“It’s okay to dislike someone or even to dislike someone for no reason. But it’s not okay to disrespect, degrade or humiliate that person.”
~ Unknown ~
“It’s okay to dislike someone or even to dislike someone for no reason. But it’s not okay to disrespect, degrade or humiliate that person.”
~ Unknown ~
Bullying, especially of the psychological and emotional variety, is difficult to prove to people in authority who are in a position to help the target. There are several reasons for this:
1. Bullies are Master Seducers (Charmers). Bullies are charming to the right people. When the victim finally gets sick of the harassment and reports the bullying, and when the bully is questioned by authority, the bully will often charm those in power. Other weapons used to charm and influence teachers, principals, and supervisors are high marks, excellent grades, and class/work performance.
Bullies can also use good looks, impeccable dressing, and grooming to seduce others. Called the halo effect, this is a phenomenon where those who look the best are the most trusted and respected by others.
2. Bullies are Convincing Liars and Actors. – They have a flair for spreading the most convincing rumors and lies. Bullies do this to convince others not to associate with the victim. Therefore, the target loses support and has no one to turn to for help.
Because the victim often reacts out of emotion and the bully puts on a calm and collected demeanor, people in authority will almost always side with the bully because of this false coolness the bully displays.
The bully points out the target’s perfectly normal emotional reaction and twists everything to convince everyone of the target’s guilt and that the victim is unstable, crazy, overly dramatic, or too sensitive. The bully will also feign victimhood by bursting into tears, which is all designed to shift the blame onto the victim and persuade anyone in authority to take his/her (the bully’s) side.
The most seasoned bullies are also master wordsmiths who can explain away and rationalize any bad behavior. They can spin a story that is so convincing that teachers and supervisors will find it hard not to believe it. In the end, the target gets the blame, and either those in authority refuse to discipline the bully or they punish the victim instead.
3. Documenting (or Journaling) offers the disgraced target a voice, enabling them to have a say when no one else is listening. – As stated, the target often gets the blame when he/she reports harassment to the people who can help them. By documenting the abuse, the victim can tell their side without being ignored or having their experiences trivialized by the bully or anyone else.
4. Documenting offers Victims a Legal Record of the Bullying. – In case the bully hurts the target badly enough to require medical attention or worse, a plaintiff can use the journal as proof in court, should the victim or the family pursue legal action. Documentation is admissible in court.
5. Documenting is very cathartic and therapeutic.– It allows the victim to express the emotions they could never show any other way. Journals cannot trivialize the target’s experiences, nor can they invalidate the victim in any way. Journals are also confidential. They cannot go to the bullies nor anyone else and repeat what the victim tells them.
These are the reasons you absolutely must document every day about what you are put through. When you document, be sure to include who the bullies are (full names and if necessary, titles and positions), where each incident happened (school locker room, gym, bathroom at work, etc.), the names of any bystanders and teachers/supervisors present, the exact time and date the incident happened, what happened, what was said and by whom. Also, if possible, write down why it happened (was the bully retaliating because you reported prior harassment?). Write down every detail!
If you have tried telling a staff member or your parents about how classmates or coworkers bully you, only to be silenced or blamed- if no one will listen or offer support, you owe it to yourself to always document the harassment in your daily journal.
You want to document every day to establish a pattern of bullying and abuse. It was how I survived those six long years of being bullied in school. It was the only outlet I had. I can attest to you that if I hadn’t documented everything in my journal every single day, I might not be alive today. When I began keeping a written record during the eighth grade, it was freeing, and I felt as if I were finally having my say.
So, if you can’t talk about it, write about it!
Which is only proof that bullies are the biggest cowards in the world! Why? Because 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 and disabled adults the most? Again! Bullies are cowards! They select special needs kids to bully because 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 during school, that I saw 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.
Adult bullies in the workplace will also target employees with disabilities as well.
In the workplace, I saw many adult bullies harass and attack fellow employees who were disabled. Those were the employees I felt compelled to stick up for. Many times, I’d make myself a target at work just by speaking up for a disabled employee.
Even worse, I’ve also heard gut-wrenching stories of other teachers in schools 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.
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, Not only did I know to keep my mouth shut because- well, these bullies were teachers.
But I was also 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. It’s the same with workplaces- they don’t put as much value in their disabled employees as they do everyone else.
And bullies instinctively know this. They know that sped kids and employees with disabilities aren’t worth much in the minds of school officials and managers and are the least protected,
This is why they torment these people without fear.
Understand that bullies are the most disgusting, most vile, and most cowardly of people. To a bully, harassing a special ed child or disabled adult 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 people 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. And the same with managers. Adults should know better!
And managers should realize that in most cases, disabled employees are the most observant and obedient of policies and rules and the most dedicated workers.
It’s high time we passed laws to give disabled employees and students in Special Education better protections!
“If people throw stones at you, then pick them up and build something.”
~ Unknown ~
“In order to insult me, I must first value your opinion. Nice try though!”
