Here’s What Being Bullied Taught Me

positive love yourself self-love

Although being bullied is no fun and can be damaging to the psyche, there are many lessons that can be learned from it. Here’s what it taught me.

1. The evils humans are capable of and their predatory nature. People can be the evilest and the cruelest of all living things. Not everyone is inherently good. Being bullied taught me to be on the lookout for those who would secretly wish to harm my loved ones or me. It taught me to watch for enemies disguised as friends and to pay close attention to body language, expressions, and any micro flashes. And it taught me exactly what signs in other people to watch for.

2. Empathy and Compassion. Being bullied taught me empathy and compassion for others. Because I know first hand what it is and how it feels to be a target of bullies, I make it a point to extend kindness, especially to people whom others have unjustly marginalized and misjudged. I believe in spreading the same goodness and dignity to the janitor as I would the CEO.

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3. To never take anyone for granted. Because I know what it is to be rejected by everyone and to be left alone to fend for myself, I have nothing but appreciation for the people in my life and all the good they bring. I make it a point never to take my family and friends for granted, and I will fight to protect them if they’re being mistreated or are in trouble. I value loyalty, and I extend it to the people who matter to me. If you are a person I love and you tell me a secret, you can bet that your secret will be safe with me. And if anyone trash talks you, I’ll defend you even when you aren’t around to see it.

4. To value, love, and take care of myself. Because, let’s face it. No one else will. It’s so important to put yourself first. No matter what anyone thinks or says, be true to yourself. Be yourself. And don’t let bullies distort your self-esteem or tell you “it isn’t cool” if there’s something you really enjoy doing. Take care of yourself. Stand up for yourself. Do what fulfills you and makes you happy. And forget the rest. Confidence and self-love are the most important things you can have.

5. To go after my goals and dreams. If there’s anything I want in life, I go after it. I work hard for what I want because I’ve gotten enough of what I don’t. Being bullied gave me the tenacity to reach my goals and dreams. And I’ve made several accomplishments- accomplishments I probably never would’ve made had I not been a target of bullying. Bullies only fuel my motivation to reach more successes and live a happy life. So, instead of holding grudges against your bullies, use them as your drive to reach heights you never thought possible! Because happiness and success are the best revenge you can ever take.

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6. To never be afraid to say “no” or set boundaries. I learned the hard way that if you don’t say no nor set boundaries, people will walk all over you. And sometimes, even if you do, there will be those who will double down and challenge those boundaries. But you must stay firm no matter what. You might be retaliated against for it, but at least you’ll feel better later, in knowing that you stood up for yourself. And as the old saying goes, “I’d rather die on my feet than to live on my knees.”

Finding the lessons in bullying will make you a happier person later on. It did me!

When You Look Good, You Feel Good: Why You Should Always Take Pride in Your Appearance

When a person is a target of bullies, it’s too easy for that person to stop caring- about everything, including his appearance.

The reason for this is that when someone gets bullied for so long- once enough people have told them so many times over that they are nothing, that they aren’t good enough, that they have no value as a human being, and that they’re a waste of time, space and breathable air, they begin to believe it subconsciously.

They won’t even know it’s happening until it’s too late, and the contrary belief of themselves has already taken a foothold on their psyche. And when they believe something of themselves, whether it be a complete lie or truth, they will unwittingly live up to it.

bully angry girl victim

Understand that this change in a target happens ever so slowly. And before the person realizes it, they begin to neglect themselves. They neglect their appearance, their housework, even their health!

1. Targets will often isolate themselves and become shut-ins.

2. They fail to make themselves presentable.

3. They stop exercising and forego physical check-ups.

4. They withdraw from people and social gatherings.

5. They don’t get adequate sleep and nutrition.

6. Some overeat for comfort and gain weight.

7. Some stop eating and lose too much weight.

8. Some even begin using alcohol and drugs.

In short, they let themselves go!

These are the reasons why, if you’re a target of bullying, it’s even more important that you take care of yourself.

