Targets, Bullies Will Deliberately Put You on The Defense.

 

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:

Scenario 1.

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.

Why Most Targets Are Afraid to Set Boundaries

It takes supreme self-confidence to set boundaries, which, sadly, is something a few bullying targets have.

Also, as we know, bullies don’t respect boundaries because they don’t acknowledge them. In their minds, you’re a target and, to them, a target has no rights and deserves no human dignity. Bullies don’t see targets as human beings deserving of the same human rights as everyone else. That’s a fact.

Targets feel powerless to stop the abuse. And setting boundaries is anything but easy- it’s one of the hardest things to do after people bully you for so long and brainwash you into thinking you’re to blame for their horrid behavior. And many targets are too terrified.

If you’re a target of bullying, you may badly want to tell your abusers to knock it off. You may want to tell them to get the hell away from you and stay away. You may even want to fight back, but you don’t know how they may react.

Another thing you don’t know is whether they’ll accept your boundaries, nor if they’ll want to accept them. You know that there’s a chance the bullies may act violently toward you for having the chutzpah to speak against their abuse.

Bullies despise even a hint of opposition because they see it as your challenging their power and perceived authority. And they’ll do whatever they can to tighten their grip if they suspect you’re defying them. And sometimes, things get dangerous, and you must do it scared.

When you set boundaries, you enact your autonomy and speak from a place of self-care and self-love. You decide what you will and won’t tolerate. You take your power back.

However!

Before you’re able to do that, you must be clear of what you will not accept. It takes uber self-confidence to stand up to a bully. It would be best if you also gave up your old ways of trying to stand up for yourself- those you tried in the past that failed, which are ways your bullies and a few other abusers in your life probably conditioned you to respond.

  1. You must stop over-apologizing.
  2. You must stop trying to explain yourself to anyone.
  3. You must stop trying to figure out what made the bullies so hostile.
  4. You must stop wondering what you did wrong.
  5. You must stop wondering if something’s wrong with you.
  6. You must stop asking, “why me.”

Before you can stand up to abuse, you must squash the mentality that compels you to do any of the above mentioned. You must understand that all the why me, why this, why that, gets you nowhere. And all the wracking your brains wondering and trying to figure out what’s wrong also serves no purpose. It’s a complete waste of time and only makes you feel worse.

Instead, be real with yourself and conclude that your bullies are just a bunch of ignorant, moronic jackasses who lack character and live fake existences. You must also learn to trust yourself, which includes trusting your body and how it feels. Trust everything you see, hear, feel, sense, and the vibes you pick up from the people around you. And finally, trust your decisions.

It also takes dogged determination:

  1. Even if your bullies rationalize and justify their behavior, you won’t take their crap.
  2. Even if they blame you for their despicable behavior, you won’t take it.
  3. Even if they tell you that you’re crazy or mentally imbalanced, you won’t take it.
  4. Even if they call you a bitch, an asshole, or any other degrading name, you won’t take it.
  5. Even if you made a mistake and your bullies call it out in an abusive manner, you won’t take it.
  6. And, for the love of Pete! If the bullies commit physical violence, you definitely won’t take that! Get the police involved, file charges, and sue for any damages! Or, put up those dukes and throw down if you need to!

When you begin setting boundaries, it’ll take calling your bullies out every single time they cross the line. You can say:

“Stop it!”

“Cut it out!”

“Knock it off!”

“Get away from me!”

“Get out!”

You get power just by loudly giving either one of these commands. And who knows? I’m not making any guarantees here, but you might shock your bullies back to reality and make them leave you alone. There were times when I was pleasantly surprised, and it worked for me.

positive bullied victim says NO

You do not have to walk on eggshells around anyone! Know that you do have a choice and a voice. You can choose not to accept the bullies’ behavior. You have more power than you know.

