Bullying throws a target into survival mode. If a situation is threatening and there’s no escaping it, the victim will often find ways of coping. And some of those coping mechanisms aren’t good ones. Anytime we’re stuck in a toxic environment, we become desperate and do things we usually wouldn’t do to either escape or for relief. Here are a few things I did wrong.
- I bullied kids I thought were weaker than I was. Today, I look back on this with great remorse, and I have apologized to those I hurt. It’s not something I’m proud of. Because I felt so powerless, I bullied others to feel more powerful. But a reason never equals an excuse.
- I faked like I was sick so that I could go home from school early. Many of my classmates and a few teachers accused me of wanting attention or to skip class. Far from it! I faked an illness because I wanted an excuse to get the hell out of there and away from the bullies. Back then, there was no internet, so if I left early, I could get a reprieve from the bullying I was suffering and not have to deal with my classmates nor see their faces.
I just wanted to get out of that snake pit and go home—nothing more, nothing less. And I would do anything- anything to make that happen. Back then, the ends justified the means.
- I resorted to deception, con games, and trickery. Oh, yes! I was a master manipulator! I made it look like I was pregnant in the seventh grade to trick my classmates into leaving me alone and not physically attacking me. I did this by going to school dressed in bigger clothes I’d found put away in a box at a family member’s house. I didn’t come out and tell them, only made the excuse that I’d gained a few pounds. They didn’t believe it, which was precisely what I was counting on.
I made my classmates wonder a while, letting their curiosity build and making them continue asking if I was pregnant until I very sarcastically told them I was and walked away snickering under my breath. Sure enough, just as I’d known they would, they took it literally and ran with it. Once word had gotten around, everyone left me alone. It worked for a while, and the joke was on them.
And I knew that if they found out I wasn’t pregnant, I could turn it back on them and say,
“Awwww, no! I didn’t lie about that! Are you so stupid that you don’t know sarcasm when you hear it? Boy, you’re a bunch of freaking morons!”
Needless to say, they were furious because they knew I’d tricked them, and the bullying escalated exponentially.
- I instigated fights between others. And not only because I was jealous of other’s friendships, but because I knew that if I could stir the shit pot a little, sow a little discord, and keep some of them fighting among themselves, I could take the spotlight off me, fly under their radar and get a short break from the bullying. As long as they were at each other’s throats, they’d leave me alone, and that was the way I wanted it.
These were not my finest moments, but this goes to show that sometimes, targets resort to being sneaky and a bit underhanded to stay out of harm’s way. So, if you know a kid who seems to be a pathological liar, manipulator, and a sneak, you might want to do a little investigative work to figure out why. The young man or lady might be in survival mode. Using trickery and deception may be the only way they feel they can ensure their safety.
Lovingly explain to them that the way they’re handling it is not the right way and suggest better ways. Also, explain the importance of being yourself and being true to your beliefs and convictions. They may or may not listen, but your message won’t go unheard.