There’s absolutely nothing wrong with responding in kind when someone tries to mistreat you. It shows that you command the dignity and respect that’s due to the next person and that you won’t tolerate crap from bullies. It also shows that you have the guts to stand your ground when some creep violates your boundaries.
As a society, we’ve been conditioned by politicians, the media, corporations, educators, and even certain members of our families that responding in kind only makes us as bad as the bullies. And we’re still being conditioned to believe it. We’re being told to “ignore” people’s atrocious behavior, and in some cases, even submit to it.
However, I want you to understand that the only thing bullies understand is strength and power and anyone they deem as weak is fair game.
Therefore, if you don’t respond in kind to bad behavior, bullies will get the message that there are no consequences for their abuse and that they can walk on you anytime they feel like it. There’ll be no stopping them from escalating the bullying and no limit to what they’ll try next.
Full Length of Two Adult Woman Standing Side by Side with Hands on Hips in Separate Lanes of Outdoor Running Track – Two Friends Sizing Up Competition
You must set boundaries, and how you set boundaries is by imposing consequences on anyone who violates those boundaries. But how do you impose consequences? By responding in kind to bullies when they cross the line.
Notice I say “respond” and not react. By responding the right way, you show that you’re not afraid to stand your ground and that you command the same dignity and respect given to the next person.
There’s no law that says that you must accept abuse from anyone. Yet, we’re very subtly being told that we should take it, and with a smile, and a yes sir/ma’am, then ask for seconds. In today’s world, society tries to dictate that we should agree to abuse.
Um- no! That’s now how life or human nature works! Every action is followed by a response!
Bullies must realize that there are consequences if they harm another person. And we must realize that it is the threat of consequences that keeps the bad guys from coming for us and keeps us safe. Without accountability, there would be chaos and anarchy! Bullies would have free reign over us all.
So, never be afraid to respond in kind and never feel guilty for it. It’s normal, expected, and it’s how you defend yourself and treat yourself well.
Bullies may indeed beat the target into submission, but that submission is only temporary. Worse, bullying, beatings, and punishing the target only does one of two things:
It re-enforces the target’s belief that he is vulnerable and that others are hostile toward him- which makes the target that much more likely to defy the bullies to assert his right to exist and to fight back.
The target may attack a weaker and more accessible adversary.
These targets feel vulnerable (and sadly, they are) and they become hypersensitive to confrontations like disparagement or domination. Violent targets come to see other people’s actions and words as affronts. These targets think nobody can be trusted. They also view their entire lives as a battle.
Bully-Victims, or bully-targets are bullied but also bully others they perceive to be weaker. In other words, they are bullies who get bullied by other bullies.
Many bully-targets also suffer severe abuse at home and have a history of demanding attitudes, disobedience, disruptive behavior, and rebellion. With the exception of being severely abused at home, this was me years ago. I felt safe at home but once I left the house, I felt like an endangered species.
As implied earlier, many other bully-targets view their lives as a battlefield because they are abused at home and at school, or work. The abuse they suffer is never-ending and something they can never get a respite from. Therefore, their response is to retaliate and rebel against a world they feel is against them.
They are often severely punished at home for the most minor of infractions- being too loud, being too rambunctious- basically, for simply being a kid!
Many bully-targets have parents who always seem irritated and adults in their families who over-criticize them, threaten them, slap them around, and beat them. One boy who was a bully-target opened up about having a father who would double up his fist in his face and threaten to “knock him through the wall.”
It’s because of things like this that these kids are angry and lash out so easily. The abuse and bullying they suffer does not force them to comply, it only further enrages them.
These kids feel mistreated, misunderstood, and tossed away. They feel that everyone is against them and why not? The abuse they suffer both in and outside the home seems to confirm it!
This is why many targets who fight back are mistaken for bullies. They are perceived by others to be bullying others when, in fact, they are defending themselves.
These kids have the most difficult time with people and with life in general and their futures are at stake. These are the kids who need the most help. And it’s up to us to reach out and help them.
If you know someone who is a target of bullying and falls into this category, I cannot stress enough the importance of being there for them and getting them help. Please don’t give up on them because they aren’t hopeless and there’s still time to help them turn their lives around. By reaching out to these kids, you will be saving their future and their lives!
Many targets of bullying, sadly, get tricked and programmed into thinking they should apologize for everything- for things they need not be sorry for. Understand that these needless apologies are a survival mechanism. Targets over apologize in hope that the bullies will be appeased and back off from harming them. I completely understand and will never fault them for that. They’re doing what they feel they must do to protect themselves.
However, their apologies, in most cases, don’t work and can make the bullying worse. And if these targets aren’t careful, they can unwittingly allow themselves to be programmed to over apologize even after the bullying threat has passed, which will only make them targets of future bullies.
