When Your Give-A-Dam Breaks

If you are a target of bullying, there are times when you get fed up with people’s crap. Then…BOOM! You snap on some creep who pushed you over your limit. Believe me, I understand and if this has happened with you, I cannot fault you for it. I empathize with you wholeheartedly.

It’s not that you want to fight. In fact, you hate fighting- intensely. However, if you’re a 5’4”, 120 lb. teenage girl with a target on her back, what do you do? Stand there and let them jump you?

Like most targets, I too hated to fight but there were times I didn’t have a choice. It was either fight or be beaten within an inch of my life. Not only the girls would try to jump me, but the guys would too and most of those redneck brutes had no qualms nor reservations about beating up on a female, even one who was little. Some of the bullies at Oakley High threatened with a knife or a box-cutter and it’s amazing I got out of there alive.

But that’s what bullying does to people if they don’t have the proper psychological tools, confidence, or know-how to deal with it. It makes them paranoid, makes them desperate! Puts them in survival mode! In other (and more scientific) words, it awakens their primal instincts. It rewires their brains in preparation for a hostile environment.

A target of bullying must live in constant vigil and adrenaline. They must always be on alert- they must grow eyes in the back of their heads and be prepared for danger every time they turn a corner. That gets both frustrating and exhausting after so long.

I cannot count the times in school I showed my booty to people after having taken all I could take. And there were times I didn’t just let off a little stream, I blew a gasket!

The longer you are bullied, the more it builds- the sense of injustice, the sadness, the rage! It all piles up! We are all human and no one can hold that crap inside forever it doesn’t matter how resilient they are. It’s humanly impossible.

You’re like a bottle of soda that’s been shaken up until it finally spews!

Like a dormant volcano that finally awakens, you erupt when that last (and unfortunate) creep sticks as much as a toe over your boundaries. Some people, you scare half to death, others, you piss off even more and make twice as determined to get you, and few see your tirade as personal entertainment.

I did that a few times back when I was being bullied and abused at school.

There were times I’d yell, curse the bullies out, throw stuff, and slam doors. I would tell people to get the eff away from me and not to come back around. I admit it. I showed the worst sides of myself on a few occasions.

I remember grabbing one girl by the hair and beating the living snot out of her in the library after she’d spent the last month getting in my face and taunting during the last class of the day.

Another bully received the business end of a fist after attempting to shove me down a flight of stairs. I remember running back up the stairs, whacking her upside the head with my purse and a textbook, then dragging her down the stairs. She seemed to hit and bounce off every step going down.

Once I got her to the bottom, I beat and kicked her until a teacher and three other students pried me off her. These were only two of the many incidents that occurred during those years.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not something I’m proud of. Each time, I remember feeling terrible about it after it was over, and everything had cooled off. No decent person wants to lose their cool and act a fool, but when you been pushed and pushed, there is an eventual breaking point.

Yes, I got into fist fights. I won some fights but lost a few too.

Sadly, it all seemed to be a cycle. After getting bullied and bullied for several months, I’d snap. Some of the tiredness bled over into my home life. Sadly, when bullies have worn you down, you’re too exhausted to even be there for the people you love when they have problems too. You’re fresh out of patience and energy, and yes, even love.

You can’t pour from an empty cup and as a result, you just don’t give a crap- about anything or anybody. All you want is to be left alone.

I look back now and realize that I didn’t handle the bullying the right way. Understand that if you don’t set healthy boundaries, this is what can happen.

Today, I’m a much calmer and happier person than I used to be. Why? Because I’m more assertive and I set boundaries. If I say no or ask someone to please stop doing something when they violate my boundaries, and if they insist on continuing the behavior, I either tell them to leave right then, or I walk away after telling the person exactly what I think of them. I then cut them out of my life.

I have learned that, although you cannot control another person’s behavior, you do have control over your own and whether to continue having them in your life. And if you refuse to associate with a person, they no longer have easy access to you. Therefore, it’s not nearly as easy for them to get to you and harm you.

So, never allow people to bully you and get out of control with their abuse. Speak out when people violate your boundaries. It’s the only way to keep the pressure from building and reaching a boiling point.

