Self-Love Doesn’t Mean Self-Centered

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Some people get the two confused. Loving yourself doesn’t mean you’re self-centered. But you can bet that bullies will accuse their target of it when they realize she’s growing a backbone.

Understand that when you start loving yourself enough not to take your bullies’ opinions of you seriously, the bullies will take notice of it right away. They’ll realize that they no longer have power over you. To get that power back, they will try like the devil to guilt you by accusing you of either selfishness or self-centeredness.

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Don’t fall for that con game! When bullies lose the benefits they’ve grown accustomed to getting at your expense, they always get irate. Right or wrong, whenever someone has had power over another person for a long time and has gotten used to having that power, then suddenly loses it, of course, they’re going to be upset- and intensely so.

But don’t concern yourself with how your bullies feel. After all, they never gave a thought to your feelings the entire time they jerked you around.

Ditch these people! The sooner, the better! You’re not being selfish by choosing to put yourself first. What you’re doing is having the courage to love yourself and treat yourself better.

Hit the road concept, road - 3D rendering

Hit the road concept, road – 3D rendering

Realize that the bullies are the self-centered ones, in expecting you to go on being their doormat. No one has the right to expect you to put up with something they wouldn’t tolerate if it were happening to them.

To expect any differently from another person than what they’d do shows a complete lack of respect for people other than themselves and is sheer arrogance, self-entitlement, and stupidity.

There’s a name for this- double-standard!

Remember that we teach others how to treat us. And how we teach them to treat us is by how well we treat ourselves- by the boundaries we set, our ability to say “no,” and whether we continue to allow them to be in our lives.

So, treat yourself well! You’re worth it!

Being Bullied in School Prompted Me to Learn More about Bullying and the Power Dynamic

Antique books with magnifying glass.

I began researching bullying in the early to mid-nineties. I wanted to know everything there was to know about it- why people bully, what drove bullies to single out only certain people, what bullies look for in victims, how bullying affected different people, and what characteristics determined victimhood.

Instead of being traumatized from it, I wanted to learn from it. During the nineties, I poured through countless library books, magazine articles, news columns, anything relating to the subject of bullying. I read about the different personalities of bullies, bystanders, and victims. I also poured through books and articles about politics, social infrastructures, and the power dynamic.

During the late 90’s and 2000s, I took to my PC and poured through countless online articles and essays on the subject, beginning with Tim Field and bullyonline.org based in the UK. I remember emailing Tim Field with many questions on bullying and he always replied curiously and promptly. I learned so much from Tim Field.

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I was surprised to find that so many others had suffered bullying as well- celebrities, musicians, writers, doctors, attorneys, teachers, homemakers, people from all walks of life. I am saddened that Mr. Field is no longer with us. I will be forever grateful to him for sharing his expertise and being the encouragement I needed to learn more on the subject.

In my years of research, I’ve attained a vast wealth of knowledge on bullying- knowledge which has served me well both professionally and socially. In my in-depth study of bullies, I have gained so much insight into the minds and personalities of my former classmates and all bullies.

In reading countless testimonies of victims and survivors, I realize that none of it was all in my head and that I wasn’t overreacting or bringing it all on myself as my classmates and a few of my teachers had cruelly forced me to believe.

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Bullying and the tactics used, from whisper campaigns to witch hunts to threats to bodily harm, have gone on since the beginning of time. It’s nothing new. During the years I was bullied in school, I had tried reporting it, tried speaking out only to be ignored, shamed, retaliated against and blamed for it. That is also nothing new.

Because no one would listen, I grabbed a pen and began writing in a daily journal about the daily bullying I suffered at school to keep as a record in case the bullies at school hurt me so bad I’d need hospitalization or worse, murdered me.

I even had one of my journals taken from me by a teacher in the eighth grade and never saw it again. Luckily, I kept a backup hidden at home, and I never lost anything.

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

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

By the time I switched schools during my senior year, I had filled several journals with countless horror stories of social aggression, psycho/emotional torment, and brutal beatings dished out by my classmates.

