Bystanders, Friends, and Guilt by Association

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Understand that to achieve their goals to isolate the target, bullies will threaten and punish anyone they see having anything to do with the target.

Nobody wants to be ostracized. Nothing wrong with that. However, when bullies slander you and friends turn against you so easily, it speaks volumes about the kinds of people they are. And sadly, very few people have the sack to stand up to bullies. It stinks, but it’s the gospel truth.

Most people will do anything- and I mean anything to keep from being socially isolated. Most will even turn their backs on their closest friends.

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But understand this. Anybody who claims to be your friend but doesn’t have your back is not your friend! And when it comes to your bullies, you must ask yourself these questions:

1. Who are they (the bullies and anyone else) to set standards for you?
2. Who are they to tell you what standards you should live up to?
3. Who are they to tell you to change?
4. Who are they to tell you how to dress, how to act, and how to live?
5. What authority do they have to make any rules that you should follow?
6. Who died and made them the authority over you?
7. What power do they have to tell everyone else who to associate with and who not to?

If you’re a target of bullying who’s just been abandoned by everybody because the bullies have influenced them to do so, you must also ask yourself this question:

1. Would you even want to be friends or associate with a bunch of pathetic wussies who are so weak and spineless that they’ll bow down to pacify a bunch of bullies? Do you want to associate with anyone who’s too chicken to stand behind you?

I want you to understand that anyone who says ‘yes’ to bullies and turns on you so quickly didn’t have much sack, to begin with. They were never even worth knowing. Because they only proved to you that they’re worthless and can never be trusted. You don’t want a bunch of wimps for friends. I know it hurts when someone you thought so highly of suddenly throws you under the bus!

Believe me, I’ve been there, and betrayal by people you thought were friends is the most painful part of being a target of bullying. But, as painful as it is, you need to realize that not everyone is worth your time. Not everyone deserves your friendship. So, when people turn against you, understand that it’s only the trash taking itself out!

What you want are strong and brave friends- friends with substance! You want friends with the cajones to have your back and tell the bullies to go take a long walk off a short pier!

Let me warn you. Great friends are hard to find. Because the strong and true are few in this world. Most people really are a bunch of bagless, weak-kneed wusses. Just as a girl must kiss many frogs to find a prince who’s worthy of her love, a target of bullying must weed through a great many wusses to find people who are worthy of her friendship.

You must raise your standards and expectations. You must be very selective of who you allow being pals with you. Selectiveness is a great thing because it shows that you value yourself and that you won’t settle for anything less than what you want! You must put a proverbial price tag on yourself and make sure it isn’t too low! Only then will people respect you.

For others to value you, you must first value yourself! And that means loving yourself enough to walk away from people who are worthless to you (i.e., the fake friends who betray you).

With knowledge comes empowerment!

The 4 Stages of Bullying

Bullying is a process. It goes through stages, pre-beginning stage, beginning stage, middle stage, and late stage. Understand that depending on the people involved, the environment, and the situation, the bullying can move through the stages either quickly or more slowly and can even skip stages.

Pre-beginning Stage of Bullying

A group of classmates or coworkers (bullies) search for a target. Once they spot a potential target (PT), they watch them closely, studying them. Here’s what the bullies try to figure out:

  • What excites the PT
  • What makes the PT happy, sad, angry, upset, etc.
  • What the PT most desires
  • Any voids in life the PT has
  • Any unmet and unfulfilled wants and needs the PT has.
  • The PT’s body language and facial expressions to assess moods and mental states.

Close up of examining of test sample of microchip transistor under the microscope in laboratory.

Understand that bullies want to know these things to figure out whether the PT would be an easy target.

Beginning Stage.

Bullies test the waters by throwing out subtle or not-so-subtle insults and attacks to see how the PT reacts. If the PT gives the bullies the reaction they’re looking for, the bullies then select the PT and make him their target.

By this stage, the bullies have gathered the intel they searched for in the pre-beginning stage. They then weaponize it and use it in their attacks against the target.

For example: If the bullies find out that the target’s father is an alcoholic or that his wife cheating on him. They may use the info to bait the target into a reaction.  They may say something to the effect of:

“Hey, So-and-so! I heard that your father is a drunk (or, your wife cheated on you)! Is that true?”

The target then fires back saying:

“No, he’s not (she didn’t)! You lay off!

