Being a Target versus Being a Victim

Many people are under the assumption that being a target and being a victim are one and the same. However, they’re quite different and have different meanings.

It has been almost six years since the publication of my book, “From Victim to Victor (A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying).” Since then, I’ve learned so much and one of the things I’ve learned is the difference between a target and a victim. So, was I ever really a victim? No. I was, however, a target.

Notice the difference in the actual meanings between the terms, “target” and “victim.”

A target is a mark you aim at- as in a shooter aiming his gun at targets at a gun shooting range for practice.

A victim is a person or animal who others kill and sacrifice. When someone is sacrificed, they assume the blame and punishment for the sins and shortcomings of others.

Choose Your Words Carefully

Words have enormous power- more so than most realize. Therefore, I stopped using the word “victim” to describe people others bully and abuse and replaced it with the word, “target.”

Being a target is much more empowering than being a victim. A target can defend themselves. Whereas a victim cannot. A victim is powerless to do anything about their situation. There’s no power nor dignity in being a victim. However, when a person is a target, they maintain some power and dignity. In that, they lessen the impact of the bullying on their mental health.

If we can change the way we view ourselves and see our bullies exactly for who and what they are, they will have little control over us. Moreover, we’re less likely to allow their words and behavior to get into our heads.

A target is a person chosen by bullies to be a perceived enemy to attack. On the other hand, a victim is a person bullies harm, oppress, and destroy.

The word victim says that you don’t stand up for yourself but only capitulate. But the word target says that, although people attack you on a regular basis, you don’t give into fear and stand up for yourself no matter what it may cost you.

Your Choice of Words Can Have Consequences You Don’t Realize

When you view yourself as a victim, you give your bullies exactly what they want- power over your life. You, in essence, surrender yourself to them. Consequently, you will most likely to suffer physical and/or psychological damage.

On the other hand, when you see yourself as a target, you won’t acquiesce, and you’re least likely to take the bully’s behavior personally. Moreover, when you have a target mentality instead of a victim mentality, you buffer your self-esteem from the attacks and salvage your overall mental health. You maintain your personal power. You take control of your life and refuse to allow anyone to make you, their victim.

For example, I’ve witnessed both in movies and in real life, incidences of bullying where the bully would tell the target, “I’m going to make you, my bitch!” In other words, his victim.

This should give you a better understanding of why you should see yourself as a target rather than a victim. Because you are nobody’s bitch! Nope! You’re no bitch at all! You are a fighter, a warrior, a lion!

Realize that your bullies’ goal is to control you. And if you see yourself as a victim, you weaken yourself. Thus, you play right into your bullies’ hands. But when you refuse to become a victim, you refuse to allow them to take control over your life.

You’re a Target, Not a Victim!

It’s not my intention to minimize any suffering you’ve endured at the hands of your bullies. Bullying hurts, no doubt about it! And I feel your pain. So, know that everything you’ve gone through is real and your story is valid and worthy of being told and heard.

However, I want you to understand this. If you’re the object of bullying, you are a target, yes, but you don’t have to be a victim.

Think about it, victims accept responsibility for things they have no control over. They take blame for evils they never committed nor took part in. And when they carry these burdens that aren’t theirs to carry, they end up paying debts they don’t owe.

Here’s an example. A bully blames his target for his own anger, insecurity, jealousy, and incompetence. And it comes out in the bully’s behavior when he bullies that person. Then later the bully and others may gaslight the target when he speaks out.

Another example would be that a rapist wants to make their rape target responsible for their own sexual frustration, anger, and hunger for power by raping their target. Then, later, the target is presumed to be at fault for the rapist’s behavior by the defense attorneys in court.

A Target Endures Bullying but Refuses to Become a Victim

Sure, people hurl blame at targets just as they do at victims. However, the difference between a victim and a target is that the victim accepts the blame and blames himself for what happened to him then spirals downhill into depression, regret, and self-hatred. Whereas a target refuses to accept the blame because he knows with every fiber of his being that it is his attackers who are in the wrong.

