When Your Reputation Meets People Before You Do

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The most insidious thing about being a victim of bullying is the loss of opportunities to meet new people and inability to move on with new friends. When your good name has been unjustly slandered/libeled, even total strangers will no doubt hear of you and chances are, they will automatically have their minds made up about you before they get a chance to meet you.

What’s even scarier is that you are left completely defenseless against any attack these strangers may bring because you haven’t the slightest idea who they are. How do you know who to watch out for? How do you know who to avoid? It’s impossible to protect yourself from enemies who are invisible.

It is a situation in which you are walking blind…a situation, which is very dangerous! You cannot see the enemy. Someone could walk right up to you on the street, in broad daylight, with a gun in the back waste of their pants and you would never know of their intent to shoot you until it was too late.

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Remember. We lost the Vietnam War because we didn’t know who the enemy was! We didn’t know exactly who was or wasn’t on our side!

It’s the same when you are a victim of bullying, especially if you live in a rural area, where everyone knows everyone. Once your tarnished reputation reaches far and wide, there will be times when you won’t know who is coming for you and it will be as if you are fighting ghosts.

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Types of Beliefs Bullying Instills in Victims

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“Nobody will ever love me.”
“Nothing positive can ever happen for me.”
“Human beings, in general are predators and love drama.”

Those were once my beliefs.

When a person is being bullied, they make it a point to play everything safe and settle for far less than what he/she deserves. Why? Because they have been told that they aren’t good enough for so long that they have begun to believe it themselves and do not think that anything positive can ever happen for them. Also, victims lose faith in humanity and come to believe that all people are rotten and take pleasure in harming others. As a result, they lose their trust in humans in general, which only causes them lose out on what could be truly awesome friendships and relationships and re-enforce loneliness and isolation.

This is what bullying does to victims. It smashes their self-esteems to pieces, which can sometimes take years to put back together again, causing them to do things that they normally would never do. I say this because it happened to me.

During the years that I was bullied in school, I did not trust anyone. I selected friends I really didn’t want to be friends with, dated guys whom I wasn’t even remotely attracted to…all because I believed I couldn’t do any better. I did this to avoid being alone. As long as there was a warm body around, it was “good enough”. I didn’t realize that not only was I being unfair to myself, but also the people I selected. I deserved to be with people whom I WANTED TO BE WITH and whom were upstanding and positive, and they deserved to be with people who were with them because they chose to be, not because they were the only option.

Here is another thing victims do as a result of bullying, they never give themselves permission to be selfish, not knowing that sometimes a little bit of selfishness is okay, even imperative at times! This is because victims are often accused of being selfish when they are only caring for themselves and shamed into believing that anything they do for themselves is bad. Therefore, they put themselves on the back burner and everyone else comes first, often at the victim’s own expense!

It happened to me. I became shy and shut people out for fear of being harmed. I was afraid to say “no” to people because in the past, I had been retaliated against and hurt for daring to set a boundary. I was simply forbidden to set boundaries and was expected to or forced to “let” others violate me. It was a terrible situation, which caused me not to value myself as a person.

Thankfully, things are much different today! I want you to know that when you are being bullied, placing worth on yourself is the most important thing you can do. Always…ALWAYS value yourself, even when it seems that others don’t because it will save your self esteem. Keep fighting even when it seems that you’re losing the battle because oftentimes, when things look the bleakest, your breakthrough or relief is just around the corner.

Always love yourself and put yourself first, then reach out to only those who reciprocate love and positive feelings to you. Turn a deaf ear to the negative talk bullies may attempt to fill your head with. Better yet, send those toxic parasites packing! Because you’re worth it! I promise you!

Better Safe Than Sorry: Why You Shouldn’t Apologize in the Presence of Bullies

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A sincere apology and owning up to any error often shows great strength and bravery. It takes a person with integrity to apologize for any wrong doing because few people will admit they are “wrong”.

