In Essence, Bullies Only Hide Behind Their Targets

mother's skirt

Bullies are pathetic, aren’t they? Every time I think of this fun fact, I can’t help but chuckle because I know that deep down inside, bullies of all ages are nothing but scared little punks and punkettes. But what are they so afraid of?

Many things. Bullies are scared of having their weaknesses exposed, of having their sins known, and most of all, losing face. And they should be. They go to great lengths to hide their imperfections and put on an air of gleaming-white perfection. Keeping up appearances is hard work and bullies often resent their victims for their authenticity and not having to work as hard as they do!

To keep up these facades, bullies often project their shortcomings onto their targets or use their victims’ imperfections to distract others’ attention from their own. Projection and Distraction are some of the biggest and most-used tactics of bullies.

Understand that bullies are fake, and to be successful at convincing others that they are invincible and have a perfect life, they have to stay on their toes always. They also tend to exaggerate their own importance, intelligence, and toughness; then live with the risks of being discovered for who and what they indeed are.
Make no mistake about it, underneath the con-act, the bullies I’ve known are the dumbest, most incompetent and inadequate people I know. They are also sniveling cowards at their core.

Why else would they need an innocent victim to hide behind?
If you are a target of bullying and your bullies hide behind you too, know this! They are right where they belong- behind you!

Finding Your Tribe: Some Find it Early in Life, Others Find it Later

Group of friends cheering with drinks at boat party

Group of happy friends cheering with wine and beers at boat party. Diverse men and women having drinks at sunset yacht party.

You will find yours eventually. I did!

If it seems that everyone mistreats you and doesn’t like you, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, and it doesn’t mean you don’t belong. You’re not defected, strange, or cursed. It only goes to show that you’re not with the right people. Understand that the people who bully you are all wrong for you and do not deserve to be in your life. What it means is that you haven’t yet found your tribe! And you deserve better!

If at anytime you find yourself having to tiptoe around people or surrounded by people who only tolerate you, then you’re with the wrong people! The best thing you can do is to ditch them even if it means that you might be alone for a while. Trust me. You would much rather be by yourself than to cling to people who don’t care about you.

I understand the feeling of being lost, lonely, left out and rejected. And I realize that the feeling can be so deep that some days, you feel like you can’t go on. But I want you to know that it won’t last forever.But rest assured that there will come a time when you will attract people into your life who want you in theirs, people who will accept you for who you are, who will see the good you bring to this world and who’ll do anything to see you happy. These people will uplift you and love you no matter what.

36962848_10215989119817468_6958474393982861312_n

When you find yourself among people who support you on your path to your goals, you’ll know that you’ve found the right people!

When you can tell an off-color joke around certain people without offending them, then you’re in the right place!

If they don’t only tolerate your quirks and imperfections but celebrate them by laughing along with you, you’ve found your tribe!

If you can be weird or pitch a well-justified hissy-fit around them without being ridiculed, then they are your tribe!

If you can make comments that some consider inappropriate or offensive or insensitive, but your friends believe hilarious or spot on, then baby! You’ve found your tribe!

You’ll know it when you’re with people who help you get through the stickiest situations by providing friendly advice, tips, and tricks because they totally get you!

With the right people in your life, there’s no judgment nor trying to help them understand where you’re coming from, the decisions you make, the way you feel, or the thoughts you think and voice aloud. They completely understand and never question you. They are supportive!

Today, people may bully you. They may degrade you, humiliate you and even physically assault you. You may be left out and scorned by everyone around you. And you may feel that no matter what you do, nothing will ever get better. But know that someday, somehow, you will find your tribe.

It may take a while, but there will come a day when you’ll have a circle of friends who’ll respond with statements like, “Oh yeah! ‘Been there, done that!” and “Hey! Me too!” when they see your quirks and imperfections. And when you do, you’ll realize that the people who bullied you were only pushing you toward the people who were meant to be in your life. Your bullies were only a stepping-stone toward the people who were meant to be in your life. And when you finally find your tribe, they will be so worth the wait!

Teachers Who Single Out and Bully Students

Abusive words hurt

Most teachers are good people who love kids and want only the best for them. However, there are always those few bad apples who abuse the power they have in their classroom and show often the most vile and cruel hatred toward the kids they don’t like. Unfortunately, even the best schools and school districts have a few of these rotten apples under their employ.

Child-on-child bullying is a hot topic these days. Adult-on-adult bullying is also a topic that is fast up and coming and soon will be a hot button issue. But an issue that is rarely discussed is teacher-on-student bullying. And sadly, it’s a more common occurrence than we think (or want to admit).