Bullying and “Crazymaking”

toxic brainwashing

crazymaking – a form of psychological attack on someone by offering contradictory alternatives, then criticizing the person for choosing either. (Dictionary.com)

When a bully uses the crazymaking tactic to attack the target, he/she puts the person in a lose-lose situation. It’s a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

For example, a bully may tell a woman she wears too much makeup, looks like a slut, and needs to tone it down a bit. So, the woman goes lighter on the makeup the next day, only to be told by the bully that she’s too barefaced and looks like a nun.

No wonder it’s called “crazymaking” because it can make you crazy if you let it. Understand the bullies do this to jerk you around and maintain their power over you. They have you jumping through hoops to win their approval because they have you feeling that you can’t do anything right.

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

Understand that crazymaking is covert verbal abuse. To protect yourself from it, you must first learn to recognize it when it happens to you.

A surefire way of identifying crazymaking is by noticing how it makes you feel. Crazymaking can:

  1. Make you feel off-kilter and unsure of how to defend yourself
  2. Make you feel lost and confused
  3. Make you feel blindsided
  4. Make you feel discombobulated or disoriented
  5. Give you mixed signals and messages but make you too afraid to ask for clarification
  6. Make you feel extreme discomfort around the bully
  7. Make you feel jerked around and toyed with
  8. Make you want to walk away from the bully but only leave you frozen
  9. Make you feel bewilderment
  10. Make you feel that something is “off”

PTSD

Make no mistake. This is how your bullies get their kicks. They enjoy this because, again, it gives them a huge rush of power and makes them feel superior to have some sucker bending over backward to win their approval. Understand that this is a game! And your efforts to conform to a bully’s standards are pointless because bullies will only continue changing the rules and moving the goalposts. After all, bullies are notorious megalomaniacs who quickly get drunk on their power.

So, you must know your worth. That means knowing that you don’t have to live up to anyone’s standards but yours. You are the only person who knows your likes and dislikes. You are the only person who has the authority to choose what you want, how you want it, what you do, how you do it, and so forth.

Who are they to criticize you? Your life is your life, and you have the right to live it on your terms. Do what makes you happy, and to hell with anyone who has a problem with it.

The only way you’ll be able to battle crazymaking successfully is to have confidence and a strong sense of self. You must know yourself and be secure in yourself. Only then will you have no tolerance for this type of behavior, and therefore, crazymaking bullies have no power over you.

The World Through the Eyes of a Target

After you’ve been a target of bullying for any length of time, the world becomes a terrifying place. You begin avoiding people and social situations like the plague because you’ve become afraid of people- all people. In short, you’ve lost all faith in humanity.

Everything becomes threatening. You’re stuck in defense mode and constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The ability to think becomes blurry. You drown in self-doubt and lose the ability to distinguish fact from opinion and truth from lies. You also lose the ability to make smart decisions. You’re always on guard and trust no one. Again, everyone becomes a threat. Even total strangers become threatening.

You can’t give anyone a chance because you’ve become so afraid of being hurt again. And why not? Your classmates or coworkers have done extensive and deliberate harm for so many months or even years. So, who’s to say that others won’t do the same.

Knowing that anyone could bully you at any time, you must always watch your back and cover your behind. You must continually look over your shoulder and observe those around you for signs of hostility.

You come to believe you have a mark on you that everyone but you can see, and it’s why others always seem to come after you. As much as you want to get rid of that mark, you’re not sure how to do it.

You don’t think you’ll ever stop being a target. You feel there’s no possibility of ever overcoming it. Other victims might rise above it, but you never will because you think that love, success, and anything good is for anyone who isn’t you.

You’ll never be the same person you were before bullies began targeting you. When you’ve been a target of bullying and continue to be, jokes stop being funny because you automatically feel they are somehow aimed at you. Bullying makes a person paranoid. And with good reason.

You lose all confidence, and your self-esteem hits rock bottom. You begin to believe you can never do anything right. You see yourself as a failure. You think that anything you touch, you’ll only screw up.

You expect to fail in social situations and that everyone will see all your flaws, real or perceived. You start having unexpected and uncontrollable emotional meltdowns and outbursts. You’re in constant fight or flight mode. Your mind is in overdrive, and you’re hypervigilant. Your physical body suffers splitting headaches and violent bouts of nausea.

