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I am Austrian, 17 years old. After that year, I have one last year left in my school.

I have one classmate who never liked me very much. Since this year christmas our relationship got even worse.

He won't stop insulting me or shouting at me. When I say something in class, he tells me to stop talking in a tone that is definitely a insult. We have to do some group projects together and it's really annoying.

Some examples of what he is doing:

  • We are making a short movie for a project, our group consists of 7 people. The movie is about suicide and we need two actors for two teenage girl, where one commits suicide in the end, the other goes to a therapist. When I told them, I wanted to be the suicide girl, he said I can't be because it is more emotional when someone goodlooking dies. He definitely said it in a very insulting tone.
  • He told me I'm ugly or fat on many other occasions.
  • When I asked for clarification in another subject, he told me to stop discussing and stop talking.
  • He said I'm destructive, because I asked him why he is so mad at me.
  • He invited everyone to his 18th birthday but me. I know that I'm not one of his friends, but since he invited all of our classmates I definitely know that it is something against me. He is not friends with everyone in class, he barely speaks with some of them.

I tried talking to him, our teacher and the student counselor. I don't have anything against him, except for the mentioned things above. I want him to stop that and treating me as every other classmate. He is very impulsive in general and sometimes a little bit aggressive, even towards his friends. But he is even worse when he's talking to me.

All the other classmates are very annoyed by us. I know that I can sometimes be a little bit annoying and I am a little bit difficult too, but that doesn't give him the right to insult me.

What can I do, in order to stop him bullying me.

PS. I actually don't know if he is bullying me, but that's what my therapist said.

closed as off-topic by Ælis, avazula, ElizB, Rob, sphennings Nov 5 '18 at 14:57

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Asking "What should I do?" is off topic. - Questions should ask for help achieving a specific goal. Your question is asking for personal advice on "what to do" without defining a goal; this is too subjective. Edit your question to explain what you hope to achieve and how you would like to interact with the others involved." – Ælis, avazula, ElizB, Rob, sphennings
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    @guillau4 Yes, several times. Our teacher can't handle the situation. When I complained, she asked the whole class if there are any problems, the only problem my classmates are having are us two constantly arguing. – Féileacán Jun 1 '18 at 12:51
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    Is your therapist willing to intervene / advocate on your behalf with the school officials? – rrauenza Jun 1 '18 at 17:28
  • @rrauenza I don't know, but my school doesn't do anything against it. I already tried that. I don't think therapist and school would work together. – Féileacán Jun 1 '18 at 20:59
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    I know it may sound weird but, do you have a crush on him? Or had? – lukuss Jun 4 '18 at 6:50
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    @lukuss No, as far as I know never. Why? – Féileacán Jun 4 '18 at 7:59

16 Answers 16

74

This is definitely bullying. Even if you are a "bit annoying and difficult" as you say, personal attacks such as calling you fat and ugly are definitely way too far. This is what worked for me when I was bullied so you should probably take this with a grain of salt and change it based on what you feel is the best approach.

Ignore Him

Do not, under any circumstances, give him more attention than needed. Listen to him if he is speaking in a group, but if he tries interrupting you mid-sentence, don't stop talking and don't raise your voice to speak over him. Don't even give him the satisfaction of looking at him. The more often you do this, the more people around him will start to realize how dumb he really is. Bullies like this thrive off attention and not giving him what he craves will cause him to stop targeting you as it becomes boring and not worth his time.

For bonus style points, or if you think flat out ignoring him would be too difficult, you can also employ what I like to call the "candid camera" approach. Whenever he starts speaking over you or demeaning you, look at the people around you and roll your eyes. The simply stare at him until he finishes ranting and continue talking once he finishes. Since you mentioned that the other classmates are annoyed by the both of you, I'm assuming they don't like his antics either. If you can act like the reasonable party and win the rest of the class over by acting like the bigger person, it might shame the bully into backing down because he has lost the favor of the crowd.

This approach worked for me after about three weeks to a month of just ignoring my bully while he was insulting or generally demeaning me. Over time he just got bored of getting no response and getting laughed at by classmates for overreacting.

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    In the example given, when he tells me to stop talking and I ignore him, he will get even more furious, start screaming or anything. I will be the destructive one again, because I am provoking him with this. I also tried ignoring him in general, but how should that work if he blames me to have done something wrong, which isn't true. If I correct him and say what the truth is, I'm just discussing again, if not everyone believes what he says. – Féileacán Jun 1 '18 at 12:39
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    @serafinaReisinger I wouldn't say you are provoking him by not responding to him telling you to stop talking. From what the question states, he is provoking you by trying to make sure that you don't get a chance to speak. Does your teacher ever ask him to quiet down when he starts screaming? – TheRealLester Jun 1 '18 at 12:43
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    Yes, some teachers tell him to stop but he doesn't respect this teacher because he is some sort of intern, not yet a real teacher. Other times the teachers don't notice at all. – Féileacán Jun 1 '18 at 12:53
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    @SerafinaReisinger At that point I would escalate it to the principal or someone above the teacher in the chain of command. As a side note, when I talk about ignoring him, I also mean ignoring him even when he starts screaming. Be the bigger person and try to not let it get under your skin. – TheRealLester Jun 1 '18 at 13:00
29

Most of the answers so far are standard advise from people who have not been in the position of the victim. They require skills or traits that you may or may not have.

