Bullies Often Talk in Code Around Their Targets

Morse code telegraphy device isolated on white

I remember sitting in class one morning and overhearing my bullies and others degrade and threaten a girl named “Jenny”, someone I had never met but who was, according to the talkers, in our age group.

She didn’t go to our school, so I figured she was a girl they knew who went to a different school.

They would call Jenny the foulest of names and tell each other aloud what they would love to do to her, and what they would do if they didn’t think they’d be held accountable.

As I listened to their conversation, I began to feel bad for this poor mystery girl.

Certain classmates would say things like,

“Jenny is so fake!”
“Jenny is such a little whore!”
“That Jenny is such a disgusting skank! I want so badly just to kill her!”
“If I thought I wouldn’t go to jail, I’d cut her throat and leave her in a ditch to die! She doesn’t deserve to breathe!”
“I’d cut her heart out and feed it to her!”
“Maybe we should put arsenic in her lunch; maybe we could do it like that!”

These kids were making very detailed comments which were nothing short of sick and demented, and it frightened me for this Jenny girl. My first instinct was to find out who she was and warn her about those monsters!

SOS the international Morse Code distress signal written on a blackboard.

Much to my horror, I later learned from another source that this girl, Jenny, was really me they were discussing, and it shook me to my very core!

“Jenny” was only a code name. It was one thing to have others dislike you and not want to be around you, but, in my young mind, it was worse to find they wanted me dead.

This would be terrifying to anyone, more so to a teenage girl. Fortunately, I changed schools shortly after, and things took a complete turn for the better.

Know that bullies are slick and sometimes, they will talk in code if their target is anywhere nearby. If you hear anyone talking that way about not only you but anyone, avoid them and keep as far away from them as you can, if possible. Because if they’d talk about another human being this way, it goes to show that their minds are not in a good place.

Understand that when you avoid harmful and hurtful people, it is not because you are “chicken,” but because you are smart enough to avoid drama and negativity.
Sadly, when you are the object of bullies, the only person you have in your corner is you!

If you don’t take care of yourself, no one will! Therefore, it is up to you to do whatever it is that you have to do (within legal limits, of course) to ensure your safety and peace of mind.

If a Bully or Someone Who Normally Mistreats You Starts Being Nice All of a Sudden, LOOK OUT!

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If you are a target of bullying, you should beware if your bullies ever just up and all of a sudden, out of the blue, start being kind to you. Anytime bullies are up to something, they need you to let down your defenses. And how they get you to open up to them is to pour on the sweetness.

I want you to understand that if you see this sudden change in your bullies at school or in the workplace, they could be setting you up to be humiliated, to fail, to get in trouble with authority, or for a brutal physical attack.

Here are the signs:

1. A sudden change of heart – Nobody becomes a friend overnight. Friendship takes time because trust isn’t free; it’s earned. Trust needs a considerable amount of time to build. Just as you shouldn’t rush into a romantic relationship, neither should you rush into a friendship. If someone who usually is brutal toward you just up and begins treating you warmly, you’d better beat feet to the nearest exit- fast!

2. Flattery/Sweet-Talk – Bullies instinctively know that when a person is bullied over a certain amount of time, that person is more than likely hungry for any morsel of acceptance, approval, and kindness, and they take full advantage!

You’ll know that something is off because they’ll overdo the pleasantries. Bullies will use excessive flattery to get you to let your guard down and trust them. And man! Do they lay it on thick! If they’re so sickeningly sweet that you swear you’re getting a mouth full of cavities just listening to them, that’s your cue to find the door.

sweet lips with sugar

3. A fake smile – As one verse in the old song goes, a smile is only a frown turned upside down. If they smile with their mouths and not with their eyes, it’s time to end the conversation and get away from those creeps.

4. Microflashes – If you pay close attention to their body language and facial expressions, you’ll notice those tiny, split-second flashes of contempt on their faces when they think you aren’t looking or paying attention. Don’t ignore those. Bid them goodbye and politely leave.

