The Effects of Bullying

My special guest on today’s show, Hannah Spivey, shared her painful story of being bullied as a child, the impact it had on her, and her journey towards healing.

A bully is defined as anyone who treats another in a cruel or abusive way. For those who have been the target, the pain goes deep, the scars can last a lifetime. Bullying extends far beyond words – it is the hurtful way we treat one another. Sneaky and covert, it sometimes appears in the form of the silent treatment, insults, criticisms, ridicule, rumors or sarcasm. It is an insidious form of degradation that shreds one’s self-esteem and impacts every aspect of their lives. In extreme cases, individuals have committed suicide as the only perceived means of escape.

Bullying is not limited to children in the schoolyard. Left untreated, it remains active in the behaviors of grown adults, those seeking power and control over another. It is imperative that we each examine our own behavior to determine if, in fact, any of it qualifies as intimidating. Healing our issues of low self-esteem (a common denominator in all bullies), learning to be more compassionate, accepting, and respectful of others enables us to avoid inflicting suffering on others.

If we are being targeting by one who is intimidating, threatening, hurtful or disrespectful in any way, we need to either remove ourselves from their presence or set and enforce some strong boundaries. Either way, we must remind ourselves that their bad behavior is a reflection of their personal issues. It in no way diminishes us or our self-worth. Do not take what they say or do personally. Hannah recommended reaching out to someone you know and trust. Let them know what is happening and seek professional help if necessary. Do not keep your feelings inside.

She also suggested prayer. I have always found prayer to be a powerful tool to heal present and past wounds. This also involves forgiving the one who treated us shamefully. Forgiveness* does not lessen the seriousness of the offense. Nor does it relieve the offender from having to take ownership for their behavior and possibly face the consequences. It means that I choose to move beyond the incident, understanding that sometimes people do bad things.

One is not powerless against acts of maltreatment. We can remove ourselves from unsafe conditions, assert ourselves and set boundaries when necessary, and definitely forgive the offender. It is the only way to restore inner peace.

Pick up a copy of Hannah Spivey’s book, Ebony, the Beloved on Follow her on Facebook at Hannah Bossladywriter Spivey

*Visit for a powerful message on forgiveness.

If your school or workplace needs a program on bullying, visit to schedule a free consultation. We can help.

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