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If I'm being bullied is it better to pretend I am not affected by it or show to the bully that it's upsetting me?

31 Answers
Last Updated: 10/20/2020 at 4:28pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Top Rated Answers
October 17th, 2016 7:27pm
You should not show the bully that they are able to get a reaction from you. Seeing you hurt or upset is what fuels them and encourages them to continue, and I can say this from experience. Try your best to make it clear to them that what they are doing will not hurt you or make you weaker. You are strong and amazing, so don't let them make you feel like you're not.
May 22nd, 2015 1:04am
Dont show the bully that it is hurting you, because that is what they want. You should tell someone you can trust about the bully.
March 22nd, 2016 3:06pm
I was bullied as a child and I learned that acting like I was unaffected made the bully more aggressive with what they were doing.
January 14th, 2015 9:00pm
This is one of those "it depends" type questions. There's no one size fits all answer. Part of it has to do with the type of bullying we're discussing. If physical violence is involved there's no point pretending not to mind. Priority one is escaping with minimal injury and taking steps to avoid additional such encounters either by engaging law enforcement (which could be parents or school authorities, etc), by relocation, learning not to invite attack (yes, sometimes the victim does share in some of the blame) or by learning self-defense. Verbal abuse is much more commonly related to our reaction. We don't have to react to every perceived insult or provocation. That's not to say we must be doormats, either. Keeping things in perspective helps a lot. For example, if an adult is walking by a schoolyard and a toddler trying to impress his classmates yells something inappropriate, the taunt should be ignored. There's also not much point of a woman responding to cat-calls from strangers she passes in the street. Bullying is about power, sometimes real and sometimes perceived. Workplace bullying may be about job security, office politics or mental health issues. It must be reported to management above the level of the abuser. Bullying in family relationships is about control. Therapists can be helpful. Of course, not every unpleasant remark we hear constitutes bullying. We have to maintain a sense of humor about ourselves and the ability to tolerate the petty indignities we all experience at times. The old saying "Know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em" doesn't only apply to card games.
January 16th, 2015 5:50pm
I always found that a balance between ghetto work best. Show that they are being rude and it won't affect you as well as confront them about how it hurts. Most bullies I have seen will back down or get flustered once confronted.
September 8th, 2015 12:11am
I don't think bullies ever care about how you feel. So I'd say be confident about yourself and ignore them. Ignoring is the best way of insulting.
July 19th, 2016 12:14pm
Don't show people your weakness. Just don't. It's better to pretend that you're unaffected; it'll stop being fun for them in some time. Your reaction is the fun part. If it isn't there, then the fun isn't there.
August 8th, 2016 7:59am
You should show you are being affected by it. If it helps-cry. Don't pretend it doesn't as the bully can see you are hurt.
August 16th, 2016 12:08pm
I guess bullies bully other people in order to make them upset ... So its probably better to not give them what they want (see you upset) :)
July 24th, 2017 8:14pm
In my personal opinion, showing the bully that it affects you is probably the worst option you've got because a lot of people don't learn from that and continue to prey on your weaknesses once they know what will get to you. Even better than pretending you're not affected by it is probably pretending like you're not affected by it while also standing up for yourself at the same time.
October 27th, 2015 1:14am
I mean to be honest, either way isn't going to work. At least, neither hasn't worked in my experience. I used to show everyone that it would affect me and I would pretend that it didn't affect me and either way I still got bullied. I got bullied from kindergarten to 7th grade and it wasn't until 8th grade that I learned to love myself and just not even bother putting even a little energy into their negativity. It takes time to learn what I've learned but I promise it's not impossible. I went from being depressed all the time because of bullying to learning how to deal with the bullying and learning that as long as I'm happy with myself, and I'm not harming myself or anyone else, and I at least have 1 or 2 good close friends and an amazing support system then why care about what everyone else thinks? It's hard and takes time but I can promise you can get there :)
March 21st, 2016 8:08pm
When I was bullied, I didn't show how it effected me. Sooner of later, the bullies got bored and they grew up and stopped picking on me.
September 20th, 2016 11:10pm
This could be tricky (in my opinion at least) because depending on the bully, either of these could be bad. Sometimes if a bully sees that you aren't responding the way they want then they'll become more aggressive. On the other hand, showing that it hurts you could be what they want to see, which could result in them continuing. Either way, the best would be to alert someone as soon as you can. Preferably when it starts.
November 13th, 2017 5:26pm
Don't pretend & don't be upset! show them who they are running into and don't need to be afraid they are nothing but the piece of shit don't let them get into your skin!
January 8th, 2018 11:39am
It is better to pretend that you are not affected by it because this will make your bullies get bored of bullying to you and eventually they might decide to stop bullying you. But it is always important for you to talk to someone that you can trust and express your feelings about the bullying. You can talk to a listener if you want to. But if you can't handle the bullying don't pretend that you are not getting affected by it.
March 6th, 2018 4:40am
ignore it. pretend like you dont care. bullies bully only because they take pleasure in it. when you start ignoring them they will get bored and move on.