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Bullying and life – pictured as a word Bullying and a wreck ball to symbolize that Bullying can have bad effect and can destroy life, 3d illustration

When I was a target of bullying, I stopped believing in myself too, for a while, only I didn’t neglect my appearance.  Instead, I got mad. Damn mad! And in my anger, I grew more determined to take care of myself. The more I was bullied, the better (and more flashy) I dressed. I also exercised to keep myself fit.

It was my way of thumbing my nose at the bullies- a poke in the eye to them, or a proverbial middle finger.

I became as a peacock fanning out her tail to show her beautiful colors. It was also a means for me to maintain what control I did have, which was control over my body and appearance. Also, I wanted to keep my self-esteem from completely bottoming out.

It was only one of the ways I fought like hell to hang on to my dignity and to maintain what I could of myself. And today, I believe it saved me in so many ways.

I may not have had control over how others viewed me. No one has that kind of control. 

I may not have had control over how others treated me.

I may not have had control over my reputation.

And I may not have had control over my physical well being as I got the snot beat out of me a few times.

But, what I did have was control over my hygiene and how I looked!

That was the one thing those creeps couldn’t have control of!

However, I knew so many other bullied people who give up on themselves, and it breaks my heart for them!

So, please! Please, don’t give up. Hang on to what power you do have with everything in you! You’ll thank yourself for it later. I promise!

Learn to Love the Person You’re Stuck with For Life- You!

Hey! There’s no getting away from it, kiddo! You can never run from yourself. You are confined to yourself and will take this person with you wherever you go. Soooo… Would you rather be stuck for the rest of your life with someone you love or someone you hate?

I thought so.

Many times, we’ve heard critical and debasing voices of the people around us when we were growing up. And they conditioned us to take it as truth. We were innocent victims who ended up internalizing the bad stuff that happened to us and mistook them as confirmation that we are unlovable. Understand that it is all a lie.

Realize that the devil is the author of lies and a good liar always uses the past to convince us that their lies are the truth. They tell us that we’re unworthy, that we’re bad, that we’ll never amount to a hill of beans.

Again, all lies.

I’m not a shrink. I’m not even a mental health professional. However, what I’m suggesting here is just common sense. Wouldn’t it make sense to love the only person you’re stuck with 24/7, rather than to hate them? Sure, it would.

Therefore, it’s so important that we don’t let bullies convince us to hate ourselves. Never let someone else use you as their personal toxic waste dump. Never allow yourself to be a dumping ground for their baggage.

Granted, this is easier said than done, especially when you’re a target of relentless bullying. It takes a conscious effort and a lot of work to keep their garbage from affecting our mental health. But realize that you’re worth the investment. I promise you.

And if it gets overwhelming, there’s nothing wrong with seeking therapy. We all need a little help sometimes. Also, there’s nothing wrong with leaving the environment either. Do whatever you must do to preserve your sanity.

If you choose the first option, know that it doesn’t mean you’re “crazy” or “mentally imbalanced.” Realize that ignorant people tell you these things to make you seem that way because it helps them to distract others from and hide their own mental and emotional issues.

If you choose the latter, know that you’re not running away; you’re removing yourself from a bad place that’s no good for you. That’s not being chicken or wimping out, that’s called self-care. And naturally, when you love someone, you’ll protect and take care of them. Take care of yourself.

So, fall in love with yourself. And that means breaking up with the voices that tell you that you’re not worthy and banishing them forever because those voices are nasty. They’re old, stale, and they stink like yesterday’s trash! They’ve been telling you the same worn out lies for years and you’d think we’d get bored hearing the same old crap from them after so long.

Replace them with voices of love because anything other than that is just noise pollution!

PTSD

Loving yourself also means treating your body with respect and care- feeding it what it needs and giving it exercise by going on nature walks and spending time outside rather than isolating yourself by shutting yourself inside the house all day. There’s nothing like being outdoors and enjoying some sunlight and a cool breeze. You’d be surprised at how much better it makes you feel.

It means feeding your mind as well- reading personal development books (or a good mystery novel), meditating, and praying.

