Bullies, Groupthink and Fakery

followers sheep

Excessive groupthink was the accepted norm for Oakley High School and at one workplace I was employed in. In high school, most students and a few teachers shared this toxic group behavior. In the workplace, it went from top to bottom.

A moderate amount of groupthink is only human nature because it’s how we conform to rules and laws. Also, it provides stability for a community. However, excessive groupthink is unhealthy.  It’s how cults, dictatorships, and totalitarian states get started.

An example of groupthink is, “if everyone else is doing it, I want to do it too.” It’s herd mentality at play.

When there’s a culture of bullying in a school or in a workplace, people who would not typically bully, will. And they’ll do it simply because everyone does it, and think they should get in on it also. It certainly was the case at *Oakley High School years ago and later at *Oakley Rehab and Living Center.

followers

Therefore, from time to time, people you thought were friends would suddenly and without warning turn on you. And they will do it to jump on the bandwagon and join everyone else. Even they want to feel like one of the big guys.

Why Not? Everybody Else is Bullying Her?

There are several names for this, two of which are Social Contagion and Peer Pressure.

Now I understand that most of my classmates and later, coworkers were followers, drones, slaves! The student body of Oakley High School, sadly, was one big herd of sheep. They were slaves to the prospect of getting in good with “one of the cool kids” or  “the ‘Good Ole Boy” network.

bootlicker suck-up kiss ass kiss butt

My bullies were nothing but two-faced hypocrites. They talked out both sides of their mouths, holding certain others to a double standard. All the while, they pretended to be someone they never were and never could be. Authenticity, being yourself, and free thought and expression were all punishable offenses. Everything was about appearances and whose butt they wanted to kiss to move up the social ladder

I would watch as most of my bullies pathetically sucked up to people they secretly couldn’t stand because they thought it would score them brownie points.  And often, it would.

I also watched bullies who were second in power take plenty of degradation from the bullies at the top to fit in and look popular.

Hypocrites Abound

bootlicker suck-up kiss ass kiss butt

One such person was someone I knew who was the son of one of the teachers.
Very few of the so-called cool kids liked this wuss, yet he would lick their boots hungrily to get the so-called privilege of hanging with them. It didn’t matter to him if they were only tolerating him.

It was so pathetic I couldn’t hate the boy. All I could do was pity him.

On other occasions, I would see one of the popular girls drop a textbook, a pencil, anything. I would then watch the kids around her scramble, some taking a nosedive to the floor to pick it up for her and laugh as I walked by.

Whoever put on the best possible and most convincing front was rewarded not only by the other classmates but many of the teachers and school staff as well. I realize now that there was a reason behind all the fake sympathy, bogus compliments and, incessant butt-kissing. It was so they could get something from the higher-ups and not because they liked or respected them.

False flattery and opinion conformity in school and at work, made the bullies puffed up and overconfident. Also, it yielded immense social benefits for all the wannabes. Therefore, they maintained the status quo of ritualistic bullying of only kids or coworkers in particular.

Many of my classmates and coworkers were narcissistic sociopaths with low self-esteem. They were like tires with slow leaks. Their followers had to continuously air them up with fake compliments and false admiration to keep them from going flat!

groupthink

Boot-Licking for Approval

Thirsty for attention and praise, the bullies at the top only surrounded themselves with weak wannabes. They needed bootlickers and yes-people to feed their hungry egos by telling them what they wanted to hear. And everyone, except a few, was more than happy to do so if it awarded them high popularity and favors.

The higher-ups expected you to think like them, dress like them, be like them and agree with them. Conversely, the people who did their own thing, who were happy being themselves, and didn’t act or think like the flock became targets.

But real life did eventually come around to the top dogs in high school. Once we were all graduated, the so-called preppies (bullies) got a taste of the real world, many of them got a rude awakening.

