4 Reasons Bystanders Refuse to Help Targets: The Cold, Hard Truth

bystander effect

You not only never forget the bullies, but you also remember the people who were there- the people who had the power to help you but did nothing. Many times, the bystanders who saw it never tried to intervene and stop the attacks, nor did they speak up on my behalf.

As much as I hate to say it, I was guilty of the same thing. When I watched a few others get bullied, I said and did nothing, thinking that my voice wouldn’t make a difference if I did speak up. Other times, I was just damn glad that, for a change, I wasn’t the one targeted and that it was someone else taking heat for a change.

For this, I am very remorseful and would like to apologize to all the other targets I left to fend for themselves. I’m truly sorry.

Bullying Poster Concept Illustration bystanders

Here are the reasons bystanders do nothing to help a target of bullying:

1. They’re afraid of arousing the bullies’ anger and becoming the next target. No one wants to be a target of bullying. I get that. Many bystanders fear getting involved, and for good reasons. However, many bystanders do have some power because they’re high on the social hierarchy.

And the higher you are in the pecking order, the more weight your actions and words carry. So, why not use your power to help the target? Because if you’re extremely popular, the chances are that other bystanders will follow your lead and join you, and the bully will leave the victim alone. There’s strength in numbers.

2. The bystanders see the bullies’ torment of the target as entertainment. Bullies always bully in front of an audience to humiliate the target. During altercations between bullies and targets, bystanders immediately gather around to watch it go down.

Most bystanders then stand around, laughing and pointing fingers. Many of them cheer and egg the bully on, stirring it up to get more entertainment, all of which only encourages the bully to continue and even escalate the abuse.

As long as it isn’t them getting dogged out or having their brains beat in, most bystanders think it’s funny to see it happen to someone else.

Silhouette of two hands with smartphones, shoot a video on a sinking person’s hand, asking for help. The concept of a selfish society, a social problem

It’s the reason that instead of helping the target, bystanders will automatically whip out their smartphones and record the confrontation. They can then watch it later, send the film to their friends, and have another big laugh over it.

But! It’s not the least bit funny to the target. It’s painful and humiliating. It can be devastating to a victim who has already been a target of bullying for an extended time and can drive them over the edge.

3. The bystanders themselves either dislike or hate the target. In many cases, bullies have run vicious smear campaigns and turned everyone against their victims. When an altercation finally breaks out, the bystanders refuse to help the target because they think she deserves the abuse. Many times, these bystanders secretly or openly take pleasure in seeing the target suffer.

They may stand around snickering or join the bullies in tormenting the target. Often, the bullies are only doing to the victim what many bystanders wish they had the stones to do themselves. So, they get complete satisfaction in seeing someone else attack the target. Bystanders often hate the victim so much that they would defend a total stranger before protecting the victim they hate so intensely.

4. They don’t want to get involved. Many bystanders figure that it’s none of their business and choose not to get involved. These bystanders are so indifferent that they won’t even stop and watch. They will only pass by and keep going. They don’t care. Period.

Understand that bullies always perform in front of an audience to show their superiority, strength, and power. Bystanders who do nothing to stop the attacks only silently support and encourage the bullies. These bystanders are just as guilty as the psycho bullies who perpetuate the attacks.

Often, bystanders either don’t understand or underestimate the power they have, especially in large numbers. When witnesses speak up for the target, the bullies will likely stop and leave the victim.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Step-by-Step Description of Mobbing in Progress

Mobbing is THE severest form of bullying. Once the bullying reaches the stage of mobbing, this is when the bullying becomes life-threatening! And if you’ve ever been a target of it, you know firsthand how destructive it is.

The reason that mobbing is so hard to remedy is that not only has it already rendered us so distraught that we’re unable to think clearly, but we aren’t able to name, describe, nor communicate the steps bullies take to destroy us.

A successful smear campaign is started by a bully or bullies who are well-practiced in the arts of persuasion and influence and can last for years.

