Setting Boundaries: 3 Powerful Practices to Hold Your Ground

Do you want to know about setting boundaries and how it can improve your life and your relationships? These powerful practices have changed my life and they will change yours too.

setting boundaries

When you’re too afraid to set boundaries, you hand over your power. In that, you doom yourself to a life of use and abuse. But once you lose that fear and begin taking control of your life, I can attest that things will make a dramatic change for the better.

You are going to learn about the importance of setting boundaries and the best practices you can use to do so.

After you learn about all these practices and techniques, you will no longer be afraid to hold your ground when people try to push your limits. Even better, you will take back control of your life!

This post is all about the best ways of setting boundaries that every victim of bullying should know and use.

3 Best ways of setting boundaries

1. If someone violates your boundaries, speak up.

In other words, tell the person to stop and use body language to convey that you mean it. For instance, you could put your hand out like a traffic cop as you tell them to stop. This is good because it will most likely shock the bully.

However, if they keep it up, raise your voice and tell them, “I said stop it, now!” And when you say it, say it confidently and firmly while looking the bully in the eye and giving him a hard glare. Also, make a power pose (hands on hips and feet shoulder-width apart).

The last thing you want to do is to sit or stand in silence and say nothing. You must let the bully know that you aren’t one who will put up with them.

Remember that, In today’s world, bullies and abusers are everywhere and they will violate your boundaries if you allow them to.

Also, remember that bullies don’t respect boundaries because they don’t acknowledge them. In their minds, you’re the victim and you don’t deserve the same human rights as everyone else.

Sadly, many victims of bullying don’t have the confidence they need to set boundaries. They only keep their mouths shut, grin, and bear it while others wipe their feet on them.

Consequently, this only damages self-esteem and overall mental health. Just as you would protect your physical boundaries, you must also protect your psychological and emotional boundaries as well.

It’s your responsibility to put a stop to the abuse, no one else’s

It isn’t your fault if you’re a target or victim. However, at some point, you will need to make a stand. Do you want to spend your whole life being someone’s footstool?

Don’t continue to suffer in silence and obscurity. You should never allow people to use you as a rug. Realize that if people are bullying you, it is your responsibility to put a stop to the abuse, no one else’s.

Yeah, I know you look at schools everywhere and see anti-bullying policies on their websites and “Stop Bullying” posters on their walls in the hallways. Workplaces even have their own policies against bullying.

But the reality is that most anti-bullying policies aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Why? Because people in authority rarely enforce those policies. Also, in most cases, the institution will only take the bullies’ side over yours. It happens all the time.

That’s why I stress that if a person is being bullied, it’s their responsibility to put a stop to it.

I understand that setting boundaries is not easy. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things to do. Especially after people have bullied you for so long.

They may have brainwashed you into thinking that you’re to blame for their brutish behavior. Your bullies may have even conditioned you to take the abuse and allow them to ride roughshod over you. Or, you may even fear for your physical safety.

However, at some point, you will have to make a choice. You either stand up and defend yourself or you keep taking it and spend your entire life with people jerking you around.

That’s no way to live. So, again tell the person to stop while using body language and facial expressions that match your words. You’ll be glad you did!

2. Say “No.”

And mean it. Put simpler, if someone asks or tells you to do something that makes you uncomfortable, say, “no.” Then, back it up by refusing to do it.

“No” is a tiny word but has huge power behind it.

However, many of us were raised to believe that saying “no” is rude, self-centered and disrespectful.

Many of us grew up during a time when children automatically owed anyone over the age of eighteen respect. It didn’t matter whether or not the adult was being fair. Neither did it matter if they were self-serving and out to harm us.

Nevertheless, the adults in our lives often forced us to say yes. Abusive ones conditioned us to go against our own rights and welfare, or risk worse punishment.

It was “obey, or else.”

As a result, they ended up molding us into spineless adults. We get used and abused by partners, family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

Why? Because, in the past, we were duped into believing that saying yes to everything everyone asks (or demands) means that we’re “good people.” We got the message that being agreeable shows that we’re being “respectful” and that we have “a good attitude.”

Only we ended up learning the hard way that it’s the exact opposite- what it really means is that we become easy targets for human vampires, leeches and predators.

“No” is not an easy word to say.

“No” is not an easy word to say, especially to bullies, abusers, narcissists, and psychopaths. Why? Because they despise it when you tell them no and, chances are that they will become enraged and retaliate.

