“Power is not what you have. It’s what the enemy thinks you have.” ~ Saul D. Alinsky (Rules for Radicals)
Bullies crave power like a kid craves candy. Power tastes delicious. Understand that most bullies attack in groups, or more appropriately, mobs. Being in a mob gives people tremendous power and bullies know it.
Power feels good because it can get people prestige, street cred, notoriety, and popularity. Power has a way of cushioning the ego, and as we already know, most bullies have meaningless lives outside of the mob and bullying environment (school, work, community, etc.). So, the power they get from being a part of a mob adds “meaning” to their lives that they could never get by any other means. Power is what gives bullies a cause and a purpose in life.
Group power is even better! Because in a mob, each individual can bully a target, lose themselves in the bullying, and get a degree of anonymity. Therefore, bullies are much safer in the group. The group shields each bully from taking any responsibility for their appalling behavior. Groups provide protection from exposure and personal consequences.
So, how do you fight back against a mob?
One way is to call out one or two of their members by their names and tell them to “get a grip,” “knock it off,” or “calm down.”
I recently read this in a book about survival and it makes perfect sense. Anytime you call out a few members of a mob by their names, it brings them back to themselves by personalizing them. What you’re doing is basically, separating them from the mob when you loudly call out their name.
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:
1. 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!”
2. 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!”
3. 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!”
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.
If you’re a target of bullying, I’m confident that you’ve asked these very legitimate questions a million times over.
“If these bullies despise me so much, why don’t they just get a life and leave me alone?”
“If they think that I’m such a bad person, why don’t they just let me go?”
“Why don’t they just drop me completely, go on about their business and let me go on about mine?”
“If I’m such a disgusting person to them, then why can’t my bullies simply just stay away from me?”
“If my bullies hate me so much, wouldn’t it be better for everyone if they (figuratively) just stayed in their corner of the room and let me stay in mine? If they just went on and did their thing and let me do mine?
“If I’m as loathsome as they say I am, why even bother? Why waste the energy to chase me down and harass me?”
“Why would people continue to pursue a person they so vehemently detest?”
“Why do they keep talking to me at all, even if it is abusive?”
After all, it would be a sensible solution to their problem- they stay away from you; you stay away from them, then everyone can be shiny and happy. Right?
The word Answer on a puzzle piece to symbolize the quest for understanding in answering questions and concerns
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works out.
As much as I hate to break it to you, bullies will never go away and allow you to live in peace if they have selected you to be their target.
And here’s why:
Understand that a bully’s entire mission in life is to dominate and subjugate…period. And if not you, anyone. You just happen to be the easiest target for them, you are the person they have in their sights, so their goal is to subjugate you, to hold you down and oppress you. Realize that this is the only way bullies can thrive. In fact, their very ethos is in mentally or physically enslaving and tormenting you.
In short, the only way bullies can have some semblance of meaning in their own lives is to dominate another human being. Why? Because they could never attain (or obtain) power any other way. Outside of trying to control and keeping a tight grip on the lives of others, bullies can’t find meaning in their lives, nor any sense of effectiveness or self-worth.
Bullies have no substance. They have zero redeemable qualities. The vast majority are only life-losers disguised as winners and cloaked with false perfection. So, it makes perfect sense that the only way they find their meaning- which is their sense of effectiveness and self-worth is by using force and riding roughshod over people they perceive to have the least power.
You must realize that if your bullies just left you alone, they would have nothing else because there is nothing left out there for them.
These bullies may indeed run the school, workplace, or community but again, outside of the environments they take over, make toxic, and rule with iron fists, they have nothing, zip, zilch, squat!
On the other hand, their targets and others who are normal and have healthy mentalities don’t have to bully others to find meaning in their lives because they already have it outside the bullying environment. These people find meaning through unity and togetherness with their families, their friends, their churches, homes, or through their love and pursuit of their talents, hobbies, and interests.
Sadly, bullies don’t have these things to fall back on.
Understand that bullies must have targets (victims). In fact, they need targets- people who they can oppress and subjugate- people they can order around and tell what to do because bullying itself requires targets. Take the target out of the equation and bullying ceases to exist.
If one is going to be in charge, there must be people to be in charge of. You can’t rule over no one- you’re not the boss of anything if there are no people to boss around. You can’t be a king if there’s no kingdom because for a kingdom to even exist, there must be people living in it for you to rule.
Put another way, it would be like discovering a deserted island and declaring yourself king of that island- if a king has no people to rule, he has no kingdom and, therefore, no power. It’s the same with bullies. Without targets to lord over, there’s no power for them to have and enjoy.
Here’s another thing to consider: if you’re a target of bullying, the mere fact that you want to get away from your bullies- that you want to escape their abuse and declare yourself a separate person will enrage your bullies.
Any attempts you make to evade them will be met with insane anger and the escalation of abuse to punish you because when you flee or fight back, you’re attempting to take away the only power they have.
The same thing happens when a battered wife finally musters up the courage to leave her abusive husband. It drives him crazy and not because he’s loses her but because he loses power over her. Bullies are no different and their rage and hostility at the possibility of you either fighting back or leaving the environment is all about the threat of losing power.
Remember that bullying is abuse, just like domestic violence, rape, molestation, or any other form of abuse, and abuse is about power. Bullying and abuse are one and the same, so, they’re both about power.
Therefore, bullies will never allow you to live in peace. The reason bullies won’t leave you alone because to do so would mean them losing the only thing they have- their power…over you.