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Dealing with Bullies: How to Cope When People Are Cruel

“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” ~Dr. Wayne Dyer

I was the quintessential late-bloomer, not hitting my growth spurt until my junior year of high school. I’m six feet tall now, but for all of middle school and the first half of high school, I was one of the shortest kids in the entire school.

Additionally, some thought I had a slight lisp. I was extremely self-conscious about it after a few people unkindly pointed it out to me. During my senior year I wore Invisalign braces, which corrected my teeth and improved by speech mannerisms, but for many years I was embarrassed about my pronunciation of certain words.

I was frequently bullied for how short I was and the way I spoke. Since I had low self-esteem already, I felt like I was fundamentally flawed and unworthy as a person. It’s safe to say high school was an extremely difficult time.

When I went to a small liberal arts school called McDaniel College down in Westminster, Maryland, I was ready to start over. I was especially looking forward to meeting new people and leaving the days of being bullied behind. That’s when I met Tom (name changed to protect his privacy).

The Worst Bully I Ever Had to Face

Tom was on my college baseball team. He was the meanest, nastiest, cruelest bully I’ve ever had to face in my life.

Tom hated my guts, and to this day I don’t know why. I’m an analytical and observant person, so here’s my educated guess: One of my values is kindness, so when I meet people I’m friendly. Perhaps Tom didn’t think I was one of the cool kids because I was “too nice.”

Tom hung around fellow bullies, people who enjoyed making fun of people. There’s nothing Tom enjoyed more than disrespecting others and making them feel unworthy, it seemed, perhaps because it made him feel better about himself.

Tom didn’t bully me for my height or for the way I spoke; he bullied me because of my general lack of confidence. I was afraid of him, and he knew it.

At one party, he told me to go hide in the closet. At another party, he made me feel so unwelcome and embarrassed that I left the party. At the gym once, he purposely bumped into me in an aggressive way and then walked away.

Why did I do nothing while he treated me like this?

Two main reasons: One, no one ever taught me how to properly stand up for myself. I did not have the skills, tools, or know-how to assert myself. Two, during my senior year of high school I came incredibly close to committing suicide. There was still a part of me wondering if I belonged on this planet.

I had acne that wouldn’t go away, and because I didn’t like myself, I subconsciously thought maybe I deserved to be treated like garbage. Ridiculous, I know, but my self-esteem was low at that point in my life. Bullies like Tom prey on people with low self-esteem, and I was his prime target.

I stopped going to any baseball parties or social functions. I sat in my room by myself on Friday and Saturday nights. While my teammates were partying, I was letting my social anxiety get the best of me.

My anxiety ran sky-high when the thought of Tom crossed my mind. I was letting this one person dominate my life. I became depressed because I never would have expected bullying to continue into college. I wondered if things would ever get better.

The Silver Lining

After some dark and isolated nights—made easier thanks to phone calls with my awesome younger, Annemarie—I realized I had to stop letting Tom ruin my college experience. I started to introduce myself to other people on the campus. I joined other groups, and made all sorts of new friends.

I only saw Tom and the rest of my baseball teammates during a practice, game, or mandatory team function. Many of the other players on the team looked up to Tom as the leader of the pack, the tough guy they admired, so they weren’t people I felt comfortable being around.

While I chose McDaniel College to continue my baseball career, I decided to stop spending time with people who didn’t think highly of me whenever I could. I made many great friends at my college, and very few of them were on the baseball team.

I ended up having a great college experience because of this. If not for my experience with Tom, I may not have extended my social circle that far.

So I have two words for Tom: thank you. Thank you for redirecting me toward kinder, more loving people. Thank you for giving me the motivation to introduce myself to new people instead of limiting myself to some silly clique.

Eventually, some of the other players on the team noticed how many people I knew at the school. A few them even said I was popular. I realized something profound then: When you are rejected by a person or group of people, life has given you an opportunity to expand your horizons, meet new people, and make new friends.

My senior year of college, with my confidence finally starting to rise, I had the guts to go tailgate with my baseball teammates during a school football game. Tom punched me square in the face and then immediately left before I had a chance to say or do anything.

A week later, I saw him at the library. Rather than retaliate or seek revenge, I asked to have a discussion with him, and he agreed.

