What’s the Worst Thing About Being a Target of Bullying?

Bullying and life – pictured as a word Bullying and a wrecking ball to symbolize that Bullying can have a bad effect and can destroy life, 3d illustration

As a survivor of bullying, people often ask me, “What’s the worst thing about being bullied?” Here are my answers:

It’s the pinned up fear and rage you feel but don’t dare show. It’s the paralyzing social fear that sets in. It shuts you down and leaves you withdrawn from the rest of the world. Once people have bullied you for so long, you become intensely paranoid and suspicious of every person you meet. Any laughter you hear, you automatically think, is directed at you.

It’s the confusion. You know that you should take a stand against the bullies. You know that you should speak out about it, only you don’t know how to do it, and you’re terrified that it will only make things worse.

It’s the unanswered questions that play in your mind a thousand times a day. “Why me?” “What have I done to these people” “How do I fix this?” are the questions you have in your head every time bullies surround you and harass you. You know what you want to say to the bullies. “Look! Leave me the &%$# alone!” you scream inside your head but don’t’ dare say it because you know what’s likely to come next.

It’s the feeling of loneliness and isolation. When we suffer bullying, not only do bullies smear us to keep us isolated and from making any new friends, but we- WE automatically put up walls of protection to keep other people out, which only reinforces the separation from others.

It’s the loss of your entire personhood. You forget how to smile, laugh, and have a good time and how to connect with and interact with others. You’re no longer that vibrant, happy, and healthy person you once were. And each insult, each back-biting rumor, each physical attack, each joke, and each prank cuts a little deeper, chips away at your self-esteem, and brings you lower. You feel trapped. You feel as if your bullies are holding you hostage!

Bullies can ruin a target’s life! And they can alter your entire life if you don’t make the changes needed to take your life back.

I won’t kid you. To get out of the hole that your bullies have forced you into, you will have to work hard.

You’ll first need to get out of that environment (if possible), then focus on healing, and lastly, change your entire mindset, which means altering your thought patterns, your attitude, and your whole demeanor. And this change won’t happen overnight but may take years.

However, you must be patient and put in the work and time to take back your confidence and happiness. But I promise you, it will be worth it in the long run, and you’ll be so glad you put in the time and effort!

With knowledge comes empowerment.

The Creepy Stare Bullies Give Targets

It’s the look bullies give you every time you’re in their line of sight- that stare, which makes the hairs stand on the back of your neck! You know the one- that creepy, bone-chilling look bullies give you that makes you stop whatever you are doing or clam up if you’re talking when they do it? Yeah. That one!

They look at you so intensely, making you feel as if you’re under a microscope! What’s even scarier is that the person doing the staring is eerily calm, so still, and doesn’t move a muscle, nor even blink! Those angry, icy-cold eyes relentlessly bore into you like a blow poke, looking as if they could jump out at you and attack you at any moment! It reminds you of a wolf standing ever so still and eyeing an antelope, anticipating it’s next meal! Weird, no?

It happened to me on many occasions in middle and high school. I didn’t know what it was, nor why, and I couldn’t find the words to describe nor explain it. I only knew how it made me feel and I felt as if I was being dissected. To say that it was unnerving would be an understatement! It was downright creepy!

It felt as if my school bullies were studying me, searching for something, scanning the very depths of my soul while staying ever so calm, ever so still, and not saying a word. Not the slightest micro-twitch whatsoever while they were doing it! Ewww! It made me want to run and get as far away from them as I possibly could.

I’m not saying that all staring is necessarily bad because if a person likes you and has feelings for you, they may also stare, with their pupils dilating and crinkles forming around the eyes every time they look at you.

However, the look bullies give you is much different. Their pupils only constrict, becoming tiny black holes in the irises of their eyes, and their stare is a cold, prolonged “I’m going to kill you” look which stops you cold! That is the best way I can describe it.

Now that I’m older and have done years of reading and study, I want to tell you that if ever you notice anyone looking at you this way, you must either return and mirror the glare to intimidate them into taking their eyes off you, or get clear of that person.

Understand that they are studying you, trying to ferret out any weaknesses they can exploit and ways they can attack you with maximum effect! They also display that look to intimidate and dominate you, and if they succeed in doing so, it gives them a sense of power! Realize that bullies are sociopaths and the weird and psychotic looks they give you are covert and serves to shield them from detection and accountability!

Also, know that covert/indirect bullies are cowards at heart, and most of the time, all it takes is you returning the stare to make these people go away.

