Handling stressful situations is a skill forged through the fires of overcoming anxious moments. Preventing these conflicts from ruining your day could involve five steps: deflecting the hate, asking friendly advice, asking familial advice, escalating to authorities, then fighting if in danger. In this semi Applied Psychology post, more brainstorming update to The Story, let’s use five general scenarios where Trishna (seated) and John were bullied growing up to develop these characters and this idea.
Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (character backstory)
John: Deflecting Teases
John was kicked around at least ten households growing up so he couldn’t stick around long enough to fit in with any group of kids. He was picked on for everything: looking different, sounding different, and his hand. John developed calluses against this minor bullying, which is really more people pushing their luck to the limit than actual harm, though it can spiral out of control to outright abuse if not handled firmly and decisively.
Trishna: Friendly Advice
Trishna was teased for being in a wheelchair. She did have more support from family and teachers, though kids weren’t friendly, so she just stayed home instead of going out. That retreat into safety can perpetuate abuse and encourage the abusers, if not used as time for reflection to combat future bullying. Trishna and John chatted online almost every evening before “present day,” so they both used that time to ask each other for advice.
John: Family Advice
Early on into their relationship, Trishna told her parents about chatting with John online. They were supportive after initial concern that she found someone to chat with, even just through written word. They occasionally sat in politely during their conversations to type hello. John asked her parents for advice since his foster parents were usually disinterested, sedated, or abusive themselves. Before that advice, he lashed out against bullies, often being the one thrown in detention.
Trishna: Spilled Soda
Trishna briefly had three vicious bullies. They were strategic, avoiding detection by trading roles: two would harass her while the third deflected attention. Verbal and physical abuse in the classroom, recess, and restroom. They played innocent to teachers. Her parents tried to help, but couldn’t gain traction until two of the bullies spilled soda all over Trishna and her wheelchair in the lunchroom. Trishna jumped up and got in a solid punch. That abuse stopped.
John: Combating Assault
Fighting is the final defense, only to be used when the impact of abuse can’t be guarded through words or flight. Fighting is more exciting than logical debate, which might be why it’s almost deified in modern culture. People physically fight, risk their lives, and even die for what they believe in, which might also unfortunately elicit stronger reactions than civil debate. I briefly covered John’s worst abuse five weeks ago. It’s sad, poor guy.
Defending Against Bullies
Two of my friends are currently facing bullies at work and school. They’re trying to avoid confrontation and abuse, because after all, “hurt people hurt people.”