They put the target on the defense, then build off the target’s defensive reaction. The bullies laugh and say, “Aww! ‘Smatter? ‘Truth hurt?”

And on and on the bullies build on each answer to get the target riled.

The bullies continue to berate the new target until they get bored with the same tactics. They then escalate the attacks.

Middle Stage.

In this stage, the bullies signal to other classmates or coworkers that the target is ripe for attack. Bystanders are encouraged, even recruited to unite with the bullies and join in the torment. They do this through gossip, rumors, accusations, and smear campaigns. One by one, people turn against the target until she has no support system and no friends left.

Now the target has become radioactive- no one wants to associate with the target because they know they risk becoming the next target if they do. To ensure their own reputations don’t become tarnished, the bystanders may either avoid the person altogether, or they become willing participants in the attacks. These people become secondary bullies.

The bullying becomes physical and the target begins to suffer physical attacks and beatings by the bullies. Although physical bullying can happen in the workplace, it’s much more common in the school environment.

Also, bullies and their recruits go home and tell their families what a terrible person the target is. The family members then spread the word to the people they know and everyone meets the target’s reputation before getting the chance to meet the person.

Late Stage.

Bullying becomes mobbing when it reaches this stage! Now people who don’t even know the target wish to attack him. It becomes a case of “you don’t know me, but I know you.” Understand that this stage is the most dangerous because everyone has become so deranged and emboldened that they don’t try to hide their hate anymore. Why? They’ve gotten away with their abuse for so long that they know that there’s no incentive to stop the attacks.

And where there’s no accountability for abuse, there are no boundaries or limits to it. Therefore, the bullies (and everyone else) can now escalate the abuse at will. This is the stage that bullying has become life-threatening. Everyone in the community hates the target and wants nothing more than to see the target suffer. They don’t know why they hate the target and, more than likely, couldn’t tell you what the target did to deserve it. All they know is that they loathe the target and have an intense desire to destroy the person.

Again, this stage is the most dangerous and if you’ve reached this stage, now is the time to leave. Pick up and move to a different area and tell no one where you’re going or even that you’re moving. Just quickly and quietly disappear because your life may depend on it.

Rumors and Lies Breed False Memories

As rumors and lies circulate, details are included and added to the stories, and these details have a way of being inserted into people’s memories. There have been cases of burglaries where the homeowners “thought they saw” an unarmed burglar with a gun when, in fact, there was no gun.

Understand that in these cases, people don’t lie on purpose. They really and truly believe they saw a gun in the criminal’s hand or his pocket. They actually “remember” seeing it.

And the reason they remember it so plainly is that they’ve heard and talked about it so much their brains filled in the blanks with the details based on what they heard. Another reason for false memories is that when bullies ask questions such as,

“Did you see her do this?”

“Did you hear him say that?”

they only suggest that she did do this, or he did say that- the Power of Suggestion at work.

It’s so easy to influence people’s memories by presenting something in a particular way. Also, the memory will adjust itself according to a person’s stereotypes and expectations. People see what they expect to see.

Too often, people’s memories depend on social expectations- what they expect the target to do and not what he is actually doing.

Understand that memories are mistakable and can be falsified. Sure. And whether accurate or make-believe, once it becomes a memory, there’s no way to tell the difference.

If you’re a target of bullying, I want you to realize that this does happen and that you must make preparations accordingly to protect yourself better.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

7 Statements Bullies Make When They Can’t Come Up with a Good Excuse for Their Rotten Behavior

Any time a bully is asked by others why he/she behaves the way they do toward you; the bully will often come up with something that sounds plausible and makes sense. And let’s face it, we’ve all met people who instantly give us the heebie-jeebies, or whom we were suspicious of, and we didn’t even have to see them do anything for it to raise our alarm bells. The person didn’t even have to speak. He/she may have even been a nice person and very well-behaved, but still, we just didn’t feel good around the person.

Therefore, these explanations are so plausible. Because some people, regardless of whether they’ve done anything wrong, just seem to creep others out and we should always follow our gut instinct.

Closeup portrait of skeptical man looking suspicious, some disgust on his face mixed with disapproval isolated on gray background. Negative human emotions, facial expressions, feelings

But! Because these explanations are so plausible and relatable, they can also be used by bullies to deceive others into shunning or even abusing you. Because if one person makes the statement that a certain individual gives them a bad feeling, and the person saying it happens to be a trusted and highly thought of person, (as many bullies are because of their ability to charm and draw others to them) those listening will automatically think, “Whoa! If so-and-so gives Becky a bad feeling, then what have I been missing here?”