Bullies and Virtue Signaling

Seasoned bullies are masters at virtue-signaling and making themselves look like the angels they aren’t. Many of my classmates were expert virtue signalers. I remember sitting in class and being pregnant with my first child. One of my bullies, we will call her Amy, told me I was a sinner because I’d gotten pregnant before getting married. And Amy was one of those girls who everyone knew slept around with every Tom, Dick, and Harry.

Not that I ever judged her for it because what she did on the weekends was nobody’s business but hers. However, the point I make here is that she took it upon herself to judge me in front of an audience. And she did it to prove something to them.

She also told me that my child was a bastard and would be better off dead than to have me for a mother. The last thing she said was that I should never be allowed to get married nor have kids.

Understand that any time a bully publicly passes judgement on you, they only do it to feel like they’re better than you- so they can delude themselves, you, and everyone else into thinking that they’re above you on the totem pole of morals and decency.

The reason this bullying classmate accused me of being unvirtuous is to try and prove to everyone else that she wasn’t . She wanted everyone to think that she was as pure as the driven snow and that she was above someone else. But, although no one said a word, I think they all knew who she really was and what her attack on me was all about.

Sadly, we see the same from radicals. They pander and virtue signal by raising their fists and worse, kneeling and bowing down to extremist groups and the only reason they do it is to try and prove to the rest of the world that they’re moral, decent, and above ignorance.

Vector illustration of a grovel in business

But here’s the thing.

If you know yourself and you know that you aren’t the label of the day, be it a “whore”, a philanderer, a racist, a conspiracy theorist, a nut job, or anything at all; you won’t feel you have to attack anyone else, pander, or virtue signal to prove it. Your goodness, morals, virtues are already there, and you know it and there’s no need to prove it.

When you truly know yourself and the definition of who you are, you won’t try to prove anything because it’s too much work and you know it’s a waste of your time and energy. You do not have to show others you have something if that something is something you already have.

Here’s another thing.

If anyone feels they must bend over backwards to prove something to the rest of the world, know that their willingness to pander and virtue signal- all that extra effort and energy expenditure comes from a guilty conscience and that there is something about themselves that they’re trying like the devil to hide.

These people are under the presumption that, the more efforts they make, the more personal sacrifices they make, and the more they try to “atone” by forcing themselves to do the most degrading and demeaning things, the more it shows that they’re not what the label of the day and current narrative says they are.

What they don’t realize is that it only means the opposite of what they’re trying to prove. Do you see where I’m going with this? Great! I thought that you would!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

When Bullies Get Extremely Defensive and Launch The Most Brutal Attacks

 

A crowd of people surrounded the red man. Accusation of crime, mob law over a person, lynch court. The leader in the center of the crowd, the leader, an example for diving. Angry crowd

The subconscious mind is a funny thing. And when we call out the deplorable behavior of bullies, their knee-jerk reaction is to get highly defensive. These people panic! they get irate, raise their voices, scream, curse, and call you the most horrible names in the English language. Even worse, some bullies get physically violent. Have you ever wondered why?

It’s because, in the deepest parts of their subconscious minds, the bullies know they are wrong, only they were counting on your silence to shield them from exposure and accountability. They didn’t get that from you (your silence).

No. You called the bullies out in public. You put them on blast- exposed them naked before the rest of the class, school, workplace, or community. Now, the bullies must put in a lot of extra work in order to do damage control.

You had to open your mouth. You challenged the bullies’ (perceived) authority. You refused to be controlled and had the gall to defend yourself (Gasp! How dare you!). And now, your bullies are scared to death. But more than that, they’re furious, and they’re out for blood this time. And you can be sure that your bullies’ fury has roots- and those roots are fear!

Bullying. Marginalized child. Concept illustration. Scene shows a child suffering harassment and marginalization from other children.

When bullies attack you the fiercest, that’s when you know they’re scared to death!

Think of it this way. When a warplane is over it’s target, that’s when the battle is at it’s absolutely worst. All at once, every anti-aircraft gun around ground zero unloads their full firepower on the plane. The enemy releases a fury unlike any other. Why? Because the plane is too close! And the closer to the target the plane gets, the worse the battle will rage.

It’s the same with bullies. When they know that you’re right over the mark and that you’re exposing them. They panic! Because they’re afraid that their skeletons just might come out to play and, boy! Do they come unglued and launch an attack like you’ve never seen! That’s when you know you’ve got your bullies figured out.

And when people get scared, they get desperate! And when people get desperate, they get crazy- they can even get dangerous!

Bullies know what happens if they are exposed. They risk losing face, then ultimately, losing power!

