Understand that a bully’s standards are unachievable. No matter what you do, who you are, where you’re from, or what you have; bullies will always- always move the goalposts, change the rules, and find something else to use against you. Bullies will even weaponize your best qualities.
Therefore, you should always be yourself, no matter how difficult it may be. Don’t change for anyone. Realize that anytime you conform to someone else’s standards, you only lower your own.
The way you dress, your interests, etc.
Bullies will often make fun of the way you dress- even if you dress fashionably. Understand that with bullies, it’s not about the way you dress. It’s not about your hair, makeup, your attire, hobbies, favorite music, your family, or anything they make fun of. No!
Its about power and control.
It’s about having the power to make you feel bad about yourself and taking away your confidence, your pride, your happiness, your health, peace of mind, everything that matters.
We all have quirks. Never change your personality. Continue to be yourself. Realize that anything you change to appease a bully today will be ridiculed tomorrow. Again, bullies have a desire to control you to get that ego boost they’re seeking. So, understand that they get their kicks from making you jump through hoops to win their approval.
And you know what? You don’t need their approval.
Just continue to be yourself and calmly blow the bullies off. Eventually, they’ll get bored and find another target.
Only you know what you like and don’t like. Only you can know what feels right to you and what’s best for you, so, don’t sell yourself short by living up to someone else’s expectations. They don’t know you the way you do and you’re a separate person from them. Always remember that.
Excessive groupthink was the accepted norm for Oakley High School and at one workplace I was employed in. In high school, most students and a few teachers shared this toxic group behavior. In the workplace, it went from top to bottom.
A moderate amount of groupthink is only human nature because it’s how we conform to rules and laws. Also, it provides stability for a community. However, excessive groupthink is unhealthy. It’s how cults, dictatorships, and totalitarian states get started.
An example of groupthink is, “if everyone else is doing it, I want to do it too.” It’s herd mentality at play.
When there’s a culture of bullying in a school or in a workplace, people who would not typically bully, will. And they’ll do it simply because everyone does it, and think they should get in on it also. It certainly was the case at *Oakley High School years ago and later at *Oakley Rehab and Living Center.
Therefore, from time to time, people you thought were friends would suddenly and without warning turn on you. And they will do it to jump on the bandwagon and join everyone else. Even they want to feel like one of the big guys.
Why Not? Everybody Else is Bullying Her?
There are several names for this, two of which are Social Contagion and Peer Pressure.
Now I understand that most of my classmates and later, coworkers were followers, drones, slaves! The student body of Oakley High School, sadly, was one big herd of sheep. They were slaves to the prospect of getting in good with “one of the cool kids” or “the ‘Good Ole Boy” network.
My bullies were nothing but two-faced hypocrites. They talked out both sides of their mouths, holding certain others to a double standard. All the while, they pretended to be someone they never were and never could be. Authenticity, being yourself, and free thought and expression were all punishable offenses. Everything was about appearances and whose butt they wanted to kiss to move up the social ladder
I would watch as most of my bullies pathetically sucked up to people they secretly couldn’t stand because they thought it would score them brownie points. And often, it would.
I also watched bullies who were second in power take plenty of degradation from the bullies at the top to fit in and look popular.
One such person was someone I knew who was the son of one of the teachers.
Very few of the so-called cool kids liked this wuss, yet he would lick their boots hungrily to get the so-called privilege of hanging with them. It didn’t matter to him if they were only tolerating him.
It was so pathetic I couldn’t hate the boy. All I could do was pity him.
On other occasions, I would see one of the popular girls drop a textbook, a pencil, anything. I would then watch the kids around her scramble, some taking a nosedive to the floor to pick it up for her and laugh as I walked by.
Whoever put on the best possible and most convincing front was rewarded not only by the other classmates but many of the teachers and school staff as well. I realize now that there was a reason behind all the fake sympathy, bogus compliments and, incessant butt-kissing. It was so they could get something from the higher-ups and not because they liked or respected them.
False flattery and opinion conformity in school and at work, made the bullies puffed up and overconfident. Also, it yielded immense social benefits for all the wannabes. Therefore, they maintained the status quo of ritualistic bullying of only kids or coworkers in particular.
Many of my classmates and coworkers were narcissistic sociopaths with low self-esteem. They were like tires with slow leaks. Their followers had to continuously air them up with fake compliments and false admiration to keep them from going flat!