They were no longer the big dogs and had to start at the bottom, which was a terrible blow to their fragile egos. They learned the hard way that the real world doesn’t care who you are. Real life isn’t concerned with whether you made the “Who’s Who” section of your high school yearbook. The real world only cares whether you can contribute to it. And sadly, most of the punks I went to school with haven’t brought a damn thing to the table of life.

In fact, many of them either became criminals or bred them.

Meeting the Real World

Followers and sheep

Fitting in leads to a life of mediocrity. Standing out, on the other hand, is a prerequisite of greatness!

So, if your classmates or coworkers are bullying you, know that you are the brave one. Why? Because you refuse to follow the herd or resort to pathetic fakery to get approval!

You continue to be your authentic self and embrace your uniqueness, flaws, and all. You’re at the head of the class because you are true to your own heart, your own beliefs, and your convictions. You refuse to let them mold you into what they think you ought to be. You stand out from the rest, and one day, it’s all going to pay off! Wait and see!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

A New Perspective on Betrayal

Targets of Bullying are most susceptible to betrayal by those who masquerade as friends. The reason for this is that they long for friendship so much so that they attract abusers and users who will only exploit this longing to achieve their own ends. However, at different times in our lives, we’ve all experienced betrayal. Someone we thought was a friend did the unthinkable. And, when it happens, it’s like being kicked in the stomach.

It hurts much worse when you’re screwed over by a friend because you trusted this person. You may have even loved them. This is something you expect from an enemy, but never a friend. Therefore, when an enemy strikes against us, it’s much easier to deal with. However, when it’s someone we trusted and thought highly of, the pain is much worse. In fact, it can be devastating.

Therefore, once you’ve been betrayed, it can be hard to trust anyone else who comes into our lives, even those who may be sincere. When we meet new people thereafter, we proceed with caution and regard others with suspicion. This isn’t good either.

Why? Because, when we allow a past betrayal to cause us not to trust, we only push away those who may be sincere. We, in essence, give the creep who betrayed us power over our future relationships.

Sadly, I went through a phase during my twenties when I too was suspicious of everyone. I thought they all had ulterior motives and kept them at arm’s length. I let the fear of being hurt cause me to push others away and as a result, my relationships suffered.

Don’t Give The Person Who Betrayed You Power over Future Relationships

However, I’ve since realized that, with each person we meet and each new friend we make comes a degree of risk. Everything comes with a certain amount of risk and here’s no getting around it. And you either take the risk or you end up miserable and lonely.

Everything we do comes with risk, whether it’s going for a walk or driving to the supermarket. But you wouldn’t stop driving because of the chance of having an automobile accident. So, why would you refuse to meet and make friends because of the chance of being betrayed?

Again, life’s full of risks and you can’t allow fear to stop you from living. You must live life and you must live it to the fullest!

With Every New Person You Meet Comes a Degree of Risk

Therefore, I refuse to allow some lowlife from my past to cause distrust in humanity. Hell, no! I believe in giving the new people I meet a chance and not making them pay a debt they don’t owe. If they blow that chance, then that’s on them, and they would only reveal their true colors.

In closing, you must know that anytime you’re betrayed, the best you can do is to drop the person and move on to someone who’s deserving of your time. Understand that your time and you company are valuable. And you shouldn’t waste it with some chump who doesn’t deserve the privilege of being in your life. So, ditch and switch, baby!

But, whatever you do, don’t let betrayal cause you to distrust humanity and shut new people out! That’s a recipe for misery!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

A Blessing that Feels Like a Curse

Now, more than ever, we must stand up for our God, our beliefs, and convictions. We must be true to ourselves, our hearts, and to the people who love us, and we must do it boldly and confidently. We must know ourselves inside and out.

In short, we must have the courage to be different.

The blessings of critical thinking and self-care can be dangerous today.

Sadly, in the last two years, this country has gotten so divided that people have lost family and who were once close friends over their beliefs, their convictions, their values, and their traditions. I’ve lost a few friends myself. However, I’m not afraid to lose people. It’s only God’s way of removing the people who were imposters all along and never deserved to be in my life in the first place.