However, realize that the offense these people take comes from insecurity and the feeling of rejection. It also comes from feeling entitled. This is why they take being told “no” so personally.

However, you must hold firm even if they retaliate, and even if they use tactics of emotional manipulation, such as guilt-tripping. Know that any indignation or anger the other person feels and displays is NOT your responsibility OR your problem.

Don’t cave in and eventually, they’ll give up and go find another stooge.

3. when someone physically attacks you, defend yourself.

To put it bluntly, if someone physically attacks you, you are well within your rights to haul off and punch them back. And when you do, do it with all your strength and make sure to go for that booger box. Hitting a bully in the nose will stun them. Then, when the bully is stunned, unload on them.

Physical violence should be a last resort after all else has failed, that much is true. However, it becomes necessary when someone is physically attacking you and the situation calls for self-defense.

Whether or not to hit back is the question on every bully target’s mind these days, especially in today’s climate of political correctness that we find ourselves in. Politicians, the media, and movies vehemently suggest not fighting violence with violence. You’ve probably heard statements such as:

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
“Turn the other cheek.”
“Don’t stoop to the bully’s level.”
And,
“Be the bigger person and walk away.”

However, what if your bully won’t let you be the bigger person? What if your bully has you cornered and you can’t walk away? What do you do then?

Also, what would the person making the statements above do? Obviously, they’re not the one who’s bullied and facing a possible beat down. Therefore, what right do they have to make such statements?

Don’t you just love it when those who know so little talk so much, giving you all this free advice?

speak to the bully in the only language they understand.

Furthermore, bullies don’t understand nonviolent means. They don’t understand talking it out, reasoning, politeness, and diplomacy. The only language they understand is brute strength and raw power.

Therefore, you speak to the bully in the only language they understand.

You throw up your dukes and punch the bully’s lights out. Remember, this isn’t about a competition of “Who’s the Toughest Kid on the Block.” It isn’t about any pissing contest.

What it’s about is protecting yourself. It’s about keeping someone else from harming you and it’s also about safeguarding your physical health and well-being.

Also, it may be about survival. I can’t count the stories I’ve read about school fights where bully victims have been beaten to death. These days, there are countless news stories about bullies murdering their victims during a fight.

So, why just let another person use you as their personal punching bag and leave everything up to chance?

This post was all about setting boundaries to help you gather the courage to stand your ground when dealing with bullies and human predators.

Related posts you’ll enjoy:

The Difference Between Curiosity and Nosiness

My husband and I have discussed how people often confuse curiosity for nosiness.  We both agreed that the two are different after I told him how they differ. Soon afterward, this conversation gave me an idea for a future blog post. However, I forgot about it because I was swamped with household duties, yard work, and other priorities.

Next, a fellow blogger and wonderful friend, Kym Gordon Moore, posted about the subject on her own blog. You can find her lovely and insightful post here.

what is the difference between curiosity and nosiness?

Simple. Curiosity doesn’t violate anyone’s boundaries. Whereas, nosiness does. This was my response during the above-mentioned conversation with my husband. And I didn’t have to elaborate on it.

In the words of Kym Gordon Moore, “Being nosy is prying into other people’s business, meddling, being intrusive, and snooping, oftentimes gossiping about what they find out,”

“…curiosity is more of a desire to learn something new that enhances one’s intellect and not about poking your nose in other people’s business for annoying reasons.”

Her statements were spot on, and I couldn’t agree more!

What does a Nosy Person and a Curious person do differently?

A curious person doesn’t invade others’ privacy. A curious person is more interested in educational information. They want to know more about how things work than they do other people.

On the other hand, a nosy person will pry into your personal and private business, trying to get some dirt on you. It’s all for the purposes of spreading it to everyone later. These are people who will listen and ultimately, make you look like a scandalous person. Moreover, a nosy person will snoop through your mail, your computer- heck! If they can get access to all your social media passwords, don’t think they won’t go there too.

Understand that bullies are such people, and they will be the nosiest of the nosy. Why? Because they’re always and forever on the hunt for damaging information they can use against you.

Nosiness is invasive. If a nosy person asks you a personal question and you refuse to answer, they will accuse you of “having something to hide.”

nosy people will claim you have something to hide if you don’t give them answers.

