Isn’t it strange that, nowadays, we have so many people who are so easily offended? With that said, bullies are the very people who are easily offended. In fact, bullies have such fragile egos that it takes zero effort to offend them- especially if you’re a target. Just your mere presence is an insult to them.
Understand that people who are easily offended take things completely out of context- automatically attaching meaning to the behavior of others, when, in reality, it’s completely devoid of personal meaning. Bullies and anyone easily offended have a flair for turning neutrality into a personal affront or confrontation.
They conjure up meanings out of exchanges from others that are totally impersonal. With these paranoid pansies, it’s always:
“She doesn’t agree with everything I say, do, and think, so that means she doesn’t like me!”
“He has a different opinion than me, so that means he’s looking down his nose at me!”
“She doesn’t like the same things I like, so that means she hates me!”
These sad, and often hateful, people automatically presume to know what the other is thinking and feeling.
In life, you will run into these types of people. That’s why it’s best to either divert the conversation to a neutral subject or walk away because they aren’t worth the energy expenditure.
Understand that bullies and the easily offended can never be happy because they place entirely too much value and investment in how they are thought of by others. This is no way for a person to live. Anytime you place too much importance in how others evaluate you, you give them too much power over you- you make yourself their prisoner. You make yourself their servant- for free!
Bullies place too much value on their social images. They have a nasty habit of being too occupied with their imaginary views of how others think of them. They over-analyze the images others may (or may not) have of them. They must realize that this is a waste of time because it will never have any bearing on their (the bullies’) lives.
Back in the days of the cavemen, people had to be accepted by their in-group because it was a matter of life and death. To not be accepted in their in-group put the person at risk of starvation and extinction, especially it that person was a woman.
Thankfully, it’s not like that today. Nevertheless, if a bully feels they’re being insulted or made to look weak or stupid, they see it as the end of the world. The threatened loss of their gleaming reputations and becoming an outcast, to them, spells catastrophe!
Here are a few examples of the disease of over-offense:
1.Bully supervisors become offended and enraged at an employee for making a minor mistake because they take it too personally. Therefore, they see the other person as an enemy or adversary over one tiny mistake that was more than likely unintentional and that anybody could make.
2. Bullies and the easily offended are also the types of people who think that when any rules or laws are applied to them, they only have the attitude that the people making the rules and laws are “picking on” them. They then feel a flash of powerlessness that prompts them to lash out.
Understand that these types of people have a child’s mentality and never matured beyond the age of six mentally and emotionally. Their tactics may be way more sophisticated than a six-year-olds, but inside, they still have the maturity and the attitude of one.
With knowledge comes empowerment!
In Part 1, we discussed frenemies and the gradual but growing hot/cold, waxing and waning in their behavior, which snowballs into a terrible lashing of venom that leaves a target both shocked and hurt.
Again, if you’ve ever found yourself on the receiving end of a frenemy’s poison, rest assured that none of it was your fault and you were not the person with the issue. Understand that in using this hot/cold, nice/nasty cycle, the frenemy only used “The Push/Pull Method” on you.
This push and pull technique is exactly how it sounds: the frenemy pulls the target in, pushes him/her away, then pulls them in again. This back and forth cycle is specifically designed to hook you into the friendship and throw you off your game! Realize that the person was more than likely never your friend!
You may ask yourself these questions:
“If this person was never my friend and never liked me to begin with, why then did they exert such much effort to get close to me?”
“Why did this person latch on to me in the first place?”
Jealousy was most likely the culprit. Your frenemy (or frenemies) was intensely jealous of something you possessed and wanted a way to punish you for having something- anything they only wished they had. They wanted to bring you down a few notches…to put you in your place…to cut you down to size!
Rather than a direct, frontal assault, they preferred to out-flank you by carefully cozying up to you, tricking you into dropping your defenses, and winning your complete trust to get close to you!
Another reason could be that the frenemy somehow gets an ego-boost from being “friends” with you and the thought of being seen with you!
Understand that this closeness is a way to hook you into the friendship, then gather intimate, personal details about your life and personality to suss out any weaknesses or less-than-desirable qualities you have. Fake-friends are like police detectives who attempt to build a case against you.
Once they gather the intel they need, they exploit this information, using it as a weapon to harm you, ruin your reputation, and sabotage your personal relationships and associations.
When you finally get fed up, put your foot down and end the friendship, the frenemy then paints you as the mean, mentally-unbalanced, or selfish person and trumpets any dirt collected on you to anyone who will listen to them. I want you to understand that this is how frenemies operate. People such as these are very sneaky, meticulous, and worst of all, patient!
It is much better to have full-blown enemies than frenemies because, with an enemy, you always know where you stand and can more easily avoid contact. However, (especially those who are charming and persuasive) have ways of reeling you in and keeping you dependent on their approval and acceptance.