Hey! I know it’s hard. But if you’ve lost people the last few years because of our divisive government and society, I want you to know that you did nothing wrong. Your beliefs and convictions are yours and you own them. And again, God is taking out your trash for you.

Therefore, sometimes, what is a blessing can feel like a curse. Some blessings require pain and sacrifice. But it’s always worth it in the end. And, who knows? You might end up with much more than you ever lost.

The blessing of seeing who people really are.

Although these blessings are quite painful, I truly believe that these last two years are a test. They’re a test to see if you’re strong enough to stand in your truth no matter what it may cost you. Never be afraid to be yourself, speak your truth, and risk losing a person you only think is a friend.

These last two years have revealed so much to us. Among the revelations are the true faces of those we thought were friends and were smarter. Moreover, these last couple of years have shed new light on the true intentions of our so-called leaders, whom we thought were loyal to us.

If nothing else, remember this:

You don’t lose friends, you lose frauds.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

A Few Former Bullies Succumbed to Suicide

Hurt people hurt people. As we know, bullies bully because either they’re having emotional pain themselves, or they’re arrogant and truly believe they are superior. Nevertheless, bullies do struggle with mental illness, and yes, many succumb to suicide, which is beyond sad. Neither mental illness nor suicide discriminate.

The bullies who are hurting are more likely to commit suicide than their arrogant counterparts. However, many arrogant bullies also commit suicide when they take a huge downfall and cannot cope.

Nonetheless, the fact remains that many bullies do end up taking their own lives. Some of my former classmates did and I feel terrible for them. Regardless of how horribly they may have treated me, I would never wish that kind of ending on my worst enemies.

Again, we should never take pleasure when we hear of anyone dying by their own hand, it doesn’t matter how evil and disgusting the person may have been while they were living.

It’s a horrible thing to befall a human being! And, the most heartbreaking thing is that these classmates never lived long enough to see their lives get better. I have no doubt that, had they found the will to go on living, things certainly would’ve improved for them.

Hurt People Hurt People

Christy was one of those bullies. She died by suicide in 2004 at the age of thirty-two. She was one of those mean girls in middle school who seemed to enjoy inflicting pain. However, she dropped out in the ninth grade and her life slowly took a nosedive over several years. Unbeknownst to me and many others, Christy struggled with mental illness. She battled so many demons that few of us know anything about.

After we were out of school, I ran into Christy a few times after my kids were born and she still attempted to bully me. She would yell curses in the store parking lot as I loaded my groceries in my car and my babies in their safety seats. Therefore, I would only roll my eyes and scoff at her, then go about my business. However, had I known she’d recently gone through a divorce and lost her children, I might have reached out to her.

I wasn’t made aware of the details until after she was already gone. Someone, who had been close to Christy, filled me in that she was severely co-dependent. Since her divorce, she’d gone through a rash of failed relationships. The men she’d dated had only used her for what they could get from her, then dumped her. And, when the last man tossed her away, Christy broke.

Moreover, it didn’t help that she was already suffering from bipolar disorder. Consequently, she took a shotgun, went outside in the back yard, put it under her chin, and pulled the trigger. And the saddest of all is that she left behind two children.

A Downward Spiral

When I was informed of this, I was both shocked and horrified. Also, at the time, I felt disappointed in her. I wondered why she would allow some guy who, obviously, wasn’t worth her time, to drive her to such extremes. I also wondered if she’d thought of her children and who would raise them.

Back then, I was learning but still didn’t know near as much about suicide and mental illness as I do now. Therefore, I might have been a little judgmental of her without meaning to. Although I, myself, had survived a suicide attempt as a teenager, I still didn’t empathize with her like I should’ve. Nevertheless, my heart broke not only for her, but more so, those babies, who were now without a mother.

