Once a person suffers bullying for so long, changes in the brain occur- changes that aren’t good. Here are these changes:
1. The target becomes exhausted and loses the will to fight back. Being bullied is extremely tiring. Bullies know this and deliberately wear their victims down to take the fight out of them and wrest control over their lives.
Although at first, the target may defend themselves and fiercely assert their rights to human dignity and respect, most bullies don’t recognize any human rights but only see self-defense and protection as an affront to their power. They then only double down- intensify the hatred until they mentally and physically exhaust their target.
The target finally loses their will to fight back and acquiesces because he’s just worn slap out and no longer has the strength to fight anymore.
2. He loses the ability to recognize mistreatment. When we’re used to being treated well, we can more clearly see poor treatment and know the difference when it happens. But after so long of enduring bullying, the lines get blurred, and our eyes lose the ability to see aggression so clearly- especially if the hostility we face is subtle. We finally reach a point where we don’t recognize the bullying at all!
3. The target becomes conditioned to accept bad behavior from others. After so long, you come to believe what bullies tell you- that you’re a terrible person and that you somehow deserve to be treated shabbily.
These damaging self-beliefs happen after the bullies, their followers, and bystanders have repeatedly prevented you from defending and taking care of yourself. They have, for so long, drummed into your head that you are worthless, useless, evil, mentally unstable- take your pick. They repeat the same lies over and over until they force you to believe it too.
4. The target begins to punish himself. The victim does this by engaging in risky or self-destructive behaviors. He may hang with the wrong people and befriend those who only tolerate them. Targeted girls may participate in risky sexual behavior or having relationships with abusive partners.
Understand that we must be vigilant to take care of our mental health and self-esteem if we want to avoid these results in the future. Make sure you have friends outside of the bullying environment that you can talk to and that your family is supportive. Do things you enjoy and keep company with positive and uplifting people any time you’re away from the bullies.
Your goal is to balance the bullying you suffer by adding healthy and positive relationships and experiences outside the bullying environment. This balance will soften the blows to your self-esteem and provide a buffer to your bullies’ attacks.
With knowledge comes empowerment!