It’s Up to You to Protect Yourself

If you’re a target of bullying, can you truly and totally rely on people in authority to help you? Can you rely on them to do something about the bullying you suffer and hold those who are bullying you to account for their horrible behavior? Can you rely on others to bring you justice?

I used to be all about laws against bullying and yes, the idea sounds great. I won’t pretend it doesn’t. However, I’m beginning to gravitate away from making bullying a crime. Why? Because most people aren’t going to protect targets until it happens to them or one of theirs. And even then, that’s still debatable.

Let’s Stop Relying too Much on Others

We cannot rely too much on laws and policies because they’re not worth the paper they’re written on. Entities, such as schools and workplaces, can write all the rules and policies against bullying they want. But until they enforce those policies, they’re only as cheap as the ink and paper administrators use to make them.

What good are laws and policies if these entities don’t enforce them? At what point do we stop relying on the system to protect us and begin protecting ourselves?

Understand that, no matter what anyone says, you don’t have to put up with anyone else’s crap. Therefore, it’s up to you to stand up to bullies and do it properly. And if defending yourself doesn’t work, you have the option to remove yourself from the situation and environment.

We Must Learn to Take Care of Ourselves

Here’s another reason I’m gravitating away from making bullying a crime: It’s because most seasoned bullies have ways of making innocent targets look like the bullies. Therefore, if lawmakers make bullying an imprisonable crime, many innocent targets would end up behind bars. Because, again, bullies, especially narcissistic bullies have a flare for flipping the script and, very convincingly, painting the target as the bad guy.

Too many targets have been conditioned to think that self-defense is wrong and it isn’t. And the people who condition these targets are often bullies themselves. Therefore, if bullies target you for bullying, you must know your enemies. You must do a lot of study and research on bullies, then use the knowledge you gain to outmaneuver them.

Also, yiu must do your own investigation and gather your own evidence. That means detailed documentation. Moreover, you may need to use the last resort and bust the bully in the mouth if all else fails and the bully tries to physically attack you. It’s the only way you can effectively defend yourself. Remember!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Forgiveness Doesn’t Mean Foolishness

Although healthy, forgiveness doesn’t mean you think what they did to you was okay. Far from it. What it means is that you refuse to let those who transgressed against you set up camp in your mind. It means that you refuse to hold onto grudges that may block you from your rightful blessings. In this, you make room for growth and success.

Sadly, too may people think that forgiveness means that you must become buddy-buddy with the person and have something to do with them. They then wonder why they keep getting hurt. Realize that bullies only see forgiveness as a weakness and stupidity. They view forgiveness as a green light to continue their abuse because they take for granted that you’ll always be okay with it.

Understand that forgiveness doesn’t obligate you to interact with the person who did you wrong. It doesn’t mean you continue to be someone’s fool. You can forgive someone and still realize that they’re no good. Toxic people are dead weight and though you may forgive them, you realize that it’s still best to keep them at arm’s length.

You’re strong enough to forgive but wise enough to avoid toxic people.

You avoid them because you realize that these people will only take your forgiveness for foolishness. Because these people have a history of pushing your boundaries, you’re forgiving, yet assertive.

Forgiveness is great because it gives you peace of mind. However, if you continue to allow these people to have a place in your life, they will only continue to take advantage of you. You don’t have to be mean to or mistreat them but there’s no law that says you have to trust them again. It’s better that you don’t trust them.

Some people you must forgive from afar.

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!

That Empowering Feeling of Saying “No!”

dreamstime_s_161021280

Saying “no” can be difficult and at times, even downright scary. Like when bullies are trying to force you to do something you don’t want to do.  You know the feeling when they threaten either physical harm or worse social exclusion if you don’t do what they want you to do. I know the feeling because I’ve been there.

Nobody wants to get hurt. The natural human response is to submit and make the pain, torment, or the threat of, stop. In your mind, you’re thinking, “Alright, alright! I’ll do it if you’ll go away and leave me alone!” I get that because it’s what I did. I submitted to my bullies many times, too many times. I fell for the false promises that they would let me be and stop hurting me. But-

Saying yes to them meant saying no to myself.

They never made good on those promises. The harassment didn’t stop. If anything, it only got worse! Anytime I did say no, I got threatened and yes, even physically attacked.

Saying no to a bully is never an easy option. Bullies don’t take no for an answer, least of all from their targets! However, not only is it necessary, but it feels darn good sometimes!
If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve said the word “no” a lot more than I did. I wouldn’t have cared about the retaliation I might have faced. Unless one of my bullies had done something drastic, like pulled a gun, I’d have stood firm.

In no way would I advice anyone to risk their life. If someone pulls a gun on me, I will do what I must do to stay alive! I’ll do what he wants and tell him what he wants to hear. I’ll dance a jig wearing fluorescent orange and white polka-dotted bell bottoms if it keeps me from dying!

I’ll grant you, saying no is risky.

