Understand why you are bullied or a bully
Nicole had difficulty reading; even the blackboard was hard to see. She had learning difficulties, her self-esteem was poor, and kids excluded her. Eventually one teacher became suspicious and suggested to her parents that she have an eye test. Once she was given glasses, her schoolwork improved and she learnt how to stop being bullied.
You can be targeted because you were born different. Being physically handicapped, clumsy, small or tall, having a different skin color, unusual behaviors (e.g. a twitch or a stutter), scoliosis, eczema or epilepsy, crooked teeth, a big nose, bad eyesight, other health problems, and giftedness are some genetic factors that attract bullying. Or you could have been born more jealous or aggressive and have little empathy for vulnerable or indulged children.
Having learning difficulties
If you aren’t as clever as your classmates or have learning difficulties, you may need specialized help. You may feel different or excluded socially. If you feel sensitive about your problems, you will interpret comments about them as insults and react aggressively or provocatively. You are then more likely to be targeted.
If you are very bright and keen on schoolwork, then you could be targeted because you are different. However, you may make the situation worse without realizing it. Serious kids often don’t believe in chit-chat; they think it beneath them. Thus, you can alienate peers who may bully back. You might brag about how well you have done while denigrating students with schoolwork difficulties. They will retaliate. Or if you disguise your ability and pretend to be like everyone else, you lower your potential. The bully then senses your vulnerability and frustration at being different.
‘Just because I’m new and try to do well in my work and don’t get in trouble a lot, people tease me. They call me goodie-goodie”.
I ignore the teasing but it doesn’t go away.’
If you were born more sensitive, you will have a lower tolerance to stress. Your sympathetic nervous system is more active than your peers’. You become upset and react. At home you are protected, but not at school. Your distress is clearly visible on your face, like the lights on a plane’s instrument panel. You broadcast your vulnerability: your eyes look scared and teary, your lips quiver and your facial muscles twitch more rapidly, you blush or pale readily – revealing rapid changes in skin color – and your anxiety is reflected in your voice, body language and words.
Alternatively, you may have been born an angrier child. Then you attack when things don’t go your way, for example, if others don’t follow your instructions. Perhaps you feel intimidated by clever or attractive kids and want to make them feel bad. Maybe you like to be in control so that you have a group to belong to. Alternatively, maybe you don’t care about other people and can’t feel empathy for them. They are there to be abused. You feel good when they feel bad.