It’s when you don’t feel comfortable around a particular person. Understand that just because you prefer not to be around someone doesn’t necessarily make you a bully and you may have legitimate and justifiable reasons for it. Let’s face it, we like who we like and we dislike who we dislike.
What if the person creeps you out? What if you just don’t feel safe around the person? What if the person is toxic and constantly dogs your mood?
Naturally, you will try to avoid this person. In fact, no sensible and healthy human being would want to be around such a person. But be prepared for a few clueless others to throw the label of “bully” in your face.
Know that, anytime the internal alarm in the pit of your gut sounds off because you sense that something is “off” about a certain person, you have every right to ensure your own safety. You not only have a right, but an obligation to yourself to steer clear of the suspicious person.
Today, we live in a culture of fruit-bats who are so quick to cry “bully” anytime you listen to your own intuition and avoid a potentially dangerous person. Be that as it may, you still have a right to protect yourself from creeps, pedophiles, rapists, murderers, grifters, and other such nefarious people.
And you can bet that those “clueless others” who judge you wouldn’t stay around someone who gave them the heebie-jeebies either, only they’d never tell you. Sadly, the world is full of hypocrites.
And the unspoken messages these people send are clear:
“Safety and protection for us but not for you.”
“It’s bad when you do it but it’s okay when we do it!”
Don’t let these types of people confuse you. Realize that you don’t have to justify yourself to them or anyone! When you’re only trying to keep yourself safe physically or psychologically, no explanation is needed! And if others unfairly judge you for being uncomfortable around someone, then perhaps, you should really piss them off by adding their names to your checklist of idiots to avoid.
Again, not wanting to be around someone isn’t bullying. You are not seeking to hurt them, you just prefer not to be near them for your own peace of mind. It’s only when we seek to repeatedly and ritually harm that person that it crosses the line into bullying.
If you were ever a victim of bullying, it more than likely did the same for you. This is not to say that abuse of any form is a good thing because no one should ever be bullied. Ever! However, though painful and humiliating when it was happening, a bullied past has had its positive takeaways, one of which is my fine-tuned ability to smell bulls*** from a mile away.
Judging from my own experience and having heard stories of others who have endured the same, being a target of bullies has a way of giving you an almost psychic ability to see through people and detect true motives and intentions.
It allowed me to observe a large group of people, then spot and pick out the fakes and troublemakers at lightning speed and with accuracy. I don’t have to speak a word to anyone, only stand back and watch.
Just as a person who loses his sight experiences a much keener sense of hearing, a victim of bullying quickly grows the ability to read people like newspapers. Why? Out of sheer necessity. Many survivors can read body language like an FBI agent, deciphering the tiniest of micro-expressions. In fact, one can even pick up on the vibes others put out…especially negative ones.
When any certain skill is mandatory for your survival, nature gives you no choice but to quickly hon that skill and use it to near perfection.
I consider this sixth sense to be a gift. However, this gift came at a heavy price.
When I see a bully from my past, I get that nauseating feeling in the pit of my stomach even now. I don’t even want the person around me. I have no ill will toward the person, and I don’t hate them. I only wish for the person to stay away.
Understand that these body sensations never lie. They are there to warn you of impending danger, and you should always listen to them. That gut feeling is there to protect you. There are other names for the gut feelings we get. We also call it our instinct, a hunch, or sixth sense.
There’s a good reason God gave this instinct to us. It serves as an internal alarm to warn us when something is wrong. Animals have these instincts, too, as do babies and children.
Instincts in animals are a lot keener than in humans because they must survive in the wild. And the instincts of babies and children are much keener than in adults. The reason for this is that the world hasn’t yet tainted children and conditioned them to tone down that sixth sense.
To stay safe, we must reteach ourselves to obey what our senses try to tell us.
Your heart will deceive you, and so will your mind. But your gut is always honest. Listen to it.
Being a victim of school bullying often teaches us tough lessons- lessons that we carry into adulthood, shaping our personalities, and the ways we do things once we are out of school and away from our tormentors. Being an adult survivor myself, I can tell you what I took from it:
1. Having been bullied during school sharpened my emotional and social intelligence – Because we learned very early on how truly evil people can be, we know how to watch people without looking like we’re watching them, noting body language, facial expressions, micro-expressions, tonality, delivery, and demeanor. Because our people-sense wasn’t fully developed during our school years, we often let those in our lives who were only there to harm us. We paid dearly for it, which is the reason we’re extra watchful and therefore able to avoid such people, now that we’re adults.