Though I don’t condone the things Christy did nor how she acted when she was alive, I do understand why. She was hurting badly and needed to make someone else hurt so that she can feel better. Hence the reason I don’t hate bullies, I pity them instead.

In 2016, another school bully, Lori, also committed suicide, only under different circumstances. She’d gone from a popular cheerleader and choir girl who looked down on those who weren’t as socially fortunate, to being a teacher who was bullied and mobbed at the school in which she taught.

She was a wife and mother of a teenage daughter and small toddler. However, because she was despised at work, she was fired from the career she loved. Sadly, Lori also suffered from bipolar disorder.

Suicide is Felt Most by Loved Ones Left Behind

Therefore, she went home, took an overdose of pills, and never woke up. Even sadder was that her daughter was the person who found her later that day. However, how much would her circumstances have improved had she chosen to power through and keep going?

As I write this, I also look back to 1987, when one of my school bullies lost his older brother, Chris, to suicide. I don’t know if the older brother was a bully. For all I know, he may have been a target. However, I do know that he struggled with mental illness. Although I don’t know much about what drove him to take his life, I do remember what a few reliable sources told me. They told me that he’d jumped off a bridge over a set of railroad tracks.

Moreover, I can venture a good guess why Chris’ younger brother bullied me and a few others at school. And why he would go as far as to slam his books down on my head on many occasions. Could it be that his bullying me was the only way he could cope with the loss of his brother? Is it possible that he himself was struggling with mental illness, being as mental illnesses tend to run in families?

What heights could Chris have accomplished had he mustered the will to live? What joys in life could he have basked in later?

If You Are a Target, Here are questions you should ponder when it comes to your bullies:

1. When a bully bullies, what is it that they are trying to hide?

2. What is it about themselves that he’s trying to distract others from by bullying you?

3. Is the bully projecting onto you what she perceives to be a flaw in herself?

4. And what possible mental illnesses does the bully have that they’re so desperately trying to cover up?

5. Is the bully using you as a distraction from some shortcoming they themselves have?

Where Would They Be Today?

It’s sad that many of my bullies from school are now deceased, and not only from suicide, but auto accidents, a plane crash, and a few ATV accidents.

Rebecca Kee, Robin Tatum, Heath Bennett, Billy Goodman, Kevin Hearnsberger, Aaron Schuh, Janessa Holt, and many other classmates never got to live full lives and that’s tragic. Some of them never knew the joy of having their first child. Others will never see the birth of their first grandchildren, nor will they see retirement.

The icy-cold hands of death snatch away so many would-bes! So many goals, dreams, joys, and togetherness are dashed! And that’s the worst part.

That’s why I urge you to give yourself a chance if you’re enduring what seems to be impossible situations. Know that it never rains a full three hundred and sixty-five days. That in itself is proof that things will always improve if you don’t give up. You are worth fighting for and you’re worth living for! Always remember that!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Why Bullies Must Work Like a Dog to Keep Up the Facades

Targets are naturally resistant to bullies. They may give in at the moment and for a little while to stay safe, but eventually, they find a way to rebel and break free. And they do it either fighting or fleeing and escape. No one likes to be controlled. Therefore, bullies face resistance from others all their lives, whether that resistance is passive, aggressive, or both.

It’s only natural that we push against someone who makes us out to be someone we’re not. As bullies must fight harder and harder to maintain control of their targets and tighten their grip, the weight of their own lies and manipulations gets heavier on their shoulders. And bullies must consistently search for better ways to cover their lies and keep their targets silent and subdued.

In other words, bullies get by only on appearances. The facades they maintain and fronts they put on are only illusions and mirages. So, they have no leg to stand on, and the constant threat of being exposed weighs heavily on them. The lives of bullies are filled with smoldering hot spots that threaten to blaze again, and they are forever running around pouring buckets of water on these hotspots to make sure they don’t ignite.