I kept those journals put away in a storage bin for decades because I knew that one day, I would write a book about my experiences. That book, “From Victim to Victor: A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying.” is now published and available.

With knowledge comes power. If you’ve had something terrible happen in your life- something so awful that it deeply affected your life, learn about it instead of agonizing over it. Instead of being angry over something that happened in the past that you can’t do absolutely anything about, learn as much as you can about it and from every angle possible.

Then use it to protect yourself from any future bullying and to help others who are going through the same. I guarantee that doing this will bring healing, unlike anything you can imagine!

Nothing heals you like taking any adversity, learning from it, and using it as a weapon against potential bullies and to help other victims! Try it! You’ll be glad you did!

Never Compare Yourself to Someone Else

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Many targets of bullying get into the habit of comparing themselves to others. For example, a bullied kid sitting in the lunchroom at school may look a few tables over and see the very kids who bully him surrounded by friends, yucking it up and having a good time. They seem to be enjoying friendships while the bullied kid is left in the cold. And watching causes an ache in the poor kid’s chest. He thinks to himself:

“I wish I were like him, because if I were, I’d have friends too. I hate him because he’s a creep and doesn’t deserve to be so lucky! Why him? I deserve it more than he does? It’s not fair!

But when is life ever fair?

Here’s another example:

A coworker at a company sees another coworker who hasn’t put in as much time getting a promotion. He immediately gets angry and thinks that the only way the other guy must’ve gotten that promotion is by sucking up to the boss. He then begins to wish the other coworker all kinds of bad luck.

Comparing yourself to others is a real self-esteem killer. But sadly, people do it all the time. When you compare your life to someone else’s, it only breeds all kinds of toxic emotions, two of which are anger and jealousy.

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Understand that you cannot judge a person’s outward appearance or the appearances they keep up and accurately judge what their life is like. Because people are notorious for showing only the best parts of their lives and keeping the less-than-desirable parts hidden.

Also realize that some people, bullies especially, making it a point to flash the positive aspects of their lives to those around them for the sole purpose of provoking envy. Because knowing that others are jealous of them is a huge boost to their egos, giving them a sense of power and that they’re better. Realize that the appearances these people keep up are only a show.

An example of this would be:

You see someone decked out in fancy clothes and drives a hot sports car. They have a six-bedroom house in the ritzy part of town. But! Although they look like they’re rolling in money, they’re more than likely only living beyond their means. Chances are that they’re in debt up to their eyeballs and feeling terrified inside because they know that if the slightest setback happens, they’ll lose it all!

Here are more examples:

You see a seemingly happy couple in a shopping mall and you’re still single. They look so happy and so in love, and they have friends around them. But you don’t know what goes on in their house. The husband might be abusing his wife behind closed doors (or vise versa) and they’re only putting on airs. They might be on the brink of divorce.

Guy and girls

Portrait of happy teenage guy surrounded by pretty girls

You may look on social media and see pictures of one of your someone you know lying on the beach in the tropics. But what you don’t know is that they had to clean out their savings just to take that trip.

Here’s my point. Never judge anyone who seems a little luckier than you, because, in private, they could be fighting battles you know nothing about.

They may have a mother at home dying of cancer, a father who went off to war and never came back, or be buried in legal issues.

And many times, you feel so content with your life until you spot these people. All of a sudden, you’re feeling less than. This should be a good indicator as to how useless envy and self-comparison really is.

How you fight this is to take your attention off these people and count your blessings. Because although they may be luckier than you in one aspect, you are most likely better off than them in other ways. Think about it.

Understand that anytime you feel jealous of another person, it only means that deep inside, you have a deep-seated spirit of lack and failure and you want to take the other person’s good fortune away from them and keep it for yourself.

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It’s a sign that you don’t feel that you can ever reach those goals yourself. Stop it! Because if they can, you can too.

Stop comparing yourself to others because it’s a waste of time and energy. It also drains you of confidence.