However, an apology or admission, no matter how sincere or genuine, can also be taken as a sign of weakness in the presence of bullies or anyone who lacks integrity. We all live life on a basis of trial and error. In fact, put another way, life is trial and error and to grow and mature as a person, one must own his/her mistakes and wrong doings. Admitting mistakes and giving a well-deserved apology to someone we have transgressed against is a sign of honor and integrity. Only not to those who lack those qualities!

Yes, you should have an open mind, you should be empathetic, generous and kind but only in the presence of and to the people who reciprocate the same toward you. In the presence of bullies, on the other hand, extending those virtues is next to impossible and can be downright dangerous! Here’s why:

A bully will take your heartfelt apology, turn it against you and steamroll you with it! Because he will only take it as further evidence that he’s right, or worse…that you are a terrible person, clumsy, stupid…take your pick. Your apology or admission will only serve bullies’ plans to assert control over you and keep it. To a bully without a conscience, any apology made by his/her victim only looks like a waving white flag of surrender. Therefore, you must make sure that you’re in a safe environment before extending one. Here are a few examples:

Victim: “I was wrong and I’m sorry.”
Bully: “Damn right you were wrong! Oh, you’re sorry alright…a sorry sack of crap!
Victim: “Hey! What’s your problem? I just apologized!”
Bully: “Screw your apology! Your apology means nothing! You only apologize to cover your own butt!”

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When I was a victim of bullying during school, I had a bad habit of over-apologizing, which is all too easy to get into anytime you are a victim of any form of abuse. So, you apologize emphatically, even when an apology isn’t necessary and you do this in order to appease the abuser and avoid being harmed.

I have since learned that with bullies, your apology should be more indirect. I’ll say it again. A direct apology will only make you seem weak to a bully and provide assurance to her that she has power over you! Here are a few examples of indirect apologies and they’re what has worked for me:

“Oh, relax! You’ll be alright.”
“You’ll forget all about this by the end of the day.”
“You’ll get over it.”

The above examples may seem callous, unfeeling and cold. However, it allows you to express empathy without accepting blame. Always remember that bullies lack integrity and a conscience and any of the two shown in the presence of those who don’t have it will be shot down. Apologize, yes! But do it without taking any blame. Do it with POWER!

A Detailed Description of the Pain and Torment Endured By Targets of Bullying (Part 3)

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(Continued from part 2…)
You go home that afternoon. In the privacy of your own bedroom, you cry, you scream, you beat your fists against your pillow, your bed, the wall, the door, anything to release all the years-long pinned-up rage, which has festered like a cancerous boil. You fly into a rage and destroy your own bedroom, turning the damn place upside down! What you really want to do is beat the living hell out of all of them. You’re not really beating the pillow, bed, or whatever else. No. In your mind, you are beating the living daylights out of them…every single one of them! You want to do to them what they have done to you.

Before long, it’s six o’clock and you are having dinner with your family. You struggle as you tell your mother for the hundredth time that you were in a fight at school and that you are suspended for three days. Your mother gives you the tongue lashing from hell, she tells you that you’re trouble and that you need to change your attitude…that if you weren’t so (insert bad quality here), then maybe you would have friends and nobody would mess with you. Even worse, you start to believe it too. But sadly, you haven’t the slightest clue of what it is that you need to change. You can’t fix it because you don’t even know what’s broken.

Your mother has just implicated that what has been happening to you is your fault…that you bring it on yourself. She then grounds you…only you have nothing to be grounded from. It’s not like you ever get invited to any slumber parties or birthday bashes. So, she grounds you from what little you do get to enjoy.

You remember that in the past few years, you’ve tried to open up and tell the adults in your life what you are dealing with. You pleaded for help, only to be perceived as the culprit so no one is interested in what you have to say. They accuse you of lying or manipulating others just to cover your own backside. They tell you to “shut up” and that they don’t want to hear it. You aren’t allowed to speak in your own behalf…at school or at home. Deep down, you try to hold on, with everything you have in you, to the belief that you are a good person but no one else acknowledges it. As a result, your own acknowledgment of your own goodness begins to wane.