Here’s something I want you to realize. A smear campaign is nowhere near as tricky as it looks. You’d be amazed at just how simple it is to smear someone. It’s so easy that it shouldn’t be so effective, but it is!

To quote the old Geico commercial, it’s “so easy; a caveman can do it.”

Here’s a chronological, step-by-step recap of how bullies do it and succeed at it:

1. The bullies have a dislike for a specific individual who refuses to conform to their standard of who she should be.

Now all this time, the bullies have been able to influence everyone else and get them to submit to their will and every whim. Then, low and behold, along comes the target (we’ll call her “Cindy”) who’s stubborn and either unable to or won’t submit to the bullies’ control and allow them to change her personality into what they think it should be.

And Cindy may not realize the bullies’ motives and that just by doing her thing, she’s enraging the bullies. So, she goes on about her business, makes plans for her future, makes achievement after achievement, and maybe she gets loads of positive attention and praise from others because she’s so successful and well-liked.

2. Next, the bullies begin to smear Cindy. To implement their smear campaign, they watch Cindy, studying her behavior carefully until they’re able to anticipate her reactions.

3. The bullies then train their audience (i.e., the other classmates or coworkers to expect a specific type of behavior out of Cindy. They point out these behaviors when they occur. The bullies then associate Cindy’s completely innocent behavior with something bad or evil.

For example, let’s say that Cindy is sweet, playful, and likes to engage in a little banter. The bullies watch as Cindy banters with people in the school or workplace. She playfully calls someone a “dummy” or a “goofball,” but others know that it’s all for harmless jokes and think it’s funny because Cindy is a genuinely kind person.

4. So, the bullies begin making offhand comments. They remark that Cindy’s kindness is only an attempt to kiss ass because she wants something from people and that she thinks the people around her really are dummies, but only disguises it under a veil of fun jokes and playfulness.

The bullies also make statements that Cindy thinks she’s cute and that Cindy thinks she’s smarter than everyone else. Then repeat, repeat, repeat!

To quote a propaganda minister to a well-known dictator in history, “Tell a lie once, and it remains a lie. Tell a lie a thousand times, and it becomes the truth.”

5. The next time others see Cindy being kind to and playfully bantering with someone, she doesn’t look so cute, and the banter isn’t so funny anymore. Now people see a side of Cindy they can’t believe they never noticed before.

6. Now feeling smug with gratification, the bullies look at themselves, then at Cindy with smirks on their crooked faces and try the same thing all over again.

7. And before you know it, everyone wonders what they ever saw in Cindy, to begin with. They start having negative feelings toward the poor girl.

8. Cindy begins to pick up on the negative vibes around her and withdraws a little. She doesn’t speak to people as much as she did and doesn’t understand what she did or said to bring it all about. The bullies notice that Cindy is more distant than usual, and they point this out to everyone.

“Hey, look! Do you see that? Now, what did we tell you? Cindy really does think we’re all dummies! She really does think she’s smarter than the rest of us!”

“And her ass-kissing (Cindy’s sweet disposition) didn’t work, so now she’s too good to speak to anyone!”

9. Cindy’s withdrawal only inflames everyone’s feelings of dislike and resentment. Although her becoming distant is only out of self-protection, others mistake it for smugness and arrogance.

10. And it only snowballs from there, getting worse and worse over time. Understand that people are human, and they make mistakes. They misjudge innocent others all the time.

And when bullies condition the whole of a group, school, organization, workplace, or community to see any quality in a particular person as a bad thing, a smear campaign is most effective. So everyone, even those who aren’t bullies and are otherwise kind and compassionate, can become extremely cold and cruel to a target. And everyone repeats the same cruelty, over and over again.