~ T-Ronn Hicks ~
It’s a shame I didn’t realize this nugget of truth when I was young, but it’s true! When we value someone’s opinion of us, we’re naturally going to be hurt, angry, upset, insulted; if their opinions of you aren’t favorable.
The people who we consider important and can help to grow and shape us into better human beings- those who lift us up, help us to feel better about ourselves and encourage us to reach our goals (our families, friends, best teachers, mentors, and supervisors) are those whose opinions we should value.
On the other hand, if we don’t consider certain people important, we will not give value to their opinions. Also, there are people who do not deserve to have their opinions valued by us and those people are those who hurt or abuse us.
Bullies are such people.
I want you to understand that if a person hurts you physically, emotionally, psychologically or socially; any opinions that person has of you hold no value and should be considered null and void!
That person should be of no importance to you whatsoever because they can bring absolutely no good to you or your life!
You should only value the opinions of those who love and care about you and are down for your good and your advancement! Not of those who continually tear you down, wreck your self-esteem and belittle you. They should have zero significance to you.
It doesn’t matter if they are in a high position, the most popular person, have the most money, etc. If they consistently tear you down, they’re no good to you and you should just blow them and their opinions off, and keep going.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t assert yourself if someone violates your boundaries because you should!
However, don’t let it cause you to feel bad about yourself or love yourself any less. Blow off the petty put-downs of bullies, because more than likely the insults they spew have no merit in the first place!
I know it’s not easy. Believe me. I’ve been there. It took too many years for me to finally realize this important rule of life but I’m glad I finally did. Better late than never.
But I want you to know that you can do it. How you give these leaches to your confidence the boot is to avoid them as much as possible and only keep company with the people who have your best at heart.
You will know who these people are. Your gut will tell you. So, listen to that gut instinct and pay attention to the vibes others around you put out!
I guarantee you that you will thank yourself later!
Yes, they can. There are many things targets can do to protect their social lives. Understand that social damage equals emotional pain. So, it’s essential that you do everything possible to protect your social life because when you do, you automatically protect your emotional health as well.
“But how do you forge new relationships and social networks elsewhere?” You ask.
An adult may be ostracized at his workplace but may join the American Legion, a Freemasonry group, or a church and find wonderful friends and a network of support in those places. The target may also advocate for a cause, take an art class, or join a music club.
Just don’t tell anyone what you’re going through at school or at work. That stays where it belongs, in the bullying environment. Take time for them to get to know you. The only places that will be appropriate to bring up what’s happening at work are religious and therapy groups. But feel everyone out first. The goal is not to find a place to dump all your problems, but to find one where you’re valued and respected.
“People will tear you down, but it’s up to you to build yourself back up.”
~ Cherie White ~
In the last post, we stopped at the chest and shoulders. This post covers the rest of the body.
Arms- Akimbo. The arms of a bully are often akimbo (elbows out, hands on the hips, thumbs forward).
This makes the bully appear bigger and more powerful. This is also used to intimidate any opponent and show power and superiority.
To ward off bullies, stand with power, and send the message that you won’t be a victim.
Crossed Arms. When coupled with the jutted chin, bullies will also cross their arms anytime they’re facing someone. Crossed arms are not only a sign of superiority and power, but they are also considered closed body language because when a bully crosses his arms when facing their opponent, they are “closed” to anything the other person has to say.
Note that victims will also cross their arms in intimidation when confronted by a bully. However, the difference is that instead of using the jutted chin, a victim will lower the head, hide the neck, and slouch.
This is where paying attention to clustered body language comes in. To keep bullies away, never slouch, lower the head nor hide the neck. Always look confident!
Hands- The Clenching Fists. The bully will often clench their fists when they want to physically attack their opponent. Always see this as a sign the person wants to harm you and be ready in case they do.
Mid-Section- The Crotch Expose. This is done mostly by boys and men. Although it is a sign of sexual interest in a potential mate, it can also be used to intimidate and for dominance and power.
Trust me. You’ll know the difference. If you are male, return the sentiment. If you are female and this is used by a male bully for intimidation, either stand facing the bully with your feet apart and hands on your hips and challenge him with a glare or give him a dismissive look and walk away.
Legs- Legs Apart. Most bullies stand with their feet shoulder-width apart to appear bigger and more powerful. Confident people also stand this way.
Therefore, if you want to appear confident and ward off bullies, this is how you should stand.
There’s also The Dominant Leg Backstep. This is when the bully steps back with their dominant leg. Boxers in the ring do this just before putting up their dukes! If you see the bully step back with one leg, be prepared to fight!
Feet- The Toe Point. Again, you must pay attention to the whole body to get an accurate reading. The toes always point to where the person wants to go.
If a person likes you and enjoys your company, their toes will always point in your direction. If the person doesn’t like you or is afraid of you, they will want to get away from you and their toes will always point away from you.
However, if a bully wants to attack you, their toes will also point in your direction. You’ll know the difference by the other cues their body will give you.
It pays to observe!
