The Bullying Survivor

The survivor of bullying who escapes the abuse first comes out with shock, anger, and sadness. But once the healing is underway, they’re filled with renewed hope.

When school or workplace bullying experiences have exposed you to the darkest sides of human nature, you have a stronger sense of your own endurance and capability. This is all because of what you have endured and were able to overcome.

You never know your own strength until you’ve overcome bullying, especially severe and chronic bullying.

Another takeaway is that the survivor has a stronger sense of people. She can smell fakery and BS from a mile away and can spot bullies before even talking to them. The survivor pays closer attention to how people carry themselves, body language, and the vibes and energy others put out.

survivors x-ray eyes

He is better able to avoid people who might want to harm him because he’s learned, the hard way, the importance of listening to his gut instinct and heeding it anytime something is even the slightest bit “off” about a person. In short, the survivor of bullying has learned that it’s okay, even paramount, that he trusts himself, and in that, his feelings and judgement.

On the other side of bullying, a survivor learns and develops the determination never to conform to the standards and criteria of others, but to live life on her terms because she knows what it’s like to be a slave to the approval of others. She knows what it’s like to be a prisoner to outside influences. She knows the powerlessness of having one’s pleasure depend of the permission of others. She knows what it’s like to be forced to apologize for simply being who she is and she’s not having any of it!

Overcoming past abuse gives the survivor a restored and refined sense of his worth and knowledge of the immense value he brings to this world. He awakens to his goodness and realizes that yes! He is worthy of love, friendship, affection, and of all the best things in life. He also realizes that he is loved and always was no matter what all those vile people told him!

The survivor of bullying ends up with a much clearer vision of what she will not tolerate nor settle for. She is unmovable in her refusal to kiss arse or bow down to anyone no matter what the cost may be. She’s spent enough years living on her knees and if she’s going to be punished for her unwillingness to kowtow, she’ll suffer those consequences standing up.

The survivor of bullying is also a fierce warrior for other victims. If he sees another person being bullied, he’s will stand up for that person and go toe to toe with the bullies to protect the target.

The survivor who has overcome bullying isn’t afraid to say no, nor to walk away from any relationship that doesn’t fulfill and nourish him. He refuses to be stuck in any environment that doesn’t allow him to grow and flourish.

The survivor is more aware than ever of what she deserves and goes after it with resilience and tenacity. Life’s given her enough of what she doesn’t want and now it’s time for her to go get what she knows is due her.

The survivor realizes, probably more than anyone, that life is short, and you only get one shot in this world. And she works diligently to create the life she knows she deserves, and she does it without guilt. She knows that she’s not entitled nor privileged. She realizes that the big bad world owes her nothing. And that’s okay.

The survivor realizes that there’s no such thing as a free ride because, heck, no one ever gave him anything but hell. What he understands more than anything as that all you have is you and the only person you can depend on is you. So, he knows that reaching his goals and dreams is up to him and him alone. And he works toward what he wants with a fervor.

The survivor of bullying makes it a point never to take anyone for granted but lets her family and friends know that she loves and values them. Why? Because she knows what is like to be alone, unwanted, and abused and she would never want anyone- especially the people she cares about feel that way or endure it.

The survivor of bullying savors every wonderful moment, every positive encounter, and every happy event because he has seen enough negativity.

What the survivor enjoys more than anything else is wonderful relationships and happy moments, and most of all, she’s grateful for them. She also enjoys helping others who go through what she once endured. And she uses her experiences to encourage them and give them hope.

Sometimes, you must be torn down to be built up again. Sometimes you must first be dejected and left lonely before you can truly appreciate the family and friendships you have later. And sometimes, it takes being forced into the chains of others’ approval and validation before you can enjoy the freedom of self-love and the indifference to the opinions of those who don’t matter and, perhaps, never should have mattered.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

The Problem with Looking Outside of Yourself for Your Value

Bullying is hurtful no matter how confident you are, that much is true. We’re all human and we all have feelings and emotions. However, the effects of it are even more damaging when we’re insecure and only look outside of ourselves for our value, in fact, the damage to the self-esteem is exponentially higher.

