Some rules, standards and laws exist for good reasons. Those that are sensible help keep society safe and without them, we’d live in a state of constant anarchy. However, if the rules, standards, or laws are blatantly ridiculous or downright dangerous, than we have a duty not to obey them, or at the very least, question them.
Most bullies wield power by making up rules and standards that are either laughable or unhealthy for the rest of us. And many targets try so hard to conform to their bullies’ rules and standards to fit in and because they think that their conformity will make the bullying stop. Sadly, this usually doesn’t work for targets. The hard truth is, conformity works for everyone else, yes, but rarely works for targets.
Why? Because they are targets and nothing else.
When others conform, they will be rewarded, but when a target conforms, they’ll only be bullied worse because the people around them will automatically presume that the target is conforming solely to keep out of trouble and get on everyone’s good side.
People will only see the target’s conformity and positive behavior as a form of manipulation and feel that the target only has ulterior motives behind it. And they will respond with deep anger and repugnance. The target will be branded a con artist. A grifter! A fake!
Bullies see anyone’s attempts to manipulate them as an unspoken message that the person doing the manipulating think they’re stupid. And bullies won’t stand for being thought of as dumb, especially by those they deem inferior. To bullies, that’s slap in the face!
This is one reason targets shouldn’t conform to their bullies, but here’s another reason:
Anytime you conform to the rules, standards or wishes of someone else- that is, someone who isn’t your boss, your teacher, your parents, etc., you deny your own wants and needs. You give up your autonomy and dignity, and ultimately, surrender to the bullies. This can take a huge toll on your self-esteem and after so many times, you’ll begin to feel terrible about yourself and regret that you ever conformed to those creeps.
Anytime you conform to bullies, you allow yourself to be subjugated and, in essence, become their subject, their slave, and their prisoner. And that doesn’t feel good at all.
You end up looking (and feeling) weak- like a wimp, a wuss, a pansy! You’ll only be ridiculed by everyone because you’ll look pathetic to them. They’ll see you as a bootlicker, a brownnoser, a stooge!
It doesn’t matter how good or bad you are, bullies and everyone who sees you getting bullied only see you as a target and nothing else. And chances are, they will always see you that way. Therefore, if you can’t satisfy anyone else, then satisfy yourself by holding on to your dignity. And how you hold on to your dignity is to never conform to anything the bullies tell you.
Be strong and say no. Refuse to kowtow and bow down to them. They might retaliate and bully you worse for your refusal to give them what they want but trust me. They are going to bully you anyway whether you do or don’t, so why not make it count?
0 thoughts on “The Conformity Trap”
This is true, if you confirm to bullies’ wishes, then you will just become their dancing puppet.
I had a bully who once I stood my ground, they stopped harassing me directly but began using other people. I grew weary of telling them, stop and think about what was said by that person and remember who that person is. The bullying didn’t fully stop, because that person simply can’t be any other way, but they no longer had the power to hurt me.
Sometimes bullying doesn’t stop altogether, but even if it slows up some, your assertiveness brought about progress. I’m proud of you for finally putting your safety and peace of mind first! <3
Thank you. This was something going on where I once worked. I was attempting to get others to see, if they would do it to me, they would do it to others..and they did. But as more stood up, it became more difficult.
You’re so welcome, Rebecca. I’m so glad things eventually worked out. 🙂
I was bullied in junior high and high school and I indeed chose to conform for many reasons. I had Asperger’s syndrome so that meant I was different and there were people that didn’t understand me, much less me understanding myself. I wanted so much to be like everyone else so it was a natural thing for me to do.
It’s important to conform to society to an extent. Otherwise, how can I possibly function within it if I don’t? However, I am also who I am. I’m now happy to be that as long as it’s not truly harmful to another and to myself.
For me (this will be one of my future posts) it began with abuse and neglect. We as human beings, can only take so much of it before we decide to do something with it. I distinctly remember reaching that point, choosing to either harm others with the hurt I felt, or choose to harm myself. I chose to do the latter. If we’re busy hurting ourselves, we have no strength to stand up for ourselves and what’s left is to conform.
It’s a truly complicated web and it took many years and soul searching to unwind. I still find areas where I have to do work on from time to time but it’s safe to say that the heavy lifting is done. It’s worth doing the hard and painful work required to live life happily and I don’t regret it for a moment!
Great comment. And I think we all conform to an extent. And it’s good to conform to sensible rules and laws because without them, there’s danger. Reading your comment, I want to tell you that my heart goes out to you and I feel your pain. Like you, I was bullied severely and chronically. So, I understand the compulsion to conform, for a long time, I conformed so much that I lost sight of who I was. So, I understand completely. It seems like you’ve come a long way though. And I’m so proud of you. You’re stronger than you know, braver than you know, smarter than you know, and more beautiful than you know. Always remember that.
Thank you. I nearly lost myself as well. It took a former coworker to remind me of the values I had previously lost.
You’re so welcome, sweetie! 🙂
My God, does this ever sound familiar!
Oh yes! It’s familiar to many targets and survivors! I hope this reply finds you well, Jim. 🙂
For sure, thank you.
You’re very welcome. 🙂