5. Giggling or smirking among themselves after you turn and walk away – Dead giveaway! Give these idiots the boot!

6. They will get furious when you politely decline any invitations or requests – Again! Steer clear. It only goes to show that they don’t respect you as a person with feelings, boundaries and human rights!

Also, it’s a sign that in their invitations or requests, they more than likely had plans for you that you don’t know about. Maybe they invited you to dinner or a party as a way to lure you to a possible set-up for something humiliating or dangerous? You never know. And if you don’t know, don’t go!

When it comes to bullies, always be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary or that doesn’t feel right to you because that’s usually your clue. Your gut will always give you the correct answer. Listen to it.

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

Businesswoman blamed unfairly

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, it 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?

So, You’ve Left a Toxic Workplace. What Do You Do Now?

People Kick Out Cartoon

Kicked out fired flying people figures, vector illustration color cartoon, horizontal

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.

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!

Back-stabbing Colleagues

back-stabbing colleagues threatening employee with scissors and knife

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 their policies?

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.

Lady boss

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

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.

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 a for little while longer.

**Satire**

My Bullying Story

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I moved to a small Tennessee town after having been an Army Brat and lived in several different areas. That’s when I became a target of severe and chronic bullying as a sixth-grader at the age of twelve.

When I entered middle school at the age of thirteen, the harassment by my classmates reached a fever pitch. I was a victim of what is called “poly-victimization.” I was name called, slandered, humiliated, threatened, physically assaulted, the whole nine.

The physical bullying was brutal. I suffered horrible beatings, and it escalated to the point of having a box cutter pulled on me and my life threatened.

Every morning before going to school, I would feel a huge lump in my throat and swallow hard, knowing what would be waiting for me as soon as I walked through the school entrance.

During P.E., I was good at some sports, but not so good in others. I loved volleyball and kickball but basketball was not my strong suit. I was good at music and writing stories, but not as good in sports.

However, they judged me based on my ability in sports, which was akin to judging a fish on its ability to fly.

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In just two short years, I went from being a confident and outgoing kid who always made the honor roll to a sad, withdrawn, angry and bitter girl who made C’s and D’s.
Schoolwork had always been so easy for me, I didn’t have to pick up a book. All I had to do was to listen in class and do my homework (which I could get done in minutes) and I’d ace every test. But in two years, the schoolwork went from being a a piece of cake to being difficult and overwhelming.

The torment became next to unbearable, and I attempted suicide at the age of fourteen, which landed me in ICU for a week. I almost did not make it.

Having my power stripped away is a hell I would not wish on anybody, not even my worst enemy. The trying to keep a calm demeanor amid so much toxicity and the desperately hanging onto my dignity with everything I had was exhausting! I felt as if I were emotionally held hostage by my classmates and yes, even a few school staff as a few of them joined in the bullying as well.

Because I felt powerless, I began to bully those who were even weaker than me in attempts to grab back some of my power, and it is something I am not proud to have to confess today.

I had no one to turn to as bullying was considered a normal rite of passage in those days and something I had to deal with on my own. Anytime I spoke out about or reported the mistreatment, I was either blamed for my own suffering, perceived as a whiner or just plain weak and ridiculed. There was no help nor relief.

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I was not allowed to be a human being. There was no margin for error.

They would minimize or ignore any good deed, any accomplishments, and any successes. And they would maximize any mistakes.

If I wore a dress and went to school all dolled up (which I often did in high school), I was trying to either impress the opposite sex or get a date and/or laid.
If I wore my jeans the slightest bit tight, I looked like a whore. If I cried, I was too sensitive. If I laughed, I was trying to get attention. If I got angry, I was crazy. If I was friendly, I was either flirting or trying to kiss up. If I smiled, I was secretly plotting something devious.

I was not allowed to be myself and it was exhausting. It felt as if I were suffering a slow and agonizing social murder.

The last straw finally came during high school when I was four months pregnant with my first child. I was attacked from behind, thrown over a teacher’s desk, then kicked as I lay balled in a fetal position on the floor. Luckily, my unborn child survived and was born healthy later that year. After this, I changed schools, and the bullying stopped.

