Targets and many survivors of bullying have self-esteems that have been repeatedly injured, and when one’s self-esteem is injured, sometimes they will have trouble making friends and attracting suitors for dates and romance.
This can be because of two things, the person either becomes angry because they feel they were judged unfairly, or they resign themselves as social failures and withdraw.
The anger helps to protect the target’s self-esteem. Moreover, the target’s anger is heightened due to having been programmed by bad life experiences to sometimes mistake comments for insults.
If it’s constructive criticism, the target may wonder if the person doing the criticizing is trying to help them or only trying to show them that they’re smarter or implying that he (the target) is stupid.
Many targets are bullied for so long that their social development has been stunted. Therefore, many targets and survivors may be successful in everything except relationships with others. This is because they’ve been made to believe that they’re unlovable and thus, don’t trust anyone else when they show them affection and profess love.
These people only see other people’s attempts at love and friendship as manipulation because it’s what they’ve come to expect.
Many targets and survivors of bullying are often looked at as standoffish, stuck-up, or snobbish because they feel safer keeping other people at arm’s length. Because of this arm’s-length approach to social situations, people see the target or survivor of bullying as being wrapped up in themselves when, in fact, they’re insecure because of mistreatment they endure.
The unspoken message from the person is “don’t get too close” and it comes from their fear of being rejected, hurt, and worse- bullied again. So, they put on a cool front to hide their nervousness.
On top of being bullied by peers, many targets and survivors have or have had a parent overcriticize and belittle them, which only doubles the insecurity. So, they find it much safer to overprotect themselves and build a wall to keep potential enemies out. They go out of their way to avoid exposing themselves to rejection, and thus, appear to others as cold and detached.
Like anyone else, targets and survivors desire love, and they have a bigger desire for it than most. However, their intense fear of being bullied blocks them from getting that love because to get love requires a degree of vulnerability.
Being able to enjoy friendship, love, and affection means letting down your guard and taking risks. Sadly, many targets and survivors are too afraid to lower their defenses.
If this post describes you, I want you to know that I completely understand because I’ve been right where you are now. However, I can’t stress enough the importance and necessity of putting yourself out there and taking the risk.
To see positive change, you must shed this protective armor if you want to attain the friendship and love you so desire. Because the self-protective measures that you have taken are exactly what is repelling others and keeping you isolated. Being aloof and distant may indeed feel safe, but it’s also self-defeating because it keeps love out.
So, step out in faith and I promise you that you will see change you never thought possible. You’ll have good friends who will love you for simply being you. Hey! It happened for me and it will happen for you too!