It is quite common for people to experience some form of verbal abuse or bullying (being called names or insulted) at some point in their lives. Many young people hear insults on a daily basis when they are in school or socially. Whatever age you are being called names or insulted can have an effect on your wellbeing.
Is it bullying or banter?
It can be confusing for someone to try and work out whether the name calling is banter or bullying. If you are called something once by a friend or someone you know, it’s most likely to be banter but if this is constant, it starts to become bullying. It is equally about how you feel too, if it makes you uncomfortable and you have told them to stop but they continue, then this is what we call verbal bullying. Verbal bullying can include comments and remarks on weight, appearance, race and sexuality. Name calling has been around for what may seem forever but for someone who is on the receiving end of this, it can often have devastating consequences.
Why do it?
It is very difficult to understand why someone would want to use insults towards others on a regular basis, especially if they have been told or asked to stop.
There may be various reasons why someone acts in this way towards others:
- They might be doing this to impress their friends or build up some type of reputation.
- They may have been abused themselves and want to deflect attention or perhaps they are angry about being bullied and use bullying someone else as an outlet.
- They might be enjoying the attention or reaction.
- They might be having problems at home or at school so they are taking this out on someone else.
- A lack of self-esteem or confidence so they act in a negative way.
- They might be copying the behaviour from his or her friends and might feel more accepted when they join in with the name calling and bullying.
- They might be angry and frustrated and looking to take things out on someone else.
There are many other reasons why one person bullies another and every bully has their own reasoning or excuse for causing the abuse, but there is no reason that makes it okay.
How do the bullies make you feel?
A young individual who has or is being bullied may act like they are okay on the outside but inside they could be feeling a number of emotions that are out of their control. The individual may feel like they can’t express how they are really feeling incase people judge them and say they are making a big deal out of nothing or that they can’t take a joke. It is so important to understand how someone feels on the inside as a result of regular abuse because the consequences could be devastating.
Bullies and abuse can often make young people feel:
- Self blame
- Behavioural changes
Bottling up your feelings, without seeking help can often results in:
- Feeling depressed
- Withdrawing yourself socially and not going out
- Avoiding social media or messenger
- Feeling anxious about going to school
- Becoming angry and aggressive
- Bully others
- Developing an eating disorders
- Turning to drinking or taking drugs
- Making an attempt or taking ones life, this is in extreme cases, but sadly a reality for some families who have lost a loved one through bullying.
In situations where you are dealing with verbal bullying, it is really important to keep your cool and not let yourself get too angry. It is natural to feel this way but it could result in aggression which could then lead to someone getting seriously injured and the police may have to get involved. This is why it is so important to get help and stop the bullying before anything gets out of hand.
Verbal bullying can have such a huge impact on people’s lives. If you see someone insulted or abused on a daily basis you must try to imagine how they are feeling on the inside and how it is affecting their friendships, school work and home life. Then ask yourself, how can I help?
If this is happening to you or someone your know contact Childline on 0800 1111 for a confidential conversation with someone who could really help.