With the Horns Effect, teachers are less patient with a bullied student who asks questions in class or for help with an assignment. Thus the target of bullying won’t learn as much, won’t work hard, and won’t make very high grades, which will only activate the teacher’s confirmation bias and reinforce her opinion of the poor kid, that the kid is lazy, good for nothing and a crappy student.
If you’re a target of your peers and under the thumb of the Horns Effect, others in your school, workplace, or community begin to see you as a terrible person and block any opportunities for friendships, relationships, and success as word travels quickly.
Anytime you’re bullied and feel you can’t do anything right by anyone, you can bet that you’re on the receiving end of The Horns Effect.
It doesn’t matter whether or not people’s hatred of you is deserved. The Horns Effect mars everyone’s interactions with you, and you feel like you’re banging your head against a brick wall in trying to get anywhere with people.
And because the target, who has been mistreated, is unhappy, miserable, depressed and angry (and who wouldn’t be under those circumstances?), everyone who already hates the target feels justified in their hatred.
Sadly, once the Horn Effect takes hold and people form an image of the target, it’s almost impossible to change. No matter what or how many good deeds she does, or how kind she is to others, her good actions will only be seen as a ploy to kiss-up to, fool and manipulate people.
Understand that The Horns Effect is what bullies count on. And once the bullies complete their agenda of destroying you and your reputation, The Horns Affect will automatically come into play.
(The Horns Effect- the tendency to see one bad thing in a person and believe that everything about that person is bad).
It’s tough to get others to change their first impressions of you. It can be done but it takes a truckload of patience and consistency. It also takes a certain amount of pointing out your good qualities, hard work and successes to people, which can backfire if you aren’t careful. People will only think you’re an arrogant blowhard.
Realize that any effort to effect change may do no good or make the situation worse. Because people naturally base their decisions and behavior on deeply hidden feelings, and their actions toward you are subconscious.
Most people are either too lazy or too full-of-themselves to do any critical thinking. When they hate you, they will rationalize any hateful behavior and search for clues in you to confirm that their attitude, feelings and subsequent actions and behavior toward you are justified.
Teachers will often grade student’s papers based on their biases. In other words, they rank a student’s essay based on how they perceive that student. If a teacher sees a student be a low performer and lazy, they’ll grade that paper through the lens of expectation of a lazy, no good student who does poorly.
People don’t judge you from what’s actually there; they judge you from what they expect to be there. If people expect trouble to come from a particular place, then that’s where they’re going to look, which brings me back to the subject. If people don’t like one thing about you, the chances are that they won’t like anything else about you, good or bad.
Most ideas don’t stand on their own merits. People judge ideas based on who they came from.
The Horns and Halo Effects have a way of clouding people’s judgment of a person. People will make irrational beliefs because they believe that the existence of one bad trait means that there’s a presence of another bad quality.
Any time you are under the shadow of The Horns Effect, anything you say, accomplish, create or do is automatically dismissed without consideration of whether it’s genuine.
No matter who said it or did it, it’s either genuine or it isn’t, based on its own merit. It is what it is, no matter who it came from. A good idea is a good idea, even if it comes from the town whore. A bad idea is a bad idea, even if it came from a pastor’s wife.
Unfortunately, you have little control over other’s perceptions and opinions of you. However, there are a few things you can do, which is to take care of yourself and do the things you love most and that fulfill your soul. Also, lean on and draw closer to the people who love you.
This is how you keep the spell of The Horns Effect from trashing your self-esteem.