My Classmates’ Reactions to FVTV

From Victim to Victor By Cherie White

When I wrote and published “From Victim to Victor: A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying”, I received mixed reactions from my old classmates. Several were happy for me and are proud to see a fellow classmate reach success. For this, I am very grateful.

The majority of them (those who bullied, participated, or turned a blind eye), however, were and still are very angry and upset over the book. And the funny thing is, I can understand why they would be.

Think about this, if I had abused and mistreated someone on a daily basis, in my past and then years later, that person turned around and put me on blast by publishing a book about it, even with name changes, I guess I’d be a little steamed too (If I was an abuser)! And what abuser wouldn’t be?

Why are most of my old classmates outraged? Why? It’s because they feel a mountain of guilt and shame, and they’re afraid of somehow being exposed.

Naturally, I changed the names to preserve their privacy. Still, they’re very much afraid. Afraid of being identified, afraid of feeling any guilt or shame and afraid that people just might come around asking uncomfortable questions. I truly pity them because they must constantly maintain any lies that they told by telling new lies and they must now do it indefinitely! Can you imagine how exhausting that would be? It takes a lot of work to maintain a fake façade and rewrite the past.

And the only way it will stop is if they do some deep soul-searching and realize their guilt. I can tell you, they won’t! No way, Never! Not in this lifetime!

Because to admit what they did would mean admitting they were wrong, that they were the inferior ones, that they had the psychological issues. Understand that bullies and abusers will never admit they were ever wrong.

My old bullies from school will likely spend the rest of their natural lives covering up and being afraid, which means they will never truly be free.

Do I hate them. No.

Am I angry with them? Of course not.

The only thing I can feel for them is pity. That’s right! I can only feel sorry for them.

As John Bradshaw quoted,
“Guilt says I’ve done something wrong; Shame says there is something wrong with me. Guilt says I’ve made a mistake; Shame says, I am a mistake. Guilt says, what I did was not good; Shame says, I am no good.”

Is it any wonder my old classmates are so angry, bitter and defensive? Guilt, shame, and fear of exposure are major anger/temper triggers. When a person carries guilt and shame and constantly fears being found out, they tend to react with anger when criticized even mildly or called to account, even under a fictional name. The rest of the world may have no clue who they are, but they themselves know and that’s enough.

Peeling the masks off the bullies one layer at a time!

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Can Bullies Get Intel from the Very Information which is Supposed to Help Victims?

Spy Snooping Spiders Spies Covert Intelligence 3d Illustration

There are many positives to bullying and suicide awareness, one of which is the ever so slow change in attitudes en masse about bullying, bullies and victims over the last twenty years. More and more people are coming to the realization that bullying is not “just a normal rite of passage” or “just a normal part of growing up” like previously thought a few decades ago. People are finally seeing it for the huge health hazard and the threat to human life that it truly is and perhaps, always has been.

Unlike thirty years ago, when I was in school, there is a vast wealth of knowledge, resources, and programs readily available to anyone who finds themselves on the receiving end of such harassment and a treasure trove of articles, books, and videos on what victims can do to bully-proof themselves. Also, today, we know that victims of bullying are not weak, too sensitive or to blame for the treatment they receive like previously thought decades ago. We have made great progress for victims of bullying and I cannot thank enough all those who contributed to this progress.
However, I want to stress something that I’m positive very few have considered:
Bullies also have access to this widely available information!

Although the data available is meant to help and empower victims, bullies can use this same data as counterintelligence and turn it against their targets. And they can do it by using the information to tailor any future attacks.
For instance, since bullying has been shown to cause suicide, there has been a drastic uptick in cases where bullies have told their victims to “kill themselves”. A few have even talked them into it.

Remember that the most talented and seasoned bullies are cowards at heart and always commit their evil undercover and with subtlety. Bullies are smart, stealth, meticulous, and worst of all- patient! They will not risk being caught. Also, anytime a victim attempts to assert their right not to be mistreated and to better their lives, bullies only escalate the harassment to punish the target and keep him/her silent and, in essence, enslaved.

I want you to understand that any power the victim regains for him/herself is power the bullies must lose! And when bullies see a threat to the power they have over a target, they will only tighten their grip and escalate the torment to keep the victim under their thumb.

Bullying is a slow death by psychological, emotional, and physical torture. It is systematic, subtle and sadly, escalation of it is sometimes so gradual that it often goes unnoticed by bystanders and authority until the victim dies by their own hand.
When a target of bullying commits suicide, the bullies have committed murder without laying a finger on the target. And because there’s no physical contact or weapon discharged by the bully or bullies at the time of the target’s death, the bully gets away with this murder.

