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15 Struggles Only Victims Of School Bullies Can Understand

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15 Struggles Only Victims Of School Bullies Can Understand

School bullying is, without doubt, one of the most destructive experiences a child could have. Not knowing from moment to moment whether you are going to be victim of yet another prank, rumor, or violent outburst is soul destroying.

Only the victims themselves know the true effects of these attacks, and that is why I can give you this account so freely.

I was bullied at twelve years of age for the best part of a year. I remember it like it was yesterday. It had a devastating affect on my life, but it didn’t beat me.

Let’s take a closer look at the lives of the victims and how they struggle as a result of this cruelty.

1. They Feel Violated

Bullying comes in many different forms, but even the mildest offense can cause the victim to feel violated. When a group of kids turn on you and start calling you names, it feels like you have lost control of the world you had created for — a world that was happy up until that point.

2. They Feel Alone

Victims don’t want to make a report to anyone when they are bullied — particularly when they are kids. It’s just not the cool thing to do, and they fear it will make the bullying worse. It can be hard making your way home from school every day with a heavy heart, knowing you have to face those pesky bullies again tomorrow and the next day. You start to wonder if it will ever end.

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3. They Feel Afraid

Some bullies are ruthless and will go to great lengths to make sure their victim is left shaken after every incident.

4. They Feel Angry

Victims want to scream “STOP.” They want to fight back but they’re paralyzed. They want to vent their anger and shout about this injustice, but they have nowhere to turn.

They’re angry with the bullies and they’re angry with the people who should be helping— their help is not enough to stop it.

The victim will struggle with schoolwork because they have had a lot of their books destroyed by the bullies and because they are too emotional to concentrate.

If you were locked in a cabinet for the entire recess, you would struggle with your school work, too. The victim is further ridiculed by the teacher and parents for their poor performance in school.

6. They Feel Depressed

Kids who are bullied on an ongoing basis will eventually become depressed. That kind of pressure wears down the victim, who eventually experiences chronic low mood. They are sad both at school and at home. Life becomes unbearable. School bullying has the potential to cause serious anxiety and depression in young people, despite the best efforts of our schools to control it.

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7. They Feel Desperate

If the bullies won’t stop and the kid doesn’t make any effort to report these incidents, this can go unnoticed for a very long time. Some kids are bullied for years on end.

The victim becomes desperate and can’t see an end to this terrible nightmare. Many contemplate suicide, some attempt it, and, sadly, some are successful.

8. They Have Bad Dreams

Kids who are bullied are not only living a nightmare all day, but they often re-live the whole ordeal in their sleep at night.

Nightmares are frightening and make matters worse for the victim when they wake to face the day ahead. The only relief is to stay away from school, and so they face further problems with their schoolwork.

9. They Want to Be Invisible

Being a victim of bullying is so overwhelming that being invisible is the best possible solution. If the bullies can’t see you, they can’t pounce on you, call you names, throw food at you, and so on.

In time, they’ll forget all about you and move on to the next poor victim.

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10. They Feel Humiliated

It’s natural to feel humiliated when you are being targeted by completely insensitive people and in such a cruel way. If you ever had a rumor spread about you — true or false, it makes little difference —, you just want to hide away and never come out.

Cyber bullying is the perfect vehicle for humiliation — it’s so easy to do and has devastating effects for the victim.

11. They Just Want To Be Normal

Victims crave normality. They just want to wake up and feel normal, happy even. They want to go to school and have a normal day, come home and have some normal time with their family.

Instead they feel on edge, depressed, fearful, tearful, and detached from their old life.

12. They Want to Be Bullies

Victims plot and scheme about what they would do to their bullies if they got the chance. Who would blame them? But, of course, this would make them bullies, so it’s not the answer.

13. They Feel Isolated

You can be in the company of loving people, but if you have a terrible secret and nobody knows, you can feel alone.

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Not only that, but those people will notice changes in you and they won’t understand. They may even dismiss you for being silly and offer little help.

When parents don’t understand these changes in their child, they feel helpless too.

14. They Feel Powerless

Usually, victims are outnumbered — bullies aren’t brave enough to take on a victim alone. There is little these kids can do when a gang approaches them — they have no way to fight back.

Every day they wish there was a way out, but the option to snitch is just not worth it. They have been threatened several times and know that there will be repercussions if they defy the bullies.

15. They Can Feel Courageous

Every now and again, things work out for the victim. Sometimes, they’ll throw a punch and surprise everyone and, what’s more, it will land right on cheek of the ring leader. A moment of glory at last — finally the victory is theirs.

Sometimes, the gang might be interrupted just before they strike — Yes! the victim wins again.

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Other times, it may be just the case that the bullies took it easy on the victim for some unknown reason. Maybe they got a conscience or something. Either way, it was an easy day for a change.

There’s no doubt that victims of school bullying have a lot to contend with — many will suffer from low self esteem and may even grow up with more serious mental health problems. But, for many, the experience makes them stronger, and so they find their way past all the hurt and shame and go on to live productive and successful lives.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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