5 Steps to Dealing With Your Emotions
Being harassed by a bully or stalker has long term and profound effects on the emotional health of the victim. But there are ways that you can take control over the vulnerability inherent to being victimized and manage your emotions in a healthy and productive way.
1# Acknowledge and Own Your Emotions
Many people who are victimized by stalkers or bullies feel ashamed and want to avoid thinking about the situation. But suppressing your feelings isn’t healthy. Think about how the situation makes you feel. Are you scared? Do you feel vulnerable? Are you angry or hurt? It isn’t uncommon to feel all of these emotions and more. But name them. Write it down or say it out loud. Own those feelings.
2# Understand that Your Emotions Are Valid
No matter how you feel, those feelings are valid. There is no reason to feel guilty if you experience different feelings than other victims or different then you think you should feel. In fact, many victims go through stages of emotions; fear, paranoia, anger.
3# Compartmentalize the Behavior
One of the techniques that I have found really effective with my clients and in my own situation, is to compartmentalize the stalking and bullying. You can find out more about my compartmentalizing technique here, but in a nut shell, compartmentalizing is visually boxing a behavior and refusing to give it a greater significance.
People tend to see situations as generalizations. If I got out of my car and a bird, flying overhead, doodied on my shoulder, I could let it ruin my whole day. I might see it as a sign that my day is going to be shitty or that God doesn’t like me, or that my life sucks. This is a generalization. But, if that bird doodied on my shoulder and I simply clean it off and go about my day, I have compartmentalized that bad situation. I have boxed it up and not allowed it to affect the rest of my day. I haven’t given it any more value or importance then it is worth. By learning to compartmentalize stalking and bullying actions, you can minimize the negative effects that the crime is having on your life.
Be angry at the situation and at the perpetrator, don’t be angry at the world.
4# Try Breathing and Self-Soothing Techniques
Whether you use bio-feedback, breathing exercises, meditation, or prayer, finding a self-soothing technique that allows you to relax, focus, release your tensions, and compartmentalize the situation will help you to gain control and manage your emotions and peace of mind.
5# Get Support
Sometimes we all need support from a trained professional. If you are struggling with the intensity of your emotions or if you are feeling depressed over the situation, it may be time to seek professional assistance.
Being stalked, bullied, or harassed is terrible. It can be emotionally crippling. Many victims feel ashamed that their sense of security and inner strength is shaken, believing that admitting to being afraid or vulnerable makes them weak. Nothing could be further from the truth, learning to take control over your emotions takes a great deal of strength and courage.