Victims of bullying face a difficult challenge—that of maintaining balance under pressure. When someone bullies you, he is probably eager to throw you off balance emotionally. He is hoping that you will resort to extremes of anger or show terror. If you fly into a fit of rage or burst into tears and express hurt or fear, the bully is getting what he wants. So he may try to provoke the same reaction again and again.
What can you do? Consider the following suggestions. They are written primarily with the young in mind, but the principles may also apply to adults dealing with bullies.
▪ Keep cool. Don’t give in to rage. The Bible wisely advises: “As a city broken through, without a wall, Is the man who cannot control his temper.” (Proverbs 25:28) When your temper is out of control, you give the bully power over you, and you are likely to do things you will only regret.
▪ Try to put thoughts of revenge out of your mind. Vengeance often backfires. At any rate, revenge is not really satisfying.
▪ When things appear to be getting heated, get away quickly. In general, try to steer clear of those who tend to bully.
▪ If bullying persists, you may need to speak up for yourself. Choose a moment when you are calm, look the bully in the eye, and speak in a firm, level voice. Tell him that you don’t like what he is doing—that it is not funny and that it hurts. Do not resort to insults or challenges.
▪ Talk to a responsible, caring adult about the bullying. Be specific about the problem, and ask for help in handling it. Do the same in your prayers to God, and this can be a wonderful source of help and comfort.
▪ Remember that you have value as a person. The bully might want you to think that you don’t matter, that you deserve to be treated badly. But he is not your judge. God is, and he looks for the good in each of us. It is the bully who becomes less worthwhile by resorting to such conduct.