Thanking My Bullies for Lighting a Fire Under Me

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you. You inspired me to journal and to write everything down, then to save those journals. Thirty years later, I was able to dig those journals out and write my memoir.

It’s what I’d been planning all along. I waited until the time was right, then wrote and published my book. Then published more books, fiction, all with bullying in their plots. I thank you for inspiring me to become an advocate for the bullied and published author- to help others who suffer. You always said I wouldn’t, but I did!

I thank you for giving me passion, purpose, and goals to work toward. And let me tell you, I enjoy what I do!

It’s funny, isn’t it? How easily negatives can be turned into positives? How yesterday’s pain can become today’s strength? How victims can become not only survivors, but victors?

You made me a fighter, a winner, a conqueror! And I’m glad because if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have a purpose and would probably still be searching for the path I was meant to be on.

Cheers to all of you! There’s more to come!

School Bullying in Stages

Bullying is a process.

1. Bullies search for a target.

2. A target is selected.

3. Bullies signal to bystanders that the target is ripe for bullying.

4. Bystanders are encouraged to join in the torment and unite with the bullies against the selected target.

5. Bystanders then become bullies themselves.

6. The target is involved in many physical fights in trying to defend themselves and gets labeled by teachers and staff as the troublemaker.

7. Bullies and bystanders go home and tell their parents and family members what a terrible person the target is.

8. The parents and family members of the bullies and bystanders go to work or the supermarket and relay the stories about the target to coworkers and friends- stories they were told by their children, grandchildren, younger siblings or cousins, nieces or nephews that this target is a terrible person.

9. The coworkers, friends, and extended family members then pass what they’re told to their families and word of the target’s perceived evilness or craziness spreads throughout the entire community.

10. The target’s reputation is destroyed.

11. The target’s opportunities for love, friendship, jobs, careers, etc. are either limited or lost.

12. The target either commits suicide or leaves town to pursue a better life.

13. The target who relocates finally gets a fresh start and reinvents himself.

You’ll See It When You Believe It

I’ve always heard people make the statement, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

The problem is that our attitudes shape our perspectives and perspectives shape what we see. Put another way, our perspectives can blind us to a lot of stuff, even to what’s right in front of our faces. Because, if you have the mindset that you’ll believe it when you see it, the chances are that you never will see it.

This is the reason many targets are bullied. It’s the reason why innocent people are convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. It’s also the reason why many bullies and criminals are promoted to high positions. Because of others’ attitudes!

We often base our judgments of others on our attitudes towards them, by what we’ve heard about them, or whether we like them. Many times, we judge others too harshly because we can’t see past our dislike or hatred of them.

We also do this with our own lives as well. If we’ve had a string of adversity throughout our lives, we usually come to expect more of the same. And sadly, we end up getting just that!

We come to see ourselves as unlucky, undesirable, unlovable, and incapable of success. As a result of our thinking, we get more and more adversity because our attitudes and perspectives about our lives will blind us to opportunities- opportunities that are, more than likely, right in front of us- opportunities that others may see and seize. Then, we’ve missed out once again and thus, the cycle begins, yet again.

Case in point, our attitudes and perspectives have ways of shaping and influencing our lives, the things that happen in our lives, and where our lives take us. They attract people and events.

This is why we must do the inner work to change our thought patterns. We must check our attitudes and work to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. The only way you will have a positive life is to have a positive attitude, then a positive perspective, which can only develop by having positive thoughts.

I know it’s hard to do when it seems that adversity is coming at you from every possible direction. Believe me, I understand because I’ve been there.

It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. But I promise you this. If you start now by catching each negative thought and replacing it with a thought that’s positive, you’ll be surprised at how much better your life will get!

“What if it doesn’t work out?” Oooooh! But “What if it does?”

It worked for me and it’ll work for you too!

