When The Target Reacts or “Snaps”

Target on your back metaphor as a person with a tattoo of a bull’s eye symbol tattooed on the skin as an icon for being a victim of bullying and bullying or psychology of feeling vulnerable with 3D illustration elements.

After people have targeted a person, they react sooner or later. Some targets react negatively by turning the rage inward and lashing out at others. I did that once upon a time, and I hate to have to admit that.

There are, however, exceptions! Several react positively- they may become advocates against bullying and for people who are targets of such mistreatment, which is a great thing. Others focus more on their life goals. Because they had positive influences in their lives, or they chose to be their own positive influence, which buffered their self-esteem from the blows in so many ways from the psycho/emotional effects of bullying.

Depression Concept with Word Cloud and a Human being with broken Brain and Heavy Rain

Still, so many others often retreat within themselves, and it happens when others force them to feel as if their feelings don’t matter. These people often realize that no one will believe them if they talk about it. These are the ones who suffer in silence while trying to process what’s happening to them and why.

They stuff it down because they don’t want to feel the pain and negative emotions that come with bullying.

They feel that if they cry about it, they’re losing control.

They also feel that if they’re quiet about it, the bullying will magically go away.

But these three things couldn’t be further from the truth! When we feel the pain and cry, we’re releasing all those pinned up, toxic emotions, and we feel so much better afterward. And being quiet about anything won’t make it go away, but it is only why toxic emotions build up in the first place.

And you can’t continue to carry all that baggage forever. Sooner or later, you’ll need to unpack all that crap and put it away!

For me, it took a lot of therapy, journaling, and working on myself to survive it, but I’m so glad I put in the work. It takes much grit and determination to withstand any form of abuse.

Still, anytime I see a kid who’s shy and withdrawn, the first question that pops into my mind is, “Is this person a target of bullying?” And I say a little prayer for them!

What Gets Targets of Bullying in More Trouble

Overreacting. Any overreactions to the taunts, insults, and attacks of bullies only bring more problems targets would otherwise avoid if they stayed calm. Unfortunately, I learned this lesson through time-consuming trial and error, and it could’ve gotten me either maimed or killed. But you don’t have to.

Overreacting can have a boomerang effect because when you get overly excited, the chances are that the bullies will too- especially bullies who are overly aggressive. Overdoing the response could cause the altercation to escalate into something you may not be able to walk away from. Also, the bullies could use your overreaction against you.

The target’s overreaction is how bullies feign victimhood and make the victim look like the aggressor. It’s how bullies bait their victims. So why not use a different strategy?

Chess board and text “Strategic plan” Business planning concept

The smart thing to do is to fake a surrender or submission. Make it look as if you’re giving in to your bullies’ demands. I realize this may feel a bit cowardly to you, but you aren’t caving in, you’re only making your bullies think you are. So, remain calm and make them believe they have the upper hand. Doing so will stabilize the bully’s temper.

But wait! There’s another benefit! Your bullies more than likely expect or even want you to react with a high degree of aggression. But you don’t, and it will throw them off guard. It will surprise, even shock your bullies, because you remained calm and agreed with them. The surprise is a powerful weapon if you know how to use it.

Use your fake surrender as part of a bigger plan once you fool them into thinking you care. On the inside, you continue to stand your ground, but on the outside, you give in to their desires. Doing so can give you time to quietly plan a countermeasure that will bring the bullies down. Smarts will always trump aggression every time!

However, understand that this takes a truckload of self-discipline and self-control. And, as mentioned earlier, you may feel like a big old wimp when you use this technique. Just remember this: You’re not giving the bullies what they want. You only look like you are. You’re only playing dead to save your life!

Here’s a third benefit. By faking your submission, you also allow yourself time to study your bullies and carefully plot any future moves. And when the bullies are satisfied and lay off you, you’ll finally have room to make your countermove.

So, go ahead—fake your submission. Get close to your bullies and learn their ways. Give them no reason to react, nothing to prepare for, and no cause for resistance. Then when the time is right, BAM!

They won’t know what hit them.

Any time you make it look as if you submit to your bullies, you’re only mocking them. It’s silent disdain – like expelling a silent fart in their direction, only they don’t know they’ve been farted on.

You turn their own power against them and make them look like idiots. But they can’t retaliate because you did what they told you to do. Right?

What is Reactive Bullying?

dirty look

young beautiful arrogant and moody spanish woman showing negative feeling and contempt facial expression isolated on grey background looking cocky and defiant

Reactive bullying happens when a victim has taken so much abuse for so long that when 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.” But is it the wisest thing for victims to do?

Believe me. I get that people can only take so much. I understand that you’re sick of it, and I’m with you. However, make no mistake. An explosive reaction is precisely what the bullies want.

They want you to snap.

They want you to blow up on them so they can then claim victimhood and make you look like the bully.

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.

Bullying

Bullying, friendship and people concept. Girl patronizing screaming pointing finger at shy timid nerdy woman who is looking down

Bullies will 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.

snapped

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.

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 you must also learn to tell the difference between the two so that you can call it out when it happens to you.

Luckily, there are a few sure-fire ways of identifying the real victim who is only reacting to a provocation by a bully.

1. A victim who has only reacted always feels terrible about the way they acted once they’ve calmed down and 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, must always 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.

dreamstime_xs_104014878

2. A victim will also apologize, sometimes nervously and excessively.

A bully will never apologize. Because a bully is never wrong, even feels that it is their right to mistreat their targets.

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!