The second most common fear your bullies have is that you just might reach success of some kind and threaten their sense of superiority. Why, because, again, your success may help shine the light on the bullies’ own failures and shortcomings. It may cause others to compare the bullies to you and they just might figure out that the bullies aren’t so hot after all and that you aren’t so weak, dumb, and unimportant after all.

Therefore, again, anytime it seems that your bullies are attacking you the hardest and the most frequently- anytime the bullying you suffer is at it’s absolute worst- it’s usually because you’re onto something.

Do you see how this works? Awesome! I thought that you would.

That False Sense of Insecurity When You’re a Target

Bullies will often bully a specific victim for so long that the victim eventually expects maltreatment from all people. Although I no longer get bullied and have long since regained my confidence and self-esteem, I do remember that feeling all too well.

After being bullied for so long, you become fearful. Around people, you clam up, keep your eyes to yourself and go about your business. However, it seldom works because bullies are like pit bulldogs; they can smell fear from a mile away, so being reserved and staying out of the way tends to bring about more bullying.

You can always tell when a person is a victim of bullying because they continuously apologize for everything. Overapologizing is the surefire sign of bullying and abuse, as is being reserved and afraid to look people in the eye.

Understand that the person who does that is scared to death. They’ve lost all sense of their worth and are afraid to make decisions because they might make the wrong one and be ridiculed, shamed, or harmed for it.

Many targets are also afraid to talk to people because they’re afraid of saying something stupid or offensive and again getting persecuted for it. They’re fearful of going out or being seen in public because they might run into the wrong people (bullies).

They’re scared to greet people because they fear that they’ll be seen as too friendly. So, they’re often mistaken for being stuck up or standoffish.

If you are a victim of bullying and you do any of the above, STOP!

Living your life in fear is no way to live! It sucks! It’s a downright miserable existence, and I refuse to keep my head down and clam up to avoid the pettiness of other people!

I want you to realize that you don’t need permission to be yourself or to exist! The day you say, “Screw it! Who cares what those idiots think!” will be the day you get your life back. Things may indeed get worse before they get better. But it’ll be worth it in the long run. I guarantee it.

You Should Never Be Afraid of Conflict

Let’s face it. Conflict is a part of life and something we all encounter at many points in our lives. Many targets and survivors of bullying are deathly afraid of conflict. Why? Because they’ve had so much of it forced on them in the past by bullies who just refused to let them be. Also, many targets and survivors are traumatized by the bullying they presently suffer or from past bullying.

Understand that these poor souls haven’t yet dealt with the hurts they still have, and they don’t yet know their worth and the good they deserve. Many targets and survivors of bullying suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Because of this, they’re still stuck in survival mode.

As a result, target’s cave in and give in to bullies to appease them just so they’ll shut the hell up and go away. And people do get tired of hearing self-entitled and self-indulgent bullies bitch, rant, and beat their chests when they don’t get their way.

So, the unspoken message is, “Look! Just take what you want and get lost!”

I can understand why targets and survivors end up being this way. It’s because a person gets exhausted when they’re constantly have to battle and struggle to take back their autonomy, their self-determination, their personal power, their safety, their dignity, and their right to exist. They get worn down, they get weary, and all they want is for people to leave them alone and let them have some peace.

However, this can become a problem. If you go out of your way to avoid conflict, people will soon mistake you for being weak and they’ll walk all over you. You must set boundaries. There are times when you must say no. There are even times when you may have to show your ugly side to get your point across and let people know that no means no and enough is enough.

Understand that this requires guts. It means you must step out of your comfort zone and take risks. You must risk hurting others’ feelings and making people angry. You must risk being lashed out at and retaliated against. Moreover, you must also risk losing relationships and no, none of it feels good.

In short, you must stand up for yourself and that means facing conflict.

Think of it this way, if you’re a target of bullying, you’re going to face conflict no matter what because people will bring the conflict to you. Hiding from it does no good because it will eventually find you. When you are a target of bullying, conflict is unavoidable and certain.

In other words, run from conflict and you’ll end up running from it for the rest of your life!

So, why not face it head on, better yet embrace it and stand up to people, then you can feel better about yourself later knowing that you finally grew a spine and told them where to shove it. You may face retaliation for it, but you would face it anyway because, right or wrong, bullies will always find some justification for attacking you.

Bullies Actually Fear Losing Power and Control over Their Targets

I look back now and realize that my bullies were in constant fear of losing control and dominance over anyone they deemed inferior. I say this because I remember that anytime I or any other target at Oakley High, countered their insults, or had our own opinion about anything, the bullies and their followers would be quick to shout us down.

They would demand that we “shut up,” or “sit down and be quiet.” They would also threaten bodily harm or instigate violent arguments to intimidate and shut down anyone who dared to exercise their rights to speak freely, therefore, asserting their dominance.

