You Don’t Need to Explain Yourself to a Bully

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.

With knowledge comes empowerment.

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

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

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

First, let me discuss the imbalances and extremes here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Sometimes Self-Care Means Making Heartbreaking Decisions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hit the road concept, road – 3D rendering

That lesson is this:

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

With knowledge comes empowerment!

You Aren’t Selfish

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

To expect better and more loyal friendships.

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

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

To snub people who don’t value you.

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

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

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

To refuse to let others take advantage of you.

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

To look out for and take care of yourself.

To put yourself first.

To love yourself and all your imperfections.

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

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

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

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

When the Target is Made Out to Be the Bad Guy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Do You Do Once You Leave a Toxic Workplace?

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

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

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

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

bye goodbye

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

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

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

workplace bullies back stabbers gossips

back-stabbing colleagues threatening employee with scissors and knife

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

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

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

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

bullying boss

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

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

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

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

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

Forgiveness Doesn’t Mean Foolishness

Although it is healthy and can set you free, 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 and to hold onto any grudges that may block you from your rightful blessings and hinder you 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.

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 them but wise enough to avoid them.

You realize that these people will only take your forgiveness for weakness. They will use your forgiveness as a green light to keep pushing your boundaries.

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!

Bullying, Adrenaline, and the Innate Fight or Flight Response

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!

How Bullying of a Particular Person Can Become Status Quo and Why You Must Assert Yourself (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1…

If a certain student’s bullying is allowed to continue over a certain amount of time, even for as short as a few weeks, it will likely become the status quo with his/her peers at school. Once it becomes the status quo, it’s virtually impossible to assert your rights without encountering a ton of resistance and reprisals.

The trick is to assert yourself immediately before the bully or bullies grow(s) accustomed to tormenting you because once they do, in most cases, it’s too late. Once it is too late, anytime you are brave and refuse to bow down to a bully, expect retaliation…expect to be severely punished for undermining the bully’s perceived authority or power over you.

This is a warning that you absolutely must heed. Any time one certain student is repeatedly bullied over a certain period of time, it becomes a habit…a ritual for any and everyone at the school.

And when you muster up the spunk to say and/or do anything to assert, defend, or stand up for yourself, you are going against a status quo or perceived norm. And once you dare to go against any status quo, you had better prepare yourself for an all-out war!

You are a target! And bullies see you as anything but. As much as it may suck, when a person becomes a target of bullying, people- bullies, bystanders, and yes, sometimes even teachers and staff, consciously or subconsciously expect the person to stay a target.

They expect you to put your head down and take it…to just accept it, and if you even attempt to grow a spine, they will do everything in their power to break it.

Anytime a person, who has been a target of bullies over a long period of time, takes steps to take back their power, the unspoken message of the bully is this:

“No! Wait a minute! You’ve been a lowlife loser all this time, and NOW you decide to better yourself?” or “Whoa! You’ve been a doormat this long, so why NOW do you get uppity and decide to grow a spine?”

All of which translates to an even deeper message that says:

“Holy Crap! We’re not used to him/her being so outspoken! This scares us! We’ve tried A, now we have to do B, and if B doesn’t work, then we will have to resort to C to put this person back in his/her place and do it quickly before we lose our foothold on her and therefore, lose the benefits that we have enjoyed at her expense!”

This is because bullies are extremely frightened by change, especially a change in the power dynamic which has long been set. They and others want you to stay a victim because “it’s just the way things are done at this school.”.  Also, bullies benefit from your victimization, and they do not want to lose those benefits (social status, gratification, satisfaction, etc.)

Your bullies’ degradation of you has become a habit…a ritual…a tradition, so to speak. And your defending your right to be safe from harm poses the threat of change, and most people cannot easily accept change, bullies especially.

Furthermore, bullies believe that it is their right to abuse their target. Yes! They honestly believe that they have a right to mistreat the person because they assume that they have absolute authority over their victim and are entitled to inflict misery on him/her.

In the mind of a bully, you as the target do not have the right to undermine nor question their perceived authority over you. Others believe that you deserve the ill-treatment and that you owe it to them to put your head down and “just shut up and take it.”

If this does not tick you off enough to make you want to snatch your power back, I do not know what will. But before you can do so, you must know the inner workings of these types of individuals. You must be wise to what it is that makes this type of person tick.

You must get abreast on the psychology of the typical school bully, his/her background, motives, how and why the bully seems to escape accountability and a host of other important and possibly life-saving information.

You absolutely MUST address it early on, as soon as you begin to see a pattern forming. Do not make the same mistake I did and let it get so bad that you either fear for or want to end your own life.

How I wish I knew this back then!

Bullying of a Particular Target Can Become Status Quo and Why You Must Assert Your Right to Safety

The torment of a particular classmate or coworker can become a status quo or a habit­ if it’s not properly taken care of in the early stages.

Bullying of a certain individual is like cancer that grows and spreads. A bully scans the environment, seeking whom he can torment. When the bully spots a possible victim, they test the waters by way of small snarky comments, backhanded compliments, or anything which may cause the victim to feel uncomfortable.

The bully does this to see how the other person will react. If the individual on the receiving does nothing to assert their right not to be mistreated, the bully sees this as a green light for future bullying. Therefore, this individual has now become a target!

bullied singled out surrounded

Word soon gets around the entire school or workplace that this target is ripe for bullying, and others will join in. As time goes by, the torment becomes more of a regular, everyday occurrence. More and more people will bully the target, and the taunts and physical attacks become more and more brutal. The attacks then become harder to combat; thus, it becomes more difficult for the victim to either get help or protection.

The target’s victimization has now become the status quo with the student body or employees and the school or workplace. Others refuse to help the target either due to rumors and lies to discredit her or the widespread belief that, “Well, no one likes her anyway, so there has to be some justification to it.”.

The power dynamic has now been firmly put in place, and the status quo is maintained.
Finally, the victim feels trapped and is in constant misery and fear for their own safety.

Continued in Part 2…