Bullies have an insatiable need to be A-1 best, or, at least, give that impression. They must continuously struggle to maintain control of everyone and everything, and that’s not easy.

Once a bully justifies wrongdoing, they must then obtain agreement from others. How else can they avoid accountability and feel good about themselves when they’re living a make-believe world of lies, fabrications, and confabulations?

And when a bully seeks agreement from any outside source against a target, their insecurity is (or should be) even more apparent.

But sadly, most people can’t see clear enough to recognize it because they’re too fearful. Understand that emotions, such as intense fear, anger, or upset, renders people unable to think clearly and blinds them to subtle signs, evidence, subtexts, and contradictions they’d otherwise see.

In that critical moment, a person encounters a bully; he must keep his head straight and realize that the bully is the fearful one. That is not easy to do. When faced with a threatening situation, it’s hard to think because your logical mind shuts down, and the primal brain takes center stage.

Still, bullies must work the hardest to cover themselves, and they’re angry, resentful, and bitter because they don’t understand why it is that they have to fight so hard and so consistently.

Bullies are always banging their heads against the brick wall of life because they’re against healthy exchanges of information and ideas. Bullies are also closed to any new ideas and information. They’re resistant to responsibility and teamwork. They don’t respect anyone unless it’s beneficial to them.

You’ve got to pity people such as these because one can only imagine what a difficult life they must lead. It’s hard to hate someone who lives such a pitiful existence.

Many other targets may get offended at me for choosing to pity bullies. But look at it like this, wouldn’t you rather be hated than pitied? I know I would. At least there’s dignity in being hated.

So, if you’re a target of bullying, know that you’re much better off than your bullies are, although it may not seem like it. Take comfort in it.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Bullies Aren’t the People Who Are Most Hurtful to Their Target. So, Who Are the People Who Are Most Hurtful? (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1…)

When you’re a target of bullying in school or at work, you can’t afford to put all your trust in anyone, not even those who seem to be your friends. I’m not suggesting you be completely paranoid, only nonchalant. Because in a toxic area, you will have a few nosy wolves in sheep’s clothing around you, who will try to get close to you for no other reason than to probe for intimate details about you and your life.

They will also study you like a lab-rat to see how you react to certain things and find out your opinions, especially opinions of your bullies and other people you go to school or work with. Why? So they can take the juicy deets and report back to your bullies with them.

Here are ways that you can pick up on your classmates or coworkers’ hidden attitudes and intentions.

1. Always observe the people around you – without looking like you’re watching, of course. Use your peripheral vision to scan them and your environment, and you’ll quickly pick up on the moods and sense the elephant in the room (if there is one).

2. Look for body language that isn’t congruent with words and context – Actions speak louder than words. If their body language isn’t congruent with words, background, or the situation and shows even a hint of hostility and discomfort when they’re around you, then “Houston, we have a problem.”

back-stabbing colleagues threatening an employee with scissors and knife

3. Watch for micro flashes – If you’re not careful, you’re likely to miss those tiny, split-second micro flashes of contempt people give without realizing it or when they think you aren’t aware of it. There are good actors; don’t get me wrong, but there are certain things the body gives away involuntarily, and if you look for it, you’ll see it.

When you’re around fake friends, sometimes, as you turn your back, you’ll see a tiny micro flash of contempt on their faces out of the corner of your eye. Then, you’ll get that nagging feeling in the pit of your gut. Don’t ignore that because you don’t only imagine things! Eighty-six, these creeps fast!

4. Notice the person’s feet – You can tell a lot by the feet! If the person is talking to you, facing you, but their feet are pointing away from you, that means they aren’t as “with you” as you think. Put some distance between you and that person.

5. Watch for crossed arms while talking to the person – If you’re having a conversation with the person and they cross their arms over their chest, that’s a dead giveaway! They’re exhibiting closed body language, and they’re closing themselves off to anything you have to say. It’s time to make an excuse to end the tete-a-tete and walk away. You don’t want this person around you.

