Bullying is not a new phenomenon but recent statistics show that bullying is on the rise among young adults, teens, and children.
The rise can be attributed to many factors, but two of the strongest components are the advent of cyber bullying and the increasingly nasty political rhetoric.
So, how do you deal with a bully or hater? Jeffrey Marsh has five suggestions for diffusing bullies and haters.
Marsh is a popular youth advocate and online superstar who has created more than 800 videos that have garnered more than a quarter billion views. Here are some snippets of his advice:
- Agree With The Bully Or Hater. Nothing diffuses a bully faster than someone agreeing with them because bullies crave conflict. The bully expects you to feel bad, fight, cry, or argue, but if you turn to them and say, “You know, you’re right,” they lose their power because they have nowhere else to go. Of course, you don’t really have to agree with them. This suggestion is about putting an end to the conversation. Don’t say it in a defeated way or an aggressive way. Just say, “I never thought of that. You’re so right. Bye now.” And walk away.
- Ditch The Hate Inside. While you’re dealing with an external bully, you can also deal with your own self-sabotaging internal ones. If you go around thinking you’re “too fat” or “too gay,” you are being bullied from the inside-out. These kinds of thoughts usually started when you were really young, long before you knew you could choose kind–rather than mean–thoughts. You may need to seek outside help to change the interior monologue you hear from negative to positive.
- Tell Someone. Bullies survive and thrive on our silence. You’re supposed to feel like being hated is your fault, like you did something wrong. This makes you feel ashamed to talk to someone, fearing that they will think you “did something wrong” or that something you did “caused” the bullying. This is all bunk. Bullying is not the fault of the person being bullied. Telling someone (a teacher, a parent, or a friend) is the surest way to show you don’t feel ashamed and asking for help is the best way to show your strength.
- Help Someone Else. If there’s one positive effect to being harassed or bullied, it is that it gives you empathy for other people in need or in similar situations. Get involved with politics. Join or start a group to end hate–whether its for immigration, women’s rights, LGBT rights, reproduction rights, etc. It doesn’t matter if the group’s focus doesn’t affect you personally. Civil rights are human rights. When you feel frustrated by the haters in your personal life, it often feels great to make a broader difference in the world.
- Do Something You Love. This is the one that everyone should be doing all the time. The best revenge when you’re hated or bullied is not to care. Bullies love when everything is about them. Even negative attention is great to them. If you fight with them, you’re feeding their need for attention. So, our best revenge is denying the bully that attention and turning that attention to yourself. If you want to sing, you should sing. If you want to paint, play soccer, design clothes, write books….do it. Don’t let a bully determine what you will and won’t do. We must enjoy our time on this planet and practice not giving the bully a second thought.