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Thread: Bullying

  1. #281

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    Inside the bullied brain
    The alarming neuroscience of taunting
    By Emily Anthes
    November 28, 2010
    The Boston Globe | Boston.com

    Excerpt:
    In the wake of several tragedies that have made bullying a high-profile issue, it’s becoming clear that harassment by one’s peers is something more than just a rite of passage. Bullied kids are more likely to be depressed, anxious, and suicidal. They struggle in school — when they decide to show up at all. They are more likely to carry weapons, get in fights, and use drugs.

    But when it comes to the actual harm bullying does, the picture grows murkier. The psychological torment that victims feel is real. But perhaps because many of us have experienced this sort of schoolyard cruelty and lived to tell the tale, peer harassment is still commonly written off as a “soft” form of abuse — one that leaves no obvious injuries and that most victims simply get over. It’s easy to imagine that, painful as bullying can be, all it hurts is our feelings.

    A new wave of research into bullying’s effects, however, is now suggesting something more than that — that in fact, bullying can leave an indelible imprint on a teen’s brain at a time when it is still growing and developing. Being ostracized by one’s peers, it seems, can throw adolescent hormones even further out of whack, lead to reduced connectivity in the brain, and even sabotage the growth of new neurons.

    These neurological scars, it turns out, closely resemble those borne by children who are physically and sexually abused in early childhood. Neuroscientists now know that the human brain continues to grow and change long after the first few years of life. By revealing the internal physiological damage that bullying can do, researchers are recasting it not as merely an unfortunate rite of passage but as a serious form of childhood trauma.

    This change in perspective could have all sorts of ripple effects for parents, kids, and schools; it offers a new way to think about the pain suffered by ostracized kids, and could spur new antibullying policies. It offers the prospect that peer harassment, much like abuse and other traumatic experiences, may increasingly be seen as a medical problem — one that can be measured with brain scans, and which may yield to new kinds of clinical treatment.

    During the first half of the 20th century, even severe child abuse was considered a largely psychological problem in its long-term effects, denting children emotionally in a way that made it hard for them to grow into happy adults.

    Gradually, however, scientists began to look at the brains of adults who had been abused as children and realize that the damage wasn’t just emotional: Their brains had undergone telltale long-term changes. Over the past two decades, neuroscientists have marshaled plenty of evidence that serious physical and sexual abuse during early childhood can short-circuit normal brain development

    But what about cruelty that is emotional rather than physical? That that comes from peers instead of parents? And happens at school instead of at home, when children’s brains are no longer so young and malleable? In other words, what about bullying?

    Martin Teicher, a neuroscientist at McLean Hospital in Belmont, has been examining just these kinds of scenarios. He began by studying the effects of being verbally abused by a parent. In his study of more than 1,000 young adults, Teicher found that verbal abuse could be as damaging to psychological functioning as the physical kind — that words were as hurtful as the famous sticks and stones. The finding sparked a new idea: “We decided to look at peer victimization,” he said.

    So Teicher and his colleagues went back to their young adult subjects, focusing on those they had assumed were healthy in this respect — who’d had no history of abuse from their parents. The subjects, however, varied in how much verbal harassment — such as teasing, ridicule, criticism, screaming, and swearing — they had received from their peers.

    What the scientists found was that kids who had been bullied reported more symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders than the kids who hadn’t. In fact, emotional abuse from peers turned out to be as damaging to mental health as emotional abuse from parents. “It’s a substantial early stressor,” Teicher said. The data were published in July in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

    Things got even more interesting when Teicher decided to scan the brains of 63 of his young adult subjects. Those who reported having been mistreated by their peers had observable abnormalities in a part of the brain known as the corpus callosum — a thick bundle of fibers that connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain, and which is vital in visual processing, memory, and more. The neurons in their corpus callosums had less myelin, a coating that speeds communication between the cells — vital in an organ like the brain where milliseconds matter.

    It’s not yet entirely clear what these changes in the corpus callosum may lead to, or whether they’re connected to the higher rates of depression that Teicher found in bullied kids. “There may be some subtle neurocognitive difficulties,” he said. “We’re currently doing research that will allow us to answer this question better.”

    Teicher’s study is just one of a number of recent studies that have been finding troubling physical effects of even verbal bullying. For the past several years, Tracy Vaillancourt, a psychologist at the University of Ottawa, has been following a group of 12-year-olds, including some who had a history of being victimized by their peers, and assessing their functioning every six months. Among other things, she has discovered that being tormented by other kids can recalibrate children’s levels of cortisol, a hormone pumped out by the body during times of stress.