He sees his attackers for the cowards they are. Therefore, he sees the incessant gaslighting as proof that they’re full of it and are only trying to cover their butts because they’re afraid of exposure. A target refuses to be made a victim!

You see, it’s all in how we see ourselves. And how we see ourselves is determined by the inner dialogue we have- the words we use when we think and speak to ourselves. And it can be the difference between living in a hell of depression and self-loathing or enjoying a heaven of self-love and acceptance and refusing to be destroyed despite the attacks and pain bullies inflict.

So, see yourself as a target but never a victim!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Low Self-Esteem is Taught.

Insecurity and a lack of confidence are not characteristics that we’re born with. They are taught! Not only by bullies or abusive family members but can also unwittingly programmed into us by caring family members who call themselves trying to teach us humbleness and humility.

These characteristics are both good virtues to have, but only in moderation. However, too much of it can cause us to suppress a little too much of ourselves and hide our own awesome personalities, talents, and gifts, which can grow into insecurity and, in worse cases, self-loathing.

a little girl hiding behind her mother’s skirt

Each and every one of us is born with confidence and a heart of gold. However, over time, our environments, circumstances, and sadly, the people in our lives can slowly erode the natural confidence and goodness we were born with.

After being hurt for so long, we withdraw from others and put up a barrier to protect ourselves. We turn cold and began to harden ourselves to numb feelings of rejection and the pain that comes with it.

The Slow Erosion of Self-Esteem

Young girl bending down, covering her face with her hands, trying to protect herself from men’s’ fists, finger guns, and hands pointing at her. Women’s rights. Violence against women. Domestic violence.

Before long, we regard others’ feelings and suffering with indifference. In other words, we just don’t give a crap about anyone, how they feel, or what they think. Sometimes we even grow cold toward the people who love us because we have lost the ability to trust.

We no longer have any respect for others, much less ourselves. Lastly, we come to that evil place where schadenfreude takes hold of our personalities. In other words, we secretly or openly take pleasure in seeing others, especially those we despise, suffer.

We must make a conscious effort not to allow negative outside influences to make us cold and mean. Just as we take steps to protect our health, finances, property, etc., we must also take steps to protect our self-esteem. And we do that by how we allow others to treat us. We protect our self-esteem by setting boundaries and standards.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

What Bullies Want You to Believe & What You Should Believe

Understand that bullies thrive on power and control. If they can’t control you, they’ll control how others view you. Also, they’ll use redundancy and repetition to make you believe their lies too. Here’s what they’re most likely to try and get you to think of yourself and what you should believe:

1.What bullies want you to believe

Apart from us, you can do nothing, you are nothing, and you never will be.

What you should believe

Apart from you, I’m better off. I can do anything I set my mind to do, I’m somebody, and later down the line, I’m going to be great and do great things.

2. What bullies want you to believe

You’ll never find happiness without our permission.

What you should believe

I don’t need your permission to be happy. I’m much happier without losers like you in my life.

3. What bullies want you to believe

Nobody will ever like or love you.

What you should believe

Maybe you never will, but I don’t mind because you don’t matter. There will be others who’ll love me for me. I’ll find my tribe.

4. What bullies want you to believe

You’re nothing without our approval.

What you should believe

I’m nothing with it because you are nothing. I don’t need your “approval” because it will never define me. Your opinion matters not because, for something to matter, you must first value it.

Therefore, always counter the statements, including the unspoken ones. You’ll be surprised at what it will do for your self-esteem and your spirit!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

3 Reasons Targets Fear Setting Boundaries

All too often, targets of bullying have a hard time setting boundaries. Many just keep their mouths shut, grin and bear it while others wipe their feet all over them. They suffer in silence and obscurity, which only further damages their mental health. If being used as a rug hurts so much, why do they allow it to continue?

