How to Not Let the Bullies Win

How to not let the bullies win

We talk a lot about bullying these days, on blogs, on television, in schools and in our homes. While it makes for important conversation and brings a serious issue to the forefront, bullying still happens across the country every single day. And bullying can affect someone for years afterwards.

It is evident that bullying is an issue that is going to be around for a while despite efforts towards the contrary. With texts and social media, it has also become more difficult to define who should get involved and whose jurisdiction covers those actions. When is it the school’s responsibility? What about the parents, the police, the FBI, the cell phone services or the social media sites? It seems that none of the above are being taught how to effectively and appropriately deal with these situations.

Bullying still happens at the adult level all the time. Apples do not always fall far from apple trees, you know. As long as there are people of any age who feel the need to pick themselves up by pushing other people down, there will be bullies. As long as there is a receptive audience for those bullies, there will be bullying.

Two studies that just came out that, perhaps if used in combination, can help recipients of bullying find a path towards emotional healing. Because if the victims heal, the bullies cannot win.

Right now the negative social, physical and mental health effects of childhood bullying are still evident far into adulthood, according to new research out of Great Britain. They found that people who were bullied when young more likely to have poorer physical and emotional health, as well as poorer cognitive functioning later in life. When children are repeatedly exposed hurtful actions by children of a similar age, and find it difficult to defend themselves, the impact can be seen as many as 40 years later.

Even if you were not the victim of bullying yourself as a child, think about how many other adults you know who talk about how difficult that time was for them, and how painful it is to for them to think about even now.

Perhaps we can change that, at least for some people. Other research out this week says that focusing on the context of difficult memories (such as those of being bullied) rather than the emotions, can help the brain to remember in a less painful way. In other words, recalling the particulars of the situation (such as where it took place or how you got out of it) rather than how you felt about it (sad, embarrassed, or ashamed) will help your mind to reduce its emotional impact. And if it does not have as much of an emotional impact, the bullies do not win.

I would venture to be that some of us already do this now on some level. Think about the events of September 11, 2001, for instance. I bet you can recall where you were, how you found out, and how the rest of your day played out far faster than how you felt.

So instead of dwelling on how you felt while being bullied, whether it is in the recent past or the long ago past, try to think instead about the context of the situation. Where were you? What was the weather like that day? Was there someone who did make an effort to help? Where did you go afterwards?

The researchers found that when the brain focuses on other details, the mind wanders on to something else, instead of dwelling on the emotional aspect of memories of being bullied. This also allows us to not have the added pressure of trying to suppress hurtful memories, because that can often make matters worse in the long run. Instead, this concept allows us to shift the focus of the memory from emotional to factual.

And when we do, the bullies will not win.


  1. Great tips – thanks for always sharing such great information on your site.

  2. Great tips, Jessica. I know this will eventually happen to my kids in some form or another, and I’m storing away strategies to use to help them through it. No one likes to feel bullied, and it’s an awful feeling to try to work through as well.

  3. Awesome tips. I am so afraid of my boys being bullied – especially my little guy.

  4. This is great. I’ll have to use this with my step-daughter on days she comes home upset at what some kids have said to her.

  5. This is great info and I am so glad that there is a lot more awareness of this issue these days!

  6. I am happy that people like you bring this out to the open! It is important to learn about bullying and stop it. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I am happy that people like you bring this out to the open! It is important to learn about bullying and stop it. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I have to agree that the apple doesn’t fall from the tree.

  9. I’m going to save this. I never know what will happen in my son’s future so this is definitely helpful. I fear him being bullied some day and it definitely is not a nice feeling

  10. Love What Your Doing & How You Promote It Everyone Needs To Be Aware Of Bullying Thank You

  11. Bullying is just awful and I fear this ever happening to my children. I know they will see it and probably be effected by it and it breaks my heart. Thanks for your helpful tips. :)

  12. Fantastic post and great tips.

  13. Glad to read a post like this, I totally agree with everything you said. We really need to bring a change to stop the bullying.

  14. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    So glad you are helping to spread awareness of bullying. It needs to be on everyone’s radar.

  15. Great tips and post- thanks for sharing!

  16. Maria Oller says:

    love when I see bloggers spreading the word, we need to teach our kids how to step up and help those been bullied, stand up for them selves and not encourage them to bully others

  17. Awesome tips! Bullying is so widespread, I feel like many people don’t take it seriously enough or maybe do not know how to deal with it.

  18. Fortunately my kids haven’t experienced bullying yet, but this is great information to have as they get older.

  19. I was working in midtown Manhattan on 9/11 and saw the 2nd plane crash into the WTC live. Yes, I recall exactly where I was and the sheer terror I felt that day.

  20. These are great tips. I’d love to read further about those studies, they sound interesting!

  21. I’m so glad that so much attention is being paid to this issue. I worry about bullying with my kids because I remember so clearly seeing it in school. I definitely think the answer is to talk and teach young!

  22. With the long lasting scars it can give, I most certainly hope this technique helps a lot of people.

  23. What you’re doing is so important, and I hope everyone reads and shares all these tips. Bullying needs to stop.

  24. I hope everyone reads this post! My kids are really young but I know that they will face this issue as they get older. Hopefully more people become aware of this issue!

  25. I am glad that you are providing us with useful tips to stop bullying – it is so important!

  26. I was bullied as a child for being overweight, and then after my mom was diagnosed with cancer while I was cancer I was again bullied. It’s definitely important to talk to our children and give them tools and resources before bullying even happens.

  27. Amy Desrosiers says:

    I have to keep this in mind when my daughters face these issues in the future.

  28. Great tips about bullies. Thanks for the information!

  29. It does seem like many of the bullies I have known got it honest. I can’t tell you how many times I have met jerks for kids parents who think its fun to pick on little kids. It’s sad.

  30. I despise bullies. Thanks for the great info and tips.

  31. This is such a great conversation to be had with your child. My boys and I talk about it regularly. I am so glad that there is more of an awareness about it now.

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