Bullies murder their victims by gently and over time, persuading and influencing them to do it for them. Now, this is how they get away with murder! What better way is there to kill someone without ever touching them, without firing a single shot, and without ever seeing the inside of a prison?

Bullies know this instinctively! I say this with full conviction and being fully aware that I might be giving a few evil and unsavory souls a few ideas! Of this, I am truly afraid! The best I can do is to hope and pray to the goodness that no one with evil intentions comes across this blog post!

In closing, if you are a target of chronic and relentless bullying, I urge you to never give up on yourself. Never let a bully convince you that the world would be better off without you! It wouldn’t! Never let a bully convince you that you would be better off dead because chances are that you’re only being targeted because you are doing something right! You’re being bullying because you stand out from all the rest! You somehow outshine the bullies and they only mistreat you out of jealousy!

Know that you’re worth fighting for and you’re worth living for!

Believe it!

When I Look Back, I Don’t Wish I’d Been More Popular, I Wish I’d Been More Secure and Loved Myself More.

I love being me - napkin

I wish I had put myself first, I wish I’d said “NO” a lot more, I wish I had been true to my own heart and I wish I had known my worth and realized my potential. In a nutshell, I wish I had been better at being me. We all wish these things when we get older, don’t we? That we’d done things a little different- a little better?
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown a very thick skin and learned to handle any confrontation with composure and aplomb. As we get older, we shed that shell we curled up and hid in when we were younger. We grow to love and accept ourselves as we are and grow comfortable in our own skins and let me tell you! It’s immense freedom that can’t be described!

I’ve learned that the reason people bully is not because of something the victim has said or done and that it is not the fault of the victim. The reason bullies bully is because they themselves have issues, whether it be a bad case of narcissism, low self-esteem, jealousy of something the victims have that the bullies don’t or they’re trying to prove something to anyone who’ll watch or listen. I’ve learned that bullies, at their very core, are great big cowards and attention-seekers. That knowledge alone is freeing!

Just knowing why unsavory people do the harm that they do to others serves as a huge buffer to any self-esteem blows. Today, I no longer get bullied by anyone, but if anyone tries, I am easily able to laugh and blow the idiot off. Instead of getting hurt or angry, I get amused by them and am usually able to have fun with it. Unfortunately, that takes time, learning and most of all experience. I feel a sense of regret when I think of all the years I spent feeling insecure and sorry for myself. What a total waste of my time and energy!

It’s important that you don’t take anything your bullies say as the truth. It is imperative that you know that their actions or words have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them! Hey! I know it’s hard not to and I know it hurts. I know it’s hard not to blame yourself when it seems that you’re being bombarded with negativity from everyone and from every direction.

However, I want you to love yourself and see the bullies for who they truly are- pathetic souls who are desperately trying to look tough, smart or cool. I want you to see that bullies are trying their hardest to get attention. You must know your value. You also need to know that some people are just wrong for you and were never meant to be in your life!

Most of all, I want you to be assured that you will eventually find people who are right for you. And when you do, they will love you simply be being loveable, beautiful, intelligent and awesome you! There will come a day when you will be loved, appreciated and celebrated for all that you are!

It happened to me and if you don’t give up, it will happen for you too! You are worth fighting for! You are worth living for!

Why People Bully Others

Someone came to me with a burning question that I used to ask all the time. I am certain that millions of people around the world have asked the same question, “Why do People Bully?”.
There are many answers and they all depend on the individual bully.

1. Spoiled, Coddled, Narcissistic bullies.

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These kinds of bullies bully because they are arrogant and overconfident. They truly believe that they are superior to and better than anyone else and will stop at nothing to let you know who’s boss. They are self-entitled, self-serving and have no empathy. With people such as these, the ends always justify the means. They do everything possible to keep the spotlight on themselves and hog all the glory. They consider themselves highly privileged. These kids are also jealous of anyone who outshines or outdoes them in any way because they believe that any happiness, successes, accolades, and victories should be reserved for only them. If you have a talent which brings you recognition, look out! Because these bullies will punish you for it and they will pull out all stops to crush your self-esteem and kill your confidence.

You will often find these kids in the popular and preppy crowd. These kids will often be jocks, cheerleaders and sorority/fraternity nuts.

2. Hurting and Victimized Bullies (Bully-Victims)

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These types of bullies bully because they are being bullied themselves either in the home, at school or both. These kids feel powerless. So, in order to reclaim some of the power which has been stripped away from them, they search for someone they perceive to be even weaker than they are and bully them. These kids have a strong need to feel like they have control over something in their lives.
Here’s an example:
A child is yelled at by his parents, then he gets mad and kicks the dog. This is why I call this “Kicking the Dog”.