If this has been your experience, feel free to comment.

What Happens When You Call a Bully’s Bluff

As we all know, bullies are convincing liars. But what happens when they finally get called out on their lies and evil deeds. Let’s use scenarios to find out.

For example, you’re a target of bullying. You find out that the one friend you thought you could trust has been spreading your deepest secrets and spreading lies behind your back while only pretending to be your best buddy (This can apply to both school and workplace environments). When you confront her, here are her possible reactions.

1. She will deny it or, at the least, try to avoid the subject. How you’ll know she’s dishonest? She will change the subject by talking about a topic irrelevant to the issue while appearing to be busy doing a task. Girls are known for this.

2. She will become irate and go on a tirade. She may even yell and curse at you. She may turn it back on you and accuse you of being paranoid, crazy, a crybaby, etc. But understand that she only looks and sounds desperate when she does this. Know that this is just another dead giveaway, and most bullies get highly defensive when they’re afraid they’re busted.

Understand that most bullies will get loud. They scream, yell, and pound their fists, curse, and swear when they fear exposure. However, don’t let this scare you because the dramatics and theatrics they display only mean that the bullies are desperate!

3. She will lay guilt trips on you.

“Well, if you were my friend, you wouldn’t believe…”

“If you were a true friend to me, you wouldn’t even question my loyalty.”

Don’t buy that garbage. The person is just trying to make you feel guilty or trying to intimidate you into silence. If your so-called friend was the only person you told any secrets to or knows about your life outside of the school, workplace, or organization, it’s a safe bet they’re guilty. And if enough people tell you that she is saying things behind your back, especially people you’ve never met or had any dealings with or people who aren’t a threat to you, she’s guilty!

Example 2: You have a bully on your back, and you’ve finally had enough. You call him/her out on his/her bad behavior and begin speaking out about the abuse she dishes out.

1. She will escalate the harassment to either punish you or intimidate you and shut you down. Understand that the bully is afraid of being exposed, facing accountability, and losing face and will stop at nothing to silence you.

2. He will justify himself with full conviction.

“If you didn’t always make trouble, I wouldn’t have had to hurt you!”

“If you weren’t so stupid, I wouldn’t give you such a hard time!”

“You made me do it because you always do this when you should do that!”

“If you would just do this, I wouldn’t have to do that!”

“You won’t shut up, so you deserve it!”

Again, don’t believe a word of it! Continue to report the harassment. You must protect yourself by speaking just as loud and with just as much conviction as the bully. Make plenty of noise because the wheel that squeaks loudest gets the grease!

3. She will slander you to everyone who will listen to her and try to turn others against you. Again, understand that this bully is afraid of being exposed. So she spreads rumors and lies to discredit you by distracting others from her appalling and embarrassing behavior by making you look like the guilty party.

If the bully can make you look bad and turn everyone else against you, she reaps several benefits.

a. She can intimidate you into silence and avoid any future risks of exposure.

b. She can discredit you, make herself look like the victim, and, therefore, gain attention and sympathy from other people.

c. She can successfully cut you off from any support you might otherwise receive.

d. She gets the green light to bully you again later and with impunity.

e. She gets to move up the social ladder and win more friends and allies.

f. She gets the satisfaction of maintaining power, domination, and control over another person.

As goes the old political quote from World War II, “Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”

People pointing a woman hidden behind a computer

Understand that any smear campaign is designed to protect the guilty bullies from being exposed and shift blame onto innocent victims. It’s a tactic used since the beginning of time!

So, don’t shut up no matter what! Continue to call out the bullies’ behavior! And if they react like any of the above, tell them like it is.

Say this:

“The tirade isn’t going to work anymore” or “Go ahead and lie all you want. Everybody knows this is only retaliation because I had the gall to expose your deplorable behavior! Right,(the bully’s name)? Is that what this is, (Bully’s name)?”

Be sure to say the bully’s name at the end of the above questions because that really shakes a bully when you put his/her name on it!

If the bully says, “No!” Tell her in a fast and short tone, “Oh, yes it is, and you know it, (Bully’s name)!”