Know that you are enough and your life is enough. And you never know what the future holds. You too may someday buy your dream home, find a loving partner, or get the opportunity to go on a tropical getaway.

For now, be happy for those who are presently getting those opportunities. Instead of provoking jealousy in you, these people should inspire you and give you hope for the future.

When A Bully Get’s Physical, Should You Hit Back?

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It seems to be the question on everyone’s mind these days, especially in the notoriously politically correct climate in which we live. The media and politicians vehemently discourage fighting violence with violence. You’ll hear statements from others, such as:

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

I’ve heard them all.

Yes, you should try more peaceful ways first, like walking away from the bully or reporting it to someone in power. However, what if the more peaceful solutions don’t work?

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If you don’t stand up for yourself, the bully will only continue to come after you and hurt you. You’ll be a punching bag for everyone who knows you at school or elsewhere. Because when word gets around that one person can hit you and get away with it, everyone else will think they can too and you’ll be the school or the community whipping boy. That’s no way to live.

In the middle of a physical attack, the last resort is the only option you have.

So, here it is:

When a bully physically attacks you, you have a God-given, primal, animal right to defend yourself from being harmed. I state this with full conviction!

If a bully hits you first, haul off and knock his block off! And when you do, don’t just give him a love pat. Deck the creep with the strength of your entire body- hit so hard that the bully has difficulty getting back up. Then unleash a hail of hard licks so that he doesn’t get up. Because once the bully gets up, he will charge you!

Stop bullying

Yeah. I know it isn’t the “politically correct” thing to do. But when someone is harming you, all that jazz about political correctness and being the bigger person goes out the window, and the gloves are off.

The only thing you should think of at this point is how to disable the bully so or give him such a bad memory that he’ll never even think about coming for you again. You aren’t a troublemaker or a brute for this, folks! It’s called self-defense!

This doesn’t mean bringing a gun or other deadly weapon. Lethal weapons will only get someone killed, and you put behind bars for the rest of your life. Never EVER carry a gun to school! It’s much better to put up your dukes and throw down when you must.

I’ll say again, punch the bully’s lights out! You may get suspended from school, fired from work, or even go to jail for a night or two. However, physical attacks are much more vicious nowadays and if you just let someone smack you around, they’ll only intensify the beatings until they hurt you bad enough to send you to the hospital or worse! And I’d much rather be suspended, lose a job, or spend a night in jail than to spend a month in the hospital or end up six feet under.

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I don’t condone fighting. Although I fought many times in school, I hated it each time I had to. I was a 5’4″, 120 pound girl being jumped and most of the time by multiple assailants, a male attacker, or a female much bigger than me. There were times when I was also boxed in where I couldn’t go anywhere.

There was no other choice. It was either fight, or risk my bullies possibly maiming or killing me. Sometimes the last resort is the only way to protect yourself and let a bully know that you’re not the one to mess with and that you aren’t afraid to fight back if necessary.

There will be others who may disagree with this post, and that’s okay. I am very thick-skinned now and rarely do I get offended. I can agree to disagree. But I will do what I have to do to protect my well-being and my life if ever I’m in physical danger.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject!

Why It’s Never Good to Over Apologize

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From the time we’re toddlers, we’re taught to apologize when we do something wrong. Although this is a good thing, if it’s overdone, it can backfire.

After having been bullied and abused for so long, targets of bullying tend to apologize way too much. Sadly, what often goes with being targeted for bullying is constantly getting blamed for virtually everything that goes wrong, which is why targets are often programmed to apologize for things that don’t need an apology.

With targets of bullying, the apologies are often a knee-jerk reaction that comes from extreme fear. The incessant apologies are ways to appease the bullies and make them go away and leave him alone. And bullies know this.

They know that the apology isn’t heartfelt and that the target is only trying to keep them from harming him again, which either gives the bullies a rush of power or makes them angrier and more determined to hurt the target.

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When you’re a target of bullying, you’re often forced to take accountability for things you had nothing to do with or that were beyond your control. So, you get into the self-defeating habit of apologizing, thinking that it will protect you from further abuse. But even if it does save you from being brutalized, it will eat away at your self-esteem.

