Today we are open to all kinds of avenues for bullying and name-calling with the rise in social media popularity. We are all more accessible than ever before in constant reach of social settings. This rise in social availability has amplified the impact of bullying and name calling. There are no longer any true safe spaces to avoid the streams of ridicule because we are all connected through our devices. This has led to worsened mental well-being for the target of name calling. Here are the five most common ways name calling impacted our mental health:
1. Lowers Levels of Self-Worth
Over time, constant name calling will begin to affect how the target of the name calling feels about themselves and rob them of a healthy sense of self-worth. For example, a person who is constantly called ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid’ will begin to feel that they aren’t smart enough for certain opportunities and not even go after goals they are more than capable of achieving because they do not feel worthy or good enough.
2. Impacts a Person’s Identity Amongst Peers
Bullying often happens in front of others. A bully will call someone names in front of a group of people because it is an act of both attention and control. If someone is called a mean name enough times, peers begin to associate that name with that person. For instance, if a person calls someone a ‘cheater’ enough times, others will begin to believe that that person is a cheater and therefore cannot be trusted.
3. Effects a Person’s Mood
Changes in a person’s mood is one of the largest signs that bullying is occurring. If you notice a peer or your loved one suddenly being withdrawn or having outbursts of anger do not brush this off. When a person is a victim of bullying and name calling it’s extremely common for them to experience anxiety and feelings of depression which in turn affects their sleeping habits and moods.
4. Emotional Pain Can Manifest Physically
A person going through bullying and name calling can experience numerous negative effects to their physical health. Emotional trauma can manifest itself physically which may include stomach aches, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, headaches and even more serious conditions such as ulcers or post-traumatic-stress-disorder.
5. A Person Becomes More Internally Critical
A being name called over time will begin to associate themselves with that cruel name and begin to criticize themselves for it. Once this internal critic has been turned on it’s extremely difficult to be turned off. For example, a person who has been called ‘fat’ may still feel they are fat or chunky even after losing weight. Name calling can have a lasting impact on the way a person judges and views themselves.
Overall name calling generally leads to worsening a person's mental well-being. As mentioned in the previous 5 negative effects, name calling can damage a person’s self-worth, lead to depression, impact their identity and so much more. This depression and feelings of worthlessness can even lead a victim to contemplate suicide. Never ignore the impact of name calling as just joking around, words have meaning and impact how we define ourselves. So be conscious of what you call others and speak out against name calling.