Moreover, this is how bullies trick their targets. They will use the “having something to hide” line to coerce their targets into giving up the details. Moreover, many targets will feel compelled to give it up even if they know it’s better to keep it private!

When bullies make this accusation, targets will cave in and go against their better judgement. Some will answer the bullies’ questions, just to prove that they don’t have anything to hide. Consequently, they get themselves into trouble.

If you ever find yourself in this predicament, I want you to understand that your refusal to answer isn’t about having anything to hide. It’s about some things just not being anyone else’s business. Realize that you have just as much right to privacy as the next person.

Additionally, I want to mention that bullies will also accuse you of being nosy when you’re clearly trying to learn something new. This has happened to me and, being a young teenager, I fell for the lie and let it have a negative impact on my learning.

Responding to a Nosy Person

Close up of examining of test sample of microchip transistor under the microscope in laboratory.

Therefore, it’s so important to learn the difference between curiosity and nosiness. Knowing this difference will make you able to counter busybodies with confidence. Also, you’ll be able to confidently defend yourself any time some snake accuses you of being nosy when you’re only trying to learn and educate yourself.

So, in closing, I’ll again give you the short and easily digestible explanations of curiosity and nosiness.

Curiosity- a desire to learn something new that enhances one’s intellect and broaden one’s education. It includes reading, researching, studying, observing, and listening for information that can make you more intelligent and help you grow. Curiosity is non-invasive and non-intrusive. It does not seek to violate personal boundaries or to cause harm.

Nosiness- prying in other people’s personal business. It includes meddling, snooping, asking personal questions, and eavesdropping on other people. Nosiness is invasive and intrusive. It seeks to violate another’s personal boundaries and to cause harm to them.

Learn these differences by heart and you will be better able to counter bullies in any of the above-mentioned scenarios.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Low Self-Esteem is Taught.

Newborn baby held in father's arms

Insecurity and a lack of confidence are not characteristics that we’re born with. They are taught! Not only by bullies or abusive family members but can also unwittingly programmed into us by caring family members who call themselves trying to teach us humbleness and humility.

These characteristics are both good virtues to have, but only in moderation. However, too much of it can cause us to suppress a little too much of ourselves and hide our own awesome personalities, talents, and gifts, which can grow into insecurity and, in worse cases, self-loathing.

a little girl hiding behind her mother's skirt

Each and every one of us is born with confidence and a heart of gold. However, over time, our environments, circumstances, and sadly, the people in our lives can slowly erode the natural confidence and goodness we were born with.

After being hurt for so long, we withdraw from others and put up a barrier to protect ourselves. We turn cold and began to harden ourselves to numb feelings of rejection and the pain that comes with it.

The Slow Erosion of Self-Esteem
Young girl bending down, covering her face with her hands, trying to protect herself from men's' fists, finger guns, and hands pointing at her.

Young girl bending down, covering her face with her hands, trying to protect herself from men’s’ fists, finger guns, and hands pointing at her. Women’s rights. Violence against women. Domestic violence.

Before long, we regard others’ feelings and suffering with indifference. In other words, we just don’t give a crap about anyone, how they feel, or what they think. Sometimes we even grow cold toward the people who love us because we have lost the ability to trust.

We no longer have any respect for others, much less ourselves. Lastly, we come to that evil place where schadenfreude takes hold of our personalities. In other words, we secretly or openly take pleasure in seeing others, especially those we despise, suffer.

We must make a conscious effort not to allow negative outside influences to make us cold and mean. Just as we take steps to protect our health, finances, property, etc., we must also take steps to protect our self-esteem. And we do that by how we allow others to treat us. We protect our self-esteem by setting boundaries and standards.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Be Careful What You Put Up With

Quote, "I deserve the best in life."

It’s best to begin standing up for yourself in the early stages or you’ll come across as a doormat to others. You will teach them how to treat you based on what they see. Sadly, many targets of bullying do not realize this until the bullying gets so out of control that their lives are in danger. By then, it’s usually too late to change anything and the only option left is for target to remove him/herself from the environment.

Furthermore, bullying always escalates and the more you ignore it, deny it, and tolerate it, the more emboldened, brazen, and full of themselves the bullies become until they become drunk on their own power. As a result, the abuse will get out of control and you’re most likely to end of getting severely hurt or worse.

Quote, "Be good to yourself today."

bullying is addictive because its all about power.