And the others will automatically become suspicious of the person too. Remember that moods, emotions, and behaviors have a highly contagion effect, and tend to spread over a group, community, or population like a brush fire!

1.“She just rubs me the wrong way!”

2. “I just don’t like him.”

3. “I just get a bad feeling about her!”

4. “There’s just something about him that I don’t like!”

5. “She just gives me a bad feeling!”

6. “I just don’t feel good around him!”

7. “Something about her just scares me!”

Positive teenage student boy keeps hands folded, tooth smile imagine himself an angel with fluffy wings behind back and a halo above head. Super power, inner strength and innocence concept.

Here’s the thing. When the bully is highly thought of and well-trusted, the people who like and trust that bully are likely to doubt their own senses and go with the word of the bully- simply because they trust their judgement. Put simpler, they will trust their judgement more than they do their own.

Realize that this evil individual is trying to be slick! There’s a purpose for this and it’s to cast doubt on you in the eyes of others and to provoke suspicion. Nothing more. And all it takes is a seed of doubt to begin a long smear campaign. The best thing to do is to see it for exactly what it is- a smear campaign in the making and watch the bully escalate it from there.

Watch the bully try to “create” bogus stories. She will also create proof to back it up by baiting you into a verbal altercation or fight to get a reaction out of you. Then she can use your normal reaction and spin it to fit her twisted narrative. That’s how this scenario works, so be on the lookout!

If possible, the best thing to do is to avoid this person altogether and save yourself a ton of drama. Remember- out of sight, out of mind.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

What School Bullies Really Want to Say to Targets Who Stand Up to Them (Part 3)

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(Continued from Part 3…)

Here are more ways we bullies assert and reinforce control over targets who step out of line.

3. We spread rumors and lies about the target. That’s right! We’ll demonize him. And he won’t even know about it until it’s too late and enough people are itching to take him apart. We’ll sow discord between him and all the other classmates. Hell! Even the teachers! We’ll make him public enemy number one!

Get this straight. All we have to do to demonize our target is to throw around a few offhand remarks and loaded words.

‘You see? We’ve been best friends since kindergarten, and some of us since we were babies. We are a family. We keep each other’s darkest secrets and fiercely protect each other, which means we cover each other’s butts.

Our parents know each other, and we have connections to quite a few city officials and local big shots. Everyone knows us and they love us- very much! We’re in cahoots with the right people and they tell us everything.

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Nothing is private. Not in this school and not in this town. This high school is our kingdom. And it’s crawling with lackeys, suck-ups, and wannabes. These people straddle the fence and they’re the ones he’ll least expect.

And he messed with one of us, so he messed with all of us!

4. Make him do degrading things with the promise of acceptance and inclusion. By this time, we’ll have him so rejected, alone and alienated that he’ll sell his soul to the devil just to get a crumb of acceptance. So, why not give him something to strive toward? Make him do something stupid. And trust us, we’re creative! We’re inventive!

We’ll think of something so humiliating and degrading! We’ll set him up to look pathetic, and we’ll film it for the entire free world to see. And he’ll never be able to get away from it.

We’ll also set him up to get in trouble with the principal by baiting him into a few fights. We’ll get in his face. One of us might even throw the first punch and force him to hit back, and then we’ve got him. We’ll all band together and say he started it, cook up a good story, and he’ll be the one blamed.

And what will be the icing on the cake is that after everyone finishes blaming and punishing the target, they’ll give us sympathy for being victimized by such a monster.

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That’s just life at the high school. Some matter and some don’t. And if a target tries to defend himself, he’s just defensive, a whiner, or he’s crazy.
But those rules don’t apply to us because we can do no wrong. Remember. We’re royals. And the double-standards we held our target to are beneficial to us. Don’t be surprised and don’t catch an attitude. You’d do the same thing if you were one of us.

5. We fantasize about the target transferring to another school or, even better, killing himself. Seriously, we do. But then again, we really don’t want that because, if he did either one, all the fun would end and it would be game over. We need our target to stick around so that we can continue getting our jollies and free entertainment.

