It’s because I don’t feel like I’m less than. Yes, my classmates called me the most horrible names in the English language. Yes, they physically beat, ridiculed, and smeared me. And yes, they destroyed my reputation. However, I’m still not a victim because their effects on me didn’t last.
I’m a survivor. In fact, I’m more than that- I’m a winner! Because they no longer have the power to make me feel that I’m less than human. No one has that power now. I’m not a victim because I don’t allow other people’s perceptions of me to determine how I feel about myself nor define me as a person. I know who I am, and I feel good about it.
My classmates may have taken my confidence away and at times, my physical well-being. But they could never take away my soul! They couldn’t take my integrity, my individuality, and my freedom of thought.
They couldn’t take any of the things that mattered!
Another reason I don’t feel like a victim is because I don’t feel any hate nor any desire to take revenge. My energy is better spent on my family, doing what I love to do, and working on my projects. I’m too busy doing me and mine. Understand that any time you hold hate and seek revenge over something that was done to you in the past, it comes from a victim mentality and from a place of feeling that you’re owed some form of satisfaction, restitution, or atonement. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way.
I want you to realize that a victim mentality is never good because it keeps you trapped in an abyss of hatred and misery. Anytime you have this mentality, you’re angry and depressed all the time. You feel like the world owes you. But what you don’t realize is that even if the world did give you what you feel you’re owed, you’d still never be happy and you’d only want more, more, and more.
It’s no way to live. I was there years ago and it’s a dark and ugly place.
I’m so glad that when I finally got tired of being unhappy and unfulfilled, my eyes were opened, and I changed my way of thinking.
So, how did I shed the victim-think?
1.By refusing to allow bullies from the past to take up space in my mind and by not wasting another drop of precious energy on people who were never worth it in the first place.
2. By accepting myself, flaws, quirks, and all. I finally decided that I was okay just the way God made me and that I needed no one else’s approval, least of all, the approval of backstabbers, fakes, and drama kings and queens who only pretended to be friends but weren’t out for my best interests.
3. I made it my mission to love and to take care of myself and the people who truly mattered. And that included weeding out toxic people who were only there to use me and to see me fail- those who didn’t belong in my life.
4. Lastly, I did it by focusing on the things that were important– I focused on God, family, my closest friends, and being the best version of me that I could possibly be instead of trying to please everyone and seek approval.
It’s okay to be angry and to take time out to feel those emotions when someone does you wrong. It’s natural to need time to heal. Just don’t set up shop and live in that yucky place for long. Because, if you stay there, it will ruin your life.
I can’t stress how important it is for you to rid yourself of victim-think. It’s the only way you’ll ever reach that beautiful place of self-acceptance and ultimately, peace and happiness. And once you do, it will be such sweet freedom!
It’s because they feel dirty. That’s right! Any time bullies and abusers must face the reality of any past abuse they may have inflicted on someone else, deep down inside, though they would never admit it to themselves much less you or anyone else, they feel like a piece of scum. And in order to not feel dirty, they must live in denial of what they did. It’s the only way they can bury their sins and still feel good about themselves.
My former classmates who bullied me, are no different. Denial is a useful psychological defense, and it does have benefits.
Many bullies deny their abuse because of their hatred for the victim, and they wish to reduce sympathy and support for the victim. They will claim that the violence a victim speaks of is either invented or exaggerated to either get attention or to make others feel sorry for him/her.
Sometimes, even bystanders and witnesses will side with the bullies and deny the abuse to keep from being bullied themselves or because they too have a secret hatred for the victim. Bystanders and witnesses may also want the bullying of the victim to continue for entertainment purposes. Believe it or not, many witnesses to the abuse enjoy seeing the victim get bullied because, to them, it is a source of entertainment and makes them feel superior to somebody.
Also, bystanders may feel dirty as well because they know they didn’t speak out for the victim when they should have, or the bullying may be something they would like to have done to the victim themselves but didn’t have the guts.
Understand that the psyches and egos of humans are very fragile, even those of bullies. So, any time your abuser denies any abuse they know they dished out to you in the past, you don’t have to feel angry or insulted. You don’t have to try and force them to fess up. Because just knowing why they deny it and the nastiness they feel inside when they see you should be enough satisfaction.
