Most people who become targets of bullying are genuinely good-hearted, pure, and sweet-natured and would never dream of hurting another human being in any way.
Bullies, on the other hand, are consistently thinking up newer and more sophisticated ways to inflict harm on others. Their hunger for power is so that they have left a long line of victims in their wake and are always on the lookout for new targets.
The reason most good-natured people become targets of bullying is that bullies are notorious for taking kindness for weakness. Sadly, to protect yourself from becoming the next target requires that you adapt the bully mindset. You must think as they do but not act as they do.
I realize this can be difficult because the mind of a bully isn’t a pleasant place to be. It’s downright ugly!
Another sad truth is that to think as a bully takes a certain degree of identifying with the person to be able to predict what they will most likely do next. And if you can figure out what their next move will be, you can stay a few steps ahead of the bully and protect yourself.
Though it won’t be easy, as the mind of a bully can be a real cesspool, sometimes you must wade through a ton of crap to keep yourself safe and your name and reputation clean.
Shelly (not her real name) had been one of my most vicious of bullies during school. Every time we passed one another in the halls, at a ballgame, anywhere and we would not hesitate to exchange nasty sentiments as we passed, “Bitch!”, “Whore!”, “Skank!”. Thinking up ways to degrade and slut-shame each other was always top priority during these little meetings.
Fast-forward twenty years, in late 2007, I went to a karaoke show, which was held in the Moose Lodge club on the outskirts of town to celebrate my recently having the courage to break off what had been a 2 1/2 year long abusive relationship. I truly had not known my own strength until this point and I was ready for a fun girl’s night out.
When I arrived at the Moose Lodge with a few friends in tow, the first word I heard was, “Oh my God! Not that bitch!” Honestly, I thought the verbal assault was directed at someone else until I looked up and saw her. There Shelly stood, pool cue in one hand, the other hand resting on her boyfriend’s back as her eyes and brows narrowed into little slits in her face and bore into me like a sharp object.
I had not seen her in so many years and wondered how it was that she’d managed to drag around so much hate for so many years when I had completely forgotten about her amid juggling bills, a job and family and other adult priorities. I’d soon learn that that night, Shelly was going through the lowest point in her life. Life hadn’t been kind to her.
It seemed that on her part, even twenty years, marriages and children hadn’t been enough to erase the teenage animosity she still held. We lived in a small Southern town and in small Southern towns, very few people ever forget the past and it’s very easy for the reputation you once had in your teens to follow you for the rest of your life. Sadly, this is how it is in a small town.
Having always loved music and had vocal talent, I got up and sang one of my favorite songs and everyone cheered once I was finished. After I sat down, Shelly sat down beside me and was very impressed with my performance. She told me that she admired my voice and that she’d always known I could sing but didn’t know I was that good. At first, I was flabbergasted. This was the first positive remark I’d heard from her but nevertheless, I was grateful.
I smiled and gave her a gracious “Thank you. It’s good to see you again after all these years.”
We continued to talk and she took some pictures out of her purse to show me. Pictures of what was her talent- woodwork and paintings, the most beautiful work I’d ever seen. This lady was very talented and I couldn’t or wouldn’t deny it. I truly loved her work and could not stop looking at those pictures and complimenting her. She truly was an expert at woodworking and oil painting.
It was at that point that the dynamics of our relationship changed for the better. We exchanged phone numbers and soon began calling each other and texting cute little funnies back and forth. Then we began to invite each other to family outings, cookouts and meetings in town for lunch.
We soon became the greatest of friends and I grew to truly love this lady. We would often talk about how we missed out on what could have been a wonderful friendship years ago. But since the past cannot be changed, we are content to go from the present and make our friendship as fun and drama-free as possible.
The moral of this story is this: It is always possible to turn a bully or enemy into a friend. Nothing is impossible. All it takes is to break down that wall and show the other person genuine interest. Everybody loves it when you are interested in them, their likes, and how things are going in their lives. Even the coldest and meanest of people.
