Targets often pick “friends” who only tolerate them or those who wish them ill will because they’re often lonely and desperate. For so long, they have been wrongly alienated from others due to rumors and lies that bullies have spread about them to keep them from making friends.
Because the target is so hungry for a connection…any connection, he/she will befriend anyone…and I mean anyone! They are not selective with who they call “friend” and end up latching on to people who are not even worth knowing…predators, who only take advantage.
Also, young victims often assume that to be “cool,” they have to have a big circle of friends. This is not true.
With that being said, I want you to know that if you are a victim of bullying, you do not need a whole slew of people in your life to be happy nor to feel like or be a whole person. You only need your family and a few true friends. It’s safer this way. Wouldn’t you much rather have just a handful of true friends than to have an abundance of frenemies? I know I would.
In fact, you should prefer to have enemies over ‘frenemies’. Here’s why:
1. With an enemy, you know exactly where they stand without having to do any guesswork. However, you will always be the last to know with frenemies after being played for a sucker.
In other words, enemies won’t hide their contempt for you. Frenemies, on the other hand, will always hide their contempt for you behind the facade of friendship. And they do this to keep you close so they can find out your deepest secrets, your dreams, your goals, and your not-so-attractive characteristics.
And once they know all these intimate details about you, they will then weaponize it and use it against you.
If at any time you wonder about a person…if your intuition is telling you that something is “off,” put some distance between yourself and that individual and do it fast! Instinct is trying to warn you.
If your so-called friends are only tolerating you, stabbing you in the back, or sabotaging you in any way, it’s time to eighty-six of these leaches to your self-esteem. And the sooner you do, the better!
Ever! It’s better to sit back, relax, and let Karma deal with them because I guarantee that Karma can do a much better job than you ever could. Besides, do you want to expend that kind of energy? That kind of ugliness? No. Because you’re better than that!
And they aren’t worth the effort. Revenge isn’t as sweet as it looks in the movies. In fact, it’s cancer that will eat you up inside if you dwell on it!
What’s so bad about hate is that you’re so preoccupied with the people who wronged you, and they may still have you convinced that they’re all-powerful and untouchable and that you’re powerless and at their mercy, though you may not admit it.
And this is why you’re just itching to exact revenge on them. You find yourself ruminating over the many times they bullied and abused you, and it will play over in your mind like a broken record. You’ll be plagued with the thought that they got away with it. Understand that all this will only eat down into your soul, rot, and cause nothing but more pain.
So, ask yourself. Are they worth it?
I understand that sinking feeling of defeat you get from knowing of the possibility that your bullies didn’t get theirs- that they can walk away free without the slightest clue that what they did was wrong. It’s normal to feel a sense of injustice.
And ignorance is bliss, and bullies are the most blissful people on the face of the earth! But understand that there’s a term for your bullies’ ignorance. It’s called willful ignorance, and it happens when your bullies convince themselves that they did nothing wrong and that you got what you deserved.
But realize that this is precisely what your bullies want you to think. Otherwise, they wouldn’t get such a thrill from it.
Revenge always escalates the bullying because bullies are known to get brutal to get what they want. And if you try to give them payback, it will only turn into a game of ping pong. It will go back and forth, back and forth again. It’ll be an endless game of tit for tat.
Continually replaying the bullying over and over in your head isn’t good at all! Because if you keep this up, you’ll never find happiness nor peace of mind. How can you move on with your life when you’re reliving the trauma?
Here are a few ways to reclaim your happiness and your life:
1.Seek Therapy. Never be too proud to seek therapy because it can help you process the negative feelings that poison your life. Therapy works. I’m living proof.
2. Write about it in a journal. Believe it or not, writing about it helps you unload and get it out of your system, especially when bullies have cut you off from support through smear campaigns. Not only are you building a good case and keeping a record of the bullying to use in case you go to court, but you are also providing yourself much-needed therapy. Writing is very therapeutic and cathartic. And once you get it out, even if only on paper, you’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel.
3. Spend time with people who feed your soul- the ones who love and care for you. Spending time with the people who love you the most can be a buffer to your self-esteem. It has a way of making up for all the hurt bullies cause you by giving you an equal or more amount of positivity in your life. Keep company with those who make you feel best about yourself. Share happy times with them, laugh with them, because laughter truly is the best medicine!
