“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassions, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
Bullies may think they know you, and they may attempt to define who you are, but only you know the definition of who you are. By having the audacity to tell us who we are, not only to bullies attempt to force us to replace our thoughts of ourselves with theirs, they also try to play God.
In doing this, bullies also want to force us to deny our beliefs and convictions, and ultimately, deny ourselves. They want us to tell ourselves that what they did to us was all in our minds and only make-believe when it is they who are in a world of make-believe.
Understand that to accept someone else’s definition of you; you must discard your own. When we allow bullies to dictate our inner reality, we lose bits and pieces of ourselves. Also, little by little, we lose awareness of our emotions each time we allow them to do it and eventually grow numb.
For example, when we cry about a legitimate hurt that cuts us to the core, bullies will often invalidate the pain we feel and replace it with their perceptions of it.
They do it by making these biting statements:
“It isn’t that serious!”
“You’re too sensitive!”
“Oh, boo-friggin-hoo! You’re just a little cry baby trying to get attention!”
“Put your big-girl panties on!”
“Get over it!”
Understand that when you feel sadness, you feel sadness, and when you’re angry, you’re angry, and you should allow yourself and be allowed to feel those emotions. No one has a right to tell you how to feel. Ever!
In making these types of statements and accusations, bullies cause many targets to feel guilty for being a human being- for being a person. But realize that bullies don’t see you as a person with thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and convictions of your own. They see you as an abject- a robot they can control.
Bullies don’t see you as an independent and separate being. They see you as a subject who’s only here for their purpose, pleasure, and entertainment. In their minds, your sole purpose on earth is to make them feel powerful. Nothing more. So, instead of allowing you to own your truth, bullies will tell you what your truth is- or should be. And they’ll force-feed it to you and cram it down your throat.
Therefore, this is the kind of response you should expect from bullies.
And if you’re not careful, you’ll allow their statements to overtake you and, in that, allow their perceptions to replace yours. You’ll begin to see yourself through their eyes until you let them blind you to your true nature. You’ll slowly lose sight of yourself until you don’t know who you are anymore.
Even worse, you’ll lose the intuition that they’re abusing you and will no longer know when to protect yourself- you’ll grow numb to the abuse. Realize that this is how bullies and abusers train you not to defend yourself, and once they succeed, they then have you right where they want you- this is how bullies slowly and subtly take the fight out of targets and render them pacifists.
Understand that you must muster the strength to withstand your bullies’ attacks, do all you can to maintain your sense of self, and refuse to accept your bullies’ opinions and definitions of you. Never allow others to trick you into believing that they know you better than you know yourself. The truth is that you know yourself better than anyone else in the entire world because you’re the only one other than God who lives inside you.
Realize that bullies are persistent, so targets must maintain their sense of self and their clarity of who they are. Your beliefs, convictions, likes, dislikes, preferences, authenticity, autonomy, and your ability to decide when something doesn’t feel good add up to equal your definition and your truth.
Your self-definition, sense of self, self-belief, autonomy, confidence, self-esteem are like precious gems, and you must guard them against thieves who wish to take them.
How many lives could’ve been saved if we’d spoken up sooner?
For years, everyone saw bullies picking on and ganging up on targets- they saw it on the playground, the hallways, the gym, the locker room, the bathrooms, the classrooms, and on the school bus and the target was driven to act out in violence.
No one cared about any of the bullying until targets started taking matters into their own hands- more appropriately, until they started bringing guns to school and blowing their bullies away, committing suicide, or both.
It’s a shame that people had to die before we finally began to take bullying seriously. Being treated like an object for too long, instead of a living, breathing, and feeling human being can make one enraged enough to want to kill or desperate enough to escape the torment by any means (suicide).
Thankfully, not all who suffer repeated and patterned bullying and mobbing commit homicide or suicide. Most targets suffer in silence. They live depressed, isolated, bewildered, and confused because they’ve had their self-confidence stripped away. In that, they’re prevented from realizing their full potential and capabilities.
Many children and teens are terrified of getting on the school bus and many more stay silent for fear of retribution. Young targets endure torment others cannot possibly comprehend and much of the wounds and bruises are unseen. Just because someone isn’t bludgeoned, bruised, and bloodied on the outside doesn’t mean they aren’t they aren’t so inside. Physical wounds can be seen but wounds to the soul can’t.
Bullying and mobbing leave permanent scars. Even after time has gone by, the memories are still fresh. In fact, they’re so deeply entrenched that even decades later, targets can still remember the names of those who instigated the mobbing, those who joined in and partook in it, those who encouraged it, and those who pretended to be their friends but didn’t have their back and refused to help them.
As a survivor of school bullying and mobbing myself, I can tell you that I remember the names of every single one of my classmates who fell in the above categories, one of whom I thought was a close friend. I only recently stopped talking to this woman and was a fool not to have kicked her sorry butt to the curb years ago.
Every survivor I’ve ever spoken too remembers these things specifically.
Understand that when a child or teen is bullied and mobbed by virtually everyone, minor occurrences of ridicule, name-calling, and shunning may occur. However, things such as these build up over time.
