Archive | October 2016

Being the Target of Bullying Can Either Make or Break You

Good evening, everyone. If you have been there, you automatically know that being the object of bullies is a hell that only a minority can comprehend and if you aren’t careful, it can very easily turn you from a kind and caring human being, to one of two things: 1. an angry, bitter and mean person, or 2. a sad, sullen and withdrawn individual. Bullying can either make or break a person. Sadly, so many people end up broken. However, I want you to know that it doesn’t have to be this way.

If you continue to practice self-care, chances are that, although as painful as it may be, the bullying you suffer will not have as much of an impact as it would if you give up on yourself. So don’t…I repeat…DON’T give up! EVER!

I’m living proof of this. I’m a very happy, healthy and successful adult. But if you knew me during high school, you would never have thought in a million years that I would ever make it as far as I have. Bullying didn’t break me, it MADE me! I consciously CHOSE not to let it break me and you too, have that choice.

Having been bullied in the past has not only made me a stronger, more resilient and compassionate woman, it also motivated me.

It gave me the drive to pursue my goals and dreams. It gave me a purpose. That purpose is to spread awareness of the bullying epidemic, which seems to be sweeping the globe and to reach out to those who suffer the same fate today. I gave me the drive to become a published author and to be a voice for those, who are too afraid to speak out.

If you have a dream, there will be people along the way, who will do their best to discourage you because if you flourish, it will be like you’re holding a mirror up to them and showing them a reflection of their own pathetic lives. No matter how others may treat you, you must continue to follow your dreams and do it because it makes you happy. Never dumb yourself down to appease someone else and make them feel better about themselves. Instead, mute the voices of these toxic people and get them out of your life (if possible) as quickly as you can. Then, continue to go after and achieve your goals because life is too short not to.

You only get one shot at life. Make it count! Do what fulfills you and live life to the fullest! You can do it!

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Excuses Bystanders and Authority Often Make for a Bully

Good morning, everyone. As we all know, bullies are very practiced and convincing liars and have a flare for using charm to deceive bystanders and authority. Understand that this “charm” bullies often display is fake it is all a part of the smoke screen they put up to cover up bad behavior and avoid accountability. In short, bullies are only actors and actresses.

With that being said, I want to list excuses that bystanders and authority often make for the bully anytime a victim reports them for their appalling behavior.

“That’s just his personality.”

“She’s only expressing herself.”

“He just has a very strong personality.”

“She’s going through a hard time right now.”

“But he’s really a good person, he’s just having issues right now.”

“She’s just having problems at home.”

“He’s just being himself.”

“But he’s so well liked and well mannered. Why would he bully someone like you?”

“But she’s so sweet and everyone loves her. She wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

“You’re just having a ‘personality conflict’.”

These are a few examples of how others justify and condone the bully’s behavior. Don’t fall for it! Call them what they are…BULLIES! Never accept any excuse. It’s true that retaliation may follow. However, stay strong and know that you don’t have to tolerate atrocious behavior from anyone! Tomorrow, I will talk about how you can expose the bully and protect yourself.

Have a great day!

Why Targets Can Become Bullies Themselves

 

Good morning everyone. This is and always will be very hard for me to admit to because no one wants to admit that they were ever a bully. However, I feel an obligation to each and very bullied person to be truthful about how I too bullied others during school to keep my own self-esteem from completely bottoming out. With that said, I have felt complete remorse over the last two decades and would like to offer a sincere and heartfelt apology to those I caused harm to during those years. I am truly sorry.

Like attracts like. Good produces more good and evil begets evil. Bullying can be used as a defense mechanism…bullying in response to bullying. Targets of bullying feel powerless and often learn very quickly to become bullies themselves in order to reclaim some of their power. Because they are being tormented, they get the impression that to stay off the bottom of the pecking order, they must find a target of their own to degrade and humiliate. This is wrong!

Often, bullied children and teens feel helpless. They feel that they have absolutely no control over anything in their lives. Therefore, they too become bullies in an attempt to feel some sense of power and control over something…ANYTHING. They often bully others who are even more powerless than they are to make themselves feel better about themselves.  Crap always rolls downhill and no one wants to be at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Just as there are people who fight to stay on top, there are others who fight just as hard to stay off the bottom. An example of this would be: A child gets yelled at by parents, then goes outside and kicks the dog. It is the same with most bully targets. I simply call this “Kicking the Dog”.