There are several reasons:

1. They don’t have the confidence.

Many targets of bullying feel helpless and simply think it wouldn’t do them any good. So, they see no point in speaking up because they know that they’ll likely get bullied worse for it. It takes confidence to set boundaries, which, sadly, is something a few bullying targets have.

Also, as we know, bullies don’t respect boundaries because they don’t acknowledge them. In their minds, you’re a target and, to them, a target has no rights and deserves no human dignity. Bullies don’t see targets as human beings deserving of the same human rights as everyone else. That’s a fact.

2. They feel powerless to stop the abuse.

Again, setting boundaries is anything but easy- it’s one of the hardest things to do after people bully you for so long and brainwash you into thinking you’re to blame for their horrid behavior.

Many targets have been abused for so long that they’ve “gotten used to it.” In other words, bullies and their sycophants have conditioned the targets to take the abuse and allow them to ride roughshod over them. Many times, targets have been fooled into believing that setting boundaries is selfish.

This is why many targets cave in to the bullies’ demands. They feel it’s safer just to give them what they want and pacify them.

3. They fear the bullies will retaliate.

If you’re a target of bullying, you may badly want to tell your abusers to knock it off. You may want to tell them to get the hell away from you and stay away. You may even want to fight back, but you don’t know how they may react.

Another thing you don’t know is whether they’ll accept your boundaries, nor if they’ll want to accept them. You know that there’s a chance the bullies may act violently toward you for having the chutzpah to speak against their abuse.

Bullies despise even a hint of opposition because they see it as your challenging their power and perceived authority. And they’ll do whatever they can to tighten their grip if they suspect you’re defying them. And sometimes, things get dangerous, and you must do it scared.

But what they don’t realize is this. When you set boundaries, you enact your autonomy and speak from a place of self-care and self-love. You decide what you will and won’t tolerate. You take your power back.

However!

Before you’re able to do that, you must be clear of what you will not accept.

It takes uber-confidence to stand up to a bully. It would be best if you also gave up your old self-protective behaviors – those you tried in the past that failed, which are ways your bullies and a few other abusers in your life probably conditioned you to respond.

1. You must stop over-apologizing.

2. You must stop trying to explain yourself to anyone.

3. You must stop trying to figure out what made the bullies so hostile.

4. You must stop wondering what you did wrong.

5. You must stop wondering if something’s wrong with you.

6. You must stop asking, “why me.”

Before you can stand up to abuse, you must squash the mentality that compels you to do any of the above mentioned.

You must understand that all the why me, why this, why that, gets you nowhere. And all the wracking your brains wondering and trying to figure out what’s wrong also serves no purpose. It’s a complete waste of time and only makes you feel worse.

Instead, be real with yourself and conclude that your bullies are just a bunch of ignorant, moronic jackasses who lack character and live fake existences. You must also learn to trust yourself, which includes trusting your body and how it feels. Trust everything you see, hear, feel, sense, and the vibes you pick up from the people around you. And finally, trust your decisions.

It also takes dogged determination:

1. Even if your bullies rationalize and justify their behavior, you won’t take their crap.

2. Even if they blame you for their despicable behavior, you won’t take it.

3. Even if they tell you that you’re crazy or mentally imbalanced, you won’t take it.

4. Even if they call you a bitch, an asshole, or any other degrading name, you won’t take it.

5. Even if you made a mistake and your bullies call it out in an abusive manner, you won’t take it.

6. And, for the love of Pete! If the bullies commit physical violence, you definitely won’t take that! Get the police involved, file charges, and sue for any damages! Or, put up those dukes and throw down if you need to!

And it’ll take calling your bullies out every single time they cross the line.

You can say:

“Stop it!”

“Cut it out!”

“Knock it off!”

“Get away from me!”

“Get out!”

positive bullied victim says NO

You get power just by loudly giving either one of these commands. And who knows? I’m not making any guarantees here, but you might shock your bullies back to reality and make them leave you alone. There were times when I was pleasantly surprised, and it worked for me.

