Trapped in a Toxic Environment

Like an animal in a cage,

Poked, prodded,

Feeling others’ rage,

Trapped,

There’s no escape,

From the toxic hate,

Bystanders content to follow,

The bullies like sheeple,

Poison you must swallow,

From bullies and fake people,

No chance of flight

Doors slammed shut and locked,

You must prepare to fight,

Because all exits are blocked,

Nowhere to go,

Life tells you no,

Cornered like a frightened dog,

With other’s issues you’re bogged,

Between a rock and hard place,

You must stare them in the face,

There’s no escape,

From the hate,

In a toxic environment,

Where everyone is violent

You’re a Target but Not a Victim!

During the last year, an epiphany has occurred to me and I’ve begun to stray away from the word “victim.” More and more, I have replaced that word with the word, “target.” I’ve come to realize that, yes, I was a target but, was I ever a victim?

I want to tell you that if you’re being bullied, could it be that you’re not a victim but a target? And could it be that you’re a target not because you’re weak or inferior, but because you’re a threat? Because your voice and your very being are powerful?  So powerful, it scares them to death?

Believe it or not, being a victim has a lot to do with mindset and words have enormous power- in other words, if you’re a victim, you’re right, but if you’re not a victim but a target, you’re also right. A victim mentality can only bring about more abusers, more abuse, and therefore, more victimhood.

Do you want that?

If you survived bullying, you’re no longer a target. And it could be that you never really were a victim. But you are a victor! That’s right! You’re a winner because you’re an overcomer!

Victim mentality is the downfall of many survivors of bullying. It keeps you down, keeps you defeated, keeps you oppressed, and keeps you a “victim.” This kind of thinking also keeps you dependent. It breeds laziness and the attitude that the world owes you something. Or it leads to resignation, hopelessness, and the attitude of defeat. It’s the root of a condition called, “Learned Helplessness.”

Do you know what’s worse? It also has the undertones that you’re somehow inferior. You’re not!  When you have the victim mentality, you’re afraid of taking back your power because to do so requires personal responsibility.

Taking back your power means that you make your own reality and make your own decisions, your own path, and your own successes, all of which require that you take risks and risk the possibility of failure.  And yes! It’s scary!

You must create your own happiness and whether you know how to do that, the responsibility is still there and always will be.

Again, the victim mentality requires that, subconsciously, you feel inferior and I want you to know with every fiber of your being that, you’re inferior to no one! It dictates that you think that you’re nothing without the consent of another person, entity, or higher power and that’s wrong!

Who is anyone to decide who you are or what you can do?

I’m not a victim. Yes, when I was young and being bullied, I felt like a victim and thought I was. But was I really? Although the memoir about the bullying I endured is entitled, “From Victim to Victor (A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying), was I really a victim? I’ve come to realize that I was a target. I was never a victim!

I say this because I had the victim mentality when I was young, and it almost ruined my life. Please don’t let it ruin yours. I realize that being a target of bullying is one of the hardest things a person can endure. But one thing your bullies can’t take is your mind unless you allow it. Please don’t allow them to change your thought patterns because that’s what they want and you deserve better- much better!

I was fortunate that my eyes were opened and that I managed to shed negative thinking and adopt a winning attitude. But many victims stay stuck in a self-defeating mindset, continue to have the worst luck, and lose all hope.

In closing, know that no matter how bad things get, there’s always hope. Hold on to it!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Which Do You Want to Be? A Victim or Victor?

Bad things happen to the best people all the time, and sometimes people get what they don’t deserve. Some of the greatest and purest of humans are brutalized. It’s an unfortunate and sad part of life, and no one ever said that life was fair.

But you can take something from it. You have the choice of being a victim, or you can choose to be an overcomer.

When you’re an overcomer, there’s no greater feeling than knowing how far you’ve come. “You grow through what you go through.”

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Short List: 15 Forces That Perpetuate Bullying

1.Domination and Control of Another.

2. The Desire to Feel Superior.

3. The Need for a Scapegoat.

4. The Need to Project.

5. To Seek Attention.

6. One-Upmanship.

7. Schadenfreude and Sadistic Pleasure.

8. To Impress Others.

9. The Desire for Social Status.

10. To Contain Threats.

11. To Keep Others Down.

12. For Entertainment.

13. To Keep from Becoming the Next Target of Bullying.

14. To Hide Weaknesses and Shortcomings.

15. To Deflect and Distract Unwanted Attention.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

I Made the Mistake of Turning to Romance to Compensate: Don’t Make the Same Mistake

Females are hardwired to nurture, maintain, and enjoy relationships, whether they be friendships, family, or romantic relationships. With teenagers, although family relationships are still meaningful, it is mostly about having close relationships with friends and romantic relationships.