I was guilty of the same thing. I am ashamed to admit how cruelly judgmental I had become in high school. I constantly pointed a finger, I scoffed and laughed at people, and I scapegoated those I thought were easy and pieces of scum. I thumbed my nose, I looked down on and talked down to certain others. I exalted myself over particular people, I lorded over them. Yes! I did all of that…in front of an audience. All for the purpose of holding power over certain individuals, getting my thrills and looking cute.

From Victim to Victor, Chapter 29: “…Yes, I am guilty of bullying others I perceived as less than myself. Yes, I thumbed my nose at the types of people mentioned above and I did this to boost my own beaten down self-esteem and make myself feel better. And yes, I was wrong for doing so. However, at the time, it was the only way I knew to survive being bullied myself.

This served as a temporary fix to my brokenness. It was only a salve…a Band-Aid. It was akin to being a drug addict and getting a hit to keep painful withdrawals away. It took away the symptoms but not the cause. It was the same when I would bully and look down on people less fortunate than I was. The self-esteem high I would get from looking upon these types with scorn and loftiness was always short-lived.

And so, anytime I would start to come down from my self-esteem high, I would have to, once again look for someone else dumber and/or weaker than me, to pick apart and degrade by pointing out their bad qualities in order to feel good again. I constantly probed others, looking for shortcomings that I could use against them. If I could not find any flaws, I would just simply make them up and then convince my target of it. This was a cycle that would continue for a few more years.

I am telling you this because I have been on both sides of the fence. I have been both a target and a bully. I want you to understand that there is something seriously wrong with anyone who has to resort to bullying in order to feel good about themselves. If at any time, you have to look down on someone and mistreat them by pointing out their misfortunes and/or less than desirable qualities, the real problem is within yourself.

True confidence is not achieved by resorting to temporary fixes such as these I have just mentioned. No. True confidence flows continuously and is steady. It oozes from every fiber of your being naturally and effortlessly. True, authentic confidence is unshakeable!

Real confidence is quiet and there is no need to boast. There is no need to cause psychological, physical, emotional or spiritual harm to another human being to achieve it. It is still there but obscured…hidden because some creep from the past has wounded you so badly that you have suppressed it out of fear. I believe that each and every one of us is born with confidence and a heart of gold. Yet over time, our environments, circumstances and sadly, the people in our lives can slowly chip away and erode that natural confidence and goodness we were born with.

After being hurt for so long, we withdraw from others and put up a barrier. We turn cold and began to harden ourselves to numb feelings of rejection and the pain that comes with it. Before long, we regard the feelings and suffering of others with indifference. We just don’t give a damn about anyone, how they feel or what they think, sometimes even the people who love us. We no longer have any respect for others, much less ourselves. Lastly, we come to that evil place where schadenfreude takes hold and we secretly or openly, take pleasure in seeing others, especially those we despise, suffer.

I can say this because I was there. I had allowed my bullies to change me from a caring, loving child to an evil, spiteful teenager. I had become this person I was never taught to be. I was angry, full of bitterness and spite because of the torment which had been inflicted on me for the last four years. I went from being friendly and accepting of everyone, regardless of what they had, to being this cruel, cold, heartless human being who was beautiful…gorgeous on the outside, but very ugly and rotten on the inside.

Because I had been unfairly judged, I judged others. Because I had been bullied, I did my share of bullying. Because I had been picked apart, I wanted to pick others apart. Because I was miserable, I wanted someone else to be miserable too.

And how did I learn to be so cold, calculating and heartless? My own bullies had taught me very well how to bully and degrade with stealth and precision. And they had taught me by doing the same to me. I learned from them how to be even more meticulous and cunning. Yes, there were times when I got caught and was punished, but there were more times when I avoided accountability.

I used to get my kicks out of seeing others’ friendships and relationships end. At different times in high school, I would instigate fights between other people, then stand back and watch proudly what I, at the time, referred to as my handiwork. I enjoyed watching the two girls that I had very stealthily turned against one another, duke it out between themselves, laughing inside while making sure to cover up my bursting gratification with a false look of concern.

And why did I do this?  Because I had no real friendships myself and was jealous of other girls’ friendships. I wanted to destroy those friendships in order to feel like I was not the only one. I wanted to sneakily inflict pain on them because I was in pain. And it would feel so much better to have someone else suffering along with me than to suffer alone.

I was in a very dark place then but I am happy to say that I have managed to dig myself out of that hole and now that I am wiser, no one will ever again put me back in that place…EVER! Not my former classmates, not my coworkers, not a neighbor, not a husband or boyfriend…NO ONE! Also, I now enjoy seeing others happy and fulfilled.