You don’t know who you are anymore. You’ve become a stranger to yourself- this person you don’t even recognize.

You’re shakey inside. You feel tired and run down all the time now. You pass out from panic attacks, and you can no longer sleep at night. Your weight drops and your hair falls out due to the overwhelming stress. You feel as if people are torturing you.

In essence, you turn against yourself because you feel the entire world has turned against you.

I was there at one point. Then, I got mad! I didn’t only get angry at them for driving me into that dark pit of hopelessness, but I got mad at myself for allowing it! And when I got mad at myself and started working on changing my self-perception, that’s when things began to change!

The good thing is that I wasn’t down for long. Therefore, if you’re a target of bullying, and this describes how you feel now, I want to give you a big hug.

I also want to tell you that regardless of how things are looking now, there’s hope. You will see the sun again.

‘You see? It’s one thing to have people look down on you, but it’s another when you allow them to cause you to look down on yourself. If nothing else, hang on to your self-love and your strong sense of self. Please don’t allow your bullies to force you to see yourself through their eyes. Believe in yourself, even when no one else does. Never ever give up.

Bullies may turn everyone else against you. Just make sure they never turn you against you.

Know that no matter what, you’re worth it! And you deserve friendship, love, and happiness just as much as anyone else!

School Bullying in Stages

Bullying is a process.

1. Bullies search for a target.

2. A target is selected.

3. Bullies signal to bystanders that the target is ripe for bullying.

4. Bystanders are encouraged to join in the torment and unite with the bullies against the selected target.

5. Bystanders then become bullies themselves.

6. The target is involved in many physical fights in trying to defend themselves and gets labeled by teachers and staff as the troublemaker.

7. Bullies and bystanders go home and tell their parents and family members what a terrible person the target is.

8. The parents and family members of the bullies and bystanders go to work or the supermarket and relay the stories about the target to coworkers and friends- stories they were told by their children, grandchildren, younger siblings or cousins, nieces or nephews that this target is a terrible person.

9. The coworkers, friends, and extended family members then pass what they’re told to their families and word of the target’s perceived evilness or craziness spreads throughout the entire community.

10. The target’s reputation is destroyed.

11. The target’s opportunities for love, friendship, jobs, careers, etc. are either limited or lost.

12. The target either commits suicide or leaves town to pursue a better life.

13. The target who relocates finally gets a fresh start and reinvents himself.

How to Make Yourself More Powerful and Less a Target

Before we begin, I want to assure you that the bullying you suffer isn’t your fault. There’s nothing wrong with you, nor did you do anything to bring it on yourself. So, if you feel the title of this post has undertones of victim-blaming, please be assured that you’re not to blame. However, what it does say is that you’re not entirely powerless, which is excellent news! There are ways you can lessen the bullying and make yourself more charismatic.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Practice modesty. Targets of bullying will sometimes incessantly talk themselves up. I completely understand why they do this. When people are always putting you down, sometimes your first instinct is to build yourself back up and make yourself feel better and soothe your battered self-esteem. But doing this can make you a bigger target if you aren’t careful.

Never talk about yourself too much, and never try to bring too much attention to what you do. Nobody likes a braggart. And the more you talk about what you’re doing; the more suspicious of you people will be. Even worse, you’ll become a target of backstabbers and people who are jealous! Never toot your own horn. Be modest. Make it about others, not yourself.

  1. It’s better to be nonchalant. Make everything you do look effortless.
  1. Don’t pour on the flattery. Sometimes, targets of bullying will use excessive flattery to get in their bullies’ good graces, and it never works. I tried it when I was a kid to trick my bullies into leaving me alone. It only backfired. Too much flattery can make things worse because it makes you look like a suck-up. Or, your bullies might think you’re trying to run a con game on them, which will only get them angrier because they take it as your believing they’re stupid. Keep the flattery to a minimum, and for the love of Pete, don’t attempt to flatter the wrong people!
  1. Get noticed. But don’t overdo it with being flashy or flamboyant. Sadly, targets of bullying will do anything, and I mean anything to be seen. I can understand because no one wants to be made invisible. But being gaudy will only make you a bigger target, and the last thing you need is to draw even more negative attention to yourself. Subtly create a style all your own.