He told me he’d punched me because I was drinking his friend’s beer—the beer that was supposedly for all the players on the baseball team, except for me, that is. I was the only one on the team harassed for this.

Tom went on to say that during freshman year he didn’t think I was one of the cool kids. He explained that he didn’t hate me as a person, but he didn’t agree with a lot of the things I did.

“Everyone has their own opinions,” he said. I had no idea what he meant, as my freshman year of college I was always kind and respectful to others, but rather than inquire further into his inner world, I kept the discussion brief. More than anything else, I was glad the feud was likely coming to an end.

I don’t know what made Tom become kinder than usual in this final conversation of ours, but as we made eye contact he could see the big black eye he gave me. He didn’t outright apologize to me, but he clearly felt sorry for what he did. His words and actions were conciliatory.

Perhaps he respected that I had just spent two semesters abroad, studying at McDaniel’s satellite campus in Budapest, Hungary, as he did mention my travels in our discussion. He probably realized I’d made the most of my opportunities and had an enriching college experience, despite his continual and incessant disrespect.

To my surprise, he ended the conversation by shaking my hand. We then peacefully went our separate ways. By that point he had quit the baseball team and I no longer had to see him every day. He never bothered me again.

How to Move Beyond Bullying

Dealing with bullying is never easy or pleasant, but it comes with the territory of being human. Bullying happens not only on sports teams and in schools, but also in the workplace and other organizations. I hope these tips will help you deal with the cruel people in your life and come out on top.

Have Compassion

It can be difficult to have compassion for your bullies, but it helps to remember that hurt people, hurt people.

Bullies want to make you think there is something wrong with you. The truth is there is nothing wrong with you, and they’re the ones with the problem. Deep down inside they feel scared and unworthy, and they believe the only way to build themselves up is to tear someone else down.

Truly feel badly for people like this. As I recently learned from my friend Evan Carmichael during a YouTube live discussion with him, this does not mean you must say out loud that you have compassion for them. It’s something you can do within your mind, heart, and soul. Practicing compassion makes it easier to not take things personally, and to not react emotionally.

Don’t Let Their Opinion Define Your Reality

Tom thought I wasn’t worth hanging out with, but the truth is I have a lot to offer people. Despite Tom’s opinion of me, I ended up making plenty of friends.

In what parts of your life are you letting cruel naysayers limit you? You are not defined by what other people think; you are defined by your actions and what you think of yourself.

Don’t let a bully change the way you view yourself. The next time a bully says something to you that isn’t true, pause. Then calmly say, Oh, really? Shrug your shoulders and move on with your day. The bully will most likely be neutralized.

They are looking to get a reaction out of you and feed off your defensiveness. When you show them that their opinion means little to you, they tend to leave you alone.

Meet New People

A bully is one person. There are lots of great people out there in the world for you to meet. Don’t let one bad egg, or a few bad eggs, spoil the bunch.

If you are in school, join other groups that interest you. If you are in the workplace, attend networking events and other kinds of social outings outside of work each month. The person who will change your life in a positive way is one step beyond your biggest doubt. Don’t be afraid to get outside your comfort zone because it will show you that the world is filled with awesome people.

Talk to a Close Friend or Family Member

When I was all alone on a Saturday night in my dorm room, isolated from my teammates, and before I met new people at my college, talking to my sister on the phone helped to remind me of all that was good about me and my life.

You are only alone if you choose to be alone. Reach out to a trusted friend or family member you feel comfortable with and vent your innermost thoughts and feelings to them. It feels good to have a listening ear, someone who reminds us of our value. Sometimes we get so caught up in our problems that we forget about the wonderful person we are.

Don’t Cross the Line Just Because They Do

My sophomore year of college, while I was drunk, without thinking I went to Tom’s dorm room with a friend, knocked on the door, and went in. It was confrontational, but more than anything else it was an insecure “let’s be friends” kind of thing.

My incoherence, coupled with the fact that he really didn’t like me, made this a really bad and immature idea. By doing this, I opened up old wounds. His inexcusable actions were definitely on him, but it was not the right time and I was not in the right state to talk to him. We didn’t get into a fight that night, and he was actually pretty calm in the moment, but it gave him more incentive to bully me in the future, since I’d invaded his private space.

Remember that just because someone else crosses the line that doesn’t mean you have to cross it as well. You’re not responsible for what someone else does to you, but you are responsible for how you respond to it.

