At the Emotional Health Centre, Therapy House, 6 Tuckey Street, Cork city we help with bullying and those who have been effected by this behaviour in others
In 1993/1994 Mona O’Moore, from the Trinity College anti-bullying unit, carried out a survey of bullying in primary and second level schools. The results to many people’s surprise showed that 32 per cent of primary and 16 per cent of second level pupils had been bullied at some time. This survey is well worth reading and studying.
Guidelines for countering bullying were published by the Department of Education and Science in 1993 and all schools are requested to develop a policy on countering bullying behaviour.
The ‘stay safe programme” (a child abuse prevention programme) was also introduced into schools in the early 1990s and the issue of bullying is handled very effectively. This programme adopts a three-way approach to preventing or tackling bullying and involves schools, parents and pupils.
What can bullying involve?
Bullying can be physical, verbal, psychological or emotional and may be carried out by groups or an individual. Children who are bullied can be constantly subjected to:
• unprovoked beatings;
• being regularly kicked or punched;
• continuous teasing;
• physical harassment in the form of shoving and pushing;
• being called hurtful names;
• being insulted or having their family insulted;
• being verbally abused;
• being threatened and intimidated by known aggressors, being bullied in school and out of school in their local neighbourhood;
• having lies and false rumours spread about them;
• having nasty notes written about them;
• being isolated from groups and being left out of activities on purpose;
• having their property damaged wilfully;
• living in constant fear of something bad being done to them or their families;
• being forced to hand over money or goods through fear and intimidation;
• being made to feel bad about themselves because they are weak intellectually;
• being teased and jeered because of their socio-economic, intellectual, mental, emotional or racial status.
Why do children and young people?
The poor relationship which some children have with their parent(s), can be reflected in the negative attitude which the child has towards other children and adults. Where a parent appears to reject the child and is negative towards him/her the child may, as a result, bully other children as he/she has developed a faulty response mechanism towards others.
Some children are victims of bullies themselves at school or at play in their locality. They feel powerless and frustrated about the situation and, as a result of these bad feelings, they begin to bully others who are weaker than they are.
They bully to gain acceptance from their peers. In some gang situations, for both boys and girls, it is necessary to prove yourself to be part of the gang.
Bullies can be jealous of other children, who appear to be more successful than they are, have more possessions or are more popular. Jealousy has been found to be one of the main reasons given by children for bullying, particularly those who have a low sense of self-worth. They feel that life has given them a bad deal.
Bullies lose out socially because they cannot enjoy others successes. They often become angry and resentful of others.
The behaviour of younger children can deteriorate if there is a new arrival in the family. They feel angry as their mother or father spend less time with them and give them less attention. They take it out on others in the family or, as sometimes happens, on the new arrival.
Bullies may have some physical disability of which they are conscious but with which they have not come to terms. They feel different to other children and may even be jeered and taunted about their disability. They bully out of frustration and to feel power over others.
Because of a change in their family situation, the child may be under severe stress. The child feels alienated from the community and the bullying is a form of revenge. This change in behaviour is usually temporary and may be caused by:
• a parent’s loss of employment and status perceived by the child;
• loss of the family home;
• a change of home and the loss of much that is familiar to the child;
• a death in the family or the death of a friend;
• the loss or death of a pet;
• alcoholism in the family;
• marriage breakdown;
• violence in the home;
• a parent or sibling in prison;
They are so insecure within themselves that they enjoy making others feel small and inflicting pain on them.
They are not used to taking turns, sharing, begin part of a group, losing at any type of game or taking directions as to behaviour. They simply bully their way into getting what they want.
Childhood bullies – treating the bully with hypnosis
Use any of the techniques suggested for adults.
You may want to refer to the Working with Children masterclass manual for ideas on adapting scripts using play, metaphorical story telling, drawing etc.
The aim is to uncover the pain which caused the child to lash out with bullying in an attempt to control his or her environment so that no-one could hurt him or her again.
Follow this with assertive expression and confidence building techniques.
Childhood bullying – EMDR
1. Ask child to think of a time when they were bullied, or bullied others.
2. Ask about physical feelings in the body as they remember the experiences.
3. Process these to resolution.
4. Creative positive affirmations.
5. Let the child write these in different coloured pens.
6. Process new affirmations in imagined new good behaviours until new behaviours are established in unconscious mind.
Bullying by adults
Child bullies turn into adult bullies, in their grown up playgrounds of the office or the romantic relationship.
• physical violence
• intimidating controlling sarcasm
• refusing to talk about a problem
• sullen and sulking behaviours
• threats to end a relationship when attempts to control it don’t work
• financial punishment
• verbal or emotional attacks
• humiliating a partner
• accusing and assigning malicious intent
• pathologizing or dehumanizing another
• punching a wall to intimidate or silence
• posturing as if you are going hit someone, and verbal threats to hit if the other person doesn’t comply
Bullies have been ascribed the following traits:
• excessive aggression
• desire for power and dominance
• alienation from society
• belief that bullying is justifiable and deserved
• lack of empathy with their victims
• abdication of responsibility for their actions
Meanwhile victims are viewed as having the following characteristics:
• high levels of anxiety or insecurity
• quiet demeanour, sensitivity, timidity
• poor self-esteem
• lack of self-confidence
• tendency to be loners
For an appointment please ring Therapy House, 6 Tuckey Street, Cork city on 021-4273757 or email us on