More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
What To Do When You are Being Bullied
By Scott Davis
Sat, Sep 22 2007

The other day I had a terrible experience on one of the mental health forums where I am a member. A few members launched an attack on me, something that occurs all too common on any forum, but on a mental health forum they can be particularly disruptive. After I was unsuccessful in my attempts to get the members to withdraw their attack, I wrote to the forum administrators to complain.

Their response caught me off guard, to say the least:

You are known to be outspoken so you shouldn?t be surprised when you get attacked by other members. ~ name withheld

At least they got one thing right. I am definitely outspoken. I won?t reproduce my reply, but I have since been banned from the forum for ?having a bad attitude.? Well, again, they got one thing right. When it comes to bullying, I have a very bad attitude.

The ugly truth is that people who suffer from mental illness face bullying in almost every aspect of their lives. I have been bullied by doctors, pharmacists, bosses, whoever. It?s everywhere. For some reason, people with mental illness are treated as second-class citizens.

This shouldn?t be. In a society that places such an emphasis on equality and fair treatment, people with mental illness are the kids being picked last for the ballgame. In this article, I am going to talk about the various ways that you can be bullied by others, and what you can do when it happens to you.

Just Calm Down
One of the most insidious ways in which people with mental illness are bullied is by condescending and belittling comments. If you?ve ever suffered from depression, I bet you have heard comments like ?Why can?t you just cheer up?? or ?You?re just faking it.?

Yeah right. This type of bullying, which implies that having a mental illness is not much worse than having a cold, can be absolutely devastating. People who bully in this way will claim that they are just encouraging sufferers to ?snap out? of their depression, but in reality they are really using these comments to tear sufferers down. Would you tell someone who had cancer to just ?snap out of it??

If you are the victim of these types of comments, there are a few things you can do (sorry, keying their car isn?t one of them). First of all, don?t feel obligated to reply to them. Sometimes the best thing to do is just walk away, especially if you find the comments particularly hurtful or if the person seems intent on attacking you. Remember that anyone making these comments is doing so out of ignorance and they are trying to hurt you. Try not to take their statements personally.

If the person is someone you know well, tell them that you are very hurt by their comments.

Abuse makes me see red. There are people out there who seem to thrive on hurting others, and unfortunately people with mental illness make very good targets. Abuse can take many forms, from physical or sexual abuse, to much more subtle forms such as emotional or financial abuse.

If you are the victim of physical or sexual abuse, please try to contact a crisis center or law enforcement. As a past victim of both, I know how terrifying these forms of abuse can be, but it will only continue if you don?t get help. Crisis centers are very good and they will do everything they can to help you.

Emotional and financial abuse are a lot harder to detect because they can be very subtle. These types of bullies tend to be people in positions of trust like family or friends, which makes it really difficult to tell when you are being abused, and it also makes it hard to stop these types of bullies.

Emotional abuse is when another person uses emotions, usually guilt, fear and anger, to control and abuse another person. These types of bullies will do things like blame you for your own problems, (?You?re depressed because you?re so fat.?) manipulate you with threats, and attempt to control your emotions.

Like I said, this type of abuse can be really hard to detect and it can take a therapist to help you understand if you are being bullied in this way. However, sometimes there are signs that you are being emotionally abused. If you find that a person seems to be always angry with you, or if they always say things that make you feel guilty, they may be bullying you. If you think this is happening, talk to someone that you trust and see what they think. Sometimes it can help to have someone else?s opinion.

Financial abuse is a little easier to spot. These bullies use money to hurt other people. A financial abuser might try to use your financial dependence on them to bully you. This is a common way that bosses abuse their employees, especially if they know that the employee has a mental illness. Another way in which you can be financially abused is by theft, for example in cases of elder abuse family members will use a person?s mental illness as an excuse to take over their finances.

If you suspect that you are being financially abused, there are a few ways to protect yourself. First is to find someone that you trust and talk to them about what is happening. Again, like emotional abuse, sometimes it takes a second person to see what is happening. If you are being financially abused by your boss, you can speak to your human resources department or even to your local human rights organization.

Standing Up
Being bullied is a terrible experience, and it can leave you fearful and desperate. There are very few things as awful as being victimized by another person, and if you are suffering from a mental illness, being bullied just seems to add insult to injury.

However, if you do find yourself being bullied, or if you suspect that you are being bullied, take hope. Bullying is now considered to be a major social problem, and there are thousands of people working to bring it to an end. There is help out there for you if you are being made a victim.

If it does happen to you, seek help, be strong (yeah, I know) and take heart in knowing that you are not alone. Standing up to bullies is tough, but you won?t have to do it by yourself. There are people who can help you.

There is no need to live in fear of bullies. If it is happening to you, stand up and say no. It might hurt at first, but you will make it.

lonely cat

The other day I had a terrible experience on one of the mental health forums where I am a member. A few members launched an attack on me, something that occurs all too common on any forum, but on a mental health forum they can be particularly disruptive
That is why I respect this forum.This forum tries to help everyone without breaking their hearts.The moderators read and check the posts frequently.Once I wrote a post without thinking the others too.I feel safe here.There may be some misunderstandings or small arguments sometimes,but I really learned to take pleasure out of my arguments.
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