We prefer to make things worse on our target slowly and gradually and drag it out for as long as possible. We’ll enjoy watching him withdraw from everyone, lose his appetite, lose weight, get sick, and shake from nervousness. And we know he will snap sooner or later.

We may be high school kids, but we’re far from stupid. We learned the laws of human nature early. How do you think we got so darned popular with kids and adults alike and rose to the top of the social totem pole? We knew the rules of the social game long before most people knew how to use the bathroom by themselves!

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We also know that no one can keep that kind of pressure stuffed down inside forever. It’s impossible. Eventually, the target will explode. It always works better that way. And when he does blow up, we can only hope he does it in front of an audience.

We’re already building a case against the target. We can pick out small incidents, take them out of context, and spin them to make it bigger. We can craft a pattern out of them and make it look like evidence that is so damning.

Sure. Like, love and attractiveness are all subjective, but the system and social dynamic are rigged in our favor.

6. We would love nothing more than to beat the ever-loving crap out of our target but don’t want to risk getting caught. We’re too smart to do something so obvious and we don’t want to get our hands dirty. We’d much rather pick the creep apart in front of everyone and use his words against him. His intentions don’t matter. A screw-up is a screw-up and we’ll stick it to him. We’ll do it under the guise of friendly advice, the stealthier way to attack.

7. Pit what friends the target has against him. If we can’t turn his friends against him any other way, we’ll attack them too. We’ll accuse his friend of being in on the target’s little rebellion. Why should we do the dirty work ourselves when we have peer pressure on our side?

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His friends will then blame him for dragging them into it and causing them to become targets. They won’t care to hear any explanations or justifications. They’ll just want their lives back and they’ll ostracize and gang up on him to make that happen. Cause and effect is such a beautiful thing! Why not use it to your advantage?

8. Send henchmen to commit our violence for us. As much as we’d love to beat the target’s brains out with our bare hands, we’re too smart to get blood on our hands. In fact, we won’t even be there.

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We’ll just send some roughneck or a group of them to kick his tail for us. And why not? We’re the kings and queens of the school. Offer the right incentives and we can get anybody to do anything we want them to do.

Even better, we’ll get the toughest guy with the worst reputation and put a bug in his ear. We’ll make him think that the target is trying to put the moves on his girl. Then we won’t have to offer him anything in return.

It won’t matter what the truth is or whether the target even knows the girl. Because we have all the power, connections and trust, just our names and our word is golden.

The target gets his head kicked in and gets a ride in an ambulance. We fade into the woodwork. And if things get too hairy, we just let the tough guy take the fall! And if tough-guy tells the cops that we put him up to it, do you think they’ll believe him?

Brilliant, huh?

Bullying and Relational Aggression- “Don’t Associate With Her!”

It’s bad enough when bullies mistreat you themselves. But when they set out to prevent you from becoming friends with people besides them, that’s even worse.

Social and relational bullies are like obsessive exes who won’t allow you to move on from the hurt. You know the type- an ex who claims they don’t want you but doesn’t want anyone else to have you either.

They deliberately try to isolate you to wield power over you and make you believe that you need them- that you need their approval to live a happy life.

Another goal is to instill shame in you and make you believe you somehow deserve to be bullied. Bullies also do this to isolate you so that they can more safely continue, even escalate their attacks. If the bullies can turn everyone else against you, then you’re least likely to get support, and they’re least likely to be held responsible for their behavior.

Bullies use socio-relational aggression for many reasons, a couple of which are to get back at you for a perceived slight or intense jealousy of your good relations with others.

Bullies reap other psychological benefits, as well. They get gratification and satisfaction in seeing you alienated from everyone else. Also, your isolation serves them as proof that you’re a terrible person. Bullies always have to be right about you.

Understand that these types of bullies observe you very carefully. They keep track of you to find out who you associate with, who you date, even who your family members are. They also dig up information about your life.

When they find out who your friends are, they then tell your friends lies about you or threaten to harm your friends if they catch them having any more to do with you. Bullies will also mistreat your partner and even go after your family. You must realize that bullies thrive on fear, and, as I’ve already mentioned, their goal is to isolate you and make you more vulnerable. They cut you off from any protection or assistance.

Once they have succeeded in alienating you, they can bully you at will and with impunity. Bullies can also keep you silent about the abuse. If you have no one to talk to-, if no one will listen to you, then there’s no way you can speak out about them or their abuse without getting rebuffed or ridiculed.