When teachers single out and bully a certain kid in their class that they don’t like, it sets a very dangerous and damaging precedent. Because of the power dynamic between teacher and pupil, it automatically sets the expectation of how the other members of the class should treat the targeted student. The teacher willingly or unwillingly sets the target student up to be mobbed and bullied by the other classmates.

Because kids often look to their teachers as examples or role models, a bullying teacher can encourage and perpetuate a spirit of hate, cruelty and hostile behaviors among the rest of the class toward the targeted child or teen. He/she sends the unspoken message to the rest of the class that it is okay to bully the target and may even yield rewards of favor with the teacher if they join in the torment. Understand that these types of adults create a very dangerous environment for the TS (Targeted Student). As a result, the TS loses interest in learning and dreads going to school!

Also, the other students in the class may become afraid to have anything to do with the TS because any association with the TS may put them at risk of becoming a TS themselves. This is called “Guilt by Association” and its purpose is to isolate a target by intimidating or punishing anyone seen socializing with the him/her.

Worst of all, the power imbalance is such that the bullying teacher holds the TS’s future in the palm of his/her hand. They have the power to mar the TS’s permanent record with bad marks that can damage any prospects for college or even jobs. The cruel actions of a bullying teacher have the possibility of following the TS well into adulthood, long after they’ve left school.

Understand that anytime you are targeted by a bullying teacher, the wide imbalance of power between student and teacher puts you in such a vulnerable position! It’s not the same as being bullied by another kid in school. When a child is being bullied by another child, this is a battle they can fight. Because you can either fight the other kid back, ignore them or walk away from the bullying child.
But when you’re a kid being bullied by an adult in charge, how are you supposed to respond?

dreamstime_s_95301237

The sad reality is that it’s a battle you can’t fight! There’s no way to defend yourself and no way to protect yourself! You can’t ignore the teacher and you certainly can’t fight back or walk away from the teacher without making the situation worse. Unfortunately, you’re stuck. You’re at the mercy of that teacher. And he/she knows it and takes full advantage of it.

Bully teachers often bully their TS by embarrassing and humiliating them in class, by cruel insults to their intelligence, dirty looks, announcing failed grades in front of the entire class and causing the TS to be ridiculed by the rest of the class, by disclosing the TS’s private information to the rest of the class, by micromanaging the TS, standing over them to intimidate them, invading the TS’s privacy by going through her purse or flipping through their books, by holding the TS to double standards and yelling at the TS for tiny infractions and mistakes that other members of the class get away with. In short, the bully teacher doesn’t give the TS the leeway that he/she gives the other students in the class.

I’ve had personal experience with a bullying teacher. I remember being bullied in *Political Science class by *Mrs. Wallace during the eleventh grade and I’ll never forget how utterly lowdown and powerless she made me feel. I also remember being bullied by her to the point of picking up my purse and books and walking out after yelling, “That’s it! I’ve had it!”, only to have her follow me yelling, “Nuh-uh! You come back here! You’ve got some nerve walking out of my class! Who do you think you are! You march your sassy butt to the principal’s office, now!”
I was lucky in that the principal was merciful and only gave me a few days detention, but it could’ve been much worse.

Even worse, the TS is intimidated into silence. The poor kid knows that if they report the abuse, they’re least likely to be believed because when a kid talks about “a mean teacher”, the adults assume that mean only describes a teacher who makes you study, makes you do homework and who rightfully sends you to the principal’s office when you misbehave. They don’t think about the possibility of the teacher being verbally and emotionally abusive.

Bully teachers are talented at masking their abuse as “discipline” or “motivation”. They will tell the TS’s parents that they are “worried about” the child, that their child “needs help” or “needs medication”. Is it any wonder that bullying by any adult member of school staff is so difficult to pinpoint, contend with or to correct? It’s not easy for most people to distinguish between discipline and abuse, especially if it’s subtle or they aren’t there to see it firsthand. It can also be hard for some to recognize when the line is crossed from discipline to degradation, intimidation, humiliation and even physical abuse!

Remember that bullying teachers mostly commit their cruelty toward the TS in the privacy of their own classrooms, where only the other kids in the class witness the abuse. They aren’t likely to do it beyond the confines of the school and in most cases, if the TS or parent reports the bullying, the school sides with the teacher and allows the abuse to continue.

Abusive words hurt on the wall

Because of the contagion effect that spreads throughout the classroom, the power imbalance, the lack of support and protection, and the powerlessness to rectify the issue, the TS often feels a huge sense of fear, helplessness and shame.

