Bullying Awareness Month: Bullying’s Impact on Mental Health

young girl crying from bullying

One teen remembers the pushing, the physical threats, and intimidation from a school bully during middle school. He developed severe depression, going from a “semi-loud guy” to a quiet one. He hoped for a fresh start at a new high school, only to find his bully had chosen the same school and began spreading malicious rumors about him. It was a self-described hell, which he described on the Pacer Center’s Teens Against Bullying website, where hundreds of other teens share their own accounts of bullying.

The National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice estimates that about 20% of students ages 12 to 18 experience bullying nationwide. The effects of bullying — whether physical, verbal, or relational — are far reaching. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, an opportunity to raise awareness and provide tools for change. That includes broadening the conversation by discussing the impact on victims’ mental health. Continue reading Bullying Awareness Month: Bullying’s Impact on Mental Health

4 Steps for Confronting Someone Whose Humor is Offensive

two boys stealing stop sign

There are many different perspectives on what constitutes humor, from deadpan to slapstick to insult, there tends to be a lot of variability in how people express their humor. Where do you draw the line between “just joking” and offensive humor? That’s up for each person to decide, but if you have found someone’s jokes distasteful here are some tips how to confront someone whose humor you consider offensive. Continue reading 4 Steps for Confronting Someone Whose Humor is Offensive

The Psychology Behind “Trolling”

woman looking down at laptop

In her book Shrill, writer Lindy West describes a day in 2013 when she received a Twitter message from Paul West. Of course, this was impossible — Paul West was her father, and he had recently died of cancer. The impersonator’s message was cruel (the bio alone read “embarrassed father of an idiot”), and while West was no stranger to cruel comments from strangers on the internet, this, she said on an episode of NPR podcast This American Life, “was the meanest thing anyone’s ever done to me.”

The internet age has made everything more available, more accessible, more visible. For many reasons this is an incredibly positive thing — think of how much more information is at our fingertips! The ability to learn is now as fast as your WiFi speed. Not only that, but our personal and professional lives are exposed to many more people. These current strangers might be able to follow our lives, hire us for jobs, and keep up with our recent vacations. Continue reading The Psychology Behind “Trolling”

Types of Bullying and its Effects

A child hides their face

Many people wonder exactly what bullying is and what types of bullying there are. Bullying takes many different forms and can impact children and adults alike. From physical and verbal bullying to social and cyber bullying, this form of unwanted, aggressive behavior can be either obvious to spot or more subtle. It entails a person intentionally and repeatedly causing discomfort or injury to another individual without cause. Generally, a bullied person is unable to defend him or herself and is likely not in a position of power, according to the American Psychological Association.

Continue reading Types of Bullying and its Effects

An Open Letter To My Catcallers On My Way To Work

street harassment mural brooklyn

An Open Letter to My Catcallers On My Way to Work” originally appeared on Fairygodboss, an online career community for women, by women.

Dear Catcallers On My Way to Work This Morning,

Like a stray hair that slinks down the skin of my back, I can feel your eyes. Like the Spanx under my skirt you strip away with your mind, your words suffocate me.

On my way to the office, I saunter through Manhattan’s Herald Square. It’s crawling with wide-eyed tourists, to whom you’re supposed to be passing flyers and ushering onto double-decker buses. You call me an, ahem, part of the female anatomy because I won’t smile for you. I grip my keys between my knuckles, and I flash you the finger. Continue reading An Open Letter To My Catcallers On My Way To Work

Here’s How Street Harassment Affects Women’s Mental Health — and How We Heal

two men cat calling woman on street

I remember what I was wearing: A blue tank top with a picture of a peacock, jean short-shorts, and flip-flops. I remember the weather: High summer, sweet grass scenting the air and the sun just beginning its slow descent to the horizon. I was walking down a country road, lost in my thirteen-year-old daydreams, when suddenly —

Honk honk!

A car horn split the air with its grating clamor. A group of men in the car waved their hands and heads out the windows, hollering at me.

It felt like I jumped a mile. My body flooded with shock. Fear. Self-consciousness. The moment before, I was at ease in my space, my body, my summer daydreams. Now, my sense of peace was ripped away like a wax strip torn from the heart. Continue reading Here’s How Street Harassment Affects Women’s Mental Health — and How We Heal

7 Ways to Deal with Cyberbullying

woman cyberbullying cartoon

Bullying isn’t new, but the way people go about it has changed. What was once reserved for the schoolyard now occurs at home or at work via social media. In fact, cyberbullying affects adults as much as children. A 2012 study from the University of Nottingham and the University of Sheffield found that eight out of ten of the 320 adults surveyed across three different universities had been victims of cyberbullying in the last six months. About a quarter reported feeling humiliated, ignored, or being the subject of online gossip at least once a week.

Rude comments or bullying in general can make one feel hurt, sad, or angry, leading to feelings of depression, anxiety, or self-esteem issues. When the rude comments or bullying are online — when people are looking at social media at home or at work — it can be even worse because it is happening in a place where they should feel safe. It can happen when they are around people important to them such as their children.

The written word is sometimes worse than the spoken word due to its permanency, and it can feel impossible to escape bullying. People see the comments every time they return to a page. Unlike in-person bullying, the bullies who makes the rude comments online cannot see how their victims react. They may go further with their bullying then if they were actually able to see the victim’s physical reaction. Continue reading 7 Ways to Deal with Cyberbullying