  • Ignoring / staying calm - that is easy to say and much less easy to do against someone with years of experience in getting a rise out of people. If you are zen-like enough, definitely do that, but the amount of self-control required is underestimated by most people. The bully counter-strategy is typically to try harder, and if he sees even a sliver of a reaction coming, he will know that if he only tries hard enough, he will get some kind of reaction. I've had my stuff thrown around in the class room when I tried that. There are things that you cannot ignore and the bully knows it. Every movie ever shows the scene where the bully blocks a doorway or something.

  • Answering in kind - seriously? You are that witty, fast-thinking, with brilliant situational humor and biting sarcasm? How did you end up being bullied in that case? We all know that spontaneity is what you think about the next day. The bully has years of experience in this art over you, because that is what he does - come up with something his peers will laugh about on the spot. If you recently won some imprompto joking contest, try this approach. Heck, you can try it in any case because you've got little to lose, but your chances are terrible. I never tried this because I'm a slow/deep thinker, not a fast one.

  • Involve teachers, parents, lawyers - if you have clear evidence of his wrongdoings and if your school has an anti-bullying policy that you can hold them to, this is a great approach. In my days, bullying was called "being a guy", and victims were told to not be pussies. Today is a better day in this regard. However, you need to have at least a couple examples that are irrefutable. Do you have friends who would act as witnesses in your behalf if questioned by the principal? You mention they are annoyed by the two of you. Figure out who is on your side. As an aside, who is paying for your therapist? I live in Austria but I'm not an Austrian by birth, so I assume it is your Gebietskrankenkasse, but I'm not entirely certain. If your parents pay, ask if they have considered sueing his parents for the costs. I imagine a thousand Euro payment would make his parents shut him down.

  • Turn the class against him - what movies are made of. I wouldn't mention it (because it's pure Hollywood fantasy) except for that "everyone is annoyed by us already" comment you included. If you can manoeuvre yourself into a position where it is clear to bystanders that he is the source of trouble, the opinions could turn against him. It's a small chance (because bullies are typically good in social nuances) but it is a bit different and more active than simply ignoring. It's a kind of purposeful ignoring.

  • Non-violent confrontation - bullies are typically insecure inside and the outward behaviour covers that up. This is a bit of a gamble because that statement is true for 80 or 90%, but there are some that are just genuine assholes. Train with a friend, not too close friend, a bit distant is better. Train what? To stand your ground, to not give in. This is the Gandhi approach. Do not attack, do not fight back against physical violence, but get back up again and come again. And again, and again and again. Stand there and look him in the eyes and don't back down. Insecure people cannot stand a confrontation, they need to resolve it, by escalating or avoidance. You want to demonstrate that escalating doesn't work, leaving him only the avoidance. If he backs down from you even once, you have won. Typically once or maybe twice is all it takes to get him to stop forever, because he lost face. This must happen in public with plenty of classmates to see it. You must offer only passive resistance. Read up on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi for the details.

  • Violence - this works. I put it at the end because I'm a non-violent person, but boy do I wish I had martial arts training back in school. You only have a year left. However, as another answer correctly pointed out, you are a girl and he is a boy. Are you both Europeans? If he is from a culture where it is acceptable to beat women, don't try this. Otherwise, being hit in the face by a woman is an immediate, irrecoverable loss of face for a man. He can't hit back and he can't take it and walk away. It needs to be one solid hit. Train this. Note that he will instinctively block, so hit him in a situation where the hand on the side you are hitting from is holding something heavy (bag or whatever). It needs to be hard enough that those around who don't see it hear it. So you want to slap, not punch.

There is no easy answer to bullying, otherwise it wouldn't be such a problem. Freshly turned 18, this guy has a raging hormone problem inside of him and no knowledge of how to deal with it. The fact that you can ask on an international site for advice at 17 already puts you far ahead of him and at the school reunion in 10 years you will probably laugh about his pathetic excuse for a career compared to yours, but that doesn't help you today.

Your best help is allies in any shape and form. Friends, classmates, teachers, parents - anyone. I noticed from your question how much your thinking is focused on the interaction between you and him, but that is not the truth at all. That is how you, the victim sees it. But he doesn't see it that way. In his perspective, this interaction is far broader and involves his friends and the whole class, and you are only a small part of it. You need to broaden your perspective and get allies as well.

Sorry for the long answer, didn't have time to write a short one.

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    You can't sue a third party for somebody's wrongdoing, even if the third party is the guardian of the party at fault… unless you want to imply that the bully's parents violated laws themselves, e. g. their legal duty as guardians, which will be extremely hard given that this happens outside of their reach at a school, where the school assumes the role of the guardian. In Germany and Austria signs with “Eltern haften für ihre Kinder” are very common but also very wrong and generally unenforceable. – David Foerster Jun 4 '18 at 18:19
21

I abhor violence but I actually do agree that sometimes a good hard knock works. I've taught my daughter this too and she is the sensitive type. One time on the jumpy house another girl was getting physical with her (hitting and pushing) and she whopped her one back. The look of shock on the girls face that she would fight back was clear and quiet funny and she played nice after that.

If you think it's any different at 18 or 40 years old I don't think so. I still deal with that childishness at 40 at work with at least one guy. Sometimes I have to stand up and fight (with words) because upper management or HR just goes "there, there, it will be ok." and tries to pacify the situation while a bully takes advantage of the passiveness of the majority. I assure you though, these people are weak; they've just found a way to hide it.