Understand that smear campaigns are just too effective because they can quickly become bullying, then escalate to mobbing, which is the most severe kind of bullying. And once it increases to mobbing, it’s unstoppable, and the only way you can take your life back is to leave that toxic, poisonous environment altogether.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

2 Ways Bullying Stunts a Target’s Social Development

Although social intelligence won’t necessarily keep you from becoming a target of bullying, it will most certainly lessen your chances of it.

Social intelligence always has and always will supersede book-smarts. It will get you much further than college degrees, awards, and credentials alone. It is the reason high school dropouts have become millionaires. It is also why many college graduates have ended up flipping burgers at McDonald’s.

Social intelligence is THE most important quality you can have. It’s the highest paid skill and most important asset in the entire universe.

For many years- even back during the eighties, when I was in school, people thought that it was the one skill that could never be taught. It was thought that you were either born with it, or you weren’t and if you weren’t, it was something that you had to accept and deal with. Thankfully, we now know differently.

Sadly, if you’re a target of bullying, the abuse you suffer can batter your self-esteem into oblivion and, as a result, you withdraw from the rest of the world. When you’ve been bullied for so long, you because deathly afraid of other people and come to believe that you’re inferior to everyone else- afraid to talk, afraid to mix and mingle, afraid of any social situations.

You retreat into yourself and live inside your own head. You create a fantasy world, where you feel safe, wanted, and loved- a world of imaginary people who accept you. As a result, you shut out the “real world” and live in this fantasy world- this safe haven you’ve created.

This is not good because, when this happens, you stop watching people and the world around you and you stop learning the social graces and nuances that you need to know in order to create a good life for yourself and nurture relationships. Before you know it, you become socially awkward- you become too quiet, shy, and reserved.

You look right through people instead of smiling and saying hello. You become sullen and spaced out instead of happy, upbeat, and engaging. You feel numb instead of the emotions you should feel at different times.

In short, it stunts your social development!

This is why it’s so important that you make a conscious effort to save your self-esteem. You do this by keeping your heart open, meeting new people and making friends- created positive interactions and experiences outside the bullying environment and away from your bullies (or anyone else who knows you from the toxic bullying environment. Do what you must do to keep your self-esteem intact and continue to grow your social intelligence.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

You Have Nothing to Be Sorry About

Don’t apologize for being who you are. You’re just the way God made you.

Don’t be sorry for being a woman, a man, your race, nor having brown hair, blonde hair, blue or brown eyes. For those are the things that make you you. Be happy and secure with it.

Don’t apologize for being a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, nor for holding certain values- for valuing your god and family. For those are the things you hold dear.

Refuse to be sorry for wrongdoings committed by others. You cannot control others’ actions, nor should you be expected to pay for their sins. That is between them and God, and they’ll be judged for it one day.

You’re not responsible for any sins other than your own.

Too many people self-loathe and feel guilty for things they haven’t done, which only strips away their happiness and peace of mind. And if you allow others to heap false guilt on your head unjustly, what do you think they will do next?

Take charge of your happiness and your life. And know that anyone who tries to force you to feel something you shouldn’t feel or do something that is either degrading to you or that you don’t want to do, you should have no more to do with them.

Continue to love yourself. Apologize only for what you’re guilty of and to the person you transgressed against. And if that person doesn’t accept your apology, that’s on them, and you should love yourself enough to get on with it.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

When You Assert Your Boundaries, Be Prepared for Others, Especially Bullies, to Accuse You of Having “An Attitude.” (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1)

Your boundaries and standards are the invisible fortresses surrounding you with protection. They keep you safe from harm. When you set boundaries, it means that you don’t allow others to take advantage of you. It also means that you refuse to be a pushover and won’t let other people make you do things that aren’t in line with your goals, values, morals, or convictions. In short, you don’t allow yourself to be manipulated.

And it requires that you call out anyone who tries to stick so much as one knee, one foot,  or one toe over those boundaries. You’re assertive but not overly aggressive. You’re strong but not overbearing. When you say no, you mean it, and you say it without feeling guilty over not saying yes. And when you do say yes to others, you can do it without saying no to yourself.

