Sharing Your Burden: Time to Talk To Others About Being Bullied
Stalkers and bullies rely on their ability to scare you into silence to keep you under their control. Using threats that they will expose some secret, damage your reputation, or hold you out to ridicule are very effective means of emotional and psychological torture, regardless of whether or not the threats are true. But, once you understand that your fear is their power, you can implement measures to remove that power. One of the most effective ways of defusing the stalker is to expose both their existence and their threats.
1# A SHARED BURDEN IS A BURDEN HALVED
Stalking and bullying are so prevalent in our society that it is very likely that among your family, friends, and co-workers, there are other people who are suffering or who have suffered at the hands of these terrorizers. Since stalkers and bullies try to scare their victims into silence, by speaking out and talking to the people that you know, you may be helping others similarly suffering to find their voice. Others who have had these experiences in the past may be able to provide insight and understanding.
2# FAMILY AND CLOSE FRIENDS CAN OFFER EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
Often victims of bullies or stalkers feel ashamed that they are being targeted. This can make talking to family and friends difficult. But, it isn't uncommon to discover that your support system have stories of their own experience with bullying. Friends and family can offer tremendous emotional support and can be vigilant about your safety and privacy.
If you know that your family is less then supportive and may even compromise your safety, it's best to minimize exposure and limit the things that you share with them. However, even if you don’t have a supportive family, alerting them that you are experiencing this crime can help them to avoid further compromising you through over sharing on social media or inadvertent exposure through seemingly innocent conversation. Obviously, if you are being stalked by a family member or a close family friend, it is probably a good idea to have a "radio silence" policy to all those connected to the perpetrator.
3# TALK TO YOUR EMPLOYER OR SCHOOL
Employers and schools have a legal requirement to provide a safe work or education environment. However, you have a duty to alert an employer or school that you are being victimized. How can they help if they are unaware?
Larger companies will have a human resources department and schools, a counseling office, that are probably the most effective starting points for having a discussion about the situation. If you work for a smaller company or small business, having a frank discussion about the situation with your boss or the business owner is best.
4# WORK WITH SUPPORT GROUPS
Support groups can be a terrific way to deal with the feelings of vulnerability and helplessness inherent to being victimized by a bully or stalker. Professionals have the education and experience to help you to understand the crime and your own psychological needs while healing.
Community based mental health providers typically have free support groups for victims of all types of crimes and may have groups specifically for people dealing with bullying and stalking. You can contact your local social services office, your physician, or local crime victim’s assistance office for information about support groups.
National anti-bullying and anti-stalking organizations may also have local chapters that can provide support. They may also have online support groups that you can join and talk about your experience with other victims and counselors.