When Your Reputation Has Been Ruined by Bullies, You May Have More Enemies Than You Know!

Here’s something I’m sure almost no one has thought of…that Bullying often has somewhat of a trickle-down effect on victims. What I mean by trickle-down effect is this:
The target has a bully or bullies who harass her to get a reaction. They trash-talk her, name-call her, basically run her down to her face and to others. The victim simply ignores the bullies. However, when the name calling and trash talking fails to give the bullies the desired reaction, they turn it up a notch by shoving. When shoving produces no desired results, the bullies soon get physical and began to kick, punch, or knock the victim down, or pull her hair and either make her cry or prompt the target to snap and fight back.

The bullies then use the crying, snapping or fighting back as proof that the target is weak, crazy, evil…take your pick. Next, the bullies embellish the story of the victim’s weakness, craziness or evilness by adding to the story to make it sound more believable and interesting. They make the victim sound even worse until they have finally succeeded in ruining the target’s reputation.

I’ll say again…Bullies harass a victim to the breaking point. They next use the victims breakdown as evidence that they are weak, evil or mentally unbalanced (Note that “mentally unbalanced” is the favorite claim of most bullies).

They go on to tell members of their families and everyone they come in contact with what a pathetic and despicable person the victim is, offering up the victim’s perfectly normal reaction as evidence. Some bullies will even go so far as to tell strangers on the street.

As word spreads, total strangers, people the victim doesn’t know (and whom don’t even know the victim) began to judge her…before having the chance to even meet her!

This is a very dangerous situation for the victim because she now has enemies, whom she doesn’t even know exist! How can she protect herself when she doesn’t even know who’s gunning for her? I know about this because it happened to me when I was young. You feel as if you’re walking blind and any moment, someone could attack and severely harm you and you wouldn’t even see it coming! You stay home, afraid to go to school, afraid to drive a car through town, afraid to walk your dog through the neighborhood,afraid to go out with your friends, afraid to go for a walk in the park or to the local swimming pool, afraid to go to the grocery store for your grandmother…afraid to be seen alone in town because you know that at any moment, you could be injured or even killed! I can tell you that it’s a very frightening situation to be in and one I wouldn’t wish on anyone!

Point! Victims have more to worry about then anyone realizes. If someone is being mistreated, instead of judging them and justifying it, ask questions. Watch and see if the person in question isn’t really a victim instead of the antagonist!

Confidence Is Key

You can have all the determination in the world and work like a dog but without confidence, you are just spinning your wheels. Because determination without it equals desperation and desperation comes from a spirit of lack.

When one is unsure and insecure, it is a proven fact that this person will not perform as well at school or work. Confidence equals great performance, equals success, equals even MORE CONFIDENCE than before!

A winning attitude is key to having success in any area of life. Having faith in yourself can also get you through tough times. One of my favorite speakers is Zig Ziglar and he talks about “Stinkin Thinkin” and the damage it can do to self esteem. So turn this “stinkin thinkin” into thoughts of success, gratitude, and happiness and watch every area in your life take a turn for the better…like magic!

However, once confidence is achieved, it must be maintained. There will be failures but remember. Failure is the predecessor of success. You will always make mistakes. No one is perfect nor all knowing. Instead of beating yourself up over some error you made, look for the lesson that this error was meant to teach you. Also, search for the positive in the mistake.

When someone tells you that you can’t, pay them no mind. Others can steal your morale if you let them. It is not easy to be yourself and stay sure when surrounded by others, who either constantly hurl jabs and insults your way, or who just do not believe you can be successful. However, you must hold on to your confidence even if you have to give yourself pep talks several times daily. Adverse things will happen, people will hurt you, it is just a part of life. To feel hurt, anger, or sadness is normal and expected when something negative happens. As I said in my last post, there will be times in life when you will not feel confident. Adversity will happen and throw you off kilter. The difference is that when you have confidence, you will bounce back more quickly and are less likely to dwell in an awful place.

Having been bullied during my tweens and teens, I once was very insecure and had a horribly negative outlook. It took a lot of reprogramming in order to take back my confidence. It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life. It is easy to change certain things about yourself but changing your thought patterns, especially after you have been conditioned to think a certain way, is one of the hardest feats to accomplish and most certainly does not happen overnight. Negative thought patterns can take years to change completely.

However, once you start, little by little, you will see a positive difference in not only your outlook, but also the circumstances that come into your life. You will begin to feel confident and the more confidence you have, the more momentum you will have behind it.

Always keep that momentum going and you will be on the right path for the rest of your life. With confidence and a winning smile and attitude, you can achieve beyond your wildest dreams!