2. We’re not afraid to say “no” and will sometimes say it simply because we can! As schoolkids, we had our boundaries violated so much so that we weren’t allowed to protest when something didn’t feel right to us.
People either duped or forced us to take a lot of abuse. Now that we’re adults, we get to decide what we will and will not tolerate and we exercise that freedom and autonomy every chance we get!
3. Survivors of school bullying are no-nonsense adults. We’ve learned early on the games people play, and we’re not easily duped. We live by the old, “fool me once…” saying and hold it close to our hearts.
4. We have a very open and solid refusal to take any crap from anyone, no matter the consequences we may face for that refusal. I’m no exception. We took enough crap in school from our classmates and a few rotten apples, who called themselves school staff that we’re even more determined as adults not to let others violate our boundaries.
5. We don’t give people many chances. To us, first impressions are important, so you’d better make it count.
One red flag, I’m gone!
One bad vibe, goodbye!
Any attempts to bullshit, see ya!
This is due to having been too forgiving of others when we were young, being taken for granted, having our kindness taken for weakness, and then exploited, much to our humiliation. And we refuse ever again to be put back in that position.
6. We work our asses off! We’re tenacious when it comes to getting what we want and will stop at almost nothing to reach success – we had enough of what we didn’t want when we were in school. Others called us “a failure” so many times that it lit a fire under us and made us that much more determined to succeed at everything we set out to do, if for no other reason than to show the haters and naysayers (even our ex-school bullies) that we can! Show them up and shut them up is another motto.
7. We like having control over our own lives and will do anything to keep that control – survivors of school bullying had enough of others taking control of their lives long ago, and we will shut down the first person who tries to take away our power.
8. We can spot a bully five miles away in the dark – Yes! We’re that good! We dealt with bullies in school, for years, daily. We know the signs by heart. So naturally, we would be good, nearly expert, at pointing them out.
9. As adults, we either avoid bullies like the plague, or, on the other end of the spectrum, we take extreme pleasure in putting bullies in their places, calling them out every chance we get, and making them feel like the losers they are – remembering all the times we didn’t or couldn’t defend ourselves against them in school.
10. We have a thick skin that has become difficult for others, other than those close to us, to penetrate. That’s our power. We like being unpredictable and keeping others on their toes to try and figure us out.
11. We can’t stand to watch others being made fun of and will rush to their defense. We’re not afraid to get nose to nose with the bully if need be- not only to help the person being bullied but subconsciously, to make up for all the times we felt helpless and didn’t or couldn’t defend ourselves against our bullies in school.
12. We can smell horseshit like a bloodhound. If someone tries to feed us a load of hogwash, we know it instantly and instinctively. We see it as an insult to our intelligence and we get highly PO’ed because we know the lying person must think we’re too stupid to figure them out. And we won’t hesitate to call the person out!
13. Adult survivors of school bullying are sensitive to the emotions of others and cannot stand the thought of causing emotional or physical harm to another person, but only if that person isn’t trying to harm them first.
14. Adult survivors of bullying place extra value on their families and friends. We’re careful that we don’t take them for granted- we know what it’s like to be completely alone and not to have any friends. Therefore, we cherish family/friends and time spent with them.
15. Adult survivors of school bullying are, in some ways, selfish. I know I am. We put a lot of value on ourselves, our wants, our needs, and our interests- all because others didn’t value us as kids during school.
So, we make it a point to put ourselves first in almost everything. Our children and parents may be the only people we put ahead of us.
16. Words don’t convince us. Only actions and patterns do. Due to our past histories of being duped by the empty promises and cheap words of school bullies and paying dearly for it. We’ll be damned if we ever repeat that mistake.
17. We live by our instincts- our gut feelings, sixth sense, whatever you choose to call it. Even better, we trust them because we paid a heavy price for ignoring them. we now have a sixth sense. Adult survivors of school bullying are excellent at picking up vibes (especially bad ones) and reading people and their intentions. If something or someone doesn’t feel right, we won’t hesitate to either walk away or tell the suspicious person to take a long walk off a short pier.
Being bullied as a kid in school has not only made me a powerful adult; it has also exponentially sharpened my people-senses, which in turn has afforded me not only scores of friends who love and respect me, successes, and even more opportunities, but ultimately, an enriching life!