Counter. Everything. She. Comes. Back with!

The Survivor of Bullying

The survivor of bullying who escapes the abuse first comes out with shock, anger, and sadness. But once the healing is underway, they’re filled with renewed hope.

When school or workplace bullying experiences have exposed you to the darkest sides of human nature, you have a stronger sense of your own endurance and capability. This is all because of what you have endured and were able to overcome.

You never know your own strength until you’ve overcome bullying, especially severe and chronic bullying.

Another takeaway is that the survivor has a stronger sense of people. She can smell fakery and BS from a mile away and can spot bullies before even talking to them. The survivor pays closer attention to how people carry themselves, body language, and the vibes and energy others put out.

survivors x-ray eyes

He is better able to avoid people who might want to harm him because he’s learned, the hard way, the importance of listening to his gut instinct and heeding it anytime something is even the slightest bit “off” about a person. In short, the survivor of bullying has learned that it’s okay, even paramount, that he trusts himself, and in that, his feelings and judgement.

On the other side of bullying, a survivor learns and develops the determination never to conform to the standards and criteria of others, but to live life on her terms because she knows what it’s like to be a slave to the approval of others. She knows what it’s like to be a prisoner to outside influences. She knows the powerlessness of having one’s pleasure depend of the permission of others. She knows what it’s like to be forced to apologize for simply being who she is and she’s not having any of it!

Overcoming past abuse gives the survivor a restored and refined sense of his worth and knowledge of the immense value he brings to this world. He awakens to his goodness and realizes that yes! He is worthy of love, friendship, affection, and of all the best things in life. He also realizes that he is loved and always was no matter what all those vile people told him!

The survivor of bullying ends up with a much clearer vision of what she will not tolerate nor settle for. She is unmovable in her refusal to kiss arse or bow down to anyone no matter what the cost may be. She’s spent enough years living on her knees and if she’s going to be punished for her unwillingness to kowtow, she’ll suffer those consequences standing up.

The survivor of bullying is also a fierce warrior for other victims. If he sees another person being bullied, he’s will stand up for that person and go toe to toe with the bullies to protect the target.

The survivor who has overcome bullying isn’t afraid to say no, nor to walk away from any relationship that doesn’t fulfill and nourish him. He refuses to be stuck in any environment that doesn’t allow him to grow and flourish.

The survivor is more aware than ever of what she deserves and goes after it with resilience and tenacity. Life’s given her enough of what she doesn’t want and now it’s time for her to go get what she knows is due her.

The survivor realizes, probably more than anyone, that life is short, and you only get one shot in this world. And she works diligently to create the life she knows she deserves, and she does it without guilt. She knows that she’s not entitled nor privileged. She realizes that the big bad world owes her nothing. And that’s okay.

The survivor realizes that there’s no such thing as a free ride because, heck, no one ever gave him anything but hell. What he understands more than anything as that all you have is you and the only person you can depend on is you. So, he knows that reaching his goals and dreams is up to him and him alone. And he works toward what he wants with a fervor.

The survivor of bullying makes it a point never to take anyone for granted but lets her family and friends know that she loves and values them. Why? Because she knows what is like to be alone, unwanted, and abused and she would never want anyone- especially the people she cares about feel that way or endure it.

The survivor of bullying savors every wonderful moment, every positive encounter, and every happy event because he has seen enough negativity.

What the survivor enjoys more than anything else is wonderful relationships and happy moments, and most of all, she’s grateful for them. She also enjoys helping others who go through what she once endured. And she uses her experiences to encourage them and give them hope.

Sometimes, you must be torn down to be built up again. Sometimes you must first be dejected and left lonely before you can truly appreciate the family and friendships you have later. And sometimes, it takes being forced into the chains of others’ approval and validation before you can enjoy the freedom of self-love and the indifference to the opinions of those who don’t matter and, perhaps, never should have mattered.

The Conformity Trap

Some rules, standards and laws exist for good reasons. Those that are sensible help keep society safe and without them, we’d live in a state of constant anarchy. However, if the rules, standards, or laws are blatantly ridiculous or downright dangerous, than we have a duty not to obey them, or at the very least, question them.