You do not have to walk on eggshells around anyone! Know that you do have a choice and a voice. You can choose not to accept the bullies’ behavior. You have more power than you know.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

You Should Always Address Bullying in The Early Stages. Here’s Why:

My grandmother once told me this: “Never. And I mean never let anyone get comfortable with abusing and mistreating you.”

She was right. By the time she gave me that little gold nugget of wisdom, it was already too late. I was in high school and had been a target of bullying since moving to *Oakley School District in the sixth grade. But right then, I understood what my very wise grandmother meant and why she gave me that advice.

Here’s what Uma (what I called my maternal grandmother) had already known by being a people-watcher and very good at people-reading:

Once the mistreatment of a person has gone on for so long, the people around them get comfortable with mistreating that person. They grow so accustomed to being cruel to the person that they don’t even think about, nor do they care about how they hurt that person. Even worse, they come to expect the target the take the abuse without question, without talking back, speaking about it, and without defending themselves.

Put another way, if a target firmly stands up to bad treatment in the early stages of being targeted, it’s more likely that others will respect his right to be treated well and either leave him alone or began treating him better.

Whereas, if the target lets the bullying go on for a long time, then begins to stand up for himself after getting fed up with being everyone’s doormat, others will more than likely be only angry and resentful of the person for daring to open his mouth about it. They will then double down in their abuse or eliminate him somehow.

Once a person gets comfortable in mistreating you, it’s much more difficult to fight. Therefore, always speak out the moment the bullying begins. Never let it go on for any length of time. The sooner you do, the easier it will be to assert your rights and avoid retaliation.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

When Cyber-Bullying Becomes Dangerous- Doxxing

Not long ago, I wrote a post entitled, “Cyber-Bullies, Stalkers, and Trolls.” In it I mentioned the importance of not letting faceless cowards get to you. I also mentioned that most of the above were a bunch of losers who were living in their mom’s basements and were bored and miserable with their existences and were to be laughed at or pitied.

And that’s most certainly true with most keyboard warriors. But!

What happens when online bullying goes too far? What happens when you encounter a more sinister troll- one who doxxes you and finds out your address, cellphone number, where you work, go to school, hang out- or, even scarier, who your family members are?

Then, it’s no laughing matter! This is a situation you must take seriously because things can get dangerous fast. If a troll doxxes you and finds out all this information, who’s to say the cyber-stalking bully won’t show up at your door and try to break in? Who’s to say the creep won’t go after your spouse and kids?

Anytime you have a doxxer on your tail, you’re dealing with a very vindictive, diabolical, and mentally disturbed individual(s) and you don’t know what the person is capable of!

In recent years, we’ve heard many, many stories of people being doxxed and creeps showing up on their doorsteps wanting to deal with them personally. Some people have had to go into hiding and a few have even had to go underground. It’s terrifying!

This is not paranoia; these are real and legitimate fears. And it’s plain to see that the law isn’t doing enough to protect innocent, law-abiding citizens when it comes to cyber-bullying and doxxing.

I believe the reason why people aren’t protected, and laws aren’t passed to crack down on trolling, cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking, and doxxing is because neither Big Tech nor the government takes it seriously, and may even condone the behavior.

Big Tech is too powerful. Also, many of our lawmakers, especially oones with an evil agenda, secretly encourage this kind of behavior. How else could they keep track of, instill fear in, and censor those who do not go along with their narratives and who don’t live their lives the way theu think they should?

So, why would they regulate their own minions and tools who’ve been working for them and risk Big Tech de-funding their causes and campaigns?

Sadly, I don’t expect any laws to be passed to protect private citizens against doxxing anytime soon. In fact, if certain wealthy people (like George Soros, for instance) actually hire people to cyber-bully, troll, and dox “dissenters,” it’s a given that nothing will be done to protect the innocent.

With that said, if you’re ever in a situation where you’ve been cyber-stalked and doxxed by a cyber-bully, you must do what you must do to protect your privacy (or what little of it we all have left). Be aware of your surroundings and if anyone approaches you or breaks into your home, do what you’ve got to do to stay safe!

