Bullying can show up at any age. I remember days coming home from school in tears and sitting with my mom (who was a PHD of Psychology specializing in women and children). She would do her best to comfort me and explain the meanness that I didn't get. She told me it wasn't about me, but how could it not be? They had hurt my feelings!
She helped in every way she could to get me through the bullying at school, but it didn't stop after elementary school, middle school, after graduating from high school or even college. Bullying doesn't just show up in schools. There are people who make it their mission to dominate; to dis-empower, to gain control, and to get others to doubt themselves.
My point of view as a kid was "Why can't we all be friends?"
Now, I have a different perspective. Not everyone is a friend! Some people are just plain mean. And it is up to us to take care of ourselves if we come across someone like that.
What Else is Possible?
Gary Douglas and Dr. Dain Heer (co-creators of Access Consciousness™) facilitated a class called, "Changing The Issues That Abuse Has Dominated Your Life With." This class was jam-packed with life changing tools and information. One thing that came up in the class was really getting that bullies and abusers choose "victims" who they see as more powerful than them. If they can get someone they see as powerful to doubt themselves, to be less, then they win in their minds.
This can happen incredibly subtly at times and to those of any age, any background, and any education level. In fact, if you have something a bully doesn't have (ex. happiness, presence, ease with being you, potency, inner strength) this can be infuriating to them.
It Isn't Personal
One of the hardest things to get is if someone is looking to take away your power, it isn't personal. It can feel very personal, but it is never about you. And if they are looking to take your power away, who is truly the powerful one in the situation? It isn't them!
Think of an alligator. It will look for the most nearby, convenient target for its prey. What if all the times that people have tried to control you and get you to be less had nothing to do with you personally? You just happened to be the most convenient target for the abuse they were looking to perpetrate. That could be a child of an abusive parent, kids in the same class as a bully, or in a work situation with an abusive boss or co-worker.
Underneath It All
Once you are willing to see that underneath it all, not everyone is good and kind and wonderful, it's a lot easier to spot an abuser. There are people who purposefully choose to create confusion as a tactic to gain control. Or meanness to get the people around them to be less. Or lie to get you to doubt what you know.
And if a bully crosses your path - someone who is out there looking to dis-empower those around them to maintain control - what choices do you have?
4 Tools for Out Dominating a Dominator or Bully
1. Get Educated and Expand Your Knowledge of Tactics That Abusers Commonly Use
If you know the tactics bullies and dominators use to disempower, they do not work as well. It's like re-watching a scary movie. You know where it is going and how it's going to end. Only this time you have the power to choose where it goes.
Dominators count on you giving them the benefit of the doubt, even making excuses for their abusive behavior, and 'waiting it out' hoping that they will change. Don't give them that. One common tactic after a dominator has been exposed, is that they will come back to you and tell you that they've changed and no longer do the dominating behavior that they used to do. Don't buy it. They tell you that in the hopes you will believe them and blind yourself to their behaviors. If you're not willing to buy the lies, you can't get blindsided.
If you recognize early in your interaction with someone that they are a snake, it's ok to treat them as a snake! No need ever again to hope and wish and blind yourself thinking that they might actually be a fluffy bunny. No matter how much they tell you what a fluffy bunny they are.
Examples of Common Tactics Bullies Use:
Lying and denying it
Comments that sound like compliments, but aren't
Pitting people against you and creating separation or rifts between you and the people you care about
Using people or things you care about against you
Put-downs or bad mouthing you directly or behind your back
Making you wrong
Saying one thing and doing something completely different
Accusing you of things you know you did not do or starting rumors
Creating confusion to the point you doubt you and doubt what you know
Undermining you in front of others/humiliation
They make you feel crazy and get you to wonder if you are crazy
2. Don't Make Yourself Wrong
In a bully's world, they win if you begin to judge you, doubt you, make you wrong, or stop being all of you. They might try to get you angry, frustrated, or exhausted in an attempt to hook and engage you with their schemes. No matter what they think of you or what they are trying to get you to think of you... you are not wrong.
This is a tactic they use because it works. But it only works if you let it. Please do not let someone change your perception of you. You are not wrong. You are wonderful.
What if instead of judging you, you recognized that the bully is doing everything they can think of to get you to make yourself wrong, but you still have choice. You still have you and you can still have your own back.
3. Know That You Know
When you recognize a person you are dealing with is looking for you to be less, what if you were willing to take action from what you know to handle the situation, no matter how "mean" or "bitchy" it may seem at the time?
Worst case scenario, if at a later time you find out that they weren't looking to dis-empower, you could always apologize. It's okay to trust you and okay to recognize when someone is bad news! That is't you being judgmental. That is you being aware.
Gaslighters set out to get you to doubt what you know as a form of control. If you begin to turn to them to know what is true instead of what you know, they gain control.
Be willing to err on the side of knowing what you know, having your back, and being willing to apologize later if you find out that you did indeed mess up.
4. Don't Attempt To Expose Them
When you feel the urge to expose someone you know is acting like a bully, look to see what the exposure might actually create.
The truth is, a bully will always expose themselves by their own actions.A snake can only pretend to be a bunny for so long before they strike as the snake they are.
Now I'm not saying to hide any bullying or abuse that is going on. If someone is willing to ask you a question about this person, then be willing to tell them what you know, otherwise they probably won't be willing to hear what you have to say even though it is what is going on.
The point here is not make anyone wrong for what they choose or to point fingers, but to expose that these forms of manipulation do exist. Getting informed is a great step to not being dominated, and there are tools out there you can use if you do come across someone looking to dis-empower you.
This is part of why I created, "Are You Being Dominated? and How Not To Be", which is now an approved Access Consciousness Specialty Class. It's about time to have pragmatic tools in the hands of seekers of all ages. Those who look to empower others don't necessarily know how to handle people looking to dis-empower. It's foreign. It is a practiced and learned skill to out dominate a dominator.
- Bret Rockmore (also a facilitator of Are You Being Dominated & How Not To Be) and Marilyn Bradford, author of Right Recovery for you also have a free video here talking about "What is Abuse?" and going beyond it. It is also translated in to Russian, Slovenian, Hebrew, and Croatian.
- If you have the prerequisites, it is possible to purchase the replay of Gary Douglas and Dr. Dain Heer's class, "Changing The Issues That Abuse Has Dominated Your Life With". You don't have to have been physically abused to benefit from this class. It handles all forms of abuse including spiritual abuse, monetary abuse, verbal abuse, gaslighting, and other forms of abuse.