Inside the Bullied Brain

This is an amazing article on the impact of bullying on children and adults. It is a well-written albeit frightening summary of the impact of hard-core bullying. I am left wondering about the spectrum of abrasive behaviors and their impacts on targets. If you are a target of abrasive and bullying behaviors then read on… What I know to be true about PTSD is how it is compounded when those around the you deny the impact of the trauma (so, when teachers, bosses, family and friends say ‘he’s just a bully, ignore it’ they’re inadvertently making the trauma worse and increasing cortisol levels and the potential for brain-damaging PTSD). And for those who see bullying, try to avoid making things worse with comments that deny the problem. It’s more helpful to say something like ‘wow, that has got to hurt’ rather than ‘just ignore it’ or ‘it’s not that bad’. Even focusing on ‘what can be done’ is better than trying to down-play the issue.

The Boston Globe

  • Mary M.

    I think a lot of people downplay the issue because they themselves don’t know what to do or what to suggest. “Ignore it” is all they can think of. I’m a teacher and a parent, and I try to make comments of the type you’ve suggested and brainstorm possible ideas to try when presented with the behavior next time. Then I roll-play the suggestions I make with the children until they feel comfortable and ready to try the strategy the next time the bullying happens. I’ve had some pretty good success helping kids with this. I think the roll-playing is the real key. Sometimes you need to do it 3-4 times with each strategy you suggest until the kids feel comfortable. I don’t see any reason why the same strategies and role-playing wouldn’t work out well when standing up to adult bullies, as well.