  1. Alter yourself to the people you’re around. But never too much. Keep enough style of your own so you don’t come off as a copy-cat. When you’re a victim of bullying, the last thing you need is for others to brand you a fake.
  1. Bring good news. Keep any bad news to a minimum because people will shoot messengers of negativity. And if you’re a target of bullying, people already associate you with enough negativity. Why not shock a few people by bringing positivity?
  1. Never criticize. Especially the wrong people. Being critical of others can make you seem like a drama king or queen and can escalate the bullying you suffer.

Doing the above things may not make the bullying stop entirely, but it can dial it down a notch or two. And the less of a target you are, the better!

How Demonization Works

I want you to realize that everything you say, good or bad, can be used against you in the court of public opinion if you are a target of bullying. So, please, don’t be confused or surprised when this happens as it will only further cloud your thinking and cause you not to defend yourself properly.

If you are a target of bullying, EXPECT the following:

  1. Any joke you fell, no matter how funny it may be, will be considered unfunny.
  2. Any self-deprecating humor will be seen as your having no self-confidence or being mentally unstable.
  3. Any sarcasm will be taken literally.
  4. Any casual comments such as, “I would love to have been able to sleep in this morning,” will be taken as your admitting you planned to be absent from school or work today and are complaining about having to come in. They will accuse you of either being a lazy bum or so depressed that you found it difficult to get out of bed.

  1. Any positive statements or compliments will be seen as kissing up or an attempt to score points with the recipient.
  2. Any self-confidence and good self-esteem will be perceived as being pompous, arrogant, and full of yourself.
  3. Refusing to talk to your bullies and their minions or to answer any gotcha questions, though justified, will be deemed as your being “too good to speak” or having something to hide.
  4. If you smile, they’ll think you’re plotting something.
  5. If you’re happy, you must’ve done something evil.

In short, when you are a target of bullying, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

The sooner you realize this, the sooner you’ll be able to prepare to make your escape and move on to a better and more positive environment.

Observing the People Around You is So Important

nosy watching study research

Antique books with magnifying glass. Old leather bound vintage books in a row

In life, we must always observe the goings-on around us. That means watching people and, most of all, being good at people-watching.

You cannot afford to walk around blindly. It would be best if you watched people for a while before you connect with them. This isn’t cowardly. It’s smarts.

‘Not saying you should stare a hole through anyone. Little micro-glances and using your peripheral vision is enough and will tell you a lot about the kinds of personalities that surround you.

Also, listen carefully to everything and every word spoken around you. Most of all, listen to your gut instinct. Pay attention to the vibes people put out because energy never lies, and neither does your body. You always feel bad vibes in your body.

Just pay attention period. You’ll be surprised at how quickly and easily you pick out the bullies in an environment.

Watch how people carry themselves. Notice their facial expressions, their dispositions, the way they dress, their eyes, everything. Listen to the tone of their voices and how they talk. Pay attention to their posture.

Do this for about a month before attempting to get friendly, and you’ll know who to avoid. As a reminder, here are some red flags to watch out for.

1. Are they gossips? You’ll know a gossiper within five minutes when you observe one and overhear them talk. If you hear them talk about someone else, you can be sure they will talk about you too, just give them time. It’s best to avoid people such as these.

2. Are they nosey? These types of people will ask you a ton of questions, and they’re not ashamed to ask those that are personal. Understand that they’re not interested in you or your life. They’re only trying to get juicy information to spread about you later. Again, get away from these types. And don’t walk, run!

3. Are they aggressive? Don’t have anything to do with these types, especially! Because you’re likely to get hurt if you fall on their bad side. Why even take the chance? It isn’t worth it.

