Bullying hurts. It’s not the physical beatings in the locker room. It isn’t the trippings in the hallways nor having your books knocked out of your arms. Neither is it the name-calling nor the threats. It’s not the rumors, the lies, and smear campaigns, nor is it the setups to get you into trouble, the jokes or pranks.
It’s the cumulative sum of all factors:
It leaves the target feeling that he’s lost all control over his life and that he no longer has a say in what happens to him- it’s the feeling of having power over nothing!
Is it any wonder that in an attempt to snatch back control over something, anything, many targets soon begin to bully those who are even more vulnerable than them?
Through their own victimization, targets learn that to keep from feeling so powerless, they must bully too. In bullying them, bullies unwittingly teach their targets how to bully.
We call these people bully-victims– people who are both bullies and are targets of other bullies. They bully to feel better about themselves and to ascend a few rungs up the social ladder.
Nobody wants to be on the bottom. Everybody wants to be better than somebody. It’s a sad part of human nature.
Just as people are fighting like crazy to stay on top, others struggle to keep off the bottom. As it is quoted, “Sh¬** rolls downhill and lands at the bottom.”
Person A at the top bullies Person B, who is second from the top.
Person B then bullies Person C, and so on.
And down the pecking order, the nastiness rolls until it lands on Person Z at the bottom. Then, everyone bullies Person Z because Person Z is defenseless! There’s no one for Person Z to bully because he’s the one with the least power of all the others.
Anyone on the bottom is going to catch hell because they’re powerless. And that person will likely be kept on the bottom because no one wants that position. Therefore, everyone keeps Z down to ensure that none of them ever take Z’s place.
That’s how it works, folks!
As long as someone else is on the bottom, it keeps you and everyone else safe from being there. It’s why bully-victims get bullied by pure bullies, then go on to select their own victims to degrade and humiliate.
However, must of the time, this doesn’t turn out good. Because sometimes, bully-victims become worse off then pure bullies or pure victims.
Pure bullies are people who don’t get bullied by other people.
Bully-victims are both bullies and victims of bullying by other bullies. And they bully far more than the pure bullies do because they have more to prove.
Bully victims are far more hated and ostracized than pure bullies or pure victims. They’re lonelier and have few friends or none at all.
Bully-victims often resort to trickery and deceit. Many are pathological liars, cheats, fakes, and sneaks. They believe that humans are the lowest forms of life on earth. Bully-victims tend to be Machs.
Understand that bully-victims need help. They need someone to get it through their heads that just because people are bullying them doesn’t make it okay to turn around and bully someone else.
But tell them lovingly and with patience because they’re badly hurting inside themselves and need someone to listen to them and gently guide them in the right direction.
Here’s something which most targets of bullying don’t realize. Not even I knew this at the time I was being bullied.
You teach people how to treat you. And how do you teach them this? By how well you treat yourself– by what you will and will not put up with and by the boundaries you set.
Sadly, after being bullied and abused for so long, a person can be conditioned to accept and allow bad behavior and disrespect from other people. Remember that prolonged bullying is a form of brainwashing and hypnosis. It slowly rewires your brain and forces you to “let” people walk over you.
However, know that it doesn’t have to be this way. You can retrain your brain and reclaim your dignity and the life you so deserve.
To put it plainly, you can either allow unsavory people into your life, letting them abuse and degrade you or you can put your foot down, call them on their unacceptable behavior, and give them the old heave-ho. You decide.
I have to admit. When I was being bullied years ago, I unwittingly let my classmates tear me down. I gave them the power to determine how I felt about myself- the power that never belonged to them in the first place.
I didn’t have the courage to stand up to them properly and I let the hurtful words and the physical assaults make me feel terrible about myself.
I gave up on schoolwork and my grades plummeted. I gave up on my talents and stopped doing what I enjoyed. I allowed them to turn me against myself.
I can’t even pretend it was all their fault. Because I allowed them to steal my confidence- without knowing it or meaning to, of course. Nevertheless, I let it happen, so some of the blame is on me.
But the good news is, they may have brought me down but they couldn’t keep me there. Eventually, I wised up and saw my value as both a human being and as a woman.
I can’t stress enough the importance of loving yourself first and foremost. Love should come from within and you should never look to any outside source for it. Love yourself and all of your imperfections, for we are all “perfectly flawed.”
Accept and respect yourself. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do to be accepted and for someone to love you. If a person does not want to see you for the beautiful person that you are, you can’t make them. However, you do have the choice of whether or not to keep them in your life.
