The Long-Term Effects of Bullying

Bullying, especially chronic and severe bullying, is traumatic for targets and can have long-lasting effects. Most people who’ve been traumatized by bullying have lives that don’t run smoothly. They experience many stops and starts in life- many interruptions and setbacks.

They suffer a long string of broken relationships and friendships due to their shattered trust in humanity. When you’ve been bullied severely as I have, you will come to believe the lie, that human beings are inherently evil and enjoy seeing others suffer, if you aren’t careful and you don’t get professional help. And naturally, this destructive belief will effect your personal relationships.

In order to succeed at anything- you job, academics, finances, projects, anything, you must know how to form and nurture successful relationships. The hard truth is that it really is who you are connected with that determines your success in life. How to form relationships and confidently maintain them is the most important life skill you can ever learn and master. It’s sad that traditional schools don’t teach this.

Many people who have been chronically and severely bullied have been stunted in their emotional development and their development of people-skills. Many targets and survivors of bullying are afraid of meeting new people and of relationships. They’re fearful of social engagements and situations because they see themselves through the eyes of their bullies- that they’re somehow defective and inferior to everyone. Therefore, they don’t trust themselves or other people anymore.

Targets and survivors of bullying may desire friends and relationships but don’t want to take the risks required to get what they want. They decide that it’s much safer to stay alone and avoid even the remotest chance of conflict, being ridiculed, and possibly being targeted again in the future.

What these traumatized people don’t realize is that this doesn’t decrease their chances of being targeted. It actually increases that chance because bullies actively search for people like them- easy marks who are fearful and easily intimidated. Also, it lessons their chances of success at all other aspects of their lives.

Many targets and survivors of bullying are ashamed of what they had to do to survive and keep from getting hurt and bullied worse than they already were.

They have much shame about the many times they had to submit to the bullies demands to keep from getting their brains beat out or save themselves from being shot or stabbed.

They often look back and wish they’d spoken up or defended themselves and just took whatever consequences they’d have had to face afterward. Sadly, they haven’t thought about the fact that the brain’s and body’s natural reaction is to do whatever they must do to keep one from harm- it’s part of our survival instinct.

If you are or have been a target of bullying, how can you change your life for the better?

1.You start by getting therapy and by reading self-help and personal development books that deal with the type of problems you’re having. You also relearn the social arts and do the inner work to reprogram yourself. Realize that this will take a lot of time to internalize.

2. You replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

3. You count your blessings and make a list of your good qualities and talents.

4. You think of the good people in your life, even if you only know a few, and realize that there are more of them in the world- realize that, out of almost eight billion people in the world, there must be more good people besides the few you already know.

5. You spend time with the people who love you and who uplift you. These positive connections will balance out all the bad experiences you’ve had with bullies and your confidence will grow. Soon, you won’t be as fearful because you’ll feel better about yourself.

6. You take risks by meeting new people and making new connections. This will be uncomfortable at first but continue to push yourself and it will eventually feel natural.

The things above are what I did to regain my confidence and become outgoing. It wasn’t easy and it took time and a lot of practice for it to sink in and become like second nature. But I look back now and I’m so glad I put in the work because my life is so much better now.

I’m at peace with myself and with others. Words cannot explain the freedom that comes with it. You would have to experience it to know. But I promise that if you do the same things I did, and put in the time and work, the payoff will be exponential, and you’ll get the ROI you’ve never thought you would!

Invest in yourself. Don’t you think you’re worth the time and effort? I do.

Why The Quiet Ones Are Often Targets for Bullies

 

Quiet people are mysterious because they’re people of few words. Many of them are also stoic, which only makes it that much harder to peg them. Often bullies target these people for several reasons:

1. Quiet people are presumed to be easy targets. They think that if you aren’t loud and obnoxious, you must be weak, afraid, and least likely to fight back in an altercation.

 2. They’re are mistaken for being standoffish. Bullies will presume that quiet people are stuck up and think they’re too good to speak. And bullies can’t stand it if there’s a possibility that someone is ignoring them. So they target the person to get a reaction out of them. Or, they punish them for “being so stuck up.”

 3. They’re hard to figure out. People of few words strike fear into others. The less you say, the harder other people must work to figure you out. Remember that most bullies bully out of fear.

 4. A silent person is less predictable. And bullies hate it when targets are unpredictable. If they can’t predict the target’s next move, the least likely they are to be able to dupe them or set them up to get jumped or to be humiliated. Many bullies see this as a challenge and will rise to it by provoking the person to get a reaction.

Quiet people don’t show their cards, and bullies resent them for making them have to work so hard to pin them.

5. A quiet person puts bullies on the defensive. People often think that the silent are sneaky and have something to hide. So bullies will often target them to shake them up and make them slip up and accidentally reveal something out of nervousness.

Bullies often believe the stereotypes they’ve heard about people of few words:

“It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for!”

“The quiet ones are the most dangerous!”

 If you’re a silent person and you’re a target of bullies. Don’t let them shake you. Continue to play your cards close to the vest. Your lack of predictability is what protects you. You must understand that silence has a power all it’s own. Use it.

Targets of Bullying and Social Anxiety

After being bullied for so long, targets can develop social anxiety. They withdraw from people because they fear future attacks. The target’s spirit has been beaten down and broken and the person has been abused to the point of losing faith in humanity. Also, they’re reprogrammed to believe the bullies’ lies that they aren’t worthy of love and friendship. They are under the presumption that it’s much safer not to engage in any social interaction.

