It’s because any time you counter a bully, not only do you restore your self-esteem, but you also restore the balance of power. In other words, you take back your personal power, the very thing your bullies are trying to take away from you.
This puts bullies in panic mode because they feel that if they lose power over the target, they’ll then lose power over everyone and everything. To further break this down, the bullies are afraid they will lose face, and with that, they will lose respect, credibility, allies, and support. Then, they will become the bullied.
Bullies have an obsessive fear of going from hunters to the hunted. And why not? You aren’t the only person they’ve bullied. There were many others before you and bullies know all too well that most normal people hate people like them, and love to see them get what’s coming to them.
Everyone loves to see a bully get brought down and once a bully is brought down, no one will ever allow them to get up again, to put it figuratively.
This is why bullies will pull out all the stops to keep their targets under their control. If the bullies cannot control their targets, they control nothing. Most people are still under the presumption that targets are weak and if a bully can no longer dominate the target others will see that and the bully will be at everyone else’s mercy.
Others will look at the failed bully and think, “Wow! If he can’t handle a wimp like him (the target) then he really couldn’t handle me! This is a juicy opportunity! I can punk this creep out so easily!”
The bully then becomes the new man on the bottom. Gasp! Because if you can’t overpower the person who’s deemed the weakest link in the bunch, then you become the new weakest link! Ouch! Talk about a humbling situation!
Therefore, the bully retaliates against the target for daring to stand their ground and assert their basic rights, the target counters again, and the bully only hates the target that much more. And with each provocation from the bully and each counter the target delivers- each wise crack, each sarcastic comeback, each clever witticism the target returns, the more determined the bully is to tip the scales of power back in his favor and save face.
With the target’s counter jab comes pain and humiliation for the bully and the human reflex is always to punish or eliminate the cause of that pain and humiliation. And the punishment can come in psychological or physical form.
When a target stands up to a bully, the bully feels stripped of power because the target just upset that power imbalance and took back her power. Therefore, the bully retaliates to restore the power imbalance and retake the target’s personal power.
In cases like these, targets have two choices, either keep fighting back with counterattacks or give up and feel even worse about themselves later. And most targets who’ve had enough will keep fighting until the bully gives up and leaves them alone.
And I would encourage them to do so because, eventually, bullies will give up after being humiliated so many times, then they’ll slink off with their tails between their legs and find another person to dominate. Remember that bullies must always have a victim. It’s sad and pathetic but it’s true. But all you should concern yourself with at this point is that they leave you alone. Then later, once you heal and recover from the exchange, you can help the new target.
With knowledge comes empowerment!