Targets Never Become Targets Overnight

Be very careful. Any time bullies select a potential target, they start out subtle and sweet with their bullying. They test the waters first- always. If the target overlooks their behavior, they move on to more obvious verbal abuse.

Here’s what verbal abuse does. It conditions the target to put up with abuse without them even knowing it. And bullies do it in tiny bites.

The target is unaware of the incremental, bit-by-tiny-bit eroding of their self-esteem. Because the process is so slow, it’s barely noticeable until it’s gone so far that it’s out of control. And by then, it’s too late.

Before long, the target is then blamed for the bullies’ bad behavior and is now a victim. Understand that the motto of bullies is, “might makes right.”

The best way to empower yourself is by paying attention to the vibes others put out,  how you feel, maintaining a sense of your own worth, and by seeing verbal bullying for what it is.

I learned about Power Over and Personal Power when I read the book, “The Verbally Abusive Relationship,” by Patricia Evans about ten years ago.

In short, power over is what abusers use to lord over their targets and bullies are no exception here. And most bullies are desperate to keep that power because it’s the only power they can have. If there’s no target to have power over, one is created.

In her book, Patricia describes power over as the type of power that has clear winners and losers.

“Power over shows up as control and dominance. Personal power shows up as mutuality and co-creation.” (2010, Patricia Evans “The Verbally Abusive Relationship,” p. 27)

Here’s Patricia’s explanation of personal power:

“Personal power is another way of experiencing power, one which doesn’t need winners and losers., dominant people and subordinates, and which doesn’t require power over an ‘other.’ Personal power works by mutuality and co-creation and may be considered a new way of being in and perceiving the world.” (2010, Patricia Evans “The Verbally Abusive Relationship,” p. 29 para 4)

Understand that bullying is bullying whether it comes in the form of spousal abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, workplace and school abuse, or abuse of power and government tyranny. It all comes from the desire to have power over. It’s all abuse, it’s all bullying and every type of it starts out subtle- so subtle that you won’t even recognize what’s happening if you aren’t paying attention.

When we learn to recognize the subtleties, we will better be able to protect ourselves. And how we recognize subtleties is by observing and listening. We must observe body language, listen for the subtext, listen to our gut instinct, and pay close attention to how the actions of others make us feel.

And once we do, we’ll be better able to call out the behavior and spare our self-esteem from being slowly chipped away. In that, we’ll be better able to hold on to our personal power and live happier and more peaceful lives.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

20 thoughts on “Targets Never Become Targets Overnight

  1. Warnzeichen zu erkennen und die richtigen Schlüsse daraus zu ziehen, scheint ein allgemeines Problem zu sein. Ich denke da z. B. an die Vorgeschichte des Ukraine-Konflikts oder an die mannigfachen Attentate aus Hass auf uns.

    Die Gellschaft scheint nicht mehr in der Lage zu sein, Warnzeichen zu erkennen. Jüngstes Beispiel:

    Frank Walter Steinmeier, Deutschlands Bundespräsident, will jetzt erkannt haben, das man die Warnzeichen (Donbas, Krim…) Putins nicht erkannt hat. Die Folge: Krieg.

    Was ich mich schon lange frage, wo Du Cherie, den ganzen Gesprächsstoff nimmst. Das Thema “Mobbing” ist offensichtlich für Dich unerschöpflich. Alle Achtung vor Deiner Arbeit. Liebe Grüße aus Deutschland.

    Recognizing warning signs and drawing the right conclusions seems to be a common problem. I am thinking, for example, of the run-up to the Ukraine conflict or the many attacks motivated by hatred of us.

    Society no longer seems to be able to recognize warning signs. The youngest example:

    Frank Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s president, now wants to have recognized that the warning signs (Donbas, Crimea…) of Putin have not been recognized. The consequence: war.

    What I ask myself for a long time, where you Cherie, the whole conversation material take. The topic of “bullying” is obviously inexhaustible for you. All respect for your work. Kind regards from Germany.

    • Thank you so much, Germany! Sadly, the warning signs can be unrecognizable at first. I think it’s because we’re all distracted by TV, movies, music, commercials. There are so many things that keep us distracted from what we should be paying attention too. This is not to say that all TV, music, and pop culture is bad because it isn’t. My point is that we’re all overloaded by so much that we barely, if at all, pay attention to what we need to. Also, we place too much importance on words and not enough of it on actions, body language, etc. Thank you so much for your thoughts on this topic! 💖🌺🌹

      • Hello Cherie, “anonymus” is me. You remember, this happened before, that wrong pictures of me appeared. I just wanted to tell you so that you know. But you don’t have to do anything. It does not depend on my name and my picture, but on what I have answered. See you then Cherie.

    • Absolutely, and they probably started out slow in order to gauge your reactions and what you might do, then they slowly took it up a notch..then another notch… You know how it goes. It’s an awesome thing that you overcame and created a good life! 😊😊😊

  2. This is very true:

    “Understand that bullying is bullying whether it comes in the form of spousal abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, workplace and school abuse, or abuse of power and government tyranny.”

    My former co-worker told me that bullying only happens outside of the family. If it’s within family members, it’s only called teasing. But I told him, NO. Bullying also happens within the family.

    This is another post that is truly worth reading. 😊🥰

    • Thank you so much! 😁 And you’re absolutely right! 💯 You helped your former coworker learn a new lesson and you’re to be commended for that! 🌞

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