Targets of Bullying and Social Anxiety

After being bullied for so long, targets can develop social anxiety. They withdraw from people because they fear future attacks. The target’s spirit has been beaten down and broken and the person has been abused to the point of losing faith in humanity. Also, they’re reprogrammed to believe the bullies’ lies that they aren’t worthy of love and friendship. They are under the presumption that it’s much safer not to engage in any social interaction.

But what the target doesn’t realize is, that in closing himself off from the rest of the world, he unknowingly limits himself in all aspects of life.

Humans were created to socialize and to have relationships. When targets create this invisible fortress around them, it doesn’t ensure their safety but only brings about more bullying. Bullies get their power from our fear. They are like ferocious animals who can smell fear from a mile away and believe me. They take full advantage.

Moreover, targets miss out on relationships that, otherwise, could be and would be fulfilling and rewarding. They unwittingly forego opportunities for friendship, dating, even good jobs that can produce personal success and financial well-being. Because if a person doesn’t believe in themselves, no one else will- that includes potential friends, dates, and company managers and supervisors. No one wants to be friends with, date, or hire someone who isn’t sure of himself unless they have low self-esteem themselves.

People recognize, if only subconsciously, social anxiety when they see it and not only through the more obvious signs, such as quietness, avoidance, trembling, blushing, stuttering or sweaty palms.

Social anxiety can also be more covert, showing itself in less obvious ways:

1.Excessive laughing and giggling

2. Appearing normal on the outside but nervous and shaky on the inside

3. Excessive humor and being overly funny or no sense of humor at all

4. Excessive sarcasm/having a smart-alicky attitude

5. Being overly friendly/too nice

6. Shutting down/freezing up- unable to talk or move

7. Meanness/rudeness

8. Fidgeting/can’t sit still

9. Lack of or too much eye contact

10. Poor posture/looking down all the time

11. Having a hard time keeping up with a conversation

12. Talking too loudly, too fast, too soft, too slow, or not at all

13. Indifference

14. Excessive use of foul language

15. Promiscuity/raciness

16. Wearing attire that is provocative or super-revealing

17. A sudden and drastic change of style.

The difficult thing is that those covert signs don’t always mean that the person has social anxiety. Many people just have their own sense of style or they may be naturally introverted. They may also have a boisterous personality. If you do not know the person or aren’t close to them, it’s hard to tell.

But one thing that is noticeable is if the person never exhibited this kind of behavior or look before and suddenly, or within a short amount of time transitions into it. And these kinds of changes can only be noticeable to those who are close to the person or have been around the person for years.

Therefore, if you know a person who is showing these signs, instead of pointing a finger and judging them cruelly, ask questions and find out why. You may not realize that person could be a target of bullying or another form of abuse.

And if you are a target of bullying and struggling with social anxiety, I want you to know that you don’t have to live in that invisible prison forever.

Bullies do not deserve value and you shouldn’t place any worth to their opinions of you. Understand that you are enough and that your bullies haven’t earned your respect nor your attention.

Only value the opinions or thoughts of the people who love you and whose opinions deserve your consideration, attention, and acknowledgement.

Start loving yourself and practicing self-care. Relax and be yourself. Embrace your flaws and quirks because we all have them whether we admit it or not. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. I promise you that you’ll be much happier and have more peace of mind when you do.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Targets and Survivors of Bullying and Self-Defeating Behavior

Targets and many survivors of bullying have self-esteems that have been repeatedly injured, and when one’s self-esteem is injured, sometimes they will have trouble making friends and attracting suitors for dates and romance.

This can be because of two things, the person either becomes angry because they feel they were judged unfairly, or they resign themselves as social failures and withdraw.

The anger helps to protect the target’s self-esteem. Moreover, the target’s anger is heightened due to having been programmed by bad life experiences to sometimes mistake comments for insults.

If it’s constructive criticism, the target may wonder if the person doing the criticizing is trying to help them or only trying to show them that they’re smarter or implying that he (the target) is stupid.

Many targets are bullied for so long that their social development has been stunted. Therefore, many targets and survivors may be successful in everything except relationships with others. This is because they’ve been made to believe that they’re unlovable and thus, don’t trust anyone else when they show them affection and profess love.

These people only see other people’s attempts at love and friendship as manipulation because it’s what they’ve come to expect.

Many targets and survivors of bullying are often looked at as standoffish, stuck-up, or snobbish because they feel safer keeping other people at arm’s length. Because of this arm’s-length approach to social situations, people see the target or survivor of bullying as being wrapped up in themselves when, in fact, they’re insecure because of mistreatment they endure.

The unspoken message from the person is “don’t get too close” and it comes from their fear of being rejected, hurt, and worse- bullied again. So, they put on a cool front to hide their nervousness.

On top of being bullied by peers, many targets and survivors have or have had a parent overcriticize and belittle them, which only doubles the insecurity. So, they find it much safer to overprotect themselves and build a wall to keep potential enemies out. They go out of their way to avoid exposing themselves to rejection, and thus, appear to others as cold and detached.

Like anyone else, targets and survivors desire love, and they have a bigger desire for it than most. However, their intense fear of being bullied blocks them from getting that love because to get love requires a degree of vulnerability.

Being able to enjoy friendship, love, and affection means letting down your guard and taking risks. Sadly, many targets and survivors are too afraid to lower their defenses.

If this post describes you, I want you to know that I completely understand because I’ve been right where you are now. However, I can’t stress enough the importance and necessity of putting yourself out there and taking the risk.

To see positive change, you must shed this protective armor if you want to attain the friendship and love you so desire. Because the self-protective measures that you have taken are exactly what is repelling others and keeping you isolated. Being aloof and distant may indeed feel safe, but it’s also self-defeating because it keeps love out.

So, step out in faith and I promise you that you will see change you never thought possible. You’ll have good friends who will love you for simply being you. Hey! It happened for me and it will happen for you too!

😊