The driving forces behind childhood bullying and how it impacts adulthood
Sticks and stones may break your bones, but the wounds inflicted upon your self-esteem as a child can last a lifetime. Children and teens may be bullied for several reasons, such as weight, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, clothes, social difficulties, interests, and behaviours related to mental health conditions.
The negative terms bullies use to label their victims are often internalised by the victim at a tender, vulnerable time in their development. If fully digested, the bully’s taunts may become the victim’s inner voice, and negative judgments may distort core beliefs well into adulthood. Distorted beliefs can limit the choices survivors of bullying make in their social and professional lives. Children who start as outwardly expressive may turn inward to protect themselves from further ridicule. Many survivors continue to re-enact their role as disempowered victims in the workplace and social settings. Making it difficult to see themselves as professional adults, rather than the defenceless children they once were.