Bullying, or, speaking in Russian, bullying in a team of one person, is more and more common in our schools. Usually the persecution is quite cruel and merciless, but very often it is hushed up, since “no one likes informers.” Teenagers are afraid to talk about their problems and keep everything to themselves.
We managed to talk with two schoolchildren, let’s call them Valera and Dima, a victim and an offender, in order to find out the answers to the main questions: what drives the bullying and how it influenced the future life of both.
First, let’s turn to Dima, who was a bully.
– What position did you occupy at school?
– Well, the normal position was, with the guys from somewhere in the 5th grade, they walked, made fun of everyone. The teachers, of course, did not like it, but I still felt somehow. And my peers treated me normally.
– Maybe someone offended you?
– Me? I would look at it. Well, in general, there were a lot of people whom I bullied and all that. Mostly they were boys, the girls were sorry.
– Why did you do it?
– I don’t know, it was just funny. It’s boring at school, you need to somehow entertain yourself. And in general: as for me, I wasn’t that much scoffed at, they dramatize all the time.
– Was there a specific person whom you especially mocked? How did you do it?
– There was a shorter dude, he came to us in the 6th grade. The guys and I immediately noticed him on the ruler, because it was impossible not to notice him. Standing like this in a suit, all serious, weighing a ton. Then I already began to invent all sorts of nicknames for him: “zhirnich”, “kung fu panda”, “men in black XXXL”. Moreover, at school, at first we did not have much contact, but at one fine moment he touched me in the corridor, by chance, not by chance – somehow it was all the same to me. After that, the fun began. Oh, what we just didn’t do with him. During the lesson, they deliberately sat behind him, drew on his back, poked with a pen. He was in the girls’ toilet more often than in the dining room, which is not so easy, by the way. When it snowed, they shoved the snow by the collar, he always tried to leave before me, otherwise he would come under heavy fire. Once I had scotch tape myself, and I tied it to my desk, it was certainly not on the first try, but it was worth it. I even filmed it, I’ll show it now … They played potatoes in the gym, his head was my main goal, after that he already took off his glasses before the game.
– How did he perceive you?
– I do not know how he treated me, I think not very well. I loved when he came to school, and when he did not come, it was somehow boring.
– How do you now, five years later, assess this behavior of yours?
– There is something to remember, as they say. For some actions it is sometimes embarrassing, but then I remember how funny it was, and it immediately becomes easier.
– Have you apologized for bullying in front of your peers?
– There was such a case. One fine day, instead of “kung fu panda” came some kind of Hulk. I decided to joke at him as usual, I don’t remember exactly how, he got mad, and there was a scuffle between us, then we talked to him, I realized that he was a fairly normal positive “fatty”. And I didn’t just apologize to him, we began to communicate normally, and we still communicate and maintain contact.
And here is what Valera tells, who was offended by our first hero.
– Tell us about when the persecution began against you.
– As far as I remember, I was 12 years old, I moved with my parents to Moscow. We bought an apartment in Mytishchi. This was not the first time I changed school, so I was ready to meet new people. The first day passed, I returned home in a very strange state. For the first time in my life, I faced ridicule. I don’t even remember who and what told me, but it was hard. A month passed, the attacks continued, but I did not pay attention to them, I believed that if I remained silent, then the interest in the insults would disappear. How wrong I was then …
– Do you remember the moment when the bullying reached its peak?
– Yes, there was a guy in the class, Dimon, everyone considered him the coolest. We never had much conflict, but one day I was walking up the stairs, stumbled and, in order not to fall, caught on his jacket. It makes no sense to say what happened next. Everyone understands this anyway.
– Someone tried to stand up for you?
– No, the guys tried to stay away because they avoided problems.
– Did you rebuff the offender?
– No, it was scary, I did not dare to step over myself.
– Did you share this problem with your parents or teachers?
– I am generally a closed person, I try to solve my problems myself. Well, or as in this case – keep to yourself.
– Did your inner experiences greatly affect your condition?
– Yes, of course, no matter how strong a person may seem, inside he will experience an unimaginable range of emotional anxieties. I’m not even talking about fear, but rather about the awareness of insignificance, which oppresses more and more.
– Now you do not hold a grudge against him? Do you have conflicts based on the past?
– In general, I try not to be angry with people, especially because of the past. Sometimes it seems to me that I myself am to blame for allowing myself to be bullied. We have forgotten about that time and are trying not to remember it.
– Please share what you think is the best way to behave for people who encounter bullying at school.
– Many, like me at that time, believe that it is better to wait it out, to be patient, to be silent. From my experience, I can say with confidence – you need to fight back right away, until the usual insults turn into bullying. And if you are already in a situation where you are being bullied, try to build confidence and try to resist the attacks.
– What do you think now, is it better for the victim to seek help or not?
– It’s hard to say, this is everyone’s personal choice, but as far as I know, now there are special psychological services. If you are unable to discuss the current situation with your parents, then you can contact them. Probably, if I had such an opportunity, I would have done just that.
– What kind of relationship are you in now? How did you start communicating? – we already ask both.
Dima: Well, I pissed him off for about a year, maybe two, maybe one and a half, maybe six months, I don’t remember … And then at some point an angry person came, maybe he was in a bad mood, maybe he didn’t eat the burger, I don’t know. And he began to bullshit at me. And he also weighs a hundredweight, looks like a tank, it is difficult to cope with it.
Valera: It sounds strange, but we have been friends for several years.
– How did you come to reconciliation?
Dima: When he ran over me, I realized that it was better to show the white flag and talk, and to my surprise, it turned out to be quite pleasant to talk to him. And somehow after that everything went well, we began to communicate and are still friends. He, of course, does not like to remember all this, and I often do it.
Valera: This is an extremely funny situation, although at that time it did not seem so. At some point, I realized that I can no longer tolerate such an attitude. The final point was that I was locked in the women’s toilet. I started wrestling, a year of successful training gave me certain skills that could help in a fight, and confidence. This is exactly what I was missing. Once I came to school, nothing foreshadowed trouble, but then it started again … And I decided that now is the time to prove to everyone that it is no longer worth touching me. A fight ensued, and I, downtrodden and intimidated, emerged victorious from it. Then Dima just called me to discuss what had happened, we took a walk and realized that we had a lot in common. So they began to communicate, and soon they became friends.
Unfortunately, for most schoolchildren, bullying does not end on such a positive note. Typically, the persecution only gets tougher and rougher every year. Because of this, the victims become more and more withdrawn and acquire serious psychological problems. As a rule, others do not seek to protect the humiliated, and the victims, in turn, are afraid to seek help.
Child psychologist Irina Mlodik comments:
“This is often how bullying victims behave – ‘they don’t pay attention’, and this is a failed strategy. You need to fight back or seek help. Otherwise, the “victim” provokes the position of sacrifice to continue bullying. The victim is not responsible for the fact of bullying, but her responsibility is that it does not stop.
It is imperative to ask for help, if it is not possible, as in Valera’s case, to cope on your own. If it is impossible to tell the parents, then you can contact someone from the family or school, to whom you can trust more, or contact a psychological service.
Bullying often creates a victim position in the child, from which it is not easy to get out. This position “clings” to bullying, and builds up throughout life – if it is not overcome in time and deeply accepted that “you cannot do this with me”.
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