Words have power, yes. But without the body language that goes with them, they’re only static- empty noise. The best way to ward off bullies is to influence them by transmitting the most appropriate and compelling nonverbal cues.
Around 80% of communication is nonverbal, we’ve often heard, and it’s the truth! Therefore, it’s not only necessary, but wise to pay closer attention to others in terms of body language. In other words, we must pay closer attention to pantomimes, which are their facial expressions, gestures, demeanor, and mannerisms.
Likewise, we should also pay close attention to the way we come off to people through our own nonverbals.
We Often Miss the Subtler Body Language
In other words, we not only need to learn to better read other’s body language but also to better monitor our own physical signals, so we don’t give others the wrong impressions. However, it’s not as easy as it looks. Many forms of body language are so subtle that we can miss them if we’re not careful.
Therefore, we must find ways to learn these micro-signals and what they mean. And once we do, we will gain mastery over our social situations.
If you’re stuck in an environment that’s peppered with bullies, the ability to read even the most subtle cues is a must. Bullies are masters at hiding their imperfections, their motives, and their intentions. Therefore, you must pick up on what they try to conceal, and you can only do it by correctly observing their most subtle cues and pantomimes.
Every movement, even the tiniest, from eye movements to gestures, holds a wealth of information. Moreover, every body position and stance also hold info. Everything people do or don’t do conveys a message. We are forever communicating.
Every Tiny Movement Conveys a Message
Therefore, you must be aware of it. And if you aren’t good at reading these silent subtleties, you must learn how. But here’s good news! The areas of intelligence we weren’t born with are those we can learn.
Even those who have high-functioning autism can study and learn these things to better improve their social lives. I’ve seen a few people on the spectrum do this and it helped them to change their situations and live better lives. As a result, they moved on to better relationships with family and to make good friends. They also went on to get married and have families of their own.
Therefore, we must learn the subtext of not only words, but also nonverbal signals. Subtext can be read in our choices of clothing to wear and in the way we arrange our furniture. Moreover, it can be read in the rise and fall of our voices when we speak. Each of us is a living, breathing open book to those who are expert people-readers.
The Importance of Subtext
Again, it’s imperative that you learn to read what people are thinking and feeling more accurately. This includes learning to pick on up their hidden motivations and intentions. Once you do, you will better be able to distinguish between who’s for real and who’s fake.
More importantly, this new knowledge will protect you from sneaky and nefarious people. It will also open you up to limitless opportunities! Also, in learning to transmit the right nonverbal signals, you will repel bullies, abusers, users, and other unsavory types of people. You will be able to bring down social barriers, build rapport with others, and build connections. Ultimately, it will help you become more fruitful in life and have confidence you never thought you’d have!
If a bully cuts their eyes at you, return the gesture. If she tries to stare you down, never look away because she will only take that as fear, and from then on, you’ll be her new source of power. Always glare back without blinking and stand with your feet apart and arms akimbo to take up some space. This is known as a “power pose.”
You may have to stand that way and stare for a while if she sees your response as a challenge, but if you hold your position long enough, she’ll finally get tired and move on.
Understand that any time a person uses this type of body language toward you without provocation, they are clearly saying that they’re superior to you and attempting to dominate you. So always, always reciprocate any dirty looks and dominate or intimidating body language. Assert your power this way, and soon, the bully will get the message that you’re confident, fearless, and not one she should mess with.
independent 20s girl with threatening body language
It’s not what you say. It’s what you do. Nonverbal communication is over eighty percent of communication. Talk is cheap, and if your words don’t match your body language, bullies will pick up on it, and they will eat you alive!
If you’re the timid type, there are plenty of books you can read to learn confident body language and power pose. Once you read, practice, and learn what nonverbal cues convey power, you must practice those poses until they become comfortable to you.
Remember that bullies always target someone they perceive to be lacking in confidence, timid, and insecure because that person is least likely to fight back. To look confident, fearless, and secure, practice open body language.
Stand with your feet apart and arms uncrossed (crossed arms are closed body language and make you look insecure and untrustworthy). When a bully confronts you, never look down or away. Always look the bully in the eye, and she will see that you aren’t afraid and likely move on to someone else.
