I cannot count the times I was advised by both family members and teachers to “just ignore them.” – to ignore my bullies and their guff. However, when I took that advice, I found out that it only made the situation worse.
They only escalated their attacks. Ignoring bullies is a slap in the face to them because they’re about taking power any way they can. When you ignore them, you proverbially thumb your nose at them. You send them the message that you refuse to bow down to them or let them scare you. This is not a bad thing, don’t get me wrong. You’re handling it the best way you can and that makes you the better person.
But the problem is that when you ignore the bullies, one of two things happen:
1. It only infuriates the bullies. They become much more determined to “get you.” And they won’t stop until they do. I want you to realize that if bullies can’t get any reaction out of you, they will push you and push you until you snap. They will then claim that you are mentally imbalanced. Or they might physically attack you.
2. Bullies mistake your ignoring them for fear. Bullies are like a pack of wolves. If they even think they smell fear, look out! Anytime bullies think you’re afraid of them, they know they have you and they move in for the kill. They’ll bully just for fun and the power rush they get from your (perceived) fear. And they won’t stop because they won’t be able to get enough of that power high. Understand that the high they get is no different than a drug. Once they’re addicted to bullying you, they’ll always come back when that rush wears off and they need another fix.
It’s much better to stand up to them and set boundaries from the start. Never let it go one for long without asserting yourself. Look the bullies in the eyes and tell them in no uncertain terms that you’re the wrong one and that you won’t tolerate their crap. If you take a stand right when the harassment begins, chances are good that they’ll back off and go find someone else to jerk around.
With knowledge comes empowerment!