Targets, You Can Be Dangerous to Your Bullies

Having a moral compass and a strong sense of self is a huge threat to bullies. Why? Because those are things they don’t have. Bullies know that anyone with these qualities will see right through them and, even worse, blow the lid off the dirty secrets they try to hide.

Also, such a person is a threat to their popularity and social status. Anyone who has a moral compass and a strong sense of self is also more likely to be trusted and well-liked by others. They outshine bullies and make them look (and feel) like the losers they are. And they do it without trying! They do it simply by being their natural selves.

Should it be any wonder that these people attract so much hatred? Is it at all surprising that they have so many people who try to tear them down?

Know that if you’re a target of such vile behavior, it isn’t because there’s anything wrong with you. It’s because there’s something right with you!

So, hold on to that!

I’m Me

I’m Me

Unapologetically

Originally

Unabashedly

Authentically

Undeniably

Beautifully

One hundred percent

Me!

Me is all I can be

All I want to be

Who I’ll always be

Me is who I’m proud to be!

Be you and be free!

How “Good People” Become Willing Participants in Bullying and Turn Evil

Even the best and kindest of people can help bullies to destroy a target. Oh yes! It’s true!

Many times, good people are either scared or duped into joining bullies in destroying targets. Understand that your bullies have either intimidated or lied to these people until they finally succeeded in turning them all against you.

What’s worse? These people really and truly do not believe they’re bullying you. They don’t see it as meanness and an attempt to cause another human being to suffer intense pain. People who willingly join with bullies and take part in torturing and tormenting another person do not think that what they’re doing is evil and sadistic. No.

What these people believe is that what they’re doing is good and morally right. Remember that you’ve been labeled immoral. Bullies have painted you as an evil adversary who needs to be punished.

Although the reality is that you’re totally innocent and wrongly persecuted, perceptions (opinions and attitudes) are everything, and bullies can easily distort others’ perceptions to fall in line with their narratives. And sadly, everything in life is based on appearances, and no one cares about what’s behind them.

Understand that, one by one, the “good” people will be sucked into the bullies’ smoke screens. And, one by one, they’ll join forces with the bullies in defeating “the evil enemy.”

These good people will gradually distance themselves from you. Then, little by little, they’ll join in the gossip and defamation of your character.

Again, these bystanders and witnesses don’t see what they’re doing as bullying. They genuinely believe that what they’re doing is a good thing- they’re only doing it for the greater good- the good of the school, alumni, and staff. They’re doing it for the sake of the company and people in it. They’re only showing loyalty and trustworthiness to the group. They’re heroes.

I want you to realize that this is how good people do bad things to innocent people. When this happens, the fact that you’re innocent and undeserving of the abuse and brutality just doesn’t come into it.

Also, understand that there are benefits that come with siding with a group against “the enemy” and few people will forgo those benefits.

The more you know.

How to Make Yourself More Powerful and Less a Target

Before we begin, I want to assure you that the bullying you suffer isn’t your fault. There’s nothing wrong with you, nor did you do anything to bring it on yourself. So, if you feel the title of this post has undertones of victim-blaming, please be assured that you’re not to blame. However, what it does say is that you’re not entirely powerless, which is excellent news! There are ways you can lessen the bullying and make yourself more charismatic.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Practice modesty. Targets of bullying will sometimes incessantly talk themselves up. I completely understand why they do this. When people are always putting you down, sometimes your first instinct is to build yourself back up and make yourself feel better and soothe your battered self-esteem. But doing this can make you a bigger target if you aren’t careful.

Never talk about yourself too much, and never try to bring too much attention to what you do. Nobody likes a braggart. And the more you talk about what you’re doing; the more suspicious of you people will be. Even worse, you’ll become a target of backstabbers and people who are jealous! Never toot your own horn. Be modest. Make it about others, not yourself.

