3 Reasons Targets Fear Setting Boundaries

All too often, targets of bullying have a hard time setting boundaries. Many just keep their mouths shut, grin and bear it while others wipe their feet all over them. They suffer in silence and obscurity, which only further damages their mental health. If being used as a rug hurts so much, why do they allow it to continue?

There are several reasons:

1. They don’t have the confidence.

Many targets of bullying feel helpless and simply think it wouldn’t do them any good. So, they see no point in speaking up because they know that they’ll likely get bullied worse for it. It takes confidence to set boundaries, which, sadly, is something a few bullying targets have.

Also, as we know, bullies don’t respect boundaries because they don’t acknowledge them. In their minds, you’re a target and, to them, a target has no rights and deserves no human dignity. Bullies don’t see targets as human beings deserving of the same human rights as everyone else. That’s a fact.

2. They feel powerless to stop the abuse.

Again, setting boundaries is anything but easy- it’s one of the hardest things to do after people bully you for so long and brainwash you into thinking you’re to blame for their horrid behavior.

Many targets have been abused for so long that they’ve “gotten used to it.” In other words, bullies and their sycophants have conditioned the targets to take the abuse and allow them to ride roughshod over them. Many times, targets have been fooled into believing that setting boundaries is selfish.

This is why many targets cave in to the bullies’ demands. They feel it’s safer just to give them what they want and pacify them.

3. They fear the bullies will retaliate.

If you’re a target of bullying, you may badly want to tell your abusers to knock it off. You may want to tell them to get the hell away from you and stay away. You may even want to fight back, but you don’t know how they may react.

Another thing you don’t know is whether they’ll accept your boundaries, nor if they’ll want to accept them. You know that there’s a chance the bullies may act violently toward you for having the chutzpah to speak against their abuse.

Bullies despise even a hint of opposition because they see it as your challenging their power and perceived authority. And they’ll do whatever they can to tighten their grip if they suspect you’re defying them. And sometimes, things get dangerous, and you must do it scared.

But what they don’t realize is this. When you set boundaries, you enact your autonomy and speak from a place of self-care and self-love. You decide what you will and won’t tolerate. You take your power back.

However!

Before you’re able to do that, you must be clear of what you will not accept.

It takes uber-confidence to stand up to a bully. It would be best if you also gave up your old self-protective behaviors – those you tried in the past that failed, which are ways your bullies and a few other abusers in your life probably conditioned you to respond.

1. You must stop over-apologizing.

2. You must stop trying to explain yourself to anyone.

3. You must stop trying to figure out what made the bullies so hostile.

4. You must stop wondering what you did wrong.

5. You must stop wondering if something’s wrong with you.

6. You must stop asking, “why me.”

Before you can stand up to abuse, you must squash the mentality that compels you to do any of the above mentioned.

You must understand that all the why me, why this, why that, gets you nowhere. And all the wracking your brains wondering and trying to figure out what’s wrong also serves no purpose. It’s a complete waste of time and only makes you feel worse.

Instead, be real with yourself and conclude that your bullies are just a bunch of ignorant, moronic jackasses who lack character and live fake existences. You must also learn to trust yourself, which includes trusting your body and how it feels. Trust everything you see, hear, feel, sense, and the vibes you pick up from the people around you. And finally, trust your decisions.

It also takes dogged determination:

1. Even if your bullies rationalize and justify their behavior, you won’t take their crap.

2. Even if they blame you for their despicable behavior, you won’t take it.

3. Even if they tell you that you’re crazy or mentally imbalanced, you won’t take it.

4. Even if they call you a bitch, an asshole, or any other degrading name, you won’t take it.

5. Even if you made a mistake and your bullies call it out in an abusive manner, you won’t take it.

6. And, for the love of Pete! If the bullies commit physical violence, you definitely won’t take that! Get the police involved, file charges, and sue for any damages! Or, put up those dukes and throw down if you need to!

And it’ll take calling your bullies out every single time they cross the line.

You can say:

“Stop it!”

“Cut it out!”

“Knock it off!”

“Get away from me!”

“Get out!”

positive bullied victim says NO

You get power just by loudly giving either one of these commands. And who knows? I’m not making any guarantees here, but you might shock your bullies back to reality and make them leave you alone. There were times when I was pleasantly surprised, and it worked for me.

You do not have to walk on eggshells around anyone! Know that you do have a choice and a voice. You can choose not to accept the bullies’ behavior. You have more power than you know.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Be Careful What You Put Up With

It’s best to begin standing up for yourself in the early stages or you’ll come across as a doormat to others and teach them how to treat you based on what they see. Sadly, many targets of bullying do not realize this until the bullying gets so bad and so out of control that their lives are in danger. By then, it’s usually too late to change anything and the only option left is for target to remove him/herself from the environment.

