“Nobody will ever love me.”
“Nothing good can ever happen for me.”
“Human beings are predators and love drama.”
”It sucks to be me!”
Those were once my beliefs.
Bullying is a form of brainwashing. When a person has been an object of bullying for an extended length of time, they become fearful and unwitting hold themselves back. After people tell the target for so long that they aren’t good enough, the tormented person comes to believe it themselves. Even worse, those negative thoughts, which have, for several years, been drummed into their heads by bullies, become a self-fulfilling prophecy!
Because bullying is so repetitive, it causes the target to think that they don’t deserve to be happy or prosperous. This person stops taking risks and plays everything safe. They settle for far less than what he/she deserves. And they don’t trust themselves to make good decisions and to say or do the right thing.
Targets of chronic bullying have the mindset that good fortune happens to anyone but them. Also, they lose faith in humanity and come to think that all people are rotten and take pleasure in harming others. As a result, targets lose their trust in humans in general, which only causes them to lose out on what could be genuinely remarkable friendships and relationships and re-enforce loneliness and isolation.
This is what bullying does to people. It reprograms their minds and smashes their self-esteem to pieces, which can sometimes take years to put back together again. It causes them to do things that they usually would never do. I say this because it happened to me.
During the years my classmates bullied me, I did not trust anyone. I selected friends I didn’t want to be friends with and dated a few guys whom I wasn’t even remotely attracted to- all because I believed I couldn’t do any better. I did this to avoid being alone.
As long as there was a warm body around, it was “good enough.” I didn’t realize that not only was I being unfair to myself but also the people I selected. I deserved to be with people whom I wanted to be with and who were upstanding and positive, and they deserved to be with people who were with them because they chose to be, not because they were the only option. I was doing what Zig Zigler termed as “stinkin’ thinkin.'”
Here is another thing targets do as a result of bullying, they never permit themselves to be selfish, not realizing that a little bit of selfishness is okay, even imperative at times! In the past, people have repeatedly accused these targets of being selfish when they are only caring for themselves and also shamed them into believing that anything they do for themselves is wrong. Therefore, targets put themselves on the back burner and everyone else comes first, often at their own expense!
It happened to me. I became shy and shut people out for fear of being harmed. I was afraid to say “no” to people because, in the past, I had been retaliated against and hurt for daring to set a boundary. I was forbidden to set boundaries and expected to, even forced to “let” others violate me. It was a terrible situation, which eventually caused me not to value myself as a person.
And when I finally got mad at the direction my life was headed. I decided, “No more!” I deserved to be happy just as much as the next person and I got proactive. I became hungry from any knowledge that would help me change my inside so that I could change my outside!
I took my first step toward empowerment by reading as many personal development books I could get my hands on, then putting their advice into practice. And believe me! Spiritual and psychological reprogramming isn’t easy!
Anytime you set out to change destructive thoughts and habits you’ve had for several years, it’s the hardest thing to do. It takes a lot of grunt-work and, most of all, patience because the change doesn’t happen overnight.
Your mind will fight you every step of the way. It took several years for me to notice a significant difference in my thought patterns and attitude.
Thankfully, it finally paid off in a big way, and things are much different today! I want you to know that when you are a target, placing worth on yourself and doing the work to bring positive changes in your life is the most important thing you can ever do for yourself.
Don’t do like me. For a time, I let my bullies win by caving in under a mountain of pressure and giving them carte blanche to brainwash me with their abuse. However, it was a lesson learned.
Always, value yourself, even when it seems that others don’t because it will work wonders for your self-esteem and save you a lot of work later. Keep fighting even when it appears that you’re losing the battle because oftentimes when things look the bleakest, your breakthrough or relief is just around the corner.
Love yourself and put yourself first, then reach out to only those who reciprocate love and positive feelings to you. Turn a deaf ear to the harmful talk bullies may attempt to fill your head with. Better yet, send those toxic parasites packing! Because you’re worth it! I promise you!
Targets of bullying endure a hell that no one can comprehend unless they themselves have experienced bullying. It’s the same with the range of resulting emotions they feel. Unless you’ve been there, you can’t imagine the intense stress and the wide array of powerful emotions that come with it.
- Grief- Once you become an object of bullying or mobbing, life as you know it changes. You mourn for the way your life used to be and long to get your former life back. You also grieve the loss of your respect, dignity, reputation, good standing, and your identity. You mourn the loss of your friends and in some cases, your spouse and family.
- Bewilderment- You don’t understand why this is happening to you- why you’re being bullied and why people you love and thought loved you have turned against you. You’re also at a loss as to what you did to bring about such hatred. In your heart, you know that you’re a great person and that you never intentionally slighted nor hurt anyone. So, what gives?
- Confusion- You’re at a loss as to which way to turn and who to turn to. And you don’t know what to do to remedy the situation because each time you try, only makes the bullying worse. You feel stuck!
- Terror – Anytime you’re targeted, the fear can be paralyzing. You’re afraid to speak but afraid not to speak. You’re afraid of the people around you. You’re afraid to make any moves or decisions because you know that anything you do will be scrutinized and made to look bad, crazy, or evil. You’re afraid to come to school or work because you know they’re all out to get you and you know that if you show, they’ll only blindside you with another attack.
- Sadness- You cry in your car to and from your school or workplace. You cry in your pillow at night when you go to bed. It seems that no one will give you a chance and you’re isolated and alone. When you try to make new friends, the bullies always seem to intervene and turn the new people against you too. The type of sadness a target feels is the kind that is deep, dark, and overwhelming.
- Depression- This comes with being rendered powerless. It seems that there’s nothing you can do to change the situation. You have the feeling of being bound and gagged. You feel trapped like a rat and there’s nowhere to go where the bullies and participants won’t find you. And you feel that there’s no hope that things will ever get better.
- Ohhhh, the rage! This is, by far, THE most powerful emotion targets can have. With each physical or psychological attack, the fury grows until you’d give anything just to have the power to rip their heads off and shoved them up their you-know-whats. Oh, yes! Rage does that to you and gives you such evil thoughts!
I remember the rage I felt in middle and high school when I was a target of bullying and it grew to a level until, at one point, I felt homicidal! I loathed them so intensely that I just wanted all of them to drop dead.
I used my brain. I didn’t allow myself to snap and take any lives. I thought about my future and how doing something horribly violent would ruin it, I then decided that none of my classmates were worth ruining my future and causing my family heartache over and eventually, a door opened for me and I was able to transfer to a new school where things got better.
- Suicidal thoughts. It’s not that you want to die. You just want the torment to stop and when it gets to a certain level, death seems to be the only escape for it. These thoughts happen when you feel you’ve exhausted every possible option to make things better. But don’t give up. Because as long as you’re alive, there’s always a good chance that things will change for the better and you can come out victorious on the other side of it.
I want you to know that if you’re a target of bullying, things may seem hopeless, but they aren’t. Things change for the better all the time and when you least expect them to.