5 Things That Happen to Survivors Who Never Heal from Bullying and Abuse

I don’t want to imagine where I’d be if I never healed from the bullying I suffered in the past. It’s not something l like to think about and it isn’t something I enjoy bringing up. However, I feel I’d be doing you a huge disservice if I didn’t.

If you were bullied at some point and you did the inner work and healed from it, you are one of the lucky blessed and I extend my congratulations to you.

But sadly, many survivors of bullying never heal, and I can only feel terrible for them. Because these people go their entire lives, dragging so much pinned up anger, resentment, sadness, and depression with them. Those emotions tend to fester into powerlessness- they simply don’t know what to do to make their lives better and achieve happiness and prosperity. Others only let it make them unfeeling and uncaring- and this second set of survivors often find prosperity and success, but they don’t find happiness.

So, what do these unhealed survivors do end up doing and where do they end up?

1. They join gangs. Many times, when a person has been bullied and hasn’t healed, they often join to get the sense of friendship, unity, belonging, and empowerment they were for so long denied. In a gang, these survivors are ensured protection from further bullying. And they use fear to get that protection.

2. They join extremist groups. Because these survivors were bullied terribly and never healed from it, they often feel a sense of unfairness and injustice. So, they take up a cause. Don’t get me wrong. Taking up a cause can be a wonderful and constructive way to deal with pain and trauma. But extremist groups are never good because they have a tendency for violence.  In joining extremist groups, survivors also get the friendship, support, alliance, and power they couldn’t get before.

Interior of cell block in abandoned State Correctional Institution, or jail., common room with jail cel

3. They end up in jail. Remember a few posts back, when I mentioned that anyone who is consistently told they’re bad, crazy, or evil will begin to exhibit behavior which matches the labels? When people are made to feel that they’re horrible people, they may go out and commit crimes either to get attention or because they feel they’re owed for all the bullying they suffered.

4. They become workaholics. In the past, they were bullied and made to feel powerless. So, they work like dogs to make lots of money because they feel that having lots of money gives them enormous power. We all need to work, but to work all the time and not have time to rest or for play isn’t healthy.

5. They get into drug abuse. Many become drug addicts and alcoholics to quell the PTSD, trauma, sadness, and depression that is brought about by bullying. Instead of seeking the right kind of help, they self-medicate.

Understand that healing from bullying is a must if you want to go on to a happy and peaceful life and that sometimes, healing means seeking therapy. Healing and getting closure take a lot of work. But I promise that if you get the help and put in the inner work needed, it’ll be so worth it in the end!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

How Bullying Can Instill a False Sense of Insecurity

Bullies will often bully a specific victim for so long that the victim eventually expects maltreatment from all people. Although I no longer get bullied and have long since regained my confidence and self-esteem, I do remember that feeling all too well.

After being bullied for so long, you become fearful. Around people, you clam up, keep your eyes to yourself and go about your business. However, it seldom works because bullies are like pit bulldogs; they can smell fear from a mile away, so being reserved and staying out of the way tends to bring about more bullying.

You can always tell when a person is a victim of bullying because they continuously apologize for everything. Overapologizing is the surefire sign of bullying and abuse, as is being reserved and afraid to look people in the eye.

Understand that the person who does that is scared to death. They’ve lost all sense of their worth and are afraid to make decisions because they might make the wrong one and be ridiculed, shamed, or harmed for it.

Many targets are also afraid to talk to people because they know that, no matter what they say and how much sense it makes, they will be accused of saying something stupid or offensive and, they will again get persecuted for it. They’re fearful of going out or being seen in public because they might run into the wrong people (bullies).

They’re scared to greet people because they fear that they’ll be seen as too friendly. But if they say nothing, they’re often mistaken for being stuck up or standoffish.

If you are a victim of bullying and you do any of the above, STOP!

Living your life in fear is no way to live! It sucks! It’s a downright miserable existence, and you should refuse to keep your head down and clam up to avoid the pettiness of other people!

I want you to realize that you don’t need permission to be yourself or to exist! The day you say, “Screw it! Who cares what those idiots think!” will be the day you get your life back. Things may indeed get worse before they get better. But it’ll be worth it in the long run. I guarantee it.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

The Far-Reaching Consequences of School Bullying and Mobbing

How many lives could’ve been saved if we’d spoken up sooner?