4. Capture happy moments. Again, bullies have given you enough negative, sad and stressful moments. Why not balance that with just as many happy moments? And the best part is that we have the power to create those moments!
5. Go on a trip. Sometimes, it’s just good to steal away to a beach house on a secluded beach with your family or friends. Or you can visit an out of state relative. Whatever you decide, getting out of town helps to bring you out of stagnation and revive you. It also gives you a sense of adventure, and that always lifts the mood. So, pack your things and go!
6. Meditate. Having been bullied can flood your mind with fear and negativity. It helps to shut off your mind, even for five minutes every day. Meditate on positive things. Focus on yourself and your personal goals. Meditate on God. It will help relax you and make you feel so much better.
7. Exercise. Exercise not only makes you healthier and promotes weight loss and better muscle tone, but it can also be one heck of a stress buster. Whether you like High-Intensity Training with weights or a brisk walk through the park, it increases endorphins and other feel-good chemicals to help you feel better.
8. Indulge in hobbies. Hobbies not only make you feel accomplished, but they take your mind off your bullies and the bullying you suffered in the past. So, find something you enjoy doing the most and concentrate on it. Being creative is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
9. Focus on your goals. If you focus on your goals, you won’t have time to focus on your bullies. They don’t deserve even to be an afterthought. So, focus on your goals and where you want to go. And make life all about those things. Keep doing your thing!
I want you to understand that bullies get so much pleasure from your misery. So, do all you can to add as much joy to your life as possible. And once you do, take pleasure in knowing that, if your bullies could see that you’re happy without them, they’d be so furious!
Sometimes you must play mind games with yourself. Does it sound strange? Possibly. But whatever works. Right?
No, you can’t pretend that the pain isn’t there. And you can’t bury it or stuff it down because if it’s there, it will leak out eventually. But you do have to process it and do a lot of work on yourself before it goes away.
It will take a lot of work and time to do, but it will be worth it in the end. And you’re worth it! It’s all about self-care. And there’s nothing better than investing in yourself! I guarantee it!
That’s right. And bullies will do it purposefully and for a reason. They put you on the defense to make you look “defensive” because they know that defensiveness makes a person look guilty. I’ll give you a few scenarios:
You’re a target, and the bullies go around telling others that you’re going to start a fight sooner or later. They also claim to know how you’re going to provoke the brawl and talk about that possibility as well. Even stranger is that these bullies are so confident in saying these things. They’re so sure that what they say is going to happen. It gets back to you, and you can’t understand why they’re making such outrageous and unknowable predictions.
But understand that this shouldn’t sound so strange and shouldn’t be so bewildering to you. No. What it should be is a WARNING to you! Allow me to continue.
Sure enough, one of the bullies slyly baits you and provokes you to fight back in self-defense. When you’re lured into a fight and call it out as it happened, everyone else sees you as too defensive. The bullies then stand back, snicker, and say,
“’ See? What did we tell you? We told you he/she was going to start a fight! And he/she did! We tried to warn you! And now, he/she just revealed how he did in attempting to turn it back on us!”
People then blame you for it and accuse you of being one who won’t take responsibility.
Let me elaborate:
Any time the bullies make such predictions should serve as a warning to you. It should warn you that something is going on behind the scenes.
It should tell you that what is really happening here is that the bullies are the ones plotting to provoke you into a physical altercation. Yes! You read this correctly! While the bullies are making such wild predictions about you, they’re setting everything up to happen exactly how they’re predicting so they can turn around and say, “See? We told you so! If so and so wasn’t guilty, he/she wouldn’t be denying and explaining it so vehemently!
And the more you plead your innocence and tell the truth that it was the bullies who provoked you, the more they and everyone else scream that you started the fight and that you’re only trying to avoid responsibility. Thus, the guiltier you look.
It shouldn’t be this easy, but it is!
Realize that this kind of deception is so easy to pull off, it shouldn’t work! But it does!
That’s why it pays to recognize when bullies unknowingly give themselves away and to take steps to thwart them somehow. And the best way is to call it out in front of an audience. Or better, you could say this,
“With that statement, you just busted yourselves, and you’re too stupid to realize it.”
