My grandmother once told me this: “Never. And I mean never let anyone get comfortable with abusing and mistreating you.”
She was right. By the time she gave me that little gold nugget of wisdom, it was already too late. I was in high school and had been a victim of bullying since moving to *Oakley School District in the sixth grade. But right then, I understood what my very wise grandmother meant and why she gave me that advice.
Here’s what Uma (what I called my maternal grandmother) had already known by being a people-watcher and very good at people-reading:
1. Once the mistreatment of a person has gone on for so long, the people around them get comfortable with mistreating that person. People grow so accustomed to being cruel to the target that they don’t even think about, nor do they care about how they hurt that person.
2. People come to expect the target the take the abuse without question, without talking back or talking about it, and without defending themselves. And when you finally do get tired of it and stand up to your persecutors, they won’t respect you for it. Because they’ve grown so accustomed to abusing you, they’ll only retaliate and do everything in their power to subdue you. You’ll be in a constant battle which will only wear you down and exhaust you.
3. You’ll come to be known as a pushover, a wimp- someone that is ripe for abuse. And once that label becomes iron-clad, it will be almost impossible to keep people from using you as a doormat.
Again, if a target firmly stands up to bad treatment in the early stages of being targeted, it’s more likely that others will respect his right to be treated well and either leave him alone or began treating him better.
Whereas, if the target lets the bullying go on for a long time, then begins to stand up for himself after getting fed up with being everyone’s doormat, others will more than likely be only angry and resentful of the person for daring to open his mouth about it. They will then double down in their abuse or either eliminate him somehow.
Once a person gets comfortable in mistreating you, it’s much more difficult to fight. Therefore, always speak out right when the bullying begins. Never let it go on for any length of time. The sooner you do, the easier it will be to assert your rights and avoid retaliation.
With knowledge comes empowerment!