6. Looking at you without blinking – if they do this, it’s a sure sign of contempt, or they’re trying to intimidate you. Either way, this person is not the person you want to be around.

7. Other signs to look for – a furrowed brow, one corner of the lip slightly raised, an icy, piercing stare, smiling at you with their mouth but not the eyes (no crinkles around the eyes). Any of these signs, you might want to distance yourself.

8. If they look at you, then look at each other when you walk away – again, you want nothing to do with these people.

9. Watch what you share– Very important! Don’t tell anyone anything they don’t need to know. Not even to those who seem friendly Don’t reveal information that’s better off private. Don’t badmouth anybody, especially the bullies, to anyone. They may smile in your face, but you can be sure they’ll report back to the bullies with anything you say and try to fan the flames.

10. Watch for eavesdroppers – If you have an innocent conversation with someone in the hall, be on the lookout for eavesdroppers. Don’t talk near corners or open doors. Many times people will listen in on your discussion, then report back to the bullies with it. Pay attention to people who walk by.

And if you see other people standing around while you’re speaking and those people aren’t a part of the conversation, take the discussion to a place more private.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Bullies Aren’t the People Who Are Most Hurtful to Their Target. So, Who Are the People Most Hurtful?

It wasn’t the attacks from the bullies themselves. The bullies were the people from whom I’d come to expect that kind of behavior. From them, any vitriol, any vile and disgusting words and actions came as no surprise to me!

What hurt more than anything was the betrayal– when those I thought were my friends would so quickly and without question believe the lies and rumors that my bullies had spread. It was akin to being kicked in the stomach. Also, these so-called friends in school never had my back. Some even had the power to stop the bullying and protect me but refused, only throwing me under the bus.

Friends are supposed to be the people who believe the best of you. They are supposed to have your back any time someone attacks you. They’ll speak on your behalf when another person so much as badmouths you behind your back but in front of them, and they’ll stick up for you even when you’re not around to see them do it. Real friends are with you no matter what, especially when the chips are down. They will go to hell and back for you.

But sadly, during school, the people I thought I could trust did the opposite; they’d either go along with or believe the lies- and without bothering to ask me first!

My fake friends often sold me out- delivered me up to my bullies- with my head on a plate.

Rejection and mistreatment from a bully are easier to deal with because, from a bully, you expect nothing more. It’s much harder to take when it comes from someone you think is a friend and think highly of. When I look back now, I realize that I didn’t have friends in school until I was in the twelfth grade.

Before senior year, I only kept these so-called pals around and put up with them because they were the only options I had. It was pathetic.

The betrayals I suffered years ago is why I’m so selective of who I let in my life today. It’s also why I prefer to keep my circle small. I’d rather have only a handful of real friends than a million half-baked, fake ones. But we don’t value ourselves like we should when we’re teenagers and haven’t been in the world very long.

Too many people are overly concerned with having a large number of friends but don’t realize that real friends- people who have your back, who have your best at heart and will go to bat for you under the worst conditions- are a rare commodity and don’t come around every day.

Finding genuine friends is like opening a thousand empty oysters and finding only five or six pearls. These are the friends who are worth more than gold! And if you have them, you’d better appreciate them for all that they are!

When I meet a new person for the first time, I no longer wonder whether they’ll like me; I now wonder if I’m going to like them. I choose who I let in and who I give the boot, and if I stop having anything to do with someone, you can bet they betrayed me somehow, and I consider betrayal a deadly sin that will get someone dismissed very quickly.

I know what I want in a friend, and I won’t settle for anything less because anything less than desired is unacceptable. Loyalty is a virtue I look for, and if the person isn’t loyal, they aren’t worthy!

I want you to understand that if you have friends who are so quick to believe the lies your bullies tell them that they get angry with you and refuse to speak to you, guess what? These people are not your friends. They never were! Why else would they take your bullies’ word over yours and be so quick to turn against you?