Most importantly, it means you stop criticizing yourself and listening to that toxic voice that says you’re not good enough. You might not completely get rid of your inner critic, but you won’t give it nearly as much airtime as you once did.

When you love yourself fully and completely, you allow yourself to make mistakes and use them to learn and grow. You’ll allow yourself to apologize when appropriate. You’ll embrace the imperfections you cannot change and improve on the ones you can.

When you start loving yourself, you will accept healthier relationships with people who truly love you because you’ll feel more worthy of them. You’ll become a go-getter and begin going after your dreams. Other people will sense this and treat you with love and respect while toxic people will be more likely to avoid you like the plague because they won’t want to mess with you.

Even your finances and lifestyle will go up!

You’ll invite positive changes by learning, improving, and growing. You won’t change who you are but only become a better version of yourself. Even better you’ll enjoy your journey to self-betterment.

Understand that we accept what we think we deserve out of life. If you loathe yourself, you’ll accept drama in your life and toxic relationships and environments that aren’t good for you. You’ll allow people to wipe their feet all over you and you’ll lose sight of your goals and dreams. In short, you’ll settle for less and get even less than what you settle for.

That’s why it’s crucial that you learn to love the one person you’re stuck with- the one person you can never, even for a second, get away from- yourself!

Stop spending time with someone you hate. Instead, spend your time with someone you love! And you do it by replacing the hate for that person with love.

I won’t kid you here. It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. It’s going to take a lot of hard inner work and you will have to invest a lot of time and energy at first. There will also be times when your mind will fight against you, and you fall short but get back up and keep at it!

It will be so worth it in the end. Know that YOU are worth it! Love the person you’re stuck with!

Be Kind to Others, Yet Remain True to Yourself and Your Needs

Yes! You can do both at the same time, but few people know where this healthy balance lies. May people are under the impression that kindness is weakness, which means that they believe that it’s a zero-sum game. They assume that you cannot be kind to others and yourself at the same time. I’m here to debunk this assumption.

Although it’s true when it goes to extremes, a healthy balance of kindness is a virtue! It’s all about keeping in that happy middle.

First, let me discuss the imbalances and extremes here:

1. Too kind or “nice.” When the niceness goes to extremes- when you’re “too nice” and let others use and walk on you, you set yourself up to be a doormat and that’s never good. A person who’s too nice is often so because they seek approval from others. So, they say yes to everything- even things they’d rather say no to. This isn’t healthy and it only attracts bullies and others who will only use and abuse you.

 2. Not kind at all- a jerk or worse, a bully. Because you’ve been hurt one too many times, you no longer care about the feelings of other people, and you treat others like crap and use them to achieve your own agenda. If you go this route, you’ll only miss opportunities to make good friends and improve your relationships with your family. You’ll always be lonely because no one wants to be around a jerk and everyone despises a bully.

The trick is to extend kindness to others and reserve your jerky side for only those who use, abuse, and disrespect you. Say no if someone asks or demands that you do something you don’t want to do. Refuse to get sucked into drama.

Extend to the janitor the same respect you give to the CEO. Treat the poor and homeless with dignity. Befriend the kid who has no friends at school. Be kind to the combat veteran with severe PTSD and who everyone thinks is crazy. Give your seat to the elderly woman using a walker. Be kind to those who are powerless and cannot do anything for you. For that’s the real test of character.

Stand up for yourself when arrogant bullies attack you and don’t back down. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, just like the next person. Command the same well-treatment that everyone else has a right to.

Don’t be too nice, but don’t be an unfeeling jerk either. And, for the love of Pete, never be a bully! Know that there’s a happy middle and stay in it.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Sometimes Self-Care Means Making Heartbreaking Decisions

Once you choose not to be a target anymore, you must realize that you may have to make very tough, even heartbreaking decisions. You will more than likely have to weed certain people out of your life for good, and sadly, some of those people may even be people you love very much.

You can still love them, ‘nothing wrong with it. However, as much as you may love them, they are not always healthy for you to be around.