And say it without elaborating on it any further. Because you’ll shock the crap out of your bullies and make them wonder how it is that you think they busted themselves. They may even ask you about it, but you don’t have to tell them. You can just smile and say, “I just do,” and keep walking. That reaction alone will throw your bullies off balance and make them a little sweaty!
But do this only if the bullies aren’t your bosses or any member of an authority, of course. In these cases, it’s best to keep your thoughts to yourself and start making an escape plan to get away from these psychos.
You would be amazed at what you can learn from bullies. This may sound a bit strange to some, but bullies can teach us so much about human nature and the evils of the world. Although they can hurt us, they can also teach us some of the most powerful lessons.
Here’s what bullies and bullying taught me.
1. That everyone, including the bully, has problems. Bullies always put on a front of having a perfect life. They use arrogance and cockiness to mask their feelings of hurt, insecurity, and inferiority. Many of my bullies had alcoholic fathers, drug-addicted mothers, fathers who cheated on or beat their mothers, or single mothers who had a different man in her bed every night. Many had parents who neglected or abused them, and others had an older sibling who bullied them. Several had a parent dealing drugs, a parent in and out of jail, or were sexually abused. So, is it any wonder most of my classmates were so full of pee and vinegar?
2. How to spot a liar or fake. If you’ve dealt with bullies and bullying long enough, you learn very quickly how to spot liars and fakes before you even talk to them. And you learn it because your survival depends on it.
3. To grow a thick skin. Have you ever noticed how redundant bullies are? Have you noticed how they repeat the same stupid insults, taunts, and negative statements over and over again? It’s true that the crap they talk can hurt and hurt badly. However, they can repeat the same rubbish so much and for so long that, after a while, it loses its effectiveness and potency. Then it just gets boring and your bullies can become one big yawn.
4. Empathy and compassion for others. When you know what it is to be a target of bullying and alone. It teaches you empathy and compassion for others- especially the underdog who is downtrodden. You’ll more likely reach out and protect those who are bullied because you were there, and you can’t stand the thought of anyone else enduring such pain.
5. The evils humans are capable of and their predatory nature. Having been a target of bullying will teach you this if nothing else! Anytime you’re a target of bullying, you can end up seeing the darkest side of humanity possible if you’re unlucky enough- things that people who aren’t targets would never see. And they will be things you won’t forget.
6. To never take anyone for granted. I’m no longer a victim of bullying and I have such an awesome family and the most positive and fun circle of friends you’d ever want to meet. But because I know what it is to be a target of bullying and to be excluded and isolated, I don’t take my familial relationships or friendships for granted. I make it a point to be loyal to all of them and to stand behind them when the chips are down. I consider my family, blood, and non-blood, wonderful blessings to my life and I cherish all of them.
7. To appreciate the people in your life. Again, I value all my family and closest friends and I appreciate the qualities they bring to my life. Words cannot express how blessed I am to know them and to have them in my life.
8. To take care of, value, and love yourself. I learned the hard way that if you don’t love yourself, no one else will either. I make it a point to take care of myself and to treat myself kindly. How do I treat myself kindly, you may ask? By how I allow others to treat me. By what I tolerate and the people I let in my life, and by not being afraid to walk away if a person doesn’t treat me well.
9. That’s it’s okay, and in your best interests, to say, “no.” If something (or someone) doesn’t feel right to me, I no longer hesitate to say “no” and I do it guilt-free. I now know that saying “no” is saying “yes” to my rights and my dignity and that’s the best feeling ever!
10. To stand up for the underdog. Because you know what it’s like to be mistreated, you wouldn’t want to see anyone else endure what you have. So, you take the opportunity to be someone’s hero and friend for life. This is one of the greatest lessons bullying can teach you.
Being the object of bullies is never fun. But if you look for the lessons in it, it can teach you so much about the crazy world we live in, about the dark side of human nature, and that it’s of the utmost importance that you keep the faith, believe in yourself, love yourself enough to take care of yourself, appreciate the people who love you, and stand up for the people who aren’t able to defend themselves.
Know that you have the power to turn the abuse you suffer around for good and to turn the negatives into positives. Your pain can become your power! I guarantee it!
