“The scars from being a victim of bullying may heal over time, but the trauma from the experience may never be forgotten.”
~ Ty Howard ~
“The scars from being a victim of bullying may heal over time, but the trauma from the experience may never be forgotten.”
~ Ty Howard ~
Recently, I wrote a blog post entitled, “Should the Opinions of Bullies Matter?” In it, I stated the reasons why they shouldn’t and that the only opinions that should were those of the people who love us and want the best for us.
And it’s true. Bullies’ opinions shouldn’t concern us and for some targets, they don’t. but the more I thought about it, the clearer it became that maybe I should’ve added more to the post.
So, here goes!
Though bullies’ thoughts and feelings of you shouldn’t matter, it doesn’t mean they can’t affect us, or even hinder us.
The reality is that the bullies’ opinions of their target can have a huge impact on the target’s life. Their thoughts and feelings of the target can determine whether other people outside the bully/target conflict feel comfortable associating with the target.
Although we don’t want to admit it and, no, it isn’t fair, the personal opinions of other people often are the deciding factor or whether we’re well-liked or lonely and hated.
Bullies influence the attitudes of others who otherwise either wouldn’t have an issue with us or would be great friends under different circumstances. The opinions of bullies have a way of spreading far and wide- making bullies out of those who, under normal circumstances, would never resort to mistreating another human being.
It’s amazing what a contagion effect bullying has on schools, companies, organizations, and communities.
We must learn about bullying from all angles. Because the more we know, the better we will be able to salvage our good names and counter some of the effects it may have on our lives.
Today, we live in a world that consistently judges us. It seems that people feel they have carte blanche to point a finger at someone else and announce their flaws and weaknesses. Sadly, this seems to be the norm.
Everyone is trying to be (or look) better than the next person and lord it over them. You see it in the media, you see celebrities calling out other celebrities in the Twitterverse and you see everyday people doing it on the street, in the supermarket, workplace, and at school.
What bullies don’t realize is that in pointing a finger at someone else, they only reverse it back on themselves. Because they’ve got to be pretty darned insecure with their own life to feel the need to disparage another person.
Anytime you come at another person without provocation, it either shows that you’re trying to hide or distract attention from your own shortcomings by trying to redirect the negative attention to someone else. In short, it’s only proof of your own lack of self-acceptance.
Self-acceptance has always been a must-have but nowadays, it’s even more essential than ever before.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t be self-aware because we should. But too much self-awareness isn’t good because, when we’re hyper-aware, we focus too much on our weaknesses and not enough on our strengths. Sadly, this is what targets of bullying are conditioned to do after so long.
There are two extremes to everything but there’s also that happy middle that we should stay in.
We must work on changing the way we see ourselves and begin loving ourselves more because only then will we be able to love others.
If you can’t accept yourself, you won’t be able to accept others either. Being a bully doesn’t score any points and it doesn’t make you feel any better in the long run. It only makes you look like an insecure little coward.
As the old saying goes, “You do you and let me do me.”
I don’t think we’d ever run so fast in our entire lives. We got to the parking lot in what seemed like only seconds. We threw our beach bags, towels, and backpacks into the jeep before jumping in and clicking our seatbelts.
I cranked the engine, shifted into drive, and we peeled away, squealing tires. When we turned onto the main road, I made such a sharp turn at such high speeds that the passenger side of the jeep tipped upward and for a second or two, we were only riding on the driver’s side two tires. The other three girls grabbed the overhead bar to steady themselves.
After I completed the turn and corrected, the passenger side of the jeep dropped to the ground with a loud bang and jolt that bounced everyone off their seats.
“Easy! EASY! We’re not going to be any better off if we tip over and roll!” Sarah yelled.
“Just hang on!” I shouted back, pushing the gas pedal to the floor.
We sped toward the mountains, which were just beyond a village. With one hand gripping the overhead bar and the other holding her beach hat in place on her head to keep it from blowing off, Tess accidentally removed her hand to dig in her bag. Sure enough, the hat blew off and slid down the road behind us.
“Shit! My hat!”
“Screw the hat! Punch it, Lanie!” Sarah shouted.
We came to the crowded village and noticed that the people there looked as if it was just a normal day and they were just going on about their lives. Business as usual.
“Jeez! What the hell are they doing! Why aren’t they running for higher ground!” Tess cried.
“We’ve got to stop and warn them,” I said.
“We’ve gotta what??? We don’t have time!” Marissa cried.
