Preventing the effects of Bullying-Being Assertive 2
In the last post on being assertive we looked at the difference between being passive, aggressive and assertive. We also looked at some of the feelings that might be around and make it more difficult to be assertive. So lets pick up on that in this post today.
Feelings that can stop you being assertive
1. Feeling Scared
When threatened it is a normal reaction of your body and brain to feel anxious or fearful-it is a survival response. If you are being threatened by someone, your body and brain takes you over and you have little control over this. It's called the Fight, Flight or Freeze response. When faced with a bully this automatic response can kick in and it has 3 choices-Fight it/ Run away or Flee (Flight) or Freeze and Play dead and hope they lose interest in me. Watch this video to learn more about these responses.
If you are very scared like 'scared stiff' you may not feel like you can stand up to the bully, you feel exceedingly small like an ant in the face of an elephant? You might feel shaky, sweaty even frozen to the spot. You think you are no match for the bully. Fighting is futile, you can't out run them. Your body/brain works to keep you safe by getting you to shrink or play dead and hope they pass over you.
But feeling afraid and a bit stressed by a situation can also energise you as your body/brain prepares to put up a fight. You feel pumped up, your muscles are flexed, you feel the blood boil in your veins, you are not backing down. You are angry (which is a powerful emotion). You may growl back at the bully in some way to try and scare them off. You might even feel like attacking the bully, like a bear with a sore head. Or you might later take the anger out on someone else, like your sister when you get home. Or this fear might energise you to run and get away to a place of safety as quick as you can, like a gazelle.
If you blame yourself for what is happening, or for not being able to stop it, you might feel sad about yourself. Then that may make you feel like you are not worth standing up for? You might feel you lack worth and are just a worm! Not True.
What would being assertive look like?
Facing up or standing up to a bully takes courage and to do that you have to value yourself and know inside that you are worthy. Really believe that you are worth being respected and this is not acceptable. You are okay. There is a lion inside of you! Courageous, Brave, and Bold!! Courage is not taking action in the absence of fear-but feeling the fear and acting anyway.
Imagine someone is calling you names or pushing and shoving you or taking your bag or something like that.
How would you normally behave? What feelings are going on for you?
Now, even though a large part of you feels scared- Can you imagine another part of you that is like the lion or the bear and not the ant or worm? Can you imagine your own inner superhero? Imagine that part of you rearing up, standing tall, shoulders back, head up and with a powerful, firm, and strong voice, (not shouting in anger or losing it or being upset and crying) saying something like this:
I do not like what you are doing, and I want you to stop. How you are acting is unacceptable. STOP NOW.
Or try this-"yeah, my hair is ginger, but I'm okay with that, if you don't like it that's your problem and oh by the way your hair looks great today!" (you show them you are not fazed by their insult and you respond to them with kindness, which will disarm them-they won't expect that)
Imagine yourself then walking away confidently and calmly.
When you assert yourself, the bullies may stop. Even if they don't immediately, you have given them a clear message that you are not passive and will not just allow them to walk all over you. You have stood up to them. You may feel afraid when you do this, that is why you need to use that brave and courageous part of you-like a lion or a superhero of your choosing.
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