For those who have never been bullied or harassed they might never get what it is about…. just how seriously being bullied or harassed affects your mental well-being.
If your first experience of being bullied started in school… you had a tough time! You understand that bullying should never be condoned, and would have struggled with peers and parents telling you that “it is normal childhood behaviour and will help toughen you up… help you in the “real world”.
The sad fact is that bullying happens far too commonly by and to people of all ages. Those of you that have been bullied or harassed as tertiary students, apprentices and in the workplace realise that this is not an issue confined to schools. What’s more bullying and harassment happens even outside of organisations… in social settings in the adult community.
As you have had to face bullying, you can see how it is not always obvious to others; how it can be done so subtly and silently, and that by the time you realise it, significant damage has been done…your relationships and job may have been sabotaged.
The hardest situations some of you face is when these poor behaviours come from people you trust; and are condoned within professional organisations amongst very senior staff, the very people who in all other regards are our role models and leaders in our community.
Bullying behaviour can be physical, emotional or even cyber… you might be the recipient of insults, intimidation, and is maliciousness. Bullies humiliate and they undermine. Harassers cause feelings of distress or unsafety.
Whatever your injury from being bullied or harassed, we understand that it often leads to you becoming significantly lonely and socially isolated. You feel the effects long after the bully or harasser has left your life. Our heart goes out to you if bullying has left you with thoughts of suicide.
So if you are one of the many people who feels lonely as a result of being harassed or bullied, or you know of someone who feels loneliness from this, then read on. In fact even if you suspect others might be lonely, and they stoically say they aren’t, it’s worth understanding bullying and loneliness better.
Just as you might find it hard to understand how people who have never been bullied or harassed might be lonely, it’s also hard for them to really grasp how very lonely you might be: what it’s like:
… and in addition to these, you undoubtedly identify with many of the same loneliness problems that aren’t related to how others are treating you.
If you are being bullied or harassed or if you are still suffering the effects of it, it might be helpful to you to know you aren’t alone. We don’t really know how many people are actually being bullied or harassed. However, reading various reports the situation in New Zealand seems dismal… we do not have a healthy culture of treating each other with respect, with bullying and harassment being prevalent in our country.
Our children and young people are really suffering compared to those in other parts of the world. As an example, the 2015 OECD statistics for 15 year old students who reported being bullied at least a few times per month showed that NZ came out second worst of 33 countries. Only Latvia had a worse overall bullying record.
Three years on, in January 2018 David Rutherford Chief Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission indicated that without properly addressing bullying at schools, our children will be continuing to have one of the worst rates of school bullying in the developed world. Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero questioned the high rates of disabled children being bullied. This is also true of our Rainbow Tamariki.
Looking at recent reports, what has been of great concern is how many of our employees are suffering in the workplace.
From the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists report “Bullying in the New Zealand senior medical workforce: prevalence, correlates and consequences” we can see that experienced people – those in the 40–59 age group are on the highest levels of being on the receiving end of bullying. And at the junior end, international medical graduates were bullied more often than their Kiwi equals.
Our empathy goes to employees being bullied and harassed by those more senior to you, those who can exert influence over the future of your salaries, your career progression and your jobs; you often feel more helpless – and more lonely – than those who are being bullied by less consequential people.
So with such prevalence of bullying and harassment in the workplace you, like us, would hope that organisations would start taking a more proactive stance to actually eradicating bullying behaviours at all levels of the organisation. That would significantly help in reducing the loneliness many of you experience in your workplace.
Feeling socially isolated occurs when people, like you, are not connected into their communities in a meaningful way. Society, other people and we ourselves unwittingly contribute to loneliness. To name a few, loneliness resulting from being bullied or harassed might be exacerbated when:
These are very real issues for you;
and some are not quick fixes! So despite these challenges it’s vital you actively find ways to ensure that you – and those around you – are emotionally healthy.
Some people talk about their loneliness; other’s don’t; Some might not recognise that they are actually suffering from loneliness.
Research has shown that when socially isolated people aren’t getting enough regular human contact that can create problems with their family members and people who they do end up talking to.
These are just the surface of the ways you might be showing signs of being lonely… and that you could recognise in others.
So where to from here?
you all have a unique story.
How long you have been lonely; What you believe causes your particular loneliness; and what you have already tried to alleviate the loneliness.
To get to the heart of your loneliness we would like to get to know you!
Your personality, your eccentricities, and your values are all part of what makes you feel your loneliness more than some others.
Your next step
We appreciate the trust you would place in us to talk openly and frankly – so we promise no judgements – genuine empathy, respect and confidentiality.
Then when we have understood you better, we can help you move forward. Help you form better connections with your spread out communities, with your friends and your families… wherever they are in the world.
If you are ready to take the next step, click the button to get started addressing your loneliness:
People feel lonely for many reasons. To learn more about other hurt and lonely categories, select one of the coloured boxes below, or scroll down the “I’m feeling lonely” menu.
With our help you can conquer your loneliness by taking better care of your inner self.
And we can conquer loneliness in New Zealand by better understanding and accepting each other.
So when you are ready…click here.
We look forward to hearing your view of the world!
Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (2017), Bullying in the New Zealand senior medical workforce: prevalence, correlates and consequences”. View the report.
Criminal Bar Association (2018), Anonymous survey about harassment and bullying in the practice of the Criminal Law. View the report.
Diversity Works New Zealand (2016), New Zealand diversity survey: 2016 bi-annual report – October. View the report.
Newshub (2018), “Bullies ‘need change in attitude’ towards disabled kids – commission”, January 12. View the article.
OECD (2017), PISA 2015 Results (Volume III): Student wellbeing. View the report.