Ignoring Marissa’s rely, I hit the breaks and we came to a screeching halt that threw us all forward and pulled our seatbelts taught against us. I then shifted into park, unfastened the belt, stood up in the jeep, and began yelling while pointing toward the ocean, then toward the mountains.
“Hey! Get to higher ground! Hurry! There’s a wave headed for us! C’mon! You got to get out of here! You gotta go NOW!” I screamed.
To our horror, the locals only stood there looking at us as if we’d flipped our wigs. One man turned and looked at the woman beside him. He put a finger next to his temple, doing the classic finger twirl, and I thought I heard the words, “Crazy Americans.” In English but with the native accent.
We tried warning them again but with no success. They only began laughing and pointing at us. Sarah spoke up.
“Forget it, Lanie! We tried! There’s nothing more we can do for these people. Now we have to save our own asses.” She said in a dreadful tone.
“Damn it!” I exclaimed as I dropped back into the seat, threw it into drive, and floored the gas. I looked through the rear-view mirror and noticed the locals standing there gawking at us as we speed away. Once we made it through the village, we made another turn at the foot of the mountain, onto a dirt road that led up it.
As we started up the mountain, we slung dirt and gravel everywhere and hit potholes, which jarred the jeep and everyone in it. Less than a quarter of a mile up the mountain, I glanced through the rear-view mirror at the village and ocean behind it and sure enough, I could see what looked like two white lines on the water. Suddenly, there was another loud bang with a hard jolt that threw us forward once more. The jeep had come to an abrupt stop!
The engine revved loud as I continued to floor the gas, but the jeep didn’t budge!
“What the hell!” I cried as I shifted gears again.
Once again, I shoved the accelerator to the floor and the front tires spun, slinging more dirt and gravel. Still, the jeep didn’t move.
“Come on, Lanie! Punch it!” Sarah yelled.
“I am! We’re stuck!”
“Oh God! That’s it! We’re screwed! ” Marissa shouted.
“Shut up!” I shouted back as I fought with the controls in the jeep to get us free from the hole we were stuck in.
Once more, I looked through the rear-view and could see the white wall of water looming larger in the mirror. I then saw a yacht that was in its path capsize!
I frantically shifted gears a third time and stood on the gas. Nothing!
“It’s no use! We gotta BAIL! We gotta go the rest of the way on foot!” I cried.
With that, we all quickly came out of our seat belts, hopped out of the jeep, and grabbed our things. As we began hoofing it up the mountain, we could hear the distant, rumbling roar behind us, and, second by second, the sound grew louder.
(Continued in Part 3)
“Nobody has a right to define who you are. Be true to yourself, because your opinion is the only one that matters.”
~ Unknown ~
A fellow blogger once wrote, “If you care too much about what others think, you care less about yourself.”
How right she was!
When you care too much about what other people think, you become a slave to not only opinions but to others as well. The person whose opinions you place too much value on owns you.
Any time you care too much about the thoughts and opinions of others, you’ll bend over backward to prove your worth. You’ll be a yes-person because you won’t have the guts to say no when you really should and when you truly want to say it.
You’ll do things you’d rather not do and agree with things that go against your beliefs and convictions. You’ll sacrifice your time, your resources, and yourself for people who don’t deserve it and let them take you for granted.
You’ll fall for other people’s BS and accept crappy behavior from them to avoid conflict. And they’ll see you as a pushover and an approval-seeker. You’ll be a doormat, and no one will have any respect for you. They’ll only think you’re pathetic!
You’ll kiss butt and eat sh** all for the sake of approval. Yuck!
You’ll only attract users, abusers, and losers, who’ll only deplete you of time, energy, and worst of all, self-esteem!
Even worse, your submissiveness will come to be expected after a while, and once you do finally get tired of being walked on and grow a spine, people won’t respect you for it but be offended by it.
‘You see, here’s the thing. If you truly know your value, you don’t have to prove it because you know it’s there. Even better, others see it too because they not only sense that others’ opinions don’t phase you, but they can see it in your demeanor as well.
So, stop caring what bullies and abusers think of you because they don’t deserve to even matter to you.
The more you know, the more bully-proof you become!
Some people get the two confused. Loving yourself doesn’t mean you’re self-centered. But you can bet that bullies will accuse their target of it when they realize she’s growing a backbone.