Therefore, if a young girl is not getting those wants and needs met through her peers at school or family at home, she may try a different route to meet her needs.

Sadly, some girls, particularly those who are targets of bullies, think that having a dating partner makes up for the lack of friends and positive relationships at school. I say this because, unfortunately, I was one of those girls with the same mindset. I leaned on dating and romance for comfort.

At the time, being in a romantic relationship felt like such a welcome change, like a soft pillow to land on during a fall. It seemed to buffer my self-esteem from the attacks and take the sting out of the torment I endured.

Having dating partners and suitors gave me a much-needed rebuttal to the daily degradation and humiliation brought on by classmates and a few sadistic teachers. It assured me that I was a great person and worthy of being loved. Male attention was a testament to my beauty and confirmation of my value as a young woman.

I looked to these guys to rescue me. They were my refuge from a cold, cruel world that hated me. Looking back now, I realize how needy I was back then. Around young guys who didn’t know me from school, I acted like a totally different person. I smiled, batted my eyelashes, and flirted my behind off to get their attention.

During school, because I had no real friends, I turned to grown men of late teens and early twenties to get the acceptance I wasn’t getting at school, from people my age. Although I was a gorgeous girl to look upon, bullies and their followers had destroyed my once-good name and with it, any prospects for dating and love among peers my age.

But by dating guys who were already out of high school, I was able to get around my trashed reputation and have opportunities for romance. These college-aged men had never met me, nor were they aware of the falsehoods and labels tied to my name.

I’m ashamed to say that, back then, I felt that my good looks and feminine wiles were the only things I had going for me, and often used them to get what I wanted. I thought I had to use trickery and charm to attain what most others seemed to come by easily and effortlessly. And thirty years ago, underage dating was more accepted than it is today.

I want you to understand that when a person is beaten down for so long, they grow afraid to ask for or pursue their wants and needs the right way. As a result, manipulation and deceit become a way of survival. Realize that this is a person who doesn’t need judgment; they get enough of that already. What they need is help.

For bullied victims, partners are a proverbial band-aid to their feelings of hurt and inadequacy that come with the onslaught of bullies. Sexual partners and activity are a means to feel loved, wanted, sexy, and beautiful. And it works, if only temporarily.

However, this is dangerous because it can easily lead to co-dependency. Relying on a dating partner for confirmation of worth is never good because the person eventually comes to believe that if he/she is not half of a couple, they are nothing and this kind of thinking is wrong.

encouragement

This mindset only sprouts desperation, and there is no dignity in being desperate for a partner. No one should ever see a romantic relationship as the end all be all. They should never look outside of themselves for happiness. Men and women come and go, and if the person continues to depend solely on them for their fulfillment, they’ll be in for a huge disappointment.

When someone looks solely to a partner to validate them, it’s a sign that the person doesn’t know their worth as a young lady or young man. Potential dates can sense this, and are either repelled or see them as someone they can use and degrade.

The person risks attracting a predatory partner of low integrity, one who will hang around as long as it takes to get what they want before dumping them and leaving them devastated. Also, people of quality and integrity do not want a partner they have to fix or rescue, and if they sniff out the slightest bit of neediness, they will disappear, and fast!

If you are a bullied girl or boy, I can’t stress enough how important it is to fall in love with yourself and with life before you fall in love with anyone else. Love should come from within and never from the outside. A relationship doesn’t complete you, and just because a person has sex with you doesn’t mean that they love you.

You are just as beautiful and whole without a partner as you are with one. Just because you’re dateless doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. Single doesn’t mean defective.

In the meantime, do plenty of deep soul searching and make positive affirmations daily. Count all your good qualities, talents, and gifts. Continuously remind yourself that you have value, and soon, you’ll start to believe it with your whole heart.

Be patient. Know that the right person will come into your life when you least expect it, and you aren’t looking for them. And when they do, they’ll be well worth the wait.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

How to Distinguish Between Bullying and Incivility

Often times, we ran into people who are just jerks and are rude to random people. Just because a person is rude to us does not mean that they are bullying us.

Anyone, at any age, can become a target of bullying, and there is evidence that child and teen targets are more likely to grow up to be bullied, adults. Some do not, I didn’t, but others do.

All bullies, regardless of age, deep down at their core, are cowards!
The difference between child bullies and adult bullies is that the young bullies select targets who are weaker, smaller, mentally handicapped, or sick with a disease (Type 1 diabetics, childhood cancer patients, paraplegics, etc.).

