I now feel paranoid to go out, sometimes even when I’m inside I imagine them to be commenting on anything I do. Can you help me?
In this counseling answer:
• You should not keep it inside you and should not feel alone.
• Report all bullying to an authority figure. It is the school’s and teacher’s duty to do an investigation and look into the matter.
• Show minimal reaction to their bullying. Do not show the bullies that you feel hurt and they’ve succeeded in affecting you. Just walk away as if you didn’t mind it.
• Be patient and believe in yourself.
Thank you for writing to us about your problem. I appreciate it and will try to help you the best I can, in sha’Allah.
What you face in college is very sad and painful for a person to go through. What you are describing here is verbal and physical bullying. Verbal bullying includes teasing, name-calling, taunting and racial slurs, as well as spreading gossip or malicious rumors. Bullying is a form of psychological harassment and intimidation which serves to undermine the self-esteem, confidence, competence, effectiveness, and integrity of the bully’s target.
Bullying is not an easy problem to deal with. Due to fear of being hurt, embarrassed, or losing friends, people usually keep the issue inside and do not tell an adult.
You should not keep it inside you and should not feel alone. It will be hard for anyone to help you unless you tell them about it. Unfortunately, these days with the increasing Islamophobia in Western society, Muslims are being bullied everywhere they go. Keep strong, sister! I know it is not easy, but try to talk to your parents about it and let them know what you have been going through.
You parents can help you with this problem. They can bring awareness to the issue with your teacher and/or principal, and they can also request a conference with the teacher and explain your situation. It is the school’s and teacher’s duty to do an investigation and look into the matter and to keep in touch with the parents and keep them updated. The teacher should put an end to this problem. You should no longer remain silent but instead inform those who have authority.
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I can imagine the hardship and suffering you may feel but look at this as a test from Allah (swt). It is a test that you will pass with patience, in sha’ Allah. It will grant you rewards more than you can think of. Once you overcome this period of test, it will be just a memory of the past.
“Or you think that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty, ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who had faith with him said, ‘When will the Help of Allah come?’ Yes! Indeed Allah’s help is close!” (Qur’an 2:214)
Long-term bullying can lead to depression and feelings of worthlessness. Some of these effects can last for a long time, even into adulthood. A person who is bullied may become an adult who finds it hard to trust others, has problems making or keeping friends and lacks confidence or self-worth. I don’t want you to become like that, so please speak to an adult about this bullying and put an end to this.
Here are a few tips on how to deal with the bullies:
Realize their actions might not have anything to do with you.
Something personal can be going on in the bully’s life. They need a punching bag to take their anger or sadness out on, and unfortunately, it is you. Don’t take this personally. Most likely, it has nothing to do with you.
Develop coping mechanisms.
Show minimal reaction to their bullying. Do not show the bullies that you feel hurt and they’ve succeeded in affecting you. Just walk away as if you didn’t mind it. Bullies gain satisfaction from making others feel hurt or uncomfortable, so reacting to them will only encourage them further. The bully wants attention and if you show them that, they will emotionally hurt you. They will get more pleasure out of doing it.
Report all bullying to an authority figure.
Consider your parents, school guidance counselor, principal, boss, the police, or someone else who can deal with or punish the bully and protect your safety. It’s important that you talk to someone about your problem to get it to end. This is not cowardly of you. This is brave of you to come forward and make yourself heard.
Be patient and believe in yourself.
You are being bullied because of your religion and belief, and Allah (swt) is going to reward you for that, In sha’ Allah.
“Verily, with hardship there is relief” (Qur’an 94:6)
May Allah (swt) keep you strong in these times of distress and bring you comfort in the knowledge that you respond in a way that pleases to Him (swt).
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.