For years, everyone saw bullies picking on and ganging up on targets- they saw it on the playground, the hallways, the gym, the locker room, the bathrooms, the classrooms, and on the school bus and the target was driven to act out in violence.

No one cared about any of the bullying until targets started taking matters into their own hands- more appropriately, until they started bringing guns to school and blowing their bullies away, committing suicide, or both.

It’s a shame that people had to die before we finally began to take bullying seriously. Being treated like an object for too long, instead of a living, breathing, and feeling human being can make one enraged enough to want to kill or desperate enough to escape the torment by any means (suicide).

Thankfully, not all who suffer repeated and patterned bullying and mobbing commit homicide or suicide. Most targets suffer in silence. They live depressed, isolated, bewildered, and confused because they’ve had their self-confidence stripped away. In that, they’re prevented from realizing their full potential and capabilities.

Many children and teens are terrified of getting on the school bus and many more stay silent for fear of retribution. Young targets endure torment others cannot possibly comprehend and much of the wounds and bruises are unseen. Just because someone isn’t bludgeoned, bruised, and bloodied on the outside doesn’t mean they aren’t they aren’t so inside. Physical wounds can be seen but wounds to the soul can’t.

Bullying and mobbing leave permanent scars. Even after time has gone by, the memories are still fresh. In fact, they’re so deeply entrenched that even decades later, targets can still remember the names of those who instigated the mobbing, those who joined in and partook in it, those who encouraged it, and those who pretended to be their friends but didn’t have their back and refused to help them.

As a survivor of school bullying and mobbing myself, I can tell you that I remember the names of every single one of my classmates who fell in the above categories, one of whom I thought was a close friend. I only recently stopped talking to this woman and was a fool not to have kicked her sorry butt to the curb years ago.

Every survivor I’ve ever spoken too remembers these things specifically.

Understand that when a child or teen is bullied and mobbed by virtually everyone, minor occurrences of ridicule, name-calling, and shunning may occur. However, things such as these build up over time.

What ends up breaking and killing the target’s spirit and self-image is the accumulation of so many incidences of so many classmates brutally bullying her and the fact that the abuse comes from everyone and from every direction.

But I guarantee that if you were to tell each of the target’s classmates what they were doing and tell them of the damage they had done to that targeted child, they would either deny it or respond with, “But all I did was…!”

Again, these “little attacks” come from many, many directions and over a long period of time against the same person- this is one of the biggest hallmarks of mobbing.

I’ve asked other survivors of school bullying and mobbing why they think their classmates mobbed them and not one of them knows why. Each one of these people, even decades later, wonder what they did to encourage their schoolmates to gang up on them and torment them the way that they did.

I always tell them that they did nothing to deserve that kind of treatment and that they should never blame themselves for their classmates’ atrocious behavior.

During my years of research on bullying and mobbing, I’ve learned that mobbing is always caused by a trivial conflict that’s not even personal but somehow, becomes personal later. The origins of mobbing can be anything- a potential target is a new student at the school, or the potential target says something that isn’t necessarily bad but rubs the wrong kids the wrong way.

Maybe the potential target is different, or maybe the child is highly intelligent to the point of overshadowing members of the top clique. It could be that the potential target brags about something and ticks off the rest of the class, or wears clothes that are out of fashion and the bullies use it as an excuse to torment the kid.

And long after the initial cause of the bullying is over and forgotten, the bullying continues.

Understand that if you were to ask bullies why they mobbed and tormented a certain individual, they either wouldn’t know the reason, or they would give an answer that doesn’t make a lick of sense.

Therefore, targets and survivors alike must realize that the mobbing and bullying they presently struggle with or endured in the past was never about anything they said or did. It was never about them. It was always about their bullies’ own mental health issues. It was about the bullies’ senses of self-entitlement, their insecurities, feelings of self-loathing, and intense jealousy.

And once they realize these things, their self-esteem won’t take such a big hit.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Recovery from Bullying: How I Healed (Part 2- Graduation and Beyond)

Graduation was bittersweet. Although I was happy to graduate high school, I was sad because I would miss my classmates and teachers from Roseburg High. I felt that it ended too soon.