Bullying is like a drug. As we know, it takes one smoke, one drink, or one snort or two for a person to become hooked. Afterwards, they always want more. Likewise, it’s the same with bullying. All it takes is one backhanded compliment, one offhand comment, or one insult or two to get the target to react.  When the bullies get the reaction they want, they get that initial power high. Then, they always come back for more.

Also, drug addicts slowly build a tolerance to the drug, and, as time goes on, they need a bigger dose. First, they need one milligram, then two, then four, then eight, and on it goes. It’s no different with bullies. Just as it is with drug addicts with their drugs, bullies escalate the bullying, then escalate it further to keep getting that rush of power.

Quote, "Be real, be true, be yourself."

Bullying only escalates because, with time, bullies need bigger and bigger doses of power.

First, they start with offhand comments, backhanded compliments, and petty insults. Also, they may smear you to others and give you the silent treatment. When these lose their thrill, they escalate to yelling, cursing, and severe name-calling. Therefore, the verbal assaults become more blatant and hurtful.

Next, when blatant verbal abuse loses its luster, the bullying progresses to borderline physical abuse. Bullies will (accidentally on purpose) trip the target, lightly shove him, or run into him in the hallway.

Later, when bullies can no longer get their power rush from light physical bullying, they take it up, yet, another notch. They’ll progress to more obvious physical beatings- slapping, punching, choking, kicking, etc.

Once they get bored with this, they’ll begin using weapons. Bullies will hit with textbooks, slam heads against lockers or the sides of vehicles. Afterwards, they’ll use sticks, bottles, pipes, baseball bats, and so on.

Quote, "A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect."

boundaries, respect yourself

So, understand that bullying and abuse always- always…escalates! In other words, it always gets worse and more severe. It also becomes more frequent!

The best time to stand up to bullying is during its earliest stages.

I’ve said it before, bullying is best countered and quashed in the earliest stages of it. The best time to stand up for yourself is during the “testing phrase”- when bullies are testing you to see what how you will react and what you’ll allow them to get away with.

You must stand up to bullies and abusers before they’ve had time to grow accustomed to abusing you.

Treat yourself better by not allowing others to abuse you, because how you treat yourself shows in how you allow others to treat you. Remember that you deserve better and you don’t have to put up with abuse from anyone.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Don’t Only Set Boundaries, Enforce Them

Setting boundaries is telling others what you will and will not tolerate and what they can expect from you if they violate one of your boundaries. Enforcing boundaries, on the other hand, is doing what you said you’d do if someone violates one of them.

In other words, you can set boundaries all day long but if you don’t enforce them, people will pick up on it very quickly. And soon, they’ll no longer take you seriously. They’ll only see you as making empty threats. People will then step over your boundaries deliberately, just because they can!

Setting and enforcing boundaries is never easy, especially if you’re dealing with bullies. Bullies, especially narcissistic bullies, despise boundaries and will retaliate and lash out at you for daring to have them. Therefore, when you decide you will no longer be controlled by your bullies, the power dynamic automatically changes.

Don’t Just Mouth It. Mean it!

They hate anyone who is their own person and not the person they want them to be. Bullies want conformers and followers, not original individuals. Again, bullies abhor boundaries because it shows that they can’t control you. Moreover, when a bully cannot control you, that bully goes into panic mode and will do very desperate things.

Why? Because they want things back to the way they used to be. In other words, they attempt to roll back that power dynamic by doing either one or all of the following.

1. They will be super sweet to you.

2. They’ll threaten you.

3. They may verbally or physically attack you.

4. Or they’ll resort to smearing you to others.

Bullies Hate Boundaries.

It’s been said that if bullies can no longer control you, they will control how others view you. Therefore, again, enforcing your boundaries will not be easy, especially once bullies have grown comfortable with controlling you.

And if they’ve grown comfortable with wresting control over you, you will automatically take them out of their comfort zones once you take your power back. Then you will have hell to pay.

Nevertheless, you must, for your own sake and the sake of your mental health, hold firm and stick to your guns. If you refuse to give in to your bullies, there’s always a chance they just might leave you alone. But be prepared just in case they don’t. You might need to remove yourself from the bullying environment and go to a place where you can make a fresh start.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

3 Reasons Targets Fear Setting Boundaries

All too often, targets of bullying have a hard time setting boundaries. Many just keep their mouths shut, grin and bear it while others wipe their feet all over them. They suffer in silence and obscurity, which only further damages their mental health. If being used as a rug hurts so much, why do they allow it to continue?