  1. It’s better to be nonchalant. Make everything you do look effortless.
  1. Don’t pour on the flattery. Sometimes, targets of bullying will use excessive flattery to get in their bullies’ good graces, and it never works. I tried it when I was a kid to trick my bullies into leaving me alone. It only backfired. Too much flattery can make things worse because it makes you look like a suck-up. Or, your bullies might think you’re trying to run a con game on them, which will only get them angrier because they take it as your believing they’re stupid. Keep the flattery to a minimum, and for the love of Pete, don’t attempt to flatter the wrong people!
  1. Get noticed. But don’t overdo it with being flashy or flamboyant. Sadly, targets of bullying will do anything, and I mean anything to be seen. I can understand because no one wants to be made invisible. But being gaudy will only make you a bigger target, and the last thing you need is to draw even more negative attention to yourself. Subtly create a style all your own.

  1. Alter yourself to the people you’re around. But never too much. Keep enough style of your own so you don’t come off as a copy-cat. When you’re a victim of bullying, the last thing you need is for others to brand you a fake.
  1. Bring good news. Keep any bad news to a minimum because people will shoot messengers of negativity. And if you’re a target of bullying, people already associate you with enough negativity. Why not shock a few people by bringing positivity?
  1. Never criticize. Especially the wrong people. Being critical of others can make you seem like a drama king or queen and can escalate the bullying you suffer.

Doing the above things may not make the bullying stop entirely, but it can dial it down a notch or two. And the less of a target you are, the better!

Negative Ways I Coped with and Survived Bullying

Bullying throws a target into survival mode. If a situation is threatening and there’s no escaping it, the victim will often find ways of coping. And some of those coping mechanisms aren’t good ones. Anytime we’re stuck in a toxic environment, we become desperate and do things we usually wouldn’t do to either escape or for relief. Here are a few things I did wrong.

  1. I bullied kids I thought were weaker than I was. Today, I look back on this with great remorse, and I have apologized to those I hurt.  It’s not something I’m proud of. Because I felt so powerless, I bullied others to feel more powerful. But a reason never equals an excuse.
  1. I faked like I was sick so that I could go home from school early. Many of my classmates and a few teachers accused me of wanting attention or to skip class. Far from it! I faked an illness because I wanted an excuse to get the hell out of there and away from the bullies. Back then, there was no internet, so if I left early, I could get a reprieve from the bullying I was suffering and not have to deal with my classmates nor see their faces.

I just wanted to get out of that snake pit and go home—nothing more, nothing less. And I would do anything- anything to make that happen. Back then, the ends justified the means.

  1. I resorted to deception, con games, and trickery. Oh, yes! I was a master manipulator! I made it look like I was pregnant in the seventh grade to trick my classmates into leaving me alone and not physically attacking me. I did this by going to school dressed in bigger clothes I’d found put away in a box at a family member’s house. I didn’t come out and tell them, only made the excuse that I’d gained a few pounds. They didn’t believe it, which was precisely what I was counting on.

I made my classmates wonder a while, letting their curiosity build and making them continue asking if I was pregnant until I very sarcastically told them I was and walked away snickering under my breath. Sure enough, just as I’d known they would, they took it literally and ran with it. Once word had gotten around, everyone left me alone. It worked for a while, and the joke was on them.

And I knew that if they found out I wasn’t pregnant, I could turn it back on them and say,

“Awwww, no! I didn’t lie about that! Are you so stupid that you don’t know sarcasm when you hear it? Boy, you’re a bunch of freaking morons!”

Needless to say, they were furious because they knew I’d tricked them, and the bullying escalated exponentially.

  1. I instigated fights between others. And not only because I was jealous of other’s friendships, but because I knew that if I could stir the shit pot a little, sow a little discord, and keep some of them fighting among themselves, I could take the spotlight off me, fly under their radar and get a short break from the bullying. As long as they were at each other’s throats, they’d leave me alone, and that was the way I wanted it.

These were not my finest moments, but this goes to show that sometimes, targets resort to being sneaky and a bit underhanded to stay out of harm’s way. So, if you know a kid who seems to be a pathological liar, manipulator, and a sneak, you might want to do a little investigative work to figure out why. The young man or lady might be in survival mode. Using trickery and deception may be the only way they feel they can ensure their safety.