You are desperate for a change…for relief but there is no sign of refuge. You want justice but it seems that justice will never come. This is a situation that you can no longer see an end to.

After brokenheartedly realizing that your own blood can’t or won’t even help you, you begin a downward spiral into hopelessness and despair. You have nowhere to turn and no one to turn to. Now, your bullies have managed to alienate you from not only the people at school, but your own damned family as well. Your suffering at school has now bled into your own home. And even then, your classmates still aren’t satisfied that you have suffered enough. In essence, your classmates want you dead, only they don’t have the guts to kill you themselves because they don’t want to go to prison. So, they continue, even intensify the torment, in hopes that you will do it for them.

You feel that the one and ONLY thing you have going for you is that you aren’t dead. Then you begin to think that maybe death wouldn’t be such a bad thing. At least no one could hurt you again. You start to think of ways to die. Before long, death becomes an obsession. You believe that your life is one big curse and want so badly to end that curse. You are under the misguided belief that death is the only escape from an earthly hell that you have been forced to live.

Now you must choose. Should you keep living in hell, or should you just resign yourself and put an end to it all? I hope you chose the first option because as long as there is still breath in your body, there’s always hope for a better tomorrow!

I want you to know that regardless of how hopeless a situation may seem, there’s always hope. Better times will find you and there will come a day when Karma will find your bullies and deal with them. And you? You will emerge victorious. You see? I believe that God rewards those who suffer the most…even in this lifetime. So please, don’t take your own life. You are worth fighting for even if no one else thinks so. Keep going! Keep pushing! Keep fighting! Keep living! Your reward and your victory are coming!

A Detailed Description of the Pain and Torment Endured By Targets of Bullying (Part 2)

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When you arrive at school, everyone notices the glue in your hair and stained clothes. They point at you and laugh, call you horrible names, even lay hands on you. You are so distraught that when lunch arrives, you can’t even eat. Your stomach is in knots and your head pounds from the stress of being the outcast of your school. The nausea is intense!

You look around and watch everyone else having fun and enjoying school. You watch as girls flirt with their boyfriends and the boys snake an arm around their chosen young ladies. You watch the rest of your peers as they get to enjoy real friendships, getting invites to birthday parties, slumber parties, camping trips and dates. You watch them laugh playfully with each other, you can see the happiness in their eyes…eyes that look on you with disgust… and the look of joy all over their faces…the joy slowly turns to scorn when they look in your general direction.

You want to be happy for them but no longer have it in you. Instead, you can’t help but to resent the hell out of their happiness and blessings…blessings that you yearn to have…that you would give your right arm for if that’s what it took! Blessings that they seem to take for granted!

You wonder, “Why can’t I have that? Why? I’m important too. Don’t I deserve to have friends?” But God seems to be too busy to answer. You want to cry…to scream but cannot. You don’t want to let them see you sweat…you can’t bear for them to see you cry! Your pride- what little you have left, won’t let you give them the satisfaction of knowing they have succeeded in destroying you…they have killed every opportunity for you to make friends of your own…they have squashed your dating opportunities…they have taken all of your accomplishments and good qualities and trampled them under foot. You then become angry and bitter and wish nothing but destruction for their friendships because they deserve to be taught how it feels. You want so bad to trade places with them and it seems that your lot in life is to wander this earth alone.

You watch as some of them even say horrible things behind their friends’ backs. But you notice that, strangely, the slighted friend is quick to forgive them and they get to go on being buddies, as if nothing ever happened. But you? If you so much as look wrong, they want to tear you to pieces. But they already do it…they tear you apart every day and have been for years. All for nothing but existing…for being YOU!