In your situation, you being a girl against a boy, it could backfire or it could work in your favor if he is not the type to hit a girl. If he does hit back, you might find the bruise is worth the hell that rains down upon him as most societies this is a big No-No under any circumstances. Just make sure you do it with lots of witnesses. Will he continue to retaliate with words...yup.

All that said, here's my best advice. My daughter decided on her own after that jumpy house incident that she didn't want to reply physically anymore (good for her) but she is in self-defense classes and it works great for her confidence. She can strongly respond to bullying with words knowing that if it devolved into physical she can handle herself. It changed her mindset that she is a source of strength. You might find this helpful as well.

  • On a martial arts forum I remember reading that hitting back can go two ways: 1. The bully behaves nice afterward. 2. The bully calls his/her friends/cousins and takes revenge multiple times afterward, not just physically but also by secretly damaging your property. – Nav Jun 5 '18 at 11:19
  • I'm certainly not in favour of this one, but in any case, don't ever throw the first blow, and make sure that anything you do is proportional to what he did to you. – jcaron Jun 5 '18 at 11:23
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I've found this guy a while back and his solution is very easy and fun to watch. The principle:

"Bullies bully for the reaction, to get you crazy or to make you cry. If you take away the reaction and stay calm, don't give them what they want, and you're kind 100% of the time, I'm telling you, it's very difficult for them to keep making fun of you"

From this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBWL8iI6KbI
Another clip with the same guy/principle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oKjW1OIjuw

In the clips they stage a bully discussion. The first round he responds as most people do with a "no, shut up, im not stupid" etc. The second round he implements his technique. When someone says "you smell!", he responds with a "oh really? thanks for letting me know, I'll do something about it", and at a "you're dumb!" he responds with "Oh? Well, I think you're not, and [something else positive]" . It disarms them completely.

  • Answers that are primarily link based are generally less directly helpful. Could you update this answer with the dialog from the linked videos? Or, within reason, pull in some of the presenter's public content as text to fill out your answer? – Noah Goodrich Jun 1 '18 at 18:39
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    I got to say those youtube video's are awesome. It shows exactly how to handle bullying. The only issue like Noah points out is that links are not an answer by themselves. If the poster deletes (or reuploads) the video's these links no longer work which makes your answer no longer useful. Is it possible to type out (most of) the "try bullying me" examples given in the video? Maybe with a little extra explanation on how hard it gets for the bully-actor in the second attempt? – Imus Jun 1 '18 at 18:50
  • One thing of note, however, is that reactions can come from other people. Eg, a bully might shove you and even if you don't react, everyone around you certainly can. Avoiding reactioning can be a good technique to stop a bully, but not always effective, especially when they get an audience. – Kat Jun 7 '18 at 20:31
7

The teacher is the person of authority in the classroom. She should be dealing with the situation, not you. If she is not, then she is not doing her job.

The teacher should not tolerate you or anyone else being interrupted, cut off, mocked, ridiculed, or belittled when answering or asking a question during class. Nor should she be tolerating any other disruptive behavior that affects you or the rest of the class.

Since the teacher is unwilling or incapable of exerting her authority to address the situation, you need to take the issue to your parents and her superiors.

In my opinion, you need to be calm, objective, and emphasize a QUANTIFIABLE EFFECT of the bullying - that it is affecting your education and your ability to learn (and apparently everyone else's as well). If you say, "He's being mean to me", your concerns will likely be dismissed (even though he certainly is). If you emphasize that your EDUCATION and that of every other student in the classroom is being affected by the behavior of the bully, then adults will take notice as this is, I would think and hope, important to them.

But in order to make this case, you need to be sure that you are not contributing to the situation. This means - as others have already stated - that you stay calm and do not engage or respond to his taunts. If you are answering/asking a question in class and he interrupts, stop. Wait for him to finish speaking, then calmly pick right back up again where you left off. If he interrupts again, repeat the process. When he stops, you pick up again, perhaps saying, "Continuing where I left off..." or "As I was saying...". If the teacher accuses you of causing the disruption, simply point out that you're just trying ask/answer a/the question, nothing more.

So, first, explain this situation to your parents. Then with them take this issue to the school administrators. To both of them emphasize that your EDUCATION is being affected and the bully's behavior is disruptive to the entire class and the teacher is not handling the problem. This is a quantifiable effect of his bullying that adults should be of grave concern to adults.

What should be happening is: The bully should be told by the teacher that his behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. If he continues, the teacher should remove him from the classroom. If it still continues, his parents should be notified. If it still continues he might be given what we in the U.S. call detention, or if the two of you were here in the U.S., (I don't know how things work there), he might be expelled for a period of time (not allowed to attend school), or even permanently.

Since the teacher is not taking these steps, the school administrators need to insist that she do so. Your parents should contact the administrators and insist that they deal with the situation. If that doesn't work, then what a parent would do here in the U.S. is have their attorney get involved and send the school administrators a letter reminding them of their responsibilities under the law.

I don't know how things like this work in Austria, and whether your school is public or private, but one way or another your parents are paying the school for your education, either indirectly through taxes or directly if it is a private school. By not dealing with the situation the school is depriving you and your parents of your right to the education your parents have paid for.

This is unacceptable. The school administrators SHOULD be responsive to your concerns, but if not, your parents need to apply pressure on them until they take action to address the situation.