The problem is that when you look outside of yourself for your value, you automatically look to others to give it to you. And when you do this, you put yourself at their mercy.

Therefore, I have repeatedly emphasized over six years of blogging that knowing your worth is your foundation and that it’s never good to look outside of ourselves for it. Understand that your value, or worth, whatever term you prefer, comes from within and never from without.

Here’s why it’s better to let your value come from the inside:’

1. You can never control the environment around you. Many times, we will find ourselves in toxic environments full of poisonous people, whether it be the school we attend, the company we work for, or the home or neighborhood we live in. When you know yourself and, in that, know your value and let it come from the inside, any bullying or abuse you’re likely to get from others won’t have such an impact on you.

It will hurt, yes. But it won’t be nearly as devastating and cause you to suppress as much of yourself because, deep down, you’ll know who you are and that the people around you are only saying the things they say to diminish you.

Also, when the crap gets too thick, you’ll know when it’s time to bail out of the environment. In knowing yourself and knowing your worth, you’ll realize that you don’t deserve this kind of treatment and that you’re better off leaving this cesspit and moving on to greener pastures.

And you’ll do it without feeling guilty- you’ll do it knowing that it isn’t because you’re “chicken” or “running away from your problems” but because you deserve better. You’ll know what’s best for you, and that it’s because you’re looking out for the best interests of your health.

2. You can never control others’ behavior and how they think of you. And because of this, it’s never good to rely on the approval of others for your value. Understand that there will always be people who don’t like you and some who even hate you and when you depend solely on the approval of others, you make yourself a doormat. Please, for your own sake and the sake of your mental health, don’t give another person that kind of power!

When your value comes from within, you will have respect for yourself, you will love yourself and you will have great self-esteem. You will give yourself compassion and care when others take pot shots at you. You will have the confidence and courage to protect yourself and stand up to abuse. You will know without a shadow of a doubt that the idiots around you are the ones who have the issues and not you.

Your value should always from you. Never from another. You get your value from knowing who you are and knowing that you were put on this earth for a good reason. Realize that everyone serves a good and higher purpose here. You may or may not know what that purpose is, but you are here for a purpose. Find that purpose and fulfill it. And know your value!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Life is Too Short

(Photo credit: Melissa Johnson)

As you already know, last night marked the one-month anniversary of the Quad-State Tornado and upwards of 100 people lost their lives that night as the twister trekked a 160-mile-long path of devastation. The tornado went by just 15-20 miles northeast of my neighborhood and I realize that any town could be hit, including my town and if the storm had originated just 15-20 more miles southwest than it did, we would have been hit.

When something like this happens, it really makes you think and take stock.

And sadly, tragedies such as this drive home such a harsh and cruel truth- life is too short!

Why do I bring this up? It’s because I’ve known too many people who spent their lives under the bootheels of bullies. They spent their entire lives taking abuse and feeling powerless. They spent their lives never knowing the enormous power they had and could’ve used.

They spend a lifetime taking other people’s crap- being used as a dumping ground for the negative emotions and feelings of others- for other people’s anger, jealousy, feelings of insecurity and self-loathing.

They spent their time on Earth never truly knowing their worth and the value they brought to this world and the lives of others. They never knew their own strength and power. Saddest of all, they died before ever knowing the feeling of happiness nor reaching their full potential.

Why?

Because they were never taught to love themselves and that they deserved better. Instead, they were kept blindfolded to their own beauty and importance.

Realize that life is only a one-shot deal. You only get one turn at it. This is why you most make it your best life possible and that means getting rid of the people who subtract from your life instead of adding to it. It means walking away from those who diminish you instead of enhancing you.

Life’s much too short to spend being someone else’s doormat.

It’s time to take back your personal power.

It’s time to take back ownership of your life.

You own your life and you’re the only person who must live it. Your life is yours to live and yours to enjoy.

