Being Ignored & Bullied
Updated: Aug 8
Back in the day, the solution to stopping a bully was standing up to them and giving them a hard punch square in the nose.
Have you ever been ignored and bullied?
Did you ever wonder, "What's wrong with me?" or "Why I am left out?" How about the time you had the courage to ask someone "why is this happening?" and then were met with a well-crafted response from them that left you with even more questions.
Imagine being pushed aside, rejected, and excluded right now.
Every day...day in and day out.
One of the most severe forms of bullying is being constantly ignored.
When someone is willfully excluded from a peer or interpersonal relationship, it is referred to as social or interpersonal rejection. A group of individuals that reject someone is called mobbing. Rejection can either be overt, as in forceful bullying, or passive, as in ignoring, shunning, or humiliating someone.
Ignoring as a Bullying Strategy
We've all occasionally experienced the terrible feeling of being ignored. Being rejected can feel quite painful. You will likely feel greater grief and rejection the more important a person is to you, or the more unmet the expectation that you have of them is.
Bullying tactics include what may seem to the target to be tiny brush-offs in order for the bully to break down another to gain the upper hand. Keep in mind that when these "mild brush offs" occur often, they go from being slight to being purposefully devastating due to the successful effect at isolating the target. Examples include:
making eye contact with everybody else in the room during a gathering and not with you.
you are always the one who has to make the first move with contact (calls, texts, etc.)
in a social setting, they reach out to greet and shake everyone else's hand while walking past you (especially if you know they had 'seen' you).
having a conversation with others, probing their interests, joking around, and possibly even making light of things before remaining silent, stiff, and nice for show, however, in no way demonstrating an attempting at connectiveness that they have with others, toward you.
making you the constant 'butt' of jokes.
"too many" inside jokes.
silent treatment or stonewalling - passive-aggressive bullying...especially when someone doesn't get their way.
When the Bully Further Isolates a Target
Bullies skilled at is being (manipulative and) charming will swiftly increase the amount of social interaction and attention they take from you and provide it to others in order to win their favor----against you. More examples:
everyone else is invited to something (or to do join in on something), except for you.
nobody else believes you can succeed, but you are extremely confident in your ability.
to further isolate, the bully starts spreading untrue stories about you. Even strangers start believing what is being said about you. Are you familiar with group think? Based on what they have heard and believe to be true, these new people then start mentioning you to other people.
Because of our naturally social nature to belong to a group, rejection is emotionally painful. According to Abraham Maslow and other theorists, a basic human drive is the desire for love and a sense of belonging. All people must be able to show and receive affection in order to be emotionally healthy, according to Maslow.
According to psychologists, this desire cannot be met by simple social engagement or contact with others. People, on the other hand, have a significant motivating desire to establish and preserve polite and caring positive relations. Both secure relationships and meaningful interactions are necessary for people. Most people will start to feel lonely and miserable if one or both of these elements are missing, and when they are present for others. Rejection carries a significant danger as a result. In actuality, social isolation seems to be the root of the majority of human fears.
Rejection can result in a variety of negative psychological effects, such as depression, anxiety, poor self esteem, anger, overthinking, substance abuse, and violence. It may also result in hyper-sensitivity to rejection in the future.
Many people will tell you to just "ignore it" or "let it go." Most of the time, people say this to themselves in an effort to feel better. Bullying is real—-and so are your experiences when dealing with it. It can be quite tricky to "simply get over" being stonewalled and left isolated, and excluded from normal social functions.
Your main concern, though, might be "why is it happening to me"---- great question. Being continually picked on or ignored is cruel.
Some tips for managing:
Accept that it is happening.
This is not the same as agreeing with it or condoning the behavior. Just acknowledge it. You will suffer greater sadness and rage the more resistant you are. It will be simpler if you acknowledge that no matter how wonderful of a person you are, you are being ignored. Even if you disapprove with what is being done, the first step is acceptance.
Acceptance is your "Armor!"
Set a timer for 2-minutes, max.
That's the number of minutes you'll spend trying to understand "why" - especially if you are an overthinker. After the time is up, have something ready that you will focus on after that—-read a book to expand your knowledge, pick up a new study in a foreign language, switch to your favorite creative outlet (painting, playing an instrument, etc.), or focus on building a business (at any age!)—this can be extremely effective!
Seek out a community activity by volunteering or join a sport
Participate in something with people that encourage acceptance, kindness and support. Love animals? Volunteer at your local animal shelter or ask a local farm if they need any help. Other ideas include helping out at a food bank, or join a community sports team. Martial Arts or taking a class in self defense always comes as a handy skill. Perhaps go hiking with locals in your area? Take a peek on Meetup.com to see what is available in your area. Don't isolate or punish yourself!
I cannot emphasize this enough---do not psychologically disconnect yourself from your offline life and throw yourself into the woes and spiderweb of social media! Continue learning to gain more power in your life. Keep your mind busy with things that serve your best and highest interest for your future. Remember that everything that gets measured is treasured... you are a gem!
I'll leave you with this thought: There are some things and people we won't ever understand. We won't be able to change everything. We are the one element we can control, nurture, and strengthen, however. Remain vigilant! The truth in your experiences will eventually emerge as a positive ---right now, it may be hard to see it that way. Your experiences are building your endurance, tenacity and character for something much bigger and more beautiful down the line, so hang in there.
Please remember, your safety is #1. If your life has been threatened or you have reason to believe that your life could be in danger---do not hesitate to report it to your boss, a teacher, and/or the police.
Hugs and love to you.