It needs to be made clear to the bully that there will be steadily escalating consequences for his behavior that will increase until he stops doing what he's doing. And, as someone else said, if he threatens you or gets physical, then the police need to be involved.

6

The common advice against bullying is to ignore. Unfortunately, ignoring bullies can and often will lead to group dynamics where you become the designated punching bag. If the bully gets a positive response from the group instead of you, the bully got what they wanted, and it doesn't matter at all that you "ignored" him. In the worst case scenario, all you did was multiply the number of bullies you need to deal with.

What you need to learn is to ignore the insulting and hurtful part of their action so you can react calmly. Don't get mad just because an ass is behaving like an ass - that's what an ass does, it is what makes them an ass. But you still need to react to the bully's actions in order to make them stop.

The key to your reactions is that they need to get the group on your side. If you already have the group on your side, ignoring him and letting someone else respond is great. Unfortunately things are rarely this easy, or you probably wouldn't have asked for advice. You'll need to respond yourself.

There are several ways to do this, and there doesn't seem to be a way that guarantees success. Some ways that can work:

  • Self depreciation and compliments (+ veiled sarcasm). E.g. when he insults your looks "not everybody can be as good-looking as you". Read martijn's answer and watch his linked videos.
  • Standardized insult, and avoid any kind of debate or shouting match. E.g. Don't look at him, continue as if he didn't say anything, but give him the finger.
  • Remark on the unoriginality of his insults. E.g. "We've heard that before, it's getting boring."
  • Turn the insult around. E.g. After: "When I told them, I wanted to be the suicide girl, he said I can't be because it is more emotional when someone goodlooking dies." you can respond "So you're not volunteering, we got that."
  • A physical reaction. As a female against male, a slap to the face is often a socially accepted response to an insult, and will often see the male as the aggressor if they decide to retaliate. If you decide to go this route, take self defense classes first.

Do not mix the different approaches. Try one for a few days, see if it works. If it works, stick with it, otherwise try the next one.

5

As a person that was subject to bullying for several years at school I can suggest two lines of action.

The first, ignore the bully, has been explored by TheRealLester's answer, so I won't duplicate their advice.

I would like to add another alternative that is less violent than the currently proposed alternatives: learn to reply in kind.

It is not easy, it takes practice and more often than not you will notice that the sentence you constructed so nicely in your head will not come out as you expected, but despite this it has it benefits.

The "ignore" tactic might fail, the bully could see you as an easy target that won't fight back, pushing him to bully you more. If that is the case, and if you think that the "ignore" does not work (note that to have a noticeable effect it usually takes quite a while), you can try to respond in kind

Examples:

  • He told me I'm ugly or fat on many other occasions.

ask him if he's envious (hinting that he's worse than you). He's not expecting this and will put him off balance. While he's trying to come up with a reply, disengage him completely if possible.

  • He invited everyone to his 18th birthday but me.

In a similar situation I actually showed up to the party, called the bully's name, and after he replied, I flipped both birds at him and went on my day [note: I knew I would not have seen any of them anymore, while they did not, the effectiveness of this can be questioned]

Something you can always count on: these people are not in your life forever, use the occasion to learn a few tactics and gain a bit of confidence in yourself (replying in a witty way requires a bit of that). Otherwise, just focus on the fact that in one year you will probably lose all contact with this harasser.

5

I don't see any answers about dealing with the school staff part of the problem, so here's my take on it:

If a teacher doesn't let you change groups to complete the project where you can work like a normal person without expecting to get bullied by your groupmates, reasoning that "This is how the real world works, you just have to deal with bullies", that's not true. In the real world there's HR department, adult harassment laws and option to change jobs. Say that, and if the teacher disagrees and does nothing, there's also a very real world option to go to their manager (whoever's up the chain in the school). Remind them of that.

And if that doesn't work, there's always the ministry of education which you can write letters to or talk to their public representatives about how your school ignores serious problems. There may be various influential groups like Parent-Teacher associations in your country which may not be as strongly affiliated with governmental branches, so you may try your luck there, if the situation gets really out of hand. And finally, for serious abuse and threats of physical harm there's always the police.

  • Have you had any experience yourself or have you seen where this actually works? Since the current situation is that OP engages with the bully they're both seen as disruptive. So if she takes it up to the "manager" above her teacher(s) they might wave the complaints away since she's just as much part of the problem. Or that she has to learn to work together in a group (not aknowledging the bullying at all). – Imus Jun 1 '18 at 18:55
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    Yes, I did, but mostly because teachers were reasonable enough and didn't want any bad reputation around the time there were district school revisions. I see a lot of sentiment along the lines of "don't even try" but you should try. Otherwise you've tried nothing and given up. – user1306322 Jun 1 '18 at 19:39
4

First of all, this sounds pretty much like bullying for which I take a definition from psychology today.

Bullying = Intentionally aggressive behavior, repeated over time, that involves an imbalance of power.

I've been the victim of bullying for several years, albeit in primary school, and learning to cope with it - on my own - has, with the benefit of hindsight, affected my life and mental health greatly and not in a positive way.

It was easy to be rude or mean to me, I was different, physically weak (youngest in class) and too smart and eager to learn. Just being mean turned into bullying because it obviously affected me, I got angry or I cried. That was fun, those doing the bullying had power over me, they could control my emotions.

