Trapped in a Toxic Environment

Like an animal in a cage,

Poked, prodded,

Feeling others’ rage,

Trapped,

There’s no escape,

From the toxic hate,

Bystanders content to follow,

The bullies like sheeple,

Poison you must swallow,

From bullies and fake people,

No chance of flight

Doors slammed shut and locked,

You must prepare to fight,

Because all exits are blocked,

Nowhere to go,

Life tells you no,

Cornered like a frightened dog,

With other’s issues you’re bogged,

Between a rock and hard place,

You must stare them in the face,

There’s no escape,

From the hate,

In a toxic environment,

Where everyone is violent

When You “Embrace the Suck”

Embracing The Suck

Many young targets of bullying are trapped in a school that hates them. It’s easier to get out of a toxic environment when you’re an adult target bullied at work. You can transfer, and if you can’t transfer, you can always quit. However, when you’re a minor, it’s almost impossible. What if your family cannot afford to move to a new school district? Also, what if your parents refuse to move or to transfer you? What if your parents can’t afford to home school you?

There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a toxic environment and in a horrible situation. When you’re suffering from bullying with no way to escape it, it’s the feeling of entrapment! Just imagine you’re in this situation and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it! And you can’t get away from it! You’re just stuck there!

So, What Do You Do?

You embrace the suck. Embracing the suck means that you just grin and bear it. You just accept the god-awful, crappy mess you’re in because there’s no other choice. In other words, you’re just plain screwed and there’s no way out of it. You learn to live with it and make peace with the possibility that things may not get any better. And yes, it sucks!

Sadly, many targeted kids are stuck in schools with a toxic culture of bullying. These kids get attacked daily. They’re attacked psychologically and physically. Teachers and principals view these children unfavorably because bullies have them convinced that the targets are the instigators. Therefore, school staff are constantly watching these young targets, waiting for a reason to drag them into the principal’s office.

These kids suffer from plummeting grades and poor school performance because they’re forced to live in survival mode. Why? Because having to prepare for a hostile learning environment takes priority over studying and learning. Therefore, school staff see them as lazy and hopeless and refuse to give them the extra help they need.

Gee! That’s an awful lot of suck!

And how much suck can one child deal with?

Understand that if you’re a child dealing with these kinds of circumstances, you don’t have to just “embrace the suck.” There’s always School Choice. Nowadays, families can get vouchers to make it easier to transfer you to a new school and start fresh. Also, there are other things you can try if, by chance, School Choice isn’t an option where you live:

  • You can document the bullying and have your parent or legal guardian help you with your documentation.
  • Also, you can, depending on the jurisdiction you live in, hide a body cam or digital device in your backpack or on your person.
  • Thirdly, you can practice self-care.

And keep the faith. School Choice may not be available in your area now but it doesn’t mean it won’t be later.

You don’t have to be completely powerless. Do the above three things because they are the things you do have control over. And when you do, not only is it probable that you’ll change the dynamic, but you’ll feel so much better about yourself. You will also feel that you have, at least, some control.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Bullies and Gotcha-Questions

Not only are politicians notorious for asking gotcha-questions, but bullies are also infamous for asking them. What is a gotcha-question, you may ask?

Gotcha-questions are questions that put you in a bad light no matter how you respond to them or if you respond to them at all. These are the types of questions bullies will usually ask you in public, in front of an audience. Gotcha-questions are forms of entrapment because bullies use them to trap you into looking bad to others.

Here are two examples:

“Hey, Jeff, do your friends know you got arrested the other day?”

This question says that Jeff did get arrested. It implies that he is a criminal and assumes that he was arrested whether his friends know it or not. If Jeff answers yes, it means that he’s a criminal and his friends know about it. If he answers no, it still means that Jeff is a criminal, only that none of his friends knows.

“Hey, Jennifer, how many people know that you spent time in a mental institution?”

Again, the question makes a statement- one that says that Jennifer was institutionalized. It implies that she was in a mental institution whether anyone knows it or not. If Jennifer answers yes, it means that she has mental issues, and others know about it. A no means that no one knows that she has a mental illness and that she’s hiding it from everyone. Even worse, the asker is, in a sense, telling Jennifer and everyone else within hearing distance that she’s “batshit crazy.”

These types of questions are “gotchas” because they are closed-ended questions that leave no room for the truth.

Here are a few more examples of gotcha-questions:

“Tabitha, did you ever get help for your alcoholism?”

By asking this question, the asker is calling Tabitha an alcoholic without calling her an alcoholic. It’s a slick way for the asker to attack her. A yes means that Tabitha was “a drunk” in the past. A no implies that Tabitha is still a “boozehound.” And that’s what people will think.

Furthermore, if she responds by saying, “I’ve never had a drinking problem,” it would sound like a cover-up. Why? Because others would wonder why anyone would ask such a question if they weren’t privy to such private information? It implies that the asker knows information that hasn’t been available to anyone else.

“Does Ella know that you slept with her boyfriend?”

Here, you have three options. You can answer yes, no, or you can choose not to respond to such a ridiculous question. Either way, the asker is still assuming that you slept with Ella’s boyfriend. Also, it’s a stealthy way for the questioner to call you a whore.

Therefore, if you are a target of bullying, you must learn very quickly how to spot gotcha-questions. Then, you must call them out as such. Be sure to respond in a way that makes you look the least guilty.

Here are a few healthy responses to such questions:

“You’re wasting your time with the gotcha-questions because they don’t work on me.”

“You need to quit with the gotcha-questions. I know what you’re trying to do. You’re fooling no one.”

The trick here is to call the person out by calling the questions what they are. And when you do, do it as intelligently as possible. It may or may not save your good name, but you’ll feel good knowing that you called it out without allowing the bully to throw you off balance. And sometimes, that’s enough.

With knowledge comes empowerment!