With bullies, however, this may or may not change their behavior toward you, and the worst-case scenario might even make it worse. However, you aren’t looking to change anyone’s attitude, you’re looking to take care of yourself and to achieve your own peace and happiness.
It’s not about changing them, it’s about looking out for yourself and keeping your dignity and self-respect. It’s about taking appropriate measures to make you feel good.
Know your worth. Open your eyes to your value. And treat yourself better. Because if you don’t treat yourself right, no one will.
One of the greatest victories against bullies is reaching your full potential. Here are ways you can do it!
1. Don’t worry about what other people think. In life, there will be those who will try to tear you down, especially if they know you’re striving to reach a goal. But you don’t mind because they don’t matter. Don’t let them discourage you. No matter what they say, keep shooting for the stars. And don’t stop until you reach your dreams.
2. Weed out all the Negative Nancies and Debbie Downers. Yes! Get rid of all the gossips, whiners, complainers, bullies, and all the people who make you feel bad and suck the oxygen out of you. Surround yourself with positive and uplifting people- people who help you, not those who hinder you.
3. Never be afraid to be alone. Trust me; you’d rather be by yourself than keep company with people who are negative and drain the lifeblood out of you. Negative people are exhausting, and you will need all your energy stores to reach your highest potential. And if you have a partner who doesn’t treat you right nor appreciates the value you bring to a relationship, then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the partnership, get clear on the kind of partner you want in your life and give this person their walking papers.
4. Don’t quit. Don’t give up when it seems like progress isn’t happening fast enough or when the going gets rough. Keep plugging at it! Because sometimes, things are their toughest just before you finally get your breakthrough.
5. Believe in yourself. To succeed at anything, you must believe in yourself. If you don’t, no one else will, and you won’t accomplish anything. Without faith in yourself and your abilities, you won’t have the morale to keep working toward your dreams. If you need to rest, then do so. But whatever you do, don’t quit!
You will have to do all of these before you ever find your confidence and reach peace and happiness. It won’t be easy but I promise. It’ll be worth it in the end!
It’s not what you say; it’s what you don’t say. When bullies wish to harm someone, the silent treatment can the most effective way of doing so. It is a cruel and sneaky way of control.
Remember that bullies are cowards, and they will find the most effective and least noticeable ways to dig at you
Here are the reasons bullies use this tactic:
1. It’s least noticeable by others. It leaves no bruises, cuts or scratches, so there’s no physical evidence. This type of bullying is also hard to prove because it’s not easily seen. Therefore, it isn’t wise to report this type of bullying. Because people may see the target as overly sensitive, paranoid, or mentally unbalanced.
2. It’s the most effective. Understand that the silent treatment is emotional manipulation. So, you must see it as just that. When you’re able to see it for what it is, the least likely you are to be affected by it. Bullies know that it’s the most covert way to assert control over their targets and make them doubt themselves.
3. For control, dominance, and intimidation– Again, bullies use this dirty trick to control how you feel and to dominate you. People also use the silent treatment to intimidate.
4. To manipulate you into doing what they want you to do– Everyone has a desire for approval. However, if being accepted means they force you to do something you don’t want to do, then you’re more than likely spinning your wheels for nothing. Anyone who doesn’t respect your boundaries and wishes will never accept you anyway because a person who truly approves of you would respect your rights and freedom to choose.
5. To make you feel guilty– Again. Because you didn’t do or give the bullies what they want, they intend to make you feel as if you did something wrong. You didn’t!
You must realize that if you let it get to you, it will only encourage the bullies to keep doing it anytime you don’t cave in and do their bidding or give them what they want.
So, how can you respond to this type of bullying?
1. See the silent treatment for what it is: emotional manipulation When you finally recognize it as it is, the least you’ll be bothered by it.
2. Mirror the bullies by returning the silent treatment. When you give it right back to them, you’re not allowing them to control and intimidate you. You’re preserving some sense of power over your life by not allowing the bullies to phase you.
3. Cut those childish buffoons out of your life. Do it either entirely or have as little to do with them as humanly possible. You don’t need to be around these confidence thieves. Realize that you don’t have to put up with that.
4. Stay calm. Don’t get emotional. Exhibit self-control and don’t get sucked into the bullies’ mind games.
5. Call them out. Tell them, “Look. What you’re doing is called the silent treatment, and that’s not okay. You can’t possibly keep up this childish behavior forever, and it’s not going to work.
6. Enjoy the peace and quiet. There’s a bright side to this. At least the bullies aren’t in your face for the time being. You get a reprieve from hearing them bitch and pitch their hissy fits! Woohoo! Who doesn’t love that!