My first five years post-graduation was full of ups and downs. I struggled with bouts of depression and didn’t know why. I was on the rollercoaster again and desperately wanted to get off but didn’t know how. Having babies and being a post-partum new mother only doubled the depression that was already there.

I lived, and I worked. I was a mother of two small children but only going through the motions and surviving- existing. It felt as if I was living on autopilot. But then, something amazing happened!

In 1995, I came across a magazine article while on my lunch break at work. The article was about a kid severely bullied at school. Like me, his bullies had tormented him so horrifically that he thought about suicide and eventually transferred to another school. Also, like me, his life changed for the better. He, too, had made a complete turnaround and finally gotten the chance to experience the friends, fun, and excitement that high school was supposed to be.

Reading this article was a turning point for me, and finding it was one of the best things that happened. This piece in the magazine answered so many questions and confirmed that none of the abuse I’d suffered at my classmates’ hands was my fault. The article was also validation that there was never anything wrong with me. It only cemented the truth I’d always known deep down inside- I wasn’t to blame for their abuse.

They were the perpetrators.

They had the issues.

I was being held responsible for problems that were theirs, not mine.

With this confirmation came my empowerment!

During those years, many people, including a few well-meaning family members, had often told me that the bullying I suffered was all in my imagination or wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be. Many more had said to me that I brought it all on myself. Deep down, I knew better.

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In my heart, I had known the truth years before I found this article and held on to it. Maybe this personal knowledge was why I resisted my bullies and fought back, even if it meant getting hurt. And perhaps it was why I suffered so many physical assaults. Nevertheless, I needed confirmation- a second opinion of sorts, and the article was exactly what I needed.

At that moment, everything fit together like a perfect puzzle! I cannot express the relief I felt. It was as if the article had lifted an enormous weight off my shoulders. My heart began to soar!

For the first time, I was able to see the bullying for what it was- abuse!

I began to thirst for even more knowledge of bullying and the human predator/prey dynamic. From then on, I read everything I could get my hands on- magazine articles, essays, books, online articles, everything that pertained to bullying and peer abuse.

There were so many unanswered questions:

“What was it about me that made me a target?”

“How had my bullies been allowed to get away with their brutality?”

“What was it about my bullies that made them so charming and good to everyone else?”

The word Answer on a puzzle piece to symbolize the quest for understanding in answering questions and concerns

“What were the ingredients to their charm and allure?”

“Where had their intense hate, mean-spiritedness, and sadistic natures come from? What had precipitated it?”

“Had they too been abused, or were they just spoiled, coddled narcissists infected with schadenfreude?”

So many questions haunted me and increased my curiosity. So, I continued digging for information, like a police detective eager to solve a case.

During the late nineties, I came across Tim Field’s BullyOnline.org and hungrily read every one of his articles. The website was massive, and it took a while to read. I went through it with a fine-toothed comb. If I had questions, I emailed Tim, and he would always reply in a timely and courteous manner.

Sadly, Mr. Field is no longer with us. He passed away from cancer years ago.

It’s been 25 years since I found the article that changed my life, and I cannot tell you how many sources of information I’ve poured through. I can’t measure the truckloads of knowledge attained and how much just the knowing has empowered me.

Between experience and two and a half decades of reading, research, and study, I’ve gained insights that have empowered me even more. That article back in 1995 set me on a path to greater knowledge and a passion for helping other bullying targets through writing and advocacy.

I’ve found what I love to do, and it is so rewarding!

I thank God for placing that article in front of me that day at work. Otherwise, I might still be wandering in the dark and trying to find my way.

That magazine article truly changed my outlook on the bullying I suffered. I no longer see it as something that ruined my life. No.

I see the bullying as an event that gave me a fiery passion for speaking out about my own experiences and sharing the knowledge I’ve gained to help people who endure bullying today. It showed me my life’s work and, through that, gave me eventual confidence and happiness.

I do not need to hate my bullies, nor to take revenge. Turning abuse around to the benefit of others is how I turn victimization into power! And that, my friends, is the best revenge a person can ever take!