The bullying only stopped after a while when I was able to show that their words and threats no longer affected me and even then some continued at a much lower rate, but I was able to shrug it off. It stopped being fun and the bullies no longer gained any benefits. I was still often excluded.

Now you are fortunate in that there is only one bully. There are some possible reasons for him to display this behavior to you:

  • he seeks to cover up weaknesses of his own by making himself appear stronger to the rest of the group by putting you down
  • he has aggression control issues (he does not actually intent to harm you) which you, unintentionally, reinforce. The aggression has a net positive result to him, so the next time it is even less inhibited
  • if you are not the only victim of mean behavior from him, then conduct disorder is a possible option

Whichever it is, the key to get it to stop which you can personally handle, is to show that it does not affect you.

Keep your cool and maintain composure.

Take a deep breath and count to 10. This allows you to use better judgment in formulating a response that you will not regret later. If a response is needed at all.

Keep your distance and spend your energy wisely

Think about what is important to you and spend your energy on things that matter to you instead of having an argument with someone you don't like. Note that this also applies non-verbally, don't lean or move towards him but also don't move away.

Depersonalize

Don't take it personally. What he says and does is a projection of his own reality and by no means your reality or observable reality. If you can stomach it, reflect for a moment on the motivations behind the aggressive display using the construct "It must not be easy to ...". Note that this does not excuse the aggression but even the attempt to empathize with the bullier makes it easier to put it aside.

Assert your rights

You have the right to be treated with respect, to state your opinions, to say no and to be happy. It is more than okay to say calmly and confidently "I have the right to ask for clarification if I want to and you do not have the right to shut me up.". But please do not say that in an angry tone, say it matter-of-factly, cool and composed. Don't assert your rights every time, spend your energy wisely.

Put the spotlight on them and reclaim your power

This best done by asking them a constructive and probing question, possibly implying a consequence for them, such as "If you treat me with disrespect, I am not going to talk with you any more. Is that what you want?" or "Why do you feel that it is more emotionally appealing if someone good looking dies?"

Be confident about yourself

Stand up straight, don't look away (unless you have decided to ignore his latest faux-pas), be proud of yourself and what you have achieved and can achieve. It is said that some martial arts training can improve both posture, self-control and self-confidence.

3

This sounds like a power-game.

The guy likes having an emotional punching bag and it's gotten way beyond mere bullying.

My advice? Frankly I'd avoid and evade. You don't want this person in your life.
This isn't a situation where that's entirely possible though, you're in a confined school environment and basically being forced together. So you have essentially five paths that I can see.

  1. Change schools - This is pretty extreme, and in your last couple years of school it may be quite hard to swing with your parents, but it'll work. You'll probably never see or hear from him again.
  2. Gather evidence - Make notes, bring a tape recorder to record the class and when you have a consistent pattern of behaviour you feel confident in (perhaps a week or two of notes and actual audio of him being abusive) take it as high as you can. talk to your principle/headmaster and/or your head of year. Don't let up until they do something effective. This isn't horsing around or mere dickishness, this is a pattern of verbal and emotional abuse and it Must Stop
  3. Avoidance tactics - Be on the other side of the classrooms, physically avoid being anywhere near him wherever feasible, do not communicate, do not work with him (put up a fuss if teachers try and get you to work together on anything). Ignore anything he does or says to try and get to you.
  4. Call him out in public - All of my offered tactics revolve around removing his power over you. That's all you really need, So stand up to him. "snap" at him. You've had enough, who the hell does he think he is?! Get mad, yell at him, tell him to eat shit and die. You hate his face, you hate his shitty attitude, you hate him. He's pitiful and small and will never amount to anything. Make sure there's a crowd. Do it in class for maximum effect. I guarantee this will make the teachers take notice in a big way. Be prepared in advance, Option 2's notes and recordings for example would be ideal to have ready at this juncture. Most important, retain control over the conversation, you want to turn your punishment for "disrupting the class" into "get this asshole kicked out". If you lose this control it will de-escalate and you can expect nothing helpful to happen.
  5. The Nuclear Option - Punch him. The asshole has it coming. Everyone around you knows it, the teachers might be ineffective but they have already been told and done nothing. If you get punished it's what? Some hours of your time? revoked privileges? Expulsion is unlikely. And he'll get the message the hard way and if he doesn't stop it may take a couple more attempts. Major flaw is that he may decide to see how far he can taunt you during class in order to make you lose your self-control, after all, you're the one being violent, he's just talking...

Option 2 is your absolute best option in my view. It uses evidence, leverages the System for your own benefit, and everyone will know what a colossal asshole the guy is because you can prove it with the click of a button. It also will not get you in trouble as the presence of a tape recorder on your desk will not be unexpected, many students use it as an alternative to writing notes, being able to reference the exact words of their teacher outside of class. You may want to ask the teacher if it's okay for you to record their lessons, some may not want it.

In fact, in the mid-term, the recorder itself may act as a deterrent, your classmate may become more cautious if he realises his words are being recorded. You can emphasise this if you wish by playing back his words to him, but you may want to make backup copies of the recordings in case he takes any action to destroy them.