4. Are they clingy and desperate for human connection? Trust me. You want nothing to do with these types, either because they can be so annoying. Ewww! I realize that it’s what some people do when they’ve endured bullying and abuse, and my heart goes out to them. However, you must look out for yourself and put yourself first. It’s not that you don’t want to be friends with this person, and it’s not that you mean to hurt their feelings. But there’s a problem when a person wants to be right up under you all the time and doesn’t give you a little space to breathe.

Being observant of others around you can help you avoid many dangerous people and uncomfortable situations. Some might notice your distancing and say that you’re too quiet or anti-social, but in saying so before they get to know you, they only reveal themselves as possible gossips and troublemakers. So, all the better for you.

The more you know…

Trying to Change Other People

Many victims of bullying try so hard to get others to like them, only to drive them further away instead. It all boils down to this: You are trying to change them.

Don’t. Because you can’t. I say this because anytime you try to change someone, they will sense that and only double down. Stop thinking about them because they aren’t worth the extra time and energy.

And why would you want the approval of people who only use and abuse you? Why do you even want those people in your life? I want you to realize that anyone who bullies you is the last person who deserves a spot in your life.

Or you could look at it another way: Would you want another person to try and change you? How would you feel if the roles were reversed? You’d feel even more resentment toward the other person, wouldn’t you? I would.

No one wants to be force or made to feel compelled. Including you. Besides, your bullies are already trying to force you to feel bad about yourself. They’re already trying to exert control over you. Do you really want to crawl behind people like them? Yuck!

Instead of focusing on them, focus on yourself and your goals and dreams. Get busy doing you. Be a little selfish. This is the time when you should make it all about you.

What Gets Targets of Bullying in More Trouble

Overreacting. Any overreactions to the taunts, insults, and attacks of bullies only bring more problems targets would otherwise avoid if they stayed calm. Unfortunately, I learned this lesson through time-consuming trial and error, and it could’ve gotten me either maimed or killed. But you don’t have to.

Overreacting can have a boomerang effect because when you get overly excited, the chances are that the bullies will too- especially bullies who are overly aggressive. Overdoing the response could cause the altercation to escalate into something you may not be able to walk away from. Also, the bullies could use your overreaction against you.

The target’s overreaction is how bullies feign victimhood and make the victim look like the aggressor. It’s how bullies bait their victims. So why not use a different strategy?

Chess board and text “Strategic plan” Business planning concept

The smart thing to do is to fake a surrender or submission. Make it look as if you’re giving in to your bullies’ demands. I realize this may feel a bit cowardly to you, but you aren’t caving in, you’re only making your bullies think you are. So, remain calm and make them believe they have the upper hand. Doing so will stabilize the bully’s temper.

But wait! There’s another benefit! Your bullies more than likely expect or even want you to react with a high degree of aggression. But you don’t, and it will throw them off guard. It will surprise, even shock your bullies, because you remained calm and agreed with them. The surprise is a powerful weapon if you know how to use it.

Use your fake surrender as part of a bigger plan once you fool them into thinking you care. On the inside, you continue to stand your ground, but on the outside, you give in to their desires. Doing so can give you time to quietly plan a countermeasure that will bring the bullies down. Smarts will always trump aggression every time!

However, understand that this takes a truckload of self-discipline and self-control. And, as mentioned earlier, you may feel like a big old wimp when you use this technique. Just remember this: You’re not giving the bullies what they want. You only look like you are. You’re only playing dead to save your life!

Here’s a third benefit. By faking your submission, you also allow yourself time to study your bullies and carefully plot any future moves. And when the bullies are satisfied and lay off you, you’ll finally have room to make your countermove.

So, go ahead—fake your submission. Get close to your bullies and learn their ways. Give them no reason to react, nothing to prepare for, and no cause for resistance. Then when the time is right, BAM!

They won’t know what hit them.

Any time you make it look as if you submit to your bullies, you’re only mocking them. It’s silent disdain – like expelling a silent fart in their direction, only they don’t know they’ve been farted on.

You turn their own power against them and make them look like idiots. But they can’t retaliate because you did what they told you to do. Right?