If you’re a target of bullying, know this:

What’s happening to you is wrong and it isn’t your fault. You never asked to be brutalized, you do matter, and you are enough!

Recovery from Bullying: How I Healed

PTSD

First and foremost, I’d like to thank Amber, a friend and fellow blogger who inspired me to write this post.

The healing certainly didn’t happen overnight. My trial by fire ended during my senior year when I finally managed to escape my Oakley High School bullies through a school transfer. My new school, Roseberg High, felt like a paradise! Everyone there accepted me as I was, and I made so many new friends. I felt safe again and was finally able to relax and be myself.

I felt as if my life was finally beginning, and I could finally put Oakley High School behind me and move on. But it didn’t come without a few hang-ups. The last several months at Roseburg were the best of all four years of high school, but I didn’t realize that I was still carrying a lot of leftover baggage from the severe abuse I suffered at the old school.

Although I was in a much safer learning environment, there were afternoons during my first month at Roseburg when I’d have a long cry after I got home from school. Being four months pregnant at the time, I mistook the tears for the raging hormones of pregnancy.

Though I loved my new school and all the people there, I regretted that I couldn’t have transferred schools earlier than I had. I was grieving the loss of so many years- years that I could never get back.

My then-husband worked a twelve-hour graveyard shift, and I spent most nights at home alone. In the afternoons, he would be asleep when I’d come in from school. So, I had plenty of time to grieve.

During those times, I also suffered flashbacks of the bullying, and they would come automatically and without warning- flashbacks of being shoved to the floor, brutally beaten, cursed out, and yelled at. At night I’d have nightmares.

In these nightmares, I’d be swimming in a lake and enjoying the water. Suddenly I’d stop and look around to see that my classmates from Oakley High were in the water as well, and they surrounded me. One of them would push my head underwater, and I’d fight like crazy to come back up for air.

But as soon as I’d get my head above water and gasp for breath, they’d shove me back under again. Once more, I’d have to hold my breath and fight with my arms flailing in the water, trying to come up and get away from them.

Finally, I couldn’t hold my breath any longer and had no other choice but to give up the fight to live. Just as I inhaled and felt the searing burn of water fill my lungs, I’d wake up with a jolt. I also had another dream that one of my old bullies hunted me down and shot me. I’d wake up in the middle of the night, so frightened I couldn’t move a muscle. I’d only lay there, trembling in the darkness.

During my first month out, I also dealt with a lot of sadness and anger that didn’t show. Roseburg High was my happy place, and while I was there during the day, I didn’t have those emotions, nor did I have the flashbacks. The sadness, anger, flashbacks, and dreams only happened when I was home alone or sleeping, and I wanted so badly to forget about Oakley and live in the present.

During that month, I also felt a degree of shame- shame that I now realize wasn’t mine to bear. In my mind, I’d ask myself,

“What’s wrong with me? I’m out of that hellhole now! I should be happy about that! And I am, but why do I keep having these episodes of crying and feeling angry any time I’m alone?”

When I felt angry, I wasn’t as mad at my former classmates but myself for allowing them to tear me down and bring me so low.

I felt like a battered wife who’d just left her abusive husband!

I was fortunate, though. It didn’t take long for the raw emotions, the flashbacks, and the nightmares to go away, and I begin to focus on making great memories with my Roseburg friends and classmates. During that month, I had allowed myself to feel and to cry. I talked to a few of my most trusted family and friends.

I realized that I wasn’t wrong to have those emotions as they were signs that something was terribly wrong in my previous environment. I also began to understand that I wasn’t what was wrong. I’m thankful that I didn’t bury those emotions like so many survivors of bullying do. I’ve since concluded that what I experienced was the release of feelings that had, for a long time, been suppressed.

They were emotions that I wasn’t allowed to have in the old environment and was afraid to feel and show because I knew they’d punish me for it with more bullying. The only alternative had been to keep those feelings buried deep. And although my parents were well-meaning, there were times that neither of them could accept the emotions I felt.

Only after I got out of there did they begin to pour forth.

