Lesson Plan - Get It!
How much do you know about bullying? Take this pop quiz to find out!
When you encounter bullying, either as a victim or an observer, it can be difficult to decide what to do in the moment because your emotions are often overwhelming. However, there are many self-help tools and strategies that you can use to make better choices around mean voices.
- What are these tools and strategies?
- How can you use them?
Identifying Mean Voices
Did you answer the second question in the pop quiz correctly? Or did you think, like most people, that cyberbullying was the most common type of bullying nowadays? According to DoSomething.org's 11 Facts About Bullying, verbal harassment or abuse is the most common form of bullying, making up 79% of reported cases.
- What exactly is verbal abuse, and what are the signs?
Verbal abuse involves unhealthy verbal interaction that can result in emotional harm to another person. It is repetitive use of hurtful language with the intention of attacking one's character, physical appearance, gender, race, or social class among other things.
As a result, the victim of verbal abuse usually feels unworthy, unloved, stupid, inadequate, and powerless. If the abuse continues for a long period of time, it can lead to anxiety and depression, which significantly impacts every aspect of the victim's life, including school performance, relationships with family and friends, and personal health.
Unlike other forms of bullying, verbal abuse is sometimes difficult to identify. You may have encountered someone who was verbally abusive toward you, but you didn't think the experience was truly abusive. Below are signs of verbal abuse. It is important to remember that this abuse can occur anywhere, from school to a friend's house to your own home.
Using inappropriate tone and language.
If someone yells, screams, or swears at you, it is an abusive display of power that is unnecessary and does not resolve conflict.
Abusers use threats to gain control because they think making you fearful makes it easier to influence you to feel badly about yourself.
Using mockery and sarcasm.
When another's words are meant to put you down and make you feel less of a person because of the way you talk, dress, or look, it is a sign of abuse.
Making jokes at your expense.
Verbal abusers will make you the subject of fun in a negative way, using it to attack an area where you are weak.
Calling you names.
Name-calling is a form of verbal abuse where the abuser's goal is to humiliate you in public by associating your name with something that has a negative connotation or relation.
Watch What Is Verbal Abuse?, from ehowhealth, to see how verbal abuse can happen:
- If you experience any of these verbally abusive situations, what can you do to put a stop to it?
Your response will always depend on the type of relationship you have with the abuser. You would react differently to being yelled at by a complete stranger in public than you would to an individual within your social group. If your abuser happens to live in your home, your course of action would be different as well.
Nevertheless, your goal should always be to put an end to the abuse. The following suggestions may help:
Engage in a calm but courageous conversation.
Remind yourself to be calm. Then, make an attempt to have a conversation with the abuser and share how his or her behavior makes you feel.
Focus on the abuser's behavior and not on him or her as a person. This may help lessen the probability of a reactive response.
Sometimes, it is helpful to let the abuser know that you are aware of his or her actions and you consider them unacceptable.
Use your words with power and conviction.
Verbal abusers pick on individuals who they think are weaker and unable to defend themselves. That strategy doesn't work if you call out the abuser every time the behavior is observed and use phrases or statements that convey strength:
- "Stop calling me names."
- "I did not appreciate that joke."
Avoid addressing the abusive behavior by asking for favors:
- "Please, stop calling me names."
- "Can you please stop mocking me?"
Avoid the abuser as much as possible.
It is hard to avoid a verbal abuser if he or she is within your social group, but keeping your distance and limiting your interaction with the abuser can help you.
If your abuser happens to live in your home, find a trusted adult who can help like another relative or a teacher, counselor, or school principal.
If you have tried to avoid verbal abuse with no success, do not hesitate to ask for help. At school, you can ask your guidance counselor, teacher, mentor, coach, or school principal to intervene and put a stop to the abuse. Your parents or guardians can also be a great help.
If for any reason you cannot ask someone at home or school for help, you can always reach out to any of the organizations found under Additional Resources in the right-hand sidebar.
Learning about verbal abuse can give you the confidence to deal with these types of situations when you encounter them in the future. When you're ready, proceed to the Got It? section.