Understand that bullying always escalates and the more you ignore it, deny it, and tolerate it, the more emboldened, brazen, and full of themselves the bullies become until they become drunk on their own power. That’s when the abuse will get out of control and you’re most likely to end of getting severely hurt or worse.

Bullying is like a drug. As we know, it takes one smoke, one drink, or one snort or two for a person to become hooked and once he/she gets that first high, they always want more. It’s the same with bullying. All it takes is one backhanded compliment, one offhand comment, or one insult or two to get the target to react and give the bullies that first rush- that first power high, then they always come back for more.

Also, drug addicts slowly build a tolerance to the drug, and, as time goes on, they need a bigger dose, then an even bigger dose to catch that high. First, they need one milligram, then two, then four, then eight, and so on! It’s no different with bullies. With time they escalate the bullying, then escalate it further to keep getting that rush of power.

First, they start with offhand comments, backhanded compliments, and petty insults. Also, they may smear you to others and give you the silent treatment. When these lose their thrill, the insults become more blatant and hurtful, escalating to yelling, cursing, and severe name-calling. When that loses its luster, the bullying progresses to borderline physical abuse- accidentally on purpose running into the target in the hall, light shoves, and tripping.

When bullies can no longer get their power rush from light physical bullying, they take it up, yet, another notch and progress to more obvious physical beatings- slapping, punching, choking, kicking, etc. Next, they use weapons like textbooks, slamming heads against lockers or the sides of vehicles, then sticks, bottles, pipes…and so on.

boundaries, respect yourself

boundaries, respect yourself

So, understand that bullying and abuse always- always…escalates! In other words, it always gets worse and more severe. It also becomes more frequent!

I’ve said it before, bullying is best countered and quashed in the earliest stages of it. The best time to stand up for yourself is during the “testing phrase”- when bullies are testing you to see what how you will react and what you’ll allow them to get away with.

Treat yourself better by not allowing others to abuse you, because how you treat yourself shows in how you allow others to treat you. Remember that you deserve better and you don’t have to put up with abuse from anyone.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Reasons Most Targets Are Afraid to Set Boundaries

It takes supreme self-confidence to set boundaries, which, sadly, is something a few bullying targets have.

Also, as we know, bullies don’t respect boundaries because they don’t acknowledge them. In their minds, you’re a target and, to them, a target has no rights and deserves no human dignity. Bullies don’t see targets as human beings deserving of the same human rights as everyone else. That’s a fact.

Targets feel powerless to stop the abuse. And setting boundaries is anything but easy- it’s one of the hardest things to do after people bully you for so long and brainwash you into thinking you’re to blame for their horrid behavior. And many targets are too terrified.

If you’re a target of bullying, you may badly want to tell your abusers to knock it off. You may want to tell them to get the hell away from you and stay away. You may even want to fight back, but you don’t know how they may react.

Another thing you don’t know is whether they’ll accept your boundaries, nor if they’ll want to accept them. You know that there’s a chance the bullies may act violently toward you for having the chutzpah to speak against their abuse.

Bullies despise even a hint of opposition because they see it as your challenging their power and perceived authority. And they’ll do whatever they can to tighten their grip if they suspect you’re defying them. And sometimes, things get dangerous, and you must do it scared.

When you set boundaries, you enact your autonomy and speak from a place of self-care and self-love. You decide what you will and won’t tolerate. You take your power back.

However!

Before you’re able to do that, you must be clear of what you will not accept. It takes uber self-confidence to stand up to a bully. It would be best if you also gave up your old ways of trying to stand up for yourself- those you tried in the past that failed, which are ways your bullies and a few other abusers in your life probably conditioned you to respond.

  1. You must stop over-apologizing.
  2. You must stop trying to explain yourself to anyone.
  3. You must stop trying to figure out what made the bullies so hostile.
  4. You must stop wondering what you did wrong.
  5. You must stop wondering if something’s wrong with you.
  6. You must stop asking, “why me.”

Before you can stand up to abuse, you must squash the mentality that compels you to do any of the above mentioned. You must understand that all the why me, why this, why that, gets you nowhere. And all the wracking your brains wondering and trying to figure out what’s wrong also serves no purpose. It’s a complete waste of time and only makes you feel worse.

Instead, be real with yourself and conclude that your bullies are just a bunch of ignorant, moronic jackasses who lack character and live fake existences. You must also learn to trust yourself, which includes trusting your body and how it feels. Trust everything you see, hear, feel, sense, and the vibes you pick up from the people around you. And finally, trust your decisions.

