With your head filled with grandiose thoughts of your own importance
You’re totally oblivious to the severity of your own incompetence
With your head filled with grandiose thoughts of your own importance
You’re totally oblivious to the severity of your own incompetence
Most bullies may peak in high school but only become irrelevant in the real world.
High school is child’s play – the kiddie pool of life, if you will. And most often, graduation means the end of the line for most “popular” bullies and cliques.
I say this because most of my former school bullies had their fame in school but have done very little with their lives since. Most achieve very little as adults, while those bullied by these types evolve into remarkable and highly successful adults.
There are bullies who become successful in life also but it usually doesn’t last. They end up losing it all in the end.
I know this for a fact because one of my older school bullies got a Nursing degree, then worked as the Director of Nursing in a nursing home. She seemed to be moving up in the world and got handed the most favorable positions- all because she was well-known in the town. (Most of my bullies from school either became nurses, law enforcement, teachers, or went to work in corrections.)
While working her prestigious DON position, she got hooked on prescription pills, and someone caught her stealing out of the medicine cart. The owners of the nursing facility fired her from her job. Next, the state of Tennessee revoked her nursing license. Then her husband divorced her, and she ended up penniless and working in a local cafe for minimum wage. I can only imagine how humbled and humiliated she felt.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t secretly wish for anything bad to happen to anyone, and I don’t boast of the misfortunes of others- not even those who tormented me in school. I’m merely making the point that Karma does repay eventually, and most of these coddled and babied daddy’s girls and puffed up mama’s boys get a colossal letdown once they’re out on their own.
I came to find out that this has happened to many of my former bullies. They bully innocent others like myself during school, then get the comeuppance they never expected as adults.
Here are a few reasons why most of my ex-bullies aren’t very successful:
To be truly successful, a person must leave their comfort zones and face their worst fear- the possibility of failure. Most bullies will never leave the familiar. They’d rather stay in an environment where they continue to get opportunities, promotions, and rewards handed to them by their “town connections,” which are small to mediocre victories.
Most of my bullies never left that one-horse town. Why? Because they knew they wouldn’t get the special treatment and free passes in any other jurisdiction that were generously afforded them in *Oakley. Therefore, they stay where their friends are and know that they can get by on nepotism and the “Good Ole Boy System,” which rules not only *Oakley but most tiny Southern towns.
However, here’s the thing about small towns and rural areas. It doesn’t take long, nor does it take much effort to maximize potential in these areas, even for well-connected bullies and cliques. A person can only go so far in a rural area, so let them have their small town safety net because they’re only playing in the kiddie pool! They would drown in the big pond.
High school is the highlight of most people’s lives, so bullies today should enjoy it while they can. Because the real world doesn’t care who you were in high school.
Adult life has no concern with how popular you were, whether you were Homecoming Queen, the varsity football team’s star, or on the cheerleading squad. The workplace doesn’t care if you were in a fraternity or sorority or the if you were class president!
All the real world wants to know is whether or not you can contribute something to it, and most bullies are as incompetent as they come and add nothing to life but negativity.
I’m very thankful that many of my differences, ridiculed by my classmates, are the same characteristics and skills that people today (other than my former classmates) value and admire about me. WHAM! Take that, bullies!
With knowledge comes power!
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!
One thing I’m certain of is that every person, who has ever been a target of bullying, has at some point asked either themselves or another person these questions: “Why am I always to blame?” and “Why do my tormentors often get away with tormenting me?”
Here are the answers, and there are many:
1. Bullies are very convincing liars. Bullies have been lying and covering up bad behavior all of their lives. They have been doing this for long enough that they have learned what works and what does not work. They are master manipulators, skilled in the art of deception.
Bullies are also very good at rationalizing and justifying their unacceptable behavior. They are wordsmiths and con artists, who often use charm to deceive those in authority.
2. Bullies often use projection. They project all their faults and shortcomings onto their targets, making the target look like the bully and themselves look like the victim. When faced with possible accountability for their evil actions, they often cry and feign victimhood. This tactic is usually employed by female bullies.