It’s true that you can’t control how other people behave toward you, but you have full control over whether you allow them to stick around. In other words, if another person crosses a line with you, you damn sure have the power to kick their sorry butts to the curb and keep it moving.

You are more powerful than you know. If you want to make the rest of your life the best of your life, the time is now. Because none of us are promised tomorrow.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

What It Means to Counter Your Bullies’ Attacks

It means maintaining a healthy and positive sense of self.

It means refusing to take in and accept your bullies’ assaults on your pride and dignity, no matter how powerful or influential they may seem. After all, they’re only people just like you.

Countering the attacks from a bully means being able to withstand the barrage of attacks or your humanity, personhood, and character.

It means not letting your bullies persuade you into thinking that they know you better than you know yourself.

It means being super-self-aware… so much so that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt who you are and that you’re a great person who doesn’t deserve shabby treatment.

It means having a clear vision of your value as a human being.

It means keeping company only with strong people who are positive influences in your life- people who consistently validate and affirm your positive qualities and the good you bring to the lives of others and this world.

Then, when a bully tells you that you’re ugly, stupid, evil, or crazy, you can stand with confidence and say, “No, I’m not. You are,” and walk away with more pride in yourself because you stood up to them.

Many targets fall for the garbage bullies feed them because there’s more to countering the attacks than words or fists. It also takes mind and spirit power.

Most targets, sad to say, are either insecure in themselves, to begin with or became so over time because bullies succeeded in making them that way. They may do like I did in the earliest stages of bullying- “ignore the attacks without responding or fighting back. And we know how that usually ends.

Maintaining mind power and a healthy sense of self is the very foundation of self-defense and protection. Always remember that.

Your mind and your thoughts are free! Keep them that way!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Reasons Most Targets Are Afraid to Set Boundaries

It takes supreme self-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.

Targets feel powerless to stop the abuse. And 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. And many targets are too terrified.

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.

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 self-confidence to stand up to a bully. It would be best if you also gave up your old ways of trying to stand up for yourself- 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!

When you begin setting boundaries, 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!”

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.

positive bullied victim says NO

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.

22 Good Responses to Bullying

It takes knowing bullying behavior when you see it and setting boundaries. We should respond (not react) to it right away and with conviction. And when you respond, you must respond with commands, not questions. What I mean by my last sentence is that instead of asking, “What did I ever do to you,” say, “Stop!” or “Knock it off!”

Because anytime we respond to bullies with questions, it only re-enforces their behavior.

Here are a few responses to different types of bullying:

The silent treatment

Return the silent treatment

Pull out a book and read it.

Walk away.

Put in earbuds and listen to music.

 

Verbal Abuse and Bullying

Firmly and authoritatively say,

“Stop that!”

“Cut it out!”

And put your hand out like a traffic cop.

Bullying disguised as jokes

“Knock it off!”

“Don’t be a moron!”

“Cut it out!”

 

A bully who judges you or criticizes

“Shut up!”

“Mind your own business!”

“Nobody asked you!”

“That’s enough!”

Responses to Trivialization

“I’m not having this conversation with you.”

“I’ve heard all I want to hear from you.”

 

When bullies undermine you

“Knock it off!”

“I’m not having this discussion with you!”

Defending their rights concept. Silhouette of hands pointing, denouncing the hand that defends their rights

When bullies threaten you

“Stop threatening me!”

“Leave me alone!”

“I don’t want to hear it!”

“Get away from me!”

 

When bullies make demands or give you orders

“I don’t respond to demands.”

“I don’t take orders.”

These are just a few good responses to the different types of bullying. Remember that you have a right to be treated well and you don’t have to take abuse from anyone.

28 Affirmations That Help Boost Confidence and Self-Esteem

I love being me – positive affirmation – handwriting on napkin with a cup of coffee

Affirmations That Help Boost Confidence and Self-Esteem

NOTE: Parts of this blog post references the following:

(“Stopping Wife Abuse,” Jennifer Baker Flaming, 1979, p.64)

(“The Verbally Abusive Relationship,” Patricia Evans, 2010, p.149)

1.I am not to blame for being bullied.