If you’re a target of bullying, I want you to know that you have more power than you realize. You have a choice- a choice of whether to accept or reject your bullies’ labels and definitions of you.
I want to drum into your head this single truth: You have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself!
Bullying hurts, no doubt about it. And you may have to suffer the pain of not being accepted. However, if you have the inner strength to reject the insults and name-calling, you’re already ahead of the game and least likely to be controlled by your bullies.
Understand that when bullies take it upon themselves to define you, what they’re doing is playing God because they’re claiming to know the unknowable. All they’re doing is pretending to know you better than you know yourself. The underlying message of the bullies is that they can read your mind and that they know your inner reality, when, in truth, no one knows that information but you and you alone.
Realize that when bullies define you, they purposely try to create a role of their own making in which to cast you. I can remember several roles my bullies handpicked for me and there were four of them.
A promiscuous whore
An arrogant and uppity snob
A lying, manipulative con-artist
Bullies desire to create your reality for you. But the truth is that they don’t have the power to do it. Only you possess that power. They may make you think they have that power, but they don’t and never will. They’re only fantasizing and creating a world of make-believe without realizing it. And the reason they do this is to wrest control and domination over you.
I want you to realize that no one can have power over you unless you give it to them.
They cannot tell you what to do, say, feel, or believe.
They cannot know your motivations and intentions unless you speak them aloud.
They cannot know your wants, needs, and thoughts.
Those things are impossible for them because they’re not you!
When bullies attempt any of these “impossibles,” they may say things like:
“You’re only trying to get attention.”
“You’re just trying to make trouble.”
“You’re just lying to keep from getting hurt.”
“You’re only covering your ass.”
“You’re just trying to kiss up and score brownie points.”
“You’re only trying to get on everyone’s good side.”
“You’re just jealous because no one likes you.”
Understand that when they tell you things like these, they are second guessing you and your feelings, thoughts, motives, and intentions. Again, they’re playing God because they are claiming to know your inner world, which is impossible for anyone who isn’t you to know. And they’re doing it to intimidate, control, and dominate you.
I’ll say again.
You choose whether to accept or reject this nonsense! Know that the only person who can truly define you is you. You are the sole owner of your self-definition.
And you don’t have to explain that power or prove it. It’s there. Remember my friend’s quote I cited in one of my earlier posts a few months back:
“To be insulted by you, I must first value your opinion.”
– T-Ronn Hicks –
If you don’t value your bullies’ opinions, or, in this case, their definitions of you, then you’ll choose to reject them and they’ll have no power nor control over how you feel about yourself, nor over your emotions. And you’ll be able to take the wind out of their sails!
So, roll your eyes and blow your bullies off with disdain and a scoff. And if the bully happens to be your boss, do it in your mind (LOL) because your thoughts are free. Make fun of their ridiculous definitions because they only show just how delusional they are. You can even walk off twirling your finger next to your temple.
And before long, they just might get bored, go away, and leave you alone.
People may bully you now. They may taunt you, call you ugly names, physically beat you, humiliate you, and turn others against you. Those around you may make you feel sad, alone, unattractive, and rejected in the present.
But rest assured, it won’t always be this way. Take it from someone who’s been there.
I had no friends in middle school nor high school until I finally transferred to my new high school during my senior year. Once I left *Oakley High School and began attending *Roseburg High School, that’s when life began. And I took back my power and started rebuilding every part of me that my bullies from the old school had torn down. Leaving Oakley was the free feeling you get after walking away from a toxic and abusive boyfriend.
As an adult, my confidence and self-esteem blossomed. Today, I’m a very happy forty-something and have so much to be thankful for. I have a family of my own. I enjoy my job and am comfortable in my own skin. I’ve accomplished more than I thought I ever would.
I also have grown to love myself- imperfections and all. I don’t worry about what others think of me, and I permit myself to be me and to say no when I don’t want to get involved in or do something that doesn’t feel right to me. These are freedoms that I will never again give up. Not without one hell of a fight!
I want you to know that the bullying you’re subjected to now will not last, and there’s a beautiful life waiting for you once it’s over. So, whatever you do, don’t give up! Stay your course, and keep fighting. Hold on to your faith and your dignity with everything you have. Because it may not seem like it now, but the best is yet to come, and the right people will find you.
