Monday, March 27, 2023 | Ramadan 4, 1444 H
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Let’s talk about bullying

Few weeks ago I received a text message through Instagram from an anonymous person saying that I have upset his mother who came to the clinic and I said she had a mental illness ‘just like the previous three psychiatrist’ he described the four of us as ‘heartless monsters’.

He then went on to wish that I too have mental illness and ‘die in a painful and terrible death’.

I told him that I do not share patient’s information and if he has any particular questions he can book an appointment and am happy to answer him. Instead he replied with more insults so I decided to block him but I still felt upset with his words.

According to Cambridge dictionary the term bullying is used to describe an act intended to hurt or frighten someone, often forcing that person to do something they do not want to do.

The act of bullying often occurs over a period of time but its impact can be permanent.

Although bullying is often associated with teenagers it can occur in any age group. From a psychological point of view, bullying is often associated with aggressive behaviour repetition and an imbalance of power.

The bully uses his or her physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity to control or harm the victim.

Although most people associate bullying with physical aggression it can include other behaviours such as making threats, spreading rumours, attacking someone verbally, and excluding them from a group on purpose.

There are several theories that tried to identify why someone becomes a bully.

Most theories focus on what makes the victims different such as their physical appearance like being short or overweight, or their skin colour or religious backgrounds.

Some of these focus on the fact that bullies are looking to gain a feeling of power, purpose and control over their victims.

A few scientific studies showed that bullies often experienced a stressful or traumatic situation such as their parents’ divorce or the death of a close family member or even being subjected to bullying themselves.

Some bullies have low self-esteem so to mask how they actually feel about themselves they focus attention on someone else, others are jealous of the success of their victims such as when smart students are bullied and called nerds.

While some bullies have insecurities in their relationship and become bullies to be accepted among the group of bullies.

Cyber bullying can be different because bullies are able to hide behind fake names and the fact that they do not see their victim makes it easy to be aggressive.

Bullying has several negative impacts on the victims, some people who experience bullying start to internalise it and become self-critical and blame themselves for being bullied. While others develop mental health problems such as anxiety, depressions, eating disorders or even addiction.

In severe cases bullying can lead to self-harm or suicide. Some people try to change their looks or behaviour due to their bullying so an overweight person may seek gastric bypass surgery or cosmetic surgeries that he or she does not need.

Whatever the form or cause of bullying, organisations and individuals should work together to create a safe working environment where people feel respected and appreciated so they can do their jobs with dignity and respect.

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