I was relieved to be able to transfer to a new school finally! To a safer environment! One which would be much less stressful!

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I loved my new school and felt like a bird out of a cage! The feeling was of being released from a nearly six-year-long prison sentence. I had done my time in hell and now I could put it behind me. While riding along the highway toward the new school I would enroll in, I sat in the passenger seat with my then husband (I got married while still in high school) behind the wheel and cried tears of joy.

It was hard to believe that it was over! The persecution! The pain so great I couldn’t even cry! It was all finally OVER, and I could start a new and so much better chapter in my life, and I went on to make friends out of my new classmates and make it to graduation!

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I now lead a successful life and use what I went through to help bullied kids today. Anytime I hear of an innocent child bullied into suicide, it truly breaks my heart.

What’s even more heartbreaking is the attitudes and remarks I hear from others around me when a tragedy like this happens! I often hear statements such as:

“But that boy was so quiet!”

“Really??? Still waters run deep!”

“But that girl always kept to herself!”

“No joke! Just as an AIDS patient keeps his diagnosis to himself!”

“Shame on him! He was such a coward!”

“Right! Anyone running through the woods from a wild boar would look like a coward to someone sitting safely in a tree! You try spending a few years being bullied by everyone you know and see how brave you are! You’ll find out how quickly your life goes downhill!”

If you haven’t experienced it, you’ll never know what it is to be a target of bullying. I was fortunate in that I survived and moved on to happiness and success. But many do not, which is why writing about bullying and advocating for victims is my passion.

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Although being bullied is never a good thing, I did get a few positive takeaways:

1.) Having been bullied has made me appreciate the great friends I have today. It also gave me empathy and compassion for others and a desire to help those who endure the same!

2.) Having been bullied made a strong woman out of me. It made me more determined never to quit until I reach a goal! Knowing that bullies often bully out of jealousy and fear is the motivation for me.’

3.) Being bullied gave me the determination to love myself, put myself first, and the willingness to say “no” anytime I am asked or told to do something which does not feel right!

4.) Having been bullied gave me the determination to follow my dreams, to do things I most enjoy, and to reach success!

5.) Having been bullied has given me hope. Because I know that if I can go through bullying and survive, then I can rise above anything!

6.) And lastly, it sharpened my BS detector, giving me the ability to read people and to spot a fake a mile away and in a split second!

Being a target of bullying almost broke me, yes! But in the end, it made me! And if you don’t give up, it can do the same for you!!!

9 Ways for Target’s of Bullying to Reclaim Their Power

Vector prohibiting palm

Personal boundary. Prohibiting palm, psychotherapy icon vector illustration

Bullying can seem like the fight of your life and an unwinnable battle. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Here are 9 ways to reclaim your power and keep the bullies at bay:

1. Document incidences of bullying. I can’t stress this enough! You must keep a record of the intimidation you suffer. When you document, use what I call the 5W Rule: What, When, Who, Where, and Why.

Write down every incident in detail! Include the date and time it happened (when), what happened, who was involved, the names of any bystanders and authority members (students, teachers, coworkers, supervisors, managers, etc.), where it happened and why it happened.

When you document, not only will you discover a pattern, you will have evidence to take to the principal’s office, school board, Human Resources, EEOC, the police, or to court.

2. If you live in a one-party consent state, wear a body camera, or hid a digital recorder somewhere on you. Coupled with documentation, this can give you a slam dunk case! By recording the bullying, the people who can stop it might as well have been there to see it.

3. Counter the bullies’ negative statements. If you counter the comments instead of ignoring them, you’ll feel so much better about yourself, knowing you took a stand. If the bully calls you a name, just come back with, “Oh, I see you have a nose for your own,” or, ”It takes one to know one.”

Refuse emoticon

Emoticon making deny sign

Any comeback is better than none at all, and it shows you have confidence and that you value yourself enough not to take the abuse.