Word of warning though. Make sure you don’t give your bullies clues that you’re enjoying the peace a little too much. Otherwise, they’ll be back on your tail before you can say, “oops.”
Do all the above, and the bullies might leave you alone and move on to an easier target.
You’ll feel much better about yourself knowing you stood up to them and asserted your rights not to be manipulated.
Bullies are notorious energy vampires. An energy vampire will suck the oxygen out of every room they walk into. Their emotional default is always set on negative, forever having a problem for every solution. Where there’s positivity, they rain on it with their negative toxicity.
Anytime you’re striving for something, or winning at something, they always seen to trash it with statements such as:
“You can’t do it.”
“That’s not for you.”
“You’re too fat.”
“You’re too skinny.”
“You’re not pretty enough, smart enough, strong enough…” etc.
“You couldn’t possibly…”
When they find out you’re working toward a goal or planning for your future, these types of people will come up with all kinds of reasons why you won’t succeed. And if you do succeed at something or score a big win, they’ll say things such as:
“That was only beginner’s luck.”
“That was only a freak accident.”
“You just got lucky.”
“It won’t last.”
“It’s about time because you never won at anything before.”
No matter what you do, energy vamps will find a way to pee all over it.
Understand that energy vampires try to zap your energy because they never accomplished anything and they’re afraid that you just might reach success and make them look and feel bad. The best thing to do is to avoid them at all costs before they drag you down and rub their negativity off on you.
With knowledge comes empowerment!
You must have the courage to love yourself, even when it angers the people around you. That means setting boundaries, being clear on what you will and will not tolerate.
During grade 6, my first year at Oakley* Schools, I lacked boundaries because I didn’t know how to enforce them. Without those limits, I gave away my friendship, time, energy, and power to people who never deserved it and left nothing for myself. I was bending over backward to please others, treading lightly, being careful not to rock the boat, and make other people angry.
I had been conditioned to think that I wasn’t enough, and I should be anything other than myself. And I thought that being friendly, being accommodating, and being available would win me love and friendship.
It didn’t. It got me the exact opposite- walked over, bullied, and mistaken for a fool because the people I was overly friendly to never extended the same to me in return. Without meaning to, I gave the impression that I was desperate to fit in.
A year or so later, during the seventh grade, I began setting boundaries because I was tired of being a doormat. However, first impressions are powerful and it was too late. The power dynamic and others’ expectations of me had already been set. What I should’ve done was drew the line from day one.
In junior high, although my boundaries were clear, many others violated them every chance they got for no other reason than to demonstrate their power and show who was boss. Anytime I said ‘no’ to any of my classmates at school, I would face retaliation of some kind- guilt trips, threats, or physical beatings because they had grown too used to me being a pushover.
They were afraid that if I developed a spine, the benefits they were getting at my expense would stop. Therefore, the retaliation was their way of reinforcing their power and dominance and keeping me subdued.
But now that we’re all adults, let any of them try that today, and they will be very disappointed. Back then, I often wondered why nothing ever seemed to work out.
Understand that timing is everything. Also realize that you already have power but for it to work, you must know how to use it and you must stand up for yourself the very first time bullies come for you. Otherwise, your place in the pecking order will become iron clad and once that happens, you might as well not have any power at all.
I didn’t realize it then, but during those early years in Oakley*, I was going about it all wrong. ‘You see? You must put yourself and your needs first. Never lower your standards or your boundaries! It’s okay to be kind, but never be nice!
The difference between being kind and being nice is that kindness is genuine. People are kind because it’s the right thing to do, not because it can win friendships or favors. Also, kind people never give at their own expense.
Nice people, on the other hand, want friendship and approval. Also, people who are nice give at their own peril and stick their neck out for others to step on, thinking others will come around when they realize how much they care. “Nicies” are under the impression that the more you suffer, the more it shows you care. Um- Wrong!
It gives the impression that you’re a pushover, a kiss butt, a boot-licker! Being nice never awards you any respect because there’s usually an ulterior motive and the reason for your niceness is to avoid conflict!
Being kind, on the other hand, is genuine and others can sense the genuineness. Being kind is much more respectful. Being ‘nice’ is for wimps.
Understand that anytime you set boundaries, there will always be those who will hate you for it and retaliate. And they will fight you for a while to wear you down. That’s what bullies do!
