Bullying and Cognitive Dissonance

Bullies don’t want to notice anything about you that forces them to remember that you are generally a good person.

They don’t want to remember that you were once respected and very well-liked.

Bullies don’t want to recognize that you’re a kind and thoughtful person and not deserving of brutal treatment.

They don’t want to see that you’re hurting and you’re the one being attacked.

Bullies don’t want to see you as a human being, deserving of the same rights and considerations as everyone else.

And the reason why bullies do NOT want to see these things is that it would only prick at their consciences and make them feel dirty!

Understand that, regardless of the facts, of what you say or do, or of your intentions, everything will be taken out of context, misconstrued, and spun to support the bullies’ narratives, whatever they may be.

Deep down inside, your bullies, their followers, your former friends who have been turned against you- they all know that you’re a great person. Believe me, they are very much aware of your kindness, your big heart, and of your potential, only they would never in this lifetime admit it. Because to admit it would be to convict themselves.

Admission of your positive qualities would be an admission of their guilt! That they were in the wrong and that they are a bunch of cruel monsters!

So, to save face and not feel like total scumbags, they can’t afford to acknowledge the truth. Because, again, to do so would be to demonize themselves.

For instance, any time I happen to run into one or more of my former bullies from school at the supermarket, the gas station, or anywhere else in public, they automatically turn their heads and walk away- fast! But I understand where it all comes from.

I don’t feel rejected. I don’t feel the least bit upset about it because I see it for what it is, and what it is, is guilt! It’s nothing personal.

Each time they see my face, they’re reminded of the horrible things they did years ago, and they feel dirty!

No one wants to feel dirty.

So, when this happens to you, don’t be hurt or offended. Don’t feel rejected because it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them and the feelings of shame that they’re so desperately trying to avoid.

It’s Not Only in Your Head. You Know When Something Doesn’t Feel Good

One of the saddest things about bullying is the confusion it often brings. Many bullying targets are confused and mislead as to whether or not they are legitimately being bullied or only being paranoid.

Oftentimes, when an individual is bullied, and they defend themselves, others may trivialize the bullying or dismiss it. They tell the target that “it’s only in your mind” or “you’re just paranoid.” Half the time, people convince the target of the above statements, which only forces him to endure the torment in silence. Bullying cannot thrive without silence.

Therefore, the bully is let off the hook and is free to target the same individual again in the future. The bully gets the message loud and clear that it’s okay to target this person simply because they can – and with impunity.

After so long, the target feels as if it is somehow wrong to report and stand up to bullies. He then questions his own sanity, thinking, “Maybe it really is only in my mind.” and often grows silent for fear of being gaslighted and seen as “paranoid,” “crazy,” “overly sensitive,” or other labels that undermine and steal his voice.

Let me enlighten you: It’s not only in your imagination. You are not overly sensitive. You are not a wimp, wuss, crybaby, crazy, or whatever else unsavory people may call you.

Always remember that bullies are very skilled and convincing liars. You always know when something does not feel good because your brain and gut will alert you!

You can see it in the way certain people cut their eyes at you.
You can see and hear them talking through their teeth.
You can hear the short and cold tone in their voices.
You can feel, deep down in your gut, the nasty vibes they exude.


This is why you should always listen to your gut feeling because it is never wrong. Eighty-six those people, pronto!

Anyone who causes you to feel bad does not deserve the time of day from you. It does not matter if they are rich, smart, good-looking, popular, successful, cool, or tough.

If they cause you to feel less than, ditch them! Weed. Them. Out! They are not worthy of even being in your presence. Never allow anyone to violate your boundaries, whether physical or psychological.

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Self-awareness is key, as is awareness of everyone and everything around you. You must get to know yourself. You must get absolutely clear on what you will and will not accept. Only then will you be able to tell the difference and send your bullies packing.

Bullies and Tattling

Bullies, especially school bullies, are notorious tattletales, and they often tattle on their targets for even the tiniest of infractions. If it so happens, they cannot find anything to tell on their targets about, they will make something up and they make sure it’s something believable.

These bullies watch their targets closely, waiting with bated breath for the target to do or say something- anything that even smacks of being outside the category of right. They then run and tattle to a teacher, principal, supervisor, or manager.

How noble these bullies must feel, sitting on their moral high ground, working as little gestapos to ensure that everyone are good little peasants and following the rules down to the letter! Or, at least, that’s what they want those in authority to think.

The reality is that everyone, other than the target, is free to do as they wish. They only do these things to their targets. Why? To keep them from being able to defend themselves or report bullying.

