When the target has had enough of being bullied and abused, and he/she snaps and overreacts, bystanders and authority are often under the delusion that the target’s reaction takes away from the fact that people have mistreated and abused them for such a long time- that it somehow detracts from the truth that it was the bullies who drove them to overreact.
As a result, many targets stop defending themselves because of this very thing. It seems that every time they stand up for themselves, even if they did it in a calm manner, they were punished for it.
Therefore, targets feel they have no other choice than to stay silent. They are forced to resign themselves, stay quiet, and do what the bullies want, which is to allow them to continue to bully and abuse.
The fear of being made the villain, no matter what they do, supersedes their natural desire to self-defend. In their silence, targets hope that other people will see by their passivity that they really are, in fact, the victim. But, in most cases, this doesn’t work either.
The target is damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
But understand that bullies use this as a weapon. If they can make you look like the instigator when you defend yourself, they then become brazen and have carte balance to bully you more frequently, more severely, and more openly.
People will believe what they want to believe about you and if they want to think that you’re crazy, arrogant, whatever, there’s not much you can do but to not associate with them.
However, you must, no matter how they shout you down and no matter how they blame and punish you, tell your side of the story. You must speak out about the abuse even if no one wants to listen to it.
Just the having your say alone can give you such a relief. The fact that you got it off your chest and out in the open keeps you from internalizing everything and your self-esteem from being destroyed. This is all a part of self-care.
And when you’re against these types of odds, self-care is the most important. Realize that, although the bullies may never change their behavior toward you, they can never stop you from taking care of yourself. In these situations, all you have is you. So, practice self-care. Show yourself compassion and do what you must do to preserve your safety and mental health. Be your own best friend. Fight for yourself.
You’re worth fighting for. Don’t you think? I do.