Understand that when you start loving yourself enough not to take your bullies’ opinions of you seriously, the bullies will take notice of it right away. They’ll realize that they no longer have power over you. To get that power back, they will try like the devil to guilt you by accusing you of either selfishness or self-centeredness.
Don’t fall for that con game! When bullies lose the benefits they’ve grown accustomed to getting at your expense, they always get irate. Right or wrong, whenever someone has had power over another person for a long time and has gotten used to having that power, then suddenly loses it, of course, they’re going to be upset- and intensely so.
But don’t concern yourself with how your bullies feel. After all, they never gave a thought to your feelings the entire time they jerked you around.
Ditch these people! The sooner, the better! You’re not being selfish by choosing to put yourself first. What you’re doing is having the courage to love yourself and treat yourself better.
Realize that the bullies are the self-centered ones, in expecting you to go on being their doormat. No one has the right to expect you to put up with something they wouldn’t tolerate if it were happening to them.
To expect any differently from another person than what they’d do shows a complete lack of respect for people other than themselves and is sheer arrogance, self-entitlement, and stupidity.
There’s a name for this- double-standard!
Remember that we teach others how to treat us. And how we teach them to treat us is by how well we treat ourselves- by the boundaries we set, our ability to say “no,” and whether we continue to allow them to be in our lives.
So, treat yourself well! You’re worth it!
“If bullies actually believe that somebody loves them and believes in them, they will love themselves, they will become better people, and many will even become saviors to the bullied.”
~ Dan Pearce ~
Whether it’s the nosy classmate who’s never short of personal and intimate questions about your private life, the workplace gossip who never shuts up and always seems to know your business before you do, or the spying neighbor across the street who forever peers through her window to spy on the neighbors outside, these kinds of people can be a real hemorrhoid to those of us who only want to be left alone and allowed to live our lives in peace.
I even had one woman ask me how much I got paid and how much I paid in rent or mortgage? I know. The nerve! Right?
After the shock wore off, I politely told her that she was getting too personal and that I didn’t share such private information with anyone, not even my family members. Oooeee! She didn’t like it.
These types often leave you shaking and scratching your head because you just can’t believe anyone would have the chutzpah. Especially if you were raised to mind your own business like I was.
Understand that these people can be bullies too and their gossip, butting-in, and having a constant nose stuck in your life can be a form of attempted control. Bullies will often ask you these kinds of questions to embarrass or humiliate you.
And anybody who openly asks you such questions has no respect for your privacy, and you should deal with them accordingly.
But! Because they can’t seem to control their own lives, they wish to control yours, even if it’s nothing more than to cause an annoyance or embarrassment.
Though the years, there was always that one neighbor who would sit on their porch all day and watch not only my house but the other houses in the neighborhood as well. So, on a good note, I can’t say that I was left out but was in good company with most of the other neighbors in my community.
Many of the others in the community weren’t short of complaints about the lady and we had a nickname for her- “Mrs. I-Spy.”
Nevertheless, although I’d get annoyed by her a few times, I couldn’t get angry with her like many of the others. Mrs. I-Spy was disabled and could barely get around. All I could feel was bad for her because I knew she wasn’t a happy person. Who would be if their health were deteriorating to the point of barely able to perform activities of daily living? And home health was scarce back then.
And on the days when she couldn’t get outside, she’d have her grandchildren watch the neighbors then go back inside and give her a report of the goings-on in the others’ yards and the traffic in and out of their houses. It’s hilarious when I look back now.
I can honestly say that if there were a burglary or trouble nearby, she’d have been the first to see it and call the cops. So, there’s a silver lining to all this. Thank God for nosy neighbors because they do serve a great purpose!
My classmates in high school, not so much. I had very little respect for them because most of them were nosy as hell! They would watch me closely and eavesdrop on any of my conversations. They always had an ear cocked. At Oakley High School, the walls had ears!
Always in my business, questioning me on things that were so trivial yet to them was a huge deal. They would even ask me the most personal and embarrassing questions.
“Have you started your period yet?”
“Are you a virgin?”
“How is your boyfriend in bed?”
These kinds of questions made me cringe! Naturally, it upset me back then and I’d only storm off. But if one of them had the audacity to do that today, I’d only laugh, make fun of and humiliate them. And I’d enjoy humiliating them.
Hell! Today, I wish they would and give me the chance to show them I’m not as slow as I used to be and almost nothing shocks me anymore. Understand that when you’ve been bullied, you learn quick wit very quickly because it’s essential for survival.