You do not have to do what I did and change your personality to survive. It is not necessary for you to become like them… evil and spiteful, inflicting chaos in the lives of others just to feel better about yourself. There are better ways to achieve those results.

Instead of bullying the bully, stay your true self. Kill them with kindness or come back at them with something funny to throw him/her off kilter. It will take the wind out of their sales because they cannot shake you. Even better, you will feel better about yourself in the long run, just knowing that you did not have to turn into some venomous snake to survive and the confidence that you get from this will be authentic and long lasting. Whereas, the confidence you get from bullying others will always be superficial and short lived. As a result, you will be on a constant search for flaws in others…fodder to use against them in order to feel better. You will also search for a backup victim in case your usual target is not available. Take it from someone who has lived it, this is extremely exhausting and is certainly no way to live.

From Victim to Victor, Chapter 31: “…I absolutely loved the rush of power I would get from talking down to certain people at school. Because it made me feel like a winner…a boss…a champion…a queen!  I relished the fact that I too had the power to ruin some poor soul’s day…to make them squirm with nervousness…to reduce them…demean them…dehumanize them…crush them! This had become so addicting for me that I just could not get enough of it. I needed more. And the more I broke some poor sucker down, the better I felt. I knew I had become a bully and I was actually proud of that because I thought that being a bully meant POWER!

I was doing to certain others what had been done to me. At that time, it was the only way I knew to preserve my self-esteem…”

I want you to know that being bullied does not give you the right to become a bully. Think about how you feel when someone mistreats you. Now think about how your target must feel. The power that you get from bullying another person is only temporary. Whereas, the power that you get from showing kindness and love is INFINITE!

The Three ‘B’s of Bullying: Baiting, Bashing and Blaming

Good morning, everyone. Today I want to discuss the process of bullying and how bullies make the victim look like the villain by using the three ‘B’s. I will break this down as simply as I possibly can.

First a bully very meticulously and slyly BAITS the victim by provoking him/her for a reaction. If the victim either gives their tormentors an unwanted reaction, or no reaction at all, the bully, over time, becomes more repetitive with the taunts and intensifies the torment until he/she finally wears the victim down and gets the desired reaction. A person can only take so much and naturally, everyone…everyone has their breaking point. Bullies instinctively know this.

Once the target reaches that breaking point and reacts (yelling, telling the bully off, cursing the bully out, punching the bully in the face, etc.), the bully then BASHES her victim by using the reaction as confirmation of mental illness or mean-spiritedness, implying that the victim is the person at fault. This is done all for the purpose of distracting others from the bully’s own evil actions and projecting guilt onto the victim. The bully also very smoothly weasels her way into the hearts and minds of others to turn them against the victim.

Next, the victim is then labeled as “crazy”, “trouble”, etcetera, etcetera. Bystanders and authority may witness the target’s outburst and automatically assume that the target really is “crazy”, “trouble” or over-reacting when, in fact, the harassment has been going on for several months to several years and the victim has tried her best to handle the abuse calmly and objectively, only to succumb to exhaustion and finally be pushed to her absolute limit.

Finally, if and when the victim either reports the abuse or tells his side of the story, the bully and others automatically BLAME him. The bully uses the reaction and put his own spin on it as he tells his side, using a tiny grain of truth (truth of the victim’s reaction) to make the spin believable. Also, others often shame the victim by referring to him as weak. They may say, “Aww! You just need to toughen up!” or “Can’t you take a joke?”, even when the victim knows good and well that he is not the one with the issue and that the slight was not intended to be a joke, or “all in good fun”.

As a result, the guilt is transferred from bully to victim and the bully goes unpunished and is only more encouraged, taking the impunity as a green light for future torment. All the while, the victim will be seen in a very negative light, with no other choice but to endure the torment in silence, just to keep from further tarnishing her already damaged reputation.

Each time a report is made and others, who are often in a position to help, blow the victim off with these types of statements, the bully becomes more emboldened and the victim becomes more devastated and damaged. The more brazen the bully becomes, the higher the degree to which the harassment escalates and the more frequent and intense the attacks become until the victim either transfers to get away from the torment, is removed, or commits suicide!

As a result, the bully benefits from the feeling of power and control he gets from mistreating his victim and getting away with it. It gives the bully a sense that he is invincible and untouchable. The bully also enjoys the sympathy and petting he receives from others for having feigned victimhood for so long. The above strategy is also used as a means of striking fear into and silencing the victim, discouraging any future attempts at speaking out and exposing the bully for what he truly is…a cowardly, sniveling piece of human filth.