Also, no one wants to be on the bottom of the pecking order. As the age-old saying goes, “Sh** rolls downhill and lands at the bottom”. So, in order to stay off the bottom, these kids will often find someone else to bully so they don’t feel like they’re the ones stuck in the basement.

3. Bullies who Are Followers, Drones and Wannabes

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These bullies are to be pitied because they are quite pathetic when you really think of it. These kids will suck up to the in-crowd (the narcissistic bullies) and all too often, they do this by either bullying those lower on the social totem pole, or participating in the bullying somehow. Many of these young people will say, ‘How High?’ when a person from the in-crowd tells them to jump. They often do the dirty work of the narcissistic bullies, join in with them in bullying others, or agree with them. But understand that these kids are only kiss-butts and brown-noses and are only bullying you or your child for a ticket into the popular crowd or because they’re afraid of becoming their next target.

How Bullying Affects a Target’s Performance in School

Wooden Doll in Action

Wooden Dolls in Concept of Domination and Humiliation.

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.

F Failing Grade Score Report Card Poor Performance Failure

Letter F grade on a report card rating a terrible, bad, poor preformance in school, a class, job or other scored activity

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 glucocordicoids 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.

The more you know, the better you will be able to protect yourself.

(*Not the real name of the town.)

Ways Bullies Bait Their Victims Into Altercations or Embarrassing Situations

concept of a mob attacking a person that they think is different

1.Twisting and distorting the victim’s words

First example:

A victim is accosted by two bullies. The first bully wittily insults the victim. The second bully laughs at and jeers her.

Sencond bully: “Haha! She really told you a thing or two!
Victim: “Really? Ah! It’s no big deal!”
Second bully: “No big deal, huh?”
(Calls out to first bully)
Second bully: “Hey, (first bully’s name)! (Victim’s name) just said that you were no big deal!”
First bully: “So, I’m no big deal, huh? Really? I’m no big deal? How’s this for ‘no big deal'”?

And the first bully physically attacks the victim while the second bully watches with satisfaction.

Second example:

The bully shoves the victim into a locker and the victim mumbles under his breath without thinking about it.

Victim: “(Under his breath) God! This is so stupid!”
The bully hears the statement and twists it to suit his agenda.
Bully: “Did you just call me stupid?”
Victim: “No.”
Bully: “Yes, you did because I heard you!”
Victim: “No, I didn’t!”
Bully: “Are you calling me a liar?”
Victim: “No!”
Bully: “Yes you are because I heard you call me stupid under your breath and you’re denying it! So, you’re calling me a liar!”

In both scenarios, the bullies twisted and distorted the victim’s words to suit their agenda’s. In the first example, the bullies distorted what the victim was saying by replacing one pronoun with another. In the second, bullies not only replaced one pronoun with another but also deliberately distorted what was implied. As we know, one spoken sentence can have several possible implications. The bully picked out the possible implication which would best suit his objective, which was to bait the victim into an altercation and provide himself justification for it.

Remember that one statement can have several possible implications. However, a possible implication does not make it the correct one.

You must understand that bullies are not the dumb clods they are often portrayed as. Most bullies are slick and silver-tongued. They are experts at finding ways to covertly misconstrue and mislead. Bullies also have high social intelligence and superior theory of mind and have a flair for sussing out low self-esteem in others.

Always find ways of communicating which convey confidence, self-assuredness, and lack of fear. Anytime a bully attempts to twist your word, you can do something as simple as telling the bully to shut up and dismiss him/her as a cowardly and petty drama-baiter. When you tell the bully to shut up, then walk away, you automatically reclaim your power and chances are that they’ll leave you alone.

Deliberately running into the victim in a crowded hallway

Example: (This is a classic)

The bully is walking through the crowded school hall between classes and sees the oncoming victim. He covertly but deliberately runs into the victim.

Bully: “Watch where the #&*% you’re going, jackass!”

If you are a target, know that bullies are looking for an excuse to confront you…any excuse! And they will find one even if they have to create one. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to protect yourself.

Peeling the mask off the bully, one layer at a time!

“You ‘Made’ or ‘Make’ Me…”, Statements Bullies Use to Intimidate Victims and Justify Themselves.

Businessman blamed unfairly

When you are or were bullied, did your bully ever justify their horrific treatment by making statements such as, “You ‘made me’ do it!”? I’ll bet that you have. Bullies often make the following statements to their targets to justify their behavior and intimidate the poor targets into keeping silent.

“You ‘made me‘ or ‘make me’ hit you!”
“You ‘make‘ people want to hurt you!”
“Don’t ‘make me‘ hurt you!”
“Don’t ‘make me‘ mad!”

These are all statements bullies use to gaslight targets and to brainwash them into believing that they did cause them (the bullies) to lash out.

