Bullies don’t take constructive criticism very well. They only react to it as if it is a personal attack. Remember that bullies are highly egocentric. They must always be right about everything or, more appropriately, look as if they’re right about everything. Bullies have a knack for hiding beneath a veneer of total perfection.
They do this for several reasons:
1.It makes them look better than they really are.
2. The veneer of perfection can be used as protection from accountability and shield them from reproach.
3. It can be used to draw others to them and fool them.
4. It can be used as a weapon against their targets.
5. It gives them status and social capital.
6. It gives them the attention and admiration they seek.
However, bullies will use the guise of constructive criticism to disparage others they deem inferior and unworthy. They may tell the target that they’re only giving him/her this criticism to help them when, in fact, they’re doing it to show them they’re smarter or imply that the target is stupid.
A bully’s hypocrisy knows no bounds.
If you ever find yourself being unfairly criticized by someone you know is a bully. It’s important that you tell them in no uncertain terms to keep their noses out of your business.
And if they insist on keeping it up, hit them with their own book of standards. You can always say something similar to:
“That sounds real good coming from someone who doesn’t practice what they preach. Now, get out of here and go on about your business.”
This is one comeback you can use. Nothing fancy- you don’t have to get cute or witty with it. Just say what you mean and mean what you say, and say it in as few words as possible.
Bullies are notorious for projecting. Anything they accuse you of doing, you can bet dollars to doughnuts they’re doing it. Put another way, bullies do the same things they accuse innocent targets of doing. Understand that this is how they tell off on themselves.
There’s so much truth to the saying that, any time you point a finger, there are always three pointed back at you.
Humans can never know the inner workings of anyone else but themselves. They see from their own perspectives and speak from their own thoughts and attitudes. It is why most cheating spouses will often accuse the other spouse of doing the cheating. Every wife or husband who’s ever been cheated on knows that this is a red flag that’s all too common.
Realize that any time you have some schmuck accusing you of something terrible that you know in your heart you’re not guilty of, the chances are high that your accuser(s) is/are the one(s) guilty of it. Projection is one of the oldest tricks in the book.
Remember the quotes of Joseph Goebbels, a well-known propaganda minister:
“Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”
“A lie told once remains a lie. A lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.”
So, understand that when bullies project, they’ll repeat the same lie over and over again until people (even you if you aren’t careful) begin believing it.
When there’s a culture of bullying at school, everything is all about appearances. And it isn’t about what’s being done; it’s about who’s doing it.
Sadly, people often hold victims of bullying to a double-standard. If someone makes a statement, it’s never about the comment itself, but who it came from. Unfortunately, politics, whether it be on a national, local, school, or office level, is rife with double-standards.
Here are a few scenarios for examples:
1. The student body and people in the community find out that a particular girl is in a monogamous romantic relationship and that she and her boyfriend are not only dating; they have sex every weekend.
If she’s a target of bullying, she’s a “whore” or “slut.” And her boyfriend must be with her for the sole purpose of getting in her pants. It’s only a matter of time until he gets tired of her and dumps her for something better. And everyone uses her lack of celibacy as a means to persecute her.
On the other hand, what if she’s not a target of bullying (And she doesn’t have to be one of the popular crowd, she can be just an average Jane who blends in)?
As long as she’s any girl who doesn’t get bullied- she and her boyfriend are only in love, and they’re only experimenting and exploring the sexual terrain, which is only a normal part of being a young couple in love. And everyone either cuts her some slack and either doesn’t say anything, or congratulates her for reaching the milestone of finding love and losing her virginity.
Here are a few more examples:
2. A boy in the school is going out and getting drunk or high on the weekends.
If he’s a target of bullying, he’s a worthless drunk or druggie.
If he’s any boy who isn’t a target of bullying, however, he’s “cool,” he’s a hellraiser! He’s only doing what most teenage boys will try at some point during their adolescent years. And others dismiss it as his being one of the crazy kids from high school.
3. It’s discovered that a girl at school is pregnant.
If she’s a bullied girl, she’s a cheap little slut, and it’s no surprise she’s “knocked up.” People shun her like Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter.” Everyone judges her harshly and has the attitudes that she and her baby will only live on welfare and leach from society while the non-bullied kids will move on to successful careers. And that they will be stuck paying taxes, which will support this sorry excuse for a human being and her little spawn.
But if she’s any girl who isn’t a target of bullying, then she’s just a good girl who made a bad mistake. And everyone reaches out to her and extends compassion.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Realize that school politics and double-standards are firmly put in place to keep a select few down and oppressed.
In a nutshell, if you aren’t a target of bullying, there’s margin for error and you’re allowed to explore many worlds. You’re allowed to make mistakes. You’re allowed to be a human being.
But if you’re a target of bullying, you’re not afforded any of it. You’re not allowed to be yourself. You’re not allowed to be human because in the minds of others, you aren’t human at all. In the minds of the student body, you aren’t even allowed to be- to exist.
But no matter how they judge you, do it anyway.
1. Allow yourself to make mistakes because that’s how you learn.
2. Be yourself because that’s how you weed out the people who aren’t supposed to be in your life and attract into your world the people who belong there.
3. Be human because being human is what exposes the people who are wrong for you and shows you the people who are right for you.
4. And don’t only exist, but live! Be alive! Live life to the fullest!
5. And know that happiness is a choice! And that you do have the power to choose.
Bullies are the biggest hypocrites! And another unfortunate reality of bullying is that the target is held to a double-standard. The bullies, especially those in authority, will often condemn the target for statements and actions they allow others to get away with. They will also demonize the target for things that are harmless or innocent.
Also, ideas and creations, which are independent things and should stand on their own merits, are undermined or dismissed if they’re found to originate from the target. However, if the exact ideas or creations come from anyone other than the target, they’re accepted, even praised.
It’s not about the idea or creation itself. It’s about who it comes from.
The reality is that nothing- no action, statement, idea or creation ever stands on its own merit. Nothing is ever independent of the person who conceived it.
Double-standards aren’t only put in place to assign different roles to different people in different positions in a hierarchy, they have another purpose as well:
1. To elevate, angelize and benefit the people we approve of and to degrade, demonize and harm the people we disapprove of.
Understand that people hold a target of bullying to double standards for one reason only, to stress, oppress and invalidate the person.
It doesn’t matter whether or not the person deserves it. What matters is how people feel about and perceive the person.
Remember that emotions and personal feelings always- always take priority over logic. Always has and always will. And the sooner you accept it, the quicker and more effectively you will be able to find your way around it.
Here are a couple of ways you can get around a double-standard:
1. Go incognito if possible. If you write a paper or invent something, don’t use your real name in the beginning. Use a pen name or pseudonym before submitting it. If you have bullies around, they won’t know it was you who created it, so they will likely approve of it. Then, once it’s approved and recognized for its brilliance, everyone will want to know who the mystery person is. Once an award has been prepared and everything’s all said and done, you can reveal who you are. Think of the movie, “The Cinderella Pact.”
I’ve also heard of people doing similar things in real life.
But note that this only works in certain situations.
2. Meet strangers who don’t know and haven’t heard of you. Find and befriend strangers who don’t know of your damaged reputation. Then keep company with them. These people are least likely to judge you because there will be no history or biases. With them, you start with a clean slate. So, you can put your best foot forward and be your best you!
Reputations are hard to change, but with careful thought, inventiveness, and creativity, you can intelligently work your way around your circumstances.
Bullies keep so many secrets. They have to, to maintain the facade they hide behind. Bullies must continue to wear a veil of perfection, toughness, and coolness, and they take extreme pains to keep that veil from falling off.
But if you watch and listen, your bullies secrets will eventually seep through by either dumb mistakes they make, or through the gossip of others.
1. One or both of their parents were drug dealers. A few classmates came from homes that people bought drugs out of. Because of this, these bullies were either ashamed of what they were living in or felt ignored.
2. They were on welfare. Many of my bullies came from families that had a tradition of living on welfare and in many cases, it went back a few generations. These bullies were deliberately having babies because they wanted to draw a welfare check. Others were ashamed of it and took extreme measures to hide it from the rest of the student body.
3. Their parents fought all the time. Other classmates dealt with such drama at home. Therefore, they would start altercations at school too. You are what you live.
4. They were being abused/neglected by parents. Several classmates were getting their butts kicked at home. So, they’d come to school to bully and physically attack me and a few others to overcompensate and feel some sense of power. If they had no control over their own lives, they would come to school and assert control over someone else’s.
5. Their mothers had a different man over every night. So many of the female bullies would come to school and call other girls whores, sluts, and skanks. But these were names they really wanted to call their own mothers because the men in their mothers’ lives usually came before the needs of their daughters.
6. They had a parent who was an alcoholic/drug addict. Many of my classmates were angry and bitter because they had parents who stayed drunk and loaded. The drugs and booze would usually come before the child and would force the family into poverty. Some of the parents were “mean drunks” and lashed out at their children.
7. They had a parent who was supposedly a criminal. One of my female bullies had a parent who was rumored to be a murderer. Although the suspected parent was a big wheel in the town and was never convicted, there was plenty of talk about it around town and everyone knew about it.