Today, I’m surrounded by family and friends who love and accept me for me, not only what I can do for them. I have friends I never have to explain anything to and who love my flaws and quirks along with my good qualities. I’m so secure with being myself that I can make fun of myself and have a good time doing it.
I’m relaxed, worry-free, and best of all, safe! I’ve found my tribe, and you will find yours. And once you find them, they’ll be well worth the wait!
You’re worth fighting and living for. Don’t give up now. Stick around! It gets better! Much better!
There are things you can do to take the sting out of being bullied. These steps can serve as a buffer to the effects of bullying on self-esteem and the psyche.
1. Watch and Listen– Because bullies get talked about too. Believe me when I tell you. Bullies have enemies and lots of them. And why not?
They’ve been walking over people for a long time. So, you can bet they’ve left a long trail of foes behind them, adversaries who are more than happy to dish out the tea.
2. Know that you aren’t the only one these people have bullied– seasoned bullies have had plenty of practice over the years. I guarantee it! There have been others before you, and there will be more after you. Why do you think these people are so good at making you feel bad about yourself and doubt your worth? How do you think they got that good at it? They certainly didn’t get that way overnight. It came from so many years of trial and error, and they figured out what worked and what didn’t. And they had to have had guinea pigs (previous victims/targets) as practice. They’re doing what for so long has worked for them.
3. Collect info on your bullies– find out about their personal and family lives. You can bet that bullies have problems too. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be going out of their way to prove something to an audience at your expense. As I stated earlier, they have enemies. Find these enemies, cozy up to them, and have them tell you what they know about your bullies. I have done it many times, and I can tell you that you’d be surprised at the tidbits you found out! I’ll give you more details on the next step.
4. Ingratiate yourself with others your bullies have bullied– You and these people have something in common, so this should be a cinch! Align yourself with these other victims. Bullies run in packs, so why can’t targets? Understand that strength always comes in numbers. If you ban together, I guarantee that your bullies will think twice before accosting you. Remember that bullies are cowards and would prefer to catch you when you’re alone rather than confront you while you’re in a group.
I love being me – positive affirmation – handwriting on napkin with a cup of coffee
5. Keep company only with people who love you, want the best for you, and make you feel good about yourself– A good sign of a true friend is someone who uplifts you and helps your confidence soar. They uplift you, encourage you, have your back when you’re in trouble, and cheer for you when you reach success. All too often, victims end up with fake friends- frenemies who only tolerate and are passive-aggressive toward them. These frenemies will subtly humiliate victims in public and throw them under the bus when they’re in trouble or danger.
Victims often latch on to frenemies because they’re desperate for friends and companionship. They’d rather have sorry excuses for friends who treat them poorly than to have no friends at all. These victims are under the false belief that anything is better than being by yourself. I made that mistake myself when I suffered bullying in school.
Trust me when I tell you, anyone who belittles you even a little bit is not your friend! They’re only there because they know that you’re lonely. You are vulnerable to them, and they only hang around because anytime you have a weak spot, you’re accessible for them to use and take advantage of you. That is the only reason they come around!
Do you want friends like that? I hope not! I hope that you will do what I finally did the last year of school, ditch those creeps, and find friends who respect you, who genuinely like you and want to be with you!
6. Show off your talents and gifts– If you can sign, enter talent shows! If you can write, enter writing contests! If you know you’re good at something, find ways to show it off! You’d be surprised at what it will do for your self-esteem. I promise you!
When my classmates bullied me, it was so bad that I was scared to show what I could do. I knew that I could sing but was too afraid to belt it out and show off my best voice. If there were do-overs, I would have sung as best I could, came out of my shell, and took every opportunity to showcase that talent! Who knows where it might have taken me?
Anytime people are bullying you, you must take care of yourself. We exercise and eat well to take good care of our bodies, but we forget. We must also take care of our psyches! It is imperative that we also take care of our minds. And we do this by taking steps to buffer our self-esteem from the onslaught of bullying.