There are several reasons:

1. They don’t have the confidence.

Many targets of bullying feel helpless and simply think it wouldn’t do them any good. So, they see no point in speaking up because they know that they’ll likely get bullied worse for it. It takes confidence to set boundaries, which, sadly, is something a few bullying targets have.

Also, as we know, bullies don’t respect boundaries because they don’t acknowledge them. In their minds, you’re a target and, to them, a target has no rights and deserves no human dignity. Bullies don’t see targets as human beings deserving of the same human rights as everyone else. That’s a fact.

2. They feel powerless to stop the abuse.

Again, setting boundaries is anything but easy- it’s one of the hardest things to do after people bully you for so long and brainwash you into thinking you’re to blame for their horrid behavior.

Many targets have been abused for so long that they’ve “gotten used to it.” In other words, bullies and their sycophants have conditioned the targets to take the abuse and allow them to ride roughshod over them. Many times, targets have been fooled into believing that setting boundaries is selfish.

This is why many targets cave in to the bullies’ demands. They feel it’s safer just to give them what they want and pacify them.

3. They fear the bullies will retaliate.

If you’re a target of bullying, you may badly want to tell your abusers to knock it off. You may want to tell them to get the hell away from you and stay away. You may even want to fight back, but you don’t know how they may react.

Another thing you don’t know is whether they’ll accept your boundaries, nor if they’ll want to accept them. You know that there’s a chance the bullies may act violently toward you for having the chutzpah to speak against their abuse.

Bullies despise even a hint of opposition because they see it as your challenging their power and perceived authority. And they’ll do whatever they can to tighten their grip if they suspect you’re defying them. And sometimes, things get dangerous, and you must do it scared.

But what they don’t realize is this. When you set boundaries, you enact your autonomy and speak from a place of self-care and self-love. You decide what you will and won’t tolerate. You take your power back.

However!

Before you’re able to do that, you must be clear of what you will not accept.

It takes uber-confidence to stand up to a bully. It would be best if you also gave up your old self-protective behaviors – those you tried in the past that failed, which are ways your bullies and a few other abusers in your life probably conditioned you to respond.

1. You must stop over-apologizing.

2. You must stop trying to explain yourself to anyone.

3. You must stop trying to figure out what made the bullies so hostile.

4. You must stop wondering what you did wrong.

5. You must stop wondering if something’s wrong with you.

6. You must stop asking, “why me.”

Before you can stand up to abuse, you must squash the mentality that compels you to do any of the above mentioned.

You must understand that all the why me, why this, why that, gets you nowhere. And all the wracking your brains wondering and trying to figure out what’s wrong also serves no purpose. It’s a complete waste of time and only makes you feel worse.

Instead, be real with yourself and conclude that your bullies are just a bunch of ignorant, moronic jackasses who lack character and live fake existences. You must also learn to trust yourself, which includes trusting your body and how it feels. Trust everything you see, hear, feel, sense, and the vibes you pick up from the people around you. And finally, trust your decisions.

It also takes dogged determination:

1. Even if your bullies rationalize and justify their behavior, you won’t take their crap.

2. Even if they blame you for their despicable behavior, you won’t take it.

3. Even if they tell you that you’re crazy or mentally imbalanced, you won’t take it.

4. Even if they call you a bitch, an asshole, or any other degrading name, you won’t take it.

5. Even if you made a mistake and your bullies call it out in an abusive manner, you won’t take it.

6. And, for the love of Pete! If the bullies commit physical violence, you definitely won’t take that! Get the police involved, file charges, and sue for any damages! Or, put up those dukes and throw down if you need to!

And it’ll take calling your bullies out every single time they cross the line.

You can say:

“Stop it!”

“Cut it out!”

“Knock it off!”

“Get away from me!”

“Get out!”

positive bullied victim says NO

You get power just by loudly giving either one of these commands. And who knows? I’m not making any guarantees here, but you might shock your bullies back to reality and make them leave you alone. There were times when I was pleasantly surprised, and it worked for me.