3. Bullies are very charming to the right people, which can be used as another weapon against a target. Bullies seem to emit an oozing charm. Because of this, they had a way of winning people over and making them their allies.
A good reputation can be used as a weapon against any target because, with this good name, the bully has everyone (except the target) fooled. Others cannot believe that “this sweet, innocent, pretty little girl” would harm anyone. Take a look at the outgoing guy that everyone loves.
No one is going to believe that this “fine young man” would ever beat up a smaller boy unless he was provoked.
4. Because this person has so many friends who cherish them. Even if these friends did witness them undertake any wrongdoing, they will still more than likely cover-up for the bully out of loyalty and place the blame on the target.
5. There is strength in numbers Most bullies have a large number of friends behind them. And people in large numbers can have a cumulative power that can be overwhelming even for the greatest, toughest, strongest, most intelligent individuals. To put it plainly, if enough people are against a person, that person is powerless, no matter how strong, smart, beautiful, or easy-going they may be.
6. Bullies use gaslighting- adding their own spin to make you look and feel like the villain or by laying guilt trips- trying to convince you that you are at fault or that the abuse is just your imagination. Bullies are masters at this, especially female bullies who use feminine charm to deceive bystanders and authority figures.
7. Bullies malign you to others to destroy your good name and credibility: They recruit followers and start a campaign of hate and viciousness against you by way of rumors, lies, and trying to turn your friends against you. This occurred to me regularly in school, and it would happen as retaliation for my having the gall to stand up to them and assert my God-given, divine right not to be abused or taken advantage of.
There were several different benefits from the execution of this strategy.
1. It could be used to protect one another from being labeled by a teacher and getting a bad reputation. Most who have been in school have a least gotten into two fights, which sounds perfectly normal.
2. Destroying the target’s name with the staff would lessen any chances of him being listened to, should the target run and “tattle” to members of the authority. Again, protecting them from discipline at school and allowing them the freedom to do whatever they want to the target whenever they feel like it.
3. It’s used to silence the target and make him/her afraid to report the bullying or speak out about it.
Targets get the blame because, sadly, the attitudes of most bystanders and members of authority are these:
“Why would so many kids have it in for her if she’s not provoking them somehow?”
“Nobody likes him, so there has to be a reason that justifies it.”
After all, who will look any further than the child with the worst reputation anytime a confrontation arises? If people expect trouble to come from a certain place, that is where they’re going to look.
It is all designed to manipulate school staff and save the bullies’ behinds from having to face repercussions and, therefore, leaves an opening for further bullying later on.
Targets not only need the confidence to fight to bully but also the knowledge of bullies. The first step of defense is knowing the mindsets and intentions of bullies and the tactics they use.
With knowledge comes empowerment!
Bullies have been around since the beginning of time and bullying is a dark part of human nature. However, that doesn’t mean that we should put up with it.
I’ve dealt with bullies at different times my whole life and it has led me to evaluate the way I dealt with bullying in the past. It has also led to a passion for learning more about bullying and what makes bullies tick.
Here’s what I’ve learned.
Bullies are highly insecure, egotistical, know-it-all creeps with god complexes, and they feel they must always be the center of attention. Therefore, they feel entitled to waste your precious time by telling you how they think you should behave, what clothes, accessories, and hairstyles they think you should wear, trying to teach you things that you already know and most likely learned when you were five, and being passive-aggressive (or overtly aggressive). They do this to impress others by making you look inferior.
This is how bullies get the attention they crave.
And the best way to deal with a bully is to refuse them the attention they want. And when we deny bullies attention, we don’t value their opinions of us or anything that comes out of their mouths. We deny them that supply- that ego trip they seek, and in that, we cease to be victims. We might still be targets, but never victims.
In the past, I’ve had bullies force me to justify myself over the most harmless and trivial things, compel me to do things I never wanted to do, and attack me with stealthy put-downs disguised as “teachable moments” and “friendly advice.”