If you are a victim of bullying, you already know too well how it feels to be mistreated and then blamed for your own torment. It’s horrible enough to be constantly harassed, but to be blamed for that harassment is downright devastating and leaves you feeling completely crushed!

Although bullying is now at the forefront of media coverage, it is still considered a taboo subject, especially in rural areas, such as those in West Tennessee, where I currently reside. Sadly, this evil epidemic continues to be widely ignored and needs to be addressed further if we expect to bring change and drive down the statistics.

Understand that this is just another weapon the bully uses and how he/she is allowed to continue their bad behavior with impunity. And it is nothing new! Bullies have been using this method since the dawn of time.

So, remember the 3 ‘B’s- Bait, Bash and Blame and I believe that you will have a better understanding as to how bullies fly under the radar and be better able to explain your situation when you report the harassment.

I had no knowledge of this when I was in school. Therefore, I was kept silent because I did not know how to put into words, the situation from which I was suffering. You, on the other hand, do not have to go through this horrible, humiliating, heartbreaking and gut-wrenching ordeal blindly like I did. Information on how to protect yourself is more readily available today than ever before! Remember that knowledge is power! Use it and reclaim your power!

Have a wonderful day.

The Importance of Self-Acceptance

Good evening everyone. There are so many, who don’t realize the importance of self acceptance and it’s role in the achievement of peace and happiness. Anyone who has ever been bullied will tell you that it sometimes takes years to overcome the after affects, get completely comfortable with yourself and find happiness.

Because of the torment I suffered at school, I was a shy person for years and my shyness peaked during my childbearing years. I would not speak to anyone unless they spoke to me first, out of fear that I would say something wrong. I didn’t like myself because I felt that I was somehow different…that God had put a mark on me like Cain. I felt that I didn’t quite measure up. And this was during my early 20s when I was just beginning to discover who I was and what I really wanted out of life.

Throughout junior high and high school, I was bullied so much that I was blinded to my own feminine beauty during those years (I was a very beautiful young girl). I also did not feel free to express myself and most importantly, get to know myself.

Being in a toxic environment or around toxic people can block you from opportunities, blind you to your own inner and outer beauty, diminish the ability to use talents and natural abilities, prevent you from having your own opinions and feelings and from accepting and being yourself when you are young and haven’t been in the world long enough to know the difference.

When I finally left that toxic, poisonous, downright dangerous environment that was my old school and transferred to a new high school, I felt like a bird out of a cage…like I had just been given a full pardon and released from prison. From that day forward, I could finally begin working on getting to know ME and I was put on the road to self discovery. However, that road proved to be a long one.

During my mid to late 20’s I became hungry for self betterment. I slowly began trying new things and confronting my fears and shyness HEAD ON by actually doing the things I feared most! I discovered talents and abilities I never thought I had and could express myself and my wants and needs without ridicule. Like magic, new opportunities and better situations began opening up to me. It was like the floodgates of heaven had suddenly opened and I was washed away in a river of blessing.

However, it took years to get through the anger, the sadness, the shyness, the defensiveness and being closed up and guarded before I was finally able to totally and completely accept who I was as a woman. And when I finally accepted myself, which meant accepting the good, the bad, and the ugly qualities, I found a peace and happiness I never thought possible.

Am I perfect? No. Do I try to be? Nope. I accept all characteristics of me. I know my good traits: that I have a good heart, that I have compassion and empathy for others, that I am outgoing and confident, that I like to have fun, that I love to sing, dance and write novels. Am I proud of that? YES! YES! YESSSS!!!

I also know my bad traits and I embrace them.

I accept that I am sometimes forgetful.

I also accept that I no longer have the perfect body after having had children. I am comfortable in my own skin.

I also prefer Tee shirts, jeans, and sneakers over fancy dresses and high heels (which I only wear when an occasion calls for it). Do I like this about myself? ABSOLUTELY!

What I want is for you to completely accept yourself because it is a stepping stone to happiness. When you accept yourself as you are, quirks and all, and stop being so concerned about how you are seen by others, you actually FREE yourself from that ball and chain called self consciousness. It is like a huge weight being lifted off of you.

Also, you become much more attractive to people and they are drawn to you like a magnet. And the individuals who are waiting for you to mess up actually get bored, give up and stop watching you. I know this from experience. Acceptance of self (all aspects) is such sweet freedom!

No one likes to be around a self conscious and insecure victim. I’ll say it again:
No. One. Likes. A. Victim!

So I want you to make a brand new start today and begin your new life by accepting who you are. Count your blessings, your friends, your family, and your chance opportunities. Anything positive that is happening OR has happened in your life is a blessing. This is where you start. Start by counting blessings. Take a pen and piece of paper and write down each blessing and I guarantee you will be on your way!