Lovingly explain to them that the way they’re handling it is not the right way and suggest better ways. Also, explain the importance of being yourself and being true to your beliefs and convictions. They may or may not listen, but your message won’t go unheard.

The Positive Side to The Silent Treatment

Not long ago, I wrote a post entitled, “Why Bullies Give the Silent Treatment and How You Should Handle It.”

The feedback I got from another blogger and remembering a few of my own experiences really made me think and prompted me to write this post.

Though the silent treatment is hurtful, there is also a positive side to it if you reframe and look at it from a certain perspective.

A fellow blogger told me that she actually enjoyed the quietness of The Silent Treatment, and I can surely see where she was coming from because there were times when I got enjoyment out of it when my classmates would do the same to me. Or just maybe, it was relief?

I look back and realize that maybe it was both.

When someone gives you the silent treatment, it can be painful if it’s someone you love and wouldn’t think would do anything to harm you. But with the exception of maybe two or three people, my classmates were no one I cared about, much less loved. They’d treated me horribly for so long, until I reached the point to where I really couldn’t have cared less if they ignored me. I was happy as long as they stayed away from me.

The silent treatment can be a good thing because it means not having to listen to people’s big mouths and the garbage they spew forth. When people are avoiding you, you don’t have to worry about them being under your butt or in your face all the time. Nobody bothers you, so that’s a huge plus!

However, be warned! Once bullies get the message that you either don’t care or worse, enjoy the quiet of their silent treatment, they will be furious and very quickly change their tactics. So, get ready for them to really act out!

So, who’s really in control here? You or them?

How Demonization Works

I want you to realize that everything you say, good or bad, can be used against you in the court of public opinion if you are a target of bullying. So, please, don’t be confused or surprised when this happens as it will only further cloud your thinking and cause you not to defend yourself properly.

If you are a target of bullying, EXPECT the following:

  1. Any joke you fell, no matter how funny it may be, will be considered unfunny.
  2. Any self-deprecating humor will be seen as your having no self-confidence or being mentally unstable.
  3. Any sarcasm will be taken literally.
  4. Any casual comments such as, “I would love to have been able to sleep in this morning,” will be taken as your admitting you planned to be absent from school or work today and are complaining about having to come in. They will accuse you of either being a lazy bum or so depressed that you found it difficult to get out of bed.

  1. Any positive statements or compliments will be seen as kissing up or an attempt to score points with the recipient.
  2. Any self-confidence and good self-esteem will be perceived as being pompous, arrogant, and full of yourself.
  3. Refusing to talk to your bullies and their minions or to answer any gotcha questions, though justified, will be deemed as your being “too good to speak” or having something to hide.
  4. If you smile, they’ll think you’re plotting something.
  5. If you’re happy, you must’ve done something evil.

In short, when you are a target of bullying, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

The sooner you realize this, the sooner you’ll be able to prepare to make your escape and move on to a better and more positive environment.

A More In-Depth Explanation of Smear Campaigns

 

It always starts subtly. Bullies start rumors by dropping a suggestion. And all it takes is one little rumor- just one! Because people will want to believe it.

If enough people do, it will become the truth even if it is a bald-faced lie. And there’s no getting away from public opinion no matter how false or unjustified it is.

Bullies ruin targets by making things up, leaking info they hear, or spreading ideas. Next, the bullies will fade into the background because they know that with everything put together, the rumor or whatever lie they spread will stick. They’ve done their part, and now they can sit back and let the rumor mill do the work for them. It’s that easy!

Let’s break it down.

The bullies start by suggesting that the target would be better off if he/she got professional help, moved, etc . They will say that it’s for his (the target’s) own good.

They may then drop an offhand comment here and another there.