Back then, I over-apologized for just being me, or for things I had nothing to do with. I apologized for other people’s bad behavior, which were things I had absolutely no control over. I bought into their lies and gaslighting and apologized any time a bully let me know that my interpretation of what they would say to me wasn’t meant the way it came across and that they’d never say such terrible things to another person. Then I’d feel bad for taking them the wrong way. All the while, they’d continue and even escalate the abuse.
I’d let bullies push me into losing my temper and returning fire with the same verbal attacks they launched against me. I would then feel terrible when the bullies would whine, cry, and moan about how much I’d hurt their little feelings and how I had “overreacted.”
It’s funny how bullies can always dish it out but can never take it when the crap gets kicked back their way.
What I didn’t realize was that by my reactions, I was giving these bullies the attention they were looking for. I was giving them the green light to push my buttons, to question my mental stability and jerk me around. I was making myself their play-toy. I was allowing them to tear me down in order to build up their own fragile egos.
It was all a load of tripe, and I fell for it- hook, line, and sinker.
But no more. Since then, I’ve learned to spot a bully by observing the same types of behavior. I’ve also learned not to play their games. A person may bully me once. But trust me, they’ll only do it one time because I know bullying and abuse when I see it. And I also know what it looks like in the early stages.
I make it a point to treat others how I’d like to be treated and to listen to other people’s opinions and takes on things. However, bullies and abusers are the exceptions here. And when I see the signs and realize that someone is starting to bully me, they automatically lose a target. And when I’m done with a person, I’m done and there’s no looking back. I won’t continue to stroke a bully’s ego.
If the person is someone in a high position, I’ll withdraw my support. If the person is a coworker, I’ll find another job or I’ll expose them by simply giving them plenty of rope, then sit back and bide my time until the person hangs themselves and gets fired. If the person is someone related, any future contact will be on my terms.
And when I go no-contact, I won’t bother to explain to the person why I’m done with them because I owe them no explanations. Neither will I smack them across the head and let them know when they are about to cross the line. If they don’t have the self-awareness to realize that their evil actions and behavior are the problems, that’s on them and they’re the one who must deal with the consequences.
And no. I won’t have as much as a shred of guilt over it because self-care is nothing to feel guilty over. I value my sanity and peace of mind more than I ever will others’ opinions of me. For me, the knowledge gained from the lessons I had to learn gives me self-acceptance, self-love, confidence, and personal power.
Everywhere you go, be it the workplace, the school, the community, anywhere, it seems that the worst, most vile and nastiest people are celebrated and those who just want to live their lives in peace and go about their business are despised.
In a world that thrives mostly on smooth talk and appearances, authentic and good people are demonized by others because people see them as threats and feel they must contain threats. But allow me to break it down a little more.
1. The biggest reason bullies are celebrated, and mentally healthy people are hated is because people place their priorities on the wrong things- power, fame, sex, money, success, and good looks- things they feel would make them feel and seem more important.
Also, too many people think that strength is all about the ability to buffalo others and look tough. Granted, this may have been true back during the caveman days, but not today. Today, strength comes from social intelligence and the ability to keep quiet and listen. Strength comes from mental toughness, not physical.
Genuine strength comes from staying true to yourself and committing to the right thing in an environment of wrong. It’s staying kind and good when you’re surrounded by evil. True strength is standing up to power bullies when you feel at your weakest. It’s having the endurance to take life’s gut punches and having the resolve to get back up.
2. Another reason bullies are celebrated, and good people hated is because bullies are notorious for sucking-up to power in power to win favor and special treatment. Good don’t or won’t kiss booty to get ahead. They prefer to advance on their own merit. Good people are true to themselves and feel they don’t have to lick someone else’s boots to survive and thrive. They mind their own business and don’t get involved in cliques and social politics.
3. Bullies are well-known for making the good people with healthy minds look evil and mentally ill and they do it by provoking them into an argument. Bullies know better than to tell blatant lies, so they take a tiny grain of truth and embellish on it, adding their own personal spin to it and making things and people look worse than what they are. Make no mistake, bullies are good at distortions.
