REGION – Psychologists note victims of bullying often show signs that something is bothering them, even though they might not talk about the situation.
Young people are fearful of reporting incidents of bullying because they fear the bully will retaliate or they may be too embarrassed to tell an adult what they are being bullied about, notes counselor Kristin Lubs-Eagle of Point of Peace Counseling Services in Gaylord.
Still, there are ways parents and guardians can identify a potential problem. Signs of a child being bullied include:
- Unexplained injuries
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, etc.
- Frequent headaches, stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
- Changes in eating habits – too little or too much
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
- Suddenly loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem
- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
‘Teachers and school officials often take bullying too lightly or don’t know what to do,’ said Gaylord counselor Larry Porta. School personnel may not know that the effects of verbal and social bullying are worse than those of physical bullying.
Physical wounds go away. Emotional wounds tend to be replayed in the victims’ minds over and over, where others cannot see their effects.
If the problem is not dealt with in childhood or adolescence, survivors often have difficulty being able to trust in others and hence difficulty with relationships, even in adulthood.
Like any victim of abuse, adult survivors of bullying may have a difficulty confronting serious issues with other people and tend to be used or manipulated by others.
Adult survivors may experience long periods of depression and anxiety. And unless, these issues are dealt with, they can continue throughout their lives.
Both Eagle and Porta said counseling can help people get on the right track again. There is hope for both the survivors and the bullies themselves.
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