Maybe those you thought were your friends only tolerated you because they felt sorry for you. And why would you settle for someone’s pity? Or, maybe your so-called friends didn’t have many options themselves, and you were only a second choice friend, or worse! The last-resort-friend! Ewww! Who wants that!

If you have friends who don’t stand with you and fade into the woodwork when your bullies attack you, they’re not worth your time or energy. Friends like that don’t deserve the privilege of being a part of your life. You’re better off without them.

You need to ditch these losers and find better friends, even if it means you have to be by yourself for a while. Hey, I know it sucks. Nobody wants to be alone. However, you must learn to be your own best friend before anyone else can.

Sometimes you must clean out all the trash to make room for the good stuff- the people who deserve to be in your life.

Continued in Part 2…

1 Reason Having Enemies Is Better Than Having Frenemies

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!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

11 Most Common Excuses People Make for Bullies

dreamstime_xs_123821020

As we know, bullies are very practiced and convincing liars and have a flair for using charm to deceive bystanders and authority.

Understand that this “charm” bullies often display is fake. It is all a part of the smokescreen they put up to hoodwink people, cover up bad behavior, and avoid accountability. In short, bullies are only actors and actresses.

Here is a list of excuses that bystanders and authorities often make for the bully anytime a victim reports them for their appalling behavior.

“That’s just his personality.”

“He was only joking.”

“She’s only expressing herself.”

dreamstime_xs_109732447

“He just has a very strong personality.”

“She’s going through a hard time right now.”

“But he’s really a good person, he’s just having issues right now.”

“She’s just having problems at home.”

“He’s just being himself.”

“But he’s so well-liked and well mannered. Why would he bully someone like you?”

“But she’s so sweet and everyone loves her. She wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

“But they’re just good kids who made a bad mistake.”

dreamstime_xs_18471565

These are a few examples of how others justify and condone the bully’s behavior.

Don’t fall for it! Call them what they are- BULLIES! Never accept any excuse. It’s true that retaliation may follow.

However, stay strong and know that you don’t have to tolerate atrocious behavior from anyone! You have rights. And you have a right to be safe and to live in a healthy environment. Those are non-negotiables!

Lastly, always remember that it’s not your fault and the harassment isn’t about you. It’s about the bullies’ issues!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

10 Signs You’re in a Toxic Friendship

Many targets of bullying are bullied and excluded so severely and for so long that they become desperate for any crumb of friendship. Notice I say, any crumb of friendship. In fact, they’ll latch on to anything that even looks like friendship. But looks can be deceiving.

Targets of bullying can very easily get in with the wrong people- people who only tolerate them, people who treat them like dog crap on the bottom of their shoe and leave them feeling even worse about themselves. Fake friends often send mixed signals which will leave the target confused and this is why they often stay in toxic friendships. And targets will, sadly, hang onto these lowlifes for dear life because they feel they have no other options.

So, how do you know when you’re in a toxic friendship? Here are your answers:

1. They turn hot and cold. These types of people will be sweet as pie one day and mean as a snake the next and this becomes a pattern. Don’t let it confuse you. Realize that the person isn’t really a friend and you must drop this person and find better friends.

You must understand that you deserve better than this person. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate the value you bring to a friendship doesn’t deserve a seat at your table. It’s time to walk without looking back.

Before I go any further, I want to let you know that I understand the feeling of loneliness when you’re targeted for bullying. I understand the feeling of being friendless and it sucks…royally!

However, with friends like those, you don’t need enemies, so, technically, you’re already lonely anyway. You can do just as bad by yourself. Ditch these creeps! You might be alone for a little while but sooner or later, better friends will come along. Give yourself a chance.

2. They manipulate you into doing things you don’t want to do. A true friend would respect your decisions, even if it is the decision not to join them in doing something that could be harmful to you or another person. In fact, a true friend would never put you in harms way or allow you to do anything illegal or harm another person. So, this is your cue to ditch and switch, baby!