However, stick to your guns. Keep fighting for your right to be treated with respect. Show them that you will stand up to them no matter what they do, and eventually, they’ll get tired and realize that you aren’t worth the effort. They’ll go find an easier target.
So, always set limits and be prepared to fight to protect them. Be kind, yes! But if people start taking your kindness for being a fool and treating you like crap, don’t be afraid to tell these people to kiss off!
Being kind to others means being kind to yourself first.
*Not the real name of the town
Remember that you have a voice, and you have a right to use it. Standing in your truth means that you must stop being afraid to lose people who don’t have your best interests in mind. It means letting go of people who block your growth, progress, and success.
Gaslighters are dead weight- they’re baggage that you don’t own and therefore, don’t have to drag around. Let them think and say of you what they will, it’s their prerogative. But know that you don’t have to accept their opinions and petty mischaracterizations of you as your truth. Remember that they have their truth and you have yours.
You are a separate person from them and so should your truth be separate from theirs. Understand that putting your own wants and needs first, valuing your own opinions, perceptions, and reality, and being true to your own heart are far more important than what others think of you.
Because, no matter what you say or do, people are going to think what they want, and you only end up losing your power and sense of self when you feel you must constantly explain and justify yourself to them or apologize for how you feel and who you are.
You have a God-given right to carve your own space in this world and to celebrate everything that you are. You have a right to be authentically unfiltered and unapologetically you, and no one else has the right nor patent to undermine that.
Be unwilling to please nor appease those who aren’t worth your time. Never allow the fear of ostracization to silence your voice or take away your freedom and autonomy.
Realize that even when you bring positivity and much good to the world, you will still have enemies who hate you and everything you stand for. There will always be some who will have a problem with you, but know that it’s their problem, not yours. Know that their issues have nothing to do with you.
Sometimes, it takes being bullied to know what you will not accept.
Sometimes it takes being abused to make you more determined to stand in your truth and do it unmoved.
And sometimes it takes being mistreated to give you the strength and determination to never again allow anyone to dull your shine.
So, keep shining. Keep standing in your truth. Hold onto the truthful knowledge of who you are and the good you bring. Keep your authenticity and know that you’re awesome no matter what.
When the target is bullied, he is objectified. It is as if exists for other people’s purposes and not his own. Slowly, over time, it does damage to the target’s psyche and if he’s not careful, he may never grow into a full human being.
He can begin to see himself as the projected object the bullies deem him to be. Bullies notoriously distort the target’s reality because they themselves deny reality. They deny facts, uncontested truths, and the concreteness of evidence. They try to make reality into an imaginary illusion when, in fact, reality is the opposite.
So, what happens when a bullies try to undermine your perception of reality? They try to brainwash you and force you to see things from their point of view. I’ve met many kinds of people in my life, and I’ve met enough gaslighters to know their tactics and recognize them like the back of my hand.
Gaslighters used to leave me dazed and confused when I was young but now, they only solidify my perception of reality. And I know firsthand that, if you’re not careful, they will trick you into questioning your own reality and make you think there’s something wrong with you when there isn’t.
Understand that gaslighting is about wresting power and control over your mind, and gaslighters do this by undermining your reality. They minimize your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. They deflect and shift blame to you and they’re notorious for feigning concern over your (mental) wellbeing and weaponizing compassion and goodwill.
Also, gaslighters are experts at twisting the truth and reframing conversations, and they slyly use your reactions to what they’ve done to you in attempts to make you look crazy. You should never tolerate this kind of behavior.
Bullies have shown me my strength and resilience.
When I was young, I would accept opinions of my character and it only made me feel worse. They’d make remarks like, “If the shoe fits, wear it!” But the shoe never fit, therefore, they’d do everything in their power to try and shoehorn it.
They’d claim that they were giving me constructive criticism but, even then I knew the difference between constructive criticism and gaslighting.
Understand that, as long as you don’t get abusive, your perceptions, judgements, and opinions are yours to express no matter who doesn’t agree or who gets offended. And be forewarned that if you’re not paying attention, gaslighters will challenge your reality- they’ll undermine your feelings, opinions, and perceptions to the point that you will lose yours and replace them with theirs.
Once you decide that you will no longer fall for other people’s distortions of your inner reality and dismissal of your thoughts and feelings, be prepared! You will make a lot of people furious. You will offend them, and you will lose many people you thought were your friends. But understand that the people you lose were never really your friends to begin with.
You may even feel isolated for a little while as people you thought you could trust to support you either ghost you or flat out turn against you and side with your gaslighters. Again, see it as a gift because they were never with you in the first place and are only revealing themselves to you.