Sadly, it can be hard to set boundaries and standards, especially when dealing with overly-aggressive bullies who have anger issues. Our first instinct is to protect ourselves any way we can- even if it means we must appease these people to ensure our safety.

Many targets have zero boundaries and feel that to keep from being bullied worse than they already do, they must always bend over backward to make sure the people around them feel comfortable and at ease, which is wrong and a horrible way to live!

And sadly, that only works temporarily because bullies and abusers always come back for more.

Many targets don’t feel strong enough to keep invaders out of their bubble. And it’s because of this that they feel guilty and like failures when they’re unable to enforce their boundaries and standards. Targets also feel as if they’ve let themselves down, and, let me tell ya! It’s the worst feeling in the world.

I want you to understand that, no matter what others may tell you or how they may act, it’s okay to refuse their mistreatment and disrespect. It’s okay to say no to bullying by those who insist they have the right to cross your boundaries and invade your space physically, socially, psychologically, or spiritually. Know that you deserve a seat at the table of life, not one in the corner.

Setting boundaries and standards is not having an“attitude.” It’s your right! It would be best if you accepted that any limitations you put in place will get a ton of resistance. So, take this as a given! And again, look at it this way. The resistance you will get will be a sign of who your real friends aren’t.

Resistance is soooo telling! It can help you find out who’s really for your good and who isn’t.

It’s never good to be a yes-person, nor is it smart. Caring about others is great but caring too much is unhealthy. Boundaries and standards are needed because, without them, you subject yourself to living your life on autopilot- you’re a car without a steering wheel- a ship without a rudder!

But with them, you have a rudder, and you can chart your life’s course. The winds and currents may change, and the waters get rough, and you may indeed go off course, but you’ll still have some degree of direction. In setting boundaries and standards, you’re not completely powerless over what happens to you. You have some say over your destiny.

That’s why it’s so crucial that you stand in your power and speak your truth. Never dumb yourself down and make yourself less than the awesome person you are. Never settle for less than what you want and deserve.

Put yourself first instead of everyone else before you. Stop being a people pleaser. Stop putting your wants and needs on the back burner to keep others satisfied. It would be best if you practice self-love and self-care.

Accept that people won’t handle it well and be willing to let them go because they don’t deserve a seat at your table. And once you do, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much better life gets and how many people of integrity and sound quality come into your life. And I can say this from experience.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

When You Assert Your Boundaries, Be Prepared for Others, Especially Bullies, to Accuse You of Having “An Attitude.”

Girl sitting on the ground and drawing personal space. Selective focus

Many times, when we set boundaries and refuse to lower our standards, we’re accused of having “an attitude.” Lord only knows how many times I got that response when I either said no to something I didn’t like or refused to be manipulated or to take abuse. Therefore, it’s better to accept, even embrace, the reality that others will see you as doing just that- having an attitude when you stand on your principles.

Toxic teachers will assume that you’re insubordinate. Abusive managers and supervisors will think you’re not a team player, and bullying peers will see you as a ‘difficult’ person to be around, and that’s only a very mild version of what they may call you.

Understand that anytime we enforce our boundaries and standards, we become threats to abusers. We expose the manipulative people in our lives through the limits we set and see them more clearly. Why? Because we force them to tell off on themselves through their very reactions toward us.

Through having boundaries and standards, we can better tell the difference between real friends and fake ones. We can better see which people are truly for us and value our friendship and which ones are only in our lives because they want something from us.

Like all abusers, bullies feel entitled to devalue you and expect you to “just go with the flow” and not object to it. With these types of people, your healthy boundaries and standards are an insult to them. Why? Because they don’t recognize limits.

In their minds, anything goes, and the world and everything in it is one big free-for-all. In other words, any rules, laws, or limits don’t apply to them.

