I cannot tell you how important first impressions are. Down through the ages, many have said that first impressions last forever and that you never get a second chance at it. They were right!
When I moved to *Oakley, Tennessee, after having been an Army brat and lived in many different places, I began attending school there during the sixth grade. During that first year, I made a terrible first impression on my classmates, and I did it without even realizing it. Unfortunately, I paid for it for six long years.
In no way am I doing what so many young victims do, blaming myself for all the pain and humiliation they put me through. I’m well aware that regardless of the impression I made, I was just an innocent twelve-year-old child who never deserved to be bullied.
However, looking back, I now realize what I could’ve done differently to keep the target off my back. Oh, the things we realize when we’re older!
My first mistake was that I didn’t stand up for myself when my classmates began bullying me. Being new at the time, I was afraid of getting in trouble with school staff and was taught that “decent young ladies didn’t fight.” Instead, I tried talking my way out of confrontations or lying my way out. ‘Bet you can guess where that got me.
Another mistake was that I was also overly friendly, which was easily mistaken for being a fool, being weak, and approval-seeking.
My third mistake was that during the sixth grade, I cried easily, which my hardened and sadistic classmates took for weakness or manipulation. It didn’t take me long to change these behaviors.
By the seventh grade, I had toughened up considerably, but by then, the dynamic was already firmly in place.
First impressions are everything! They set a precedent- a pattern for the future. If bullies get away with bad behavior once, you can be sure they will repeat it again and again. When they get a particular reaction, they will come back for more of the same later. Without realizing it, we teach people how to treat us.
Understand that it doesn’t take long for impressions to take root and became expected. And when they do, it’s tough to change. That isn’t to say that it’s impossible, but it won’t be easy.
It takes a truckload of patience and consistency. It also requires pointing out your good qualities, hard work, and successes to others, which can backfire if you aren’t careful because people will only naturally take you for bragging and being pompous.
You have no control over people’s perceptions and opinions of you, nor their behavior and actions toward you, which is why it’s so essential to get it right the first time around. I had to learn this the hard way and by the time I realized it, it was too late.
However, during my last year of high school, I got the opportunity to change schools and make a new start at *Roseburg School. I put my best foot forward at my new school and the results were amazing!
I made many friends and was well accepted and liked by both students and staff. I saw a complete 180! But sadly, many kids don’t get that opportunity.
Even now, the classmates from *Oakley still, to this day, hold a lot of unnecessary anger, resentment, and bitterness and it’s been thirty years. I can tell you that had I known what I know now- had I made a better impression early on, things would have been much different.
Not that what they think matters because I’m older and with age comes wisdom, confidence, and self-acceptance. Also priorities change.
However, I would’ve saved myself six years of pain and a lot of wasted time. Also, I’d feel better about joining them at the thirty-year reunion.
I can only pity them because you’d think people would be over that stuff by now. I forgive them because forgiveness sets me free. However, I could never trust them because I will never feel safe around them. And the sad part is, a lot of this was avoidable in the early stages.
Today, I make giving a great first impression a goal each and every time I meet new people. The next time you meet someone new, be sure to make the best impact possible.
Reblogged from Cleaver Journeys:
Child sex trafficking and pedophilia are two of the most vile and diabolical forms of bullying . No matter how you slice it, to any abuser, it’s about exerting power over those who are unable to protect themselves. Hence the power-imbalance that must exist in any form of bullying.
Here, Texans Jack and Dodie (Jack, a retired journalist, and Dodie, a retired nurse) address the evils of the child sex trade, the people, industries, and corporations involved; and give recognition to the brave celebrities and other whistleblowers who risk it all to speak out about against these evildoers.
Actor Mel Gibson explained to a BBC television audience in July 2020 how he had been blacklisted by Hollywood’s controlling monarchs in 2006. Gibson in The Patriot What he was about to reveal would at first bring a barrage of media fury labeling him a conspiratorist. Over time, much of what he said has been […]Brad Pitt, Robert Downey, Jr. & Mel Gibson Claim Hollywood is an ‘Institutionalized Pedophile Ring’ — Clever Journeys
Like I did, you will only run through their fingers and out of their hands. My classmates couldn’t hold me. I flowed over and around them. Understand that sometimes, in their efforts to tighten their grip, bullies only create defiant and sneaky targets who find their way around them.