It was a decision that I had to make with a family member twenty years ago and again seven years ago. And let me tell you, it was an excruciating decision. And when we stopped talking, I missed them very much.

No, worse. I mourned the person deeply. Even after all the cutting remarks, they had made toward me and a few others I loved, I still mourned them. It was akin to having a death in the family.

There’s no pain like mourning someone who’s still alive.

In both cases, we did not speak to one another for a few years. And we were not welcome in each other’s homes. During those two years, I would pass this person by in the supermarket, the gas station, or on the road somewhere while driving from time to time. No, “Hi. How are you?”. No honk and wave. Nothing.

We would both just turn our heads and go on about our business. And I would feel my heart sink into my stomach and fight back the tears, knowing that there was a possibility that we would never speak again.

There was always that dreadful “Could I have done something different” feeling, which always seemed to rear its ugly head. Feelings of guilt would emerge even in the midst of knowing I had done the best that I possibly could.

Many of you may be going through something similar but do not lose heart. Your relationship with your estranged loved one is still repairable. I am blessed to be able to say that this story has a very happy ending to it.

After another family member had gotten sick, I received a call from my loved one, and we reconciled, apologized, and forgave one another. After the reconciliation, I made sure that I could lend a helping hand in taking care of our sick family member, and we became close again.

Now, we are closer than EVER! We visit each other, we talk on the phone, and we never hesitate to tell each other how much we love one another. From this, I learned a very powerful lesson.

Hit the road concept, road – 3D rendering

That lesson is this:

Sometimes, it takes a separation to bring people closer. Although painful when it happens, walking away may actually be a great thing and produce awesome results later on. Anytime you walk away, your value and the other person’s value often go up, and in time, you both learn to respect one another. Then you love each other even more than you did before.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

You Aren’t Selfish

To expect fair and humane treatment from others at work or school.

To expect better and more loyal friendships.

To walk away from a job with a boss or coworkers who don’t appreciate your efforts.

To stop putting other’s wants and needs before your own.

To snub people who don’t value you.

To chose not to do anything you don’t want to do.

To say no to things and people you don’t like or just aren’t right for you.

To kick toxic people and life-suckers out of your life.

To refuse to let others take advantage of you.

To walk away from a relationship or friendship that only drains you and leaves you feeling terrible about yourself.

To look out for and take care of yourself.

To put yourself first.

To love yourself and all your imperfections.

You must realize that most people do not care about being fair or reasonable; they only speak of fairness and reason when it suits them.

Understand that you deserve for others to treat you with love and respect. You have a right to say no- to refuse and to walk away when something doesn’t feel right to you.

You deserve the freedom to live your life on your terms, to do things your way, and to be successful, happy, and fulfilled.

Anything less than that is unacceptable. And if any of this constitutes being selfish, then it’s okay to be “selfish.”

When the Target is Made Out to Be the Bad Guy

When the target has had enough of being bullied and abused, and he/she snaps and overreacts, bystanders and authority are often under the delusion that the target’s reaction takes away from the fact that people have mistreated and abused them for such a long time- that it somehow detracts from the truth that it was the bullies who drove them to overreact.

As a result, many targets stop defending themselves because of this very thing. It seems that every time they stand up for themselves, even if they did it in a calm manner, they were punished for it.

Therefore, targets feel they have no other choice than to stay silent. They are forced to resign themselves, stay quiet, and do what the bullies want, which is to allow them to continue to bully and abuse.

The fear of being made the villain, no matter what they do, supersedes their natural desire to self-defend. In their silence, targets hope that other people will see by their passivity that they really are, in fact, the victim. But, in most cases, this doesn’t work either.

The target is damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

But understand that bullies use this as a weapon. If they can make you look like the instigator when you defend yourself, they then become brazen and have carte balance to bully you more frequently, more severely, and more openly.

People will believe what they want to believe about you and if they want to think that you’re crazy, arrogant, whatever, there’s not much you can do but to not associate with them.

However, you must, no matter how they shout you down and no matter how they blame and punish you, tell your side of the story. You must speak out about the abuse even if no one wants to listen to it.

