Sometimes, there’s a Good Reason to Fight

Many times throughout my life, I’ve heard people preach against fighting- and yes, even in self-defense. When I was being bullied- even physically so, I was often told by teachers and even the bullies themselves, “Violence doesn’t solve anything.”  Or, my personal favorite, “fighting isn’t lady-like.”

I’ve got news for these people- neither is getting your face beat in every day.

Be that as it may, fighting back was better than just standing there and taking the beatings. When you’re a target of bullying and you decide to stand up for yourself, there will be people who will climb up on their soapbox and insert their two cents where it doesn’t belong, telling you that “violence doesn’t solve anything,” and that “you shouldn’t stoop to their (the bullies’) level.”

You’ve heard the term, “All up in your Kool-Aid, and don’t know the flavor.” Yep! That’s where they’ll will be when you get enough of bullying and decide once and for all to take care of business.

However, what else do you do if you’re a kid at school getting their brains beat out every other day? Just stand there and allow yourself to be harmed over and over again?

All the time, targets get suspended or expelled from school when they finally defend themselves against a bully. After six months, eight months, two years, or even five years of being mercilessly bullied and trying to handle it through nonviolent means, only to be called a wuss and beat up more, the target finally gets fed up and beats the living crap out of a bully.

Now everyone’s surprised and outraged! Not at the bully, but at the target! But where was their outrage when the target was getting their body pummeled without provocation? Where was their outrage when the shoe was on the other foot? Where was their humanity when the target cried out for help?

If you’re in school and you’re a target of bully. These questions are those you should ask the school authorities, bystanders, and anyone who gets offended by your defending yourself. Know that you’re just as good as the next person. Know that you have the same rights as anyone else- including your bullies. And know that you have the right to defend yourself anytime you’re threatened with physical harm.

Understand that this is a part of self-care. It’s true that fighting isn’t always the answer but sometimes, bullies will leave you no other choice.

So, if you’ve tried everything else, know that you must do what you must to keep yourself safe. And if it means putting up your dukes and getting froggy, so be it.

It’s sad when a target must fight all the time to keep themselves from being harmed but I don’t hold it against anyone who fights back under those circumstances because you have to take care of yourself or no one else will.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Looking Out for Number One

One thing I learned the hard way: If you don’t start looking out for number one, you’ll only continue playing second fiddle to others. Or worse, you might end up playing last fiddle! I cannot stress this enough. It’s not selfish to make yourself numero uno! Especially around bullies and people who don’t value you.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If you’re a parent raising children, or you have an ailing mother who depends on you, it’s only natural that you would put your family ahead of yourself- that’s a given. We all have an obligation to our families.

It’s also a given (or should be) that you always put God ahead of everyone else, including yourself. Again, that’s completely understandable, and more than that, it’s expected.

But when you’re in a toxic environment, around people who want to use and take you for granted, understand that you are top priority and to hell with them if they don’t like it.

Understand that when you’re being bullied in school or the workplace, the only person you have is you! So, be good to yourself. How you do this is to set firm boundaries and say no- and do it early-on and often!

You have to look out for number one, because, if you don’t, no one else will. In fact, they just might use you as a rug.

I know many, many people who were conditioned to think that putting yourself first is selfish or greedy- that taking care of yourself only means that you’re self-centered. They were raised being told that self-centeredness is a huge turnoff to others and in some cases, that’s true.

However, I’ve also noticed that bullies and abusers also tell their targets and victims those things only to shame them into staying around, taking their abuse silently, and accepting their inferiority to them (the bully/abuser).

Know that there’s a difference in being self-centeredness and self-care.

Self-centeredness means that you think you’re better than everyone else and that you think that any rules don’t apply to you. It means that you’re entitled- that you think everyone else is inferior to you and they should bow down and let you treat them however you deem them worthy because they have no boundaries.

Self-centeredness is one of the roots of bullying and abuse!

Self-care, on the other hand, means that you know that you’re no better than anyone else, but you’re just as good as the next person. Self-care means that you know that you’re equal to the next person and that you don’t deserve to be bullied or abused. Therefore, you know your rights and you’re not afraid to stand up for those rights.

It means that you hold yourself in high regard, just as you hold your family, friends, and the people you love and that you treat yourself just as well as you would another human being deserving of dignity.

It’s funny how quick bullies are to call us selfish or self-centered if we dare to stand up to their abuse. In fact, it’s part of the bully’s (or abuser’s) playbook. Accuse the target of that which you are guilty of yourself. Right?

If you have bullies or abusers who abuse you, always know that if they accuse you of anything- anything at all, you can bet that they are doing it themselves.

So, continue to look out for number one, even if you must find a way to do it on the sly. Don’t you think you’re worth it? I do.

With knowledge comes power!

Flowers Cannot Bloom Without Sunlight

Self-doubt is the killer of dreams. It comes when a person is consistently showered with toxicity and toxicity comes from toxic people- bullies and abusers. When all a person gets is insults and abuse for a long period of time, they become exhausted and any positivity they once had is slowly drained from them until they’re totally depleted of it.

