Letter to My Bullies- I’m No Longer Afraid of You

Continued from Part 2…

Also, the fact that no one cared about the truth nor even asked is only further proof that you all bullied and mobbed out of pure spite, ignorance, and stupidity. And the same three afflictions is why a few teachers, who followed your lead, also bullied me to the point of considering a lawsuit. A few even escalated the vitriol because they saw me as a threat.

Those few so-called teachers were afraid that I would file citing discrimination based on a perceived disability. Why? Because they found out about the daily journals, I kept each school day, documenting everything! And I’ll never forget their reactions (and those of some of you) each time they saw me writing.

It’s hilarious when I look back now because some of you seemed pretty desperate and afraid!

And the few spineless, undeserving losers I was such a fool to call friends? (Scoff) They didn’t have the stones to have my back, which means it’s safe to say that I didn’t have any friends at OHS. So, should it matter to any of you if I speak up or stay silent?

I can be honest about it now because none of you are anyone I need to impress, and I surely don’t owe any of you anything- not even respect because you did nothing to earn it. I’ll say again. You get no respect from me.

As for the few rotten apples who called themselves teachers, I realize they only fell for your lies and smear campaigns. These teachers, who were supposed to be adults, but only regressed into children by joining you in your evil and spiteful attacks, weren’t smart at all, only educated idiots. They were also too lazy to look for the facts.

Far be it from me to put their names out there because I won’t go that low. But I already suspect you know which teachers I’m referring to. So, I’ll leave it there.

With you, the excuse was always, “I’m afraid of her!” or “She’s crazy!” But the reality was that I was much more afraid of you than you ever were of me. But deep down, most of you were already aware of it.

Oh yeah. I know and you do too. I knew it back then; only I was too afraid to voice it because I knew what most of you would do if I opened my mouth. Oh, yes. You got that one for free. I was afraid of you all back then.

But the difference between then and now is that I’m not anymore. Now that I’m a grown woman, I’m not afraid of any of you.

I don’t have to see any of you. You can’t touch me now. So I can say pretty much anything I want. And I say it loud and proud. Even better, I make speaking out about people like you my livelihood, my bread and butter, and my niche!

Therefore, in bullying me, you were only paving my path for me. In trying to instill fear, you only encouraged me. In trying to keep me down, you only uplifted me! And in turning others against me back then, you ultimately made me truer friends now than I ever could have imagined back then.

Now, you must ask yourselves what good all that meanness did in the long run, and where did it get you? It certainly didn’t help you reach the top! It didn’t get you fame or fortune because none of you ever went anywhere.

Continued in Part 4…

Letter to My Bullies- You Only Made A Winner Out of Me

Continued from Part 1…

I’ll give you this much. For a while, you had me down and even managed to keep me there during school. I forgot who I was. Or maybe without meaning to, I allowed you to take the knowledge of who I was from me. You even succeeded in making me out to be the troubled one.

And while you bullied, harassed, name-called, slut-shamed, shoved, tripped, jumped, beat, choked, and kicked me- even threatened my life with a blade on two different occasions; I was told to ignore it, to toughen up, and not to be a snitch or a crybaby.

Even worse, people also dared to tell me to be thankful that the abuse wasn’t worse or just to take it in silence.

But as you can see, it didn’t last. You couldn’t keep me in your little box and your vacuum. And once I got away from you, I began to flourish.

In the end, you only made a fighter out of me. What you did is make a winner out of me. You ended up making me more determined to love myself.  The girl who used to finish last now finishes first. Why? Because I put myself first.

When you all attacked me, others judged me unfairly and brutalized me- even those who were bystanders and those I thought were friends. And that was worse because the betrayal was more devastating than the bullying and mobbing itself.

motivational inspirational

Oh, yes. I’ll admit. People, even a few school staff, only scoffed when I went to them for help and tried to explain to them what I was going through. When I needed a listening ear and a shoulder to lean and cry on, they only ignored me. When I needed someone to care, understand, and make sense of what was happening, they abandoned me. Therefore, for a while, you won.

I even went against my better judgment and asked many of you why. Not even you could give me a straight answer, which should’ve been my first clue that none of you knew and, more than likely, still don’t know why you acted so ignorant and stupid.

Though I was only a kid and didn’t realize it back then, it’s only proof that you had no excuse nor justification for the simple way you behaved. And the most astonishing part was you didn’t need any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part to rally the school to your side.

Continued in Part 3…

Group Mentality- Us versus Them

Bullies and, sadly, bystanders tend to relish the humiliation of the target. Bullies and bystanders are as fans rooting for their favorite ball team and against the rival team. Only the rival team only consists of one person- the target.

This is even better because the bullies and their loyal sycophants vastly outnumber the target and feel that it’s safe to show hostility. People in groups are far more open with abuse because they get a certain degree of cover and anonymity from the group.

The group’s comradery and empathy for each other, combined with their blatant hostility for the target are both powerful and dangerous. It’s the same kind of scenario you see in political fights and persecution.