Boot-Licking for Approval
Thirsty for attention and praise, the bullies at the top only surrounded themselves with weak wannabes. They needed bootlickers and yes-people to feed their hungry egos by telling them what they wanted to hear. And everyone, except a few, was more than happy to do so if it awarded them high popularity and favors.
The higher-ups expected you to think like them, dress like them, be like them and agree with them. Conversely, the people who did their own thing, who were happy being themselves, and didn’t act or think like the flock became targets.
But real life did eventually come around to the top dogs in high school. Once we were all graduated, the so-called preppies (bullies) got a taste of the real world, many of them got a rude awakening.
They were no longer the big dogs and had to start at the bottom, which was a terrible blow to their fragile egos. They learned the hard way that the real world doesn’t care who you are. Real life isn’t concerned with whether you made the “Who’s Who” section of your high school yearbook. The real world only cares whether you can contribute to it. And sadly, most of the punks I went to school with haven’t brought a damn thing to the table of life.
In fact, many of them either became criminals or bred them.
Meeting the Real World
Fitting in leads to a life of mediocrity. Standing out, on the other hand, is a prerequisite of greatness!
So, if your classmates or coworkers are bullying you, know that you are the brave one. Why? Because you refuse to follow the herd or resort to pathetic fakery to get approval!
You continue to be your authentic self and embrace your uniqueness, flaws, and all. You’re at the head of the class because you are true to your own heart, your own beliefs, and your convictions. You refuse to let them mold you into what they think you ought to be. You stand out from the rest, and one day, it’s all going to pay off! Wait and see!
So, you have the gall to think for yourself. Make no mistake! People will hate you. They will demonize you. Others will consider you a troublemaker, a rabble rouser, a riffraff! People will deem you a crazy person who’s “mentally imbalanced.”
Thinking for yourself or being an independent thinker, whatever you prefer to call it, is such sweet freedom. Yet, most people have always been afraid to do it because it’s much safer to follow the leader. Safety and comfort always come with doing as you’re told without question or without even thinking about it.
Most choose to take the easy path- the safest route and follow the lead of a person in power. And they’ll do it, even if that person hasn’t the slightest idea of what they’re talking about. Moreover, they’ll comply, even when there’s evidence that the influencer is leading them to their own demise!
The Human Tendency to Allow Others to Lead You to Your Demise
People automatically take orders from someone deemed superior or powerful without ever asking themselves what the person giving the orders has to gain from their compliance.
There’s much truth to the old saying that people are less afraid of death than they are of ostracization from society.
I can certainly understand the fear of bullying, shunning, and ostracization. No one wants others to oust them from “the social club.” Because human beings are hardwired by God and nature to be social animals. Living as a part of a tribe was how we survived back during prehistoric times. Whereas, anyone who wasn’t a part of a tribe risked starvation and extinction.
The Powerful Urge to Conform
However, it’s easier for the shunned to survive today. And I’d much rather have my freedom. Freedom requires the ability to pick, choose, and think independently despite what others may think of us.
Moreover, when you think for yourself, you step out of your comfort zone and open up unlimited possibilities for yourself. Thinking for yourself means trusting your gut and following your instincts. It means knowing that your gut will always tell you when something doesn’t sound or feel right.
Realize that there’s a reason people have intense hatred toward a person who thinks independently. It’s because the free thinker is least likely to be controlled or to fall for any tricks and manipulation.
The Freedom to Think for Yourself
The person who thinks for himself is more likely to see right through smoke screens and fakery. Also, independent thinkers know themselves well. They think critically, and, again, they listen to their gut instincts. In that, they refuse to engage in anything that feels unhealthy or dangerous.
Sadly, we live in a culture of bullying- one that demands that we deny our God-given sixth sense. It’s easier to allow others to pressure us to follow along, even to our own detriment. Bullies in power demand that we deny our own needs and human rights. They send the unwritten message that we have no right to defend ourselves nor our families. They decry that we should put them first and ourselves and our loved ones last.
Therefore, they use people of great power and influence to persuade us to do their bidding. They pay Hollywood celebrities, sports figures, politicians, and media personalities to convince us. Their message is that we should go along with them and their way of thinking, living, and doing things.