What ends up breaking and killing the target’s spirit and self-image is the accumulation of so many incidences of so many classmates brutally bullying her and the fact that the abuse comes from everyone and from every direction.
But I guarantee that if you were to tell each of the target’s classmates what they were doing and tell them of the damage they had done to that targeted child, they would either deny it or respond with, “But all I did was…!”
Again, these “little attacks” come from many, many directions and over a long period of time against the same person- this is one of the biggest hallmarks of mobbing.
I’ve asked other survivors of school bullying and mobbing why they think their classmates mobbed them and not one of them knows why. Each one of these people, even decades later, wonder what they did to encourage their schoolmates to gang up on them and torment them the way that they did.
I always tell them that they did nothing to deserve that kind of treatment and that they should never blame themselves for their classmates’ atrocious behavior.
During my years of research on bullying and mobbing, I’ve learned that mobbing is always caused by a trivial conflict that’s not even personal but somehow, becomes personal later. The origins of mobbing can be anything- a potential target is a new student at the school, or the potential target says something that isn’t necessarily bad but rubs the wrong kids the wrong way.
Maybe the potential target is different, or maybe the child is highly intelligent to the point of overshadowing members of the top clique. It could be that the potential target brags about something and ticks off the rest of the class, or wears clothes that are out of fashion and the bullies use it as an excuse to torment the kid.
And long after the initial cause of the bullying is over and forgotten, the bullying continues.
Understand that if you were to ask bullies why they mobbed and tormented a certain individual, they either wouldn’t know the reason, or they would give an answer that doesn’t make a lick of sense.
Therefore, targets and survivors alike must realize that the mobbing and bullying they presently struggle with or endured in the past was never about anything they said or did. It was never about them. It was always about their bullies’ own mental health issues. It was about the bullies’ senses of self-entitlement, their insecurities, feelings of self-loathing, and intense jealousy.
And once they realize these things, their self-esteem won’t take such a big hit.
There’s nothing like blogging with good, upbeat, but relaxing music playing and a glass of wine to sip on. It helps a blogger chillax and unwind, at the same time, it lifts the mood and takes you back in time.
Tonight’s mood is for 90’s slow jams and dance! Here’s the blogging playlist for the night:
“Get Away” by Bobby Brown
“Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number” by Aaliyah
“Treat U Right” by Angela Winbush
“Be Happy” by Mary J. Blige
“Betcha’ll Never Find” Chantay Savage
“Back & Forth” by Aaliyah
“Freak Like Me” by Adina Howard
“Because of Love” by Janet Jackson
“Is it Good to You” by Heavy D & The Boyz
“I Belong to You” by Toni Braxton
Music is the best anti-depressant there is! It takes your blues away!
You can blog to the beat and even take lots of dance breaks! Here’s a version of “I belong to you” that I absolutely love to dance to! The 90’s were an awesome decade when music and movies peaked before they began to decline around the turn of the millennium.
The 90’s will always hold a special place in my heart- It was the decade of great prosperity, the decade all my children were born, the decade of shows like “Friends,” “Living Single,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” and “Melrose Place.”
If you’re a target of bullying, I want you to know that you do not have to accept the bullies’ lies as the truth because their truth (opinion) isn’t your truth. Understand that you are the only one in charge of your mind, body, and your life. You have the freedom to accept or reject the gawdawful messages your bullies may give you. You are the gatekeeper to your mind and spirit, and you can either take in or kick out the insults and attacks with which they bombard you.
So, how do you successfully kick out the junk bullies try to drum into your head?
1. By refusing to accept their garbage as truth. And you do this by seeing the attacks for what they are – lies. By judging you, bullies proverbially claim to have the ability to read your mind and to be privy to your inner world. In essence, they’re only playing God because they claim to know the unknowable.
2. By knowing your worth. Always know that you’re much better than what your peers may say you are. Realize that their lies and opinions are worthless, so don’t add any value to them. Remember that they can only insult you if you don’t value their opinions.
3. By making positive affirmations with “I AM” statements every day. Sometimes you must look at your reflection in the mirror each morning and make affirmations to yourself. “I AM a good person,” “I AM smart,” “I AM worthy of love and friendship”… If you’re a target of severe bullying, doing this may feel strange at first but you’ll be surprised at how much better about yourself you’ll feel.
4. By countering the bullies’ attacks. It’s as simple as saying, “No I’m not,” when a bully tells you that you’re worthless, ugly, lazy, etc. Always counter any name-calling, insults, and negativity.
5. By saying “no” and asserting yourself. If any of your bullies make any demands of you. You have every right to say no and walk away. Even if they’re putting on the nice act and asking you to do something, you still have that right. Understand that when bullies suddenly turn nice and sweet, you can bet they’re only trying to manipulate you. Also, when they attack you, tell them in no uncertain terms that what they’re doing is unacceptable and that you won’t tolerate it. And there are many ways you can tell them. Anytime you’re assertive, you not only place value on yourself but give the message that there will be consequences if they violate your physical or psychological boundaries.