And if you are a victim of bullying, the relationship is much harder to get out of because you’re afraid of going back to being friendless. But wouldn’t you rather be to yourself than to keep company with people who only wish to bring you down? I know I would!
Remember that a smiling face does not a friend make. Not everyone who pats you on the back has your best interests at heart. There are red flags you can look for, and speed in friendship progression is a major red flag! Anytime someone is so quick to call you a friend, be alert! Alternating hot and cold (flip-flopping) and micro-flashes of contempt and hostility in their body language are also warnings you should be aware of!
In these scenarios, the best you can do is to step back and maintain plenty of distance between you and the person in question. Only then is it possible to observe them and figure out their true motivations and intentions!
“The better you feel about yourself, the less you feel the need to show off.”
~ Robert Hand ~
Every single one of us has had that one “friend” or that handful of “friends,” if that’s what you prefer to call them. They seem to really like us and want to be around us all the time. They cozy up to us very quickly (too quickly), seemingly mesmerized by us, bombarding us with attention and laying the flattery on super-thick really early in the relationship and wanting so badly to be a part of our lives.
They butter us up with compliments, smile at us, and pat us on the back, making us feel great about ourselves. If you’re being bullied and are feeling insecure like I was years ago, this is such a welcome change!
You’re bullied, lonely, rejected, and this seems to be just the thing you’ve been waiting for, giving you that much-needed shot of dopamine you’ve been craving for so long!
Suddenly you feel great about yourself and think that maybe, the bullying might be coming to an end. Soon, however, you notice subtle signs in the person that doesn’t feel so good, occasionally seeing out of the corner of your eye those split-second flashes of disdain on the faces of your “new friends”…a sneer here, an evil, piercing glance there.
Although your gut begins to sound off, telling you that something is “off” about this person (or these people), you only mentally make excuses for them.
“Maybe he/she is having a rough day.”
“Maybe someone made him/her angry before they came to visit.”
“Maybe they’re just in a bad mood.”
Wanting to believe the very best of the person(s), you mentally explain away the signs that tell you that something just isn’t right. Then, when it happens again, you begin to ask yourself,
“Was it something I said or something I did accidentally to offend this person?”
Next, your new buddy or buddies seem cold toward you. They begin to alternate hot and cold, and you’re left bewildered as to the causation, all the while your sixth sense is telling you to put some distance yourself and these people and to do it fast! But you don’t because this person is a friend. You love them and don’t want to seem like a heel or that you don’t appreciate their friendship.
Also, the bullies have suddenly disappeared, and you want to keep it this way. Even worse and more pathetic, you dread the possibility of going back to square one…eating your lunch alone, walking alone in the halls, and once again, being the target of bullies.
So, you continue to tolerate unacceptable behavior because, deep down, you don’t think that you can find better people to be pals with. You’ve been bullied and shamed for so long that you have actually forgotten what a true friend is and what it’s like to have one.
When you finally work up the nerve to ask the person about his/her behavior, they either lie about the behavior, downplay it, or worse, tell you that you’re imagining things or being too sensitive. However, as time goes by, those tiny micro-expressions of ire, the split-second glares, and subtle, back-handed compliments and coldness only become more frequent!
Now, your Spidey-senses are screaming! Others you thought were decent toward you are now giving you the silent treatment, and you don’t know why.
Suddenly, BAM! It happens! The person lashes out at you for reasons that are so trivial, or worse, reasons which seem to be made up! You know you should tell them to take a hike, but you only blame yourself or give misplaced apologies instead, looking even more pathetic to bystanders and witnesses! Even worse, now, you look like an even bigger target to bullies!
Targets and many survivors of bullying have self-esteems that have been repeatedly injured, and when one’s self-esteem is injured, sometimes they will have trouble making friends and attracting suitors for dates and romance.
This can be because of two things, the person either becomes angry because they feel they were judged unfairly, or they resign themselves as social failures and withdraw.
The anger helps to protect the target’s self-esteem. Moreover, the target’s anger is heightened due to having been programmed by bad life experiences to sometimes mistake comments for insults.
If it’s constructive criticism, the target may wonder if the person doing the criticizing is trying to help them or only trying to show them that they’re smarter or implying that he (the target) is stupid.
Many targets are bullied for so long that their social development has been stunted. Therefore, many targets and survivors may be successful in everything except relationships with others. This is because they’ve been made to believe that they’re unlovable and thus, don’t trust anyone else when they show them affection and profess love.
These people only see other people’s attempts at love and friendship as manipulation because it’s what they’ve come to expect.