Bullies and frenemies believe they should have carte blanche to treat you any way they choose. They get super offended when you get enough of their abuse and finally have the courage to put your foot down. Accept that you will lose people you think are friends when you establish boundaries and standards. And they will often be the people you’d never expect.

But realize that these peoples’ condescension and dismissal are only proof of their discomfort and their only recourse. Bullies can’t handle an assertive person of incredible strength because they can never meet them on their level.

Also, understand that you cannot grow, be safe, or be free if you don’t set boundaries, and in many cases, people go out of their way to prevent targets of bullying and abuse from imposing any limits. It seems that boundaries and standards are okay for anyone else but strictly prohibited for targets.

But realize that you cannot continue to live your life as a doormat. Therefore,  you must dig deep and pull out the courage to establish your boundaries, which include,

Physical boundaries

Psychological boundaries

Time boundaries

No entry sign with barrier tape

Material boundaries

Intellectual boundaries

You are a flesh-and-blood human being who has rights! And sometimes, you must “cop an attitude” to defend those rights and enforce your boundaries from relentless bullies and other fakers who won’t take no from an answer and continue to violate them.

When you set firm boundaries and standards, you protect your physical well-being, emotional health, self-esteem, and identity from anyone who seeks to destroy them. You make yourself an individual human being who asserts your right to make your own choices and decisions.

(Continued in Part 2)

7 Types of People Bullies Pick for Targets

Have you noticed that bullies always seen to pick the same types of people to target with their bullying? Bullies pick good people, smart people, people who are creative and seem to be going places. Here are the characteristics of a typical person bullies like to select to be their punching bags:

1. Bullies like to make targets out of people who take responsibility for their lives. Targets tend to be good people who follow rules and laws. They understand that rules and laws are in place for a reason- to ensure a safe community and society.

Most targets do not go around blaming others for their actions and behavior. More often than not, targets blame themselves and try to correct their mistakes when they make them. Bullies see this and they see these people as easy to manipulate and make feel guilty for their (the bullies’) rotten behavior.

Because these people tend to blame themselves, bullies will blame these people even though it’s the bullies who have the issues and not their targets. Over time, bullies can condition targets to accept blame for things they have no control over, such as another person’s behavior.

School boy angel with wings and halo concept for being clever, good, success in education or smug

2. Bullies pick people who are goal oriented. Most targets of bullying work hard, are goal-oriented and have a truckload of self-discipline. They know that if you want anything in life, you have to work for it. Therefore, targets work like the devil to reach their goals and dreams and they have the utmost perseverance and endurance, which are characteristics that most bullies lack.

This is why many targets mistakenly stay in toxic work environments until they end up with a psychological injury from all the bullying they endure. Bullies select these people to bully because their good traits only reflect back to the bullies their own laziness, inadequacy, and lack of purpose. Bullies see these people as threats, because bullies lack self-discipline, and their relationships are usually superficial, one-sided, and short lived. And they will pull out all the stops to contain the threats.

Bullies will exploit these people’s perseverance by establishing one-sided friendships, partnerships, and romances with them. They then use the push and pull method- going hot and cold, making empty promises and love bombing the person. Bullies do this to make them hold onto the hope that just maybe the bully will give them what they’ve been wanting- acceptance, approval, attention, and praise.

But the truth is that no matter how much the person tries to better the relationship, the bullies will never be satisfied and will always find fault with him/her. Understand that one person can never sustain a relationship. It takes effort from both people!

3. Most targets of bullying are Empaths. Most targets of bullying are exceptionally empathetic people who like to help humanity. They strive for self-betterment, to empower others, and make a positive difference in the world.

This is a threat to bullies because, again, these are threats to bullies and only reflect back at them their self-centered, attention grabbing, and flawed personalities. In short, empaths force bullies to see themselves for who they truly are, and bullies will go all out to make them pay for it.

Also, bullies are masters at gaining sympathy from others. Therefore, they target people with empathy because they assume that they are the perfect to elicit sympathy from. How bullies extract sympathy from empaths is by pretending to be the real victims.