Most bullies wield power by making up rules and standards that are either laughable or unhealthy for the rest of us. And many targets try so hard to conform to their bullies’ rules and standards to fit in and because they think that their conformity will make the bullying stop. Sadly, this usually doesn’t work for targets. The hard truth is, conformity works for everyone else, yes, but rarely works for targets.

Why? Because they are targets and nothing else.

When others conform, they will be rewarded, but when a target conforms, they’ll only be bullied worse because the people around them will automatically presume that the target is conforming solely to keep out of trouble and get on everyone’s good side.

People will only see the target’s conformity and positive behavior as a form of manipulation and feel that the target only has ulterior motives behind it. And they will respond with deep anger and repugnance. The target will be branded a con artist. A grifter! A fake!

Bullies see anyone’s attempts to manipulate them as an unspoken message that the person doing the manipulating think they’re stupid. And bullies won’t stand for being thought of as dumb, especially by those they deem inferior. To bullies, that’s slap in the face!

This is one reason targets shouldn’t conform to their bullies, but here’s another reason:

Anytime you conform to the rules, standards or wishes of someone else- that is, someone who isn’t your boss, your teacher, your parents, etc., you deny your own wants and needs. You give up your autonomy and dignity, and ultimately, surrender to the bullies. This can take a huge toll on your self-esteem and after so many times, you’ll begin to feel terrible about yourself and regret that you ever conformed to those creeps.

Anytime you conform to bullies, you allow yourself to be subjugated and, in essence, become their subject, their slave, and their prisoner. And that doesn’t feel good at all.

You end up looking (and feeling) weak- like a wimp, a wuss, a pansy! You’ll only be ridiculed by everyone because you’ll look pathetic to them. They’ll see you as a bootlicker, a brownnoser, a stooge!

It doesn’t matter how good or bad you are, bullies and everyone who sees you getting bullied only see you as a target and nothing else. And chances are, they will always see you that way. Therefore, if you can’t satisfy anyone else, then satisfy yourself by holding on to your dignity. And how you hold on to your dignity is to never conform to anything the bullies tell you.

Be strong and say no. Refuse to kowtow and bow down to them. They might retaliate and bully you worse for your refusal to give them what they want but trust me. They are going to bully you anyway whether you do or don’t, so why not make it count?

Bullies Intentionally Select Targets

Anyone, who is a victim of bullying knows all too well, the feeling of bewilderment, the confusion…. the questions- The “What did I do wrong?”, “What is it about me?” or “What do they treat me so horrible?” If you are a target, allow me to answer these questions for you.

First, you did nothing wrong!

Second, there is NOTHING wrong with you!

And third, they treat you wrong because of something that is within THEM! Not YOU!

I want you to understand that bullies purposely select their victims. They know exactly what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Remember that bullies are nothing but sniveling little cowards. And they select anyone they don’t believe will fight back. Or these who achieve great things.

School bullies feel weak. They always pick those they think are slow, kids with hearts of gold, who would never hurt a fly, children who are disabled, mentally handicapped or mentally ill, youngsters who are quiet and reserved and children who have what is perceived to be a physical flaw (overweight, underweight, eyeglasses, braces, or disfigured from accidents).

In school, bullies may select other classmates at random to see how they react. If a potential victim stands up to the bully and tells them off, the bully will then slink away with their tail between their legs. They will then search for someone else until they find the victim who responds how they want them to (cries, ignores them, walks away, runs, tattles, etc.)

Workplace bullies feel threatened. They pick coworkers who are intelligent, competent, and well-liked by others. They pick them because the exceptional workers are the people who make them look bad.

Close-up of woman in black T-shirt is cracking her knuckles gesturing willful and ready for doing something; or in another side; the bad behavior when in tension; concept of health care and medical.

Through their excellent work, the victims hold a mirror up to the bullies (and everyone else) at work, forcing them to see their own pathetic reflections. They unwittingly expose their weaknesses and their incompetency by their successes, accomplishments, and impeccable work ethic. They also make bullies feel overshadowed.