If you are a target of bullying, all your bullies must do is smear your name to any member of staff and you’re marred for good. They’ve clear the path to bully you in the future without fear of being reported because, who’s going to take the word of a troublemaker and rule-breaker?

And if enough people tattle on you, those in positions of power are more likely to believe them because, “if you aren’t guilty of whatever they accuse you of, then why are so many people pointing the finger at you?” Right?

In tattling on you or telling lies about you, these bullies are setting up a system where you will be discredited and rendered powerless to stop the bullying or escape it. Tattling is also a way to silence you because if you know that no one will believe you anyway, you’re more likely to find it easier and less painful to just keep your mouth shut.

Tattling is a technique to eventually block the target from any help they’ll need and otherwise receive.

Remember that bullies are master chess players. If you’re a target of bullying, this is how they set the stage beforehand to make you powerless, and, once you’re completely powerless, they’ll bully you openly and in plain sight.

And who’s going to stop them? After all, you’re a troublemaker, a rebel-rouser, a riffraff! And people aren’t bullying you, they’re only reacting to something you must have done to them.

Bullies and everyone else-good. Target-bad! You’re bad, so you deserve it.

And the tattlers? They’re only “good kids” who want to learn in a clean environment. They’re the extra pairs of eyes that the staff need because the staff can’t be everywhere at once. They’re the little helpers.

So, let’s give them a cookie for their efforts to make our jobs a little easier!

And after the damage is done, the bullies will boast about how they succeeded in taking away your power and ruining your life.

Understand that the tattling is just a veneer bullies use to hide their own bad behavior and project it onto you. If they can slither their way into the good graces of those in power while demonizing you, their plot will work perfectly, and the bullies be virtually untouchable.

I cannot stress enough the importance of being prepared for this type of thing. And the more you prepare, the better you’ll be able to counter this slick tactic, and the better you’ll protect yourself.

Bullies and Self-Victimization

To put it in simplest terms, bullies target someone less powerful, then claim to be the ones who are bullied once the target calls out their behavior. It’s a classic move and, gladly, it’s easy to expose if you know the playbook and know what to look for.

Therefore, any time a bully targets you and you call them out for it, I want you to expect this to happen and prepare for it.

Realize that bullies despise resistance to their abuse, and, even worse, they hate it when you expose them. Any time bullies meet resistance to their evil, deceptive manipulations, voila! They suddenly claim that you are bullying them!

Bullies very convincingly cast themselves as so marginalized, so fragile, and so oppressed that anyone who dares to call them out on their shit are labeled “bullies.” Any criticisms or even questions of their actions and behavior is suddenly deemed “bullying.” Convenient, no?

Bullies do this by crying crocodile tears, using trending tropes of the day, and rationalizing their behavior, making everyone believe that they were only defending themselves or reacting to your bullying. And trust me, they’re good at it.

Bullies instinctively know that the best way to silence criticisms and reports of their ugly ways is to self-victimize. And sadly, it works like a charm!

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Fortunately, society is just now catching on to this and it’s long overdue. Also, there are names for this that didn’t exist thirty years ago, and, if they did exist then, they weren’t well-known. So, targets can now call these tactics by name and better describe what’s happening to them.

Every day, society is learning more and more about the bully-target dynamic. This, in itself, is promising to targets.

“Get Over It!”

Studio shot of playful disobedient adult son in red t-shirt, covering ears with index finger and saying lalala while wanting mom get mad, standing indifferent to argue, being impolite and childish.

“Get over it!”

“Let it go!”

“Forget about it!”

How many of you have been told to do either of these? As if you could just wiggle your nose and everything is peachy king. When you’ve been abused, you cannot just let it go. Healing takes time.

The emotions you feel won’t just go away. Even if you paint a smile on your face and pretend that nothing’s wrong, these feelings will still be there, simmering under the surface, and the more you try to stuff them down and bury them, the more damage it will cause.

Understand that the emotions you’re feeling are there for a reason. They warn you that something isn’t right. Realize that the anger and hurt doesn’t disappear overnight and the people who give you that kind of response are ignorant and only re-abuse you when they demand that you “get over it.”

In order to heal and get your life back again, you must allow yourself to feel those raw emotions. No, it isn’t comfortable. No one wants to feel pain. But you must go through it to come out on the other side of it. And while you’re moving through the pain, practice self-care.

Give yourself some TLC. Have self-compassion. It’s okay to not be okay and it’s okay to baby yourself.