Then after lunch, the torment escalates to a full-blown brawl and you are physically attacked in the bathroom. Naturally, you defend yourself, trying to protect your well-being and keep from being hurt. This is the umpteenth physical attack that you’ve had to defend yourself and you’re just dog tired!

Tired of having to fight just to get through what should be a normal school day! Tired of constantly ducking and dodging everyone! Tired of laying low! Tired of having to grow eyes in the back of your head! Tired of being held hostage for eight long hours every day! Tired of being forced to adhere to the many double-standards that your classmates have held you to for so long…too long! You aren’t just tired, you’re exhausted! Your classmates have worn you down…trampled your dreams, your personhood, confidence, self-esteem, and your rights to be yourself and to be safe.

A teacher breaks up the melee and you and your attacker are escorted to the principal’s office. If you’re lucky, you and your attacker both are suspended from school. If you aren’t, your classmates will rush to the defense of your attacker and only you will be suspended…for nothing more than trying to defend yourself from being hurt and possibly killed. Because your peers have been standing in line for years, one by one, taking turns attacking you, you are always one of the two…or more…involved. Therefore, you have been labeled a troublemaker and now even some of the school staff are highly suspicious of you. Only the few staff, who are more open-minded understand what you are going through. However, their hands seem to be tied when it comes to effectively helping you.

(to be continued in part 3…)

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A Detailed Description of the Pain and Torment Endured By Targets of Bullying (Part 1)

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Having experienced school bullying myself, I would like to give a detailed scenario of what it is like to be a target for those who have been fortunate not to have been bullied. My aim is to put you in the shoes of a target so that you can better understand what they are forced to endure daily. When it comes to living with bullying, no story is far-fetched or unlikely.

Imagine you’re in Middle School or High School. You wake up in the morning and eat breakfast. While you eat, your mother is busy preparing to go to work. You stare at your mother, wanting so badly to tell her was is happening at school and how much you hurt inside. But you’re much too afraid. If you do tell her, will she assure you that she will address the situation or will she tell you that it’s all just a part of the school experience and that you should just put up with it?

Will she put her arms around you, give you loving motherly advice and tell you that none of it is your fault or blame you, telling you that you must be doing something to bring it all on yourself? Will she listen to you, or will she just dismiss you and tell you to ignore the bullies?

You ponder these questions and what your mother might say and then decide that maybe opening up is a bad idea. You are also ashamed…of being bullied. How can you tell your family that you are the pariah of your school…that you are number one must wanted among your peers…and not in a good way? What will they say? How will they react?

Soon, it’s time to go to the bus stop. You go, however reluctantly. You stand there, waiting for the school bus, hoping that maybe it broke down on the side of the road, had a flat, that something happened to delay it. You absolutely dread seeing the bus approach. You have a lump in your throat and it is extremely hard to swallow. You are terrified because you know what’s coming the moment you step onto that bus and later, when you walk through the school entrance. Just like every day before…and for the past several years, you will be ambushed, caught in a vicious onslaught of ugly names, taunts, digs, cruel pranks and probably even punches, kicks and shoves!

Just knowing this is enough to paralyze you and make your stomach turn. As you see the school bus approaching, your heart sinks and your stomach turns somersaults. You wonder if the torment will ever end. You wonder when the day will finally arrive when you can be like everyone else…strolling easily along in school, enjoying friends, laughing it up, and having the time of your life. You wonder, “Why not me?”

When the bus stops in front of you, the doors swing open and you step on. An instant hush falls over the other passengers and you notice the furtive looks, giggles and disapproving grunts as you make your way down the aisle to the first empty seat. Suddenly, you hear several different voices, “Oh God! Not him/her again!” “Hey, bitch/punk! How does it feel that nobody likes you?” “Nobody will EVER like you! You should have been aborted at birth!” “You’re such a waste! Why don’t you kill yourself?” This has been happening for so long that you have tried to overlook the taunts, numbing your pain and stuffing it deep down inside. However, you can only do this for so long.