4. Say, “NO.” If you don’t want to do something, no law says you have to. Never be afraid to say “no.” And when you do, say it with a strong, confident voice and walk away. Setting boundaries is crucial when bullies come calling.

5. Take care of yourself. Self-care is of the utmost importance when you’re a target of bullies. Do the things that you enjoy most. Keep company with only the people who value you. Practice and display your God-given talents and gifts. Doing these things will buffer the hits to your confidence and self-esteem and minimize any damage.

6. Befriend other targets. I promise you. You’re not the only one who gets bullied. There are always a few others who share your pain. Find them, get to know them, and befriend them. Then, band together and make sure you all have each other’s backs. Make double-sure that they have yours!

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7. Look your best. Because when you look good, you feel good! Looking good can also buffer your self-esteem from the attacks of bullies.

8. Practice good posture. Posture is important! Stand up straight and with your shoulders back. Walk with a purpose and with confidence. Never look down! Never hunch!

Looking down and hunching shows a lack of confidence and low self-esteem, which will only make you a bully-magnet.

9. Speak confidently. Always speak with a strong tone, never in one that’s low and timid.

You may need a little practice at first. But the more you practice and the longer you do it, the more it will become like second nature.

Mistreatment and multi-agency failure: The story of the Bracken Family — NeuroClastic

This is a sad example of the intense hate that people on the Autism spectrum experience on a daily basis.

Hate Crimes against the Autism Community are real and they need to be addressed!

For the Bracken family, the agencies and institutions in place to protect and help them instead terrorized them.

via Mistreatment and multi-agency failure: The story of the Bracken Family — NeuroClastic

Your Choice of Friends is About How They Make You Feel About Yourself

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And no, I don’t mean the type of friends who only tell you what you want to hear. You can get that anywhere.

I’m talking about something that goes much deeper.

It’s not about how much money or prestige they have- the hot car they drive or the latest fashions they wear. It’s not about how good they look or how popular they are.

It’s all in how they make us feel about ourselves, and the space they give us to grow. Even better, it’s how they help us to grow and vice versa.

If the person makes you feel bad about yourself and makes you doubt yourself- if she makes you feel left out and discarded, then that person is not for you! They’re not worthy of your time and are a waste of energy.

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Portrait of happy teenage guy surrounded by pretty girls

Always keep company with those who make you feel the best about yourself- that means the people who want to see you do good for yourself, the people who point you in the right direction, and the people who remain loyal even when the chips are down.

Associate only with the people who love, encourage and want your very best. Reserve your friendship only for those who have your back! Choose the friend who is willing to walk through the fire with you.

Never chase anyone who doesn’t care or makes you feel terrible about yourself. Because if they’re a true friend, they won’t tear you down and make you feel worthless.

They won’t block your path to success. You won’t have to fight for their time or their love. They will make time for you and give love freely.

Be selective of who you let in your life!

Making Others Feel Bad is The Only Way Bullies Can Feel Good About Themselves

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Bullies get their self-esteem from making others feel bad. They have an insatiable need to feel like they’re better than someone and for power. And if they see someone who’s truly happy, confident, or successful, they will hate that person with a passion and go out of their own way to break them down and make them pay for it.

Bullies will verbally abuse the lucky person, set them up for failure or to get into trouble with authority, try to sabotage the person’s goals and success, humiliate them and try their hardest to destroy them.

You see? Bullies can’t handle the success and happiness of others because they’re not happy and successful themselves. Also, the other person’s good fortune only reminds the bullies of the people they wish to be but clearly aren’t and highlights the bullies’ laziness, mediocrity, insecurities and failures!

women with elongated nose - the concept of lying

women with elongated nose – the concept of lying

Remember that bullies want to be the center of attention- all the time! They want to monopolize the admiration of others! They want to be top dogs and the best of the best. If they find out that you’re doing much better at life than they are, they’ll come for you locked and loaded, with both barrels!

And they’ll break off a piece of your self-esteem every chance they get.