But if they only threaten me with the business end of their fists, I know I’m only going to come out of it with a shiner and a fat lip. In a situation like that, it’s much safer to say no. Those wounds will heal. But the psychological injury of wishing I hadn’t let myself down will last for years.

However, if you do choose physical safety first, I want you to know that you’re not wrong for that. In no way will I ever think less of you if you submit to your bullies’ demands. As I mentioned earlier, a natural reaction is to obey to keep from being harmed.

And the winner is...

Today, I say that little two-letter word a lot more and will continue to say it in the future. It doesn’t matter what people say, how they feel about it or what they do. I would much rather get the crap kicked out of me and still feel good about myself for taking a stand. Today, I’d rather take a beating than to cave under pressure.  I’m funny about letting myself down by doing something I didn’t want to do. To me, that’s worse than getting my butt kicked! But that’s just me.

Many times, I let myself down by saying yes.

My physical wounds healed. But knowing I let someone else force me to do something I neither wanted to nor agreed to, left a psychological injury that took a long time to recover from. I ended up asking myself, “Now, why didn’t I tell those creeps to take a flying leap off the highest cliff head first?” That feeling of powerlessness was worse than the physical pain I would have suffered.

So, permit yourself to say that tiny little word because it can be so empowering! You may indeed get your tail kicked, but at least you’ll feel good knowing you got hurt because you stood for something! Those psychological benefits will significantly outweigh the embarrassment of any beat down! Besides, you forced a bully to do something foolish and which will likely get him in trouble with an adult or the law! So, I ask you! Who’s the real winner here?

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!

Here Are 7 Ways to Expose Your Bullies and Protect Yourself

Here’s a list of several things you can do to rip the mask off and keep yourself safe.

1. Know your enemy.

How you do this is to stand back and always OBSERVE the people around you, but without looking like you are watching them. Pay close attention to body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. I can’t stress enough the importance of this. This is how you find out who the trouble makers are.

If you see another student or coworker gossip and make trouble for others, you can be sure that in time, they will do the same to you. This is how I now know who to avoid at all costs. However, be advised that avoidance will not work if you have a determined bully after you. If a person wants to get to you badly enough, they will seek you out until they find you.

2. Document everything!

As it has been said, “if it isn’t documented, it never happened”. Keep a journal and write down everything. I did this in junior high and high school just in case one of my bullies either hurt me bad enough to hospitalize me or worse…killed me.

You must write down the names of your bullies, the names of any bystanders or authority (teachers, principal, or any member of authority) present at the time the altercation took place, the date, time, place it happened, what happened and if possible, why it happened. Also, record what is said and by whom. Document every… single… detail!!

3. Do not reveal any information about yourself that you would not want to be told to anyone.

Including your friends! If you do, you’re asking for trouble because if you are the target of a bully, you can be sure that your bullies will, at some point, either try to pry information about you out of your friends or they will turn your friends against you altogether.

4. Keep a low profile.

Don’t do anything that may draw attention to yourself. And stay away from places the bullies may gather. Think, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Just don’t make it obvious to your bullies that you are ducking and dodging them. I avoided several confrontations by simply laying low.

5. Save any threatening texts, emails, and/or voice mails for evidence.

And if possible, set your cellphone to record during any altercation brought on by a bully, provided it is hidden in your pocket. You certainly do not want the bully to know what you are doing. keep your composure and be sure not to tarnish the recording by yelling or using foul language.

Schools are now becoming more aware of the issue of bullying. If you happen not to have a cellphone, keep a digital recorder handy (if possible) and be ready to record as soon as the torment starts.

6. NEVER brag about any evidence you have against a bully.

Not even to your best friend…PERIOD! Again, bullies have a knack for prying information out of people, even your friends. They can also turn your friends against you, making them more than happy to volunteer the information. Don’t do it! Anytime you are a target of bullies, you are in no position to trust anyone!

7. Call the bully out in front of an audience.

This is risky and could bring retaliation. However, the bully will also know that you are on to him/her and you just might intimidate them enough that they will leave you alone. It happened for me on a few occasions.

But keep in mind that this doesn’t happen for everyone. Calling the bully out in front of people can also humiliate the bully and make that person more determined to get you. So access the bully’s personality and the situation carefully before you decide to do this.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

How to Stay off The “Hadar”

Many times, I would pit a few of my classmates against each other. If I knew of a few who disliked or hated each other, I’d very quietly and secretly pit them against each other. An offhand comment here, another there, and I’d have them fighting among themselves. Yeah, I know, it was a shady thing to do. However, if I could keep them fighting among themselves, then I could distract their attention and hostility away from me and, thus, keep the spotlight away!

And when people chronically bully you as they did me, you’ll do anything, and I mean anything to get a nice, albeit short, a reprieve from all the drama. And sometimes, “ya gotta do what ya gotta do” to keep yourself safe.

If you can find a few bullies who hate each other as much as they hate you, then perfect! Or, you can find classmates or coworkers who are mad at each other, stoke the fires a little, and take advantage of it! Stir the pot between them because if you can keep them busy fighting each other, they’ll leave you alone. And let me tell you! It worked wonders!