Adult bullies target well-liked, outgoing, confident, and successful people in their jobs or have successful marriages and family life. Adult bullies target people who have what they themselves want but feel they can’t and feel those people outshine them and threaten them.

With that being said, this has prompted me to talk about the subject and how one can overcome a hostile work environment. I believe that knowledge is power, and without it, you may not know what to do when an adult bully comes calling. So I feel that it is incumbent upon me to share my own knowledge, experience, and the tools I used to overcome a hostile work environment and come out virtually unscathed.

There is no age limit on bullying. It does not stop after high school graduation, nor does it stop at age 18, 21, 40, or even 60. If it did, there would be no assaults, murders, robberies, home invasions, or the like. And there wouldn’t be corporate or government corruption either.

The majority of employees will have at least one encounter with a workplace bully in their lifetime. So if you have never been the target of an ultra dominating and overbearing boss or coworkers, chances are that you will sometime in the future.

After high school, I was fortunate to have never suffered bullying in the workplace until just a few years ago. For years, in the places I worked, I was usually the one who was well-liked by my supervisors and coworkers because I worked hard and did my best to treat everyone with respect. This is not to say that I didn’t run into a few dirtbags – smart-alecs, gossips, and trouble makers because I did.

narcissist bad attitude

But these people usually treated EVERYONE like dirt, not only me. Also, they were only a few and not liked by the rest of my coworkers. So these were not cases of bullying, although I may have thought differently at the time. So how do we distinguish a case of bullying from incivility?

BULLYING – involves singling one person out of the whole of alumni, organization, company, or geographic population. It also involves repetition…repeated attacks against the same individual or group over a long period of time (usually from 3 weeks to several years). Also, others, even total strangers, are usually encouraged to join in.

Bullying is relentless. Bullying is a CAMPAIGN with a GOAL

It means destroying the target’s good name and standing in a community, relationships, family, career, finances, businesses and to ruin the target’s self-esteem and sense of security and well-being, to eventually ruin his/her life.

INCIVILITY – does not have any certain target.

People such as these don’t care who you are or where you come from. They just have personalities that suck and treat everyone in general, like dirt. And they only insult you because they don’t want to be bothered, whereas a bully or bullies will actively pursue you and make it their mission in life just to destroy you. A jerk, on the other hand, will never put in the effort to pursue anyone.

Crazy young man in white shirt standing and screaming at woman in pink dress. woman dont care and looking at camera with toothy smile. indoor studio shot, isolated on light brown background.

INCIVILITY – is sporadic and random mistreatment against random people. It does not involve repetition and is not directed at any certain person or group.

BULLYING – is personal, and there is always an agenda and vendetta behind it.

INCIVILITY – is not personal, and there is no agenda nor vendetta.

The person is just a jerk. Everyone will experience incivility at times in their lives, even popular people. A jerk has no particular target and does not care who you are. A jerk is an equal-opportunity dirt bag.

A jerk just doesn’t care…about anyone…period.

A jerk is afraid you might want something from him.

A bully wants something from YOU.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

What Do You Do When the Teacher Is the Target?

bullying in class room school between friends young female standing crying sadness pressure by classmates

I’ve written about the few teachers who bully students. But what about the teachers- good teachers, the best and the brightest, who get bullied?

Teaching is not only a thankless but also dangerous job in times like these. In my opinion, teachers should get hazard pay, maybe even combat pay! With the school climate what it is today, teachers risk being harmed, maimed, also murdered, and many don’t make it to retirement.

I’ve seen many teachers quit and opt for second careers because of the many issues in schools and communities. I can’t say I blame them. Teachers get paid a pittance for what they must put up with and they don’t get the support from parents, principals, and higher school officials they did decades ago.

blame victim

And teacher’s unions are a complete joke! They don’t care about the kids much less the teachers. In my opinion, teacher’s unions are a big money racket and political activist group! I wouldn’t be a teacher if someone offered me triple the salary!

Along with crappy pay, teachers are held responsible for the poor performance and failing grades of their students. And let’s be real here. Many kids are lazy, and many parents are too busy being the child’s BFF rather than being a parent and making their children hit the books. So why is this the teacher’s fault?

Teachers also have a truckload of homework themselves, often having to grade test papers and assignments at home on their own time. And if parents can’t buy the necessary school supplies for their children to bring to class, teachers end up having to dig into their own pockets to provide for these kids. Couple that with the shoddy pay, and these teachers get a pretty raw deal.