What happens is that when we’re bullied, abused, and made to apologize for so long, we develop new neural pathways that rewire us to become subservient. And the lines between what we should and shouldn’t apologize for become blurred.
So, what are the things you should never apologize for?
1.Your very existence. You have just as much a right to be here as the next person. Never ever apologize for being in this world. Remember that The Lord put you here for a great purpose. You have your space to fill, and you have every right to carve it out.
2. Setting boundaries. As human beings, we all have unalienable rights endowed by God. One of which is to stand up for those rights. If someone is violating you in any way, you must set boundaries. You must call them out and make it absolutely clear to them that what they’re doing is wrong. Never be sorry for that.
3. Defending yourself and your loved ones. Again, you must set boundaries. If someone is harming you and your loved ones, you have every right to defend yourself and them. A while back, media outlets were implying that if people of European descent defended themselves against home invasions, robberies, physical harm, and murder; it was wrong because they considered it “white privilege.”
Ahem! No! What it is, is human survival and self-preservation. Everyone has a right to protect themselves from harm, no matter their race or skin color! And you should never feel guilty for defending your right not to be harmed. Never! You have a God-given right to save your own life! God gave you a brain. Use it!
4. Walking away from drama. Bullies, abusers, gossips, backstabbers, and troublemakers are people who bring us unnecessary drama and life’s too short for it. Anyone who brings you drama doesn’t deserve to be around you. You have every right to get up and walk away. Never allow anyone to make you feel guilty for that.
5. Your successes and accomplishments. When you’ve worked hard and achieved your success, you have a right to those rewards. You have a right to enjoy and celebrate the fruits of your labor. Many times, jealous, insecure, and resentful people will attempt to make you feel guilty for being successful. Don’t fall for that garbage! Don’t be arrogant, but be pleased about your success, whatever it may be. You have that right.
6. Being who you are. You are beautifully and wonderfully unique. There is no one else in this world like you nor will there ever be. Understand that the original is worth so much more than a copy. Don’t be peer-pressured into cheapening yourself by becoming just another copy. Let no one make you feel guilty for being who you are- an original!
7. Your happiness. Happiness comes from within. You, as much as anyone else, deserve your joy. If you’ve done the inner work and found purpose in your life, let no one demand that you apologize for it.
8. Your lifestyle. Unless you’re a criminal and your lifestyle is about causing others pain, never apologize for the way you live. Ways of living that are unapologetic include well-earned affluence, poverty that you can do nothing about, being a single parent, etcetera, etcetera. When it comes to these things, people really need to mind their own business and you have a right to tell them just that if they have the audacity to judge your lifestyle.
To protect your self-esteem and confidence from bullies, abusers- anyone who many violate you, you must be clear on what needs an apology and what doesn’t. With this knowledge, we have a powerful weapon with which to preserve our self-esteem and, thus, our very lives.
Many bullies bully their targets by using physical violence and force, or the threat of it. Nobody wants bodily harm, and there’s no shame or blame in that. So, instead of just standing there and letting the bully pound on you or continue to threaten you, you must defend yourself. But if you aren’t the kind who believes in throwing punches, how do you protect yourself without resorting to violence?
Here are a few ways:
1. Talk your way out of the altercation. You do this by giving the bully a small dose of (false) empathy and sympathy. Pretend like you feel bad for “the poor guy” and use the appropriate tone of voice and body language to make it sound convincing. And your body language and tone should match your words and convey empathy.
For example, you can begin with,“I understand why your upset about XYZ…” then state your case.
But don’t overdo it! Don’t say any more than what needs to be said, don’t talk too fast or look nervous. The last you want to do is to come off like you’re trying too hard because the bully will only think you’re scared or fake.
2. If talking doesn’t work, leave the situation (if possible). Find a way to get way away from the person. If you can’t get away because the bully has you cornered or trapped, then, by all means, fight your way free if you have to.
Although you may not want to resort to hitting back, sometimes there’s no other choice. It’s either fight or get your butt handed to you.
3. Call for help. Call 911 and get the police involved. The bully may get away with it, but at least there will be a record of the call and a police report on file should the bully come after you again.
4. If all else fails, FIGHT! Sock the bully in the nose! Sometimes, you have no choice but to use the last resort for self-defense. You’ve tried everything else so you have a record on the bully. Chances are that others will know you fought in self-defense and give you a pass, which is another benefit to establishing a recorded history of your bully’s bad behavior.
You can’t go wrong with establishing a recorded history of bad behavior. A trail of records will go a long way in keeping you protected.