You do not have to walk on eggshells around anyone! Know that you do have a choice and a voice. You can choose not to accept the bullies’ behavior. You have more power than you know.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

The Best Alternative to Cancel Culture

Cancel culture is bad not only because it can destroy a person’s life, but it negatively effects everyone else as well- by robbing them of their rights to decide and choose for themselves. Let’s take book burning and banning for example.

When people burn or ban books and their authors, not only are they destroying the lives of the authors, but they’re also robbing others who may want to order them their right to read them and choose for themselves whether they like them.

If I find a book in a bookstore and I like the title, cover, and the synopsis on the back jacket, then I want to read it. You may not like the book, it’s author, title, or cover, but it doesn’t mean that someone else won’t.

Understand that cancel culture only infringes on our rights to choose what we want to read, watch, buy, or consume. Who is anyone else to try and choose for us? Who do they think they are?

If you are a part of the cancel culture crowd, then yes! I’m talking directly to you. I ask again. Who do you think you are? Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot read, watch, consume, or purchase?

Not only am I speaking for myself, but also for every single person that values their right to decide and to choose.

If you don’t like something, fine. You have a right not to like it and you have a right not to have anything to do with it. What you don’t have a right to do is take away others’ choice to see it, judge for themselves, and like it.

Cancel culture violates the personal boundaries of everyone! It seeks to tell you what it thinks you should do. It tells you what to read, watch, eat, use, and who to associate with. In short, cancel culture strips us all of our God-given rights to self-determination.

But isn’t that what all bullies do, strip their targets (and everyone else) of their right to choose? Their right to have an opinion? Their right to speak and to have dignity? Their rights to self-determination?

Of course. With that said, anyone who participates in cancelling a person or entity is a bully! Period. Full stop. And I can’t stomach a bully!

The alternative to cancel culture is using common sense. In other words, if you don’t like someone, don’t associate with the person but don’t take away my right to decide that I want to associate with them. If you see an item for sale in a store and you don’t like it, then don’t buy it but don’t take away my right to choose and buy it.

If you don’t like the brand or, more appropriately, if the brand “offends” you, don’t buy it.

If you don’t like or are offended by the show, don’t watch it.

If you don’t like the person or are offended by them, stay away from them and have nothing more to do with them.

If you don’t like the business or are offended by it, don’t patronize it.

If you don’t like the book, don’t read it.

Do you see how this works? It’s that simple.

It’s high time that more people learn to adopt this way of living. It’s high time that more people rise up and push back against this senseless, moronic scourge called cancel culture. It’s also high time we push back against anyone who participates in it and condones it and the sooner we begin doing these things, the sooner our freedoms of choice and self-determination will be restored.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

It’s Okay To Be Picky

Many times, in my adult life, I’ve been accused of being “picky”- too picky. And my response was always, “Damn right!”

Yes. I’m picky- picky about my food, my pay, my clothes, and, most of all, who I let into my circle of friends. I have my standards, and I don’t apologize for it.

Understand that being picky about certain things is a must. Otherwise, you sell yourself short.

Being picky is just a derogatory term for having standards. It’s setting boundaries. It’s letting others know what you will and will not accept. Most of all, it’s showing that you value yourself and that you know that you’re worthy of better things than the crap life loves to drop into your lap.

Being picky is something to be admired, not scorned.

I want you to know that when people put you down for being picky, it only means they aren’t benefiting from it, and the only way they would is if you were to drop your standards. So, understand that when others accuse you of being picky, they’re only saying it to make you feel guilty.

Allow no one to intimidate or guilt you into dropping your standards. Stay true to yourself!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Space Invaders: 2 Ways Bullies Invade Your Personal Space

Bullies are notorious for violating others’ personal space. They make it a point to get too close. I want you to understand that bullies do this deliberately to intimidate and challenge targets.

If you are a target of bullying, bullies will get in your face or stand too close behind you, sometimes so close their bodies are touching yours. Bullies purposefully crowd you to either intimidate you, challenge you or provoke you into a reaction. These violations are too blatant!

Different zone distances are practiced based on the relationship we have with the people in the room around us. They are as follows:

Intimate Zone – (6-18 inches) This distance between people is reserved for lovers, family, close friends, and pets. However, unwelcome bullies will move into your intimate zone when they’re feeling hostile toward you and are about to attack.