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.

Many teachers also get bullied, not only by their fellow teachers and staff but by students and their parents as well. And when it’s the child who bullies the teacher, how’s that teacher supposed to handle it effectively if he/she doesn’t have support from the principal, the school district, and parents?

A lot of kids are disrespectful and unruly these days. Many of today’s parents have an overinflated sense of their own entitlement, so it makes sense that they would raise kids with the same pathetic attitude.

Lots of times, the parents of these kids will overlook the behavior at school and, yes- even encourage it because they feel that their child is “entitled” and that the teacher transgressed against their kid by disciplining him.

Also, schools and their districts often encourage teachers to give the kid a passing grade even if the student doesn’t earn it, all in an attempt to keep the school’s performance ratings up and the government off their backs. If the teacher happens to be an honest person and doesn’t comply, she’s fired.

I’ve both heard and read of instances when the teacher disciplined a student for disruptive behavior. The teacher only made the child leave the classroom and stand in the hall or sent the kid to the principal’s office, and an angry and hostile parent confronted him/her later.

And when a student failed a test, the teacher gave the kid a bad grade, only to have an enraged parent storm into their classroom the next day, demanding to know why. Some parents go so far as to threaten physical harm!

Understand that kids aren’t stupid, especially kids who bully. These kids are often socially intelligent beyond their years, and they pick up on these things- things that other kids their age often miss. These children know that these days, teachers can’t do much about their bad behavior, and they take full advantage of it. It’s just what kids do.

Pushing boundaries to see what you can get away with is only a part of being a kid. Kids do either what their parents allow or aren’t aware of, and they imitate what they see at home and what they see peers do. And teachers don’t get near the support they should. Is it any wonder there’s a mass shortage of teachers in this country?

It takes a special kind of person to be a teacher in today’s world. If you’re one of those brave, caring, and awesome people, know you have my utmost respect.

Know that the hard work and sacrifices you make haven’t gone unnoticed. You are one in a million and though you may not know it, I and so many others salute you!

Are You a Victim or Overcomer?

Bad things happen to the best people all the time, and sometimes people get what they don’t deserve. Some of the greatest and purest of humans are brutalized. It’s an unfortunate and sad part of life, and no one ever said that life was fair.

But you can take something from it. You have the choice of being a victim, or you can choose to be an overcomer.

When you’re an overcomer, there’s no greater feeling than knowing how far you’ve come. “You grow through what you go through.”

With knowledge comes empowerment!

You May Be a Target But You’re Not a Victim

During the last year, an epiphany has occurred to me and I’ve begun to stray away from the word “victim.” More and more, I have replaced that word with the word, “target.” I’ve come to realize that, yes, I was a target but, was I ever a victim?

I want to tell you that if you’re being bullied, could it be that you’re not a victim but a target? And could it be that you’re a target not because you’re weak or inferior, but because you’re a threat? Because your voice and your very being are powerful?  So powerful, it scares them to death?

Believe it or not, being a victim has a lot to do with mindset and words have enormous power- in other words, if you’re a victim, you’re right, but if you’re not a victim but a target, you’re also right. A victim mentality can only bring about more abusers, more abuse, and therefore, more victimhood.

Do you want that?

If you survived bullying, you’re no longer a target. And it could be that you never really were a victim. But you are a victor! That’s right! You’re a winner because you’re an overcomer!

Victim mentality is the downfall of many survivors of bullying. It keeps you down, keeps you defeated, keeps you oppressed, and keeps you a “victim.” This kind of thinking also keeps you dependent. It breeds laziness and the attitude that the world owes you something. Or it leads to resignation, hopelessness, and the attitude of defeat. It’s the root of a condition called, “Learned Helplessness.”

Do you know what’s worse? It also has the undertones that you’re somehow inferior. You’re not!  When you have the victim mentality, you’re afraid of taking back your power because to do so requires personal responsibility.

Taking back your power means that you make your own reality and make your own decisions, your own path, and your own successes, all of which require that you take risks and risk the possibility of failure.  And yes! It’s scary!

You must create your own happiness and whether you know how to do that, the responsibility is still there and always will be.

Again, the victim mentality requires that, subconsciously, you feel inferior and I want you to know with every fiber of your being that, you’re inferior to no one! It dictates that you think that you’re nothing without the consent of another person, entity, or higher power and that’s wrong!

Who is anyone to decide who you are or what you can do?

I’m not a victim. Yes, when I was young and being bullied, I felt like a victim and thought I was. But was I really? Although the memoir about the bullying I endured is entitled, “From Victim to Victor (A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying), was I really a victim? I’ve come to realize that I was a target. I was never a victim!