In the beginning, the target may have friends and be very well-liked. And these friends may try to support the victim and speak on his behalf, but that’s when the bullies will tell them, “Oh, no. There’s more to it than what he told you.” Or, the bullies may lie to the friends by telling them that sometime in the past, the target criticized them (the friends) or stabbed them in the back.

Now it’s time for the bullies to stand back and let the old rumor mill do its handiwork. And, sure enough, the lies become the truth. People begin reporting things to the bullies and higher-ups in the social hierarchy- even things that never happened.

And as the rumors and lies spread from person to person, the bigger they get until they sound so bizarre and outlandish they’d be fit for a horror movie.

The target might say, “Aw, but they’re my friends. They’d never do that to me. They know I’m a good person, and I have a clean reputation. All I have to do is tell them my side of things, and this stuff will go away.”

Wrong!

Once the rumors get around, the target’s friends will no longer believe him to be right. They’ll only think the victim is a thorn in the side with a big mouth. By the time bullying is underway, your reputation is no longer clean.

Now, everyone thinks the target never deserved any respect or friendship. The people around him also feel that the reason he was so well-liked is that he conned his way into their hearts.

They’ll say that the target put on a front, and he only weaseled his way into everyone’s good graces. The bullies and their followers may even accuse the victim of being a kiss-arse.

The target’s past wins, accomplishments, successes, or accolades will be made irrelevant. And every mistake and failure will be maximized, along with many more he didn’t make. At the same time, they’ll rewrite the victim’s history.

When you’re a target, even if others see with their own eyes evidence of your successes, friendships- anything positive, they’ll only react by claiming that you’re only a smooth-talker who’s darn good at using fake charm to manipulate others.

And the friends that your bullies turn against you? Your former friends will claim that they never liked you from the start and that they were only kind to you because they were afraid of you, felt sorry for you, or because you smooth-talked and conned them.

Your so-called friends will tell others, “who you really are.” They’ll claim that the bullies you bitched about were only reacting to your sneaky provocations, and if they ever agreed with you about your bullies, they only did so because you fooled them into it.

And telling your side of things will do no good because they’ll never believe it anyway. Your embittered friends “may have fallen for it at first,” but now they claim to “know better.”

I want you to understand that their minds are already made up and there’s no changing it.

In cases like these, it’s best just to find a way to get out of the environment altogether and never look back, and to never have anything to do with any of these people again. You owe it to yourself to kick them all to the curb.

The more you know…

I Used to Hate When People Disliked Me. Now, I Welcome It

Everyone has people who do not like them- you, me, everyone. It isn’t personal (or at least I no longer take it so). It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong or defective about you. It’s only a part of life. Like is subjective, and not everyone meshes with everyone.

So, why do I welcome being disliked, you ask?

  1. It means I’m doing something right. And making the haters and people doing the disliking feel uncomfortable, insecure, and like fools.
  1. It only shows that I’m true to myself. You stay true to yourself by setting boundaries and not allowing others to invade them. You stand up for your beliefs, your convictions, and, most of all, yourself! You follow your dreams and goals and never let anyone distract you. When you do these things, it makes you a powerhouse. But! It also makes you enemies.


  1. It gives me just another reason to reach success. Who doesn’t love to make supporters proud and enemies jealous? I love seeing my loved ones’ faces light up, and my hater’s faces contort! I feel the love of my friends and get free comedy and entertainment from my enemies. Enemies can motivate you if you let them.

Most people are slaves to approval. They chase it like a starving dog chases a thick, juicy steak.

Once you stop caring what others think and looking for people to like you, you’ll no doubt make quite a few enemies, even bitter ones. But you’ll be amazed at how much freer you feel. Being yourself is the most important thing you can do and frees you from the constraints of society.

When you have people, who dislike or even hate you, you know you’re putting yourself first, and that’s what it’s all about. If you can’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to properly take care of anyone else, even the ones you love, whenever they need you.

Sadly, it took getting older before I realized the value of having enemies.