Girl sitting on the ground and drawing personal space. Selective focus

Anytime someone we don’t know, don’t trust or don’t like moves into this area, they are too close, and our minds and bodies automatically go into fight, flight, or freeze mode. Some bullies may also invade the target’s intimate area only to toy with them and get them to react, then step back and laugh at the reaction. Do not ignore it! Call the bully out and let them know that they are in your personal space and that what they’re doing isn’t acceptable.

Personal Zone – (18-48 inches) We stand this far apart at parties and social gatherings. If bullies stand in the personal zone, they are still too close. Don’t be afraid to tell them in no uncertain terms to back the hell up!

Social Zone – (4-12 feet) These distances, we stand from strangers, clerks, and delivery people. Bullies will easily be able to get away with standing at these distances from their victims, so you might not want to react if you don’t want to look paranoid or unstable. But still, keep a close eye on your bully just in case they try to move closer!

Public Zone – (Over 12 feet) We stand at these distances when speaking publicly in front of an audience. Bullies can freely stand at these distances from their victims and not look conspicuous or threatening.

too close personal space bullied victim

(Zone distances- “The Definitive Book of Body Language,” Allan and Barbara Pease – pp. 194-195; 2004)

1.Sitting in your chair, leaning on your car, etc. – Any chair we sit in or any object we lean on or touch, we nonverbally lay claim to. Just as a dog will mark his territory by peeing on the spot he claims as his, people mark theirs by sitting, leaning, or touching the place or object they claim as theirs.

Other ways bullies invade their victim’s territory are leaning in the doorway of their office, dorm room, or house. Bullies may also prop their feet on the target’s desk or table or even walk into the victim’s home without knocking or being invited inside!

bullies dog peeing on tree marking territory

Male poodle dog pee on tree trunk to mark his territory

However, here are some less-obvious ways of space violations:

2. Invasion of your privacy – Bullies will very carefully observe you. They will eavesdrop on your conversations and listen for intimate details so they can take the private info and spread it as juicy gossip and make you look bad. They may also read your diary to find out your deepest, darkest secrets so they can spread it around and damage your reputation. They will even follow you to see where you go and who you associate with.

If you are a victim of bullying, understand that bullies do this on purpose. They invade your territory to intimidate, challenge, or dominate you.

You must protect not only your physical and mental health from bullies but also your personal space and territory. Never be afraid to call the bully out if they violate either one!

The more you know, the better you can protect yourself against these personal space invaders.

Sadly, We Teach People How to Treat Us- It’s a Subconscious Thing.

bullying bullied blame victim

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.

bullied depressed

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.”

narcissist bully confident

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.

Having and Setting Boundaries is a Must!

Girl sitting on the ground and drawing personal space. Selective focus

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.

boundaries no refuse stop

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!

say no saying no boundaries stop

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.

Nope refuse

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

Here’s What Being Bullied Taught Me

positive love yourself self-love

Although being bullied is no fun and can be damaging to the psyche, there are many lessons that can be learned from it. Here’s what it taught me.

1. The evils humans are capable of and their predatory nature. People can be the evilest and the cruelest of all living things. Not everyone is inherently good. Being bullied taught me to be on the lookout for those who would secretly wish to harm my loved ones or me. It taught me to watch for enemies disguised as friends and to pay close attention to body language, expressions, and any micro flashes. And it taught me exactly what signs in other people to watch for.

2. Empathy and Compassion. Being bullied taught me empathy and compassion for others. Because I know first hand what it is and how it feels to be a target of bullies, I make it a point to extend kindness, especially to people whom others have unjustly marginalized and misjudged. I believe in spreading the same goodness and dignity to the janitor as I would the CEO.

positive inspire encourage

3. To never take anyone for granted. Because I know what it is to be rejected by everyone and to be left alone to fend for myself, I have nothing but appreciation for the people in my life and all the good they bring. I make it a point never to take my family and friends for granted, and I will fight to protect them if they’re being mistreated or are in trouble. I value loyalty, and I extend it to the people who matter to me. If you are a person I love and you tell me a secret, you can bet that your secret will be safe with me. And if anyone trash talks you, I’ll defend you even when you aren’t around to see it.

4. To value, love, and take care of myself. Because, let’s face it. No one else will. It’s so important to put yourself first. No matter what anyone thinks or says, be true to yourself. Be yourself. And don’t let bullies distort your self-esteem or tell you “it isn’t cool” if there’s something you really enjoy doing. Take care of yourself. Stand up for yourself. Do what fulfills you and makes you happy. And forget the rest. Confidence and self-love are the most important things you can have.