In the minds of the bullies, the target is supposed to feel terrible for them because they’ve had such a tough life. And because they (the bullies) have had it so rough, it’s why they behave like they do. So, the target is made to feel that he/she should just accept the abuse.

Understand that this is a load of bologna and it’s no excuse for being a total heel to people and treating them like garbage.

Also, empaths have difficulty setting boundaries and bullies take full advantage of it. They usually retaliate viciously when the empath finally gets tired of their crap and puts their foot down.

4. Most targets of bullying are people who make plans and think ahead. Because these people plan carefully and think ahead, they have goals and dreams that come to fruition and relationships that are solid and long lasting. Bullies are highly jealous of this and they seek these people deliberately just to tear them down.

 5. Bullies usually pick people whose communication skills need improvement. If a person’s communication skills are lacking, they will most likely suffer in silence when people violate their boundaries. Bullies rely on the target’s silence so that they can continue to bully the target and cover up their appalling behavior.

 6. Bullies select people who are givers and not takers. They love to target people who are people-pleasers and reluctant to ask for help and they select them because they see these people as easy to use and degrade. Because these people have a hard time establishing their boundaries, bullies will violate them at will and to achieve their own sick ends. Understand that bullies are takers and never givers!

 7. People who are smart. Intelligence is a huge threat to bullies. Why? Because a smart person will more than likely see through the bullies’ fake facades and call them out publicly on it. Also, just their intelligence alone can serve as a mirror and force the bullies to see their own lack of smarts and make them feel inferior. And they will seek to punish the target for that.

Why do you think kids who are smart, make straight A’s and high marks in school, and win awards are usually the ones bullied the worst? It’s because they only reflect back to the bullies their own stupidity and lack of intelligence and make them feel less than.

In order to win back your confidence and self-esteem, you must first learn the mindsets of bullies and what insecurities they have hidden inside them that cause them to bully you. Only then will you have the endurance to withstand their attacks and the confidence to counter them and defend yourself.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

The Number One Reason It’s So Difficult for Targets to Open Up About the Bullying They Suffer

It’s because they can’t name what’s happening to them. Sure, they can feel it and see it, but they can’t put an actual name on it because they don’t know the names of the tactics and how to describe what’s happening.

Let’s delve deeper.

Being able to put a name on the abusive tactics takes a lot of research and study on abuse in general, because bullying is abuse and abuse is bullying. Why? Because it involves a power imbalance and repeated behavior.

The reason why we should know the names of the tactics used is because, when you can’t put a label on it, it’s much harder to explain to others. And when you can’t name something, you tend to ramble. And because you ramble about it, people are less likely to believe you when you speak out.

I can’t think of anything more frustrating than to feel and to know with every fiber of your being that something is happening and not be able to name it. It’s as if you have an invisible gag over your mouth and that some higher force is trying to silence you and protect your bullies and abusers.

It’s the most frustrating and downright infuriating thing in the world!

I’ll use the term “gaslighting,” for instance.

Years ago, when people were gaslighting me, I didn’t know the proper name for those incessant emotional manipulations they were inflicting. I didn’t know it was called gaslighting. All I knew was that it felt horrible and left me feeling that, somehow, I was always in the wrong. However, I didn’t know how to fix it because I didn’t know what was broken.

Yet, in the innermost parts of my soul, I knew differently, but, because I didn’t know the name and couldn’t put a name to it, I couldn’t describe what was happening to me and, therefore, it was much harder to speak out about it without rambling and looking crazy.

Also, the bullies were always vague about everything. If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve figured out that their vagueness was only another tactic to keep me confused and off balance, but I’ll save this for another post.

