What is bullying
Most of us have probably witnessed some sort of bullying or have experienced it first hand. Bullying comes from an inequality of power between two people – mostly among school children. The bully, who has more power, either physical, social or intellectual uses this inequality to hurt or embarrass a lesser individual. If this behavior persists or for the most part happens more than once, we call this bullying.
The effect of such acts on a person can be devastating. Sometimes they may even lead to social, physical and mental health problems. With any of these mentioned issues, it could potentially be a cause of drug abuse or worse.
What are the types of bullying?
There is not just one type of bullying; the real deal bullies will act as if on instinct to try and find the best method to pick on someone. The method they choose can vary from person to person. Though, there are three main types of bullying:
Bullying comes in many forms, and from our list, you can get a better grasp on just what kinds there are. Anyone suffering from any of these types of bullying should seek proper help and not choose a more problematic method of coping like alcohol or drugs. The big issue is – how drug abuse and bullying could be connected?
Drug Abuse and Bullying – Is there a connection?
When it comes to bullies, the hidden problems they face that lead to why they bully could be a gateway to an abuse of drugs. Their choice of friends can also put them in an unfavourable environment – with aggressive kids around them they could have problems in school or problems with the law. On the other hand, the victim has to deal with the situation they have been put in by the bully. So, how are bullies and victims coping?
There is not as much research in this area as there should be, although according to a 152 question survey from public, private and Catholic high schools in Ohio, USA. 30% of the students were victims or bullies, and around 14% smoked cigarettes, 16% used marijuana, 32% used alcohol. Also, 13.3% not bullied still used marijuana.
This gives us a perspective on just how prevalent drug abuse and bullying are in schools. The statistics of use are higher for bullies than for victims, and are unsettling. The rates of drug abuse for victims of bullying are just a little bit higher than those of the non involved population – the connection here isn’t clear.
Bullying itself isn’t a huge factor itself when it comes to substance abuse rates, but when you take the mental health repercussions it can have on both parties into consideration, it becomes a serious problem – 50% of all people with mental health issues also have substance abuse problems.
Another study in Helsinki, Finland surveyed 6,000 adult workers from 2000-2002. The research gathered showed that 1 in 20 people felt bullied at work and that over half the surveyees admitted to witnessing another being bullied at work. The overall consensus was not conclusive, but it did suggest that people bullied at work were more likely to abuse prescription drugs.
Why do people bully?
Power and status are big factors in why a person becomes a bully, but there are other reasons as well – they may seek attention or have a mental health condition. Taking on a victim may be a way for them to deal with depression, anxiety, loneliness or low self-esteem, it might also be a way to get relief or self-satisfaction.
There are a few main reasons why people bully others:
- They have themselves been bullied:
This in itself may seem very contradicting, but research has shown that people who have been bullied are more than twice as likely to become bullies themselves to use it as some sort of defense. The people who become bullies themselves usually think that they will be immune against being bullied. Sadly, it is just a double negative.
- Traumatic or stressful experience::
A traumatic or stressful experience can leave one’s emotions in limbo. For many, negative outlooks can affect their behavior. A death of someone close in the family or their parents divorcing can have a behavioral effect on a person and thus lead to bullying as a way to cope.
- A tough home life:
Parents who are aggressive and abusive themselves tend to rub off their habits to their children. In turn, potentially causing bullying. Being alienated at home from your own parents or siblings can have a big effect on one’s behavior. Feeling rejected by your own family is emotionally damaging.
- Aggressive behaviours:
Our culture has a big role on how we act, some people are just more aggressive than others and look for a rise out of people. Guys and girls alike can be aggressive physically and verbally when trying to act big in groups of people picking on individuals with differences to seem bigger or better than others.
- Difficult relationship:
One of the more common types of bullying is within a relationship. When it starts to seem like things are falling apart one or both parties can start to be aggressive. Thus, start to use bullying as a way to intimidate or keep the relationship going.
To sum up, there are plenty of reasons why people start bullying, and sometimes it is just an instinctual response to an emotional or behavioral experience that triggers them to find a way to deal with it. On the other hand, some people could have mental problems that make them enjoy hurting others. In the end, why are people being bullied – it is not all one sided.
Why are victims bullied?
What are some of the reasons bullies pick on certain people, why don’t they pick on everyone? We can say that bullies look for the weaker ones in a group. For example, a weaker or smaller person that is less physically capable than the bully would be an ideal target for them. What are some other reasons for victims to be bullied?
Here are some examples:
Who is most likely to be bullied?
Hispanic students (17.9%) reported the lowest rates of involvement in bullying.
Asian American students were more likely to be racially or ethnically bullied (e.g., were bullied with mean names or comments about their race or color)
Bullies will take advantage of people for a variety of reasons, but overall we must agree that having some abnormality will lead to being a more likely target for a bully. Not only can you be bullied by a kid from school, but also by teachers, faculty, co-workers, loved ones or even a friend can make someone look for means to deal with it – for some it might be substance abuse or worse. What can bullies and victims alike do?
What should you do if you are being bullied?
If you are being bullied your first step should be to find some trustworthy help, tell a teacher you trust, faculty staff or administration, and if you are a working adult you should inform human resources or a supervisor.
If someone is being cyberbullied, he or she should make sure to save everything – emails, texts, and voicemails. If someone is bullying you on social media, make sure you block and report them.
Where to find help:
- Faculty staff
- A parent
- Human resources
- Keep texts
- Voice mails
- Screenshot everything
- Block/Report them on Social Media
What can be done?
The governments of many states are stepping up to bullying with new laws and policies to protect children and other demographics. Each state is taking on bullying differently with their own unique laws and policies.
For one, California anti-bullying laws and policies are quite extent they cover a broad range of types of bullying and the types of victims. Disability, gender, nationality, and race are just a few groups covered under the new anti-bullying law. Furthermore, cyberbullying is also included, and any bullying of these groups could lead to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying charges within California.
Unfortunately, not all states are on par with California’s extent of how far the law goes. If we take Alaska for example, there are anti-bullying laws, though they do not cover the broad range as previously mentioned. Their laws do not cover cyberbullying, and there are no specific groups listed under Alaska’s anti-bullying laws or regulations.
Though, we have to agree that with the laws and policies being in place it is one more step towards ending bullying and potential fallout from its effects.
Other than the laws and policies of the government there are specific help groups dedicated to supporting and helping those who have been affected by bullying. People can use these sites if they feel they need help or are just looking for information about what they can do.
As with any other reason to abuse a substance, there are damaging effects. When dealing with drug abuse and bullying, it can not only affect you mentally, but it can also leave lasting effects on your health. We can try to mitigate the effect with proper counseling and therapy. In the end, stopping bullying at the root may be most effective.