The only way a bully can feel powerful and that they measure up is to bring the victim down or have a victim to use as a punching bag. If they don’t have that target, they feel less than and will go to the ends of the earth to find one. Realize that bullies can’t get power through a meritocracy because they have zero redeeming qualities. So, they bully others and that’s what gives them power.

At work, bullies will often select the brightest high performers and achievers.

School boy angel with wings and halo concept for being clever, good, success in education or smug

Once the bully finds his/her chosen victim, they target that person, sometimes for years until that person either changes schools or workplaces, moves, or dies. Then, once again, the bully will be on the hunt for a replacement victim.

I want you to understand that bullying at any age is born out of cowardice, jealousy, and insecurity. A bully is a pitiful person. Only a lowdown, uneducated, sad, and pathetic person has to have another person to harm. Think about it! School bullies pick on kids they perceive as weak! They stoop so low as to pick on disabled kids! And they do it to feel better about themselves.

Workplace bullies select someone who outperforms them. Only a loser scumbag creep does that! A zero! A sick moron!

So have the courage to call the bully OUT on these things! I realize that there are risks but do it anyway. Your self-esteem is counting on you. Get it in your head right now! Bullies are gutless, pathetic pieces of crap! human filth! toilet scum!

Here’s another fact, most bullies are also narcissists, psychopaths, and sociopaths. Therefore, there is something dark within them that motivates them to bully others.

I’ll say again. It is not your fault. And there is nothing about you that would make anyone mistreat you. So believe that you are a smart, beautiful person! Believe that you are a better person than your tormentors because you are!

Never allow any bully to convince you that you are less than them. Hold on to your faith and your confidence. Counter every negative statement a bully makes.

Bullying Will Diminish the Target’s Ability to Trust Him/Herself

Why? Because the target’s judgement, decisions, and feelings are constantly attacked, negated, and condemned by others. When a target is bullied, they’re taught that, although the abuse they suffer is painful, they either shouldn’t feel, or they have no right to feel that pain because they’re to blame for the abuse they suffer.

Targets are conditioned by bullies, bystanders, even people in authority, friends, and family to just suck it up and negate their own painful feelings. In that, they’re trained either not to understand or to deny their own suffering and that bullies and others are abusing them.

Targets are trained to believe that other people’s vile behavior is their fault and that something is wrong with them, otherwise the bullying wouldn’t be happening to them. Targets are also taught that everything that goes wrong is because of them. In short, they’re taught that the abuse they’re getting is somehow justified.

As a result, targets often withdraw because they become afraid that they’ll only attract bullies and bullying behavior from the people around them. As a result, targets are left feeling confused and inadequate.

Targets are made to think that:

They take things wrong.

They’re too sensitive.

They asked for it or had it coming.

There’s something wrong with the way they are.

There’s something wrong with the way they express themselves.

There’s something wrong with the way they come across to people.

Therefore, targets stop believing in themselves. Even worse, they lose trust in themselves, their abilities, and their capabilities. And once this happens, they become perfect victims for bullies.

Understand that targets suffer many attacks to not only their physical body, but also their psyche and their emotional being.

Even worse, their very souls are tired, their spirits broken, and they don’t understand their own pain nor why they feel it inside.

Being a target of bullying is a hell that no one who hasn’t been there can possibly comprehend. When you’re bullied, you’re in the fight of your life, and for your life. And when I say fight for your life, this doesn’t only means fighting to stay alive, although it can.

“The fight for your life” can mean fighting for your self- esteem. It can mean fighting for your personal power and dignity. It can mean fighting to keep your confidence up and self-esteem from being broken so that the abuse doesn’t affect your grades, performance (at school or work), or worse, your ability to make smart decisions and life-choices. You’re fighting to keep the abuse from effecting your entire future. Most importantly, you’re fighting to maintain your health and your sanity.

Because you’re very much aware that if you allow these people to cause you to lose any of the above, then you unwittingly give them power over your entire life and every aspect of it. You may not end up dead, but you won’t really live, you’ll only exist. And that’s no way to live!

No matter what happens, stay strong. Hold on to everything mentioned above, or as much of it as possible. And most of all, know that there are people out there who care.