Early Warning Signs of Bullying

Early Warning Signs of Bullying

Bullying is a psychosocial phenomenon aiming at destroying victims. It is always an aggressive behaviour (directly or indirectly).

Bullying is always intentional, voluntary, persistent and continuous, aiming at damaging a person.

It’s often difficult to intercept, face or contrast it.

Bullying happens everywhere, anywhere.

A lot of people around see and know. Most of them bystand and say nothing. Very few people stand out and speak out.

It is not in this post that we point out how to educate, teach, prevent or contrast bullying.

Instead, we want to suggest how it would be possible to notice the early signals of bullied people:

  1. Dealing with everyday’s bullying makes people change their behaviours

  2. Bullying affects dramatically bullied people’s lives by deteriorating their well-being

  3. Being bullied leads to lifelong personality changes.

First of all, victims change their behaviour. They develop new reactions, such as an unacceptable, unmotivated silence, very nervous answers, progressive isolation, any sort of discomfort, tears or anger.

They refuse to go to school or go outside with friends, they prefer to lay in bed, without any convincing explanation. They feel tired all the time, listless, they are afraid, they loose their self-esteem, their confidence, not only in themselves but also in their families and friends.

A person who was bullied in childhood may become an adult who finds it hard to trust others.

Their performance at school starts to suffer. Withdrawal, unexplained tearfulness, and disruptions in sleep and appetite can signal anxiety in bullied kids. And anxiety can wreak havoc on attention. And even if someone tries to stay near them or asks for reasons of such changes they refuse any help.

Separatedness, silence, self-exclusion from any social contact or relationships are the early warning signals all the bullying victims show.

Perhaps they want the others see those changes and they are the first ones who ask for help by changing their own behaviour.

Moreover, the victims may show physical signs, such as wounds, hematomas, scratches, but also ripped jackets, scorched sweaters  with cigarettes; sometimes victims have experienced rape or systematic or continuous theft once bullying gets persistent.

Then, the victims may have also psychosomatic signalsSome common emotional symptoms include denial, anger, sadness, changes in appetite, sleeping difficulty, conduct disorders and emotional outbursts. These signals are quite easy to detect and recognize expecially by their parents and those who have been in contact with them before they went victims of bullying.

There is no need to involve an expert or a doctor to recognize and diagnose bullying.

Early warning signs of bullying are always detectable, expecially in children. And they must be stopped because childhood bullying leaves permanent scars in adulthood.

Such guard signs are often referred to as “antisocial behaviors” that are the precursor to antisocial personality disorder, which is not diagnosed until the individual is 18 years old.

Thus, in dealing with childhood bullying, schools and families should intervene as soon as possible to address these early warning signs of bullying and prevent harmful mental and behavioural disorders in adulthood.


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