They are like magicians in that they create illusions that are believable. You’ve heard the term, “sleight of hand,” but bullies have a talent for, “sleight of word” – they’re the best wordsmiths in the business of bullying. For example, a good person can make an honest mistake and a bully will take it and make it look like the person didn’t do the thing by accident but deliberately. Bullies are experts and making simple mistakes look like evil sins punishable by death.
4. Again, good people are considered threatening in an environment of evil because they have a flare for exposing truths that bullies would move heaven and earth to keep hidden. Sometimes, these people, just by their authentic and down-to-earth personalities, can expose bullies and the bullies know it, so, they decide that it’s better to mob them (the authentic people) out before they bust them (the bullies) out.
Therefore, anytime you are faced with a bully, and you know you never did anything to provoke the person, it’s because of the four reasons above.
With knowledge comes empowerment!
Bullies see any recognition the target gets for a good deed, high marks, an accomplishment, or success as the target’s having diminished them somehow. If you’re a target, these types of bullies will only see any success you enjoy as a reflection on them.
You force them to think about and take stock of their own successes and failures. Understand that it’s the bullies’ self-focus that sets the stage for their anger and hostility toward you. They will personalize your success as if you’re an opponent who’s competing with them for the same prize.
The bullies are forced to compare themselves with you because they’re afraid that other people will consider them less worthy or important than you. They feel invisible and left out because they’re not getting the praise that you’re getting. So, they get a sense of disregard from others.
But rather than have normal feelings of disappointment and regret, they have anger and hatred toward you.
Although you never harmed them, the bullies feel a sense of injustice because they feel that you don’t deserve the recognition, but they do. They feel wronged and very much entitled to their anger and hostility.
Bullies will then accuse you of thinking you’re better than they are- as if they know what you’re thinking. And they really do think they can read your mind correctly, which then only further arouses their anger and hate.
Again, according to the bullies’ logic, you’ve wronged them somehow so, you are the enemy. And this perceived wrong that you’ve done compels the bullies to act hostile toward you because the bullies’ egos have been bruised by your successes and accomplishments.
Just as money is the root of evil, the ego is the root of jealousy. And bullies have enormous egos!
With knowledge comes empowerment!
Reactive bullying happens when a victim has taken so much abuse for so long that the pressure builds to the boiling point, the targeted person blows up or ‘snaps,’ lashing out at their tormentors. In essence, the victim “bullies them back.”
Believe me. I get that people can only take so much. I understand that victims are sick of it, and I’m with them. However, targets don’t realize that an explosive reaction is precisely what the bullies want. They want the target to snap. Bullies want the victim to blow up on them so they can then claim victimhood and make their victims look like the bully.
If you are a parent, teacher, supervisor, or manager, understand that bullies are experts at baiting a target into a reaction, then using the justified response as proof that the targeted person is “mentally unstable,” “crazy,” “a dangerous person,” “too sensitive,” or a “drama queen”!
Bullies also use the victim’s normal reaction to guilt and convince him/her that it’s all their fault and make statements such as:
“Well? Maybe if you wouldn’t get so overly emotional, you’d have friends!”
“If you didn’t overreact to everything, people would want to be around you more!”
In short, bullies gaslight their targets with statements like these to make excuses for the behavior and deflect the blame back onto the victims. And sadly, it works like a charm, and bystanders and witnesses believe the target is unstable.
Note: A perfect example is a scene in the movie “Home Alone” when the main character, Kevin McAllister’s older brother Buzz makes a fake apology to his family, then sneakily calls Kevin a trout-sniffer during a family meeting after the fiasco in the kitchen over Kevin’s cheese pizza. Notice how Buzz baits his younger brother Kevin into a reaction!
If you are a target, I want you to understand that there is a name for this. It’s called gaslighting, and it’s a trick to throw you off balance. Realize that every single human one of us is capable of losing our cool when we’re under that kind of pressure. After we’re attacked and subjected to vile treatment for so long, we snap and act a fool.
This is why teachers, supervisors, and others in authority must learn to distinguish between provocation and a reaction so that they will be able to identify the real bully and victim. And targets must also learn to tell the difference between the two so that instead of erupting, they can call it out when it happens.
