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Old November 25 2012, 11:59 AM   #91
MacLeod
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Re: Break The Bully

sonak wrote: View Post
Gul Re'jal wrote: View Post
^Exactly.

Those who call little Susie names should be taught that they shouldn't do that.

Besides, sonak, I'm not sure you're aware that bullying can be really tormenting. I don't think we're talking here about occasional calling names. We're talking here about regular, every day or nearly every day, verbal abuse that can last for years. If you think that's not a problem or that it's "natural" then I don't have any questions.

And if it the way it is, it's about time something should be done with it!

Well as I wrote, it's hard to look at it in the abstract. Of course daily verbal abuse can be traumatic. And again, "natural" doesn't mean I'm defending it, just pointing out that it will happen. I'm not sure that those who bully do so because they haven't been taught that they shouldn't do that.

Children, especially adolescents, are very interested in showing off for peers, hiding their insecurities, or just displaying social dominance. I don't think they're under the illusion that when they're verbally harassing the student that's not fitting in, that they're not doing something wrong. Maybe I'm just cynical, but I don't think that mean behavior is always the result of ignorance.

As for the way the victim responds to it, my approach isn't an either/or. As I've written, if it's near a teacher, bullying should be stopped. But, and I think this is important, victims of bullying should also be given the psychological tools to deal with it while maintaining self-esteem. You can't just say "well, we should put a stop to bullying, and we will, that's that." You can't monitor or control all social interactions where kids are on their own nor should you want to. You have to include strategies that aren't just "have an adult put a stop to it." Teaching kids not to let it get to them is one part of that.
Yes but we can choose not to engage in a type behaviour, and overide our natural instict if you want to put it that way. As you say we tend to be taught what is right and wrong, and bullying is wrong.

And yes you can say we should put a stop to bullying and we will. Many times victims of bullying suffer in silence, and if they do work up the courage to report in the past they were ignored.

As for teaching victims not letting it get to them, it's not quite as easy as that.
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Old November 25 2012, 12:44 PM   #92
Collingwood Nick
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Re: Break The Bully

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
One of the most harmful long-term effects of bullying, in my experience, is that it causes you to lay down thinking patterns that lead you to accept helplessness and apathy. In my case, I soon realized that there was nothing I could do to stop the other children mocking me and holding me up as an object of fun. When they harrassed me, all my options led to the same result. If I ignored them, I was hilarious and so mocked further. If I answered them politely, I was hilarious and so mocked further. If I answered them angrily, I was hilarious and so mocked further. If I danced around and clucked like a chicken...well, that would be no more hilarious and mock-worthy than anything else I did. In hindsight, I can see the effect it had on my thinking patterns; setting up a block that shuts the mind down when confronted with any sort of obstacle or interaction, because my experience is that it will be painful and humiliating and whatever I do it won't bring me any success. It really did lay the foundation for one of my more troublesome traits, which is to see life as a set of obstacles that I just refuse to face because I'm convinced "I can't do anything other than be knocked along passively by these waves".
I can sympathise with that - very much so. Have you had much luck 'reprogramming' those ineffective thinking patterns?
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Old November 25 2012, 12:50 PM   #93
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Re: Break The Bully

It's not easy to overcome those thinking patterns, sure you might be able to overcome them occasionally and it can be these moments which really help. If it turns out positively your esteem/confidence etc.. takes a massive boost, if however it turns out negatively in your mind it just reinforces your thinking making it even harder next time around.
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Old November 25 2012, 12:53 PM   #94
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Re: Break The Bully

Nothing worthwhile is easy. I believe that education grows out of the right guidance and persistent effort.

It's the 'figuring out how to do it' that's got me stumped at the moment.
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Old November 25 2012, 01:03 PM   #95
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Break The Bully

Collingwood Nick wrote: View Post
Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
One of the most harmful long-term effects of bullying, in my experience, is that it causes you to lay down thinking patterns that lead you to accept helplessness and apathy. In my case, I soon realized that there was nothing I could do to stop the other children mocking me and holding me up as an object of fun. When they harrassed me, all my options led to the same result. If I ignored them, I was hilarious and so mocked further. If I answered them politely, I was hilarious and so mocked further. If I answered them angrily, I was hilarious and so mocked further. If I danced around and clucked like a chicken...well, that would be no more hilarious and mock-worthy than anything else I did. In hindsight, I can see the effect it had on my thinking patterns; setting up a block that shuts the mind down when confronted with any sort of obstacle or interaction, because my experience is that it will be painful and humiliating and whatever I do it won't bring me any success. It really did lay the foundation for one of my more troublesome traits, which is to see life as a set of obstacles that I just refuse to face because I'm convinced "I can't do anything other than be knocked along passively by these waves".
I can sympathise with that - very much so. Have you had much luck 'reprogramming' those ineffective thinking patterns?
Well, that's an ongoing process. My mind latches onto patterns very easily, so training it away from these automatic responses is quite a struggle. Still, I'm making progress, especially since I was introduced to cognitive behavioural therapy. And I'm hoping that I can wean my mind off of the negative automatic thoughts and onto more helpful ones by making use of that same tendency to fall into patterns. One thing I've tried is visualizng the negative thoughts as physical structures, and when they spring up and assault my mind I "dissolve" them with a wave of positive thoughts. Sort of like aggressive swarming nanites that are also smileys. It mght sound odd, but it often works, especially if you treat it as a humerous game.