With that said, it’s important that you read, study, and research everything you can about bullying and abuse. Find out and study the key terms for each tactic. Learn them. In fact, learn all you can, because, when you know the names as well as the descriptions of each tactic,  you will not only be able to effectively speak out about the bullying and abuse you suffer, but even better, you will be able to more effectively counter the abuse.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

The Truth is Uncomfortable and Inconvenient to Bullies and Their Followers

They not concerned with facts, only the excitement that the rumors and lies create and the close bonding it brings their group.

Understand that your bullies already know the truth. Oh, yes! They know that you aren’t what they say you are. And they know that they’re lying through their teeth. That’s the sad part.

Bullies know that you’re better than what they try to make you out to be. But, here’s the thing.

The truth doesn’t fit their narratives, nor their agenda. So, they’ll go out of their way to make the falsehoods look true. Realize that the bullies are benefiting from the ruination of your reputation. And they’ll move Heaven and Earth to keep those benefits.

Your bullies are the ones that have to work so doggone hard because it takes a ton of work to cover up lies and half-truths. Lies tend to have a never-ending chain. They tell the first lie and have to put out a second lie to cover up the first. Then they must lie a third time to cover up the first two lies about you. And on and on it goes. It’s a never-ending chain.

Lies have a way of building and they build so much that it soon becomes hard for the bullies to keep their stories straight. I mean, seriously! After so long and so many lies, who can keep up with all that? They eventually lie themselves into a crack they can’t pull themselves out of.

If you stay calm and play your hand correctly, your bullies will eventually spin themselves into their own web and get stuck in it. So, sit back and watch them fall into the trap of their own making. Even better have lots of pun- oops- fun watching the show.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

The Roots of Insecurity

The words we hear from others can affect how we see ourselves, but they don’t have to if we don’t let them.

Targets of bullying are picked apart daily in every minute detail, and in every aspect of their existences. A bully may criticize something as minute as the way they write. Bullies may criticize a woman for sitting with her legs crossed or the way she applies her makeup. But I guarantee that it has nothing with the way the woman sits or puts on her cosmetics, it has everything to do with the bullies’ own insecurities that are buried within themselves.

In reality, the bullies may think the woman is awesome and their criticism could be taken as a compliment because the bullies know they can’t compete with her and certainly don’t deserve the time of day from her because they know they aren’t even on her level, so, they do whatever they can to tear her down and bring her to their level.

However, the criticism surely doesn’t feel like a compliment and can make you feel like crap, so, I’m very careful when I use my words here. Insecure bullies and abusers will say terrible things to us and they can stick with us if we’re not careful.

“You’re ugly!”

“You’re fat!”

“Your clothes look like hand-me-downs!”

“Your hair looks too straight!”

“Your nose is too long!”

“Your ears are too big!”

“Nobody likes you!”

“You don’t have any friends!”

This doesn’t mean what they say is true, but so many times, we let the words of bullies get into our heads. When bullies assault us with hurtful words, targets often sit and wonder:

“Why don’t they like me?”

“Why am I not good enough?”

“Am I too fat?”

“Am I too short?”

“Am I too weird?”

“Is it my makeup, my hairdo, or my clothes?”

And they do it regardless of whether what was said to them is true.

Understand that our insecurities will scream at us from time to time but if we chose to listen to those pesky little voices, which are most often only voices from past abusers, it only serves to damage our self-confidence and self-esteem. Granted, there will be times when you will question yourself and this is perfectly normal. But when you make it a habit, then it becomes a problem.

There will also always be someone prettier, better looking, smarter, or financially better off. That’s just life. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything going for you because you do but again, there will always be someone with more.

Therefore, never compare yourself to another person because you do yourself more harm than good. Realize that each one of us is blessed with great qualities, although some may not know what they are.

Insecurity is a tricky animal because it has a way of hiding in obscurity. Sometimes, we don’t even know we have it. Bullies are such people. Most bullies are bogged down with insecurities, which is why they always point out the shortcomings of others in attempts to hide their own and the self-esteem fix they get from it is only short lived. Then bullies will only come back for more.