Doxxing cyber bullying

You have a  God-given, primal, and Constitutional right to protect yourself and the people you love. Yeah! You know what I’m saying. If someone inters your home uninvited and has clear intentions to hurt you and your family, you know what to do!

I may get some heat from the PC “woke” crowd over this post, but I don’t care. When it comes to safety and protection of human lives, any feelings and opinions automatically take a back seat. Period. Full stop!

Because, if some creep ever invades my house and it comes down to the lives of myself and my family, it’s no holds barred! I believe in the right to bear arms and to use them when the lives of you or your loved ones are threatened.

And I’d much rather be judged by twelve than carried by six- or worse, one of my family members get carried by six.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Always Mirror the Bully to Disarm and Intimidate Them into Leaving You Alone

If a bully cuts their eyes at you, return the gesture. If she tries to stare you down, never look away because she will only take that as fear, and from then on, you’ll be her new source of power. Always glare back without blinking and stand with your feet apart and arms akimbo to take up some space. This is known as a “power pose.”

You may have to stand that way and stare for a while if she sees your response as a challenge, but if you hold your position long enough, she’ll finally get tired and move on.

Understand that any time a person uses this type of body language toward you without provocation, they are clearly saying that they’re superior to you and attempting to dominate you. So always, always reciprocate any dirty looks and dominate or intimidating body language. Assert your power this way, and soon, the bully will get the message that you’re confident, fearless, and not one she should mess with.

independent 20s girl with threatening body language

It’s not what you say. It’s what you do. Nonverbal communication is over eighty percent of communication. Talk is cheap, and if your words don’t match your body language, bullies will pick up on it, and they will eat you alive!

If you’re the timid type, there are plenty of books you can read to learn confident body language and power pose. Once you read, practice, and learn what nonverbal cues convey power, you must practice those poses until they become comfortable to you.

Remember that bullies always target someone they perceive to be lacking in confidence, timid, and insecure because that person is least likely to fight back. To look confident, fearless, and secure, practice open body language.

Stand with your feet apart and arms uncrossed (crossed arms are closed body language and make you look insecure and untrustworthy). When a bully confronts you, never look down or away. Always look the bully in the eye, and she will see that you aren’t afraid and likely move on to someone else.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Doxxing- Cyber-Bullying on Steroids

Not long ago, I wrote a post entitled, “Cyber-Bullies, Stalkers, and Trolls.” In it I mentioned the importance of not letting faceless cowards get to you. I also mentioned that most of the above were a bunch of losers who were living in their mom’s basements and were bored and miserable with their existences and were to be laughed at or pitied.

And that’s most certainly true with most keyboard warriors. But!

What happens when online bullying goes too far? What happens when you encounter a more sinister troll- one who doxxes you and finds out your address, cellphone number, where you work, go to school, hang out- or, even scarier, who your family members are?

Then, it’s no laughing matter! This is a situation you must take seriously because things can get dangerous fast. If a troll doxxes you and finds out all this information, who’s to say the cyber-stalking bully won’t show up at your door and try to break in? Who’s to say the creep won’t go after your spouse and kids?

Anytime you have a doxxer on your tail, you’re dealing with a very vindictive, diabolical, and mentally disturbed individual(s) and you don’t know what the person is capable of!

In recent years, we’ve heard many, many stories of people being doxxed and creeps showing up on their doorsteps wanting to deal with them personally. Some people have had to go into hiding and a few have even had to go underground. It’s terrifying!

This is not paranoia; these are real and legitimate fears. And it’s plain to see that the law isn’t doing enough to protect innocent, law-abiding citizens when it comes to cyber-bullying and doxxing.

I believe the reason why people aren’t protected, and laws aren’t passed to crack down on trolling, cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking, and doxxing is because neither Big Tech nor the government takes it seriously, and may even condone the behavior.

