the idea of speaking out seems too much, I have a couple of other options.
If the person bullying you is not related to you in any way, ask your parents for help. Before you go to them, decide exactly what you are going to say and how they make you feel. Be sure that you are not downplaying the extent of the bullying.
If the person bullying you is a close relative, again in this case, reach out to your parents for help. Set boundaries. When you see them smile and say hello, then make yourself busy as an excuse to avoid interactions with them. If your parents question your behavior, explain to them that you don’t want to treated the way they treat you but you are also scared of what they might do if you speak up, so you are avoiding them.
If you are someone who has suffered such abuse in the past and have been developed issues as a result of this, seek therapy. If the person who bullied is not a close family member, set boundaries and avoid interactions with them until your issues have been resolved, because seeing them again may trigger unwelcomed memories that can send you back to a downward spiral. If they continue their behavior or if seeing them cause you to be uncomfortable, cut ties with them permanently is possible.
But know that it is possible to heal the scars left by the people who were supposed to love and protect you. Because if you can’t, you let them win. Sometimes bad people win, because the world is cruel and unfair. But it doesn’t have to be.
The terrible things they said and did, they didn’t do it to another adult, instead they chose to do it to a child. They did it to you because they could. Because they knew you were much less likely to defend yourself than an average adult. I was raised in a culture where it is considered taboo to disrespect an adult. Despite that, I cannot help but say this, people who choose to attack children are the worst of humanity. And you shouldn’t, by any means, allow their words or their actions to affect your life or your view of yourself.
About The Author
I’m Zarnaz. I’m a self help junkie, caffeine addict, writer, engineer and I’m extremely passionate about the science of people. I want to know what inspires you, motivates you, drives you to make better choices and ultimately, how to help you reach your full potential. This is a blog dedicated to that cause.