It's worth noting, I suppose, that I'm only 22. Other members of the board have already suggested that I've made quite a breakthrough by challenging my negative thinking patterns so early, but I wouldn't expect to have fully succeeded after such a short time. I imagine patience plays into it too - don't be put off if at first any improvement seems to be slower than you'd like.
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Old November 25 2012, 01:32 PM   #96
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Re: Break The Bully

Well you have got a decent head start - I didn't start asking questions until well into my 20s.

That sounds like a logical approach. Part of the problem is that the mind switches into autopilot when it's presented with a 'threatening' situation. I find that sometimes just being aware of what it's doing, is enough to bring me back to conscious control.

Knowing what the correct response is - what I'm replacing the defensive behaviour with - that's the tricky part. If you don't mind my asking, what is the correct response? Say I've just had a crack at you for watching star trek and being a nerd. What do you do?

Or am I completely misreading this in that the appropriate response emerges from a positive mind without conscious interference?
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Old November 25 2012, 02:50 PM   #97
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Break The Bully

Collingwood Nick wrote: View Post
Well you have got a decent head start - I didn't start asking questions until well into my 20s.

That sounds like a logical approach. Part of the problem is that the mind switches into autopilot when it's presented with a 'threatening' situation. I find that sometimes just being aware of what it's doing, is enough to bring me back to conscious control.

Knowing what the correct response is - what I'm replacing the defensive behaviour with - that's the tricky part. If you don't mind my asking, what is the correct response? Say I've just had a crack at you for watching star trek and being a nerd. What do you do?

Or am I completely misreading this in that the appropriate response emerges from a positive mind without conscious interference?
That's a tricky one, because it's somewhere in between. The automatic thought (and so the feelings and even the physiological responses that it provokes) will shoot through me, and in a sense I have to challenge it without latching onto it. I have to just "let it go", while making sure to note it and remind myself of its invalidity - maybe then substitute a more useful or positive thought. If it won't go of its own accord and looks too powerful to just leave alone, I can attack it and break it down, though still taking care not to latch onto it and give it attention, because that will just strengthen it. The balance is a tough one - I can't let the thoughts go unchallenged, but at the same time the overall goal is to minimize the thoughts' overall disruptive effect, so making too big a deal of them would be counterproductive. After all, if I'm constantly tense and "ready" for them as though at any moment I might need to jump into a fight for my thoughts, then my mind will be just as unsteady as if I weren't challenging my thinking at all.

I'm sorry if I'm not being much help here! I find that conscious interference is very useful (even necessary), but at the same time I can't let myself be too conscious of my own conscious intervention, if that makes sense? I have to be careful, because I have a tendency to over-analyse and monitor my own thinking, and that can lead to me feeling trapped by my own self-awareness, my own mind closing in around me. I don't want to become too aware of my own mind's workings because otherwise they become an additional source of stress. It's like Russian Dolls; layers of awareness responding to the negative thoughts and feelings provoked by each prior round of awareness regarding my own misery. I often feel like I need to throw my mind off the trail, dart around here, distract myself there, churn it up a bit to avoid latching onto awareness of myself and trapping myself in a vice.

If that made any sense at all, let me know. The overall, goal, of course, is to become comfortable in your own mind, so you can just sit back and be when your mind's tired and throw yourself into anything interesting when it's engaged.
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Old November 25 2012, 05:10 PM   #98
sonak
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Re: Break The Bully

MacLeod wrote: View Post
sonak wrote: View Post
Gul Re'jal wrote: View Post
^Exactly.

Those who call little Susie names should be taught that they shouldn't do that.

Besides, sonak, I'm not sure you're aware that bullying can be really tormenting. I don't think we're talking here about occasional calling names. We're talking here about regular, every day or nearly every day, verbal abuse that can last for years. If you think that's not a problem or that it's "natural" then I don't have any questions.

And if it the way it is, it's about time something should be done with it!

Well as I wrote, it's hard to look at it in the abstract. Of course daily verbal abuse can be traumatic. And again, "natural" doesn't mean I'm defending it, just pointing out that it will happen. I'm not sure that those who bully do so because they haven't been taught that they shouldn't do that.