As humans, we all have a certain degree of selfishness. We all want the same things- to be loved, appreciated and respected. Everybody also has a void, waiting to be filled and if we can fill the void- whether it’s by making the person feel loved and respected or giving the person some sense of who they are and where they belong, it can be the difference between gaining a friend or keeping an enemy.
Through our many talks, I found out that this poor lady, whom I thought was so cruel, yet totally in control and didn’t need anyone was really a girl who didn’t feel loved by anyone. She was just as sad as I was but had put on a tough exterior. Also, she had suffered incidences of bullying herself, though not as severe as I did, it still hurt her immensely.
Sadly, my beautiful friend Shelly passed away two years ago from Cancer. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her and think of her.
I’ll never forget that night at the karaoke club, the night Shelly and I became close friends. And we remained like sisters until the day she died.
By showing her genuine interest, without fakery, I was able to turn one of my most resistant bullies into one of my best friends.
Fly high, Shelly! Until we meet again on those golden streets!
Bullies never select targets at random. They always pick a possible target and size them up before they choose them.
Just as bank robbers will case a potential bank before they rob the place, bullies case (size up) any potential targets.
During the sizing up phase, bullies study their objects carefully to ferret out any weaknesses and imperfections, look for incongruencies between verbal and nonverbal communication (mismatches in words and gestures) and scan for any traces of fear.
You’ll know you’re being sized up for bullying when the person watches you closely while looking you up and down. Their eyes will go from your head to your feet, then back up to your head, and you’ll get an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach. You’ll feel that something ‘just isn’t right’ about this person. Trust those feelings and get rid of them! Fast!
Another sure-fire sign is that the bully will test you by throwing out a subtle insult or use sarcasm to see whether you catch it and what your reaction will be. If you quickly pick up on it and take control of the situation by calling the bully out or countering him/her by coming back with a cute, but scathing zinger of your own, you’ll stop the bully in their tracks, and they’ll likely decide you are worth the trouble, then move on to an easier target.
On the other hand, if their test remark goes over your head, you ignore the comment or react out of fear, you’ll likely become the bully’s new victim.
Always put a stop to it the first time it happens.
This can be as easy as saying, “I know what you’re doing and I don’t like it! Now get lost!”
Never let the mistreatment become a habit or pattern! Because once a pattern is set, it’ll be too late and any comebacks or means of defense will only bring retaliation and escalation of the bullying.
If you are being sized up by a bully, shut it down! Do or say something that will discourage the bully, then have no more to do with the creep.
The more you know, the better you protect yourself!
Often times we ran into people who are just jerks and are rude to random people. Just because a person is rude to us does not mean that they are bullying us.
Anyone, at any age, can become a target of bullying, and there is evidence that child and teen targets are more likely to grow up to be bullied adults. Some do not, I didn’t, but others do.
All bullies, regardless of age, deep down at their core are COWARDS!
The difference between child bullies and adult bullies is that the young bullies select targets who are weaker, smaller, mentally handicapped, or sick with a disease (Type 1 diabetics, childhood cancer patients, paraplegics, etc).
Adult bullies target people who are well-liked, outgoing, confident, and successful in their jobs or have successful marriages and family life. Adult bullies target people who have what they themselves want but feel they can’t have because they feel those people outshine them and are a threat to them.
With that being said, this has prompted me to talk about the subject and how one can overcome a hostile work environment. I believe that knowledge is power and without it, you may not what to do when an adult bully comes calling. So I feel that it is incumbent upon me to share my own knowledge, experience, and the tools I used to overcome a hostile work environment and come out virtually unscathed.
There is no age limit on bullying. It does not stop after high school graduation, nor does it stop at age 18, 21, 40, or even 60. If it did, there would be no assaults, murders, robberies, home invasions, or the like. And there wouldn’t be corporate or government corruption either.
The majority of employees will have at least one encounter with a workplace bully in their lifetime. So if you have never been the target of an ultra dominating and overbearing boss or coworkers, chances are that you will sometime in the future
After high school, I was fortunate to have never suffered bullying in the workplace until just a few years ago. For years, in the places I worked, I was usually the one who was well-liked by my supervisors and coworkers because I worked hard and did my best to treat everyone with respect. This is not to say that I didn’t run into a few dirtbags – smart-alecs, gossips, and trouble makers because I did.