Understand that the issue lies with the bullies, not you! You’re okay! They’re not! But they’ll try to convince you that it’s about you and that something’s wrong with you.

There isn’t! Everything the bullies tell you is a lie!

People Kick Out Cartoon

So, kick these confidence leeches out of your life if you can! Because they aren’t even worth knowing! And don’t fall into the emotion and psychological traps that bullies will lay for you! You’re so much better than they say you are! Believe it!

I Knew Other Classmates Bullied at School. Most Are Still Afraid to Tell Their Stories.

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Even today, thirty years later, these other targets are afraid of telling their stories. Some are scared that it may somehow get back to the people who bullied them. And that the bullies from high school will hunt them down and harm them or their families if they speak out. Hey, Oakley’s a small southern town and they have to live there. Luckily for me, I got out of there.

Their worries aren’t exactly needless either. Many of them live in the same small town the bullies do, and the bullies have powerful connections. Many of the classmates who bullied me are either working in law enforcement (Isn’t it funny how most people who were bullies in school seek out careers that give them a little power and authority?), or ended up with spouses in law enforcement.

People in small towns never forget who they hated in high school and seem to carry grudges for a lifetime. Many of them would jump at the chance if they could bully the person again for old time’s sake. Trust me. I know these people, and they wouldn’t think twice about it!

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I’ve heard countless horror stories from others. They were stories about how these former bullies from high school would have certain people they didn’t like pulled over and plant drugs in their vehicle to press bogus charges of illegal possession and ruin their lives. It happens more than we realize. So far, when passing through, I’ve been very fortunate.

I’ve also heard another story from a very reliable source about how one of the women who bullied me in school, having marital issues with her husband. Because she was angry and wanted to get back at her spouse, she sent a picture of herself and another man in their home to her husband’s phone while he (the husband) was at work at the police department, all to prove a point to him that she could leave and have any other man she wanted.

In doing that, she baited her police officer husband into losing his temper, leaving his shift and coming home to fire several shots into the home they shared, placing both herself and their children in grave danger. Yep! Talk about stupid!

Luckily, she nor the kids were hurt. However, if she would do a damn fool thing like baiting her spouse to do something foolish and make herself out to be the innocent wife who’s so abused and mistreated, then she’d bait someone else with whom she wanted to get revenge on. And most of her friends, who also bullied me, are the same manipulative way, which is why I make it a point to keep them at a long distance from my loved ones and me.

‘You see? I’ve written and published a book about being bullied in high school, and yes, they know about it. Although I never used their real names in the book, I received quite a few nasty and threatening messages from them after the book became available, and a few other classmates bought it.

One woman even informed me that she had contacted several classmates, and they all wanted to meet me somewhere where we could “have a meeting” and “have a well-needed discussion” over what I’d written and published.

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That meeting didn’t happen. And it never will because I wouldn’t trust any of them me as far as I could throw them. You never know what they may be plotting or what might happen. Had I stupidly agreed to meet with them, there’s no telling what I would’ve walked into. So, I bade them thanks, but no thanks.

I will not meet them anywhere, and I will not go to the reunion. I hope my classmates have fun, but they’ll have to do it without me.

There are times I still get nasty messages from a classmate or two, not often, but it does happen. It doesn’t phase me any because number one; they don’t know where I live. Number two; I stay away from them and don’t want them around me.

If I must do any business in the town, I do it without worrying about the possibility of being seen by the wrong people. I know that anyone of the bullies from school would be a fool to approach me today.

The bullies from way back when know that if they try anything foolish, and if anything happens to me, anything at all, they will only prove every word I wrote in “From Victim to Victor.” Also, people from everywhere will come around asking questions and guess who they’ll go to for answers.

They will only make themselves suspects.

In essence, “From Victim to Victor” is my protection. The book can serve as a shield from any retribution my old bullies may seek for my daring to speak out about the notoriously vile and ignorant way they acted years ago. These people know not to bust themselves.

My other classmates, who were also victims, do not have that protection going for them, and I can only hope and pray that they are left alone to live their lives with their families in peace.

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