April 17th, 2018 4:39pm
Bullies typically feed off of your reaction. They do it to deflect their personal problems onto you. I think it's better to show them that you aren't affected by it.
February 17th, 2015 11:39pm
Speak up about it, don't necessarily show the bully that it is upsetting you, but definitely discuss the matter with someone you can trust, like a parent or a member of staff at school/ college. Bullying should not be tolerated. Talking to someone about it is only showing your strength.
March 13th, 2015 5:49pm
Bullies bully others because they're bored. The more you react, the more they are inclined to bully you. By not being fazed, they think of you as a boring target and leave you alone.
April 5th, 2015 8:48am
You should stick up for yourself in a non-confrontational way. Simply state the behavior the person is doing and then state how that person makes you feel. Don't forget to add that it isn't ok that they do that to you and you will not tolerate it. Here is an example of what it is that I am talking about... "Joan, I don't like it when you point and laugh at me as I am changing in the gym locker room. It makes me feel hurt and like you don't see that I am a person who has feelings. I don't think that this is ok and I will not tolerate you treating me this way. If this behavior continues I will start documenting it and turning it in to the proper authorities."
April 23rd, 2015 4:02am
Honestly? Neither. If you pretend it's not affecting you, then they might think you're okay with being bullied. But sometimes if you show you're upset about it, they bully you even more because they think you're weak for showing hurt.
May 22nd, 2015 5:45pm
It's better to tell them to stop, and if they keep continuing tell an adult, only pretend that you don't care so the bully will think, "oh he doesn't care im gonna move on" but you should still tell an adult.
May 24th, 2015 2:44am
I think bullies can't be reasoned with. I grew up with many. My tougher friends kept them away from me. I am thankful for that support. A few times I had to prove myself to bullies to leave me alone. I did things I can only describe as unpleasant to others to protect myself. The tough streets were like that when i was growing up. I knew of no other solutions. I still have problems with confrntation and avoid it when I can. But as an adult and no violence involved i can stand up for myself without severe consequences. I am ok with that.
September 21st, 2015 5:04pm
Neither. Although this is usually very hard to do it is actually better to tell an adult or friend you trust (that might happen to be an adult or someone your age). Be sensitive though to how it will affect that person. You don't want them getting hurt too but usually we are surprised by who has been through a similar experience to us. Good luck!
December 21st, 2015 12:13pm
It is better to show if it is not affecting you because they will get bored and they won't bully you anymore
February 15th, 2016 2:17am
This is a hard one as not all bullies are the same. Hard because my instinct is to agree that voicing your feelings is ordinarily the best way to cut through abuse and stop someone in their tracks. However, I think it's also useful to remember the context in which the bullying takes place and be mindful of which situations are best to reveal the impact of the bullying so that your disclosure can result in the best outcome for you - a complete stop to that behaviour. Bullies in the school yard or other social circles are usually accompanied by loyal followers, and confronting them with a vulnerable statement of how the bullying is affecting you may result in further ridicule or worse, violence. Maybe the best place to reveal how much it's affecting you is to a trusted friend or staff member who you can trust to protect your anonymity, identity and ensures your physical safety will not be affected. Bullies at work are a different species. They tend to be in positions of authority and thrive off their abuse of power, using words or actions to belittle and keep those causing them problems in a constant state of fear, anxiety. The schoolyard or social bully has no less impact but the work place bully is normally a more challenging problem to resolve because of the employment procedures or hoops you have to jump through, For workplace bullying I recommend checking out the code of conduct set out by your country's Department of Employment or the equivalent. There's usually a clear process and rights which will help you go about the best way to reveal how the bullying is affecting you and more importantly what can be done to stop it. So in short, yes it's a great idea to stand to a bully and say "Stop it, I don't like this." I guess the other thing to remember however is where and how you stand up.
March 21st, 2016 8:18am
I think a mixture, make sure you show it is hurting without making a scene or giving in to them. Showing strength in spite of hurt is what will drive the bullies away.
April 19th, 2016 4:16am
Many bullies thrive on seeing the effect their behavior has on their victims. I do not know your situation, but has some useful tips on responding to bullies.
May 2nd, 2018 5:47am
NO! It is much better to get help, even if you need to get the cops involved. If you are being bullied, the bully really just wants a reaction, so that they can take pleasure in it. Do not give them that reaction they are looking for.
April 15th, 2019 9:37pm
Well, ever situation is different, but speaking from my own experience, what helped me best was pretending that what she said and did had no effect on me at all. Bullies are ususally insecure people who are just trying to get some attention; while doing so, they tend to bring others down in hopes to make themselves feel better. I noticed that if I kept showing that I cared, it meant that I was giving this bully just the attention she was craving, and other people were paying attention to the matter. as well. On the other hand, if you show yourself unaffected, bullies stop getting the attention after a while and become "bored" of you not giving it any fut¿rther thought. I hope this helps!