With a teacher who is a bully, the best thing you can do to protect and defend yourself is to keep a journal! Document everything- every incident in detail! Write down who, what, when, where and if possible, why! Understand that with a bully teacher, Documenting the abuse is the only recourse you have!
Also learn what you can from others who are or have been victims of this teacher’s abuse! Because you more than likely aren’t the only student she bullies. There surely were others before you, others bullied along with you, and there will likely be others after you. Because teachers who bully secretly get off on the power they wield over their target students. They will select another TS once you’re moved on.
And more importantly, know that none of the abuse you suffer is your fault! You are a great person no matter what!

Becoming a “Social Chameleon”: Another Defense Mechanism Some Victims Use

dreamstime_s_115961321.jpg

Fake it until you make it. When you’re a target of bullying, you learn very quickly to either blend in with the people around you or get eaten alive by bullies. Some victims learn self-monitoring and to rehearse everything they do and say. The mind equips itself with scripts for every situation and conversation. You pay very close attention to social cues and will mimic others behavior. It proves to be a useful skill. In short, victims of bullying can become social chameleons.

As you get older, you get better and better at acting, at getting people to like you, at impressing people you meet and at ingratiating yourself into all kinds of groups. Social Chameleons get so good at it that they can adapt themselves to any situation and to the moods of others without effort.

Often, victims of bullying learn to swing back and forth changing with their environment. They can be the life of the party or quiet and reserved. They can be introverted, extroverted, funny, charismatic, relaxed, wild, emotional, or stoic. When you learn to detect the moods of others, you adapt yourself to match those moods.

Understand that targets and former targets of bullying do this out of survival instinct. We become masters of deception and of cooling the anger of others in social situations gone wrong. Depending on the situation or people around us, we present different versions of ourselves and become experts at blending in and being accepted. We become highly self-aware and good at reading the emotions and nonverbal cues of others, adapt to them and polish our self-presentations.

It becomes so ingrained and natural to us that we don’t even know we’re doing it. Many targets of bullying are bullied in school but are later able to get along with anybody and are exceptionally well-liked as adults. I have done this myself.

dreamstime_xs_36050680

This is how we ensure we’re never again bullied. This is how we get people to like us. We know too well what not to do or say. The key to being successful at this is to not realize you’re doing it! Any conscious effort, on the other hand, comes off as contrived.

We’ve practiced this for so long that we’ve become intuitively attuned to other’s responses to us and are constantly adapting our behavior when we feel we aren’t making the right impression. We keep a few good saves in our back pocket just in case a social situation goes awry. And we do this so well we instinctively know what’s expected of us before we make a social move. We become uber successful at making good impressions in social encounters with total strangers and in business.
Our personalities become so fluid and unpredictable that we emit an air of mystery that intrigues others, which only adds to our attractiveness. However, this comes at a very high cost!

For me, being a social chameleon got exhausting and I chose to dial that down a few notches. I’ve found that it is much more relaxing to be myself and not to give a crap what others think.

Not only is being a social chameleon tiring, the knowing that you weren’t true to your heart and your core beliefs and convictions leaves you feeling as if you sold your soul to the devil! It leaves an emptiness inside you that you can’t fill unless you start being your authentic self.

It’s much better to be yourself and to stand up for what you believe in. You may make a few enemies but it’s much better than living with being a fraud and I’d much rather have a few people who don’t like me than to give up my identity and my authenticity!

So be yourself and be comfortable in your own skin! Embrace all your imperfections, because we all have them. Give yourself permission to say no and to voice an opinion some may not like. Because to be yourself is freedom!

Anytime Someone Tells You That You Won’t Amount to Anything, What They’re Really Saying is That They’re Afraid That You Will.

bullyingpnt

There’s a reason why some people seem to go out of their way to bring you down, rain on your parade, trash your dreams. Think about it. How many happy people who are satisfied with their own lives do you see sitting or standing around putting others down?

I thought so.

If you have a person or group of people in your life who are constantly bombarding you with insults, horrible names and telling you that you will never amount to anything, reach your goals, achieve your dreams, etc., it’s because they aren’t happy with their own lives. They’re only putting you down to keep from feeling so miserable about themselves and look bigger to others. And although that’s true, there’s yet a much deeper reason:

Those people are deathly afraid that you will amount to something, that you’ll become successful- more successful than them. Even worse? You’ll prove them all wrong and force them to peddle back and eat every word that came out of their mouths.

Let’s face it. Crow doesn’t sound like a delicious dish. No one likes to be shown up, but even worse, people hate it when the person they thought was less-than and would never be anyone reaches success. Why? Because when the perceived underdog shows everyone up, he only exposes those who made themselves out to be the overdogs by highlighting the inferiority that they so desperately tried to hide.