Targets were highly discouraged from having their own thoughts, opinions, or views. I also remember during a class discussion, when a teacher asked me what my thoughts were on the subject we were discussing, I only had time to get the words, “I think…” out of my mouth when another girl shouted, “You think nothing! Shut up!”

Naturally, the teacher reamed her out for the outburst. However, the others only laughed at the teacher, the teacher went silent, then continued on with the discussion and allowed me to finish my answer.

There was nothing a target could speak about that one of the bullies wouldn’t shout down and attack them with. For example:

Target: “I don’t feel so good. I think I need to call home.”

Bullies and classmates: “You ‘ain’t’ sick! You’re just trying to get out of coming to school when your dumb ass needs to learn something useful!”

Target: “I’m afraid that…”

Bullies and classmates: “Shut up! You don’t have nothin’ to be afraid of! You’re just a big chicken!”

Target to target: “I need the hall pass to go use the restroom.”

Bullies and classmates: “You ‘ain’t’ goin’ nowhere! Shut up and sit down!”

Or…

If a target put up their hand and walked away from a confrontation, one of the bullies would either physically step in front of him/her and block them from leaving, grab the target by the back of his shirt and pull him back, or follow close behind them while shoving them forward while screaming, “Don’t turn your back and walk away from me, (expletive),” or “Turn around and look at me when I talk to you!” And If a target ignored a group of bullies, those bullies would then want to fight him.

It was as if the bullies had grown desperate and were panicking. And now that I know better, I realize that that’s exactly what they were doing- feeling desperate and panicking. And they were doing it out of fear.

So, anytime bullies yell and scream at you because you spoke or because you showed any form of opposition to their abuse, realize that it’s because they fear losing their dominance. Bullies instinctively know that if they lose control over a target, they lose face and look weak in front of the others around them. They also realize that if their target has the guts to challenge their power, then it just might encourage others to follow suit and bullies can’t have that.

Bullies must have their targets, not only to get sick pleasure and entertainment from, or to wield dominance over. They must also have them as examples to show everyone else that there will be brutal consequences if they show any form of dissent. Targets are used to keep everyone else in line too.

So, always remember this, and look for a way to use the bullies’ fear to your advantage. You have more power than you know.

When You Look into The Face of a Target of Bullying

You see the anguish- the desperately yearning to belong.

You see the hopelessness and despair- the wondering if things will ever get better.

You see the fear- the knowing he/she could be physically or psychologically attacked at any moment, or many even killed.

You see the sadness- the wanting to cry but not daring to for fear of looking weaker than they already look to others.

You see the determination- the determination to survive another day.

You see the silent pleas for help- help that is being denied and seems to never come.

You see the lack of trust in humanity- because the person has been let down too many times. How can that trust be restored?

You see the exhaustion- the weariness of the constant battle they face.

Lastly, you see the yearning for peace- the desperately wanting the war to stop so they can relax, breathe, and not have to fight anymore.

Bullies with Guilty Consciences

Have you noticed that anytime you speak out against bullying and abuse, or any wrongdoing for that matter, that the guilty dogs always come for you and bark the loudest? Maybe you tell your story of the bullying and abuse that you, yourself, suffered in the past and how you’ve since overcome it.

And…BOOM! Many haters come out of the woodwork, latch on, and start screaming, cursing, putting you down and accusing you of everything under the sun. Some call you ugly names and threaten – even people you don’t know, who don’t know you, and have nothing to do with what you’re talking about.

Thankfully, this has not happened here on WordPress and I am so grateful for all my WordPress family! You guys are truly the best and I could not ask for better people online.

But, on occasion, it has happened on a few other forums and once in person when I gave information about it to someone who desperately needed it. The person thanked me but the people who overheard our conversation went berserk over it later. So, if this has happened to you too, did you ever wonder why?

Its because the people who are sooo offended and doing the yelling, cursing, and tantrum-throwing have guilty consciences.

Here’s a further explanation:

Naturally, we know that people who’ve bullied and abused you in the past, are going to come out in droves and attack you. That’s a given. And you don’t have to call these people out by their names to trigger them and put them on the defense. Why? Because to hear, read about, or even know that you’re speaking out on the subject itself makes them very afraid- panicky even.

But, more than anything, it eats at their conscience!

Again, realize that you don’t have to necessarily expose them. All you’ve got to do is prick at their sense of guilt and they go nuts.

The latter is why you may also trigger people who may not know you nor have anything to do with what was done to you- you delivered a huge blow to their conscience! Even worse, you made them feel dirty! And that alone drives people utterly insane!