But these people usually treated EVERYONE like dirt, not only me. Also, they were only a few and not liked by the rest of my coworkers. So these were NOT cases of bullying although I may have thought differently at the time. So how do we distinguish a case of bullying from incivility?
BULLYING – involves singling one person out of the whole of alumni, organization, company, or geographic population. It also involves repetition…repeated attacks against the same individual or group over a long period of time (usually from 3 weeks to several years). Also, others, even total strangers, are usually encouraged to join in.
Bullying is relentless. Bullying is a CAMPAIGN with a GOAL
It means destroying the target’s good name and standing in a community, relationships, family, career, finances, businesses and to ruin the target’s self-esteem and sense of security and well-being, to eventually ruin his/her life.
INCIVILITY – does not have any certain target.
People such as these don’t care who you are or where you come from. They just have personalities that suck and treat everyone in general like dirt. And they only insult you because they don’t want to be bothered, whereas a bully or bullies will actively pursue you and make it their mission in life just to destroy you. A dirtbag, on the other hand, will never put in the effort to pursue anyone.
INCIVILITY – is sporadic and random mistreatment against random people. It does not involve repetition and is not directed at any certain person or group.
BULLYING – is personal and there is always an agenda and vendetta behind it.
INCIVILITY – is not personal and there is no agenda nor vendetta.
The person is just a jerk. Everyone will experience incivility at times in their lives, even popular people. A dirtbag does not care who you are.
A dirtbag just doesn’t care…about anyone…period.
A dirtbag is afraid you might want something from him.
Hey! I’m just a teenager, with little experience (as my parents would say), bear with me…………you won’t regret :)) Since childhood we’ve been taught that results define an individual, no matter how much hard work you’ve done, if you don’t succeed at the end then you are considered as a loser, isn’t it? And as […]
And now, thanks to FVTV, more and more people know the truth. They know what really happened- more people than you ever thought would find out back when we were in school.
Even though I wasn’t out for revenge when I wrote the book, and therefore, had the common decency to conceal your real names and omit certain events that would’ve called you out for the devils you are, I consciously chose not to identify your sorry butts. So, go ahead, show some chutzpah. Get offended, get angry, talk smack, I don’t care.
‘You see? The thing you don’t realize is that by taking offense? By getting enraged, furious, and bent out of shape, you unwittingly called yourselves out! By opening your mouths, you exposed yourselves, and as I already knew you would! So, who’s the “retard” now?
I concealed your real names, which is more than what you deserved, yet you get your emotions so stirred up you end up telling off on yourselves! So, who are the stupid ones? Who are the dummies? Who are are the morons here?
Here’s the thing. If someone had written a book about me and exposed me and all my dirt, but changed the name? I would’ve been smart enough to zip my lips and not even let on that the book was about me!
I would’ve put on a poker face because I wouldn’t want anyone to know that I was one of the idiots who acted so immature back in the day! That I was one of the brutes that mistreated so horribly an innocent person, who back then, was powerless to defend herself! And here another newsflash, classmates! Today, bullies don’t get the glory and respect they got back in the ‘1980s? Mmmkay?
People look down on bullies nowadays!
And let me address the psychopaths who’ve sent me threatening and nasty messages off and on for the last three years. Heads up: I’ve both screenshotted and saved them all “just in case.” And I’ve already exposed one woman. Don’t be the next person I plaster all over the internet. Because I will, in essence, parade you naked before the eyes of the entire world.
And if anything does happen to me, anything at all, that book will be seen as a possible motive. Many, many people will come around, asking questions. And who do you think they’ll come to? Who do you think those people will want answers from? Are you willing to take that risk?
The entire class will be under a microscope, and everyone will know what the possibilities are. But that’s all it takes. Isn’t it, classmates?
One accusation. One offhand comment. One motive. The slightest suspicion. That’s it.
So, if you see me out anywhere, your best bet is to keep on walking. You stay away from me, I stay away from you, and everybody’s happy.