It seems to be the question on everyone’s mind these days, especially in the notoriously politically correct climate in which we live. The media and politicians vehemently discourage fighting violence with violence. You’ll hear statements from others, such as:
“Two wrongs don’t make a right.” “Turn the other cheek.” “Don’t stoop to the bully’s level.”
And the all-time favorite, “Be the bigger person and walk away.”
I’ve heard them all.
Yes, you should try more peaceful ways first, like walking away from the bully or reporting it to someone in power. However, what if the more peaceful solutions don’t work?
If you don’t stand up for yourself, the bully will only continue to come after you and hurt you. You’ll be a punching bag for everyone who knows you at school or elsewhere. Because when word gets around that one person can hit you and get away with it, everyone else will think they can too and you’ll be the school or the community whipping boy. That’s no way to live.
In the middle of a physical attack, the last resort is the only option you have.
So, here it is:
When a bully physically attacks you, you have a God-given, primal, animal right to defend yourself from being harmed. I state this with full conviction!
If a bully hits you first, haul off and knock his block off! And when you do, don’t just give him a love pat. Deck the creep with the strength of your entire body- hit so hard that the bully has difficulty getting back up. Then unleash a hail of hard licks so that he doesn’t get up. Because once the bully gets up, he will charge you!
Yeah. I know it isn’t the “politically correct” thing to do. But when someone is harming you, all that jazz about political correctness and being the bigger person goes out the window, and the gloves are off.
The only thing you should think of at this point is how to disable the bully so or give him such a bad memory that he’ll never even think about coming for you again. You aren’t a troublemaker or a brute for this, folks! It’s called self-defense!
This doesn’t mean bringing a gun or other deadly weapon. Lethal weapons will only get someone killed, and you put behind bars for the rest of your life. Never EVER carry a gun to school! It’s much better to put up your dukes and throw down when you must.
Bully picking on smaller weaker teenager with very agressive behavior shoving his face into the bus
I’ll say again, punch the bully’s lights out! You may get suspended from school, fired from work, or even go to jail for a night or two. However, physical attacks are much more vicious nowadays and if you just let someone smack you around, they’ll only intensify the beatings until they hurt you bad enough to send you to the hospital or worse! And I’d much rather be suspended, lose a job, or spend a night in jail than to spend a month in the hospital or end up six feet under.
I don’t condone fighting. Although I fought many times in school, I hated it each time I had to. I was a 5’4″, 120-pound girl being jumped and most of the time by multiple assailants, a male attacker, or a female much bigger than me. There were times when I was also boxed in where I couldn’t go anywhere.
There was no other choice. It was either fight or risk my bullies possibly maiming or killing me. Sometimes the last resort is the only way to protect yourself and let a bully know that you’re not the one to mess with and that you aren’t afraid to fight back if necessary.
There will be others who may disagree with this post, and that’s okay. I am very thick-skinned now and rarely do I get offended. I can agree to disagree. But I will do what I have to do to protect my well-being and my life if ever I’m in physical danger.
So, if all else fails, go ahead and whoop that ***!
Why? Because bullies don’t care what your reasons are. The only reason they blame you for something and try to bait you into explaining yourself is the psychological payoff they get from it. The psychological payoffs, being satisfaction, gratification, and a massive rush of power.
While you’re standing there wasting your breath, trying to convince the bully that you aren’t guilty of whatever it is that they’re accusing you or attacking you for, the bullies are mentally smirking and patting themselves (and each other) on the backs over how easily they’ve got you to react, how easily they can scare you and make you nervous, and get you all up in arms. Some things don’t need an explanation.
Here are more reasons why you shouldn’t explain yourself to a bully:
1. No matter what you say, how calm you are when you say it, how convincing you may sound, or how much evidence you may have to support you, bullies will never believe you anyway.
2. Understand that bullies only believe whatever feels right, useful, and convenient for them.
3. They aren’t interested in evidence or facts. Any facts may only deter them for the time being, but believe me when I tell you. Your bullies will only get angrier at you for having the gall to prove them wrong. Then, they’ll regroup, reorganize, then come back at you with a whole new accusation and demand yet another explanation later.
Understand that anytime bullies accuse you of wrongdoing that you neither committed nor know anything about, deep inside, they already know you’re innocent.
They are fully aware that you had nothing to do with the transgression. Realize that it’s only a trap to get you to react and give them that rush of power that you’ve been giving them all along and that they crave and can’t seem to get enough of.
Even when you produce evidence to prove your point, you must work to gather that evidence.
Just knowing they have you jumping through hoops to prove yourself is enough to give them the thrills they’re looking for.
So, instead of letting them bait you into a defense, you should be asking yourself,
1. “Who are these morons?
2. “Who are they that I should have to explain anything?”
