Many targets of bullying have had their voices stolen from them. They’re intimidated into keeping silent while others abuse and take advantage of them.
But you can’t bite your tongue forever because it will eventually come spewing out. You will snap and the stress will be as lava pouring out of an erupting volcano. This will become a vicious cycle.
Here’s how it progresses:
The target is calm, and people see this calmness as a weakness. Bullies began to notice how laid back the target is and presume that if they violate his boundaries, there will be no consequences. So, the abuse starts subtly at first- so subtly that the victim doesn’t even notice he’s being abused.
1.Bullies and bystanders: “We’re sorry we forgot to send you an invite to the party Saturday night.”
Target: “That’s okay. Maybe next time.”
Target is mildly stressed.
What the target thinks: “Really? You’re sorry? That’s the fourth time already.”
2. Bullies and bystanders: “You’re such a loser! When are you going to realize that and change your ways?”
Target: “I’m sorry. I don’t want any trouble with you guys.”
Target is angry but manages to hide it.
What the target thinks: “I’m not a loser! I wish you’d go somewhere else and leave me alone.”
3. Bullies and bystanders: “Can’t you do anything right? What the hell is wrong with you?”
Target: “What the hell did I do to you?”
Target is very angry but still manages to stuff it down and bury it.
Bullies and bystanders: ”Just forget it!”
What the target thinks: “No! You brought it up! Now let’s finish it!”
4. Bystander: “How are you?”
Target is angry and depressed.
Target: “I’m fine”
What the target thinks: I’m angry and depressed, thanks to you!”
5. Bullies and bystanders: “You’re so weak! We’re going to destroy you!”
Target is anxious, furious, and upset.
Target: “Why are you doing this to me? What have I ever done to any of you?”
What the target thinks: “I’ve had enough of your bullsh** and I’m about to go off on all of you! Now back the hell up!”
6. Bullies and bystanders: “Come here! We want to talk to you!”
Target is enraged. And can’t hold back any longer. This is the last straw.
Target: “(Yells) Go f*** yourselves! I have nothing to say to any of you! Now get the f*** out of here and don’t come back! I’m sick of you!”
What the target thinks: “Oh my God! This is so out of character for me! What’s happening to me!”
Bullies and bystanders: “Oh my God! Here we go again! He’s going crazy! He’s lost it! See! I told you he was a nutcase! See? He’s going off his rocker again! Hahahaha!”
And the bullying escalates because the target showed his ugly side and dared to respond to the bullies and their audience in kind. Now, people are using the target’s perfectly justified and normal human reaction to demonize him and make him look as if he’s mentally unstable.
This is why targets must speak out when the bullying first begins. I can’t stress this enough. Realize that these scenarios represent a pattern with bullies and their followers.
Bullies will push you and push you. They will keep digging at you until you snap on them. Then once you bite back, everyone is suddenly offended, and you are deemed the bad guy!
I want you to understand that this is all a part of the bully’s playbook. The more you know, the better you can predict their behavior, and the more you’ll be able to beat these monsters at their own game.