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    Do you have experience with calling bullies out? Bullies tend to like getting reactions, so getting mad, yelling and telling him to "eat s*** and die" seems likely to have the opposite effect than desired. Do you have specific strategies for retaining control over that conversation? It seems like that would be really hard to do, especially if you're not particularly assertive, especially if there's a teacher present and especially if you're the one making a scene but your goal is to get someone else kicked out. – NotThatGuy Jun 1 '18 at 16:30
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    You should probably separate those suggestions into different posts (or just remove ones you don't consider to be good). People can only vote on your post as a whole, so suggestions considered bad may drag down the entire post, and ones considered good may elevate the post and make the others seem better than they are. – NotThatGuy Jun 1 '18 at 16:34
  • Perhaps I should split the answers up, but I think the others act more as backing context to my conclusion. Roughly speaking they're in order of most to least effective at solving the problem. I probably should have emphasised that. – Ruadhan2300 Jun 1 '18 at 17:11
  • Serafina hasn't indicated (at least not in the question) that she's in any way shy or unassuming. Just that up to this point she hasn't been forceful about it. I don't make any assumptions, perhaps she is perfectly capable of retaining control of a conversation, perhaps her teachers will listen or perhaps they'll be pig-headed, I don't have the context so I'm just presenting that as a priority and leaving the details to her if she's confident she can make it work. – Ruadhan2300 Jun 1 '18 at 17:14
2

So here's the thing: In a year from now, you will have graduated, you will go to different universities (maybe), or at the very least there will be so many people at your university that you will probably never meet each other again. Grin and bear it for a year and then you're home free!

But that advice isn't particularly helpful for the situation now. Here's my take, as someone who was bullied for most of my life as well (my solution was to eventually change schools, but that was when I was 12, nowhere close to graduating, not 17):

1) As others have said, do not engage. Don't even give him the finger or whatever, just ignore him completely. If you have assigned seats in class, ask your teacher to switch seats with someone else to be away from him; most teachers probably shouldn't have trouble with that, because his antics are impacting your learning ability, and that's your teacher's job first and foremost, to teach.

2) Teachers and school staff, by and large, at least in Canada where I'm from, are terrible at handling these types of situations. It's not really worth your time talking to them at all, nothing will happen, and you'll just get more frustrated because it will look to you like the teacher is on his side.

3) If you're on a group project with him, you have a decision to make: Either put up, or shut up. To be honest, if your group is more than 2 people, I would make it known: "I can't work productively with his antics". Then your group has 2 choices: They can either help the two of you work together productively, or they can take his side; in the latter case, you just contribute nothing and skate by on the work of your teammates. It's unlikely they'll torpedo themselves to make you lose, so you get free marks for doing zero work. That, or they'll complain to the teacher that you do no work, and you might be able to change groups, which is win-win. Be aware that this will probably make the whole class hate you though. For that, see above.

4) Regarding the birthday party, did you really want to go anyway to a party celebrating someone who you don't like? I had a similar situation when I was in school, where my whole class was invited to some party and I wasn't, and I came to the realization that I frankly couldn't care less, because I didn't want to go to the party anyway.

Here's a question, though, which might shed some light on the situation: He seems to be targeting you specifically for some reason. When I was in school, it was just known that I was the class punching bag, so everyone kind of bullied me and that's "how it was". In your case, however, it sounds like it's just this one guy. There might be a particular reason why this one guy in particular would bully you, in particular? Maybe you should pull him aside one day (without an audience if possible) and just try to hash it out.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – A J Jun 5 '18 at 5:35
1

There are many psychological answers here, but this is not.

Consider viewing it as an extrapersonal phenomenon, rather than an interpersonal phenomenon. Schools and familial expectations exert great pressure on youth by grading them individually by arbitrary standards, (various bell curves), and many are unfairly expected to exceed those arbitrary standards, while their actual talents are demeaned or go unrecognized by adults. To please these unappreciative and ambitious adults some unhappy kids who can't make those arbitrary grades resort to cheating -- sometimes by actual test cheating, but more commonly by colluding together and scheming against the weakest seeming person of whoever's just ahead of them, or whoever's gaining on them. Being nearer to the middle of a bell curve provides many allies with whom to scheme with.

The bully is not one of those allies, but rather their instrument, he or she is usually from further leftward of some bell curves, who's so unappreciated that even mere social tolerance feels like sunshine, and the colluding kids gladly tolerate and thus indirectly employ him, and he therefore evolves into their calloused entertainer whose schtick is taking the weakest just-ahead kids down a peg. He's a tertiary symptom of the greater secondary problem of those unhappy ones in the middle, as pressured by stern and ambitious adults, and primarily the systems (i.e. schools as social war zones) they love too much.

If all that's correct, then stopping that bullying classmate alone would probably set the colluder kids into respawning some new entertainer, (there's usually not just one), like whack-a-mole, or perhaps set them against some weaker foe.

As for what to actually do, skout's answer requires a very strong stomach, but isn't half bad, which advises complimenting your bully, on the theory that a bully is a slave for respect and must really need some. Firemen use water to fight fire...

Note also that the stakes aren't just personal. If better students are collectively removed from play, the professions will be made up of worse students. Someday one of those might make a clumsy dentist.

1

In one of your comments you stated:

Maybe in the end it is my fault or he has so bad mood changes

It's not!

You need to remember that you life is about you, you do not play a background actor or some quiet girl in the corner. It is not your responsibility to care about an idiot or trying to better him.

It is about you and you do not need to be liked by everyone to be of worth. If you can ruin his reward on bullying you ( laughs from the others, the feeling of power, whatever it is) it will stop, since you are not longer playing the losing role.