As you near an empty seat, a girl gets up and spits in your face. A boy gets behind you and shoves you forward so hard you almost fall to the floor. Then you find an empty seat and sit down. The girl sitting behind you borrows glue from a little first grader and pours it in your long, shiny-clean hair. Another girl pours red food coloring down the back of your nice white blouse and brand-new jeans!

Now you must go to school with glue in your hair and a soiled outfit, only to be further ridiculed. You mother must work so there’s no way she can come take you home for a hair wash and clothes change. And because you don’t want to be a burden to your parents by telling them that you need for one of them to bring you a clean set of attire, you’re stuck at school all day, disheveled.

(to be continued in Part 2…)

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Male and Female Bullies: The Differences Between Them and The Tactics They Use Against Their Targets

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Female bullies, in my opinion are the worst of the sexes. Girls can be most vicious because they are better at going undetected than male bullies.

Female Bullies:

Although exceptions can be made, most are passive-aggressive and commit much of their bullying on a psychological level. However, thanks to radical feminism and the moral decline in today’s young girls and women, physical assaults perpetrated by females are increasing at an alarming rate.

Females bully by Dividing and Conquering – attacking the targets’ relationships, using smear campaigns and witch hunts designed to turn everyone against the target- ’Isolation of the target’.

They also use projection- projecting all of their own shortcomings onto the target. Bullies do have flaws and their greatest fear is having them exposed. What better way can they use to keep their own imperfections hidden, than to either project them onto the victim, or use distraction- distracting others attention away from their own shortcomings and evil deeds by pointing out the negative qualities of their victims?

Girls and some boys, use psychological warfare which includes but is not limited to exclusion, dirty looks, taunts, insults, rumors and lies, thievery, invasion of the target’s privacy and destruction of the target’s property and relationships.

If this does not work, they then may resort to violence although not as often as male bullies. If females want to cause bodily harm to their victim, they are more likely to persuade someone else, either a male friend or a bigger and tougher female friend, to catch the target somewhere alone and do their physical attacks for them. These girls offer either illicit sex (male friend), or inclusion into their particular clique and the chance to climb up the social ladder (female friend) as incentives. Passive-aggressive bullies may also offer money.

Females are hardwired toward maintaining relationships whether they be familial, friendships, or romantic because they are nurturers by nature. Most young girls plan to eventually get married and have families of their own. Thus, female bullies aim to sabotage the target’s relationships. Most girls and women, from the time they are small, dream of one day finding a husband and having children because they have an instinct to nurture. They are usually the caretakers of the home.

Therefore, it should not be any surprise that female bullies are notorious for calling their targets names like ‘whore’, ‘slut’, ‘tramp’, ‘floosy’ and other names which attack the femininity and virtues.

Moreover, anytime you as a young lady are called either one of these names, there is an even deeper meaning behind it, which is that you are not marriageable, you are not worthy of a husband or children, and you are not considered to be a woman.

A female bully wants to brainwash you. This is the reason why her attacks are so vicious and repetitive because she actually wants to convince you that you are worthless and will stop at nothing to make you believe it!

She knows that if she can make you believe the lies, there is a strong chance that you will live up to them. We are what we believe. She knows that if she could drum it into your head that she will succeed in breaking your spirit and making you prove her right.

Get this straight. Female bullies WANT you to live up to the names that they call you. If they call you a whore, they actually want you to BE one.

So don’t live up to it! Show her up! But know that she will not give up so easily. Girls tend to hang on to their hatred of another girl to the point of obsession. The bullying becomes a ritual. And when you stand up to a bully, don’t expect things to get better anytime soon.

Male bullies:

Although there are exceptions, most males use physical aggression. Young men are expected to be strong and tough…to display manhood. Therefore, if the target is another male, the boy bully will not only use his fists, but will also try to feminize their target by repetitively emasculating him.

Male bullies often call their targets names like, “sissy”, “p***y”, “bitch” and other names which attack the male pride and cause them to feel less like men. They try to strip their target of his manhood.