Big Tech is too powerful. Also, many of our lawmakers, especially ones of the Far Radical Left, secretly encourage this kind of behavior. How else could they keep track of, instill fear in, and censor those who do not go along with their narratives and who don’t live their lives the way the Far Radical Left thinks they should?

So, why would they regulate their own minions and tools who’ve been working for them and risk Big Tech de-funding their causes and campaigns?

Sadly, I don’t expect any laws to be passed to protect private citizens against doxxing anytime soon. In fact, if certain wealthy people on the Far Radical Left (like George Soros, for instance) actually hire people to cyber-bully, troll, and dox “dissenters,” it’s a given that nothing will be done to protect the innocent.

Doxxing cyber bullying

With that said, if you’re ever in a situation where you’ve been cyber-stalked and doxxed by a cyber-bully, you must do what you must do to protect your privacy (or what little of it we all have left). Be aware of your surroundings and if anyone approaches you or breaks into your home, do what you’ve got to do to stay safe!

You have a  God-given, primal, and Constitutional right to protect yourself and the people you love. Yeah! You know what I’m saying. If someone inters your home uninvited and has clear intentions to hurt you and your family, you know what to do!

I may get some heat from the PC “woke” crowd over this post, but I don’t care. When it comes to safety and protection of human lives, any feelings and opinions automatically take a back seat. Period. Full stop!

Because, if some creep ever invades my house and it comes down to the lives of myself and my family, it’s no holds barred!

And I’d much rather be judged by twelve than carried by six- or worse, one of my family members get carried by six.

When Fighting Is The Only Alternative You Have

Many times throughout my life, I’ve heard people preach against fighting- and yes, even in self-defense. When I was being bullied- even physically so, I was often told by teachers and even the bullies themselves, “Violence doesn’t solve anything.”  Or, my personal favorite, “fighting isn’t lady-like.”

I’ve got news for these people- neither is getting your face beat in every day.

Be that as it may, fighting back was better than just standing there and taking the beatings. When you’re a target of bullying and you decide to stand up for yourself, there will be people who will climb up on their soapbox and insert their two cents where it doesn’t belong, telling you that “violence doesn’t solve anything,” and that “you shouldn’t stoop to their (the bullies’) level.”

You’ve heard the term, “All up in your Kool-Aid, and don’t know the flavor.” Yep! That’s where they’ll will be when you get enough of bullying and decide once and for all to take care of business.

However, what else do you do if you’re a kid at school getting their brains beat out every other day? Just stand there and allow yourself to be harmed over and over again?

All the time, targets get suspended or expelled from school when they finally defend themselves against a bully. After six months, eight months, two years, or even five years of being mercilessly bullied and trying to handle it through nonviolent means, only to be called a wuss and beat up more, the target finally gets fed up and beats the living crap out of a bully.

Now everyone’s surprised and outraged! Not at the bully, but at the target! But where was their outrage when the target was getting their body pummeled without provocation? Where was their outrage when the shoe was on the other foot? Where was their humanity when the target cried out for help?

If you’re in school and you’re a target of bully. These questions are those you should ask the school authorities, bystanders, and anyone who gets offended by your defending yourself. Know that you’re just as good as the next person. Know that you have the same rights as anyone else- including your bullies. And know that you have the right to defend yourself anytime you’re threatened with physical harm.

Understand that this is a part of self-care. It’s true that fighting isn’t always the answer but sometimes, bullies will leave you no other choice.

So, if you’ve tried everything else, know that you must do what you must to keep yourself safe. And if it means putting up your dukes and getting froggy, so be it.

It’s sad when a target must fight all the time to keep themselves from being harmed but I don’t hold it against anyone who fights back under those circumstances because you have to take care of yourself or no one else will.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

12 Signs You’re Being Gaslighted

Bullies are notorious for gaslighting their targets. As we know, when a target speaks out about the abuse and begins defending themselves, bullies are quick to paint the targets as crazy, try to reverse the roles to make the target look like the bully, or try to convince the target that what happened didn’t really happen- that it was all in the target’s imagination, or they’re being overly sensitive, overreacting, etc.

