“Bully” is an important documentary that everyone should see. In this documentary, a couple of children and their families are followed as they share the pain that is caused from bullying.
Bullying is widespread and underreported. Statistics from 2008-2009 School Crime Supplement showed that only about a third of all cases are even reported. Many times children don’t tell adults because they feel helpless and humiliated, and fear being seen as weak for telling. Also, there is a fear that adults won’t believe them, or no that one will understand, or that the adults will do nothing. There can also be a fear that the kid who is bullying will make things worse for them.
Bullying is intentional aggressive behavior that involves power and control. Usually it happens over and over in the form of hitting, punching, teasing or name-calling. The newest form of bullying is sending negative cyber messages/texts either to or about someone, more commonly known as cyber-bullying.
There are warning signs that a child is being bullied:
- Comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, electronics, jewelry or other belongings.
- Has unexplained injuries such as: cuts, bruises, and scratches.
- Has few, if any friends, with whom he or she spends time.
- Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus, or taking part in organized activities with peers (such as clubs).
- Takes a long, “illogical” route when walking to or from school.
- Has lost interest in schoolwork, or suddenly begins to do poorly in school, or not wanting to go to school.
- Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he or she comes home.
- Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, feeling sick often or faking illness.
- Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams or nightmares.
- Experiences a loss of appetite.
- Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem.
- Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch because it was stolen from them.
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem.
- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, “cutting,” or talking about suicide.
Many of these symptoms can also be found in clients who suffer from PTSD. From a trauma perspective, bullying fits right into this category.
Trauma is anything that someone experiences that they can’t process or digest. They feel stuck somehow. Classic PTSD symptoms:
- hard to concentrate
- eating problems
- feeling on edge
- loss of interest
- social withdrawal
- stress and anxiety
As a society, we have to help stop the epidemic of bullying so that children can stop being traumatized. It will take a village to stop this and recognize the problem. The “Bully” documentary is a great beginning, and more dialogue needs to occur so that action can be taken.
Sometimes bullying can be so severe it can lead a child to take his/her own life, or even the life of others. This seems incomprehensible.
If a child has been bullied, it might be beneficial for him/her to get EMDR treatment. EMDR has helped millions of people who suffer from trauma to heal and move on their lives. There are wonderful EMDR therapists across the country. Find someone who has been fully trained.
Look in the Learning Center to see if EMDR is right for you or your child.