A bully goes for the weakest link, you should identify what makes you a "victim", so you know what he gets out of bullying you. Do you lose temper? start crying? screaming?

=> try to get cold, you probably do not have the nerve for sarcastic witty answers, so what?

=> when he calls you ugly, depending on your selfcontrol you can say "anyways as i was talking about..." and just go on, he gets nothing out of this or you say " at least my parents like me" which in best case gets a laugh from the others.

Ruin the fun he gets out of it.

Here are some nice answers already, but it really depends on your personality if you can "just ignore him" or "hit him" ( which could end in hospital, as most people will be to scared to help you). Show you are doing well, no matter how hard he tries to get you down you have a way better life, university or a job you love just ahead of you, while he will probably be serving you fries in a few years.

TL;DR

  • Identify why he bullies you and not someone else
  • find a way that fits you personality to stop him getting fun out of your discussions
  • remember he is a sitenode in your life, you can even take a polaroid of him and say it's for you yearbook.
  • it does not matter what someone thinks about you or how you see yourself in the mirror it is your actions you should focus on. if you are proud on your decisions and choices everything is perfect :)

Good luck

0

As someone who's experienced similar personal bullying and tried all the usually suggested methods with similarly no success, have you considered denying him social acceptance?

Very simply, both of you exist in a broader social environment in which no-one wishes to feel alienated, if you ask people from your classes to denigrate his abusive behaviour as dickish, or tactless (i.e. not seem to be defending you, as opposed to simply finding him vulgar and mean), you can give the impression that the class will reject him if he keeps it up. Humans, having an innate fear of alienation, will tend to respond to this.

This anti bullying methodology of fostering an atmosphere of intolerance to anti social behaviour is being researched as one of the newer anti-bullying campaigns, in schools there's a tendency to try to make this seem "cool", but this has a tendency to come off as cringy, but when implemented well, it seems to be effective. And more importantly, it seems it can be done by a single person to react to specific instances of bullying.

In the case of him telling you to stop talking if you interact in class, what you want is to have a friend with you who understands what you want, to respond directly to him, essentially calling him a dick, ask them to keep it short and blunt, you're not trying to raise a fuss.

In the case of something more like the suicidal character insult, assuming it might happen again, try to have another "ally" around willing to call out to the group what he just implied, in the tone of who says that about someone?, or This guy just tried to call her too ugly to commit suicide, something slightly exaggerated to get across how it would feel to have it said to you.

Your personal reaction while others are doing this should be along the lines of I know, right? What the f*ck?, essentially agreeing and trying to show something like a mixture of disgust and annoyance, without really acknowledging him too much.

This all requires finding an ally willing to essentially be an actor for you, but if it works, it should spread out to the class that your bully is being tactless and dickish while you're just putting up with it, and the social pressure will likely slow or stop his behaviour.

If it fails, maybe slap him (jk. don't actually resort to violence please).

-2

Look at yourself, who do you think you are? What do you think of yourself? How valuable do you think you are? That is my question to you. I can't know who you are and by extension I can't know you're value, correct? Well that would only be the case if our value was determined by what we have done, but it isn't. You are human, you have inherent value, in-fact you have infinite value, you are priceless. So I am supposed to be giving an answer about how to deal with this guy but I am starting it out with telling you how valuable you are, just be patient cause I have a point. You are a human and you are priceless.

Now of-course the questions you have are: "where is this coming from" and "what am I getting to", so I'll answer the first one first.

The reason I say that you are priceless, simply because you are human, is not because of some profound philosophy that I have found or thought up for myself showing how we are worth more then anything, it's simply because I am a christian. I believe you are priceless because the bible announces it so loudly throughout all of it's text, it's story just declares that God places so much value on us that it cannot be measured (aka it's infinite). He loved us so much that he sent his very SON so we could have a relationship after-all. Because of this I find great joy in serving God and studying his word and I am so glad that I became a christian at such a young age. So now that you know where I am coming from you know the answers I will provide will not be coming from me, rather I will be taking them from the book I believe is the word of God, showing them to you and telling you about the time I took my own advice... By accident. I am not asking you to become a christian, though I would love for that to happen, I am simply wanting to show you the merits of the solution to this problem which is found in the bible and let you decide on something after that.

So once I moved from my small country town in the middle of the woods for six months and my family went up to Kansas City (Missouri), up there we eventually found a church that we wanted to join. Me and my brother started going to the youth group every Wednesday (we're teenagers) and there our youth pastor was talking about his own time in school. When he was a teenager he moved a-lot, he said he went to (I believe it was) 23 different schools, so he was ALWAYS the new kid. He got bullied all the time, but instead of using any of the other methods being presented on this thread what he did whenever they insulted him was something simple, he gave a genuine compliment. This ridiculous tactic for dealing with bullies was actually extremely effective as he ended up becoming real good friends with many of his former bullies! It worked so well for him I thought this same tactic would work real well for me.

Well it did, I just used his very strategy before I ever heard him speak.

So when we first came up to KC I had the prideful notion that I (not God) would change whatever neighborhood I happened to end up in. Well I don't have time to tell the full story hear but that did not end well (I'm homeschooled so I don't have any experiences at schools). However even though I did mess up I did get some things right during that time and I learned lessons I will never forget.