Luckily, here’s a surefire sign to look for:
A victim who has only reacted always feels terrible about the way they acted once they’ve calmed down.
The real victim is usually the first to apologize for it.
A real victim will also not be afraid to admit they’ve made a mistake.
A bully, on the other hand, always has to be right and will never admit they’ve done anything wrong.
A bully will still place blame on the victim and be overly critical of the victim and the reaction.
Bullies will also use the tiniest screw-up or imperfection and make it bigger than it is. They are also excessively dramatic.
Please note that if the bully is a smooth talker, he might even admit to a few minor mistakes or wrongdoings. However, they will always follow that with the claim that the victim is at fault.
So, always look for these signs, and you’ll be able to peel the mask off the bully, layer by layer! Moreover, you’ll be able to protect and care for the victim!
With knowledge comes empowerment!
In movies and television, we see scenarios where targets stand up to bullies and automatically either get left alone or become friends with their former tormentors. However, in most cases, this is not reality. Remember that bullies are relentless.
Here are the tactics bullies use when a target stands up for themselves:
If you are a target, you must realize that bullies will not relinquish their power so easily. They will not be good sports and hand your human rights back over to you, nor will they bow out of your life gracefully. Bullies have an insatiable need to wield power over another, and without that power, they feel lost.
Why? Because bullies have no redeemable qualities and they’re losers in life. And since they can’t get power by their own merit, the only way left to get it is by ruining someone else’s life.
Make no mistake about it. When you kick unsavory people out of your life, they will do the following:
1. They will gaslight you- by adding their spin to make you look and feel like the villain and maligning you to others to destroy your good name and credibility.
2. They will lay guilt trips- by trying to convince you that you are at fault or that the abuse is your imagination. Bullies are masters at this, especially female bullies who use feminine charm to deceive bystanders and authority figures.
3. They may recruit followers and start a smear campaign- by recruiting followers to spread rumors and lies. They will also try to turn your friends against you. It happened to me many times and it would come as retaliation for my having the gall to stand up to them and assert my God-given, divine right not to be abused or taken advantage of.
4. They will turn your friends against you- Females, although becoming more and more physically violent with time, commit much of their bullying by Dividing and Conquering- attacking the targets’ relationships to turn everyone against the target to isolate them. Think about it. The chances are that your friends know your deepest, darkest secrets. They would know the most intimate details about your life. Friends are a GOLDMINE of information to bullies.
5. They will project their shortcomings onto you– Bullies have flaws and their greatest fear is having them exposed. What better way to keep their imperfections hidden than to either project them onto the target?
6. They will distract others’ attention away from their flaws by pointing out yours– What better way is there to hide their own shortcomings than putting the spotlight on yours? It shouldn’t be so easy but it is!
If bullies can’t control you, they will control how others see you.
They use the above strategies not only to cover their backsides and to punish you for daring to grow a spine and defend yourself, but also to close you off from any possible help or protection.
Once the target is isolated, the bullies move in for the kill. Now, they can do with you whatever they choose to do, freely and with impunity because if everyone is against you, the least likely they are to report or stop the abuse. In the minds of others, you deserve what’s happening to you.
Bullies want to, figuratively, hold the target hostage, and they will resort to any means necessary to keep him/her on emotional lock down and “in their place.”
They will do it with physical violence when exclusion, subtle digs, verbal assaults, gaslighting, and other forms of psychological abuse no longer have an impact. Bullies will commit their violence either by committing bodily harm themselves or sending someone else to do their savagery for them.
This does not mean that you should not stand up for yourself because you should. However, when you do, be prepared. The torment will get worse before it gets better. Be strong. Be brave and know that none of it is your fault.
The more you know.
You do the Voodoo that you do
Other people you hoodoo
And happiness you poo-poo
We all say screw you
Like a pesky fly, we shew you
You say you’re a guru
You’re so full of doodoo
You’re really just coo-coo
Choosing me was your first boo-boo
‘Cause I see the voodoo that you do