Because some targets refuse to be controlled. I was one of them.
When your bullies try to silence you and prevent you from speaking against the abuse, you can find another way to communicate. I chose to write about it instead, being sure to keep a backup journal at home in case my primary journal came up missing. You can also do this, or you can speak out through music and song, artwork, such as drawings and paintings. There are so many vehicles through which you can speak out.
I took advantage of the fact that my bullies were flawed humans just like I was- and that they couldn’t read my mind nor control my thoughts.
When your bullies trash your reputation at school, make friends outside that toxic environment– out of kids who don’t attend your school. It’s what I did. I also dated guys who were of college-age and were past high school.
If you’re old enough to have a driver’s license or work after school, opportunities for an after school job in your community may be nil, but your attempts to get one in the next town will more than likely be successful and you can make many friends there.
And here’s the miracle that happened twenty years lately when I endured horrible rashes of cyberbullying (keep in mind that some of the attackers online were former schoolmates), I handled it with smarts and class, which only brought me many allies who defended me– people from all over the country! And I’m still friends with those people today.
Yes, sometimes, things may look hopeless, but they can turn out for the best.
I want you to realize that if you think hard, there’s always a way around the stigma if you’re bullied. So, do what you must do for self-preservation. Dig those heels in, double down, and become like water that only runs through your bullies’ hands.
Don’t give up! There’s always hope!
Many targets are bullied so viciously that they become terrified, withdraw, and isolate themselves. They grew leery of social situations and lose trust in all people. Once they lose faith in humanity, they can sometimes become hermits.
Some solitude is healthy, but too much of it isn’t good. Although staying away from people may seem to be the safest way to deal with being bullied, it isn’t.
Understand that when you withdraw from people, you not only close yourself off to bullies, you cut yourself off from people who can help you and from information that could be important.
You’ll cut yourself off from any talk that your bullies might be planning something harmful and you must always pay attention to what’s going on around you. Also, when you isolate yourself, you draw too much attention to yourself and make yourself an easier target. When you’re alone, you’re ripe for attack.
Realize that we humans are social creatures and to have any power requires connection, interaction, and being out and about.
It’s much better to mix and mingle with people and find friends and allies. What you should do is hide in the crowd from your bullies. Find others your bullies have bullied and use what you have in common to win them over to your side.
Making friends and allies both in and out of the bullying environment helps to counterbalance your bullies and give you protection.
When you refuse to isolate yourself, you’re more likely to receive news of what your bullies are doing and secrets they’re hiding, then use it to your advantage or for your defense. You can also better predict what they’ll do next.
Besides, the more sociable you are, the more at ease you’ll be, and the more attractive you’ll become.
Too much isolation, on the other hand, will also make you awkward around people and they will begin to avoid you.
So, remember. Isolation should only be temporary and in small doses. Only then is it good because it allows you time to think and evaluate things.
But too much of it can leave you exposed for attack because bullies always attack when the target is alone.
Think about it. In the animal kingdom, predators like tigers and wolves always attack in packs and when the prey is separated from the herd. Bullies are the same!
“If you’re a target of bullying, they don’t bully you because there’s anything wrong with you. They don’t bully you because of anything you’ve done wrong. No. They bully you because they perceive you to be the person who has the least power and, therefore, the least likely to be able to defend yourself. That’s why they bully you. It’s not about who’s defective and needs to be fixed. It’s not about who’s evil and needs to be punished. It’s about who has the least power. Always.”
To feel better about themselves and keep from feeling powerless, too many targets of bullying resort to bullying others who are even more vulnerable than them. And it’s not right.
In many cases, targets of bullying who bully, or “bully-victims” bully not because they want to. They bully because they feel like they have no choice.