Assert Yourself Without Overreacting

When dealing with a bully who won’t leave you alone, sometimes you need to assert yourself without overreacting. To respond in an even-keeled way, focus on asserting how you feel. Use “I” statements rather than “you” statements as much as you can.

When you accuse the bully, it will egg them on to keep going. But when you focus on how you feel, it will point out to the bully that they’ve crossed the line. Here are some examples. Try to do this during one-on-one conversations, but say it in the moment if necessary:

  • I don’t like the disrespect. Please stop.
  • I feel frustrated that I’m not getting my space. I’m not getting any respect.
  • I don’t like how our conversations are always one-sided. I need to share my thoughts too.
  • I don’t deserve this. I deserve better.
  • I’m not happy with this. The negativity is pointless. Stop it, or we’re done.

These tactics did not work with Tom for many years, but they might work with a less extreme bully.

Send Them Love and Forgiveness

The late, great Susan Jeffers created an exercise I absolutely love. When you are alone, imagine the bully you are dealing with as a child. Surround them with light and love, and repeat in your mind, I send them love, I send them love, I send them love.

I was so afraid of Tom that he became a monster in my mind, dictating my actions around my college campus for a while. The truth is, he is a person like the rest of us, and something went seriously wrong in his upbringing. You don’t know what the bully has been through; they’ve become this way because they are hurting on the inside. Send them love and forgiveness.

Go to the Authorities When Needed

Be the bigger person, but only do so up to your limits. After Tom physically attacked me with a strong punch that left me with a bruised eye, I was at my limit. In one last attempt to end it, I peacefully confronted him face-to-face, and it worked.

I don’t believe in retaliation or violence, so I stuck to my values even after he physically hurt me. With that said, if he attacked or threatened me even one more time, I would have gone to my coach and the campus authorities.

When a bully turns into a criminal, please do not ever be afraid to take action. The bully wants you to live in a prison of fear, but when they see you will not tolerate their actions, they will stop. The last resort before turning it over to the authorities is to tell them directly, “If this doesn’t stop, I’m going to [person in position of authority].”

They may try to make you feel like less of a person for doing this, but remember that their opinion doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you do what you need to do to find a solution.

Putting It All Together

Bullying is an international epidemic, and it needs to stop. But before the world comes to its senses, we’re going to have to learn how to deal with nasty, difficult people.

The truth is we can’t control how other people act, but we can control how we respond to those other people. By sending our bullies compassion, asserting ourselves, and choosing not to be defined by their opinions, we can create a happy ending for ourselves.

The experience itself may be a nightmare, but you can peacefully move on with your life knowing you are a person of integrity and values.

You can move beyond the bullying you are experiencing, or have already experienced. You can find the silver lining and come out on top.

About Jeff Davis

Jeff Davis is a professional speaker and the author of several books. He has done keynote speeches internationally and is a sought-after expert on self-leadership, anti-bullying, and overcoming adversity. Jeff frequently speaks to high schools, colleges, nonprofits, organizations, associations, conferences, and businesses. He’s been to five different continents and has a Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

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  • AJD

    Thanks Jeff, a really thoughtful and incisive post and also I love the strategies and tips for dealing with bullies.

  • DB Hoster

    JUST the thing I needed to hear today. Thank you so much for sharing this. Being bullied is a very lonesome experience. We tend to turn inward and feel ashamed, which is exactly where the bullies want us. I felt less alone after reading this. Thanks, Jeff.

  • t

    He probably just thought you were going to press charges..

  • Thanks for the mention 🙂 #Believe

  • optimist

    Wow–this is powerful and inspiring but also very sad. Powerful and inspiring because you overcame the bullying and managed to move past it to become a successful guy. But also sad because it was allowed to escalate without any intervention from your team mates. This is how bullying escalates–from the playground to the national and international arena–because no one stands up. So glad you shared your story and that you are working to help others!

  • Susee

    I’m finding sending love as in “May you find love … May you find peace … May you live your life with ease” silently and disengaging as soon as possible. There are mean people that come into our life for various reasons (one extremely mean woman collided with the back of my car causing serious and permanent disability to me. She rolled her eyes at me and said “this is all I need” and drove off leaving me in agony (she knew I was in pain) on the side of the road. Directing my chant at her is not something I can not do … yet, and I’m 10 years down the track.