So, here’s the short list. Social and relational bullying reaps the following rewards for bullies:

• Silence of the target
• the freedom to abuse anytime they want
• protection
• confirmation of the target’s unworthiness
• favor with others
• immunity from accountability
• gratification, satisfaction, and, most of all, overall power and domination of the target!

Knowledge is power, so get wise to your bullies. It’s the first step in protecting yourself from them.

Why Seasoned Bullies Prefer Psychological/Emotional Bullying

PTSD

Why? Because this type of harassment offers easy deniability.

Unlike the physical kind, Psycho/Emotional bullying is less evident to others outside the bully-victim dynamic because it leaves no visible bruises, cuts, or wounds. Therefore, the target has no proof that any bullying ever took place. The bullies can easily deny any incidences if the victim becomes fed up and either assert themselves or reports the harassment to an authority figure.

Afterward, the bullies can brand the target as mentally unstable, destroy his/her credibility, reputation, and relationships, then retaliate against the victim by continuing and escalating the harassment later.

Remember that the most talented bullies are the biggest cowards and the most successful actors and actresses. They have methods of harassment that are well-planned in advance.

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

They go to great lengths to prevent themselves from being exposed. They’re incredibly crafty, committing their attacks ever so slowly and subtly, undercover and behind a veil of superficial charm, fake playfulness, and deceit.

These types of bullies are often in the Preppy/Popular crowd at school or in the Good Ole’ Boy Clique at work because of their superior social skills, ability to read people and predict others’ reactions. They have a talent for keeping up appearances.

They are usually well-liked by teachers, school staff, supervisors, managers, and CEOs. They excel in studies, join clubs or sororities/fraternities, and make themselves out to be high performers at work by stealing others’ ideas and work.

Because their popularity and extreme likeability serve as a shield from accountability and add a lot of weight to their lies and deceit, they often get away with bullying others.

If you live in a small town, they likely come from families who have powerful connections, which is all the more reason why they must keep up appearances. Many of these kinds of harassers are highly skilled wordsmiths, which is why they are such good liars and seem to have the right answer or justification for anything.

Bullies of this kind also have followers. They’re too chicken to get their hands dirty, so if they want to cause any physical harm to their target, they will often send one of their sycophants to do it for them, being sure to offer money and social status as possible incentives to get the job done and stay quiet.

But understand that most of their followers don’t like them; they only kiss and cover their butts to get something from them- their approval and the power and social status that comes with it.

Bullies on top of the pecking order will also use their social skills to take advantage of the mentally disabled (kids with Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Traumatic Brain Injury, etc.) and the physically disabled (kids with Diabetes, Lupus, heart defects, and food allergies; kids who are paraplegic, etc.).

They also target kids with weight issues (overweight or underweight), those with low self-esteem, or those younger and smaller.

And most of the abuse they dish out to these kids is strictly psychological or emotional because they’re such cowards! Otherwise, they wouldn’t select such vulnerable kids to push around in the first place.

Since you have to go to school or work with these types and there is no way to avoid these types of people or to go no-contact, I want you to see through these self-entitled, self-absorbed, and self-satisfied wimps so that you can learn their weaknesses and expose them for your own protection.

You must get into the minds of these bullies. You must think as they do even though it’s not a pleasant place to properly defend yourself, and I’ll tell you! The souls of such people can be downright ugly!

Sometimes it takes getting just as low, just as sneaky, and just as nasty as your attacker if you ever want to expose them for what they are before they back off.

The more you know, the more you’re prepared, the better you can protect yourself from such people.

8 Telltale Signs Your Loved One is Bullied at School

As we know, targets are often silent about the torment they face at work or school and in most cases. This is due to shame and embarrassment. Also, Most family members and friends are not even aware that there is a problem. Those who do know about it are often at a loss as to how to help them. If you are a family member and are wondering whether or not your loved one is a target of bullying, here are the signs that she’s being bullied:

1. Withdrawal from family and friends – being the target of bullying can slowly chip away at self-esteem. And people with low self-esteem have a tendency to withdraw. It is a defense mechanism to protect oneself against further attacks because bully targets, after being victimized for so long, begin to think that all people are vicious and cannot be trusted.