If you’re a target, understand that bullies will gaslight you to shut you up, so that they can keep their moral high ground. They do it to make you doubt your sanity because they know that if you doubt your own sanity, it’s a sure bet that others will doubt it too.

It’s tough to know when someone is gaslighting you because when others agree with them, you’ll feel even more compelled to just shut up and go along with it. The reason for this compulsion is fear. You know that, more than likely, if you don’t just clam up and go along, you’ll only suffer more abuse as punishment for daring to open your mouth.

So, how do you know that someone is gaslighting you?

Simple. You know just by how it makes you feel. Here are the symptoms:

1. You’ll constantly second guess yourself – It’s a brutal cycle. You say something, make a judgement call, maybe a decision, and then you turn right around and begin wondering if you said or did the right thing. This is bad because second-guessing ourselves can cause us to feel stuck in life, and there are few worse things than feeling stuck.

 You’re hyper-self-aware, self-conscious, and always on guard to make sure you do and say the right thing all the time. Also, too much second guessing can cause us to do and say the wrong things out of nervousness and that is no way to live life!

How you solve this problem is to stop worrying about what others think and to realize that your first instinct will usually be the correct one.

 2. You wonder if you’re imagining things or being too sensitive and you do it several times a day- They don’t call it “crazy-making” for nothing because it can drive you crazy. When people are constantly taking pot shots at you, you hesitate to make any comebacks because, again, you’re too busy doubting yourself and putting too much value on the opinions of others.

Again, the best way to solve this problem is to trust what you feel and go with it. You may get bullied harder for it, but wouldn’t you feel better about yourself later, knowing that you stood up to those creeps?

3. You over-apologize- You apologize for trivial stuff that anyone else could do and probably get away with. You apologize for other people’s behavior. You even apologize for having to go to the bathroom! In short, you apologize for everything!

4. You’re confused all the time- Should you do this or that, say this or that? You live in constant confusion.

5. You’re never happy but you feel you should be- that’s a dead ringer that you’re being gaslighted. Because when people gaslight you even for feeling a certain way, this is what happens. And your feelings are right. You should be happier. Only you have a bullying gaslighter in your life holding you back from the happiness you so richly deserve.

6. You make excuses for other people’s behavior- this especially happens when you have fake friends who only use and abuse you. You don’t want others to know what they’re doing to you because you already know, and you’re riddled with shame over it. And it can be embarrassing when the people you call friends disrespect you because you end up looking pathetic to others. Therefore, you make excuses for them not only to hide the shame of being abused, but to keep your abusers from being angry and making you pay for it later.

But the only way to stop this is to face the truth and, even better, ditching these fakers. Because if you must make excuses for someone who’s bullying and abusing you, they can’t be a friend.

7. You lie to avoid being ridiculed or put down, even about things you should have nothing to worry about- when you feel you must lie about things that are not a big deal, that’s definitely a red flag!

Here are a few more symptoms to be aware of:

8. You feel that you’ve changed- that you’re no longer the confident and outgoing person you used to be.

9. You feel like you can’t do anything right.

10.  You feel hopeless.

11. You wonder if you’re good enough.

 12. You know something’s wrong, but you can’t put your finger on it.

Realize that being gaslighted day in and day out causes you to eventually lose yourself- to lose sight of who you are and once that happens, bullies and abusers will have you exactly where they want you.

Understand that some things are not so clear and that there are situations that we won’t get direct and easy answers to. That is why it’s so important to go with how you feel. Listen to your body- listen to your gut.

“Trust your feelings, Luke.” – Yoda (Star Wars)

There are times when the way you feel will be all the answers you need.

And once you go with your feelings, find a way to rid yourself of the life-leeches in your life (if possible). It’s the only way you’ll be able to heal, get yourself back, and live a peaceful, happy, and purposeful life.

With knowledge comes empowerment!