Bullying is a precursor for developing eating disorders, alcohol abuse, and substance abuse

Adults, teens, and adolescents who bully or are being bullied are at higher risk for a wide range of problems, including abusing alcohol, drugs, and eating disorders. They even risk having problems into adulthood, PTSD, eating disorders, self-harm (e.g. Cutting, burning, and hair pulling), and multiple substance use. Although we “vividly remember” what it “feels” like being in school and being “BULLIED”. Many parents, teachers, law enforcement, and others do not understand or underestimate the amount of bullying that still takes place at school, at home, in the workplace, on the internet, on Facebook, and on texting.

Individuals bully what they do not understand. Many kids and adults are bullied at home and often become the bully at school and in the workplace. The person who is bullying is using abuse and control over others as an attempt to have some control over their feelings outside their home.

“I remember not getting help with my words, the fear, the anger, and the emotional pain. I felt hurt, scared, and alone”. Teachers blamed me saying “You must have done something to make them mad at you” or “you need to stand up for yourself”. I was not safe at home, at school, or anywhere. So I felt hopeless and helpless, and all I could think of is how to make it stop. “I wanted to disappear to make it all better”. I felt like I was the problem. I began to feel like I should not be here anymore. “I began to think of ways I could no longer suffer or die”. How many times have you felt this way? How many of you still feel bullied or are bullied in your adult life at work, in social settings, and in college? Bullying at work can seem passive with the threats, fear, and intimidation of “boss just cares about me” or “coercing you to do something against your beliefs”.

Bullying and its consequences:

Bullying is intentional negative behavior that is repeated and involves an imbalance of social, mental, emotional, or physical power. An easier way to say it is Bullying is and feels unfair and one-sided. It happens when someone keeps intimidating, making fun of you, hurting, putting you down, frightening, threatening, or leaving someone out of activities on purpose.

In other words, bullying is any kind of physical or verbal abuse that:

  • Happens more than once

  • The victim is unable to, or afraid to, defend him or herself

  • Is done on purpose, with an intent to cause harm

    The types of bullying behaviors include but are not limited to Internet or Cyberbullying, physical threats, physical aggression, relational aggression, and Identity-based bullying (sexual orientation, gay, lesbian, transgendered; religion, sports, contest, pageants, and academic competing). No matter the form or expression of bullying is intended to coerce, intimidate and cause physical, mental, or emotional harm to any person, student, or worker.

Simply put, the types of bullying include:

  • Physical attacks may include but are not limited to shoving into lockers, punching, or kicking

  • Verbal attacks are demonstrated by calling names, making cruel remarks, or “making fun” of someone

  • Social attacks through spreading rumors, sabotaging friendships, or deliberately excluding others

  • Online attacks, or cyberbullying via texting, emailing, or posting on a website anything cruel, untrue, or otherwise harmful about a person

What it does:

The targets of bullying (Adolescents, Teens, and Adults) and Bullies (the person harming) have adverse socio-emotional implications from any form of bullying behavior which lead to feelings: Depression, anxiety, aggression against others, or self, low self-esteem, psychosomatic feelings, lowering academic performance, skipping school, increase in illnesses to stay home, fear, thoughts of death (suicidal thoughts) or thoughts of hurting others (homicidal behavior) just to stop the “emotional hurt” the victim feels inside. People who are bullied often blame themselves for the behaviors; accept the behavior as being ok or “they are not doing it on purpose”. Bullies often displace their internal anger and or sadness verbally or physically onto someone or something else to feel better about themselves. People who often engage in bullying behaviors escalate to adult delinquent behaviors that are often criminal without treatment.

Adults, teens, and adolescents who are bullied report having more physical health complaints and engaging in higher levels of problem behaviors, such as smoking, drugs, alcohol abuse, self-harm (eg. Cutting, burning, and hair pulling), eating disorders, oppositional defiant behaviors, dissociative disorders (annihilating their identities), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They, too, can face problems into adulthood, including depression, anxiety, sadness, and loneliness.

Bystanders also suffer an increased risk of alcohol, food, or other drugs, have increased mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and PTSD depending on the abuse witnessed, and are more likely to miss or skip school.