On the other hand, individuality is strongly discouraged, ridiculed, and even severely punished, as is creativity, originality, and meritocracy.
Simply put, bullies in power demand that we do not think for ourselves but only the way they want us to think. And sadly, they successfully hoodwink the majority of us. They dupe us into believing that, just because the people giving the narrative have great power and influence, they automatically know what they’re talking about and “only want what’s best for us and the rest of humanity,” when, in most cases, the exact opposite is true.
Even Powerful People are Fallable
Remember that these people are not gods. They are human just like the rest of us and they put their pants on one leg at a time just like we do. Understand that they are just as fallable and capable of error.
We must realize that power corrupts, and it takes a special and unique person to not be corrupted by power. We must understand that the vast majority of those in power do not have our best interests at heart but are only out to use us to fulfill their own agendas and end goals. And once they feel that we’ve served our purpose and they no longer need us, they will discard us like dirty diapers.
People in power, who are corrupt, often use beautiful-sounding words and phrases, such as, “for the common good,” and “for the good or betterment of humanity.”
The Masks Evil People Don
They often portray themselves to be the saviors of humanity or warriors and champions for social justice, all while working behind the scenes to destroy the very groups of people they claim to represent and care about.
In short, they hide their evil intentions behind the veneer of philanthropy, love, and goodwill.
Remember that Satan never appears as an ugly red devil with horns and a pointy tail, he always comes as our biggest dream come true, whether it be the man or woman of our dreams, or a sweetheart of a deal that’s hard to refuse. The devil always comes as an angel of light. That is why we should keep our focus on the person’s actions and not their words.
Dare to Think Independently
That’s why it’s so important that we think for ourselves. We must also understand that there will be sacrifices for it and we will more than likely endure a truckload of hatred and vitriol from countless others, even those we think are friends and allies. Finally, we must trust that, in the end, when it’s all said and done, it will all be worth it.
How responsible are bystanders of bullying when they may not necessarily participate in the bullying but see it happening and choose to turn a blind eye to it? When they could’ve helped stop it but decided not to?
The truth is that they’re just as responsible as the bullies themselves. Anyone who watches evil and does nothing about it is guilty!
“Judge Lake was applying the legal principle of willful blindness. ‘You are responsible if you could have known, and should have known, something that instead you strove not to see.’ In this case, Skilling and Lay could have known and had the opportunity to know just how rotten their company was. Their claim not to know was no excuse under the law. Since they could’ve known, they were responsible.” (Margaret Hefferman – “Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril” 2012, pp. 1-2)
In the book cited above, the author referred to the trial which followed the Enron Scandal, in which Chairmen Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay were both found guilty and sentenced to federal prison.
The same can be said for bullying as well, although bullying and embezzlement are two different things. In bullying, a person may or may not go to prison, but the principle is still the same. If bystanders could’ve or should’ve known, and in a vast majority of bullying incidents, they know but decide not to do the right thing, these bystanders are also guilty.
Willful blindness happens all the time and has down through history.
It was the same in Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, the Stalinist Soviet Union, Castro’s Cuba. And yes, even right here in America, our very own media ignores Antifa’s destruction of our cities and terrorizing everyday citizens- mainly citizens who are elderly and can’t protect themselves. Willful blindness has always been alive and well.
It even happens at home. A businessman is working late every single night, yet his dutiful wife doesn’t entertain the probability that he might be having an affair. And why would she if she’s invested her entire life in her marriage, family, and home?
When bullies prey on those perceived to have the least power to fight back, those who see it, hear of it, and who can put a stop to it, only close their eyes to it, or worse, join in. And the sad thing is that in most bullying situations, people feel complete apathy, indifference, even hatred toward the target. And where there are apathy and indifference, bullying isn’t hidden but done in plain sight- in full view of many people who only choose to look the other way and not even to question it, much less call it out.
Willful blindness is all around us. It seems that only a few souls want to address the fact that certain extremist and terrorist groups wish to bring Communism to America through The Great Reset and a pandemic that is real but being used to promote the agenda of arrogant, power hungry, and evil elites.
Willful blindness has other names as well- willful ignorance and cognitive dissonance. Put plainly, people don’t want to know and, therefore, act like they don’t. In willful blindness, we only acknowledge what makes us feel good, confirms our beliefs, and soothes our delicate egos. We never take the time to ask questions, investigate, nor do our research because we’re either too lazy or so afraid that what we found out might prove us to be wrong! And that’s especially true with bullying.