God commands the Universe to always give you what you ask for. Through our thought patterns, we unconsciously ask for what we get, good or bad. By sending a certain vibe out you always get the same in return. If you are negative, you are unwittingly asking for more negativity to come into your life. But if you are positive, confident, happy and at peace then you are asking for more of the same and it shall be given. So keep showing your pearly whites and smile from the heart! I once heard Zig Ziglar talk about a spirit of gratitude. Counting your blessings and being thankful are the fastest ways to turn any negative into a positive and with it comes confidence. He was right!

Sometimes, Taking Care of Yourself Means Making Some Very Hard (even Heartbreaking) Decisions

Once you choose not to be a target anymore, you must realize that you may have to make very tough, even heartbreaking decisions. You will more than likely have to weed certain people out of your life for good and sadly, some of those people may even be people that you love very much. You can still love them, ‘nothing wrong with that. However, as much as you may love them, they are not always healthy for you to be around.

It was a decision that I had to make with a family member twenty years ago and again seven years ago. And let me tell you, it was a very painful decision. And when we stopped talking, I missed my family member. No, worse. I mourned the person deeply. Even after all the cutting remarks they had made toward myself and a few others I loved, I still mourned them. It was akin to having a death in the family.

For two years, we did not speak to one another and we were not welcome in each others’ homes. During those two years, from time to time, I would pass this person by in the supermarket, the gas station, or on the road somewhere while driving. No “Hi. How are you?”. No honk and wave. Nothing. We would both just turn our heads and go on about our business. And I would feel my heart sink into my stomach and fight back tears, knowing that there was a possibility that we would never speak again.

There was always that dreadful “Could I have done something different” feeling which always seemed to rear it’s ugly head. Feelings of guilt would emerge even in the midst of knowing I had done the best that I possibly could.

Many of you may be going through something similar but do not lose heart. Your relationship with your estranged loved one is still repairable. I am blessed to be able to say that this story has a very happy ending to it.

After another family member had gotten sick, I received a call from my loved one and we reconciled, apologized and forgave one another. After the reconciliation, I made sure that I was there to lend a helping hand in taking care of our sick family member and we became close again.

Now, we are closer than EVER! We visit each other, we talk on the phone and we never hesitate to tell each other how much we love one another. From this, I learned a very powerful lesson. That lesson is this: Sometimes, it takes a separation to bring people even closer. Walking away, although painful when it happens, may actually be a great thing and produce awesome results later on. Anytime you walk away, your value and the other person’s value often goes up and in time, you both learn to respect one another. Then you love each other even more than you did before.

A Message to My Former School Bullies

Who hasn’t made lots of mistakes and poor choices in their youth? However, the difference between me and you is that I’m woman enough to admit my past BS and I don’t tuck my tail between my legs and run from it, nor do I highlight the mistakes of others just to cover my own.

The difference between me and you is that instead of burying my past, I use it as my motivation to reach out to the victims of today, whom are stuck in a toxic learning environment and forced to tolerate people like you.

The difference between me and you is that I no longer feel the need to put on a fake persona…to break my back to be someone I’m not. Because unlike many of you, I’m secure in myself as both a person and as a woman, and fully aware of the good I bring to this world, the good I’m capable of, the successes I can enjoy and the positive impact I can make in the lives of others. And unlike you, I give myself the freedom to be myself, no matter who may or may not like it.

The difference between me and you is that I succeed by the grace of God and by my own merit. I don’t rely on small-town politics, nepotism and outright lies or half-truths to get along in life.

The difference between me and you is that my life isn’t all about appearances, whom I can impress, now many friends I have nor how well I can keep up with the Jones’s.

The difference between me and you is that most of you would never have survived had the shoe been on the other foot. I did survive. Better yet, through your despicable treatment of me, I became stronger and wiser. So you were right about one thing…I was and still am different from you.

You see? The beauty of getting older is the realization that I never needed approval nor validation from any of you. You only brainwashed me into believing I did. I realize that not all of you are guilty of bullying, nor are some of you the same sniveling punks you were in school. Therefore, this article doesn’t apply to everyone in this class. You know who you are.

I no longer care what any of you think, say nor do I respond to any threats of retaliation for my daring to speak out. Why, you may wonder? Because I see it all for what it truly is- a load of empty threats and useless rhetoric.

So go ahead. Get your feelings hurt, hate all you want, make all the threats, lie, gossip, spin it anyway you like. Get mad, get glad, do whatever moves you. But you will never silence me. I will continue to stand by everything I’ve written and in my own truth.

Because we all know that anything you say against me and anything I’ve written is only a weak and pathetic attempt to save face. Anyone outside of this class and outside of high school knows that I’m a great person with a good heart and good head on my shoulders and that’s enough.

