How to Not Let Bullies Get What They Want
Another aspect of bullying being not person is the way in which a bully will make you feel as if it is you personally that they have got it in for. Can you think of a time when someone treated you like someone totally different from yourself? Has anyone treated you like a monster, a pariah or a social menace, for example? That might be worth trying on the bully if you get it right.
Have you ever been treated like a waste of space or someone who never says anything right? The expression people often use to challenge this speaks volumes: ‘Don’t speak to me like I’m an idiot,’ for example. This illustrates how people can very easily talk at you but not to you and they are very likely to not be aware that they are doing it.
They are simply not connected to people around them enough. Lack of empathy is a trait of a bully, though it may only be a temporary trait brought on by stress or a negative experience they have had. We would all prefer it, I think, if our friends and families spoke to us as if they knew us instead of continuing to treat us as the person we were when we were in a rut, stuck in a black hole or going through a difficult time.
Bullies seem to do the same thing to their victims. They treat their victim like the unpopular, undesirable, absurd, laughable, stupid or useless person they want to the victim to feel like. This is why bullying feels so personal. Don’t you feel like the person someone ‘talks to you’ or ‘treats you’ like? Don’t you begin to become the person the bully is talking to and lose your real self along the way?
Therefore, if you can hold true to yourself in the face of a bully, that will stop them getting what they want from you. Bullies are not persistent, so once you have stood up to them, they will probably not try you again. Job done. This is often why fathers in films seem to advise their sons to give the bully a good punch. One film which will be in my list at the end of the book is Submarine, which covers a bullying theme.