So, if you’re a survivor of bullying and anytime you’re out shopping, and see one of the people who bullied you in the past; and you immediately notice how they turn and walk away or avoid looking at you. Know why they do that and feel good about it.
I can tell you that most of my classmates can’t face me today. They cannot bear to look at me because they know what they did, and they feel so dirty. I am a reminder of what they never want to see in themselves, and I always provoke feelings of shame in them. Therefore, I can’t get angry at them, nor feel insulted. There’s no need for revenge, nor to hate them because, in the end, they are the ones who must live with what they did.
1. The crybully doesn’t mind provoking the target over and over, but when the victim finally gets fed up and shows their ugly side, the crybully is not only surprised but offended. Understand that the crybully feels entitled to do whatever she wants to do and that no one has the right to stop her- or even say anything against it. The crybully thinks that she is beyond reproach and that she isn’t to be questioned by anyone.
Crybullies feel that the world owes them and that they have the right to mistreat their targets. Even more astonishing is that crybullies think that their victims are just supposed to bow down to them and take the abuse- to let them harm them and take it with a smile and a yes sir/ma’am. Why? Because:
“I’m always right, and you’re always wrong.”
“I’m better than you.”
“I’m superior, and you’re inferior. And how dare you stand up to me. You have no rights as far as I’m concerned.”
Note the quotations above and understand that, though they may never come out and say it, this is how crybullies think.
2. A crybully will gripe, whine, and complain when something they don’t like happens. Like when you call the crybully out on his BS, report or speak out about his bullying, or do anything to cause him to be held accountable for his despicable behavior? The crybully will bitch, moan, and regress into a toddler if they have to face responsibility for anything. They’ll throw a temper tantrum, railing against the injustice and unfairness of it all. He may also do something to get back at you for daring to stand up for yourself.
Understand that crybullies must always get their way and think they can do no wrong. Many times, they will get furious with and throw a fit with the target. If the crybully is female, she may dissolve into a puddle of tears and tell not only authority but anyone who’ll listen that the target is the bully.
3. Crybullies will shout you down if you don’t agree with them or you call them out on their bad behavior. They think their words, actions, and beliefs are golden. If you happen to speak against their deplorable behavior or hold a different view, crybullies will instantly turn into petulant children, call you all kinds of ugly names and launch personal attacks against you.
4. A crybully wants everything handed to them and doesn’t like to put in the effort to earn it. Crybullies are entitled to have whatever they want when and how they want it. They don’t like to work for anything, and neither do they like to wait for it.
They’re like spoiled children. If they don’t get what they want, they will never stop bothering you until you cave in and give it to them. Crybullies do this to wear you down. However, you must only double down and resist, no matter what. So, stand firm- if for nothing more than to teach them a lesson.
5. Crybullies hate the thought of anyone else having a life better than they do. When a crybully sees someone else doing better than them at anything, it makes them feel indignant, and that life hasn’t given them a fair shake. They will often sulk and play on others’ sympathy. The crybully will also try to get back at the person for being just a little luckier than him/her.
6. They Have a victim mentality. This point takes me back to how the crybully tries to make the victim look like the bully. In some cases, the crybully deludes herself into believing that she is, in fact, the victim.
And sadly, the crybully is very successful in making others believe her drivel.
Think Nellie Olson in “Little House on the Prairie.”
There you have it, folks. If you see any of the above characteristics, you might have a crybully on your hands. The best way to battle this type of bullying is to name it and shame it. Putting a name on these things makes them so much easier to deal with and overcome.
All too often, whether at school or work, it’s the best of the best who get bullied- children and teens with pure hearts of gold, empathetic coworkers, the very people who don’t deserve it, and who want to make the world a better place.
These are the people who are team players, who are cooperative, and who deeply care about others. They extend kindness to others and will give you the shirts off their backs if you needed it.
Understand that simply caring– about anyone or anything is going to be painful. It’s why so many who were once kind and caring people are now cold, hard, angry, and bitter. These people were relentlessly bullied and they allowed it to make them cold and mean. They are often those who adopt the “I’m going to get you before you get me” attitude.
For a long time, I was one of those people. After being bullied, I became no better than they were. I’m thankful that my eyes were opened and that I no longer have to resort to cruelty to protect myself. And I’m much happier and more confident in who I am!