After a month of riding that roller coaster, I can tell you that everything finally subsided, and I felt like a new person! I didn’t get any therapy, although I should have. I was young, newly married, and expecting my first child, and everything was changing so fast I could barely keep up. So, I worked through it on my own.

Beautiful cloudscape over the sea, sunrise shot

And with the help of a new and nourishing environment, a few trusted people in my life, and new friends, I was able to get through the horrible after-effects of bullying and peer abuse. I began to set goals to learn about computers and make Honor Roll at my new school. As my grades skyrocketed and I achieved those goals, so did my confidence!

Sadly, most survivors of bullying aren’t as lucky as I was. Many take years to even get through the grief.

(Continued in Part 2)

5 Things That Happen to Survivors of Bullying Who Never Heal from Bullying and Abuse

I don’t want to imagine where I’d be if I never healed from the bullying I suffered in the past. It’s not something l like to think about and it isn’t something I enjoy bringing up. However, I feel I’d be doing you a huge disservice if I didn’t.

If you were bullied at some point and you did the inner work and healed from it, you are one of the lucky blessed and I extend my congratulations to you.

But sadly, many survivors of bullying never heal, and I can only feel terrible for them. Because these people go their entire lives, dragging so much pinned up anger, resentment, sadness, and depression with them. Those emotions tend to fester into powerlessness- they simply don’t know what to do to make their lives better and achieve happiness and prosperity. Others only let it make them unfeeling and uncaring- and this second set of survivors often find prosperity and success, but they don’t find happiness.

So, what do these unhealed survivors do end up doing and where do they end up?

1. They join gangs. Many times, when a person has been bullied and hasn’t healed, they often join to get the sense of friendship, unity, belonging, and empowerment they were for so long denied. In a gang, these survivors are ensured protection from further bullying. And they use fear to get that protection.

2. They join extremist groups. Because these survivors were bullied terribly and never healed from it, they often feel a sense of unfairness and injustice. So, they take up a cause. Don’t get me wrong. Taking up a cause can be a wonderful and constructive way to deal with pain and trauma. But extremist groups are never good because they have a tendency for violence.  In joining extremist groups, survivors also get the friendship, support, alliance, and power they couldn’t get before.

Interior of cell block in abandoned State Correctional Institution, or jail., common room with jail cel

3. They end up in jail. Remember a few posts back, when I mentioned that anyone who is consistently told they’re bad, crazy, or evil will begin to exhibit behavior which matches the labels? When people are made to feel that they’re horrible people, they may go out and commit crimes either to get attention or because they feel they’re owed for all the bullying they suffered.

4. They become workaholics. In the past, they were bullied and made to feel powerless. So, they work like dogs to make lots of money because they feel that having lots of money gives them enormous power.

5. They get into drug abuse. Many become drug addicts and alcoholics to quell the PTSD, trauma, sadness, and depression that is brought about by bullying. Instead of seeking the right kind of help, they self-medicate.

Understand that healing from bullying is a must if you want to go on to a happy and peaceful life and that sometimes, healing means seeking therapy. Healing and getting closure take a lot of work. But I promise that if you get the help and put in the inner work needed, it’ll be so worth it in the end!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Using Your Traumatic Experiences for Good and to Fuel Success

Space Shuttle starts its mission and takes off into the sky. Rocket with clouds of smoke flying into space

Although traumatic experiences are never good nor fun, they can shape us into better people later and give us the drive and passion to want to help others who endure the same experiences, or, even better, to prevent others from enduring the same traumas. However, it depends on several factors- whether we’ve healed enough, our overall attitudes, and what we’ve learned from the terrible experiences.

Any traumatic experience a person endures can be used for good later and can be their launch pad to unimaginable heights and unlimited success.

Here are a few scenarios:

1.A 13-year-old girl is a victim of a natural disaster. A horrific tornado hits her neighborhood and kills her family, but she barely survives. She is left lying in the hospital for two months, fighting for her life. Because of this, she develops a strong passion for figuring out weather situations and patterns. She gets the education through training, either self-taught or classroom, then later helps to design a weather warning system that provides much longer warning times and, therefore, more time for people to get to safety. Even better, she thoroughly enjoys it and is excited about doing it!