And why wouldn’t these types of people turn on you when they’re no longer benefiting from you being gullible? You wised up and cut them off! You gotcha some self-respect and put an end to the gravy train they were riding at your expense!
Self-respect- it sounds good- it’s so pleasing to the ears. But! It’s hard as heck to master and sometimes takes a lifetime to develop, especially if you’ve ever been a target of bullying and abuse.
When we’re bullied, abused, and gaslighted, it can often compel us to seek approval and do some pretty drastic things to get that approval.
Sadly, many people never attain that golden prize because they’re under the presumption that life’s all about having a truckload of friends, having huge wads of cash, getting all the girls, and having power. They think life’s all about being popular, or pretty, the king of the mountain, or the baddest mother on the block.
These are the bullies- the people who are constantly trying to prove themselves to others. That’s not self-respect. Not even close.
When you have self-respect, none of that stuff interests you and. You don’t feel the need to perform cartwheels and showboat just to prove to the rest of the world that you’re worthy because you could care less what anyone else thinks.
Self-respect means treating yourself like you want others to treat you. Your treatment of yourself is determined by how you allow others to behave toward you and by what you will and will not accept. And it means not settling for anything less than what you know you want and deserve.
Self-respect means taking care of yourself, mind, body, and spirit.
It means know who you are, what you want, what heights you’re capable of, and never doubting what you can achieve. It means refusing to allow bullies and abusers to convince you that you should hate yourself or that you should feel desperate to please, appease, and impress others. It means that the only person you seek approval from is God Himself.
Self-respect means knowing your worth and the value you bring to the lives of others regardless of what a few toxic people may think or have to say. It means holding true to your values, beliefs, and convictions, regardless of whether they’re popular.
It means accepting and embracing everything that is you- your age, sex, race, nationality, creed, body composition, weight, height, looks, quirks, and idiosyncrasies.
Self-respect also means understanding the following:
1.Respect is earned, not freely given. It is not an entitlement! No! Respect is something you must give to get. Understand that everyone has a space to fill, even you. Respect is either mutual or none at all- there’s no in-between. It’s a two-way street. Always!
2. Never show respect that’s not reciprocated. Never respect anyone who doesn’t respect you back because when you do, it’s not self-respect. What it is, is self-abuse.
Anytime you give unreturned respect, it only reeks of desperation and you allow yourself to be a slave, a prisoner, a whipping boy. To put it bluntly, you make yourself somebody’s bitch. You put your value in someone else’s hands and that’s no way to live.
3. Never take the respect you get for granted. Again, respect isn’t something you’re entitled to. It’s not automatic, and to think you’re owed such a commodity without earning it is arrogance. It means you’re a pompous, self-serving, narcissistic turd who’s full of yourself.
4. Just like love, respect is something money can’t buy. It doesn’t matter how much money, power, and prestige you have. If you’re a piece of scum, you’re a piece of scum. And your money is something you can never take with you when you go. Neither can you take your power nor your prestige. We all come into this world naked and naked will we leave it.
5. Know the purpose of respect. Respect has a purpose. It’s there to ensure that humans can live together in safety, peace, and harmony. It isn’t self-serving. It’s meant for the good of all living creatures.
6. Respect is not to be demanded nor afforded through bullying and instilling fear in others. Only gangs and mobsters demand respect- all while giving none in return. These people steal, kill, and destroy the lives of others, then have the chutzpah to demand respect from the very people they harm.
What they don’t realize is this: people may act like they respect them to their faces, but you can bet that once they’re away and out of earshot, people will gather and talk mad trash about them behind their backs. The truth will be known that they’re only self-satisfied pieces of crap who think they’re entitled. And people will call them exactly what they are and laugh at them in secret.
7. Sometimes, respect is something you must stand up and fight for. There are toxic people everywhere- users, abusers, bullies, and people who think they’re superior and that you’re their personal property. They will try to manipulate you, disrespect you, harass you, and violate your boundaries. They will especially do this if you’re young and aren’t experienced enough to know how the world operates. It’s imperative that you set firm boundaries and walk away from such people.
8. Respect isn’t something you should ever have to ask nor (gasp!) beg for. If you’ve earned it and already give respect, it should come back to you naturally, and if you must ask or beg for it, you’re with the wrong people. Ditch them without looking back. Respect yourself enough to walk away and find people who will value and respect you.
Remember that respect is a give and take. No one is entitled to it, it must be earned. In order to get respect, you must give it, and that includes giving it to yourself too.
With knowledge comes empowerment!