A crowd of people surrounded the red man. Accusation of crime, mob law over a person, lynch court. The leader in the center of the crowd, the leader, an example for diving. Angry crowd

The enthusiasm of the supporters who back the bullies is that of the audience for their favorite ball teams, or an entire nation when its soldiers return home from war. It spreads throughout the group with extreme fervor and exalts their “heroes” while degrading the adversary or enemy.

Whether in sports against the opposing team, in the military against the enemy on the battlefield, or a group of bullies and bystanders against a target, the mentality and feelings of hostility are all the same- it’s the dynamic of “us versus them.”

When bullies turn an entire school, workplace, or organization against one target, the entire group shares a great degree of esprit de corps. Members of the group solidify themselves to one another and distance themselves from the target. In this, they overplay the sameness in their clique and differences from the target.

The greater the hatred and hostility, the more they band together and bond with each other and the more hostility they heap onto the target.

Simply put, hatred and hostility only serve to strengthen their desire to not only isolate the target, but to eliminate him/her altogether.

The more you know about pack mentality, the better prepared you’ll be when the mob comes for you.

Reality of Reality Shows- Glorifying and Glamorizing Bullying

Reality shows and the present epidemic of bullying:

One of the reasons that bullying has become so out of control in our schools is the overabundance of reality shows on television, which seem to glorify and glamorize the abuse of others.

Shows like “Bad Girls Club,” Jersey Shore (which I think are the absolute worst), and The Real Housewives franchise, are shows in which people as old as their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s act like middle schoolers in a locker room brawl. Grown men and women, whom you would think would have a modicum of maturity, often resort to name-calling, bashing others, and yes…even hair-pulling, shoving, punching, and kicking.

When I see this, a question always comes to mind: “What kind of example and message are these shows and their stars sending our children and teenagers?”

Violence has indeed been shown on TV and in movies for decades. However, before reality shows were heard of, TV was not real, and kids of my generation understood because our parents never let us forget it.

We knew that what we were seeing was only actors playing the parts of fictional characters in fictional shows. Moreover, we were taught not to try anything we saw on TV in real life because it would put us at risk of getting hurt and/or worse. We grew up with the understanding that “It’s only a television series” or “It’s just a movie,” and none of it was real.

Sadly, as television networks slowly run out of ideas for fictional shows and reality shows gradually take over the airwaves, TV is becoming less fictional (and interesting) and is sending the message to kids that bullying is okay or that you have to be a bully to move up in the world…that to get ahead, you have to step over another person.

And most reality show stars are narcissistic has-beens who are just dying to stay relevant and get the last shot at fame, which makes them lousy role models!

Such a shame!

Why Bullies Crave Power (And Can’t Get Enough of It)

Simple. Because it feels good.

“Power is not what you have. It’s what the enemy thinks you have.”  ~ Saul D. Alinsky (Rules for Radicals)

Bullies crave power like a fat kid craves McDonald’s Big Macs. Power tastes delicious. Understand that most bullies attack in groups, or more appropriately, mobs. Being in a mob gives people tremendous power and bullies know it.

Power feels good because it can get people prestige, street cred, notoriety, and popularity. Power has a way of cushioning the ego, and as we already know, most bullies have meaningless lives outside of the mob and bullying environment (school, work, community, etc.). So, the power they get from being a part of a mob adds “meaning” to their lives that they could never get by any other means. Power is what gives bullies a cause and a purpose in life.

Group power is even better! Because in a mob, each individual can bully a target, lose themselves in the bullying, and get a degree of anonymity. Therefore, bullies are much safer in the group. The group shields each bully from taking any responsibility for their appalling behavior. Groups provide protection from exposure and personal consequences.

So, how do you fight back against a mob?

One way is to call out one or two of their members by their names and tell them to “get a grip,” “knock it off,” or “calm down.”

I recently read this in a book about survival and it makes perfect sense. Anytime you call out a few members of a mob by their names, it brings them back to themselves by personalizing them. What you’re doing is basically, separating them from the mob when you loudly call out their name.

How I wish I’d known this earlier in life.

When Bullying Becomes Mobbing: Detailed Steps Bullies Take to Destroy You

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 reasons that mobbing is so hard to remedy is because 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 being herself and 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, and begins to have 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.

It’s Not Only About Punishing Bullies. It’s About Helping Targets.

bullying blame shame victim-blaming

People pointing a woman hidden behind a computer

Holding bullies accountable isn’t the end-all, be-all. Yes, bullies must be exposed and made to take responsibility. I’ll agree with that. But!

A bully may be punished and severely so, but there’s no guarantee he/she will learn from it and leave the target alone.

In fact, it almost never works because in most situations, when a bully is caught and held responsible, it only further angers the bully and makes them that much more vindictive and determined to retaliate against the target.

In instances such as these, the objective should also be to take steps to care for and protect the victim.

If a bully sees that others are rallying around the target and showering him/her with love and support, the least likely he (the bully) will continue to harass that target or plot retaliation.

Remember that bullies are great big wusses at heart and prefer to catch the target alone and isolated because that is when the target is most vulnerable.

Giving support to a victim of bullying could be as simple as walking them home from school, praising them for an accomplishment, or helping them to enroll in a self-defense class.

So, if you see someone being bullied, give them support, and show you care. You never know. You could end up saving a life! You could be someone’s hero! How awesome is that?