I wonder how many people can actually list all of their blessings without running out of paper and/or ink. I know I couldn’t.

Have a great evening and get out and enjoy this beautiful weather.
Wishing you peace, love, and happiness
Cherie

Message to Victims: Your Reputation Does NOT Equal Your Character!

Good evening everyone. Character is who you truly are. Reputation is who others think you are.

All too often, when a person is bullied, his/her reputation takes a big hit, due to the many ugly rumors and lies which are spread by their tormentors. Remember that bullying is a campaign.

Just as a politician would go from house to house and business to business, kissing babies and rubbing elbows with people on the street while giving a spiel of why they’re the best person for the office they’re running for, bullies basically do the same. They go from person to person spinning their yarn about why no one should associate with the target.

Bullies/Peer Abusers engage everyone, even friends and family of the victim, pulling false accusations out of thin air and making them sound so convincing that others find the lies difficult not to believe.

Tormentors may also use a “tiny grain of truth”, which may be a simple mistake the victim might have made in the past (possibly a mistake which anybody could have made at any time), then add their own spin on it, making it worse and bigger than what it is for the purpose of making the story even more believable.

Moreover, harassers may use subtle provocations, taunts and assaults to bait the victim into a reaction, then turn around and use his/her perfectly normal human response as further proof that he/she really is a less than desirable person (crazy, stupid, evil, etc.).

You must realize that bullies are sociopaths. They have a wealth of superficial charm and are masters in the arts of persuasion and influence. People of this nature are very skilled wordsmiths, which is why they are seemingly able to pull a complete fabrication out of their butts and make it smell sweet and sound plausible. Because of this oozing charm that most seasoned bullies possess, they are able to encourage bystanders and sometimes authority (teachers, principals, monitors, etc.) to join in the torment.

After being attacked for so long, it’s too easy for victims to became worn down and go the “eye for an eye” route and return the attacks (physically or verbally). Although defending oneself is a perfectly normal response to assaults, victims must be very careful in their counter attacks because a well experienced bully can very easily use the reaction as validation of any rumors and lies which have been spread. Before long, even those who aren’t normally bullies will either shun or brutalize the selected victim. Thus the reputation of the innocent victim is tarnished and will take years to repair.

With all the above combined, bullies can be a weapon of mass destruction to their victims, ripping them to shreds and destroying any credibility they once had. Right or wrong, once credibility is lost, victims are powerless and have almost zero chance of redeeming themselves and opportunities can be lost even before they present themselves.

If you are a target of bullying, I want to assure you that your reputation DOES NOT equal your character. You are an awesome, intelligent, goodhearted person and you are worthy of being loved regardless of how others may perceive you. As difficult as it may be to do so, you must never let your reputation define you. Never let bullies dim your shine! Hold on, with everything you have in you, to your awesome qualities even if you have to remind yourself every day that you are a great person! Hold on to your faith and your dignity! Hold on to TRUTH!

Have a good night.

Telling Victims to “Toughen Up” When They Report Harassment

Good evening, everyone. Tonight, I want to mention the widely held belief that bullying toughens kids up and why I think it’s one of the biggest falsehoods I have ever heard.

So you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher or principal and a child comes to you to report being harassed. In response, you tell him/her that he/she is just going to have to toughen up (I was told that many times when I was being bullied) or you very dismissively tell the child that bullying will toughen them up. It’s the equivalent of the victim having a baseball bat taken to their legs and having both limbs broken, then assuring them, “the bone will be even stronger than before once it heals”. I’m sure you get the point.

It is this type of attitude which allows the abuse to continue and re-victimizes the victim!

Here is why I think that it’s the stupidest response an adult can give to a child or teen

  1. You are indirectly and maybe unknowingly shifting the blame back onto the poor child. You are sending them the message that the harassment is his fault because he is weak or a coward.
  2. Kids and teens will take the “toughen up” fallacy as the go-ahead to escalate the violence.
  3. Telling a child to “toughen up” means that a fight will ensue, the victim will more than likely get the blame and be suspended from school, then the parents (the ones who probably advised the child to “toughen up” will admonish the child for fighting at school and getting the suspension. As a result, the victim will be even more confused as to what recourse to take the next time they are bullied.
  4. Bullying does not toughen anyone up! It shuts them down!

Instead of telling them to toughen up, either intervene, or advise them on effective ways to protect themselves so that they can break the cycle.

Have a wonderful evening, everyone!

This entry was posted on October 11, 2016. 2 Comments