6. By re-enforcing your truth if bullies deny their abuse of you or try to blame you for it. It’s as simple as saying, “Yes you did.” If bullies deny they attacked you when you know darn well that he/she did, in fact, attack you. It’s also as simple as saying, “Don’t give me that crap,” if bullies try to blame you for their abuse, rationalize their behavior or justify themselves.
Remember! No one can tell you your truth but you. Bullies may take your good name, your opportunities, your physical health, and yes, even your life.
But they can never take your mind from you if you don’t let them. Bullies may try to tell you what to say and do, but they can never tell you what to think.
Your thoughts are the freest commodity you have! And they hold enormous power!
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 target 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:
Once the mistreatment of a person has gone on for so long, the people around them get comfortable with mistreating that person. They grow so accustomed to being cruel to the person that they don’t even think about, nor do they care about how they hurt that person. Even worse, they come to expect the target the take the abuse without question, without talking back, speaking about it, and without defending themselves.
Put another way, 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 eliminate him somehow.
Once a person gets comfortable in mistreating you, it’s much more difficult to fight. Therefore, always speak out the moment 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.
“Never confuse self-love with ego, the two are entirely different. A big ego requires a person to think they’re better than others and will put others down to keep that perception. Self-love means you’re your own best friend and that you love, accept, consider, encourage, care for and believe in yourself. Through that, you’re able to do that for others even indirectly by inspiring them to do the same. To be grateful for the gift of a lifetime means to love it… to love you.”
Myths are often mistaken for fact and obscure people’s judgment. They can also blind us to bullying behavior, even when it’s happening right in front of our faces. Myths can even make it hard for a person to know when someone is abusing them.
Here are a few myths to be aware of:
Myth 1. Targets are weak losers who deserve bullying. People suffering at the hands of bullies are not weak, nor are they losers. In the past decade or so, we have found that bullies target mostly those who are good people with hearts of gold. Bullies are evil people who perceive goodness, kindness, and generosity as weaknesses. Therefore, they target people who have these qualities.
Also, bullies go after those who are multi-talented and star achievers and performers. Understand that bullies perceive these people to be a threat to their power. Why? Because one-upmanship is a way that bullies can feel powerful.
When high-achieving targets outshine bullies, especially bullies who are narcissists, they unwittingly provoke jealousy and narcissistic rage in the bullies, and they will pull out all the stops to make them pay and set them up to fail. If nothing else, understand this! Bullies hate to be outshone, outdone, or beaten at anything!
Nobody deserves bullying. Ever! Bullying is harmful and can destroy someone’s life.
Myth 2. Bullies are brave, strong, cool, exciting, and in control. Ha! Bullies are the opposite of these things. Let me break it down for you:
Bullies are brave. Nope! Bullies are great, big cowards! They’re only good at hiding it. Bullies live by the motto that strength comes in numbers, so they run around in packs- hiding their cowardice behind groups of sycophants or flying monkeys.
You will never catch a bully alone because a bully doesn’t know how to stand alone. The followers of the bullies are there to back them up and do their dirty work. Bullies get their power from an entourage. Without their wing-men to cover them, they would be powerless.
Bullies are strong. ‘Taint so! Bullies are weak, they only high it by aggression, loudness, and false bravado. They instill unnecessary fear into their targets. Understand that bullies draw their power from the fear they instill in others. Bullies are notorious bluffs, blowhards, and windbags. The tough act they put on is a way they hide their weakness.
Bullies are cool. Au contraire! Bullies are pathetic. They bluff, they posture, and they’re notorious one-uppers. They always have to be king of the hill and better than anyone else. All of this is a sign of insecurity and self-loathing. Because if they were secure in themselves, they wouldn’t resort to that buffoonery.
Bullies are exciting. They may seem exciting at first, but they get boring pretty quick. Because they’ll talk incessantly about themselves, brag, and showboat until you’ll want to chew off your own arm just to get away from them. Also, they won’t be so exciting when they turn on you.
Bullies are in control: Really? Is that what you want to call it? Um…not! Bullies can’t even control themselves and their own pathetic lives. So, they seek to control others in order to feel powerful. And in doing that, they not only create targets, but they also create enemies who hate them with a passion.
If you’re a bully, you may only control someone to a certain degree by putting the fear of God in them, but you’ll never control what they think of you and how they feel about you. Because the mind and thoughts are free. And if you run across a person who has a strong sense of self and doesn’t fall for your guff, what are you going to do then?
Myth 3. “Bullying is a normal rite of passage that all kids endure.” Not so. There’s nothing normal about bullying. It’s perverse, twisted, and sick. Bullying only speaks volumes of the mental imbalance and lack of character of the bully and is never a reflection of the target. Bullying is always a reflection of the bully’s arrogance, cowardice, insecurity, jealousy, and hidden rage. And the more we learn about the issue of bullying, the more evidence we seem to get that supports this.
Myth 4. Bullying builds character. No, it doesn’t. It tears it down or suppresses it, rendering targets afraid to relax, be themselves, and feel safe.
It’s important to dispel and not to fall for these myths. Never blame yourself for other people’s crappy behavior. Hold on to your truth. And if anyone rattles off any of the above lines to you when you speak out against bullying, counter them and do it with conviction.