In bullying, bullies unwittingly teach their targets that to degrade and disparage another person is what it takes to stay on top or off the bottom! And let’s face it, nobody wants to be on the bottom.
One of the uglier characteristics of humans is that everyone wants to be better than somebody! The attitude is that if you’re not above somebody, anybody, then who are you better than? The sad reality is that people equate not being better than someone, even if it’s only one person, with being powerless. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.
But just the same, they do it because they don’t believe there’s any other way to stay out of the basement and boost their self-esteem. But!
What if I told you that there was a better way to get the same psychological benefits? What if I told you that there was another way you could feel better about yourself and eliminate those toxic feelings your bullies have instilled in you for so long? Even better, what if I told you that you could get those benefits without causing harm to another person?
Well? You can!
Here’s how you do it!
Instead of targeting more vulnerable people, how about connecting with and befriending them? Because they get bullied just like you. They may get bullied worse than you. You never know.
And let’s face it. No one person is an island. There’s no way you can have even a little bit of power by yourself. We’d like to think that we can survive and do anything in this world just fine by ourselves and that we don’t have to depend on anyone, but that’s not reality.
The reality is that power means relationships. And we all need people as loved ones, friends, and allies.
Therefore, make friends with those who are weaker than you! Stick up for those people and be their buddy instead of their bully. Make them feel good about themselves and encourage them to stick up for themselves and to realize that they too matter in this world.
These targets need someone who they think has more strength than them to have their backs, and to be someone they can trust and look up to. These people will need you and depend on you, and that’s what you want.
Let me explain this a little deeper,
If you’re a target of bullying, the last thing you want to do is seek the approval of your bullies or their followers. You never want to build a power base with people more powerful than you are. They’ll only eat you alive!
And if they’re stronger than you, how can you expect them to depend on you? To make friends in your situation, you must look for people who will count on you. And they have to in some way, shape, or form, need you.
And the “weaker” targets will be the ones who must have you around to ensure their safety and to validate their importance and their deserving of love and friendship. They will need a friend, protector, and advocate. And you can be those things to them!
It’s much smarter to seek out and make friends with the “weaker” targets and create a relationship on their dependency on you. Because when you do, you become their pillar of strength. You become their voice and their backbone.
And because the other targets are more vulnerable, they’ll know that to turn their backs on you would be to do so at their own risk. Throwing you under the bus would only bring them hardship and pain.
In a friendship like this, you will have the power. So use that power to promote solidarity with them, uplift them, and have their backs!
And if ever you need something done, you won’t have to use force to get your new, less powerful friends to help you out. They’ll be more than happy to oblige because you’ll be their fearless leader, their encourager and protector, and the last thing they’ll want is to lose you. They’ll know that without you, they’d be in a pickle.
The beauty of this is that you and all the other victims will become a group. You’ll band together and become as one. And you’ll gain strength from your numbers.
I promise you that things will only get better once you put this into action. And the only things you’ll have to lose are your low self-esteem and your feelings of powerlessness!
If you’re a target of bullying, do you ever wonder how some bullies are able to lie so convincingly and turn everyone against you?
It’s because these bullies are master wordsmiths. But let’s delve a little deeper. What makes them so good at wordsmithing? How is it that their words seem to have a hypnotic effect on your friends, associates, teachers, and supervisors?
Here are your answers:
1. They use loaded words and language. Good or bad, loaded language appeals to or triggers other’s emotions. And when emotions are high, the logic goes right out the window! Sadly, most people are ruled by their emotions and bullies instinctively know this. They may have learned by watching and listening to others at home or a maybe they’ve done a lot of reading you don’t know about
2. They make off-hand comments. Offhand comments can be taken in many different ways and are interpreted based on the perception of the person you’re talking to. These types of remarks often sound innocent but are meant to be highly insulting, which makes them so easily deniable.
3. They are good at taking your words out of context. And they do this deliberately to use them against you. The intended meaning behind your words won’t matter because these bullies will twist and spin them any and every which way to fit their narratives.