Another reason why insecurity is so tricky is because the insecure person not only doesn’t realize it exists, but they also don’t know when they became insecure nor what caused the insecurity.

We aren’t born with insecurities. They are given to us by other people, those who unfairly criticized you during your early years. Maybe someone called you stupid, or ugly. Maybe someone told you that you didn’t look good enough or, weren’t smart enough to pass that class.

Maybe you had an abusive parent or family member who told you that you would never amount to anything. Maybe your dad left and never cared to spend any time with you. It could be that you had an older sibling who bullied you. Maybe your classmates repeatedly told you that you weren’t good enough and never would be. Maybe others trivialized your successes and told you that they didn’t matter. They stem from many different factors.

Nevertheless, there had to be that first person who berated you- that person who planted that seed of insecurity and they repeated the same behavior and nurtured that seed so that it would grow. Maybe others helped to grow that seed and it’s only festered inside of you. And that seed has negatively affected your relationships with others and continues to do so today.

But understand that we all have flaws and the best way to get comfortable with them is to own them and accept that you have them. You might as well get comfortable with your flaws if they’re things you can’t do anything about. Also, once you embrace your flaws, no one can hold them against you any longer. By accepting and embracing your flaws, you take back your personal power and squash any power that bullies ever had over you because the insecurity ceases to be.

Many bullies have also been victims of others. This is the reason they try to break your confidence, only bullies refuse to have that discussion because it would only cast them as being vulnerable. Also, bullies never took the time to acknowledge and heal their own hurts and insecurities.

Therefore, bullies will tear you down with their actions and words because they feel either inferior to or threatened by you.

Once and for all, I want you to understand that there will be that partner who tells you that you dress like a floozy even though you dressed the same when your partner met you and you actually dress rather conservatively. There will be classmates who criticize your laugh or your smile. There will be people who flat out tell you to shut up when you speak even if the words you speak make sense.

The criticisms that hurt us the most and have the potential to destroy us come from spouses, family, and friends- people we love and trust the most. It is those remarks that can do the most damage because these are the people who are supposed to love us, take care of us, and protect us. And we believe they do. We believe they only want what’s best for us so we attempt to modify and change who we are to satisfy them and gain their love and approval. And the more they berate us, the more we shape-shift, trying to attain that allusive approval, until we twist ourselves into a pretzel!

It amazes me how many broken children there are out there who don’t yet understand that there was never anything wrong with them. These children become bullies and grow up to be angry and bitter adults who will only spread their toxicity to others.

It’s much easier to make others feel small than to deal with what others have done to us. I was broken for a lot of years, brainwashed into thinking I wasn’t worthy of being treated well. I always thought I was vermin compared to others because that’s what I’d been told repeatedly by others.

It took me a 2 ½ decades to realize that there was nothing wrong with me and that none of the bullying, abuse, and torment people subjected me to was ever my fault. I was not defected, and I was never a bad person. In fact, I now realize that I’m an awesome person and if people who don’t know me choose to judge me and have issues with me, it’s their problem not mine.

And I hope and pray they get their mental stuff together before it’s too late because it takes someone who lives a miserable existence to go through life making other people feel like dog shit to feel superior.

Insecurity is a seed that plants itself deeply, which is why it can be difficult to deal with. But in order to heal, you must cut out the roots of it too.

And if you don’t take the time needed to deal with and heal it, you will continue to carry the insecurities that someone else gave you and they will affect the way you handle people and your future relationships- every one of them, whether they’re romantic, friendships, or family.

Realize that the insecurities you have were caused by other people who wanted to look and feel better and more powerful than you. They saw a good quality in you that threatened to overshadow them somehow. So, they went on a mission to tear you down to keep you from stealing their spotlight.

Always remember that the bullying and abuse was never about you, it was about them. It was about their fear of you overshadowing them. It was about their being afraid that you’d reach success and leave them in the dust. It was about something they saw in you that threatened their fragile egos.

With knowledge comes empowerment!