No one enjoys being bullied. But, the truth is, no one really enjoys being a bully either. If you discover that you are bullying others, know that you’re not stuck in that role. With some honesty, work, and time you can stop bullying those around you.
. Approach the person you have been bullying and sincerely say you are sorry. Telling him is one clear way to let them know that you are sorry for bullying him and won’t do it again.
Try saying, “I want to apologize for how awful I have been to you. I know I can’t take it back, but I do want to tell you that I am truly sorry. It won’t happen ever again.”
If it is too difficult to do in person right now, then send him an email, text, or even write him a note.
He may not accept your apology immediately. Understand that he probably has some negative feelings towards you that may take time to get over — he also may not trust that you are being sincere. Use your behavior to support your apology and over time he will see your sincerity and forgive you.
Before you do something that could be mean or hurtful, think about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Taking just a few seconds to consider these things can change what you were about to do. Thinking about what you are doing before you do it can help you stop bullying.
Think about the immediate and short-term effects of bullying. What effect could this have on you and the person that you are bullying right now and later?
Think about different ways you can address the situation and interact with that person. Can you ignore her or even try being nice?
Think about the person you are trying to be. Is bullying in line with that?
Stop and think.
While you don’t have to buy gifts for everyone you know, make an effort to be nicer, more compassionate, and helpful. Try to do at least one nice thing a day. Not only will you be changing your behavior in a positive way and stop bullying, but you could also develop new friendships.
Pay someone a compliment or just ask him how his day is going.
Volunteer or donate something to a local charity or your favorite cause.
Become a tutor or mentor for someone.
Make a point of being kinder.
If one of the reasons you were bullying was because the person is different in some way or because of your feelings about certain issues or things that person represents, then work on being more accepting. Accepting the differences in others is not only a part of growing up, but also a big step in not bullying.
Instead of harassing the person, accept that she is different and even accept that you aren’t completely comfortable with that difference.
Try to learn more about the person. Although she may have some things about her that you don’t like, you may find out something about her that you actually like.
If you simply cannot accept the person, then just leave her alone.
Be more accepting.
Instead of bullying, when you feel yourself getting upset, stressed, scared, tired, etc., practice some stress and anxiety reducing techniques. Doing this on a regular basis will change your long-term behavior so that bullying isn’t a natural reaction for you.
Taking a few deep breaths is one way to calm down in the moment.
Try picturing yourself someplace fun and peaceful.
Do something that calms you like drawing, listening to music, or even exercising.
Use stress management techniques.
If you feel that you are on the verge of bullying someone, decide to walk away instead. If you need to, spend a few minutes completely by yourself so that you can work through what you are feeling without hurting anyone. Walking away is one of the easiest ways to stop yourself from bullying someone.
If possible, leave the immediate area so that you can calm down.
In some situations, you may not be able to leave the room, such as if you are in the middle of class. In this type of situation, try to go to another area in the room or just turn away from the person.
One way to change your behavior and stop bullying is to associate with people who support this change. While you don’t have to get rid of all your old friends, if they were part of the reason that you were bullying in the first place, then you should strongly consider it.
Meeting new people will allow you to have a ‘fresh start’ without the reputation of bullying.
New friends can help support you when you feel you may be about to bully someone.
Develop new friendships.
Although bullying may be something that you do, it is not who you are. Negative labels lower your self-esteem and can increase the stress that is actually causing you to bully others. Face the fact that you did mean things, but acknowledge that you still have a lot of good qualities.
Instead of calling yourself a bully, try saying to yourself, “I have bullied in the past, but that’s not something I do anymore.”
Think about your positive qualities, skills, and talents. Use these things to identify yourself. For example, say to yourself, “I am funny and smart.”
Stop considering yourself a bully.
Bullying not only hurts the people being bullied, but also hurts you. Recognizing the effect your bullying has on your life now, as well as facing what impact it can have on your life later, are important steps in ending your bullying.
Bullying can get you into trouble if reported or get you hurt if someone decides to retaliate.
It can cause you to lose friends and cause people you don’t even know to dislike you.
Your self-image and confidence can be lowered because of your bullying.
Some people who were bullies as children have problems with their adult relationships, friendships, and careers.
Don’t forget the impact on you.
Do you mean to hurt others? Bullying is usually a learned response to stress. In other words, something has taught you that bullying is a way to cope with anxiety, fear, etc. One key to stop bullying is to identify why you do it in the first place. Be honest with yourself and take time to think deeply about why you have been doing this.
Some people bully others because they have been bullied or are being bullied themselves. Some people that bully have been the victim or abuse or trauma. If either of these is your situation, talk to someone you trust about what happened to you.
Other people bully because they want attention, or to feel powerful.
Some people bully because of their beliefs about race, sexuality, religion, etc. They are often uncomfortable with people they consider ‘different.’
Don’t blame the other person as the reason why you bully them. The other person is not responsible for your actions; you are. Even if he did something to you in the past, your actions and your response now are under your control.
Explore why you bully.
Whether it is a teacher, mentor, counselor, or even an online forum, share what you are going through with someone you trust. She can help you sort through any negative feelings you are having, deal with your underlying reasons for bullying, and introduce you to more constructive ways to express your feelings.
Talk to someone.
One of the biggest things you can do to stop bullying is to explore different ways to cope with stress. Using new methods of coping with your negative feelings replaces your bullying with appropriate behavior.
Explore various deep breathing techniques. Changing your breathing is one simple way to calm down quickly and appropriately handle a situation.
Look into meditation and mindfulness strategies. These techniques are often successful in reducing anxiety and stress, which can lead to bullying behavior.
Develop new coping mechanisms.
Think about a time in your life when you felt bullied, afraid, powerless, humiliated. This memory is probably something you don’t want to go through again. Remembering that time can help you understand how the person you are bullying feels, which can help you stop.
How did you feel about yourself when this was happening? Try to remember the exact feelings you had. For example, did you feel worthless, uncool, unlikable? These are some of the feelings the person you are bullying may feel because of what you are doing.
How did you feel about the person who made you feel this way? Were you angry with him? Were you afraid of him? That’s how the person you are bullying probably feels about you.
Recall your experiences.
Imagine that you are the person you bully. Think about how it feels in the moment that you are being bullied. Taking her perspective helps you stop bullying by making you consider the negative feelings your actions cause at that moment.
Think about how the person feels when she sees you coming. Dread? Resignation? Do you think she has had to change her habits (what time she or arrives or leaves, which route she takes, etc.) just to avoid interacting with you?
Consider how she feels as you are in the act of bullying her. Think about the emotions she experiences, as well as the impact those emotions have on her.
How does she feel after your interactions? Shaken? Angry? Hurt? Scared? Relieved? How hard is it for her to continue what she was doing?
Think about the immediate impact on the person.
Although you may have thought about how the person feels when you are bullying him, think about the serious impact your actions can have on that person in the future. This will help you understand just how much harm you can do. Taking a long-term perspective of your behavior can help you stop bullying.
1/3 of people bullied later start doing things like cutting themselves and other forms of self-harm.
80% of youth suicides are because of bullying.
Many people that have been bullied have problems with their school and work performance over time.
Consider the long-term impact.
Although bullying might make you feel better at the time, in reality, you know that nobody likes a bully. Take the perspective of other people that know you (and even those that don’t). What impact is your bullying behavior having on how people perceive you?
Do people avoid you or automatically treat you like they expect you to bully them?
Even though you may have a reputation for being mean and a bully, you can change this.
Examine your reputation.