Welcome to the second in a series of blogs aimed at shedding some light on the types of bullies and providing strategies for solving the problem.
My name is Ed, and today I want to speak with you about verbal bullying.
Of the many types of bullying, verbal bullying is typically where problems with a bully begin. The verbal bully wants to bring down your mood and shake your self-confidence by mocking, taunting and teasing relentlessly. Through sharp words and unyielding messages, this type of bully’s goal is to embarrass, humiliate and degrade their victim for personal gain.
Often, this type of bully is looking for an easy way to:
- impress others
- feel better about themselves
- compensate for a feeling of inequity in their own life
The victim of choice is someone who will present an easy target and not resist.
What can be done
Conventional wisdom is to simply ignore such a bully, after all “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Alas, there are several problems with this approach.
First off, that’s just foolish. No one should have to subject themselves to verbal abuse and emotional distress in the hope that it resolves itself. Standing up for yourself will not only help your self esteem, it will also show bullies that you are not going to be the easy target they pegged you for.
Which brings me to the next point. If a bully puts you down and they get away with it, don’t you think they’re just going to keep on doing it because they CAN? Staying quiet against verbal bullying is akin to a boxer refusing to defend their body against another boxer in the hopes that their opponent just gets tired of punching and gives up.
Lastly, verbal bullying can escalate. It might start with a threat of violence, then progress to a physical attack. Nipping the problem of verbal bullying in the bud may prevent more serious forms of harassment from progressing.
The effects of emotional bullying can be quite serious. Bruising will fade and embarrassment will subside, but the emotional toll of repeated verbal abuses can last a very long time and crush your self esteem. Don’t be fooled; just because verbal bullying doesn’t leave any physical scars doesn’t make it harmless.