7. Do things you enjoy doing, and that fills your soul– whether you love to swim, hike, camp, find opportunities to do these things if they truly make you happy! The more happy moments you have, the less of an effect bullying will have on you!
Doing these things will help to buffer your self-esteem against your bullies attacks. In other words, it will lesson the pain of the attacks because you’ll know you have friends, allies, talents, and positive moments in life- solid proof that counters anything the bullies try to tell you. And you’ll feel much better about yourself.
It will also help correct the imbalance between adversity and success. Many targets of bullying often have a ton of social failures and only a tiny few successes. If you do all these things, you’ll soon achieve a healthy balance between the two.
One of the greatest victories against bullies is reaching your full potential. Here are ways you can do it!
1. Don’t worry about what other people think. In life, there will be those who will try to tear you down, especially if they know you’re striving to reach a goal. But you don’t mind because they don’t matter. Don’t let them discourage you. No matter what they say, keep shooting for the stars. And don’t stop until you reach your dreams.
2. Weed out all the Negative Nancies and Debbie Downers. Yes! Get rid of all the gossips, whiners, complainers, bullies, and all the people who make you feel bad and suck the oxygen out of you. Surround yourself with positive and uplifting people- people who help you, not those who hinder you.
3. Never be afraid to be alone. Trust me; you’d rather be by yourself than keep company with people who are negative and drain the lifeblood out of you. Negative people are exhausting, and you will need all your energy stores to reach your highest potential. And if you have a partner who doesn’t treat you right nor appreciates the value you bring to a relationship, then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the partnership, get clear on the kind of partner you want in your life and give this person their walking papers.
4. Don’t quit. Don’t give up when it seems like progress isn’t happening fast enough or when the going gets rough. Keep plugging at it! Because sometimes, things are their toughest just before you finally get your breakthrough.
5. Believe in yourself. To succeed at anything, you must believe in yourself. If you don’t, no one else will, and you won’t accomplish anything. Without faith in yourself and your abilities, you won’t have the morale to keep working toward your dreams. If you need to rest, then do so. But whatever you do, don’t quit!
You will have to do all of these before you ever find your confidence and reach peace and happiness. It won’t be easy but I promise. It’ll be worth it in the end!
It’s not what you say; it’s what you don’t say. When bullies wish to harm someone, the silent treatment can the most effective way of doing so. It is a cruel and sneaky way of control.
Remember that bullies are cowards, and they will find the most effective and least noticeable ways to dig at you
. Here are the reasons bullies use this tactic:
1. It’s least noticeable by others. It leaves no bruises, cuts or scratches, so there’s no physical evidence. This type of bullying is also hard to prove because it’s not easily seen. Therefore, it isn’t wise to report this type of bullying. Because people may see the target as overly sensitive, paranoid, or mentally unbalanced.
2. It’s the most effective. Understand that the silent treatment is emotional manipulation. So, you must see it as just that. When you’re able to see it for what it is, the least likely you are to be affected by it. Bullies know that it’s the most covert way to assert control over their targets and make them doubt themselves.
3. For control, dominance, and intimidation– Again, bullies use this dirty trick to control how you feel and to dominate you. People also use the silent treatment to intimidate.
4. To manipulate you into doing what they want you to do– Everyone has a desire for approval. However, if being accepted means they force you to do something you don’t want to do, then you’re more than likely spinning your wheels for nothing. Anyone who doesn’t respect your boundaries and wishes will never accept you anyway because a person who truly approves of you would respect your rights and freedom to choose.
5. To make you feel guilty– Again. Because you didn’t do or give the bullies what they want, they intend to make you feel as if you did something wrong. You didn’t!
You must realize that if you let it get to you, it will only encourage the bullies to keep doing it anytime you don’t cave in and do their bidding or give them what they want.
So, how can you respond to this type of bullying?
1. See the silent treatment for what it is: emotional manipulation When you finally recognize it as it is, the least you’ll be bothered by it.
2. Mirror the bullies by returning the silent treatment. When you give it right back to them, you’re not allowing them to control and intimidate you. You’re preserving some sense of power over your life by not allowing the bullies to phase you.
3. Cut those childish buffoons out of your life. Do it either entirely or have as little to do with them as humanly possible. You don’t need to be around these confidence thieves. Realize that you don’t have to put up with that.
