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…

7 Ways to Expose a Bully

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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.

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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.

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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.

Ripping the mask off the bully…layer by layer.

You Should Never Be Afraid of Conflict

Let’s face it. Conflict is a part of life and something we all encounter at many points in our lives. Many targets and survivors of bullying are deathly afraid of conflict. Why? Because they’ve had so much of it forced on them in the past by bullies who just refused to let them be. Also, many targets and survivors are traumatized by the bullying they presently suffer or from past bullying.

Understand that these poor souls haven’t yet dealt with the hurts they still have, and they don’t yet know their worth and the good they deserve. Many targets and survivors of bullying suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Because of this, they’re still stuck in survival mode.

As a result, target’s cave in and give in to bullies to appease them just so they’ll shut the hell up and go away. And people do get tired of hearing self-entitled and self-indulgent bullies bitch, rant, and beat their chests when they don’t get their way.

So, the unspoken message is, “Look! Just take what you want and get lost!”

I can understand why targets and survivors end up being this way. It’s because a person gets exhausted when they’re constantly have to battle and struggle to take back their autonomy, their self-determination, their personal power, their safety, their dignity, and their right to exist. They get worn down, they get weary, and all they want is for people to leave them alone and let them have some peace.

However, this can become a problem. If you go out of your way to avoid conflict, people will soon mistake you for being weak and they’ll walk all over you. You must set boundaries. There are times when you must say no. There are even times when you may have to show your ugly side to get your point across and let people know that no means no and enough is enough.

Understand that this requires guts. It means you must step out of your comfort zone and take risks. You must risk hurting others’ feelings and making people angry. You must risk being lashed out at and retaliated against. Moreover, you must also risk losing relationships and no, none of it feels good.

In short, you must stand up for yourself and that means facing conflict.

Think of it this way, if you’re a target of bullying, you’re going to face conflict no matter what because people will bring the conflict to you. Hiding from it does no good because it will eventually find you. When you are a target of bullying, conflict is unavoidable and certain.

In other words, run from conflict and you’ll end up running from it for the rest of your life!

So, why not face it head on, better yet embrace it and stand up to people, then you can feel better about yourself later knowing that you finally grew a spine and told them where to shove it. You may face retaliation for it, but you would face it anyway because, right or wrong, bullies will always find some justification for attacking you.

Faking a Surrender to Bullies to Trick Them into Leaving You Alone

Is there ever a time when you should surrender to a bully? The answer is yes, or at least make it look like you’re surrendering to them. In life, there are times when we should pick and choose our battles- to decide whether to fight back or leave well enough alone. It is a must when your bullies are extremely powerful because it isn’t smart to fight them and give them a chance to defeat you.

Sometimes real power comes with swallowing your pride and giving in to them first. When you do this, you’ll only enrage the bullies and throw them off-kilter because they were looking for a fight and so sure they’d get one but didn’t.

There’s no point in fighting an unwinnable battle. Showing weakness can be a strength if you know how to use it correctly.

When you surrender (or make it look as if you do), you give yourself time to recuperate and time to torture and irritate your bullies subtly. You can sneakily sabotage your bullies in ways they’d never expect nor detect. Maybe you can get what you can out of the surrender, then fight later when your bullies are not so strong. Believe it or not, bullies do eventually lose power.

You don’t surrender because you give up. You do it to humor your bullies and lull them into a false sense of complacency- to fool them into thinking they’ve won. Understand that bullies are continually trying to show dominance and superiority, and if you make it look like you surrender to them, it’ll be so easy to trick them.

Being submissive to them (for the time being) makes them feel satisfied and powerful. In this, the bullies become easier targets for a later countermove or indirect ridicule.

For example, You surrender, and the bullies let you walk away. But as you turn and walk away, you can cut a silent fart in their general direction, and they won’t think it came from you. They’ll only be looking at each other and wondering who dealt it.

Silent ridicule works wonders for self-esteem!

How to Get Solid Proof of Bullying

Though we know bullying exists, it’s one of the hardest things to prove. I’ve preached about documentation and the 5W Rule (What, Who, When, Where, and Why) in past posts. It’s still THE best way to get your evidence.

However, there are other ways of getting evidence that I haven’t mentioned- proof that, when coupled with documentation, can give you a solid case against your bullies and the facility that allows the bullying to go on. And, the more evidence you have, the better.

You can also use recording devices, hidden body cameras, and spy cameras. Unfortunately, this is tricky depending on what state or jurisdiction you live in. Some states and jurisdictions have a Two-Party Consent Rule, and others have a One Party Consent Rule.

Two-Party Consent Rule – is when two parties must know about the recording and consent to it- those two parties are you and the person or persons you’re recording.

One-Party Consent Rule – is when only one party has to know about the recording- that party being YOU.