If you’re a target of bullying, I want you to understand that not everything that happens is your burden to carry.

Anytime you make unnecessary apologies, you’re taking responsibility for things that aren’t your fault. And when you give bullies apologies that are undeserved, you take accountability for their deplorable behavior.

Also, you only make others around you believe that you really are in the wrong when, in fact, the bullies are the guilty ones. You only make it so much easier for your bullies to shirk responsibility for their evil deeds. It gives the bullies the impression that they have power and control over you and that you will always surrender to them.

Even worse, people lose respect for you because it conveys a lack of confidence and gives these bullies the okay to continue bullying you. You unknowingly decrease your value and look pathetic. You send the unspoken message that you’d rather be agreeable than honest.

And whenever a situation arises that warrants a sincere apology, others will only take your apology with a grain of salt.

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But when you refuse to apologize where an apology isn’t needed, it’s a sign of greater self-esteem and increased feelings of power. It also shows that you have more dignity and integrity.

It pays to know when you should and shouldn’t apologize.

And for Pete’s sake! Never apologize for feeling hurt or angry at someone else’s abuse! Never! In these situations, you have a right to feel the way you do! Let no one tell you how you should feel when you’re being treated unfairly!

Exposing Bullies And Protecting Yourself From Future Attacks

Devil hiding in the businessman - alter ego concept

Here’s a list of several things you can do to rip the mask off and keep yourself safe.

1. Know your enemy. How you do this is to stand back and always OBSERVE the people around you, but without looking like you are watching them. Pay close attention to body language, facial expressions and tone of voice. I can’t stress enough the importance of this. This is how you find out who the trouble makers are.

If you see another student gossip and make trouble for others, you can be sure that in time, they will do the same to you. This is how I now know who to avoid at all costs. However, be advised that avoidance will not work if you have a determined bully after you. If a person wants to get to you badly enough, they will seek you out until they find you.

2. Document everything! As it has been said, “if it isn’t documented, it never happened”. Keep a journal and write down everything. I did this in junior high and high school just in case one of my bullies either hurt me bad enough to hospitalize me, or worse…killed me.

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You must write down the names of your bullies, the names of any bystanders or authority (teachers, principal, or any member of authority) present at the time the altercation took place, the date, time, place it happened, what happened and if possible, why it happened. Also, record what is said and by whom. Document every… single… detail!!

3. Do not reveal any information about yourself that you would not want to be told to anyone. Including your friends! If you do, you’re asking for trouble because if you are the target of a bully, you can be sure that your bullies will, at some point, either try to pry information about you out of your friends or they will turn your friends against you altogether.

4. Keep a low profile. Don’t do anything that may draw attention to yourself. And stay away from places the bullies may gather. Think, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Just don’t make it obvious to your bullies that you are ducking and dodging them. I avoided several confrontations by simply laying low.

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5. Save any threatening texts, emails, and/or voice mails for evidence. And if possible, set your cellphone to record during any altercation brought on by a bully, provided it is hidden in your pocket. You certainly do not want the bully to know what you are doing. keep your composure and be sure not to tarnish the recording by yelling or using foul language.

Schools are now becoming more aware of the issue of bullying. If you happen not to have a cellphone, keep a digital recorder handy (if possible) and be ready to record as soon as the torment starts.

6. NEVER brag about any evidence you have against a bully. Not even to your best friend…PERIOD! Again, bullies have a knack for prying information out of people, even your friends. They can also turn your friends against you, making them more than happy to volunteer the information. Don’t do it! Anytime you are a target of bullies, you are in no position to trust anyone!

Displeased woman looking at her growing nose

7. Call the bully out in front of an audience. This is risky and could bring retaliation. However, the bully will also know that you are on to him/her and you just might intimidate them enough that they will leave you alone. It happened for me on a few occasions.