It also takes dogged determination:

  1. Even if your bullies rationalize and justify their behavior, you won’t take their crap.
  2. Even if they blame you for their despicable behavior, you won’t take it.
  3. Even if they tell you that you’re crazy or mentally imbalanced, you won’t take it.
  4. Even if they call you a bitch, an asshole, or any other degrading name, you won’t take it.
  5. Even if you made a mistake and your bullies call it out in an abusive manner, you won’t take it.
  6. And, for the love of Pete! If the bullies commit physical violence, you definitely won’t take that! Get the police involved, file charges, and sue for any damages! Or, put up those dukes and throw down if you need to!

When you begin setting boundaries, it’ll take calling your bullies out every single time they cross the line. You can say:

“Stop it!”

“Cut it out!”

“Knock it off!”

“Get away from me!”

“Get out!”

You get power just by loudly giving either one of these commands. And who knows? I’m not making any guarantees here, but you might shock your bullies back to reality and make them leave you alone. There were times when I was pleasantly surprised, and it worked for me.

positive bullied victim says NO

You do not have to walk on eggshells around anyone! Know that you do have a choice and a voice. You can choose not to accept the bullies’ behavior. You have more power than you know.

When You Have 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 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.

When You Have 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)

Never Let It Phase You When Someone Unfriends You on Social Media. Let the Trash Take Itself Out.

Too many people, especially targets of bullying, get upset and take it personally when someone unfriends them or unfollows them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any social media platform.

But why? Should that person’s approval or disapproval even matter?

Don’t get me wrong. No one likes to be rejected and having someone you thought was a friend delete you can hurt. So, I completely understand the pain and the wondering why the person or persons rejected you.

Maybe you said something on a post the other person didn’t like, so the person got their skivvies in a bunch and unfriended them. Or the other person lashed out at you in a comment and threatened and threatened to unfriend or block you. And now, you feel bad and want to apologize for “offending” the person.

But does it even warrant an apology? And should you feel devastated? Does this necessarily mean it’s the end of the world?

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Who is the other person to dictate what you say on your page?

2. Unless you’re intentionally trying to harm someone, what’s the big deal?

3. Who is this person to tell you what your opinions and beliefs should be?

4. And last and most important, how much does this person mean to you?

You wouldn’t let someone walk into your house and tell you how to arrange your furniture or tell you what you should or should not talk about. So, why would you allow them to tell you what you should type on your page?

Understand that just as your home and property that you own are your physical real estate, your social media is your online real estate, and you own it. Therefore, what you put on it is your business, unless you’ve using it to unprovoked and unjustly libel someone to cause them loss of business and reputation. Only then are you crossing a line.

As far as your personal opinions, beliefs, and convictions are concerned, these are yours to voice and they’re free. And when someone comes on your page and personally attacks you over one of your posts, technically, they’re in your house.

If anyone unfriends you because they don’t like what you have to say or how you say it, let them go because, obviously, anyone who doesn’t allow you to say what you feel and be yourself doesn’t and never did deserve your friendship in the first place. Also, they don’t deserve to have access to your page.

And if the person launches personal attacks against you by making nasty comments or threats, you can always delete them from your friends or followers list or block them completely.

You must realize that not everyone who sends you friend requests, who’s already on your friends’ list, or who follows you is your friend. Many of them are only there to check up on you and poke a nose in your business.

Several are there to see what you have to say and screenshot your posts so that they can show others as they pick it apart and take your words completely out of context in attempts to mar your good name. Others may be there to find out your marital status and see who your family members and friends are.

And once you realize this, you won’t feel nearly as bad the next time someone unfriends or unfollows you. In fact, you won’t even care. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

You should only value the approval and opinions of those you value the most- people who have proven that they value you in return- your family and closest friends.

Again, how much does this person mean to you?

Understand that if a person doesn’t mean a lot to you, neither will their opinions or judgements of you. And if a Facebook friend or Twitter or Instagram follower has a problem with one of your posts, either let them go, unfriend, or block them. It’s as simple as that.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Space Invaders: 2 Ways Bullies Invade Your Personal Space

Bullies are notorious for violating others’ personal space. They make it a point to get too close. I want you to understand that bullies do this deliberately to intimidate and challenge targets.

If you are a target of bullying, bullies will get in your face or stand too close behind you, sometimes so close their bodies are touching yours. Bullies purposefully crowd you to either intimidate you, challenge you or provoke you into a reaction. These violations are too blatant!

Different zone distances are practiced based on the relationship we have with the people in the room around us. They are as follows:

Intimate Zone – (6-18 inches) This distance between people is reserved for lovers, family, close friends, and pets. However, unwelcome bullies will move into your intimate zone when they’re feeling hostile toward you and are about to attack.

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

Anytime someone we don’t know, don’t trust or don’t like moves into this area, they are too close, and our minds and bodies automatically go into fight, flight, or freeze mode. Some bullies may also invade the target’s intimate area only to toy with them and get them to react, then step back and laugh at the reaction. Do not ignore it! Call the bully out and let them know that they are in your personal space and that what they’re doing isn’t acceptable.