And if the male target speaks out against the treatment, the male bully will trivialize it by referring to the target as a “whiner” and tell him to “toughen up”, or “man up”. The male bully may also accuse his male victim of going against what is seen as “man-code” if he dares to report the bullying.

Male bullies may target a girl as well, with physical assaults, verbal bullying and sexual harassment.

The more you know, the more you will be prepared and the better you will be able to bully-proof yourself.

The Difference Between Bullying and Jerky Behavior

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Everyone deals with jerks and disrespect but not everyone gets bullied. Jerks and disrespect are a normal part of life. Bullying, on the other hand, is a whole other animal. Although the behavior of a jerk is hurtful and negative, it does not mean that it can be classified as bullying. So, when is hurtful behavior classified as bullying and how do we tell the difference between bullying and disrespect? What is the difference between a jerk and a bully?

When a person is “just being a jerk”, his/her bad attitude is random, sporadic and directed at anyone at any time. When you encounter a jerk, you’re just in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong person but not a target. With jerks, everyone is fair game.

Bullying, on the other hand, is when the ill treatment becomes a habit or pattern and is directed towards one person in particular. Bullying requires a target! It is systematic, deliberate, vicious and always escalates over time. Bullying involves smear campaigns, witch hunts and is relentless. Bullying seeks to destroy.

A jerk is afraid you might want something from him/her.
A bully wants something from you.

My Mother, Bear Bryant and the Crimson Tide

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My mother and I both are huge Alabama fans and have been for years. When I think of the Crimson Tide, I automatically see the face of Coach Bear Bryant and although he passed away when I was a little girl, I still remember his being tough as nails to push his players to be the best they could possibly be. In fact, he was so tough that he would make sure “puke barrels” were nearby because the practices were so brutal. I have no doubt that Coach Bryant’s influence lives on today and continues to make Alabama one of the top college football teams in the SEC today…decades after his death!

Like Bear Bryant, my mother was also tough as nails…pushing me and my siblings to be smarter, stronger…better than what I ever thought I could be. She was and still is a loving mother, but she could always be tough…even brutal when she knew we were being lazy and not trying as hard as we could try…at anything.

At times, Mom was like a drill sergeant but although it didn’t feel good at the time, I can tell you that her fierceness motivated us to do what we were supposed to do. I don’t think I could’ve graduated college nor become a published author of two books without my mother’s influence.

It is the same with the Crimson Tide. They wouldn’t be the awesome college football team they have always been without the influence of the one and only Bear Bryant. His legacy lives on over three decades after his passing, just as my mother’s legacy will live on in the hearts of her children long after she is gone!

Roll Tide Roll!

Think Before You Act!

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Bullies aren’t stupid clods like they’re portrayed in the movies. They’re sneaky, they’re conniving and they have ways of charming those in authority, lying convincingly and making their victims look like the culprits.

Why? Because they will push you! They push and push until you, the victim, snap! Then you look like the bad guy. You are labeled the crazy person. You are labeled the troublemaker. It happens all the time. I understand this because I’ve been there.

You must think before you act. Bullies have a talent for provoking targets, then feigning victimhood. They’re real good at looking like the victim. That’s why you should never let them push you over the edge. Never let them push your buttons, though I realize that it’s easier said than done.

There are so many victims whom have allowed bullies to drive them to bringing a gun to school and shooting their classmates. But all this does is make the bullies the victims and the target the bad guy! Anytime you bring a lethal weapon to school, you only validate the falsehoods and rumors spread about you! It proves every thing your bullies have said about you to be true! Even worse, it ruins your entire future! Do you think they are worth that?

Instead of handling the harassment with a gun, try reaching for success! Bring your grades up and indulge in your talents and gifts! Win awards for those talents! Do the things that you enjoy the most and bask in the friendships you do have. enjoy time with family!

How you handle bullying is to be successful!

Let’s have a school year with no shootings!