Just the having your say alone can give you such a relief. The fact that you got it off your chest and out in the open keeps you from internalizing everything and your self-esteem from being destroyed. This is all a part of self-care.

And when you’re against these types of odds, self-care is the most important. Realize that, although the bullies may never change their behavior toward you, they can never stop you from taking care of yourself. In these situations, all you have is you. So, practice self-care. Show yourself compassion and do what you must do to preserve your safety and mental health. Be your own best friend. Fight for yourself.

You’re worth fighting for. Don’t you think? I do.

Never Be a People-Pleaser!

Grovel in business

Too many people think that they have to give more of themselves than what is necessary and that they have to hide their true selves.

They are under the impression that they have to bend over backwards and go out of their way in order to be valued. They have been conditioned to believe that they have to try and be someone other than themselves to win approval from others.

Sadly, these are the beliefs held by most bully-targets.

“If only I was ten pounds thinner and had long, flowing hair, maybe my friends would like me”

“If only I had bought front row tickets to the game, concert, etc. instead of regular tickets, he would love me.”

“If only I made a 4.0 instead of a 3.99, my family would be proud of me.”

“Maybe I should have bought her a dozen roses instead of a half-dozen, then she would love me.”

“Maybe if I worked sixteen hours a day instead of twelve, then my boss and coworkers would like me.”

Notice that these people are already putting in lots of effort and the people around them don’t thank the person for it, or worse, even acknowledge it. Some of these scenarios may be a little exaggerated, but you get the point.

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But here’s the thing, anytime you sacrifice your own needs to please others and score approval, the exact opposite happens. People do not respect a people pleaser. If anything, they look down on the pleaser with a mixture of disgust, pity and hilarity.

In the minds of others, the pleaser is a pathetic case, eager to kiss butt in his weak attempts to win friends. The more pleasers give of themselves at their own expense, the worse they are treated because to others, they are ripe for using and abusing.

Think of the song, “Self-esteem” by The Offspring and if you haven’t heard it, hop onto YouTube and give it a listen.

People pleasers only attract the predator types of people into their lives while repelling the good, quality people of class and decency. Human predators have a spidey sense when it comes to picking out those who are weak and approval seeking.

If you are a pleaser, they will see you coming a mile away and they will bleed you dry of resources, time and worse…confidence and happiness.

You must give these people the boot and do it FAST! Because they suck the life out of you and by the time you realize you’ve been had, it will more than likely be too late. Your confidence and self-esteem will already be shot and you will have to work like hell to get to know yourself again and get it all back.

I want you to know that it’s perfectly okay to want friends- to want positive connections with other people. Human beings are social creatures and we all want that. However, no one should have to eat crap in order to achieve it.

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You can say “NO” if you don’t want to do something.

You can put your foot down and tell someone to get lost anytime they use and/or abuse you.

You can speak up when something does not feel good.

You can have your own opinions and beliefs.

And you don’t have to put yourself out on a limb to please someone else.

You do NOT have to be a doormat! Start today by being true to yourself. If something does not feel good, you do not have to go along with it.

But be warned. The users you have been associating with will not like the change in you. They have been benefiting from your willingness to suck-up for so long and the last thing they want is for those benefits to stop.

They will resort to calling you “selfish”, “stingy”, among other names. They will accuse you of being self-centered and all about yourself. They will lay all kinds of guilt trips on you. They will do everything in their power to make you look and feel like the lowest form of life on the face of the earth!

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But you aren’t. No matter what others may say or how they may act toward you, you must hold firm. You must assert yourself. You must make the decision that you will no longer be used or abused by these people! Tell them to take a flying leap and mean it!

Give them the old heave-ho! You do not need them in your life! You have to love yourself enough to walk away!

I can guarantee that once you have the courage to kick the garbage out of your life, you will attract better people, who will love you not for what you can do for them, but for just being you. You will have more loving, productive and fulfilling relationships!