I say this because I had the victim mentality when I was young, and it almost ruined my life. Please don’t let it ruin yours. I realize that being a target of bullying is one of the hardest things a person can endure. But one thing your bullies can’t take is your mind unless you allow it. Please don’t allow them to change your thought patterns because that’s what they want and you deserve better- much better!

I was fortunate that my eyes were opened and that I managed to shed negative thinking and adopt a winning attitude. But many victims stay stuck in a self-defeating mindset, continue to have the worst luck, and lose all hope.

In closing, know that no matter how bad things get, there’s always hope. Hold on to it!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Bullies Need You More Than You Need Them

It’s because bullies need scapegoats. The use of a scapegoat is nothing new. People have used them for many millennia! During the Medieval Period, scapegoats were often used by kings to make sure the monarch’s hands stayed clean- or at least looked clean.

Back then, it was common practice to execute scapegoats for the wrongdoings of kings. Blaming them, then putting them to death kept the scapegoats quiet and the kings above reproach, unquestioned, and smelling like roses. Bullies do the same today, only in different ways.

Bullying and scapegoating go hand in hand.

The purpose of scapegoating is to force another person to accept blame for sins, which you, yourself, are guilty. Sadly, the person blamed is often innocent. Even sadder is the fact that he’s usually the one least likely to fight back. The person is then punished and sacrificed.

Bullies are notorious for refusing to accept blame for any wrongdoing or mistake. So, they search for the most convenient person to lay blame on- their target. And what’s the victim going to do about it?

The ability to transfer guilt to their victims gives bullies immense power. Understand that bullies depend on appearances to maintain their fake facades of gleaming-white perfection. Well-seasoned bullies must appear to be god-like at all times.

They’re very much afraid that if they don’t keep up this pathetic charade, they’ll lose their power and with it, the foothold on their targets. What better way to maintain that power than to scapegoat the target?

“Blame so-and-so for my shortcomings by pointing out his!”

“Blame so-and-so for my imperfections by distracting others’ attention to his!”

“Blame so-and-so for my despicable behavior by claiming he did something to deserve it!”

“Blame Joe Blow for my pathetic incompetence and stupidity by saying that he caused me to screw up!”

“Blame so-and-so for any tiny thing that goes wrong, and I get to hitch a ride on his back to move up!”

A selfish man walks the heads of people as on the steps to the highest post behind the crown. Conceptual scene is a narcissistic and selfish person

“Because I’m number one, and Hell will freeze over before I give that up! And blaming so-and-so is so easy it shouldn’t work!”

I want you to realize that bullies, bystanders, and friends will scapegoat a target of bullying for one reason and one reason only: He has the least power to fight back!

Targets are often either naïve or exceptionally intelligent and pose the biggest threat to the bullies’ positions. If the victim is naïve, bullies will exploit his naivete to the fullest because they know that naïve people aren’t taken seriously. Also, the naïve tend to overdo their claims of innocence. And people often mistake it as a sign of guilt.

Intelligent targets, bullies will undermine and wear down with constant smear campaigns, exclusion, and personal attacks. Also, smart victims will often overdo being calm, and relaxed, which can also be mistaken for guilt, because people will assume that his keeping it together is only an act and that he’s hiding something.

blame point fingers

Here’s another reason bullies need targets. They need someone to make responsible for their negative feelings- feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and hurt. And when they make the victim responsible for their bad feelings, the target becomes the offender who must be punished and eliminated.

To combat their negative emotions, bullies demand that their targets show them respect at all times- even while they’re abusing them. They also have the attitude that the victim should do whatever they tell them to do and make them feel powerful.

In short, bullies need the target to use as a dumping ground for all their mental and emotional issues.

Here’s a third reason, bullies and bystanders need a bottom rat to ensure that they themselves don’t end up on the bottom. If you’re a target of bullying, they need you to stay on the bottom and will go out of their way to keep you there. Any pecking order needs whipping boys (or girls) – easy victories for the higher-ups to collect.

If you are a target of bullying, I want you to understand that bullies consider it to be of the utmost importance that you stay on the bottom and you make them look good and like the innocent party. When they brutalize you, everything must appear as if you had it coming – that they were wronged or betrayed by your stupidity, incompetence, or evil.

If people are using you as a scapegoat, the best you can do is to get out of the environment. Just pick up and leave. Only then will you be able to preserve your dignity, your sanity, and your life.

With knowledge comes empowerment!