Therefore, they put up their guard and close themselves off, resulting in missed opportunities for closeness with family members, friendships, or romantic relationships.

Or it could be that they don’t want to bother others with their problems and prefer to handle them independently. Still, lovingly ask questions and be prepared to listen attentively if they open up.

 

2. Underachievement – Most targets are underachievers. Their self-esteem has been so badly beaten that they no longer believe in themselves, which can cause a condition known as “Learned Helplessness.” After being told that they are a “loser,” “no good,” and/or that they “can’t do anything right” for so long, they tend to believe it themselves. This can hurt grades, class participation, and performance.

Letter F grade on a report card rating a terrible, bad, poor performance in school, a class, job or other scored activity

They must also focus all their mental energy on ways to avoid bullies and be safe, which can affect performance.

3. Overachievement – Although bullying can cause underachievement, it can go either way. Some bullying targets dive into work projects or schoolwork and achieve exceptional grades and class performance to compensate for their low social status among their peers. They feel that they are socially inept somehow, so these kids try to make up for this by excelling in their work, studies, talents, or any other area.

4. Bruises, scrapes, and or cuts on their physical body – many victims of school bullying are targets of physical bullying (being punched, kicked, knocked down, dragged, etc.), which occurs mostly in boys. Still, thanks partially to feminism and the moral decline in today’s young girls and women, physical assaults perpetrated by females are increasing at an alarming rate.

5. Sadness and Depression – symptoms are crying, withdrawal, loss of interest in activities one normally enjoys, and fatigue.

6. Excessive absences from school – Most targets are afraid of going to work or school because they know that bullies will be waiting for them as soon as they arrive or step onto the bus. So, they avoid going by either skipping, feigning illness, or calling in sick.

7. They may become bullies themselves – Often, bullied people feel helpless. They feel that they have absolutely no control over anything. So they too become bullies in an attempt to feel some sense of power and control over something- ANYTHING.

They bully others who are even more powerless to make themselves feel better about themselves and to feel that they are a rung or two up from the bottom of the social hierarchy. Crap always rolls downhill.

An example of this would be: A child gets yelled at by parents, then goes outside and kicks the dog. It’s the same with most bully targets. And as much as I hate to admit it, I was guilty of the same thing in school.

8. Suicidal thoughts and attempts – sadly, suicides resulting from bullying are at an all-time high! Most people who are bullied are powerless to stop it. Most have tried reporting it to authority or handling it themselves to no avail.

Targets often feel alone and have no one in their corner. They feel that there is something wrong with them. They’re made to feel as if it is their fault and that somehow, they deserve the shabby treatment they get.

Sadly, some targets break under pressure and conclude that suicide is the only way to make it stop. If you even think that your loved one might be suicidal, Get help now!

Targets need a support system! Be that support system! Be there for them! If you see any of these signs in a loved one, don’t ignore or minimize it! Ask questions!!!

Try to get them to open up. It won’t be easy, as people are ashamed to admit being bullied, even their own families. However, if you want to help them, you have to address it, and you have to do it gently and lovingly.

A Closer Look at Frenemies

Every single one of us has had that one “friend” or that handful of “friends,” if that’s what you prefer to call them. They seem to really like us and want to be around us all the time. They cozy up to us very quickly (too quickly), seemingly mesmerized by us, bombarding us with attention and laying the flattery on super-thick really early in the relationship and wanting so badly to be a part of our lives.

They butter us up with compliments, smile at us, and pat us on the back, making us feel great about ourselves. If you’re being bullied and are feeling insecure like I was years ago, this is such a welcome change!

You’re bullied, lonely, rejected, and this seems to be just the thing you’ve been waiting for, giving you that much-needed shot of dopamine you’ve been craving for so long!

Suddenly you feel great about yourself and think that maybe, the bullying might be coming to an end. Soon, however, you notice subtle signs in the person that doesn’t feel so good, occasionally seeing out of the corner of your eye those split-second flashes of disdain on the faces of your “new friends”…a sneer here, an evil, piercing glance there.

Although your gut begins to sound off, telling you that something is “off” about this person (or these people), you only mentally make excuses for them.

“Maybe he/she is having a rough day.”
“Maybe someone made him/her angry before they came to visit.”
“Maybe they’re just in a bad mood.”