I’ve known other adult survivors of school bullying and we’re the most quick-witted people in the bunch! We had to be!
With that said, you must realize that even in the adult world, you’re going to have people who have more nerve than a bad tooth- those who will pry into your business and openly ask you personal, even embarrassing questions. You might as well prepare for it now because they’re everywhere!
Many of these people had parents who were the same way- mothers and grandmothers who would tell them to watch others and report back to them. I know this because of watching Mrs. I-Spy do the same many years ago. So, it’s safe to say that nosiness is a generational thing with many. About ninety percent of my classmates also came from nosy and overbearing families as did many coworkers I’ve worked with down through the years.
And it’s these kinds of people you should blow off and wave away like that pesky little fly that keeps buzzing around your face.
Don’t get angry with them. Just shake your head and pity them. Because it’s those types who really need to get a life and often don’t have one. Or, if you’re a smartass like I am, take the opportunity to have a little fun with the person- catch it, throw it back at them and shame them with it.
And why not? They asked for it.
Many targets of bullying get into the habit of comparing themselves to others. For example, a bullied kid sitting in the lunchroom at school may look a few tables over and see the very kids who bully him surrounded by friends, yucking it up and having a good time. They seem to be enjoying friendships while the bullied kid is left in the cold. And watching causes an ache in the poor kid’s chest. He thinks to himself:
“I wish I were like him because if I were, I’d have friends too. I hate him because he’s a creep and doesn’t deserve to be so lucky! Why him? I deserve it more than he does? It’s not fair!”
But when is life ever fair?
Here’s another example:
A coworker at a company sees another coworker who hasn’t put in as much time getting a promotion. He immediately gets angry and thinks that the only way the other guy must’ve gotten that promotion is by sucking up to the boss. He then begins to wish the other coworker all kinds of bad luck.
Comparing yourself to others is a real self-esteem killer. But sadly, people do it all the time. When you compare your life to someone else’s, it only breeds all kinds of toxic emotions, two of which are anger and jealousy.
Understand that you cannot judge a person’s outward appearance or the appearances they keep up and accurately judge what their life is like. Because people are notorious for showing only the best parts of their lives and keeping the less-than-desirable parts hidden.
Also realize that some people, bullies especially, making it a point to flash the positive aspects of their lives to those around them for the sole purpose of provoking envy. Because knowing that others are jealous of them is a huge boost to their egos, giving them a sense of power and that they’re better. Realize that the appearances these people keep up are only a show.
An example of this would be:
You see someone decked out in fancy clothes and drives a hot sports car. They have a six-bedroom house in the ritzy part of town. But! Although they look like they’re rolling in money, they’re more than likely only living beyond their means. Chances are that they’re in debt up to their eyeballs and feeling terrified inside because they know that if the slightest setback happens, they’ll lose it all!
Here are more examples:
You see a seemingly happy couple in a shopping mall and you’re still single. They look so happy and so in love, and they have friends around them. But you don’t know what goes on in their house. The husband might be abusing his wife behind closed doors (or vise versa) and they’re only putting on airs. They might be on the brink of divorce.
You may look on social media and see pictures of one of your someone you know lying on the beach in the tropics. But what you don’t know is that they had to clean out their savings just to take that trip.
Here’s my point. Never judge anyone who seems a little luckier than you, because, in private, they could be fighting battles you know nothing about.
They may have a mother at home dying of cancer, a father who went off to war and never came back, or be buried in legal issues.
And many times, you feel so content with your life until you spot these people. All of a sudden, you’re feeling less than. This should be a good indicator as to how useless envy and self-comparison really is.
How you fight this is to take your attention off these people and count your blessings. Because although they may be luckier than you in one aspect, you are most likely better off than them in other ways. Think about it.
Understand that anytime you feel jealous of another person, it only means that deep inside, you have a deep-seated spirit of lack and failure and you want to take the other person’s good fortune away from them and keep it for yourself.
It’s a sign that you don’t feel that you can ever reach those goals yourself. Stop it! Because if they can, you can too.
Stop comparing yourself to others because it’s a waste of time and energy. It also drains you of confidence.
Know that you are enough and your life is enough. And you never know what the future holds. You too may someday buy your dream home, find a loving partner, or get the opportunity to go on a tropical getaway.
For now, be happy for those who are presently getting those opportunities. Instead of provoking jealousy in you, these people should inspire you and give you hope for the future.