13 Reasons Why #4: Eating Pie with the Bullies

Hello pie eating earthlings! Sorry for the long leave of absence, moving across two states and starting two new jobs isn’t easy. Great and yet bitter news (bittersweet?) I have moved from Georgia to Charleston, South Carolina. No big deal expect that I have left behind great friends and family and amazing kids. I will still be visiting but odds are not as often as if I lived there (cause you know distance is a thing.)

Okay so when we left of last, back in like I think May, we were on reason 3 out of 13: rape. Today I want to talk to you about bullying.

“Am I being bullied? You really want to know? What if I was the bully, Mom? Would you want to know that?” -Clay (13 Reasons Why).

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For starters, let me define bullying: unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. So, if you are being an assbutt you are or could be a bully in the making.

I heard once that bullying is part of life and that it makes the person being bullied stronger, “Builds characters.”

To that I say: bullying builds character like nuclear waste creates superheroes. It’s a rare occurrence and often does much more damage than endowment.

There are many different forms of bullying:

Verbal- verbal bullying can include teasing, name-calling, inappropriate/uncomfortable comments, taunting, and threats. In 13 Reasons Why, not only is Hannah called names but many other people are as well. They are mocked for who they are and what others think the person has done.

Social- social bullying can include excluding someone on purpose, ostracizing someone, rumor spreading, and purposefully humiliating someone. Again, we see clear signs of this even among the people who are in the types. We see the group having a meeting about what to do about Clay, but did not include Tyler Down. Granted he was a stalker but they still excluded him from something that affected him too.

Physical- physical bullying can include hitting, pinching, kicking, spitting, tripping/pushing, vandalism of someone’s possessions, making rude/obscene hand gestures. This form is seen in the sexual harassment that occurs in the series.

Cyber- mean text messages/e-mails, rumors spread by e-mail or social networking sites, embarrassing pictures/videos/web pages, and fake profiles. In 13 Reasons Why, this form of bullying is what starts it all. A picture was taken and the life of one Hannah Baker.

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“No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same.”

Before I get into any of the psychological effects of bullying, let’s talk about bullying.  Let’s address how and why people become buttholes.

  1. Sometimes it’s a cultural thing. In cultures that are fascinated with winning, power, and violence, some experts suggest that it is unrealistic to expect that people will not be influenced to seek power through violence in their own lives. Explains why certain countries see higher bullying rates than others.
  2. All about the institutions: work, school, home, etc. If the institution at which the bullying takes place does not have high standards for the way people treat each other, then bullying may be more likely and/or prevalent and have an influence on why people bully.
  3. Society in all its glory! The fact that one gets more social recognition for negative behaviors than for positive ones can also contribute to reasons why people bully
  4. Can’t pick family! Families that are not warm and loving and in which feelings are not shared are more likely to have children who bully, either within the family home or in other locations in which the children meet others. Another home environment that is prone to producing bullies is one in which discipline and monitoring are inconsistent and/or a punitive atmosphere exists.
  5. When the Bullied becomes the Bully. Children who experience social rejection themselves are more likely to “pass it on” to others. Children who experience academic failure are also more likely to bully others.
  6. Power does corrupt. Some research indicates that the very fact of having power may make some people wish to wield it in a noticeable way, but it is also true that people may be given power without being trained in the leadership skills that will help them wield it wisely.

What are the signs that your child or loved is a bully? Is he/she:

  • getting into physical and/or verbal fights
  • have mean friends
  • becoming more and more aggressive
  • getting in trouble at school often
  • having unexplained new items or extra money
  • constantly blame others for their own personal problems
  • doesn’t take responsibility or own up to their mistakes
  • competitive
  • seek to be popular

What can be done?

Well, talk to them. See how you can help and try to find out the reason why they are hurting other people. Also, if need be, get them psychological help.

“But you can’t get away from yourself. You can’t decide not to see yourself anymore. You can’t decide to turn off the noise in your head.”

Now let’s talk about some signs to know if your child or loved is being bullied. Is he/she

  • having unexplained injuries
  • having lost or destroyed possessions
  • constantly pretending to be ill
  • major changes in eating patterns
  • frequent nightmares or trouble sleeping
  • declining grades
  • not wanting to go to school
  • loss of friends/ avoidance of social outings
  • low self-esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors, (running away, harming themselves, talking of suicide)

Now some people don’t show any of these signs, and those are the ones that are often the “but they had so much to live for.” (See Depression Post!)

Okay, so some are thinking that bullying is just part of life, and while it is true that about 80% of people in this world are 100% assbutts, no one should have to deal or put with bullying. It is harmful and can be dangerous to both the bullied and the bully. A Finnish study, reported in the September 2007 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry found that both the bullies and the bullied can suffer from long term psychological problems. Boys who were both bullies and victims and girls who were victims were at the highest risk of later psychiatric illness. Of the boys who were both bullies and victims, 17% later required treatment in a psychiatric hospital and 32% were treated with psychiatric medications for depression, anxiety or psychosis. Among the girls, 12% of the victims required hospital treatment and 32% required psychiatric medication as compared to the control group of whom, 4% required hospital treatment and 16% required medication therapy. The covert relational type of bullying most commonly experienced by girls has been found to be more likely to cause depression and loneliness than the overt victimization experienced by boys.

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If you are a bully, stop. Hurting people is not the way to fix yourself or anything in your life. Offer them pie instead, you make friends much easier that way. If you are being bullied please know you are not alone, and please seek help. You don’t have to give the bully’s name, but you need help nonetheless.

And to all my pie eaters, bullies and bullied, and everyone in between. Remember:

“Everything…affects everything”

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