2. A young, married father is involved in a horrible car accident caused by a drunk driver. The accident kills his wife and six-month-old baby daughter but leaves him in I.C.U. fighting for his life. He develops an interest in learning about intoxicated drivers and the effects of driving under the influence, then using it to warn others. Later, he helps many people and builds his success by speaking publicly about the dangers of driving drunk.

My point is that no matter what you go through in life, you have the delicious opportunity to use it for great results later, and to make a difference in the lives of others.

Sadly, past severe trauma can defeat most people, leaving them to live lives of severe depression and self-defeat. And it’s easy to do when you’ve experience trauma so deep it changed your life. Therefore, in no way would I ever judge the people this has happened to because I understand, and my heart goes out to them.

For quite a few years, my past traumas had me defeated. I battled severe depression and lived a miserable existence because I hadn’t yet discovered what I could do with my past trauma. I hadn’t yet discovered my purpose, my passion, and the thing I would enjoy most. I hadn’t yet found my life’s work and it was because I didn’t yet know how to turn what happened to me into something good. In fact, I didn’t even realize it was possible.

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

But I’m blessed! I found a way to turn everything bad that happened to me into something good- a way to turn my pain into power. And it made all the difference in my battle.

In fact, it changed my life!

And though I would never discredit therapy or medication in battling any mental illness or psychological injury, I can tell you that I was on anti-depressants and in therapy for a while. And yes, it did help, but only temporarily. For me, it was only a band-aid.

It cured the symptoms, but not the root cause.

Again, I’m in no way advocating against counseling and medications because there is a legitimate need for those therapies and many people would be in big trouble without them. And I’ll be the first to tell you that many benefits come with mental health care.

There are scores of mentally ill people who acquired those illnesses due to psychological injuries caused from adverse childhood and life-experiences. It changes the chemistry of the brain and in many cases, meds and counseling are required.

Before I go on, I’d like to provide a disclaimer here: I can’t speak for anyone else who has battled a mental illness. I can only speak for myself and from my own experiences and outcomes.

And I can tell you that, what helped me more than anything, was when I began using my past traumas for the good and betterment of others. I truly believe that turning any past adversity into good and finding your purpose in it is THE best way to dial down the psychological injuries which cause mental illness. It’s how you use it to live a purposeful life.

This has created many positive experiences. And creating positive experiences to balance out the negative is the best cure of all.

So, find a way to use your trauma for good. Develop an interest in and passion for learning about the very thing that traumatized you and tried to defeat you. Learn about it from all angles. Learn the roots of it, the causes or reasons behind it- everything!

Make it not only your purpose but also your joy to help people who either have been or are going through what you endured.

And that’s how you heal the psychological injuries that caused your mental illness and, ultimately, regain control of your life!

Know that you can use your scars to reach the stars!

Always See the Forest and Not Only the Trees

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Being a target of bullying can make it hard to see the blessings in other aspects of your life. It keeps you focused on the problem instead of seeing your life as a whole.

When I was in school, although I was bullied horribly, and yes, it was bad, my life as a whole wasn’t bad. I can honestly say that I still had a good home.

My mother and grandmother had good jobs and compared to many of my classmates, we lived quite well. Therefore, in family, home, and finances, we were super-blessed.

I don’t remember a Christmas or birthday when my brother and I didn’t get exactly what we asked for. This is not to say we didn’t have our problems because we did. What family doesn’t? Our family problems consisted of myself and my siblings being children of divorced parents and a father who wasn’t present during those years. Although it hurt, we still functioned well as a family and those things were minor compared to most.

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When I look back, I realize that we were blessed in that we didn’t have family members who were out committing crimes, nor were addicted to any hard drugs, other than an alcoholic or two. During those years, we didn’t have anyone who was dying of cancer, nor shot in the streets or killed in car accidents and plane crashes.
So, again, compared to many kids we knew, we had it pretty darned good.

But!

At the time, I couldn’t see it. Understand that when you’re a bullied and tormented kid in school, you don’t see the beauty in other areas of your life. You lose sight of the blessings in the overall picture because bullying blinds you to it.

You can’t see the forest for the trees. That’s what bullying does to targets. It blinds them to their overall worth and clouds their perceptions of their own lives.