Understand that your goal is not to cause trouble. Your goal is to take the “hadar” (hate radar) off you and to protect yourself.

The only thing I’d advise is that you should use this sparingly. Save this little technique until you’ve exhausted all other options.

So, if you must, keep them too busy to even think about you. It’s not that you’re trying to hurt anyone; your only goal is to keep yourself safe!

With knowledge comes power!

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!

Bullying- When Emotions Are High

Bullies are known for being highly emotional when they don’t get their way. They scream, they curse, they act out and they don’t care who’s around to see it because they use fear and intimidation to keep people from speaking out against them. Or, if they’re sneaky, they may hold it in until they get to a place that’s private and with people they trust, then fly into a rage.

Yikes!

Just as hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, it can also be said that hell hath no fury like a bully disappointed.

Here are 3 safety measures you must carry out when your bully begins to rage at you. Things can get dangerous quickly when a bully becomes enraged.

1. Turn and walk away right then! You must get away from the raging bull(y) fast. Think, out of sight, out of mind.

2. Watch Your Back. The bully is postal. Even scarier, he’s outraged at you! So, you must cover your six until you’re either out of the environment or things have cooled off. Just don’t look like you’re watching your back.

3. Whatever you do, don’t mirror the bully. You’ll only look just as nuts as the bully. Also, the last thing you want to do is scream and curse back because things will likely become fisty, or worse, the bully might pull out a knife or gun.

4. No sarcasm or witticisms. This will prompt the bully to throw fists or pull a weapon faster than yelling and cursing back because, in your sarcasm and funny remarks, you’re making the bully look like a basket case and he knows it. Save the witticisms for when the bully is attacking in a calmer state.

Remember that bullies, especially narcissist bullies, have a sadistic nature and have absolutely no moral compass. Many bullies of the narcissistic variety become murderers. So, get away from the person, stay away, and make sure they aren’t stalking you.

No contact is the best way to stay safe.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

7 Ways to Expose a Bully and Keep Yourself Safe

dreamstime_xs_80723931

The best defense is to know bullying when it happens to you, and to know how to unveil a bully’s deplorable behavior. Here’s a list of several things you can do to rip the mask off and keep yourself safe.

1. Know your enemy. How you do this is to stand back and observe the people around you, but without looking like you are watching them. Pay close attention to body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. I can’t stress enough the importance of this.

This is how you find out who the trouble makers are. If you see another student or coworker gossip and make trouble for others, you can be sure that in time, they will do the same to you.

2. Document everything! As it has been said, “if it isn’t documented, it never happened”. Keep a journal and write down everything. I did this in junior high and high school just in case one of my bullies either hurt me bad enough to hospitalize me, or worse- killed me.

dreamstime_xs_15746889

You must write down the names of your bullies, the names of any bystanders or authority (teachers, principal, or any member of authority) present at the time the altercation took place, the date, time, place it happened, what happened and if possible, why it happened. Also, record what is said and by whom. Document every… single… detail!

3. Do not reveal any information about yourself that you would not want to be told to anyone. Including your friends! If you do, you’re asking for trouble because if you are the target of a bully, you can be sure that your bullies will, at some point, either try to pry information out of your friends or they will turn your friends against you altogether.

4. Keep a low profile. Don’t do anything that may draw attention to yourself. And stay away from places the bullies may gather. Think, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Just don’t make it obvious to your bullies that you are ducking and dodging them. I avoided several confrontations by simply laying low.

dreamstime_xs_10518911

However, be advised that avoidance will not work if you have a determined bully after you. If a person wants to get to you badly enough, they will seek you out until they find you.

5. Save any threatening texts, emails, social media messages/posts, and/or voice mails for evidence. And if possible, hide a digital recorder on you or ease your hand down into your purse and set your cellphone to video during any altercations. Do it covertly so that the bully doesn’t know what you are doing. Just make sure you live in a one-party consent jurisdiction. Screenshot any nasty emails, messages, comments, and posts on social media.

Keep your composure and be sure not to tarnish the recording by yelling or using foul language.

6. NEVER brag about any evidence you have against a bully. Not even to your best friend! Again, bullies have a knack for prying information out of people, even your friends. They can also turn your friends against you, making them more than happy to volunteer the information.

gavel and soundblock of justice law and lawyer working on wooden

gavel and soundblock of justice law and lawyer working on wooden desk background

Don’t do it! Anytime you are a target of bullies, you are in no position to trust anyone!

7. Call the bully out in front of an audience. This is risky and could bring retaliation. However, the bully will also know that you are on to them and you just might intimidate them enough that they will leave you alone. It happened to me on a few occasions.

But keep in mind that this doesn’t happen for everyone. Calling the bully out in front of people can also humiliate the bully and make that person more determined to get you. So access the bully’s personality and the situation carefully before you decide to do this.

With knowledge comes empowerment!