Though they may not necessarily have bullied and abused you, they did someone else. And hearing you talk about your experiences, or talk about bullying and abuse in general, made you a huge reminder to those people. You caused them to either think of the abuse they’re dishing out to someone else or have inflicted in the past. Ouch!

It’s subconscious. They don’t know it, and probably couldn’t explain it. All those people know is that your story, or the subject you speak of is rubbing them the wrong way and causing them a lot of anxiety.

This is the reason they freak out and flip their wigs.

It’s happened to me. I’ve seen it up close. And believe you me, these folks become downright scary! Because when they lose it, their eyes seem to jump out at you and they snarl when they yell at you. I mean, they really come unglued!

But understand that they are only revealing themselves. They’re ripping their own masks off and don’t realize they’re doing it. Why would someone get so defensive, so irate and have a complete meltdown if you weren’t stepping on a few toes- if the people around you didn’t feel that somehow, some way, you weren’t talking directly to them, or about them?

Really think about it. Pastors of churches have this happen all the time. During Sunday service, they’ll preach on a certain subject, then a few church members get angry over it and give him the what-for after the service is over.

My point is that if they knew they weren’t guilty of anything, they’d automatically know that the conversation had nothing to do with them. So, why would they care?

Remember that the people who are most offended by this and react irately are the guilty ones and you can bet that they have, at some time, bullied you or another innocent person. Anger can be revealing.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Why You Must Take Risks

 

Too many targets of bullying grow too paralyzed with fear to make a move and take control of their destinies. Their bullies and abusers have reprogrammed them to believe that, no matter how hard they try, they’ll always be losers and failures. They’ ve been trained to believe that, to be accepted, they must always march in lockstep with the rest of society- to tread lightly and never rock the boat . And if they didn’t walk carefully, what was in store for them would be emotional- even physical brutality.

I understand because I’ve been there. I know the fear all too well.

In short, targets are taught to take the path of least resistance and stay in their comfort zones. But do you really live your best life when you choose this path instead of your own?

To see positive change in your life, you must be willing to take risks. Whether you’re working on achieving a short-term goal or chasing a dream you’ve had your whole life or whether you want to rid your life of bullies/abusers and surround yourself with better people, risk is not only expected but required.

To get something you never had, you will need to do things you’ve never done and that can be scary. To create something beautiful into your life means you will have to push through the birth pains first, it’s the only choice you have.

I took a risk when I decided to stand up to abuse. I also took risks when I wrote and published my first book, “From Victim to Victor (A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying.”

I knew it would be risky and I was prepared for it.

In doing both, I not only faced the possibility of failure, but I offended and made many people angry. I lost a lot of people I thought were friends. But that’s alright because I look back now and realize that I really didn’t lose friends at all.

What I did was weed out the people I thought were friends- the fakers, posers, and imposters who only pretended to be but were never friends in the first place.

I also knew that the book would be painful to write because it required that I relive the torment. I chose to push through the pain. Understand that if you ever want to achieve something great, you must step out of your comfort zone and face fear head on.

Life is a gamble. Everything is chance. You can’t win the game if you don’t roll the dice.

And if you really stop and think about it, we roll the dice when we do the most basic things in life – when we get out of bed in the morning, or walk out of our houses, or get in the car to go to work every day. In life, risk is unavoidable. So why not take bigger risks and go after what you want?

Wouldn’t you much rather face the fear of risk now than live with the pain of regret later? I sure would.

After the book was published and a few classmates read it, oh boy! I got quite a few nasty, hateful, and threatening messages and yes, some of it was pretty scary. But I chose to stand strong and continue speaking my truth.

My goal wasn’t only to become a published author, but to use what I endured years ago to help others who are going through it now. I wanted to be the person that I didn’t have, and to give other targets the support I was denied.

But before I could do that, I had to be willing to take risks and to endure some pain along the way. It meant risking my time, my comfort, and my associations. I had to be willing to remove all the negative people from my life and make room for people who were positive, uplifting, and empowering. And you will have to do the same if you want to follow your passion, find your purpose, and create a better life for yourself.

You must be willing to risk it all because the last thing you want is to wake up one morning- eighty years old and say, I woulda, shoulda, coulda done this or I woulda, shoulda, coulda done that.

As for me, I don’t want to have to say, “Oh no! If I’d only done this or that,” or “I had this great idea five, ten, twenty, or thirty years ago and I didn’t act on it because I was too afraid.”

So, do it while you can and be willing to accept the risk that goes with it.

It is either do or die. Risk now or regret later!

“Get busy living or get busy dying.” – Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption