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.
Kicked out fired flying people figures, vector illustration color cartoon, horizontal
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 are notorious for gaslighting their targets. As we know, when a target speaks out about the abuse and begins defending themselves, bullies are quick to paint the targets as crazy, try to reverse the roles to make the target look like the bully, or try to convince the target that what happened didn’t really happen- that it was all in the target’s imagination, or they’re being overly sensitive, overreacting, etc.
If you’re a target, understand that bullies will gaslight you to shut you up, so that they can keep their moral high ground. They do it to make you doubt your sanity because they know that if you doubt your own sanity, it’s a sure bet that others will doubt it too.
It’s tough to know when someone is gaslighting you because when others agree with them, you’ll feel even more compelled to just shut up and go along with it. The reason for this compulsion is fear. You know that, more than likely, if you don’t just clam up and go along, you’ll only suffer more abuse as punishment for daring to open your mouth.
So, how do you know that someone is gaslighting you?
Simple. You know just by how it makes you feel. Here are the symptoms:
1. You’ll constantly second guess yourself – It’s a brutal cycle. You say something, make a judgement call, maybe a decision, and then you turn right around and begin wondering if you said or did the right thing. This is bad because second-guessing ourselves can cause us to feel stuck in life, and there are few worse things than feeling stuck.
You’re hyper-self-aware, self-conscious, and always on guard to make sure you do and say the right thing all the time. Also, too much second guessing can cause us to do and say the wrong things out of nervousness and that is no way to live life!
How you solve this problem is to stop worrying about what others think and to realize that your first instinct will usually be the correct one.
2. You wonder if you’re imagining things or being too sensitive and you do it several times a day- They don’t call it “crazy-making” for nothing because it can drive you crazy. When people are constantly taking pot shots at you, you hesitate to make any comebacks because, again, you’re too busy doubting yourself and putting too much value on the opinions of others.
Again, the best way to solve this problem is to trust what you feel and go with it. You may get bullied harder for it, but wouldn’t you feel better about yourself later, knowing that you stood up to those creeps?
3. You over-apologize- You apologize for trivial stuff that anyone else could do and probably get away with. You apologize for other people’s behavior. You even apologize for having to go to the bathroom! In short, you apologize for everything!
4. You’re confused all the time- Should you do this or that, say this or that? You live in constant confusion.
5. You’re never happy but you feel you should be- that’s a dead ringer that you’re being gaslighted. Because when people gaslight you even for feeling a certain way, this is what happens. And your feelings are right. You should be happier. Only you have a bullying gaslighter in your life holding you back from the happiness you so richly deserve.
6. You make excuses for other people’s behavior- this especially happens when you have fake friends who only use and abuse you. You don’t want others to know what they’re doing to you because you already know, and you’re riddled with shame over it. And it can be embarrassing when the people you call friends disrespect you because you end up looking pathetic to others. Therefore, you make excuses for them not only to hide the shame of being abused, but to keep your abusers from being angry and making you pay for it later.
But the only way to stop this is to face the truth and, even better, ditching these fakers. Because if you must make excuses for someone who’s bullying and abusing you, they can’t be a friend.
7. You lie to avoid being ridiculed or put down, even about things you should have nothing to worry about- when you feel you must lie about things that are not a big deal, that’s definitely a red flag!
Here are a few more symptoms to be aware of:
8. You feel that you’ve changed- that you’re no longer the confident and outgoing person you used to be.
9. You feel like you can’t do anything right.
10. You feel hopeless.
11. You wonder if you’re good enough.
12. You know something’s wrong, but you can’t put your finger on it.
Realize that being gaslighted day in and day out causes you to eventually lose yourself- to lose sight of who you are and once that happens, bullies and abusers will have you exactly where they want you.
Understand that some things are not so clear and that there are situations that we won’t get direct and easy answers to. That is why it’s so important to go with how you feel. Listen to your body- listen to your gut.
“Trust your feelings, Luke.” – Yoda (Star Wars)
There are times when the way you feel will be all the answers you need.
And once you go with your feelings, find a way to rid yourself of the life-leeches in your life (if possible). It’s the only way you’ll be able to heal, get yourself back, and live a peaceful, happy, and purposeful life.
At different times in my life, I have either met or been around certain people my inner alarm tried to warn me about. I cannot explain the feeling I got. The only way I can describe this gut feeling is to say that something seemed to be “off” about these people, and I would get a sinking, creepy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I could literally feel the bad vibes that seemed to pour forth from these people.
When I was young, I would often mistake this feeling for “just being paranoid” and ignore the feeling, which is something that a whopping majority of victims do. And it proved to be to my disappointment…every time! I have since learned that had I listened to my gut and avoided these people, I could have saved myself a truckload of heartache.
God gave us all that “sixth sense” or as it is more commonly called, the “gut feeling” or “instinct,” for a reason. Anytime you get a bad feeling in your gut about someone, you are not paranoid; you are not over-reacting. Your inner alarm is trying to warn you about a person or situation and keep you safe.
Here are a couple of excerpts from my book, “From Victim to Victor” that explains this even further:
“…My gut feeling warned me many times about my classmate’s personalities or that someone was about to harm me in some way, shape, or form. I did not listen to my innate alarm because the faith in my own intuitive abilities had been shattered. As a result, I often mistook it for being overly suspicious.
Another example of poor decision making was that I became a very MEAN and VICIOUS person. As a result, I often repelled the people who had my best interests at heart, who were genuine and would have otherwise been true friends. I missed out on many opportunities for friendship because I had very quickly come to a place where I did not trust anyone.
It was much safer to put up a barrier and keep everyone, including my own family, out than it was to take risks and learn how to trust the right people.
Being bullied and being stuck with unnecessary labels can very easily do this to a person. It cannot only cause you not to believe in yourself and your own abilities, but it can also enable you to trust your own innate intuition if you let it. It blinds you to people who are true as it completely zaps your senses of who is for real and who is fake, thus causing the loss of your ability to avoid dangerous people.”
“…You are not stupid. It is not only in your imagination. You are not overly sensitive. You are not a wimp, wuss, crybaby, crazy, or whatever else unsavory people call you. You always know when something does not feel good. You can see it in the way certain people cut their eyes at you and talk 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!”
Please don’t ignore this instinct. Never overlook that sinking feeling in your stomach because it could save you from so much trouble. It could even save your life!
Closeup portrait of a skeptical man looking suspicious, some disgust on his face mixed with disapproval isolated on gray background. Negative human emotions, facial expressions, feelings
I have a Spidey-sense when it comes to people. I automatically pay attention to others’ non-verbal communication and also their silences. I notice the clothes they wear and the arrangement of objects in their homes and workspaces.
I also notice patterns in their breathing, tensions they have in certain muscles (mainly the neck and jawline), and read the subtext in conversations. I even pay attention to their feet! In participating in or listening to conversations, I home in on what is implied rather than what is said. There is no such thing as an action that doesn’t communicate something.
Having been bullied in school ended up making me a very accurate people-reader. If there’s anyone who will teach you of the level of evil human beings are capable of, it’s bullies.
Once you have suffered the vicious onslaught of a bully or group of bullies over an extended period of time, your people senses sharpen tremendously, allowing you to better pick up on body language, facial expressions, tonality, and the hidden emotions/intentions of others around you. Even better, you learn to read those split-second flashes or micro-expressions most others miss. Why? Because it’s key to your survival!
This is only natural. An example of this would be a person who has lost their sight. We’ve heard stories of people who have suddenly gone blind. These same people reported that the other four senses automatically sharpened to compensate for the lost ability to see, which is only a natural survival mechanism of the body. It is the same when someone is bullied.
A victim of bullying is in a constant state of being threatened, both physically and psychologically. To survive, the person’s “sixth sense” and the ability to even better read non-verbal communication heightens to near perfection. Again, this is only the brain’s and body’s way of protecting them.
Understand that what compels a person to hon certain powers is always…ALWAYS necessity. If we feel that our survival depends on how well we read the emotions, moods, and intentions of those around us, we will find a way to tap into that power, learn it, and learn it forward, backward, upside down, and sideways!
Understand that people-reading isn’t only about doing it with your eyes and ears. It goes much deeper. It’s also about using your gut, tuning into their moods, and feeling those moods. You must learn to sense the vibrations that others put out!
Close up of examining a test sample of microchip transistor under the microscope in a laboratory.
I can automatically feel others’ moods, sensing every vibe they emit, and honestly, some of what I’ve felt in those around me didn’t feel good and was downright scary! However, I consider myself blessed to have this ability because it keeps me safe. As an adult, I now know how to avoid unsavory people. Even better, I no longer am bullied and haven’t been in years!
Learning the art of people-reading is an absolute must if you find yourself on constant defense against bullies. All it takes is to stand back and quietly observe the people around you, and you don’t have to stare a hole through them to do it. You can always watch people without looking directly at them by using your peripheral vision to do so. So, why not start today?
The sooner you begin, the sooner this will become like second-nature to you. The more and the longer you practice, the better you will become. Know that everything people do- the way they walk, talk, stand, sit, eat, arrange things in their environment, the types of people they associate with…EVERYTHING they do gives clues as to their moods, their character, and most importantly, whether or not they are for or against you.
So, keep your eyes, ears, AND spidey-senses peeled!