I can’t count the times I heard these from my classmates and I must admit, it was very hurtful and intimidating. However, I look back now and realize that this was only my bullies’ ways of shifting the blame my way because they were so afraid that I would call them out on their terrible behavior and expose them for the trash they truly were. They also wanted to maintain the upper hand.

The key words in these sentences are either “made” or “make” and they are very telling if you really stop and think about it.

If you are a victim of bullying, expect those kinds of remarks. But understand that these are classic statements bullies make to shift the blame your way and to avoid losing their power over you, being caught and the possibility of facing consequences. Please keep this in mind the next time this happens.

Peeling the mask off the bully one layer at a time.

Bullying and Social Contagion

Bully Grabbing Angry Nerd

First, let’s define the term, “Social Contagion”. It is the spread of thoughts, ideas, emotions and behaviors from person to person and among larger groups as affected by shared information, mimicry and conformity.

A certain emotion or mood can spread quickly through a large crowd, leading them to extreme mindsets. This explains “pack mentality” where people in large groups act in ways they may later regret.

It is the same with bullying. A target is selected by a few bullies out of the whole class, workplace or community and before you know it, the entire student body, workplace or neighborhood is acting in evil and brutal ways toward the selected target- doing sadistic things that, under normal circumstances, they would never do. Intense hate spreads throughout the group like a cancer. Bystanders, witnesses, even teachers, school officials, supervisors, and managers will partake in the abuse of the singled-out and defenseless target.

They do this for several reasons:

1. To keep from being the next target
2. To fit into the group
3. To feel better about themselves and superior to someone (anyone).
4. They believe any lies/rumors about the target
5. To tighten bonds among themselves- using the target as the common enemy to unite against

In order to beat bullies at their own game, we must first know what makes them tick and why they do what they do. Once we learn the bully mindset, we will be able to better protect ourselves against them.

Peeling the masks of the bullies one layer at a time!

Why My Former School Bullies Never Left Oakley *

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They wouldn’t survive anywhere else. In Oakley*, they know people in high places. They have connections in town they would never have anywhere else and they fall back on those connections to get jobs, opportunities, and certain protections. So why would they leave? They would never get those perks anywhere else and no one in any other area would put up with their crap. They would have to live and take credit strictly on merit, rather than who they were, who they were related to or who they were friends with during high school. Therefore, they play it safe and stay in the same town they grew up in.
They eat in the same restaurants, frequent the same boring spots and pal around with the same boring people they hung with in high school. You’d think they would get tired of doing the same old stuff after thirty years.

Remember that bullies are cowards at heart. They don’t take risks and will never venture outside their comfort zones. They will never leave the confines of their familiar surroundings or their cliques. They may go on vacation from time to time but would never leave town for an extended period of time.

They also have no tolerance for people outside their circle of friends and it’s not because there’s anything wrong with those people. It’s because my former bullies are intimidated by anyone outside of their cliques and especially outside of their town. Could it be that maybe anyone outside of their circle and element might be smart enough to figure out who they really are? Or even worse, ballsy enough to call them out? After all, bullies fear exposure most of all.

Peeling the masks of the bullies one layer at a time.

(*Not the name of the town)

Othello’s Error, Another Reason Targets of Bullying Often Take Blame for Actions of Bullies

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It’s called Othello’s Error on the parts of teachers, principals school officials, supervisors and managers. It comes from Shakespeare’s play, “Othello”, in which the main character, Othello assumes that his wife, Desdemona is having an affair based on her nervous response when he questions her.

In reality, Desdemona is innocent but the aggressive and volatile nature of Othello and his intimidating questions make the poor lady nervous and Othello takes this as a sign of guilt. It is often the same in real life.

Often, when a person is questioned and shows nervousness, most accusers and witnesses misread the response and take it as a sign that the person is lying or is hiding something. It’s how so many people have gotten blamed for something they didn’t do. Just as nervousness is too often mistaken for deception, the show of confidence is mistaken for honesty and trustworthiness. As we all know, bullies are well-known for feigned confidence and false bravado.

William Shakespeare

Victims of bullying are always nervous and rightfully so. Who wouldn’t be if they were constantly abused, shamed, name-called, threatened and physically attacked? And people are notorious for rushing to the first possible explanation which fits what they want to see. Should it why any wonder why victims are blamed, and bullies go scot free?

After the abuse goes on for so long, victims learn to expect more of the same and they usually get it, because the Law of Attraction dictates that expectation of such treatment more, more, then, even more, making the victim more nervous with each occurrence. As the victim grows more and more nervous, bystanders and authority grow more and more suspicious of the poor target of bullying!

The fact is that nervousness has several reasons and the mistake is often in the decoding of it and not the observation!