Eyes- That Creepy Piercing Glare. The eyebrows narrow and the eyes bore into you without blinking. The head does not move. The person stares you down as if they want to attack you.
Bullies do this number to either challenge or intimidate their targets. Return the stare and the bully will likely go away.
Nose- The Nostril Flare. You’ve seen the nostrils of a bull flare when the animal is about to charge a matador. It’s the same with bullies. The nostrils flare to take in extra oxygen needed for a possible physical attack.
When a bully does this, he’s hostile. When a person’s nostrils flare at you, look out! Because it is a sign the bully is about to physically attack you. Keep your eyes peeled and be prepared to defend yourself.
Jaw- The Jaw Clinch. The bully is gritting his teeth at the target and hiding it. When this happens, you’ll notice the jaws protruding.
The bully either pulls this move to intimidate or in preparation for a fight. Again, this is a sign of a possible physical attack. Don’t ignore. Stay vigilant.
Mouth- There are many expressions bullies use with their mouths. One of which is, The One-Sided Upper-Lip Raise. Coupled with a glare, People raise one side of their upper lip to convey contempt or disgust. Return the sentiment and the bully will likely move away.
Thinned or Pursed Lips are a sign of hostility as are baring of the teeth or snarling. Again, return the expression but be prepared.
Chin- The Jutted Chin. The bully tilts the head back and juts his chin forward all for the purpose of looking down his nose at you.
When the bully does this, he is either challenging you, trying to intimidate you, or he truly thinks he’s superior. Again, return the sentiment and the bully will back down.
Neck- The Exposed Neck. The bully will expose and lengthen the neck to challenge you. People do this to show that they aren’t afraid of the person in front of them and can hold their own if necessary.
Bullies do it to make themselves appear taller and to intimidate anyone in their way. Again, reflect the gesture back to the bully and he’ll likely leave you alone.
Shoulders- The Shoulder Throw. Bullies will often throw their shoulders back to convey confidence and power.
If you want to appear confident, never slouch the shoulders, always stand up straight, tall, and with your shoulders back.
Chest- The Puffed-Out Chest. The bully’s chest puffs outward toward the target. The chest fills with extra air in preparation for a possible fight.
Again, this is not only done to make the bully look bigger and to intimate his opponent but also a sign of a coming physical attack. Be aware.
(To be continued in Part 2)
Knowledge is power! It’s also another way to take the sting out of bullying. We must first know the bullies’ inner workings- how they think, what they deem essential, their desires, and what it is that motivates them to bully.
We must also know the types of bullies we are dealing with, the tactics they love to use against us, and why. Because when we understand what motivates bullies to bully, not only are we better able to build a strategy to defuse the situation, but this knowledge can be a buffer to the effects of bullying on our self-esteem and our psyches.
For example: If a classmate or coworker is bullying me, and I know that her best friend has recently kicked her to the curb, or that she is going through a horrible break-up or divorce, that maybe she is being abused at home, or someone else is bullying her, I can at least know that there’s a strong possibility that she is trying to bring me down solely to keep from feeling so powerless herself, rather than to be fooled into thinking that her behavior is because there is something wrong with me.
I then know without a doubt that her mistreatment of me comes from a place of her insecurity and that her belittling me is only a desperate attempt to feel some sense of power. Therefore, I know that I’m still a great person and my self-esteem remains unscathed.
Also, it would help to quell any anger, hatred, or resentment I might otherwise feel towards her. Instead, I will more than likely feel pity for her or even feel vindicated in some way. Any future bullying she might subject me to won’t bother me as much, which will make it much easier for me to blow her off as being just another blowhard and not as perfect or strong as she has vigorously tried to make herself out to be.
Combined, this can be a real self-esteem booster!
Another example would be if my bully were a narcissistic psycho/sociopath, I’d know that her ego is puffed up or she’s a spoiled, coddled brat, or maybe mistreated in the past that she thinks she’s owed special treatment. Either way, I’d know that it would probably be best to avoid her like the plague and go completely no-contact.
Here’s the third example: If I have a group of people who are bullying me because they are jealous of me and wish they had something I possess- talents, gifts, relationships, material things, etc, I know that I should feel great about myself as if only goes to show that these bullies actually admire me (in their way) or the things about me they covet so much.
This article may sound strange, even delusional, but think about it. Why else would these people seemingly go out of their way to belittle and crush my confidence?
It helps to know what the bullies may be going through in their own lives and to have a little intel about their lives away from school and work. There’s nothing wrong with aligning yourself with other people your bully has bullied before you and with your bully’s enemies.
There’s nothing wrong with getting some counterintelligence from reliable sources if it will protect your self-esteem from being crushed under the proverbial bootheel of a bully! So, do a little spying, nonchalantly get their enemies and other victims to talk!
Doing this will be a piece of cake to do as they will almost certainly be too happy to give up the deets! Then, you will be armed to the teeth will info that will take the wind out of the bullies’ sales and the blunt force out of their attacks.
The more you know, the better you protect yourself!