8. They were dirt poor. Many of my bullies lived in trailer parks, shacks, and the projects. Some didn’t have indoor plumbing and used outhouses for a bathroom- even in the winter. Because they were ashamed, they’d come to school and shame others to feel better about themselves.
9. A parent had abandoned them. Again, may of my bullies were full of anger and bitterness. When they got to school, they’d take it out on their vulnerable targets. It gave them a sense of power. Many of these bullies were also jealous of targets who had more than they did and would bully them as punishment for being from families who were financially better off.
10. They were victims of sexual abuse by a family member or their mother’s boyfriends. These girls felt utterly powerless. So, to not feel so helpless, they’d jockey for power at school by asserting dominance over their targets.
11. They’d had multiple abortions. Many of my female classmates, especially those who were popular, slept around and many become pregnant- two or three times during school. Their parents were public figures with images to protect. Therefore, these parents would finance their daughter’s abortions to hide the shame they feared would befall their perfect little families. One girl had an abortion in the sixth grade.
12. They’d go slumming. Many of the bullies in the preppy crowd would go to the projects and slept with some of the women who lived there. When the parents of two of them found out about it, they sent them to a group home for the rest of the school year (ninth or tenth grade).
13. One of the teachers who bullied me was sleeping around – even having sordid affairs with some of the boys on the varsity football team. And it was common knowledge around town.
But because this teacher had connections in town and her father was a businessman, she kept her job and everything was hush-hush around certain people who were allies of hers.
However, when people were at a safe distance and out of earshot of anyone who might have gone back and informed her of who the talkers were, they would trumpet the juicy info loud and proud.
This is in no way intended to pass judgement on anyone. We all have our hangups. The point is, bullies have dirty little secrets that they don’t want to get out. Always! Why do you think they target others with their vitriol? It’s all designed to keep the negative spotlight off them and place it onto the target.
It’s a way to keep their own skeletons from seeing the light of day. Because if everyone is too busy looking at and judging the victim, they won’t pay any attention to the bullies’ sins, snafus, and faux pas.
1. Being a bully is WORK! They work hard to keep up appearances and to maintain their fake facades. Bullies, especially popular ones, have an image to keep up, and they monitor themselves nonstop, twenty-four-seven. They must keep up with and remember all the lies they tell to keep their stories straight. And they often spend beyond their means to look like they have lots of money. Is it any wonder that many bullies get charged with crimes like embezzlement, fraud, and theft. They have to steal to keep up!
2. Bullies are not happy people. They can’t be. Why do you think they bully others? They do it to feel better about themselves, to distract from their shortcomings and insecurities, and project them onto someone else. Bullies also bully to make themselves look superior, better, smarter, and more powerful. They may bully for attention because they aren’t getting it at home. It takes a miserable person to be a bully.
3. They’re weak. Bullies bully because they’re feeble-minded people. They’re loud, obnoxious, and pushy because they don’t have the brains to get what they want any other way.
4. Bullies are insecure. When a bully sees someone who outshines them somehow, they fear that the person will take the attention and admiration away from them. Bullies share attention and recognition with no one. They must be adored at all times by everyone. They feel they have to be at the center of everything and that the world should revolve around them.
5. Bullies are jealous of their victims. Bullies can’t handle anyone else’s success. If you have more wins then them, are better looking then them or are more talented than them, they’ll make it their mission to make you suffer for it.
6. Bullies are trying to be cool. Again, they strain themselves to keep up appearances. And bullies know that most people are under the mistaken impression that cruelty is “cool” as long as they aren’t on the receiving end of it. Many bullies bully to look cute to any witnesses.
7. They seek attention. If a bully doesn’t get attention, they feel inadequate. So they bully in front of an audience to get the attention they feel they never get.
8. They’re cowards. They’re afraid of looking weak and being bullied themselves.
9. They’re fakes, frauds, and imposters. They must don masks to hide their true selves. Understand that they do this out of the fear of their true personalities being exposed.
10. They’re compensating. Bullies bully to compensate for weakness. If they can look strong by making someone else look weak they make up for the weaknesses they feel they have. Bullies will also run with rich people or the popular crowd because it helps them to forget about the fact that they’re nothing and, in a way, makes up for anything they feel they don’t have.
Male bullies who feel they aren’t man enough will often drive around in hot cars and flaunt money to make up for the fact that girls find them disgusting. Female bullies will often use fashion, makeup, and the latest hairstyles to compensate for the fact that few people like them. Or they may have a bunch of friends and use that to make up for the fact that they can’t get a date.