Most seasoned bullies seek to intimidate others by nonverbal means. Why? Because nonverbal bullying is subtle and least likely to be detected.
This type of bullying can occur either at school or in the workplace. Here are a few such subtleties.
1. They lean against the victim’s desk, office doorway, car, etc. Anytime we lean against something, we stake a claim to or show ownership of that object.
How you handle it is to tell the bully point blank and in a stern voice, “Get off my desk (car, etc.)”
Macho man standing crossed arms near luxury open top car in tropical resort isometric image vector illustration
2. The bully will sit in the other person’s chair. Again, any chair you sit in, you non-verbally lay claim to.
Address it by telling the person in no uncertain terms to unseat your chair.
3. The bully may also pick the victim’s notebook, purse off the victim’s desk, touch their property, etc. Understand that anything of yours the bully touches, he is laying claim to.
The unspoken message that the bully is sending is, “I own your desk, car, notebook, and anything that’s yours.”
Don’t ignore it, and don’t be quiet about it. Open your mouth and tell the creep to keep his hands off your stuff.
When I was in school, I saw a bully walk up to a table of freshman boys during lunch and pluck a French fry from one of the ninth grade boy’s plates before popping it into his mouth without even asking.
It was clear that the bully was challenging the boy. The message was,
“I just took a piece of your lunch. Now, what are you going to do about it?”
Female bullies will often go through their target’s purses or jacket pockets or flip through their notebooks, yearbooks, or diaries. I’ve also heard of bullies walking into their victim’s homes without knocking.
I remember going on a school trip and finding out that my bullies had gone through my luggage and stolen fifty dollars, a dress, and jewelry from me while I was out of the room. Because there were so many bullies, it was difficult for me to confront the thief. Though I had a pretty good idea who stole my belongings, I couldn’t prove she took them!
Understand that bullies will claim ownership of your space and your property, which only means that they believe they own YOU!
4. Bullies will violate your personal space. Bullies are notorious for getting too close.
Understand that when the bully gets in your face or looms you from behind, he is either trying to intimidate you, dominate you, challenging you, or attempting to provoke a fight. Do what you have to do. Tell this idiot to back the hell up!
Understand that these types of bullies have unlimited audacity, and they do not respect boundaries! With people who are bold and audacious, you must take a stand!
Never ignore them or allow yourself to be intimidated because these kinds of folks will only increase the behavior if you do.
…or “Victim Derangement Syndrome. Whatever you want to call it, it’s extremely toxic and it’s when things begin to become dangerous for a target of bullying.
TDS happens when the lies and bad talk about the target reaches such as pitch that it seems to be the unwritten rule to believe the BS or to, at the very least, act like you do. And too often, the bystander’s safety depends on it!
Bullies, followers, and bystanders have TDS when they have such an intense, demented, and blind hatred for the target that they’ll believe, without question (and without even blinking!), anything about him, so as long as it’s negative. And the more negative and condemning the rumors, the better and more convenient, and the better it suits the running narrative!
They’ll also believe it, no matter how ridiculous it may sound. Anytime you hear something about a target that sounds absolutely and utterly absurd to any rational and sane person outside the bullying environment, that’s when you know that Target Derangement Syndrome is at play!
Understand that when you’re a target of bullying and everyone in the environment you feel struck in (and you are stuck in) has TDS, that’s when you know the bullying has taken on a life of its own. In essence, you are burned in effigy!
Here are the signs and symptoms of Target Derangement Syndrome:
1. Others seem to jump at the chance to diminish anything positive about the target. For instance, if you are a target of bullying and you do a good deed that is either visible or gets positive recognition, others in the class, school, workplace, community, or any toxic environment will only disregard it and make statements such as:
a. “He only did that to make himself look good!”
b. “She’s only trying to score brownie points, kiss ass, (etc.).”
c. “Haha! He’s just doing that because he thinks it’s going to get him on everyone’s good side!”
When the target reaches a success, others will only rain on it, saying things like:
a. “Oh, God! Anyone could’ve accomplished that!”
b. “He’s trying to show out! He thinks he’s so special!”
2. People in the environment are wide open with their brutality against the target. Bullies, their followers, and any other bystander who wants to join in the mistreatment won’t even try to hide it anymore. Why?