2. I am not the cause of someone else’s abhorrent behavior.

3. I deserve to be free from bullying and abuse.

4. It is okay for me to say “no” to what I don’t like nor want.

5. I do not have to take it.

6. I am important.

7. I am worthwhile.

8. I deserve to be treated with respect.

9. I have the power to create a good life for myself.

10. It’s okay for me to take care of myself.

11. Only I can decide what’s best for me.

12. I’m not alone. I have people who love me.

13. I am worth fighting for.

14. I deserve to be safe.

15. I deserve to be happy.

16. I am beautiful.

17. I am smart.

18. I am a good person.

19. I can live my life the way I want and on my terms.

20. I am loved.

21. It’s okay to love myself.

22. It’s okay to celebrate myself.

23. It’s okay for me to make mistakes.

24. It’s okay to put myself first.

25. It’s okay to protect and defend myself.

26. It’s okay to ask for help.

27. My life matters.

28. I matter.

Sometimes Distance Can Be a Good Thing

When a person deals with people who criticize them daily, it can quickly wear her down and break her spirit. Sadly, many people disrespect the same target repetitively over several years. They will eventually train that person to tolerate it if he isn’t careful and doesn’t safeguard his mind by doing things to maintain a strong sense of self.

If you’re a target and you stay silent and continue to put up with it, you are, in essence, permitting your bullies to keep abusing you. ‘You see? Here’s how abusers and most bystanders see it, and I’ve heard many perpetrators and witnesses say it out of their mouths.

“If he puts up with it, then he deserves it!”

No! You don’t deserve it. Ever! You have every right to stand up to abuse because it’s a form of violence. The person is violating your boundaries, and it’s up to you to protect those boundaries.

Understand that this is your life, and no law says you have to take crap from anyone.

My grandmother, God rest her soul, tolerated a truckload of abuse as a young woman in her twenties and thirties. The time she was living in was the fifties and sixties. During that era, society expected women to stay silent and submit to abuse.

She had a narcissistic husband who violated her boundaries at every turn. He even lorded over the children too. This beautiful woman dealt with mistreatment from others as well. My grandmother was the very definition of class and grace. She was tall, thin, and gorgeous- the poster lady of feminine beauty, especially during that era. More importantly, she was kind, humble, generous, and smart! Nothing got past my grandmother!

Yet my grandfather never acknowledged her virtues and good qualities and instead, devalued her. He was jealous of her beauty and her smarts. She used her smarts to battle the abuse, and it would enrage him every time she’d trick him. But eventually, she got tired and fed up.

She finally got angry with herself for putting up with his abuse all those years. That’s when she waited until he went to work, then drove into town and filed for a legal separation. Next, she had all the locks changed, and when he got home, she handed him the papers, had his bags packed and ready for him, and told him to get out.

My grandfather was stunned. He never expected her to leave, and for a long time, she hadn’t. Her love for him was that strong. But in the end, she had to love herself enough to walk away from the marriage.

And she needed to love herself more than she did him, which took a lot of strength and courage. She was surprised at how much better her life got once she got over the grief from the divorce.

He stalked her for a while, driving by the house and trying to keep tabs on her. But she continued to hold firm, and she never took him back.

But that was my grandmother. She was a rock, and it’s how I remember her.

The point of my story is that putting distance between yourself and abusers, whether they be an abusive partner, an authoritarian boss, or abusers at work or school, is essential to finding peace of mind. All of the above are bullies and don’t deserve a seat at your table.

It’s why I left Oakley and I choose not to go to any future class reunions. And it’s the reason my telephone number was always unlisted when I lived in Oakley for a little while as an adult during the late ’90s and early 2000s. I didn’t want to risk the possibility of any former bullies looking me up in the directory and finding not only my number but my street address.

And even today, none of them know where I am. All those people know is that I no longer live in Oakley, and I intend to keep it that way.