Children, especially adolescents, are very interested in showing off for peers, hiding their insecurities, or just displaying social dominance. I don't think they're under the illusion that when they're verbally harassing the student that's not fitting in, that they're not doing something wrong. Maybe I'm just cynical, but I don't think that mean behavior is always the result of ignorance.

As for the way the victim responds to it, my approach isn't an either/or. As I've written, if it's near a teacher, bullying should be stopped. But, and I think this is important, victims of bullying should also be given the psychological tools to deal with it while maintaining self-esteem. You can't just say "well, we should put a stop to bullying, and we will, that's that." You can't monitor or control all social interactions where kids are on their own nor should you want to. You have to include strategies that aren't just "have an adult put a stop to it." Teaching kids not to let it get to them is one part of that.
Yes but we can choose not to engage in a type behaviour, and overide our natural instict if you want to put it that way. As you say we tend to be taught what is right and wrong, and bullying is wrong.

And yes you can say we should put a stop to bullying and we will. Many times victims of bullying suffer in silence, and if they do work up the courage to report in the past they were ignored.

As for teaching victims not letting it get to them, it's not quite as easy as that.

Well, one positive step about bullying is that there's a lot more awareness of it and activism against it than there has been before. And when I write "not let it get to them" it's just shorthand for an obviously more involved series of psychological steps. Obviously, we DO eventually learn to cope with things like insults or verbal harassment or we'd be incapable of dealing with society, so it's obviously a learned skill.

I guess we'll just disagree on the likelihood of ending bullying. Unless you're willing to try to monitor or control behavior to an unhealthy extent, then there will be children and teenagers, who when adults aren't around, will bully those around them for the same reasons why a lot of people do things that aren't necessarily nice. I've had experiences at school where right after a teacher or counselor deliberately took time to talk about bullying during a class period, I witnessed kids bullying other kids.

Taking it seriously and punishing those who are bullying is important, but you can't "educate" kids out of acting like kids.
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Old November 25 2012, 05:22 PM   #99
Rhubarbodendron
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Re: Break The Bully

Collingwood Nick wrote: View Post
Part of the problem is that the mind switches into autopilot when it's presented with a 'threatening' situation. I find that sometimes just being aware of what it's doing, is enough to bring me back to conscious control.
That's very familiar. I used to get beaten heavily by my parents and from earliest childhood on learned that you can't defend yourself against violence (like a bullying victim becomes convinced that he/she has no defense against bullies). After almost 50 years I still have difficulties when someone shots at me or attacks me. Funnily enough, I am a pretty good fighter when it comes to defending others. The Janitor got attacked by a couple of drunks last Tuesday and I rushed down to help him. To my own surprise I was absolutely calm, cool and collected, able to think logically (and to overwhelm the attackers and keep them pinned down till the police came) and not a bit afraid at all.
The next step will be to try and do the same when I get attacked. I am thinking of asking a few colleagues to do some training with me during lunch break the next weeks.

oops, sorry, that was a bit long and off-topic. My point is: permanent violence - physical or verbal - creates a kind of conditioning and the first and most important step is to recognize it as such. Then you can work on gradually overcoming it. It takes some time but it is manageable.

(edit: in case you wondered how the story ends: I talked the matter out with my parents for almost a decade. It took that long because they weren't ready/mature yet to talk about their own problems. Now we're at rather good tearms. My dad even said he admires how I always manage to solve my probs alone. LOL a classical case of "practize makes perfect" - I never dared to ask him for help when I was younger. Now we're rather good buddies, though )
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Old November 25 2012, 07:24 PM   #100
Owain Taggart
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Re: Break The Bully

Kestra wrote: View Post
I think that one of the things being put forth upthread was that there will always be malicious people out there and there won't always be an authority figure to handle it for you so you need to learn to deal with it. Because that's life. I understand where that point comes from but I also understand why that sounds harsh.

Absolutely, Kes. Like you said, we all have to learn to deal with it. That was mainly an example of how sometimes those doing the bullying and teasing don't understand the effect they have on those victims. And how the line between teasing and bullying can often be blurred. Personally I'd never tease anyone like that as I know the effect it's had on me.
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Old November 26 2012, 05:09 AM   #101
Collingwood Nick
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Re: Break The Bully

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
If that made any sense at all, let me know. The overall, goal, of course, is to become comfortable in your own mind, so you can just sit back and be when your mind's tired and throw yourself into anything interesting when it's engaged.
You did make sense, I'm pretty sure I understood what you were getting at.

Just 'being', without conscious interference or judgement, right?

To me that reads like a prescription for Zen meditation.
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Old November 26 2012, 07:33 AM   #102
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Re: Break The Bully

We Germans have an expression for this: letting your soul dangle
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