But keep in mind that this doesn’t happen for everyone. Calling the bully out in front of people can also humiliate the bully and make that person more determined to get you. So access the bully’s personality and the situation carefully before you decide to do this.

Ripping the mask off the bully…layer by layer.

Common Responses Targets Get When They Speak Out

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If you’re a target of bullying, people will naturally expect you not to open your mouth about the harassment. Not only your bullies themselves but often bystanders and authority will automatically side with the bullies.

But, it still doesn’t mean that you stay silent because standing up for yourself shows bravery and strength and you’re well within your rights to do so.

However, I want you to be prepared for the following hurtful responses you’re likely to get when you finally do begin speaking against the mistreatment.

Here they are:

1. “You’re being too sensitive.” Understand that when people respond this way, they’re only shifting the blame to you and trying to shame you into keeping quiet about it. People who tell you this might be friends or followers of the bullies or have a personal interest in keeping you quiet, such as the reputation of the school or company, the bullies may be kin to them somehow, or the bullies may be perceived as “good for the school’s or company’s reputation.” But don’t be ashamed to speak out. You must keep the pressure on even if the bullying gets worse. Understand that things usually get worse before they get better. But they will get better.

2. “Just Ignore Them.” This never works, as bullies only become angry at being ignored and escalate the bullying. Or, they may mistake ignoring for fear. And if a bully gets in your face, how do you ignore that? It’s impossible. The best way to handle it is to put your hand up and walk around the bully. But how do you know the bully won’t come after you and attack you from behind once you’ve walked past them?

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Understand that when people tell you to ignore the bully, what this means is that they either don’t want to hear about it, don’t want to have to deal with it, or don’t have any answers themselves.

3. “Toughen up.” Again. The people who could help you don’t want to get involved. So they put it all on you. By telling you to toughen up, they’re shifting the blame onto you and trying to shame you into staying silent. Also, when you tell a target to toughen up, you’re only asking for things between the target and bully to escalate because the target will take it as a green light to tell the bully to shove it up his you-know-where or haul off and knock the idiot’s block off. Not that it’s a bad thing because, in my opinion, bullies deserve a good whack in the nose.

But those in authority have no right to tell the target to toughen up, then turn around and punish him when he finally does.

Respond to this by saying, “No. It’s not about toughing up. It’s about asserting my right to be treated with decency and I don’t have to take that mess.” And when you say it, say it with conviction.

4. “Get over it.”

5. “Don’t be a crybaby.”

6. “Stop whining.”

7. “Don’t be a tattletale.”

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All of the above nuggets of advice are only meant to shame and silence you. Bullying is no different from any other form of abuse. It thrives on secrecy. If you don’t speak out about it, the bullying and abuse will only continue, even escalate.

I realize that getting these kinds of responses makes you feel even worse and there’s a temptation to clam up and burrow back into your hole. But don’t! You must refuse to keep quiet about it!

Keep speaking out about it. When people give you any of the above responses, that’s when you should only double down, dig your heels in and speak louder! Because only when a problem is addressed does it have the potential to be solved.

It may get worse before it gets better, but there’s always a chance that it will get better when you verbally protest the bullying. And no matter the outcome, you’ll feel so much better about yourself knowing you took a stand.

The man in the mirror — Superman can’t find a phone booth

I loved this post by Billy Mac. And I think you’ll find it very insightful and uplifting!

We live in a vain, narcissistic and selfie-obsessed world. We have all had to step around people blocking sidewalks and paths taking pictures of themselves. We all have that FB friend who posts pictures of every meal and of every stop they make. I know a woman who has no less than thousands of selfies […]

via The man in the mirror — Superman can’t find a phone booth

What Truly Shapes Us — 🐠Lighthouse Survivors 🐠

A beautiful and true post from “Lighthouse Survivors”!

We have to stop running from our mistakes, from our decisions that didn’t pan out, running from our pasts, and running from our failures in life. In order for someone to truly love us we have to show the true us, the part’s we hide from others. The pureness of it all is that despite […]

via What Truly Shapes Us — 🐠Lighthouse Survivors 🐠