4. Stay calm. Don’t get emotional. Exhibit self-control and don’t get sucked into the bullies’ mind games.
5. Call them out. Tell them, “Look. What you’re doing is called the silent treatment, and that’s not okay. You can’t possibly keep up this childish behavior forever, and it’s not going to work.
6. Enjoy the peace and quiet. There’s a bright side to this. At least the bullies aren’t in your face for the time being. You get a reprieve from hearing them bitch and pitch their hissy fits! Woohoo! Who doesn’t love that!
Word of warning though. Make sure you don’t give your bullies clues that you’re enjoying the peace a little too much. Otherwise, they’ll be back on your tail before you can say, “oops.”
Do all the above, and the bullies might leave you alone and move on to an easier target.
You’ll feel much better about yourself knowing you stood up to them and asserted your rights not to be manipulated.
Girl sitting on the ground and drawing personal space. Selective focus
You must have the courage to love yourself, even when it angers the people around you. That means setting boundaries, being clear on what you will and will not tolerate.
During grade 6, my first year at Oakley* Schools, I lacked boundaries because I didn’t know how to enforce them. Without those limits, I gave away my friendship, time, energy, and power to people who never deserved it and left nothing for myself. I was bending over backward to please others, treading lightly, being careful not to rock the boat, and make other people angry.
I had been conditioned to think that I wasn’t enough, and I should be anything other than myself. And I thought that being friendly, being accommodating, and being available would win me love and friendship.
It didn’t. It got me the exact opposite- walked over, bullied, and mistaken for a fool because the people I was overly friendly to never extended the same to me in return. Without meaning to, I gave the impression that I was desperate to fit in.
A year or so later, during the seventh grade, I began setting boundaries because I was tired of being a doormat. However, first impressions are powerful and it was too late. The power dynamic and others’ expectations of me had already been set. What I should’ve done was drew the line from day one.
In junior high, although my boundaries were clear, many others violated them every chance they got for no other reason than to demonstrate their power and show who was boss. Anytime I said ‘no’ to any of my classmates at school, I would face retaliation of some kind- guilt trips, threats, or physical beatings because they had grown too used to me being a pushover.
They were afraid that if I developed a spine, the benefits they were getting at my expense would stop. Therefore, the retaliation was their way of reinforcing their power and dominance and keeping me subdued.
But now that we’re all adults, let any of them try that today, and they will be very disappointed. Back then, I often wondered why nothing ever seemed to work out.
Understand that timing is everything. Also realize that you already have power but for it to work, you must know how to use it and you must stand up for yourself the very first time bullies come for you. Otherwise, your place in the pecking order will become iron clad and once that happens, you might as well not have any power at all.
I didn’t realize it then, but during those early years in Oakley*, I was going about it all wrong. ‘You see? You must put yourself and your needs first. Never lower your standards or your boundaries! It’s okay to be kind, but never be nice!
The difference between being kind and being nice is that kindness is genuine. People are kind because it’s the right thing to do, not because it can win friendships or favors. Also, kind people never give at their own expense.
Nice people, on the other hand, want friendship and approval. Also, people who are nice give at their own peril and stick their neck out for others to step on, thinking others will come around when they realize how much they care. “Nicies” are under the impression that the more you suffer, the more it shows you care. Um- Wrong!
It gives the impression that you’re a pushover, a kiss butt, a boot-licker! Being nice never awards you any respect because there’s usually an ulterior motive and the reason for your niceness is to avoid conflict!
Being kind, on the other hand, is genuine and others can sense the genuineness. Being kind is much more respectful. Being ‘nice’ is for wimps.
Understand that anytime you set boundaries, there will always be those who will hate you for it and retaliate. And they will fight you for a while to wear you down. That’s what bullies do!
However, stick to your guns. Keep fighting for your right to be treated with respect. Show them that you will stand up to them no matter what they do, and eventually, they’ll get tired and realize that you aren’t worth the effort. They’ll go find an easier target.
So, always set limits and be prepared to fight to protect them. Be kind, yes! But if people start taking your kindness for being a fool and treating you like crap, don’t be afraid to tell these people to kiss off!
Being kind to others means being kind to yourself first.