Because these people know they’re protected from any accountability. They know that their brutality toward you is widely accepted now- even encouraged, or worse, celebrated!
They’ve picked up on the reality that no one will even dare help you (if they know what’s good for them) and won’t utter one word against the open abuse you endure every day. Remember that when others openly abuse you, it’s gotten to a very dangerous level! And you might want to ask yourself this:
“If they can get away with this, what are they likely to do to me next?”
“How much worse will they hurt me later?”
3. People in the toxic environment are blinded by their own hatred of you. They don’t know why they hate you so intensely. They just do.
If anyone on the outside were to ask them what you did or said to them to make them hate you so much, they either wouldn’t be able to answer them at all, or they would throw just any ridiculous answer out there, without having the goods to back it up.
And they’ll hope to the heavens the person asking is lazy and won’t press the issue further, or worse- (gasp!) challenge them to provide evidence that you’re such a despicable and deplorable person.
They’ll give ad hominem responses such as:
a. “Because she’s just a bitch and I hate her”
b. “Because I just hate the bitch!”
c. “Because he just rubs me the wrong way!”
d. “Because he’s a jerk and a know-it-all!”
And because they can’t come up with anything that makes sense, or, God forbid, produce any evidence to back up their (false) claims against you be prepared for them to fabricate lies out of thin air, or viciously attack the person asking the (very legitimate) questions and in that, pose the threat of making them look like the moronic and brutal monsters they really are!
4. These people will be intensely angered each time anything positive comes your way. For example, if you win an award, they may not say it to you, but you’ll see it in their faces and body language. They also may talk through their teeth to one another as their eyes blaze at you.
5. They’ll try to destroy your good mood because they’ll hate the possibility that you might be happy and feel good. If you are a target and they see you so much as laugh or crack a smile, here are a few responses you’re likely to hear from them:
a. “What the hell are you laughing about!”
b. “What the @&%# are you smiling about!”
c. “What have you got to be so happy about, bitch!”
d. Shut up, asshole! You laugh like a hyena!”
e. “I don’t see anything funny!”
f. “I wish she’d wipe that stupid smile off her face!”
6. They’ll shout you down and tell you to shut up, every time you even look like you’re about to open your mouth. Understand that these people don’t think you deserve to be heard, nor to even have the freedom to speak.
7. They’ll all rise against you when you defend yourself. When you have “the audacity” to stand up to them and assert your right not to be abused, they will all gang up on you and gaslight you into believing you asked for the abuse.
If that doesn’t work, expect them to smear you to others. And if that doesn’t silence you, the next step is a brutal physical attack. Always! If they can’t bring you down emotionally, they will do it physically and no one will jump in to help you. I’ve seen this happen and have had it happen to me.
8. They will watch you like a hawk. Understand that they and everyone else in the bullying environment will be watching you very closely- waiting for you to screw up even the tiniest bit! They will then beat you down with your mistake and never let you hear the end of it.
Realize that these people are only looking for the slightest infraction to maximize and use against you. They will twist, spin, or add to the most trivial thing you do that’s not quite right to make it bigger and more severe. Something as minuscule as knocking over a glass of milk will be made into a Federal case and they’ll swear you did it deliberately.
If they see you talking to a member of the opposite sex, they’ll swear up and down you’re trying to get laid. But if you happen to be saving yourself for your wedding night, they’ll only call you a prude.
If you take one sip of wine, they’ll call you a sloppy, fall-down drunk. But if you don’t drink, they’ll call you a party pooper, boring, or a stick in the mud. They’ll make statements like, “Well, he just doesn’t know how to have a good time!”
You will be damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
You must realize that when the bullying and mass degradation of you gets this bad and seems to permeate the whole of the environment, the hatred and contempt for you reaches such a crescendo that it’s has turned into mass mental illness in those around you. At this point, it more than likely won’t get better. It will only get worse until either one of them murders you or forces you to do it yourself.
At this juncture, the best thing you can do for yourself is to run! These people are dangerous and you must get as far away from them and stay away!
However, you decide to do it, get these people out of your life, and keep them out because these are people, you will never be safe around!
portrait of concerned about the problems girl. Studio shot
Bullies always display these types of body language, especially around their targets.