Bullying has a way of taking it all out of you. It can take your self-esteem, your confidence, your happiness, your love and kindness for others, your energy, your health- even your will to live. But only if you let it!
Bullying will either make or break you.
It will either wise you up or dumb you down.
Either way, these results are up to you.
Bullying changes a person, no doubt about it. But don’t let it make you bitter. Let it make you better!
Once a person suffers bullying for so long, changes in the brain occur- changes that aren’t good. Here are these changes:
1. The target becomes exhausted and loses the will to fight back. Being bullied is extremely tiring. Bullies know this and deliberately wear their victims down to take the fight out of them and wrest control over their lives.
Although at first, the target may defend themselves and fiercely assert their rights to human dignity and respect, most bullies don’t recognize any human rights but only see self-defense and protection as an affront to their power. They then only double down- intensify the hatred until they mentally and physically exhaust their target.
The target finally loses their will to fight back and acquiesces because he’s just worn slap out and no longer has the strength to fight anymore.
2. He loses the ability to recognize mistreatment. When we’re used to being treated well, we can more clearly see poor treatment and know the difference when it happens. But after so long of enduring bullying, the lines get blurred, and our eyes lose the ability to see aggression so clearly- especially if the hostility we face is subtle. We finally reach a point where we don’t recognize the bullying at all!
3. The target becomes conditioned to accept bad behavior from others. After so long, you come to believe what bullies tell you- that you’re a terrible person and that you somehow deserve to be treated shabbily.
These damaging self-beliefs happen after the bullies, their followers, and bystanders have repeatedly prevented you from defending and taking care of yourself. They have, for so long, drummed into your head that you are worthless, useless, evil, mentally unstable- take your pick. They repeat the same lies over and over until they force you to believe it too.
4. The target begins to punish himself. The victim does this by engaging in risky or self-destructive behaviors. He may hang with the wrong people and befriend those who only tolerate them. Targeted girls may participate in risky sexual behavior or having relationships with abusive partners.
Understand that we must be vigilant to take care of our mental health and self-esteem if we want to avoid these results in the future. Make sure you have friends outside of the bullying environment that you can talk to and that your family is supportive. Do things you enjoy and keep company with positive and uplifting people any time you’re away from the bullies.
Your goal is to balance the bullying you suffer by adding healthy and positive relationships and experiences outside the bullying environment. This balance will soften the blows to your self-esteem and provide a buffer to your bullies’ attacks.
Today, another form of bullying exists but didn’t have a name until sometime within the last ten years. Mom-shaming, Dad-shaming, or parent-on-parent bullying has been in existence for decades.
If you’re a parent, know that it’s not a question of if, but when.
There will be people outside your home who’ll overstep their boundaries and insert their two cents where it doesn’t belong. They’ll think they have carte blanche to tell you your business and to these people, my question would be, “Who the &%$# are you?”
I’ve witnessed other parents shamed over their parenting skills and have even been there myself, and it can get brutal. To hear these bullies talk, you’d think that that the victims caught in their crosshairs were the worst parents on Earth! But they weren’t and still aren’t.
They never abused nor neglected their children, never encouraged nor condoned any wrongdoing, yet other parents disparaged them for merely trying to mold their kids into mature and independent adults. People shame them mostly for the ways they discipline their children or doing anything in a way the shamers didn’t approve of.
I’ve read of a mom or dad being lambasted by other parents for grounding their daughter after the girl snuck out of the house one night.
I saw on the news, another incident when people shamed a parent on social media for cutting off her daughter’s hair after the girl bullied another classmate with cancer- a punishment that, although harsh, ensures that she never again bullies another cancer patient.
Believe me. I understand that being a parent is tough enough without others trying to butt in. So, if you are a parent and you endure this kind of bullying, don’t feel bad about yourself and don’t try to conform to these nosy idiots.
I want you to know that as long as you aren’t abusing nor neglecting your kid, you have every right to tell these big-nosed people to stay in their lane. Who are they to tell you how to raise your child?
So, don’t bite your tongue. Don’t hold back. If you know, you’re doing nothing wrong, and some snoop sticks her big nose where it doesn’t belong, you can tell that person, point black to mind her own damn business.