3. They never have your back when your bullies come for you. This is a big one and it’s a deal breaker. If you have a so-called friend who either disappears or throws you under the bus whenever you’re in trouble or in danger, that’s a surefire sign that this coward isn’t your friend.

Get rid of this wimp, fast! Do you really want to be friends with some spineless wuss-bag who disappears and can’t be found when the fit hits the shan? I would hope not!

4. They give you shabby treatment. And when they do, they don’t seem to care how they hurt you. Again, you deserve better. This should be a no-brainer. Show them the door…fast!

5. They’re constantly getting offended or mad at you and you don’t know what you did wrong. If you are constantly having to apologize to for things you don’t know you did wrong, or aren’t guilty of just to keep the peace. Then it’s time to give this person their walking papers.

Again, I understand that nobody wants to be alone. We’re human beings. Therefore, we’re all wired for human connection, togetherness, and belonging.

However, you can be just as lonely around a group of friends who don’t value you. So, if you’re going to be lonely anyway, at least have a darn good reason for it.

6. The friend seems possessive of you and wants to keep you all to herself. This happens mostly with female friendships. She will get angry if she sees you talking to another friend of yours, or worse, treat the other friend like a fifth wheel because she feels threatened by your friendship with the other girl.

If you have a friend like this, chances are that she will smother you with wanting to hang around…all the time. This isn’t good either. The last thing you want is a clingy friend because you have a life and she needs to get one.

You have two choices. You can either tell her (and tell her with gently and with kindness) that you have other priorities too. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to pick a new friend who is attached to you like static cling.

Or…maybe it’s less obvious.

7. Your so-called friend discourages you when you tell him what your plans for the future are. You tell your frenemy that you’re planning to cut a CD, or write a book and publish it. And he shoots you off your saddle by telling you in the most caring and concerned tone,

“I want to warn you before you get your hopes up because the last thing I want is to see you disappointed. Most singers and writers never get anywhere with their music and books. It’s hard to make it in that industry today.”

Although that may be true- it’s very difficult to make it in both the music and publishing industries, your friend should at least encourage you and be proud of you for having the guts to try. Because, who knows? You may be one of the lucky few who do make it. However, if you don’t even try, you won’t even have a chance of succeeding.

8. They ridicule you for having a goal or dream. You dream of one day becoming an actor and your friend(s) make fun of you for having that dream and tell you that you’ll only crash and burn. Naturally, they make you feel lousy when they do this. You deserve friends who encourage you to go after your goals, not those who’ll tear you down.

Any time friends discourage you like that, you have to wonder if they’re only discouraging you because they’re afraid that you just might be successful. You also must ask yourself whether they believe in you or not. Don’t be afraid to walk away.

9. They’re resentful of your successes. It sucks, yes! But a lot of so-called friends get jealous when you’re successful at something. Maybe you’ve made a great achievement or won an award and your friends only give you backhanded compliments, or trivialize your accomplishment. Again, when this happens, that’s when you know it’s time to make tracks.

10. They only come around when they need something. These people are everywhere. They come around only when they know you can give them something and disappear when you’re the one in trouble. You deserve better friends than that. Get some standards and find friends who don’t use you.

Again, If you’re having any of these problems with those who are supposed to be your friends. My loving advice is to find new friends. You owe it to yourself. Realize that real friends make us feel better about ourselves not worse. Real friends enhance your life, they don’t cause pain or humiliation.

Toxic friends only suck the life out of you and leave you feeling worthless. You deserve friends who are ride or die. You deserve friends who are there for you no matter what kind of storms you may be going through. And you deserve friends who value you and don’t want to lose you.

But first, you must value yourself. And how you value yourself is to get rid of anyone who doesn’t treat you as well as you treat them. You may be alone for a spell, but your people will find you eventually and it will be worth it in the end. I guarantee it!

With knowledge comes empowerment!