Dominance and Superiority Body Language – Bullies take up lots of space to appear bigger. You will often see bullies place their hands on their hips and stand extra tall.
They will often stand extra close to their targets– so close that they will sometimes touch them as they deliberately invade the target’s space. They do this to intimidate them.
Bullies will also frown and purse their lips at the target while maintaining unblinking and unwavering eye contact (boring their eyes into their target like a dagger) without moving their heads.
They will freely touch their targets because they have no regard for their personal space. For example, a bully may give the target a hard slap on the back or grab the target by the arm and lead them where they want them to go. A bully may also physically move the target to the side or shove past him/her.
Girl sitting on the ground and drawing personal space. Selective focus
Understand that the bully intends to show the target who’s in charge or to compete with him. The bully may also do these things to signal ownership of the target. Yes, in the bully’s mind, he owns you if you’re a target. The message is, “You’re mine, I own you, and I can do what I want with you.”
If the target is sitting, the bully or bullies will often stand over him to look bigger and more intimidating. Bullies who are short in stature will often stand on something to appear taller than their victims. Some may stand on their tiptoes.
Bullies will also lay claim to a territory (desks, spaces, parking spaces) and expect others to obey rules when near the claimed area or object.
Other ways of Invading the target’s space and claiming ownership – bullies may walk into the target’s room, office or home uninvited and without knocking. They may sit in the victim’s chair without asking permission.
Other invasions include leaning on the target’s vehicle, parking in their parking spaces, cutting in front of them in line or propping their feet on the back of the target’s chair when sitting behind them (I had a group of girls do that to me in school, and it was unnerving).
Understand that bullies crave control and do these things to take away the target’s power.
Bullies also put their hands on the target’s personal belongings with a carefree attitude. But know that the message the bully is sending the target is this. “I own you, so I own anything that is yours.”
Here is a classic often seen. Bullies may walk up to the target’s table during lunch, pick a French fry off their plate in front of them and pop it in their mouths. They may pick up the target’s fork and take a bite of their food.
Bullies may also pick up the target’s phone and began scrolling through the contents. Bullies will even rummage through the target’s purse or pick up the target’s jacket and go through the pockets. The hidden message the bully is sending is, “I can take whatever I want, and what are you going to do about it?”
Other ways bullies invade territory is to walk in the center of a hallway or sit on a flight of stairs, expecting people to move and go around them. Bullies may also stand in the middle of a road and driveway or take their time crossing the street, forcing cars to stop and wait. They may also stand in the middle of a crowd or center of a room.
Bullies also show dominance by how they dress or the car they drive.
Do Not Ignore This. Always make yourself powerful as well.
If a bully violates your space or belongings, always call them out on it. Never let it happen without asserting yourself. If a bully stares you down, always return the stare. Either look them in the eye or look them between the eyes.
If they look at you while standing feet apart and arms akimbo, reflect the exact same stance back to the bully. Mirror the bully to show that you’re not the least bit intimidated by them. If the bully is rushing you, slow down. Do not speed up! Remain calm.
Dress your best and look your best. This shows that you take pride in how you look and conveys confidence. It also helps you to feel better. When we look better, we also feel better!
Hostility Body Language – Bullies may look at their target while pinching their chin. The pinching of the jaw is used to release the hostile thoughts without acting on them– it is a way to hold back the urge to physically attack the target.
Understand that when a bully looks at you and pinches any part of the face, this signals the bully’s secret wish to harm you.
Another sign of hostility as when a bully looks at their target, then pounds a fist into a tabletop, wall or the palm of his/her opposite hand. Any object the bully pounds is only a substitute for the victim’s physical body.
Girls and women will often bite their lip, suck on the inside of their jaw or chew the inside of the mouth while looking at their target.
Bully boy teasing into camera, expressing aggression, POV victim of bullying
Bullies also show hostility by sizing up their target. They size you up by directly facing you, clinching their fists and puffing out their chests.
Male bullies will snarl at their victims, whereas female bullies will glare at their targets with dirty looks. Clenching a jaw where the jaw is protruding outward is another sign of hostile intentions.
Bullies often glare at their targets persistently and intensely without blinking. Their faces turn red, and they will often stretch. These are sure signs that a bully wants to physically attack you and they will do it soon. Again. Do not ignore this!