Take a few days off. Lounge around the house in your pajamas if you want to. Eat your favorite treat or give yourself a good, sweaty workout. Treat yourself to a spa-day, facial, new do, or a beach vacation. Your first priority is self-care, whatever it may be for you.

Last and most important, don’t shut up! Keep speaking out and standing in your truth. Self-care also means being your own advocate and if people don’t like it, too bad.

Put yourself first!

Who’s the Real Target?

If you want to know who the real target of bullying is,

ask yourself who has the least power.

Ask yourself who has the least social capital.

Ask yourself who has the least influence.

Ask yourself who has the least friends.

Ask yourself who is liked or loved the least.

Ask yourself who is most hated.

Ask yourself which person people can openly abuse and get away with it.

Ask yourself these questions and the answer will be crystal clear.

Who Are the Real Bullies?

If you want to know who the real bully is, ask yourself these questions:

“Who has the most power?”

“Who has the most social capital?”

But most importantly, ask yourself these questions:

“Who are the people no one is allowed to criticize?”

“Who are the people everyone is AFRAID to criticize or even question?”

“Who are the sacred cows- the people who seem to be untouchable and beyond reproach?”

“Who can openly inflict abuse on people and get away with it?”

If you can answer these questions honestly, you know who the bullies are.

Excuses People Make for Bullies

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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.”

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“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.”

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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!

5 Things Bullies Tell Others When the Target Puts Their Foot Down

Any time a target gets tired of the abuse and calls a bully’s bluff. The bully will more than likely justify their behavior to others. Here is a list of the most famous statements you’re likely to hear, from most popular to least.

1. “She’s crazy.” or “She’s unstable.”

2. “He’s just mad because I called him out!”

3. “She’s so fake.”

4. “She’s too sensitive.” “She’s overreacting.”

5. “He’s a crybaby.”

6. “She doesn’t want to admit when she’s wrong.”

7. “I was just trying to help you.”

8. “She’s just jealous of me because of…”

Always listen to your gut feeling- it will always tell you the truth. If something doesn’t feel good, your gut will tell you. Remember that the sensations of the body never lie. You should expect bullies to act this way when you finally assert yourself; it only goes to show what kinds of people they are- and who you should avoid.

With knowledge comes empowerment.

You’re Not Only Imagining Things: You Know When Something Doesn’t Feel Good

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One of the saddest things about bullying is the confusion it often brings. Many targets of bullying are confused and misled as to whether or not they are legitimately being bullied or only being paranoid.

Oftentimes, when an individual is bullied and they defend themselves, others may gaslight the person by either trivializing the bullying or dismissing it. They tell the target that “it’s only in your mind” or “you’re just being paranoid”. Half the time, people convince the target of the above statements, which only forces him to endure the torment in silence. Bullying cannot thrive without silence.

Therefore, the bully is let off the hook and is free to target the same individual again in the future. The bully gets the message loud and clear that it’s okay to target this person simply because they can – and with impunity.

After so long, the victim begins to feel as if it is somehow wrong to report and stand up to bullies. The victim then questions their own sanity, thinking, “Maybe it really is only in my mind.” and often grows silent for fear of being gaslighted and seen as “paranoid”, “crazy”, “overly sensitive” or other labels that undermine and steal their voice.

If you’re a target of these mind games, let me assure you: It’s NOT only in your imagination. You are not being overly sensitive. You are not being a wimp, wuss, crybaby, crazy or whatever else unsavory people may call you.

Always remember that bullies are very skilled and convincing liars. You always know when something does not feel good. Your brain and your gut always let you know when something isn’t right!

You can see it in the way certain people cut their eyes at you.

You can see and hear them talking through their teeth.

You can hear the short and cold tone in their voices.

You can feel, deep down in your gut, the nasty vibes they exude.

This is why you should always listen to your gut feeling because it is never wrong. Eighty-six those people, pronto!

Defending their rights concept

Anyone who causes you to feel bad does not deserve the time of day from you. It does not matter if they are rich, smart, good looking, popular, successful, cool or tough.

If they cause you to feel less than, ditch them! Weed. Them. Out! They are not worthy of even being in your presence. Never allow anyone to violate your boundaries, whether physical or psychological.

Self awareness is key, as is awareness of everyone and everything around you. You must get to know yourself. Listen to your body and the sensations you feel.

It is imperative that you get absolutely clear on what you will and will not accept. Only then will you be able to tell the difference and send your bullies packing.