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Bullies are constantly in your face, repeating the same lie over and over again:

“You’re worth nothing.”
“Your life is crap.”
“You don’t belong here.”
“You’re one of God’s mistakes.”
“Your mama should’ve aborted you while she had the chance.”

After so long, you finally believe the lies yourself.

Understand that kids’ brains are malleable, mushy, and moldable, which is why they’re so impressionable and easily influenced. Is it any wonder why religious cults, sexual predators, human traffickers, extremist groups, and street gangs, target kids for recruitment?

Symptoms and feelings of Depression

They catch them young so they can mold their vulnerable minds and groom them for service. Bullies do the same thing. They look for targets who are vulnerable and who are more likely to fall for anything.

With that said, shouldn’t we also catch them young to teach them confidence and resilience? Shouldn’t we catch them young to instill them with strength, good self-esteem, and the ability to protect themselves from such people?

Understand that bullies aren’t stupid. They’re often those who have learned all about Human Nature early on through abuse, through seeing some really bad things happen before they should have. Many bullies learn about the mere mechanisms of the human condition much earlier than other kids, then use it to exploit their targets.

bullied victim stressed

Bullies may not be much good at anything else, but what they are good at is the subject of Human Nature and making predictions of how most people react to different things. They have ways of brainwashing you, convincing you that you’re a mistake and that your life means nothing.

And if you aren’t careful, bullies will ultimately blind you to any positives that flow into your life and trick you into believing that your life is worse than what it is. Understand this: Bullies LIE!

How you successfully overcome this is to be mindful and to count your blessings, however difficult it may be.

Focus on the good things in your life.

Point out your good qualities, talents, and gifts.

Make positive affirmations by countering the bullies’ lies and making “I AM” statements.

“I am beautiful”
“I am intelligent.”
“I am worth something.”
“I am one of God’s blessings.”
“I am worthy of being born and being alive.”
“I am worthy of a good life.”

This is how you keep your self-esteem intact and prevent bullies from wrecking your self-esteem and your life.

The Long-Term Effects of Bullying

Bullying, especially chronic and severe bullying, is traumatic for targets and can have long-lasting effects. Most people who’ve been traumatized by bullying have lives that don’t run smoothly. They experience many stops and starts in life- many interruptions and setbacks.

They suffer a long string of broken relationships and friendships due to their shattered trust in humanity. When you’ve been bullied severely as I have, you will come to believe the lie, that human beings are inherently evil and enjoy seeing others suffer, if you aren’t careful and you don’t get professional help. And naturally, this destructive belief will effect your personal relationships.

In order to succeed at anything- you job, academics, finances, projects, anything, you must know how to form and nurture successful relationships. The hard truth is that it really is who you are connected with that determines your success in life. How to form relationships and confidently maintain them is the most important life skill you can ever learn and master. It’s sad that traditional schools don’t teach this.

Many people who have been chronically and severely bullied have been stunted in their emotional development and their development of people-skills. Many targets and survivors of bullying are afraid of meeting new people and of relationships. They’re fearful of social engagements and situations because they see themselves through the eyes of their bullies- that they’re somehow defective and inferior to everyone. Therefore, they don’t trust themselves or other people anymore.

Targets and survivors of bullying may desire friends and relationships but don’t want to take the risks required to get what they want. They decide that it’s much safer to stay alone and avoid even the remotest chance of conflict, being ridiculed, and possibly being targeted again in the future.

What these traumatized people don’t realize is that this doesn’t decrease their chances of being targeted. It actually increases that chance because bullies actively search for people like them- easy marks who are fearful and easily intimidated. Also, it lessons their chances of success at all other aspects of their lives.

Many targets and survivors of bullying are ashamed of what they had to do to survive and keep from getting hurt and bullied worse than they already were.

They have much shame about the many times they had to submit to the bullies demands to keep from getting their brains beat out or save themselves from being shot or stabbed.

They often look back and wish they’d spoken up or defended themselves and just took whatever consequences they’d have had to face afterward. Sadly, they haven’t thought about the fact that the brain’s and body’s natural reaction is to do whatever they must do to keep one from harm- it’s part of our survival instinct.