Man scolding himself in a mirror

Anytime you become a winner despite the people who tried to keep you down; you remind those haters, bullies, and naysayers of everything they didn’t or couldn’t do and of everything, they never could and will never be. It is as if you held a mirror up to them and shown them their nude reflections- reflections which included the ugly and downright disgusting parts of themselves they never wanted to see. Most don’t like to see themselves naked for all the cellulite, dimples and bumps of fat.
It’s the same with seeing their true personalities. Your success exposes the laziness and mediocrity they’ve been so comfy and content with living in, yet tried to conceal.

Jealous Girls

“Who do you think you are! I labeled you as a loser, and you didn’t live up to that! How dare you!”

That’s precisely what your bullies from high school will think when you reach your star! I promise you! Trust me when I say that bullies aren’t happy people, though they pretend to be. At their core, bullies are miserable, bitter and afraid.
You see bullies have to make someone else a target so that they won’t become targets themselves. They put you down to hide or distract others from their shortcomings. They must find someone they perceive to be weaker than themselves to degrade in order to take the negative focus off them. Your accolades only put the spotlight right back on them. It’s why they’ve tried to keep you down for so long, and it took a lot of work for them to do it, which brings me to another point; nobody likes the thought of wasted effort.

As long as you’re winning at life, bullies can’t touch you. When you succeed in life, you unwittingly put your bullies in the hot seat because you force them to look like the utter fools they are. You force them to deal with a truth they don’t want to realize. And that truth is that all along, you’ve always had it in you to reach your goals and live a prosperous life.

So, no matter what people say, no matter how others treat you, never lose sight of your worth or your goals!

You are worth fighting for! You are worth living for!

Special Education Kids Are a Bully’s Favorite Targets

Special education words on cork

Why? Because, sadly, these particular targets are the most vulnerable and least valued students in most schools. They are virtually defenseless. The heartbreaking truth is that nine times out of ten, the rest of the student body and even the school staff do not see these innocent kids as human beings.

Should it be any wonder bullies prey on sped students the most? It’s because bullies are great big cowards and all too often, these children are unwilling or unable to defend themselves properly. Because students in special education are usually low on social intelligence, they’re easy to get a reaction from and bullies can exploit this at will.

I cannot count the times I’ve seen a bully go up to a sped student, snatch something away from them to get a little free entertainment, then as soon as the child started crying or screaming, the bully said, “Oops! Oh, I’m sorry. Here ya go!” and give the item back as soon as they got the desired reaction out of the poor kid.

Even worse, I’ve also heard gut-wrenching stories of other teachers bullying those in the special ed program. I also witnessed it firsthand during high school when a sped girl in the lunch line just a few heads in front of me was laughed at and mocked by a group of cliquey teachers. Mind you. These women were supposed to be adults!

I saw how these teachers would look down their noses at this child and how they laughed at her, making her the butt of their cruel jokes. I also heard the mean-spirited comments. The teachers remarked about how this poor girl would never find a job nor contribute anything to society. They concluded that she would only be a drain on the taxpayers’ money once she got out of school.

cute girl in wheelchair playing with developing toy in kindergarten for children with special needs

I have to tell you. Just listening to those remarks made me sick to my stomach! How I wish I’d had the guts to stand up for her when it happened! However, I was only seventeen and a student myself at the time, and I was just thankful that those cackling old shrews weren’t spewing any of their venomous wisecracks on me. Pure prejudice and discrimination were what this was!

Granted, not all mainstream teachers are this way. Most are very caring people who only want to help kids get the best start in life. However, it seems that every school has that one group of about four to five teachers who are cliquey, mean-spirited and who think they’re above anyone else. Every school has those and they are usually the ones who not only mistreat the lunch ladies, custodians, and teachers who aren’t members of their little circle, they also mistreat sped students and sped teachers. And it’s a crying shame!

We must take off the blinders and admit that most (not all) schools and school districts don’t value students in the special education program as they do students in the regular classes. No, wait! Let’s be point-blank here. Most schools are plain biased against these kids; only they would never in this lifetime admit it. And bullies instinctively know this. They know that sped kids aren’t worth much in the minds of school officials and the least protected, which is why they torment these children without fear.

Understand that bullies are the most disgusting, most vile and most cowardly of people. To a bully, harassing a special ed child is like taking candy from a baby. It’s just too darned easy! Bullies are threatened by anyone who is a challenge and would never risk picking on anyone who had all their facilities and could take them on. So they focus on the kids they perceive to be the weakest and most vulnerable. The teachers who bully these kids are no better than the snot-nosed bullies who do it, they’ve only grown bigger. Adults should know better!

It’s high time we passed laws to give students in Special Education better protections!