When we hate someone, we want to believe the absolute worst of them. When a target is bullied, bullies and bystanders don’t want to think that the person might be an excellent person with a heart of gold. They don’t want to get to know the target first because they’re afraid that they just might end up liking the person (gasp!). It sure makes you wonder how much proof to the contrary bullies and bystanders are willing to ignore.
Many factors contribute to willful blindness- fear of conflict, fear of change, a compulsion to go along with the crowd, money, and material gain. Also, it provides social safety- an example would be keeping your mouth shut to your best friend when you know her husband has a chick on the side. It’s much easier to act like you don’t know about it because you’re afraid of what it might do to your friendship if you told her.
There are many reasons for willful blindness. And no, those reasons aren’t excuses. But watching someone get bullied and pounded to a pulp without helping the person or running to get help is just wrong on so many levels, especially if the person getting bullied is supposed to be a friend.
So, know that if you have trouble with a bully and your friends and others around you see it but don’t lift a finger to help you, it only shows what kind of people they are- and who you should drop from your life. It shows you that it’s time to pick new friends.
Believe it or not, it’s easy to tell when someone is being controlled. If you pay attention, you’ll always know if a person you know is being told what to say, what not to say, what to do, and what not to do.
If you are a target of bullying, you more than likely suffer at the request of a powerful ringleader. You may have had friends and allies at first, but you’ve found that slowly, those friends and allies have only disappeared and now, you have no one left who will associate with you, much less help you.
Do you know why? It’s because your bullies have gotten to them somehow. They have either threatened to retaliate and harm them if they have any more to do with you, or they may have given them good incentives to turn against you- social and financial perks, promotions, rewards, etc.
So, how can you tell when a person is compromised?
1. They flip-flop back and forth. This person will say whatever they’re told to say and that often means they have to flip-flop. They say one thing, then later say the opposite. They say whatever they think will benefit them, or, at least, keep them out of hot water.
2. They say anything they think people want to hear no matter how irrational and stupid they may sound. Again, this goes back to flip-flopping and bullies do change narratives often, so, the puppet must change with their puppet-masters and handlers if they want to stay in their good graces.
3. They go with whatever the prevailing narrative or belief is. These people will fall in line quick. You can always tell a follower because they stay in lock step with your bullies. They quote whatever quote is popular, say whatever is popular, wear whatever the bullies are wearing, and act however they must, in order to stay on the bandwagon. In short, they’re a bunch of wannabes trying haplessly to fit into the bullies’ world of morals and standards.
4. They’re a chameleon. This person will behave one way around this person and another way around that person. Understand that this person has no personality of their own. They change personalities like a model changes clothes.
5. They can’t think for themselves. Again, these people never think for themselves. They only flex and bend to anything others tell them. They’ve been sucked into the group-think. God help them if they ever had an original thought. Or worse, took a stand (gasp!).
6. They’re easily led and influenced. Life must really suck if you need someone to hold your hand in order to make decisions and choices. But some people would rather be controlled than to go out on a limb and choose for themselves.
They’re under the belief that it’s better to have security than to have freedom. That freedom and independence are too risky because they just might fail!
It’s true that being your own person involves a lot of risk. To be independent and have your own thoughts and opinions will invite the risk of failure and the enmity of a few others. But understand that anyone who doesn’t like you because you prefer to be yourself is more than likely a controlling person- an abuser, a bully, a narcissist. That’s right. Only people who like to control others hate those who are independent and who think for themselves.
So, why would you want to please those types of people? Why would you want to have a puppet-master? Understand that only objects have owners. And you’re not an object, you’re a person with your own thoughts, feelings, opinions and beliefs. Keep it that way!
If you’re a target of bullying and your friends and allies have turned their backs on you, it’s best that you have nothing more to do with them and find new friends outside of the bullying environment.
You don’t want friends who are sheep and too weak to have your back when the chips are down. Trust me on that one. You want strong friends and allies- people who aren’t too chicken to have your back and are more than happy to go to bat for you. That’s what real friends do!
You want the types of friends who are hard to find, not those who are a dime a dozen. Know that you deserve better!