Wanting to believe the very best of the person(s), you mentally explain away the signs that tell you that something just isn’t right. Then, when it happens again, you begin to ask yourself,

“Was it something I said or something I did accidentally to offend this person?”

Next, your new buddy or buddies seem cold toward you. They begin to alternate hot and cold, and you’re left bewildered as to the causation, all the while your sixth sense is telling you to put some distance yourself and these people and to do it fast! But you don’t because this person is a friend. You love them and don’t want to seem like a heel or that you don’t appreciate their friendship.

Also, the bullies have suddenly disappeared, and you want to keep it this way. Even worse and more pathetic, you dread the possibility of going back to square one…eating your lunch alone, walking alone in the halls, and once again, being the target of bullies.

So, you continue to tolerate unacceptable behavior because, deep down, you don’t think that you can find better people to be pals with. You’ve been bullied and shamed for so long that you have actually forgotten what a true friend is and what it’s like to have one.

When you finally work up the nerve to ask the person about his/her behavior, they either lie about the behavior, downplay it, or worse, tell you that you’re imagining things or being too sensitive. However, as time goes by, those tiny micro-expressions of ire, the split-second glares, and subtle, back-handed compliments and coldness only become more frequent!

Now, your Spidey-senses are screaming! Others you thought were decent toward you are now giving you the silent treatment, and you don’t know why.

Suddenly, BAM! It happens! The person lashes out at you for reasons that are so trivial, or worse, reasons which seem to be made up! You know you should tell them to take a hike, but you only blame yourself or give misplaced apologies instead, looking even more pathetic to bystanders and witnesses! Even worse, now, you look like an even bigger target to bullies!

Continued in Part 2…

Guilt by Association

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Understand that to achieve their goals to isolate the target, bullies will threaten and punish anyone they see who has anything to do with the target.

Nobody wants to be ostracized. Nothing wrong with that. However, when bullies slander you and friends turn against you so easily, it speaks volumes about the kinds of people they are. And sadly, very few people have the sack to stand up to bullies. It stinks, but it’s the gospel truth.

Most people will do anything- and I mean anything to keep from being socially isolated. Most will even turn their backs on their closest friends.

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But understand this. Anybody who claims to be your friend but doesn’t have your back is not your friend! And when it comes to your bullies, you must ask yourself these questions:

1. Who are they (the bullies and anyone else) to set standards for you?
2. Who are they to tell you what standards you should live up to?
3. Who are they to tell you to change?
4. Who are they to tell you how to dress, how to act, and how to live?
5. What authority do they have to make any rules that you should follow?
6. Who died and made them the authority over you?
7. What power do they have to tell everyone else who to associate with and who not to?

If you’re a target of bullying who’s just been abandoned by everybody because the bullies have influenced them to do so, you must also ask yourself this question:

1. I mean, dig deep and really ask yourself: Would you even want to be friends or associate with a bunch of pathetic wussies who are so weak and spineless that they’ll bow down to pacify a bunch of bullies? Do you want to associate with anyone who’s too chicken to stand behind you?

I want you to understand that anyone who says ‘yes’ to bullies and turns on you so quickly didn’t have much sack, to begin with. They were never even worth knowing. Because they only proved to you that they’re worthless and can never be trusted. You don’t want a bunch of wimps for friends. I know it hurts when someone you thought so highly of suddenly throws you under the bus!

Believe me, I’ve been there, and betrayal by people you thought were friends is the most painful part of being a target of bullying. But, as painful as it is, you need to realize that not everyone is worth your time. Not everyone deserves your friendship. So, when people turn against you, understand that it’s only the trash taking itself out!

What you want are strong and brave friends- friends with substance! You want friends with the cajones to have your back and tell the bullies to go take a long walk off a short pier!

Let me warn you. Great friends are hard to find. Because the strong and true are few in this world. Most people really are a bunch of bagless, weak-kneed wusses. Just as a girl must kiss many frogs to find a prince who’s worthy of her love, a target of bullying must weed through a great many wusses to find people who are worthy of her friendship.

You must raise your standards and expectations. You must be very selective of who you allow being pals with you. Selectiveness is a great thing because it shows that you value yourself and that you won’t settle for anything less than what you want! You must put a proverbial price tag on yourself and make sure it isn’t too low! Only then will people respect you.

For others to value you, you must first value yourself! And that means loving yourself enough to walk away from people who are worthless to you (i.e., the fake friends who betray you).