You do your best, give it your all, but in the end it doesn’t matter. You fail, and the bullies lose no time in pointing out your shortcomings in such a way that you feel like a failure not just in this instance, but in life. Picking up the pieces is difficult after any trauma, but when failure happens repeatedly, it tends to get you down past the point of return.
So, are you a failure, really? No, not unless you want to be. Believe me, there are plenty of people who want others to be failures. They need others to see themselves as failures. That’s how they maintain their own power – by making sure others fail at life. The sad part is that, at least part of the time, we are the ones who empower the bullies. We stand by and do nothing as they terrorize the easy targets. We get angry when we are their goal and then we plot revenge, giving them the attention they covet. Attention is attention, negative or positive doesn’t really matter. But for a bully, negative attention creates an aura of fear, and this is double power for him or her.
Bullying has become a prime focus of American schools and communities. Sadly, there will always be bullies, and while we may be a victim at times, we don’t have to be an empowering victim. I offer these thoughts:
1- Every time you don’t stand up for yourself, by not reporting the bullying, by giving in to the bully’s demands, by silently accepting the circumstances, you empower the bully.
2- Every time you let fear motivate your actions, you give silent power to the bully. Fear produces chemical changes in our bodies that make us less able to think rationally and send us into a self-protection mode. Fear can also trigger anger which dumps other strong chemicals into our systems, creating a different set of emotions for us to deal with.
3- The point of bullying is to control someone else, to be able to manipulate another person at will. Power is addictive. Any time a bully is empowered, his or her need to bully increases. Usurping a bully’s available power is a step toward reducing the effects of bullying.
These are not “fixes” for bullying, but attitudes on our part that don’t empower the bully can help pave the way toward minimizing the damage and maximizing the healing for us and others.