If you are or have been a target of bullying, how can you change your life for the better?

1.You start by getting therapy and by reading self-help and personal development books that deal with the type of problems you’re having. You also relearn the social arts and do the inner work to reprogram yourself. Realize that this will take a lot of time to internalize.

2. You replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

3. You count your blessings and make a list of your good qualities and talents.

4. You think of the good people in your life, even if you only know a few, and realize that there are more of them in the world- realize that, out of almost eight billion people in the world, there must be more good people besides the few you already know.

5. You spend time with the people who love you and who uplift you. These positive connections will balance out all the bad experiences you’ve had with bullies and your confidence will grow. Soon, you won’t be as fearful because you’ll feel better about yourself.

6. You take risks by meeting new people and making new connections. This will be uncomfortable at first but continue to push yourself and it will eventually feel natural.

The things above are what I did to regain my confidence and become outgoing. It wasn’t easy and it took time and a lot of practice for it to sink in and become like second nature. But I look back now and I’m so glad I put in the work because my life is so much better now.

I’m at peace with myself and with others. Words cannot explain the freedom that comes with it. You would have to experience it to know. But I promise that if you do the same things I did, and put in the time and work, the payoff will be exponential, and you’ll get the ROI you’ve never thought you would!

Invest in yourself. Don’t you think you’re worth the time and effort? I do.

Targets of Bullying and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

You don’t have to be a combat soldier or veteran to have PTSD. Victims and survivors of rape and incest can develop it. Targets and survivors of severe bullying and abuse can also have it.

Although many of us survive and, better yet, overcome whatever or whoever tried to harm us, it still leaves scars on our psyches. Our abilities to regulate emotions are deeply affected as is our abilities to find stability, happiness, joy, love, and intimacy.

I know this from firsthand experience. Because of the severe bullying I had suffered at school, I was a very angry, hypervigilant, and vengeful twenty-something back in the 1990’s.

All it took was for someone to stare or look at me the wrong way and I’d very rudely and belligerently ask them what their major malfunction was. If someone got in my face, approached me in a threatening manner- did anything to provoke me, I would want to put up my fists.

Because of the trauma I had gotten from the bullying I had suffered in the past, I was determined that no one would ever bully me again.

I remember when I was 23 years old. While standing in the checkout line at the supermarket and having my groceries rung up, another young woman, who happened to be a neighbor I was at odds with, kept standing in line behind me, cursing and shouting at me to “hurry up.”

Sadly, she was one of those people who seemingly stayed into it with everyone in our neighborhood. In a way, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her.

When I handed the cashier my cash to pay for the groceries and the woman put a finger in my face, I grabbed her by the back of her head and slammed her face down across the checkout counter so hard, the machine beeped.

Honestly, I don’t know how I kept from going to jail but I was lucky. No. I was blessed!

Fortunately, other than splashing a bully’s face with a fountain drink after work a year or so before, this was the only altercation I’d gotten into at the time.

When I look back, I’m pretty embarrassed of it now. Being young and not having enough life experience yet, I let some idiot cause me to get violent. ‘Definitely not one of my finest moments!

But that’s what trauma from past bullying can do. It makes you hypervigilant, always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

And when it does, you react. You tell the person off, maybe curse a blue streak in them, calling the person every name but a child of God. Or you double up your fist and give the jerk in front of you a fat lip.

You don’t want to react that way, of course, but it’s kneejerk. Then you end up feeling like a complete heel later. This is what happens when you allow ignorant people to push your buttons and it’s too easy to do when you’ve been traumatized.

Now that I’m older, anytime some creep crosses a line, I usually tell the person to get a life then walk away. But I never stay silent. I’ve found that I can get my point across in only a few words, keep it moving, and continue to feel good about myself. There’s no need to get physical.

And that’s what I would recommend anyone to do when someone is running off at the mouth. If they put a finger in your face, however, there’s no law that says you can’t grab their finger and shove it away. And if the person tries to hit you, then it’s time to throw up those dukes and defend yourself.

There’s nothing wrong with self-defense. It’s how we set boundaries. It’s how we teach people to stay out of our personal space and keep their hands off.

With knowledge comes empowerment!