5. To go after my goals and dreams. If there’s anything I want in life, I go after it. I work hard for what I want because I’ve gotten enough of what I don’t. Being bullied gave me the tenacity to reach my goals and dreams. And I’ve made several accomplishments- accomplishments I probably never would’ve made had I not been a target of bullying. Bullies only fuel my motivation to reach more successes and live a happy life. So, instead of holding grudges against your bullies, use them as your drive to reach heights you never thought possible! Because happiness and success are the best revenge you can ever take.

say no

6. To never be afraid to say “no” or set boundaries. I learned the hard way that if you don’t say no nor set boundaries, people will walk all over you. And sometimes, even if you do, there will be those who will double down and challenge those boundaries. But you must stay firm no matter what. You might be retaliated against for it, but at least you’ll feel better later, in knowing that you stood up for yourself. And as the old saying goes, “I’d rather die on my feet than to live on my knees.”

Finding the lessons in bullying will make you a happier person later on. It did me!

An Alternative to Cancel Culture

Cancel culture is bad not only because it can destroy a person’s life, but it negatively effects everyone else as well- by robbing them of their rights to decide and choose for themselves. Let’s take book burning and banning for example.

When people burn or ban books and their authors, not only are they destroying the lives of the authors, but they’re also robbing others who may want to order them their right to read them and choose for themselves whether they like them.

If I find a book in a bookstore and I like the title, cover, and the synopsis on the back jacket, then I want to read it. You may not like the book, it’s author, title, or cover, but it doesn’t mean that someone else won’t.

Understand that cancel culture only infringes on our rights to choose what we want to read, watch, buy, or consume. Who is anyone else to try and choose for us? Who do they think they are?

If you are a part of the cancel culture crowd, then yes! I’m talking directly to you. I ask again. Who do you think you are? Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot read, watch, consume, or purchase?

Not only am I speaking for myself, but also for every single person that values their right to decide and to choose.

If you don’t like something, fine. You have a right not to like it and you have a right not to have anything to do with it. What you don’t have a right to do is take away others’ choice to see it, judge for themselves, and like it.

Cancel culture violates the personal boundaries of everyone! It seeks to tell you what it thinks you should do. It tells you what to read, watch, eat, use, and who to associate with. In short, cancel culture strips us all of our God-given rights to self-determination.

But isn’t that what all bullies do, strip their targets (and everyone else) of their right to choose? Their right to have an opinion? Their right to speak and to have dignity? Their rights to self-determination?

Of course. With that said, anyone who participates in cancelling a person or entity is a bully! Period. Full stop. And I can’t stomach a bully!

The alternative to cancel culture is using common sense. In other words, if you don’t like someone, don’t associate with the person but don’t take away my right to decide that I want to associate with them. If you see an item for sale in a store and you don’t like it, then don’t buy it but don’t take away my right to choose and buy it.

If you don’t like the brand or, more appropriately, if the brand “offends” you, don’t buy it.

If you don’t like or are offended by the show, don’t watch it.

If you don’t like the person or are offended by them, stay away from them and have nothing more to do with them.

If you don’t like the business or are offended by it, don’t patronize it.

If you don’t like the book, don’t read it.

Do you see how this works? It’s that simple.

It’s high time that more people learn to adopt this way of living. It’s high time that more people rise up and push back against this senseless, moronic scourge called cancel culture. It’s also high time we push back against anyone who participates in it and condones it and the sooner we begin doing these things, the sooner our freedoms of choice and self-determination will be restored.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Alone

I won’t kid you. Being alone can sometimes make a person vulnerable. However, being surrounded by negative people makes you just as vulnerable if not more so. Therefore, being alone can be much better than keeping company with spiteful people who only bring you down.

As difficult as it may be, sometimes you must weed out all these ungrateful souls who don’t see your worth to make room for more positive, caring, and loving people to come in.

Get rid of anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself and only keep company with those who love and respect you. Keep the people in your life who value your opinions, even when those opinions are strong.

If someone is not treating you like you deserve to be treated, never be afraid to let them go, even if it seems that they’re your only options at the moment.

Remember that we must do things that don’t feel comfortable and that are downright scary for any positive change to happen.

Positive change requires that we take risks!