Helping you get through tough times

Ask the expert: Colman Noctor

Welcome to ReachOut.com’s Ask the Expert service

Through this service the ReachOut.com team will be working with a group of professionals and experts with detailed and specialist knowledge of youth mental health issues such as anxiety and depression to answer your questions and address your concerns.

Each month we concentrate on one particular mental health area and work, mainly, with one specific collaborator. Colman Noctor took your questions about bullying.

Sam says:
Hiya, My brother is always putting me down and calling me names. We fight a lot. Sometimes I cry when he is really mean. I don’t know how to make him be nice to me?

Hi Sam,

It is very difficult when you are being bullied by a member of your own family as not a lot of people recognize it as bullying. The reality is that it most certainly is! Anything that makes you feel unsafe or upset or unconmfortable and continues even after you ask them to stop, is bullying.

You should first speak to your parents and let them know how this effects you. Don’t raise this topic when an argument between you and your brother breaks out. Raise it when things are calm and your parents have time to listen to you. Be calm but assertive about how this is making you feel.

If this does not work approach another support person, like an aunt or uncle and explain to them and see if they can raise the issue with your parents. Failing this I would inform a teacher in school and let them know how this is effecting you and how upset you are and hopefully this will allow your parents to be aware of how serious this is and they can do something to manage this for you.

Remember everyone has the right to feel safe, especially at home so make sure you do something about this issue.

Colman

Ciara says:
hi,
im scared to go back to school.
I was bullied last year and dont want to go back.
what should i do?
thanks, Ciara

Hi Ciara,

Being bullied is a really difficult and painful experience to have to go through. Many people believe that there is nothing you can do about it. This is not true, there are things that can be done and everything must be tried to ensure it stops. I am sure you have informed your parents and teachers that this is happening?? If you haven’t, you need to. They are the people who can make sure something is done to manage this.

Ask for support and report all incidences of bullying that may occur. It is the responsibility of your school to manage this situation for you, and not solely your responsibility. The people involved need to be made aware how their behavior is effecting you and if it continues after the point where this warning has occurred then the school need to act on it to manage it.

Avoiding school is a tempting option but is only a short term solution where you end up missing out. You can only have so many sore tummys before people will become suspicious. Highlight the issue at the start of the year and allow a number of weeks for it to be managed and it should be considerably better by mid-term. If you don’t tell anyone or avoid school it will linger on and on.
Try and get some support around coping with the bullying behavior by a family friend or a reputable therapist. You need to mind your self-esteem through all of this and need to hear alternative views from someone other then those who bully you.

Best of Luck and SPEAK UP. It’s a right to feel safe, not a luxury!!

Colman

Isabela says:
I experienced verbal violence from my mother by many years.Therefore I left my country I had enough everything.I am adult now but I still feel unsafe.I am afraid of people.I can not speak with anybody frankly.I am afraid of rejection.I feel like small child.I still have contact with my mother but we pretend that everything is ok.I do not know how to manage with my feelings.What should I do??

Hi Isabela,

It would appear that you are experiencing high levels of anxiety and you seem to attribute these feelings to your relationship with your mother. This could well be true or indeed there may be other factors. Whatever the reason these feelings of anxiety seem to be affecting your everyday life and therefore needs to be addressed.

I would suggest that you visit your GP and ask for them to recommend psychotherapists or counsellors in your local area. A counsellor or psychotherapist can help you to examine your anxiety and provide you with ways in which you can develop the skills to cope and hopefully experience a better quality of life for yourself.

This level of anxiety that you describe will not get better with just time. It sounds to me that you need some help to cope with this and so I recommend you do that sooner rather than later. Remember with the right help anxiety can be successfully treated so be hopeful that things can get better for you soon.

Colman

Craig says:
How does bulling effect people, when they reach adulthood.

Hi Craig

Bullying depending on the severity and t he individual reaction of the victim can have both short or long term effects on their lives. Some people who experience bullying in childhood can carry the effects by way of poor self esteem, self confidence and self worth and this can last a lifetime. However for many victims they adjust through adulthood with the aid of support and or corrective experiences to life their lives free from the weight of their bullying experience.

What is important is to seek support and advice to help you cope with your experiences so that the negative impact is reduced to the short term.

Colman

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