So, in a One-Party state, you can wear a hidden camera or recording device or have one on you, make all the recordings you want, secretly, and the evidence would be admissible in court. You could still make a secret recording in a Two-Party state, but it would be best if no one catches you with it, and it wouldn’t be admissible in court. You could still keep it for your records.

gavel and sound block of justice law and lawyer working on wooden desk background

Yes. I feel the frustration of those who live in a Two-Party state, and I agree with you; it’s a bogus law. Nevertheless, it’s still the law. As I said earlier, you could always record evidence of the bullying, but you’d be doing it at your own risk, and there might be legal consequences if someone catches you with it at school or work.

You could record it, and if nobody catches you, you could take it home and plaster it all over social media. However, this isn’t advisable either because bullies watch their target’s social media pages like hawks. If you go this route, it’s best to join a few private anti-bullying groups and only share the video with them. Only then will your bullies not be able to see what you’re doing.

There are loopholes in any law, but the trick is to find them. And, if you don’t know whether you live in a one-party or two-party area, look up the laws in your state or jurisdiction.

Those of you who may be thinking of gathering video and audio evidence of bullying know that I’m with you, and I support you. Gather your evidence any way you can. Document the bullying and secretly record it with a body cam. These two sources of evidence together can be powerful! If you’re being bullied at work, my advice would be to hide a spy cam in your office because workplace bullies will snoop through your office, desk, and computer after you leave for the day.

Again, document incidences of bullying and record them if possible. You do these things, and you’ll have an open and shut case should you take legal action against your bullies and their enablers. There are plenty of discreet products available to help you gather your evidence.

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Why You Should Tackle Bullying in the Earliest Stages

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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 victim 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:

concept of a mob attacking a person that they think is different

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 worst, they come to expect the target the take the abuse without question, without talking back or talking 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 either eliminate him somehow.

Once a person gets comfortable in mistreating you, it’s much more difficult to fight. Therefore, always speak out right when 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.

Bullies Who Have Anger Issues

Many bullies have anger issues. If you’re a target of these types of bullies, I want to warn you that things can get dangerous very quickly. These overly aggressive bullies will make you pay dearly when you don’t bow down and let them have their way with you. And they usually come back at you with explosive outbursts of rage, vicious cursing, and name-calling.

This kind of person is like a petulant child throwing a temper tantrum. Bullies of this caliber will:

1.turn red-faced, curse and scream at you to the top of their lungs,

2. call you the vilest names

3. hurl objects at you from across the room.

4. destroy your personal property

Retro Emoji rage anger boiling woman face pop art retro style

Many of my classmates were these types- people who had only reached a two-year-old’s maturity level and stopped there. It seemed that when I wouldn’t be their puppet, they’d get physical and try to beat me into submission.

Understand that these kinds of bullies can’t ask for what they want respectfully because, if they do, they’ll only be giving you the freedom to say no. They would give you a chance to cut those puppet strings. Then where would that leave them?

It would leave them without a target.

Some of them will threaten you with:

1. “If you don’t do this, I’ll kick your a**.”

2. “If you say that, I’ll beat the sh** out of you.”

And some may not. But! You know the threat is there because these bullies will give you that threatening look or they loom just a little too close to intimidate you. Their body language speaks for them. Their nostrils will flair like a bull getting ready to charge, or they face you with a threatening stance while clenching their fists. They are the classic bullies.

Realize that overly aggressive bullies are so afraid of losing control of you. They react with rage if you don’t comply or take the abuse.

As I type this, I think about one bully, in particular, I’ll call her Kitty.

If there’s one thing I remember about her, it’s her volatile temper. During the eighth grade, I remember standing in the lunch line, and Kitty shoving me from behind and screaming at me to move. She pushed me so hard that she almost knocked me to the floor.

I don’t know what came over me that day, but people had bullied me for a few years, and I finally got fed up. I shouted back, telling her to keep away from me and not to ever put her hands on me again. Suddenly, her eyes flashed, and she grabbed a steak knife from the utensil section. Back then, schools used real silverware, not plastic cutlery. And she lunged at me with it.

To this day, I can still remember the white-knuckled grip she had on the potential weapon. Luckily, the principal and several male teachers grabbed and restrained her before she could attack. And mind you, Kitty was a huge 200+ pound, and close to six feet tall gargantuan. I was only, maybe, 110-120 lbs and five foot three or four. So, she could’ve done considerable damage without the knife. Lord knows what she would’ve done with it.

Then, there was the incident in the principal’s office after she’d tried to attack me in the classroom when she went berserk and grabbed the principal’s nameplate off his desk and charged me with it. Luckily, the principal and another teacher restrained her.

So, I want to warn you that, yes, such people exist and they’re dangerous. It’s best to avoid these types of bullies if possible. However, understand that overly-aggressive bullies are the type who will also hunt you down if you’re not available.

Kitty was that type. You couldn’t avoid her for long.

If a bully tracks you down, I can only tell you this. If the school won’t punish these crazies, the best thing to do is document the bullying and keep a journal of it, using the 5W rule. You should also contact the police and get a restraining order against these kinds of bullies. In doing these things, you establish records of past abuse, and these records can serve as evidence in court in the event the person maims you, or worse. You may also need to transfer schools to ensure your safety.

Do everything you can to take care of yourself and stay safe.

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.

Why 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.