    Continued... < full story >



    I was never bullied in school, and I'm thankful for that.
    For me it was more likely to occur within my family
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  2. #282
    Senior Member mochajava's Avatar
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    I had no idea that the effects of all of these things (parental verbal abuse) and school bullying left such indelible marks on one's psyche. I just did not think it was that severe. I thought that, sure, self-esteem and self-confidence are impacted, but not something so far-reaching. Very eye-opening. Good find once again, V!

    Wow. For me, they happened in both contexts -- school and home, though the home was much worse. Thank goodness to be an adult where you get to choose your environments!

  3. #283
    Senior Member FunnyDigestion's Avatar
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    Making fun of people weaker than you is how almost everyone starts out, it's one of the innate uglinesses of humankind... It's ugly & sad & enraging but there's nothing anyone can do about it... if people can do it they will, until life kicks their ass & shows them who's really boss, or the tables get turned & suddenly for a little while they're the ones in pain. Like everything bad, it's not really bad, or at least it doesn't matter until it happens to you.

    More sensitive people who feel beaten at by everything on a moment-to-moment basis are naturally compassionate, because they're completely enmeshed in suffering.

    If life has a chance to get bad it will, bullying is just one common, heartbreaking element of that.
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    "Man is free, but his freedom ceases when he has no faith in it."

  4. #284

    Default Bullies

    I got this dude in my school he's really big and a rugby player and I'm kinda short 5'5 skinny built. I am well liked by people and got quite a lot of friends but every time he gives me shit for some reason. Throwing potato chips at me, slapping me on the back of the around out of nowhere, making dirty comments about me...it's fucking shit cuz i can't do anything about it. I'm always scared around him because I know I'm the likely target. Sometimes i just wish he would die or something and just go away. Maybe it's because i act like a clown always joking and so I become an easier target but fuck it's annoying. IDK what to do.

    What are some shit of yours?

  5. #285

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    If you can't beat him with your fists, grab a rock or something and smash him in the side of the head when he's not looking. And since you'll be coming behind him, kick him in the nuts afterwards. It's a good angle, coming through the ass side. I've had it done to me before. You're pretty much down for the count afterwards. Last of all, do it in front of his friends.

    I know you want him to die, but this is better. And no, the rock probably won't kill him.

    Or, you could do nothing. This seems to work for some people.

  6. #286
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    Stand up for yourself; part of the problem here is that you allow him to bully you because he knows that you're an easy target who won't resist. Now that doesn't mean that you should give into violence, unless of course you're willing to suffer the consquences of doing so, realistically speaking. Talking to a parent about this matter may also be of help (don't bother with school administrators though, they're useless dip-shits for the most part).

    From my high school years I was picked on quite a bit and bullied mildly, but then again I never took any initiative to ever stand up for myself. Granted if I could relive my high school years I probably would have done thigns differently, but shit that happened in the past should stay in the past, and such memories should only serve as a reminder as to how not to repeat such mistakes again.

    The strong will always prey upon the weak, until the weak learn to fight back and become strong themselves.

  7. #287

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    But they got brothers and friends that will all back them up...i don't got any of that. Got friends but not ones that would go out of their way for me even though i would do it for them.

  8. #288

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    That sucks. I had a brother that helped out a little, at least during elementary. I was pissed enough on my own in highschool. In fact, I sort of became a bully myself at times. Life is strange like that. It's kind of why I'm advising to just kick them in the nuts. They need it.

  9. #289

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    The problem with me is that i am a joke. I am always goofing and people always say this shit to make fun of me and to make me look stupid. They like compare me to people that are seen as jokes and it feels shit. I wish i could never talk and just become a silent person, things would be so much easier. My energetic and charismatic personality has only made me more depressed and the thing is I can't control it. I would say to myself 'I'll act sensible, don't goof around don't talk' but when my friends come I'm goofing acting stupid. Sucks.

  10. #290
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your problems. I was bullied a bit as a kid. My main strategy was just to be a boring target, don't give them anything. Eventually I learned how not to look like a target at all, but that only helps as a preventative. Fighting back isn't so much about winning a fight, or getting back, it's just making it less desireable for them to mess with you. Bullies like easy, predictable targets.

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