17 Characteristics of The Adult Survivor of School Bullying

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.

positive bullied victim says NO

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.

survivors x-ray eyes

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!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

What Do You Do Once You Leave a Toxic Workplace?

You’ve worked for a toxic company for three years. You’re out of a job because your bully boss either fired you or you get fed up, pulled a Johnny Paycheck, and told your tyrant boss to “take this job and shove it” and, in essence, fired him.

So, how do you get a new job, knowing that the honest thing to do is to put the hell-hole you just escaped from down as a previous employer and your former boss’s name on the line in the application that’s labeled “supervisor”?

Well, let’s be real here. Sometimes honesty’s not the best policy. After all, you and your family have to eat. Right?

So, if you’re the unethical type, here are a few underhanded things you could do. Because unethical or not, you have to survive somehow.

bye goodbye

1. Omit the workplace altogether. Yeah, it sucks. It’s not ‘the right thing to do,’ but what else do you have to lose? If you’re a married mother or grandmother, all the better. Just fill in the blanks with a homemaker and stay-at-home mom. Who’s going to question that? Yeah, you could hit a roadblock when the interviewer asks you about any experience! But again, they might give you a try! You never know! The object is to avoid a crappy report from your former boss.

2. Go to work for the competition. There’s less chance a competitor will take the word of their opponent. Also, you can sneakily give secrets away and help your new employer drive the other guy out of business. At least you’ll get a little justice!

3. Tell your new employer you were self-employed. If you were your own boss, who are they going to call for a work reference? Tell a good story, and make sure you have a good backup. Maybe you had an excellent blog and it got shut down by Google because Google made changes to its policies?

workplace bullies back stabbers gossips

back-stabbing colleagues threatening employee with scissors and knife

4. If you have a family member or friend who owns a business, have them be a job reference for you. They can give you a good report, and your chances of getting the gig will be higher.

Hey, desperate times, desperate measures. And if you want to work again, you must get around the bully boss any way you can.

Sometimes you must get as dirty as your BB because he will be waiting on a call from a potential employer once you’re gone. Your old bully will be looking for another chance to block you from future prospects. He may even try to blacklist you.

If you disappear from his radar by omitting him and his company from any job applications, it will be harder for him to reach out and touch you.

bullying boss

Strict Boss: Angry upset young business woman with blank speech bubble on white on gray background. Vector illustration.

5. Hire yourself. Yes. If you can, start your own business and work like the devil to build it. Then, if you’re lucky, five years from now, when you run into your old dictator at the local gas station while he’s putting gas in his suped-up Harley or sportscar, you can thank him for inspiring you to go into business for yourself and make it. And you can smile as you watch his face contort!

There’s no guarantee that the first four are going to work and you might even get fired from your new job if your old bully boss finds out where you’re working and decides to give your new employer a call.

But at least you will have bought yourself some time and put off going broke for a little while longer.

*Tips 1, 3, and 4 are satirical of course*

If You’re a Survivor of School Bullying, Should You Send Your Kids to the Same School You Were Bullied in?

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As an activist in the Bullying Awareness Movement, I’ve had many adult survivors of school bullying ask me whether they should send their children to the same school where they were bullied themselves as children and teens. Naturally, my response is a “No!” – or more appropriately, an emphatic “HELL NO!”

Having been a target of bullying from grade six until I finally escaped through a school transfer, I decided during my pregnancy with my first child, that should we ever have to move back to the town I was bullied in, hell would freeze before my children would grace the halls of the schools there.
“What parent worth their own salt would subject their children to that kind of learning environment if they could help it?”

bullying

Here are my reasons for keeping my kids clear of *Oakley Schools:

1. Bullies tend to take jobs that give them authority (Teaching, Law Enforcement, Corrections Officer, Supervisor, etc.). I knew that by the time my babies reached school age, many of my former bullies would probably be teachers in the small town where I had been a victim (teaching is the second-highest profession for workplace bullying and teachers who bully other teachers are likely to bully students too).

2. In most small Southern towns, such as the town in which I was victimized, the mentality is this:

“If we hate you, we will hate your children even more.”

small town

Because they had targeted me in the past, it was a safe bet that upon their finding out who my children’s mother was, they would target my babies as well, if not worse. Anytime you are or have been a victim of bullies, anything (or anyone) you love and care about is always fair game to them. If they come for you, they will come for those you love also.

I realize that in this day and age of progress and advanced technology, this may sound a little “Hatfield and McCoy” but things like this do happen and more so than we know.

Every situation is unique and everyone has different experiences. So, again I ask you, Would you send your kids to the same school you were bullied in?

Feel free to comment below.

(*not the real name of the school district)