So the first thing I did was I made friends with the kids that hung out around the apartments I lived in, since I was intent on doing this and nothing was going to hinder me whenever one of them started accusing me of planning to rape at-least one of them all I did was shrug it off and point out all the obvious reasons why I wouldn't do that and all the reasons I couldn't do that. Eventually that girl stopped making those accusations and a portion of the group just stopped hanging out with me at all (none of them were very nice to me btw). They would run from me to annoy me (by their own admittance) and would be generally mean. Eventually one of the other girls asked me if I realized that they were all being mean to me, I said yes, she then asked if I cared, I told her "why should I?" By the time I left half of the group ignored me and I became amazing friends with the people that still talked to me, I mean they all started out bullying me and to have half of them become close friends is just an amazing thing for me to see (and I haven't told you the half of it). I know I wouldn't have been able to do that without God (he still helped me though I was prideful) and I know that it is the most effective and beneficial way to deal with bullies because of what I've been through. I would recommend the impossible method of just being kind to him, never say anything against him, even behind his back, and to just be a good person that everyone looks up to. If you are someone that he can't bring a fault against then either he will become your friend or give up on fighting you.

But there is a reason I said it's impossible, I couldn't practice what I preach unless I told you it's impossible without God.

  • 1
    Your answer didn't really bring anything new here. You just restated that you used other ideas presented in this thread. – TheRealLester Jun 1 '18 at 21:26
  • I never said that, in-fact I said that I was presenting ideas that DISAGREED with others already presented. – skout Jun 1 '18 at 23:13
  • 2
    My experience writing on Stack Exchange has taught me a lot about impinging with written words. When you don't state where you're going up front you lose your readers. You don't have to include your entire nuanced conclusion, but at least garner some interest before hitting them with a wall of text! I appreciate that you want to share how your religion has helped you, but it would aid your purpose to work on being more effective as a writer. – Wildcard Jun 4 '18 at 6:14
-3

Good old high school drama.

So here is the thing, and I know this post may get me into some trouble. SE is a very liberal site at times. But I am going to try anyway.

First, you have to very careful the labels you use. These days we tend to stick labels on problems. Once such label is "Bully". Now Bullying is a real thing, and I don't mean to say it isn't. But we have expanded the label "bully" to include many things that it did not traditionally contain. As such we are very quick to stick the "bully" label onto a situation.

The reason I say be careful with that is that being bullied requires you to be the victim. And in a mild situation like this (again, historically this wouldn't even fall under the label) you get to choose how much this impacts your life, both right now and going forward. If you decide that this is the worst thing that has ever happened in your life, then it probably will be. If you decide that he is just annoying, then that's really all that will come of it. You get to decide where on the spectrum this falls for you.

Another important bit of information. The most hurtful things people say to us are the ones that we are self-conscience about. Like it or not, if you're not secure in your appearance, then you will always seem to find people that pick on your appearance. That won't stop after high school or college. The only real ways to get it to stop are to be more secure in your self or to never interact with people.

All that said, you are being annoyed, and you want that annoyance to stop. There is very little you can do practically. Going to the teacher may be the "correct" thing to do, but it won't actually fix the situation. You could try responding in kind, but someone that is out to cause you harm in the way you describe is probably not respecting you enough to like your words affect them (more on this in a moment). You might be able to switch classes or groups or whatever if you push hard enough, but that won't likely actually fix anything.

There are a few things you can do. One of my favorite things to say is "You can't control what others do, only what your reaction is." If this guy is giving you a hard time, simply decide that he isn't worth getting worked up over. It's very hard for words from someone you don't respect or care about to actually affect you. If you don't think that will work, then try looking at him and figuring out why he says those things. Does he have a bad home life or some other issue? Remember that. It's also very hard for words from someone you pity to hurt you. And finally. if he is still bothering you, look to the future. What and who do you think he will be in 10 years? Who will you be? Again it's pretty hard for words to bother you if you realize that the person saying them is pretty much at their peak and it's all downhill from here.

As a last resort, internally, pick on him back. Don't vocalize it just keep it in your mind. When he calls you fat, remind your self he was "so desperate he wanted to date the fat chick". Or when he calls you ugly, remind your self that he is so stunted emotionally that he doesn't even know what ugly is.

The last piece of advice is to take care if your self. Every time he calls you fat or ugly or whatever remind your self of someone that thinks your not. It can be tricky because we have a tendency to disregard the comments by people that love us while putting so much weight on those that dislike us. I tell my wife she is beautiful, and she tells me I have to say that because I am her husband. Even though there have been several occasions that I tell her honestly that such clothes don't look good on her, or he hair looks odd done up a certain way, etc etc (my point being that I don't just flat out always say she looks good, I am also critical too). My "wow you look amazing tonight?" get disregarded as a husband's responsibility, but let a patient at her job make her feel ugly and it has so much pull. Point being, think of the people that make you feel good when he is making you feel bad. A kind of "Well you think I'm ugly, but my boyfriend seems to enjoy me." can really soften the blow.

  • 1
    The reasons for downvoting seem to be that you patronize the OP by calling this "good old high school drama". Other reasons could be that you need to expand on the how and why of your answer, not just what might be a good idea. I also do not like your "last resort" suggestion of picking on the bully back, internally or not. This can lead to grudges, and can lead to psychological trauma for holding that much anger in for a long period of time, and can appear as anger issues, depression, etc in the future life of OP. I certainly don't want that to happen. – ElizB Nov 2 '18 at 23:39

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