Personal Zone – (18-48 inches) We stand this far apart at parties and social gatherings. If bullies stand in the personal zone, they are still too close. Don’t be afraid to tell them in no uncertain terms to back the hell up!

Social Zone – (4-12 feet) These distances, we stand from strangers, clerks, and delivery people. Bullies will easily be able to get away with standing at these distances from their victims, so you might not want to react if you don’t want to look paranoid or unstable. But still, keep a close eye on your bully just in case they try to move closer!

Public Zone – (Over 12 feet) We stand at these distances when speaking publicly in front of an audience. Bullies can freely stand at these distances from their victims and not look conspicuous or threatening.

too close personal space bullied victim

(Zone distances- “The Definitive Book of Body Language,” Allan and Barbara Pease – pp. 194-195; 2004)

1.Sitting in your chair, leaning on your car, etc. – Any chair we sit in or any object we lean on or touch, we nonverbally lay claim to. Just as a dog will mark his territory by peeing on the spot he claims as his, people mark theirs by sitting, leaning, or touching the place or object they claim as theirs.

Other ways bullies invade their victim’s territory are leaning in the doorway of their office, dorm room, or house. Bullies may also prop their feet on the target’s desk or table or even walk into the victim’s home without knocking or being invited inside!

bullies dog peeing on tree marking territory

Male poodle dog pee on tree trunk to mark his territory

However, here are some less-obvious ways of space violations:

2. Invasion of your privacy – Bullies will very carefully observe you. They will eavesdrop on your conversations and listen for intimate details so they can take the private info and spread it as juicy gossip and make you look bad. They may also read your diary to find out your deepest, darkest secrets so they can spread it around and damage your reputation. They will even follow you to see where you go and who you associate with.

If you are a victim of bullying, understand that bullies do this on purpose. They invade your territory to intimidate, challenge, or dominate you.

You must protect not only your physical and mental health from bullies but also your personal space and territory. Never be afraid to call the bully out if they violate either one!

The more you know, the better you can protect yourself against these personal space invaders.

What is the Difference Between Assertiveness and Aggressiveness?

It amazes me how many people confuse the two. Many are under the false impression that bullies are assertive, when, in fact, they’re aggressive- too aggressive. So, how do we know the difference?

Here’s how:

1.Assertiveness is confident and respectful. It is never disrespectful, arrogant, or overbearing. When you’re being assertive, your state your case in a calm, cool, and confident manner, while, at the same time, being respectful of other’s different perspectives.

Aggressiveness is forceful and hostile. It’s abusive and it reeks of insecurity and unspoken fear of being ineffective and that the aggressor won’t succeed in getting what they want. When a person is being aggressive, they are dismissive, abusive, and threatening. They instill fear to get what they want because without the injection of fear, they’d be ineffective and irrelevant.

2. People who are assertive take time to listen. They listen to the other person before sharing a differing opinion.

People who are aggressive dominate conversations. These people only interrupt the other person and speak over them. They will even shout the other person down sometimes threatening harm to them if they don’t “shut up.” They will also undermine the other person’s ideas and belittle them with ad hominem (personal) attacks and name-calling.

3. When someone is too loud, an assertive person will ask the person to lower their voice so they can sleep, rest, enjoy a movie, hear their favorite song, etc.

An aggressive person, one the other hand, will demand that the other party “shut the hell up” and threaten physical violence if the person refuses to comply.

4. If an assertive person is in a McDonalds and gets fries that are cold and stale, they’ll explain the problem and ask for fries that are hot and fresh.

An aggressive person will only belittle the fast-food worker and demand hot fries with a threatening look. Some aggressive people might even climb over the counter and try to physically attack the person.

5. If an assertive person is asked for help, they will politely decline.

An aggressive person will shout a rude, “NO!” They will then berate the other person for having the audacity to ask for help.

You get the point.

Assertiveness is mindful and an assertive response is carefully thought out.

Aggressiveness is abusive and brutal.

The assertive person is confident, reasonable, and empathic. Whereas the aggressive person is unreasonable, self-serving, arrogant, loud, and highly opinionated.

Understand that being aggressive is unnecessary but being assertive is essential because if you aren’t assertive, people will only lose respect for you and use you as a doormat. That’s not good either.

You get so much more out of being assertive than you ever will being aggressive because being aggressive puts others on the defensive and will cause them to become resistant. But being assertive puts others at ease and makes them more likely want to fulfill your requests.

Bullies are aggressive.

Confident and healthy people are assertive.

So, be assertive but don’t be aggressive.

This is not to say that being assertive works one hundred percent of the time. There will be times you will run into self-entitled bullies, narcissists, and psychopaths who will rebuff assertiveness and even retaliate against you for your honesty. But most people will respect you for it.

Again, be assertive but never aggressive.

With knowledge comes empowerment!