4. They ask “gotcha questions.” Many times, bullies will get you in front of bystanders and people in authority. They’ll then ask you questions that are designed to trap you into giving answers that may damage your credibility and reputation.
It’s these types of bullies you should avoid at all costs. And if you can’t avoid them, find a way to learn how to counter these monsters because they can do real damage if you don’t defend yourself against them.
One of the great things about blogging is the ability to listen to good music while you do it! Thank the Lord for writing and music! 😀 <3
To be able to do two things you love at the same time is a blessing!
“Gimme the Night” (1980)
“Let Me Love You One More Time” (1983)
“Turn Your Love Around” (1981)
Gossips are everywhere! Too many people worry needlessly about what people are saying about them. But here’s the thing, people talk. They’re going to have something to say about you until the day you die. Get used to it. Better, yet embrace it! Love it!
1. When people talk about you, they make you relevant! Good or bad, it means you’re an exciting topic- you’re not dull. Remember that it’s much better to be good or bad than to be boring.
2. When people engage in petty gossip about you, it means that they can’t get you off their minds. Somehow, someway, positive or negative, you’ve made an impact on them. You’ve stirred emotions up in them.
3. When people talk about you, it means they don’t have lives of their own and are obsessed with yours, which means your life must be more exciting than theirs.
4. When people talk behind your back, they reveal much more about themselves than they do you. Remember the old proverb, “Great minds discuss ideas, Average minds discuss events, and Small minds discuss people.”
5. When people can’t shut up about you, you’re the one who’s in control of them. Because you occupy a large amount of space in their minds, you’ve affected them profoundly and with little or no effort.
6. The people who blab about you expend a lot of their energy on you while you get to save yours. They’re thinking of you without getting so much as a thought from you.
7. When you’re the topic of others’ discussions, it means that they’re your fans, only they don’t know it.
It’s important to reframe the situation. And smile as you’re the hottest topic around! Haters make you famous!
8. In a nutshell, when people can’t stop running their mouths about you, it only means that you have a tremendous amount of power over them and you didn’t have to make an effort to get that power! Yay, you!
So don’t give their talk any validation by reacting. Just sit back and be amused by the talkers, provided it’s just petty gossip and not defamation. I’ll distinguish between the two in a future post.
As we all should know, bullying can have a devastating effect on grades and class performance. Here’s how:
Anytime you are a victim of bullying, you are forcibly put on constant alert for an attack. It feels as if you have a target on your back and you must grow eyes in the back of your head. You become hyper-vigilant, which breeds anxiety and leads to exhaustion. Not only is the body tired, but also the mind.
When so much focus must be placed on ways to protect yourself and maintain dignity, safety takes priority over studying lessons. How can one concentrate on schoolwork when they’re constantly bombarded with threats, taunts, name-calling, and physical violence? How can a student study and learn effectively when the mind is tired from being stuck in what seems to be a never-ending fight-or-flight mode? It’s almost impossible!
I can tell you this because it happened to me.
In my book, “From Victim to Victor”, I talk about having been on the honor roll before I began attending school in *Oakley (The school I was bullied in). I also talk about the transfer to *Roseburg High School during my senior year and how my grades skyrocketed overnight! After leaving that toxic learning environment and moving to a new school, my grades went from ‘C’s and ‘D’s to all ‘A’s with maybe one ‘B’. I made honor roll again for the first time in five long years!
Here is an excerpt from my book, “From Victim to Victor”, which explains things a little deeper:
“…when anyone, even the most logical and rational of anyone is under a large amount of stress over a long period of time, the glucocorticoids that have flooded the brain and body for so long will cause the atrophy of areas responsible for memory, emotional regulation and ability to maintain positive relationships…”
Therefore, should it be any wonder that the majority of victims of bullying have such poor grades and class performance?
Second, after being told repeatedly and for so long that they don’t and never will amount to anything, victims begin to believe it themselves. A condition, known as “Learned Helplessness” develops and victims simply stop trying altogether.
In conclusion, bullying can affect ALL areas of a victim’s life. Not just social, but academics and achievements as well.
(*Not the real name of the town.)