Every person is a roller-coaster composed of highs and lows, stops and starts and positives/negatives. We’re so much more than our negatives. So I was never “crazy” (I’m sure you knew it all along but refuse to admit it). Did I have my crazy moments? Absolutely. And I don’t have to tell you who I have to thank for it.

In conclusion, I now see that you only used me to make yourselves feel, look and seem better than you really were. To put it bluntly, you hid behind me…but that’s where you belonged in the first place…BEHIND me.

And now, I get to use you as fuel to my success and to reach out to those whom suffer the same horrific treatment you dished out to me years ago! Sorry! OOPS! Not sorry!

Victims, Just Because Your Bullies Say That You Are Crazy, Doesn’t Mean They Really Think It!

It was the same with my classmates. No,they never thought I was crazy. What they really thought was that I was weak. The “crazy” moniker was only a tool devised to discredit me and a way to gaslight in attempts of making me doubt my own sanity, which allowed them to cover their own behinds and continue the abuse as they pleased. Bullies never prey on crazy and deranged, they prey on weak and powerless!

Think about this. If you know that someone is, in fact, crazy; would you provoke them? No. You’d get away from that person and you’d STAY away! Anyone would! Because like most, you associate “crazy” with “dangerous”, knowing that the risk of provoking such a person is too high. You wouldn’t poke the proverbial sleeping bear!

Bullies always pursue those they perceive as weak. They’re much too cowardly to risk harassing a lunatic because this type of person usually has no concept of right and wrong and could easily hurt, maim, or possibly kill them and they know it.

The “crazy” label was the easiest for my classmates to use because although they could never prove that I was crazy, they knew that I could never prove that I wasn’t. And although I knew for certain that I wasn’t deranged,no one else knew it for sure because they weren’t me and instead of taking the time to get to know me, they were too busy passing judgement. Sanity is THE hardest to prove (See my article, “The Crazy Label: The Easiest and Most Used Weapon in the Bully’s Arsenal”).

My classmates would provoke me to bait me into a reaction and if they didn’t get the reaction they desired right away, they would continue the torment with increasing frequency and intensity until I became exhausted and broke under the cumulative pressure. They would then look at any witnesses and say, “See There? Do you see??? I TOLD you she was crazy! Look! She just proved it!” (See the Article, “The Three ‘B’s of Bullying: Baiting, Bashing and Blaming).

This, folks, is how bullies do it! They bait you until you’re worn down and you SNAP! Then they bash and blame you, using your perfectly normal reaction as validation of their claims against you! And sadly, others are duped into believing them!

Take this as your guide and use it to call your bullies out! It just may save your life!

Bullies Aren’ t Any Better Than Anyone, They’re Just Better at “Faking It”

If you’re a victim of bullying, I want you to know that regardless of what your bullies may tell you, or what pretty picture they paint of their own (perceived) importance, they are, in reality, no better than anyone else. They’re only “better” at being fake and hiding it. Bullies have to prove themselves to everyone…constantly!

You see, their so-called popularity is based on lies. Bullies are followers…sheep, and they expect everyone else to be the same. Bullies have to lie and put on fronts to be cool, having to work very hard to maintain those fake facades. They’ve been doing this their entire lives and/or have parents who do the same, which is the reason they’re so good at it! Lying and faking only comes natural to them. They hate anyone who has the courage to be their true authentic self. Why? Because they don’t have that courage and are secretly jealous of anyone who possesses it. It takes hard work and consistency to put on an act. Therefore, they must work a lot harder than those who are authentic and they don’t like it!

Oftentimes, bullies will lash out at victims out of desperation when they fear that their facade is crumbling and the real person behind the mask they wear risks being exposed.

Think about it this way, bullies have so much to lose, more to lose than you do. They have no “real” personalities and they know that any day, any moment, you as the victim could expose them (psst! you have the power to expose them for the garbage they really are, you just don’t know it yet). Your blindness to this power is exactly what they count on, which is the reason they go out of their own way to torment you and keep you blind.
Bullies fear losing power over their victims. They’re good at distracting others from their own quirks and flaws by pointing yours out.

As long as they can keep control over you by keeping you trapped in the abyss of low self-esteem and lack of confidence and as long as they can prevent you from regaining confidence, the less chance they have of you standing up to them, exposing them for the cowards they truly are and ultimately turning everyone against them, knocking them straight to the bottom of the social hierarchy.

Folks, bullies truly are just as scared as you are. They’re only better at concealing it! And if you are a victim, I want you to take heart in what I’ve just written here…and USE IT if you must!

This may (or may not) come as a small comfort if you are on the receiving end of harassment and torment at school. But it should. I just tore off the bully’s mask for you!