Best of all, you will feel so much better about yourself…you will be so happy and at peace. It happened for me and it can happen for you too.

You must take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else.

Don’t Worry About Who Does or Doesn’t Like You

Why? Because liking of any person or thing is always subjective, and no two people have the exact likes, dislikes, tastes, or opinions. Know that there will always be those who do not like you and be okay with it because it bears no reflection on you. We all move in different circles and directions.

It’s just how life works and how we were made.

Continue to love and embrace yourself as the person God created you to be. Continue to enjoy the friends and loved ones you do have and never mind the people you don’t have. They aren’t important.

Embrace your differences because no two people are the same. Accept every flaw and quirk you have. Accept no one’s ignorant, cookie-cutter version of what you should be. You are enough!

Imagine how utterly and downright boring life would be if we were all the same. Imagine a world full of white people, black people, or Hispanics- a world full of people with blonde hair and blue eyes or dark hair and dark eyes- a world full of skinny people…or overweight people- or if everyone had the same tastes opinions or beliefs!

It would be like living in a town where all diners were pizza parlors and served pizza but nothing else. Yuck! I love pizza, but I wouldn’t want to eat that every day!

So love being different. Know that there are people who love you and are begging to spend time with you. And above all else, know that God loves you. You will be alright.

What Do You Do Once You Leave a Toxic Workplace?

You’ve worked for a toxic company for three years. You’re out of a job because your bully boss either fired you or you get fed up, pulled a Johnny Paycheck, and told your tyrant boss to “take this job and shove it” and, in essence, fired him.

So, how do you get a new job, knowing that the honest thing to do is to put the hell-hole you just escaped from down as a previous employer and your former boss’s name on the line in the application that’s labeled “supervisor”?

Well, let’s be real here. Sometimes honesty’s not the best policy. After all, you and your family have to eat. Right?

So, if you’re the unethical type, here are a few underhanded things you could do. Because unethical or not, you have to survive somehow.

bye goodbye

1. Omit the workplace altogether. Yeah, it sucks. It’s not ‘the right thing to do,’ but what else do you have to lose? If you’re a married mother or grandmother, all the better. Just fill in the blanks with a homemaker and stay-at-home mom. Who’s going to question that? Yeah, you could hit a roadblock when the interviewer asks you about any experience! But again, they might give you a try! You never know! The object is to avoid a crappy report from your former boss.

2. Go to work for the competition. There’s less chance a competitor will take the word of their opponent. Also, you can sneakily give secrets away and help your new employer drive the other guy out of business. At least you’ll get a little justice!

3. Tell your new employer you were self-employed. If you were your own boss, who are they going to call for a work reference? Tell a good story, and make sure you have a good backup. Maybe you had an excellent blog and it got shut down by Google because Google made changes to its policies?

workplace bullies back stabbers gossips

back-stabbing colleagues threatening employee with scissors and knife

4. If you have a family member or friend who owns a business, have them be a job reference for you. They can give you a good report, and your chances of getting the gig will be higher.

Hey, desperate times, desperate measures. And if you want to work again, you must get around the bully boss any way you can.

Sometimes you must get as dirty as your BB because he will be waiting on a call from a potential employer once you’re gone. Your old bully will be looking for another chance to block you from future prospects. He may even try to blacklist you.

If you disappear from his radar by omitting him and his company from any job applications, it will be harder for him to reach out and touch you.

bullying boss

Strict Boss: Angry upset young business woman with blank speech bubble on white on gray background. Vector illustration.

5. Hire yourself. Yes. If you can, start your own business and work like the devil to build it. Then, if you’re lucky, five years from now, when you run into your old dictator at the local gas station while he’s putting gas in his suped-up Harley or sportscar, you can thank him for inspiring you to go into business for yourself and make it. And you can smile as you watch his face contort!

There’s no guarantee that the first four are going to work and you might even get fired from your new job if your old bully boss finds out where you’re working and decides to give your new employer a call.

But at least you will have bought yourself some time and put off going broke for a little while longer.

*Tips 1, 3, and 4 are satirical of course*