Many targets and survivors of bullying are often looked at as standoffish, stuck-up, or snobbish because they feel safer keeping other people at arm’s length. Because of this arm’s-length approach to social situations, people see the target or survivor of bullying as being wrapped up in themselves when, in fact, they’re insecure because of mistreatment they endure.
The unspoken message from the person is “don’t get too close” and it comes from their fear of being rejected, hurt, and worse- bullied again. So, they put on a cool front to hide their nervousness.
On top of being bullied by peers, many targets and survivors have or have had a parent overcriticize and belittle them, which only doubles the insecurity. So, they find it much safer to overprotect themselves and build a wall to keep potential enemies out. They go out of their way to avoid exposing themselves to rejection, and thus, appear to others as cold and detached.
Like anyone else, targets and survivors desire love, and they have a bigger desire for it than most. However, their intense fear of being bullied blocks them from getting that love because to get love requires a degree of vulnerability.
Being able to enjoy friendship, love, and affection means letting down your guard and taking risks. Sadly, many targets and survivors are too afraid to lower their defenses.
If this post describes you, I want you to know that I completely understand because I’ve been right where you are now. However, I can’t stress enough the importance and necessity of putting yourself out there and taking the risk.
To see positive change, you must shed this protective armor if you want to attain the friendship and love you so desire. Because the self-protective measures that you have taken are exactly what is repelling others and keeping you isolated. Being aloof and distant may indeed feel safe, but it’s also self-defeating because it keeps love out.
So, step out in faith and I promise you that you will see change you never thought possible. You’ll have good friends who will love you for simply being you. Hey! It happened for me and it will happen for you too!
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
~ Carl Gustav Jung ~
If a certain student’s bullying is allowed to continue over a certain amount of time, even for as short as a few weeks, it will likely become the status quo with his/her peers at school. Once it becomes the status quo, it’s virtually impossible to assert your rights without encountering a ton of resistance and reprisals.
The trick is to assert yourself immediately before the bully or bullies grow(s) accustomed to tormenting you because once they do, in most cases, it’s too late. Once it is too late, anytime you are brave and refuse to bow down to a bully, expect retaliation…expect to be severely punished for undermining the bully’s perceived authority or power over you.
This is a warning that you absolutely must heed. Any time one certain student is repeatedly bullied over a certain period of time, it becomes a habit…a ritual for any and everyone at the school.
And when you muster up the spunk to say and/or do anything to assert, defend, or stand up for yourself, you are going against a status quo or perceived norm. And once you dare to go against any status quo, you had better prepare yourself for an all-out war!
You are a target! And bullies see you as anything but. As much as it may suck, when a person becomes a target of bullying, people- bullies, bystanders, and yes, sometimes even teachers and staff, consciously or subconsciously expect the person to stay a target.
They expect you to put your head down and take it…to just accept it, and if you even attempt to grow a spine, they will do everything in their power to break it.
Anytime a person, who has been a target of bullies over a long period of time, takes steps to take back their power, the unspoken message of the bully is this:
“No! Wait a minute! You’ve been a lowlife loser all this time, and NOW you decide to better yourself?” or “Whoa! You’ve been a doormat this long, so why NOW do you get uppity and decide to grow a spine?”
All of which translates to an even deeper message that says:
“Holy Crap! We’re not used to him/her being so outspoken! This scares us! We’ve tried A, now we have to do B, and if B doesn’t work, then we will have to resort to C to put this person back in his/her place and do it quickly before we lose our foothold on her and therefore, lose the benefits that we have enjoyed at her expense!”
This is because bullies are extremely frightened by change, especially a change in the power dynamic which has long been set. They and others want you to stay a victim because “it’s just the way things are done at this school.”. Also, bullies benefit from your victimization, and they do not want to lose those benefits (social status, gratification, satisfaction, etc.)
Your bullies’ degradation of you has become a habit…a ritual…a tradition, so to speak. And your defending your right to be safe from harm poses the threat of change, and most people cannot easily accept change, bullies especially.
Furthermore, bullies believe that it is their right to abuse their target. Yes! They honestly believe that they have a right to mistreat the person because they assume that they have absolute authority over their victim and are entitled to inflict misery on him/her.
In the mind of a bully, you as the target do not have the right to undermine nor question their perceived authority over you. Others believe that you deserve the ill-treatment and that you owe it to them to put your head down and “just shut up and take it.”
If this does not tick you off enough to make you want to snatch your power back, I do not know what will. But before you can do so, you must know the inner workings of these types of individuals. You must be wise to what it is that makes this type of person tick.
You must get abreast on the psychology of the typical school bully, his/her background, motives, how and why the bully seems to escape accountability and a host of other important and possibly life-saving information.
You absolutely MUST address it early on, as soon as you begin to see a pattern forming. Do not make the same mistake I did and let it get so bad that you either fear for or want to end your own life.
How I wish I knew this back then!