You wouldn’t let someone come into your house and tell you how to clean it or take it upon themselves to arrange your furniture without your permission. So, why would you allow them to tell you how to raise your child?
There are things you can do to take the sting out of being bullied. These steps can serve as a buffer to the effects of bullying on self-esteem and the psyche.
1. Watch and Listen– Because bullies get talked about too. Believe me when I tell you. Bullies have enemies and lots of them. And why not?
They’ve been walking over people for a long time. So, you can bet they’ve left a long trail of foes behind them, adversaries who are more than happy to dish out the tea.
2. Know that you aren’t the only one these people have bullied– seasoned bullies have had plenty of practice over the years. I guarantee it! There have been others before you, and there will be more after you. Why do you think these people are so good at making you feel bad about yourself and doubt your worth? How do you think they got that good at it? They certainly didn’t get that way overnight. It came from so many years of trial and error, and they figured out what worked and what didn’t. And they had to have had guinea pigs (previous victims/targets) as practice. They’re doing what for so long has worked for them.
3. Collect info on your bullies– find out about their personal and family lives. You can bet that bullies have problems too. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be going out of their way to prove something to an audience at your expense. As I stated earlier, they have enemies. Find these enemies, cozy up to them, and have them tell you what they know about your bullies. I have done it many times, and I can tell you that you’d be surprised at the tidbits you found out! I’ll give you more details on the next step.
4. Ingratiate yourself with others your bullies have bullied– You and these people have something in common, so this should be a cinch! Align yourself with these other victims. Bullies run in packs, so why can’t targets? Understand that strength always comes in numbers. If you ban together, I guarantee that your bullies will think twice before accosting you. Remember that bullies are cowards and would prefer to catch you when you’re alone rather than confront you while you’re in a group.
I love being me – positive affirmation – handwriting on napkin with a cup of coffee
5. Keep company only with people who love you, want the best for you, and make you feel good about yourself– A good sign of a true friend is someone who uplifts you and helps your confidence soar. They uplift you, encourage you, have your back when you’re in trouble, and cheer for you when you reach success. All too often, victims end up with fake friends- frenemies who only tolerate and are passive-aggressive toward them. These frenemies will subtly humiliate victims in public and throw them under the bus when they’re in trouble or danger.
Victims often latch on to frenemies because they’re desperate for friends and companionship. They’d rather have sorry excuses for friends who treat them poorly than to have no friends at all. These victims are under the false belief that anything is better than being by yourself. I made that mistake myself when I suffered bullying in school.
Trust me when I tell you, anyone who belittles you even a little bit is not your friend! They’re only there because they know that you’re lonely. You are vulnerable to them, and they only hang around because anytime you have a weak spot, you’re accessible for them to use and take advantage of you. That is the only reason they come around!
Do you want friends like that? I hope not! I hope that you will do what I finally did the last year of school, ditch those creeps, and find friends who respect you, who genuinely like you and want to be with you!
6. Show off your talents and gifts– If you can sign, enter talent shows! If you can write, enter writing contests! If you know you’re good at something, find ways to show it off! You’d be surprised at what it will do for your self-esteem. I promise you!
When my classmates bullied me, it was so bad that I was scared to show what I could do. I knew that I could sing but was too afraid to belt it out and show off my best voice. If there were do-overs, I would have sung as best I could, came out of my shell, and took every opportunity to showcase that talent! Who knows where it might have taken me?
Anytime people are bullying you, you must take care of yourself. We exercise and eat well to take good care of our bodies, but we forget. We must also take care of our psyches! It is imperative that we also take care of our minds. And we do this by taking steps to buffer our self-esteem from the onslaught of bullying.
7. Do things you enjoy doing, and that fills your soul– whether you love to swim, hike, camp, find opportunities to do these things if they truly make you happy! The more happy moments you have, the less of an effect bullying will have on you!
Doing these things will help to buffer your self-esteem against your bullies attacks. In other words, it will lesson the pain of the attacks because you’ll know you have friends, allies, talents, and positive moments in life- solid proof that counters anything the bullies try to tell you. And you’ll feel much better about yourself.
It will also help correct the imbalance between adversity and success. Many targets of bullying often have a ton of social failures and only a tiny few successes. If you do all these things, you’ll soon achieve a healthy balance between the two.