Being unpredictable can be your best weapon against bullies. Anytime you are predictable in a climate of bullying, you’re a sitting duck. Bullies will soon know what gets you upset, what will get you to fly off the handle and do something irrational and how to sabotage you socially and academically. You must be versatile if you expect to throw the bullies off-kilter.
Predictability is human nature. People are creatures of habit and have a need to see familiarity in the actions of others. If you’re a target of bullying, any predictability on your part will give your bullies the idea that they have control of you.
Understand that the reason bullies have so much power over you is that you’re too darn predictable. You make it too easy for them to predict what you’ll do. Because they’ve studied and picked up on your habits, they have the foreknowledge of what your reaction will be. And they’ll weaponize it every chance they get!
But when you flip the script and begin deliberately exhibiting behavior that has no consistency and no objectives, you automatically throw your bullies for a loop! Take your unpredictable behavior up several notches and bullies will be intimidated.
Now. Before I go on, let me mention that here’s one good thing about your predictability- you’ve gotten your bullies so used to your patterns that you’ve lulled them off to sleep, which will make any versatility on your part all the more powerful once you start deliberately changing your reactions to their attacks.
So, here goes:
If you’re a target of bullying, you want to make it look you have no clear strategy. You must scramble your behavior patterns and your reactions to confuse the bullies if you want them to back off. And when you do, not only will it confuse them, it’ll scare the stupid out of them!
I’ll use a scenario with one of my old classmates as an example:
Just two years ago, Carol, one of my old classmates, attacked me online after she found out that I was collaborating with a producer out of New York on a screenplay adaptation of my first published book.
Let me start by saying that we hadn’t seen each other since high school. Back then, I was quiet, shy and timid girl, but with a hair-trigger temper when I was pushed too far. That’s how Carol had remembered me.
And had she verbally attacked me back then, I either would’ve walked away from her without saying anything back to her, or, on a bad day, I would’ve fought fire with fire- screaming back at her, cursing her out and calling her every name but a child of God.
This time, I did neither. As you’ll see in the screenshots below, I reacted in a way she never expected me to.
Carol expected me to fly off the handle, have a moment of sheer stupidity, and counter-attack with the same vitriol and craziness she dished out to me first. Then she could have used my counter-attack against me and made me look like the instigator. That’s exactly what she had plans to do, and I knew it.
Instead of reacting, I responded.
I remained calm and told her how it was without name-calling, without cursing, and without using all caps. And boy! Did it throw her into a hissy fit! Carol literally FREAKED! ‘Had a complete meltdown online as she sent me hateful message after hateful message. I happily took screenshots and outed her all over social media before finally blocking her.
By reacting in a way I knew she never expected, I threw her off balance and not only instilled fear, but induced panic and rage in her. I shook her up so much so that she couldn’t think clearly nor rationally. She stumbled, making blunder after blunder.
In being unpredictable, I forced her to give me the goods I needed to expose her with. She fell face-first into the trap I calmly laid for her, and I have to admit. Outsmarting her felt soooo good! Carol played right into my hands and didn’t realize her mistake until after she’d calmed down. But by then, it was too late. Carol had made herself look like a complete lunatic and had I acted as she had, I would’ve looked just as nutty as she did.
‘You see? When you deliberately respond in ways your bullies don’t expect, you throw them off-kilter and force them to react out of fear, confusion, even anger. And when a person reacts out of pure emotion, they make a truckload of mistakes, blunders, and gaffes, then end up making a colossal fool of themselves.
Even better, after I exposed Carol online, many other old classmates, out of loyalty to her, came to her defense and attacked me the same way she had. Although they knew that she was in the wrong and that she’d attacked me without provocation, their loyalty to their old high school buddy was much stronger than their sense of right and wrong.
Carol’s, brother, sister and son also joined in the vitriol. They even went to the pages of my husband and my son and attacked them too. Carol’s allies didn’t private message them but went to their public pages where all could see. In doing this, they also exposed themselves for the idiots they were while we sat back and laughed.
That’s what reacting out of emotion does. It causes us to make dumb mistakes.
Needless to say, after I exposed them (or they exposed themselves) those people backed off quickly and I never heard from them again. Neither did my family. They now stay far away because they were surprised to find that I’m nowhere near as naïve as I was in high school. I stayed calm and was smart enough to deflect their attacks and use them against them.
Again. Understand that by doing something unexpected, you gain a huge advantage over your bullies. And when bullies can’t figure out what you’re going to do, it scares them to death and they’ll almost always react out of fear!
Nothing is more frightening than when you make a move nobody would ever expect. It’s the reason natural disasters are so scary because no one knows when and where they’ll hit next. It’s why deer hunters can track down their prey and kill them. They know the habits and patterns of behavior of the deer they hunt.
Realize that habits and patterns are the worst things that go against a target of bullying because bullies pick up on your routines and use them against you.
In closing, you must learn to unsettle your bullies by allowing them to see you do things they’d never expect. If a bully launches an attack, you should counter-attack suddenly, without warning, in a way they’d wouldn’t expect you to, and when they least expect it.
You must purposefully mislead your bullies to trick them into an emotional reaction!
If you’re going to be predictable, don’t stay that way. Do it for long enough that your bullies get used to your patterns and are lulled into a false sense of security, then strike suddenly with something unexpected! And that’s how you get them to leave you alone!