5 Ways To Gain Perspective
When you are being bullied or stalked, it is easy to become so obsessed with the next attack, that you live in a perpetual state of monitoring. The heightened anxiety, the hyper vigilance, constant checking of your security, or checking social media or emails chains, you to the situation in a way that is extremely unhealthy.
But “victim of a stalker” or “target of bully” isn’t your identity. It is essential for your own mental health that you gain perspective over the situation and ultimately learn to compartmentalize the bully’s behavior as their issue, not yours. The situation, while horrible, doesn’t need to define you, if you can put it all into perspective.
1# REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THE NEGATIVE SITUATION
When you are being stalked and bullied online, it can seem like the entire world is laughing at you or judging you. It is easy to become obsessed with the content. But removing yourself from the situation completely (especially if you become occupied in tasks that don’t allow you to dwell) is an excellent way to gain perspective.
Unplug from social media and from your email and go explore your neighborhood, volunteer at a soup kitchen or a park clean-up project, try a new hobby, or go for a little trip. Remove yourself physically from the negative situation and let your mind refresh.
2# CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIOR
Our entire lives are routine. You get up at the same time each morning, have a similar breakfast, head off to work, come home, have a similar dinner, and go to bed about the same time. When you are struggling through a negative event, like being bullied, that fear and negative emotion becomes a part of your routine too. You may start to fear your computer or going to work. Once the negative emotion becomes routine, feeling helpless or scared or angry becomes normal.
Shake up your routine, especially with activities that promote positive feelings or wellness and you can reprogram that negative association. Whether you change your diet, get more sleep, add some exercise, or take more pampering “me” time, removing negativity from your routine will help you feel more positive and more in control.
3# NURTURE OR CREATE A SUPPORT SYSTEM
Having a strong support system can be tremendously helpful throughout life, but especially during times of stress, upheaval, or emotional vulnerability. While some people are seemingly born into a close knit, supportive family, most of us have to build that support system and create our own group of family and friends.
If you don’t have a support system in place, this is a great time to start one. No friends? It can be more difficult to make friends after school, but it isn’t impossible and it is so important to have that system as you move through life.
4# EVALUATE YOUR PATH
While being bullied or stalked certainly isn’t a positive, it can be a time of reflection. Are you spending the limited currency of your life pursuing things that make you happy or feel fulfilled? Do you have an idea of who you want to be in five years? Ten? If you aren’t happy with your path, take this time when you need to disconnect and focus on something other than the bullying to course correct.
A great way to get started on a new, more "you" centered path is to take courses at a community center or college. Not only does this get you out of the obsession mindset, it also helps you to meet new people.
5# EAT THE OBSTACLE
When you are suffering through the effects of a stalker or bully, it can seem as if the obstacles are insurmountable. We tend to generalize, when one bad thing is happening it’s easy to feel like everything is bad. But if you can look at the situation clinically, you can break the problems down into bite sized, manageable pieces.
As an example, if you are being bullied on Facebook by an anonymous jerk, it can seem like the entire world is laughing at you. Not knowing the identity of the person makes everyone seem suspect. That can be emotionally overwhelming. But, if you can break it down...it becomes more manageable. If you look at it clinically, the jerk is bullying you by posting messages about you on a local Mommy Facebook page and emailing you through the email that you used to register for Facebook.
Break it down. 1) Is the Facebook page a closed group? If so, contact the administrator who can ban the jerk. If it's an open group, consider either leaving the group. If its important to you that you stay, try some of the coping skills detailed in this article about Trolls. 2) Is the jerk emailing you on your primary email address? Go to the settings area and add his/her email address to the blocked emails. Put any of the previous emails into a folder (save them in case you have to provide them to authorities) and forget about it. See, bite sized pieces.
There is no denying that being the victim of a stalker or bully can be a life altering, horrific experience. But it doesn’t have to define you. Once you have stepped away from the negative behavior or at least the mode of communicating that behavior, it is easier to gain perspective. You can see that the world isn’t focused on you and you can function fine without worrying about what the bully may say or do next. That doesn't mean that you forget or that you stop protecting yourself, it means that you put your happiness and peace of mind first.