Eventually, if targets aren’t careful, they’ll start to believe their abusers. They start seeing themselves through the eyes of their bullies. They’ll give up and others will see in them, a person who’s lackluster and slow.

When you’re a target of bullying, you’re like a flower that gets nothing but constant rain. The flower doesn’t grow and develop properly. The consistent abuse zaps your energy and keeps you hyper-vigilant and on guard 24/7- waiting for the other shoe to drop.

What happens is you lose your happiness, confidence, pride, will, and purpose in life. In essence, your bullies take away your good qualities and turn you into a person you don’t even recognize anymore.

Depression Concept with Word Cloud and a Humanbeing with broken Brain and Heavy Rain

Bullying and abuse takes the joy out of your life and you begin to daydream about escaping your current situation. If there is no escape route available, you feel stuck. Then, you isolate yourself and become a recluse. You retreat into your own little fantasy world because it just feels safer that way.

Finally, you stop growing as a person because you live inside your head instead of observing life that’s going on around you and learning the lessons life is trying to teach you. All the while, the bullying and abuse you suffer only gets worse because everyone around you knows that you’re living inside your head and they ridicule you for it.

And people who do not know what you are going through or don’t understand you may mistake you for being lazy, slow, or stupid. But it only causes you to retreat further inside yourself and the bullying only gets worse. It is a vicious cycle, and it is no way to live!

Not only do I understand how you feel inside, I understand why. Just as flowers can’t grow without sunlight, people can’t grow without positivity. Flowers need a good balance of rain and sunlight and people need a good balance of positivity and negativity. They cannot survive on just negativity nor positivity.

Too much negativity or, in this case, toxicity, and the person’s emotional and psychological growth will be stunted. Then, their happiness, confidence, and dreams will die, and they’ll give up. Too much positivity, and they lose touch with the real world and real people, then become arrogant, full of themselves, demanding, and tyrannical! There has to be a healthy balance of both before a person can truly grow.

Therefore, if you’re a target of bullying, never accept what bullies and abusers try to cram down your throat. I want you to realize that they don’t know you at all, although they may claim they know you more than you know yourself. The truth is, nobody can possibly know you like that and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying through their teeth.

Understand that bullies and abusers are miserable people who want you to be as miserable as they are. Stay away from those people. They aren’t worth your time or energy. Only keep company with people who love you and who uplift you!

Remember that there’s always hope and you’re worth much more than what your bullies say you are and more than you may think you are. Never let bullies destroy the things inside you that matter the most- your self-love, self-respect, confidence, and sense of pride. Those things are yours and not for anyone else to have!

And how you do this is through self-care. If at all possible, remove yourself from the bullying environment and go to a new place where you can grow and flourish, and where you can make friends and be no only accepted, but celebrated!

Be your own best friend. Be your own hero. Be your own sunlight! Keep company with people who allow you to shine and the sun to shine on you!

Be Careful What You Put Up With. Bullying Always Escalates. ALWAYS!

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.

You Should Never Be Afraid of Conflict

Let’s face it. Conflict is a part of life and something we all encounter at many points in our lives. Many targets and survivors of bullying are deathly afraid of conflict. Why? Because they’ve had so much of it forced on them in the past by bullies who just refused to let them be. Also, many targets and survivors are traumatized by the bullying they presently suffer or from past bullying.

Understand that these poor souls haven’t yet dealt with the hurts they still have, and they don’t yet know their worth and the good they deserve. Many targets and survivors of bullying suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Because of this, they’re still stuck in survival mode.

As a result, target’s cave in and give in to bullies to appease them just so they’ll shut the hell up and go away. And people do get tired of hearing self-entitled and self-indulgent bullies bitch, rant, and beat their chests when they don’t get their way.

So, the unspoken message is, “Look! Just take what you want and get lost!”

I can understand why targets and survivors end up being this way. It’s because a person gets exhausted when they’re constantly have to battle and struggle to take back their autonomy, their self-determination, their personal power, their safety, their dignity, and their right to exist. They get worn down, they get weary, and all they want is for people to leave them alone and let them have some peace.

However, this can become a problem. If you go out of your way to avoid conflict, people will soon mistake you for being weak and they’ll walk all over you. You must set boundaries. There are times when you must say no. There are even times when you may have to show your ugly side to get your point across and let people know that no means no and enough is enough.

Understand that this requires guts. It means you must step out of your comfort zone and take risks. You must risk hurting others’ feelings and making people angry. You must risk being lashed out at and retaliated against. Moreover, you must also risk losing relationships and no, none of it feels good.

In short, you must stand up for yourself and that means facing conflict.

Think of it this way, if you’re a target of bullying, you’re going to face conflict no matter what because people will bring the conflict to you. Hiding from it does no good because it will eventually find you. When you are a target of bullying, conflict is unavoidable and certain.

In other words, run from conflict and you’ll end up running from it for the rest of your life!

So, why not face it head on, better yet embrace it and stand up to people, then you can feel better about yourself later knowing that you finally grew a spine and told them where to shove it. You may face retaliation for it, but you would face it anyway because, right or wrong, bullies will always find some justification for attacking you.