3. “Since when do I have to explain anything to these jackholes? They don’t pay my bills!”
Understand that you don’t owe these people a damn thing!
I understand that bullies can be intimidating and threatening. It’s hard to resist an explanation when you’re scared to death and not began rattling off an excuse in nervousness, hoping that a reasonable explanation will make the harassment go away. But trust me, it won’t!
It certainly didn’t make things better for me. If anything, it only got worse because my reaction only made me look like an easy target.
But once I realized what they were doing, I began to get bored with them and walk away because their games no longer affected me. The same will be for you too, and you’ll feel much better. And the icing on the cake will be that you’ll take the wind out of the bullies’ sails, and they’ll finally leave you alone.
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.
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.
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
I believe that each and every one of us is born with confidence and a heart of gold. Yet 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.
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- 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, and 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- by setting boundaries and standards.
Any time a person has been the object of relentless bullying at work or school over an extended period of time, that person comes to be in a constant state of high alert. Although useful in short, immediate circumstances, this hyper-vigilance can be unhealthy if the person remains in this state for too long, causing stomach issues, headaches, and fatigue, among many other ailments.
Even worse, such a continuous feeling of being under threat can also cause the person to overreact in response to certain occurrences.
Here’s an excerpt from “From Victim to Victor (A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying).”
“…Every living creature has an innate and perfectly natural physiological reaction in the event of a threat or attack. Called the Fight or Flight Response, it protects us from harm in dangerous situations in part through the release of adrenaline. When adrenaline is released into the blood, it becomes next to impossible not to do either of two things- fight or flee.
When I was being bullied and abused during school, escape was not an option for me. Usually, I was cornered or surrounded, either backed into a wall or some large object. With flight cut off to me as an option, what did I have left? Fight! I lived on this adrenaline every day, all day long. Just being around my classmates put my body and mind on constant alert. It was a horrible way to live.
Getting on the school bus and walking through the entrance to the school felt like a death march. In the afternoons, I had horrible headaches that triggered violent nausea. For so long, I had managed to keep from vomiting.
Eventually, my luck ran out. I recall an afternoon in English class when my mouth and eyes began to water. I swallowed hard to control my gag reflexes as I approached the teacher’s desk to ask to be excused to the bathroom.
‘What do you want?’ Mrs. Caraway asked rudely.
‘I don’t feel good.’ I replied.
Without a word, she gave me the hall pass, and I scurried my way to the girls’ room, barely making it to the first stall before launching a stream of the bitterest, most horrible tasting green liquid into the toilet.
This was followed by a long series of dry heaves, which were quite painful. Instead of making me feel better, the vomiting made me feel worse, and my headache became next to unbearable.
I’ll never forget the sound of the bathroom door as it flung open and the teacher stormed in, demanding to know why I was taking so long. I began to cry and, in between gags and wretches, pleaded with her to let me go to the office and call my grandmother….”
She accused me of making myself vomit so I could go home early.
When you’re a bullied kid, even a few teachers, having heard the rumors and falsehoods being spread about you, begin to bully you too. It’s a very lonely and heartbreaking position to be in.
As time went on, the fear of going to school and having to face my classmates grew in me. It was like an infected tumor getting bigger and bigger with each passing day. My stomach would draw up every morning when I set foot on that school bus.
The next eight hours were like walking through a minefield, never knowing when my next step could mean BOOM! and I would be hit, shoved, kicked, or bombarded with a torrent of taunts, insults, and names. It was a situation I saw no end to, and to say that I was afraid would be an understatement. I was petrified.
Most never think of the magnitude of fear the victim must live with or the health consequences of living in that perpetual state of fight or flight. And sadly, although the impact on the victim’s physical health may not show up right away, it may rear its ugly head later in life.
But this doesn’t only happen in school; it happens in the workplace also. What was believed to only happen to school-aged people also happens to adults in the workplace. Bullying knows no age group.
Many bullied victims get into serious trouble when the bullying finally escalates and becomes physical. Every day, innocent targets are unjustly suspended and expelled from school or fired from work because they were forced into fight mode to defend themselves.
Child abuse with the eye of a young boy or girl with a single tear crying due to the fear of violence or depression caused by hunger and poverty and being afraid of bullying at school.
Bullies have a real flair for charming and seducing supervisors, managers, teachers, and staff, lying very convincingly and making the target look like the aggressor. Targets are often severely punished for nothing more than trying to protect themselves, while the bullies are either given a slap on the wrist or escape with complete impunity.
However, school staff and workplace management should know well that, just like all God’s creatures, bullying targets have this fight or flight instinct.
It’s only natural that if you corner a dog and kick it enough times, sooner or later, you’ll get bit!