Sean had been teased and excluded since beginning high school. They picked on him because he was Asian, although he'd lived most of his life in America.. At first he was stunned - he didn't know what to do. Everything he tried, including asking the school for help, had failed. As time wore on he became angry, then scared. Finally he gave up - he felt powerless and paralysed.
Bullying arouses many bad feelings like fear, anger, shame, hurt, confusion and powerlessness because it interferes with so many aspects of your life. It seems that girls get sad and boys get mad. You either implode or explode. It's uncomfortable being bullied, witnessing it, or being a bully. Earlier on, I described the 'fight or flight' instinct. This survival instinct is your internal safety sensor. Your brain identifies a threat to your safety, then it sends a message to your adrenal glands requesting energy to take action. A cocktail of biochemical survival hormones are released to enable you to fight or flee. These hormones influence everything you do, from eating and running to feeling, thinking and behaving. Like many other things, too much is not always best. You can't handle bullying while your body is crammed and jammed with excessive amounts of stress-related hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol, norepinephrine and epinephrine. Unless you regulate and release your feelings, you'll become powerless, paralysed or 'bottle and burst', hurting yourself or someone else in the process. Regardless of whether you ignore the consequences or exacerbate the situation by challenging the bully you become more vulnerable.
But once you regulate your painful feelings, especially anger and fear, you can think more clearly and develop a sensible plan to block the bully. You'll appear more relaxed and less likely to make the bully happy. Other children will support you because you are 'cool'. Thus, dealing with feelings gets you into action.
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