But what the target doesn’t realize is, that in closing himself off from the rest of the world, he unknowingly limits himself in all aspects of life.

Humans were created to socialize and to have relationships. When targets create this invisible fortress around them, it doesn’t ensure their safety but only brings about more bullying. Bullies get their power from our fear. They are like ferocious animals who can smell fear from a mile away and believe me. They take full advantage.

Moreover, targets miss out on relationships that, otherwise, could be and would be fulfilling and rewarding. They unwittingly forego opportunities for friendship, dating, even good jobs that can produce personal success and financial well-being. Because if a person doesn’t believe in themselves, no one else will- that includes potential friends, dates, and company managers and supervisors. No one wants to be friends with, date, or hire someone who isn’t sure of himself unless they have low self-esteem themselves.

People recognize, if only subconsciously, social anxiety when they see it and not only through the more obvious signs, such as quietness, avoidance, trembling, blushing, stuttering or sweaty palms.

Social anxiety can also be more covert, showing itself in less obvious ways:

1.Excessive laughing and giggling

2. Appearing normal on the outside but nervous and shaky on the inside

3. Excessive humor and being overly funny or no sense of humor at all

4. Excessive sarcasm/having a smart-alicky attitude

5. Being overly friendly/too nice

6. Shutting down/freezing up- unable to talk or move

7. Meanness/rudeness

8. Fidgeting/can’t sit still

9. Lack of or too much eye contact

10. Poor posture/looking down all the time

11. Having a hard time keeping up with a conversation

12. Talking too loudly, too fast, too soft, too slow, or not at all

13. Indifference

14. Excessive use of foul language

15. Promiscuity/raciness

16. Wearing attire that is provocative or super-revealing

17. A sudden and drastic change of style.

The difficult thing is that those covert signs don’t always mean that the person has social anxiety. Many people just have their own sense of style or they may be naturally introverted. They may also have a boisterous personality. If you do not know the person or aren’t close to them, it’s hard to tell.

But one thing that is noticeable is if the person never exhibited this kind of behavior or look before and suddenly, or within a short amount of time transitions into it. And these kinds of changes can only be noticeable to those who are close to the person or have been around the person for years.

Therefore, if you know a person who is showing these signs, instead of pointing a finger and judging them cruelly, ask questions and find out why. You may not realize that person could be a target of bullying or another form of abuse.

And if you are a target of bullying and struggling with social anxiety, I want you to know that you don’t have to live in that invisible prison forever.

Bullies do not deserve value and you shouldn’t place any worth to their opinions of you. Understand that you are enough and that your bullies haven’t earned your respect nor your attention.

Only value the opinions or thoughts of the people who love you and whose opinions deserve your consideration, attention, and acknowledgement.

Start loving yourself and practicing self-care. Relax and be yourself. Embrace your flaws and quirks because we all have them whether we admit it or not. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. I promise you that you’ll be much happier and have more peace of mind when you do.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

You Can Overcome Shyness

Many targets of bullying, after people bully them so severely for so long, become painfully shy. I did. So, I understand entirely.

When a target has personal attacks hurled at them from every direction, and others scrutinize everything they say and do down to the tiniest detail, it’s easy for that person to withdraw, shut out the rest of humanity, and hide in plain sight. It seems to be the safest thing to do.

However, it’s a terrible way to live. Shyness is like a prison without walls. It stops you from being your true, authentic self, and you end up missing out on so much. Shyness keeps you from having fun and enjoying life.

When you’re shy, you don’t properly connect with others because you’re too busy thinking about yourself rather than others.

There. I said it.

You’re too busy thinking instead of connecting- thinking of what to say next, wondering what others are thinking of you and of how they can benefit you, and self-conscious of how you’re coming across. You’re too busy thinking about you!

But what if I said that there was a way to get rid of shyness? What if I told you there’s one- just one ingredient?

It’s true! Are you ready for it? Here it is.

How you get rid of shyness is to take the focus off yourself and become interested in others. And when you do that, you put yourself out there and take risks.

That’s it.

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” How right she was.

When you’re so shy that you can’t bear social situations, it’s a sign that you’ve already given your power over to other people. Not good! You owe it to yourself to take that power back.

It won’t be easy. It may feel awkward at first. But put yourself out there and take risks. Greet people- even total strangers, with a smile and a “Hi. How are you?” You’ll be surprised at the positive outcomes you get and how your confidence begins to soar.

I know what some of you are thinking.

motivational inspirational

“What if they reject me?”

Rejection is a part of life. You just have to deal with that. Better yet, embrace it. It’s a risk you must take. Life is full of risks.

But if you don’t take risks, you don’t really live, you only exist.

Realize that human beings love it when you’re genuinely interested in them. Let them tell you about themselves and listen not only with your ears and eyes but with your whole heart. Do it long enough, and soon, it will no longer feel awkward. You won’t even need to think about it. It will feel like second nature.

Only when you develop a genuine interest in other people will your shyness disappear. The key is to focus outside yourself.

So, get out there and schmooze it up! I guarantee that you’ll be pleasantly surprised not only at the results you get but how confident you feel!

With knowledge comes empowerment!