Hit the road concept, road – 3D rendering

Distance is a blessing, and it’s the best weapon against bullies. It pays to stay away and ensure that they also keep away.

If it’s possible, targets should put as much distance between themselves and their bullies as they can. As long as you’re out of their reach and they stay away from you, they can’t bother you.

The Reason It Pays to Know Yourself

When you know yourself inside and out, you are better able to define yourself instead of letting others, particularly bullies and abusers, do it for you. And when you learn to accept only your definition of who you are, you can more easily avoid bullying because you’re better able to recognize it. And when you’re able to identify abuse, you’re least likely to put up with it.

In other words, when you know who you are, you also know what you want and what you will and will not tolerate, which is why knowing who you are is of the utmost importance.

Knowing yourself means knowing your feelings, senses, and instincts and trusting them to guide you through this crazy thing called life. Tuning in to your feelings and instincts means tuning into your gut. As we all know, your gut can guide you out of dangerous situations and environments if you allow it to.

Knowing yourself also means refusing to allow bullies to shame or ridicule you into staying in situations and circumstances that don’t feel good to you or around toxic people. To know yourself means to trust yourself to make the right decisions.

For example, during the years my classmates bullied me, there were times when they would accost me, and I’d put my hand up to them and walk away. I didn’t have time for their drama and foolishness. Next, one of them would shout, “Hey! Where are you going, you big chicken!” or “Oh, that’s right! Walk away like you always do!” or “You’d better run!”

Understand that when you turn your back and walk away from a bully and he calls out these things to you, it’s only their attempts to control you by defining you- to shame you into sticking around and taking their crap. Or, it could be that they’re trying to bait you into a fight because they know the chances are that you’ll get blamed for it.

No one wants others to think them to be a coward. But people will try to define you as one to corner you and trick you into doing what they want. They know that you’ll feel compelled to hang around and you’ll do it for no other reason than to prove to the rest of the world that you aren’t afraid.

Again, this is why you must know yourself. When you know deep down that you’re not what people call you, you won’t feel any need to do any posturing nor virtue signaling because you won’t have to prove anything. Although the name-calling may sting a little, it won’t bother you as much.

Another good thing about knowing yourself is that you won’t feel the need to hold back emotions. You’ll be able to recognize them better and allow yourself to feel them. You won’t let others tell you how you should feel or bullies to shame you into suppressing them.

You don’t have to put on a big front and try to act like someone you’re not.

To know yourself means freedom!

Understand that people who don’t know themselves will follow the crowd and try to fit in. People who don’t know themselves will accept other’s definitions of them without realizing it. They’ll build a fake identity based on how others view them and others’ expectations and ideas of who a real person should be.

Sadly, if a target is told by abusers that he’s stupid, no good, lazy and that he’ll never amount to anything, in many cases, they’ll live up to it. It will show up in their grades, performance, and how they interact with people.

During school, I lost knowledge of who I was only for a little while, and that was before the suicide attempt. Later, I become angry at myself for allowing them to define me.

It was later when I decided that I was going to be true to my own heart. It may not have looked that way to the outside observer. Still, inside, I got in touch with my inner sensations and instincts and began to realize that I wasn’t to blame for what was happening to me. I realized that their abuse was no reflection on me but spoke volumes about their lack of morals, decency, and character.

Getting to know myself brought confirmation that what they were doing was wrong. Now this inner realization didn’t stop me from being bullied and may have made it worse. But instead of hating and blaming myself, I listened to what my gut told me. I paid close attention to the vibes I was getting and maintained a strong sense of self while enduring the pain of not being accepted.

I decided from then on that I was going to maintain my inner strength. I would listen to my instincts when they told me that I had reason to fear certain people. Even better, I was no longer going to be ashamed of it. I began paying attention to how my body tensed up when I was around certain people and realized that it was only a cue for me to get away from those people.

And today, I trust myself enough to reject others’ definitions of who I am. In that, bullies are no longer able to have power over me, and I’m a much happier person for it.

And I want you to know that you too can get to that beautiful and peaceful place.

With knowledge comes empowerment!