If you’re a survivor of bullying and abuse and you finally begin speaking out about your bullies and their abusive behavior, you instantly put them on high alert. You put them in defense mode, and they will do one, some, or all of four things:
1. Lash out at you. This is, perhaps, the most revealing. Many bullies and abusers will go into a tirade. They’ll scream and yell at you, they’ll curse you out and call you the ugliest names- everything but a child of God. I know it’s difficult to do, but don’t panic and don’t be afraid.
See it for what it is- you just forced them to reveal their true colors because when your bullies (or former bullies) attack you by getting enraged and flying off the handle, that’s when you know you’ve busted them. Or, more appropriately, you’ve forced them to bust themselves! Yay for you!
2. Deny their abuse, and sometimes to your face. Lots of times, bullies and abusers may confront you either calmly or aggressively, claiming they never bullied or mistreated you. They may even through out subtle hints that you must’ve misinterpreted them or that you “have everything misconstrued.” Again, no matter how calmly or subtly they do it, this is gaslighting and it speaks volumes about their character.
3. Defame you. The second you see their bullying and abuse for what it is and call it out, is the second bullies and abusers lose control over you. If these people can no longer control you, they will control your image in the eyes of others. And they will tell everyone who will listen what a lowdown piece of garbage you are.
But, as difficult as it may be, don’t let it phase you. Realize that they’re panicking and in a mad rush to do some damage control because they’re afraid that word about their true nature just might get around and cause them to lose face.
Most of the time, your former bullies and abusers will tell others that you’re “crazy” and that you’re having some sort of mental episode. Again, they’re only revealing their true colors because if you weren’t telling the truth, they wouldn’t care and wouldn’t react so desperately. So, always see this as an admission of guilt.
4. Avoid you. These types won’t bother you. Instead, they’ll avoid you like the plague because they’re scared. Understand that this is the best outcome because if they’re avoiding you, you don’t have to worry about them abusing and bullying you again. Why? Because they know they’ve been found out and that word of their abuse is already very quickly circulating.
So, the last thing they want is to do anything that has even a scant possibility of making them look guilty because they fear their reputations are already on shaky ground. Although these people are cowards, they’re making the smartest move by simply staying away from you and avoiding even mentioning your name.
However, be advised that not all people who avoid you will stay away from you for long, they may avoid you long enough to defame you to others or they just might be secretly plotting revenge against you for daring to open your mouth. Different bullies and abusers react in different ways and may use any or all four of the above defensive measures.
You must realize that bullies and abusers, even those who are formerly so, count on your silence and they detest, or more appropriately, fear being exposed. Exposure is the worst thing that could happen to them because they risk losing respect in the community and other people seeing them for the monsters they are.
Bullies make everything about appearances and when you will back the curtain, you make liars and hypocrites out of them.
So, naturally, they’re going to either attack you, avoid you, or both. They may make statements such as:
“Well, we were just kids then.”
“But that’s all water under the bridge.”
“Just let bygones be bygones.”
”Just let sleeping dogs lie.”
They may tell you to “get over it” or accuse you of bringing up old stuff. Understand that any time people make these statements, their main goal is to shut you up.
But they have other objectives as well:
1. To minimize their past brutality and the impact it all had on you
2. To make you look like a whiner who just can’t “let the past go.”
3. To cover their backsides and minimize any dents to their reputations or any backlash they might receive.
Again, don’t be afraid. Instead, see it as they’re unwittingly revealing themselves and let them go at it. Let them launch their personal attacks.
Before I close, I’d like to make another huge point: When you speak out about your bullies and their abuse, you force them to explain themselves. Anyone who must explain and justify themselves or their behavior is never in a powerful position.
So, in forcing your bullies to explain themselves you instantly snatch them out of their position of power and move them into a vulnerable position. In other words, you automatically turn the tables and leave the bullies in a very helpless and subordinate place. In short, you strip them of power. Ouch!
In forcing the bully to explain their past or present behavior, you instantly remove their “authority”- their power because neither power nor authority ever explains itself. It doesn’t have to.
Hence the reason bullies despise even the thought of having to give explanations because it puts them in a weak and subordinate position.
No wonder bullies get crazy when you out them.
With knowledge comes empowerment!