  • Susee

    I’m still chuckling … “Really? ” … Love this and it will go in my coping tool kit that’s for sure.

  • Bullyinglte

    Thank you for sharing your personal bullying experience in the hope of helping others.

  • Margo

    Thank you! Your insights we so helpful. I’m in a garden club and there is a woman who has bullied me in a very subtle way. Only to let me know that I was not in the “in crowd”. I was devastated as I spent a lot of time at this persons house and considered her a friend. She betrayed me when I was going through a very difficult time. At first I didn’t realize it until she was inebriated and forgot to hang up the phone after a call. I heard her say very hurtful things to a room full of the “in crowd”.

    I did exactly what Jeff said to do. Made friends surrounding her who were more than happy to have me as their friend. The only time I quasi confronted her was to tell her how hurt I was by her actions. She apologized and said it really wasn’t her nature to do that. But she did and it was a dark side I never knew of.

    I’m better now but the betrayal still stings and we will never be the same.

    Thank you, Jeff! Your posting brought me comfort.

  • Jesse

    Maybe it’s a personality trait but, even being a woman, I would not have taken Tom’s crap. If someone hits me, I hit back. I’ve been around a couple of bullies in childhood and my mother taught me to stand up to them & fight or else the bullying would continue. It seemed to work: one or two punches by me and it’s all over and they avoided me for the rest of the school year. I even overheard one of the bullies chuckling to her friend, months later, saying how innocent I looked but that I kicked her butt. The “compassion” suggestion rarely works in reality. You have to be strong and stand up to bullies.

  • I’m sorry to hear about the mean woman who collided into the back of your car, causing you serious injury, then driving away without helping. That was not right and totally unfair to you. I give you a lot of credit for sending love, you are a wonderful example of finding inner strength and persevering through challenges.

  • I really appreciate your kind words and I’m extremely glad the article resonated with you. You hit the nail on the head – turning inward and feeling ashamed is exactly what the bullies want us to do, but we won’t. We are never alone in dealing with people like this. Stay strong my friend.

  • You’re welcome. I’m honored that you liked the post as well as the various tips, and I really appreciate your comment.

  • Thanks for your comment, you bring up great points here. There were times when I did say something back to him and it didn’t do anything or get him to stop. Perhaps you’re right that punching him would have gotten him to rethink the way he was treating me, but that’s not my style. If that way worked for you, I give you credit for putting an end to it sooner than I did. After he punched me at the school football game I was fully ready to punch him back and defend myself, but he literally left the event immediately after punching me. Once it got physical I was ready to do what I needed to do. When I approached him in the library and we had a discussion, as you read in the article the conversation went well. But I was half-expecting him to punch me in the face again, and at that point I was fully ready to defend myself if need be.

    I see what you mean when you say having compassion may not necessarily work in the moment. When I talk about compassion, I’m talking about the way one processes, internalizes, and thinks about the bully during the day while not around the bully. Instead of feeling angry and vengeful, having compassion helps to see the bully in a more peaceful light. This does not in any way condone the bully’s behavior or excuse the bully’s action, but it does allow you to go through your day without holding onto the hot iron of anger. I do encourage others to stand up for themselves in the moment, in the right way. As far as not taking someone’s crap, it depends on the situation. One time while working for a Fortune 500 company in the past, there was someone not treating me properly. I stood up for myself in the moment, and it ended up getting me in huge trouble – I almost lost my job because I responded in the wrong time and place. I 100% agree with you that you must be strong and stand up to bullies. At the same time, the best course of action will vary from circumstance to circumstance.

    With all of that said, I’d like to emphasize that your thoughts and insights are fantastic. Although punching him was not my style, I definitely could have benefited from assertiveness training and learning to more firmly stand my ground, so as to not allow him to ruin parties for me or make me feel embarrassed. I hope this article helps people to find the solution that works best for their specific situation.

  • Margo, you’re welcome! I’m really glad you liked the post and it brought you comfort. I’m sorry to hear about your friend who betrayed you – I went through a similar experience in the past with someone who I thought was a “friend”. You handled the situation beautifully. I understand the betrayal still stings, that’s very tough to deal with. You may not need to cut that woman from your garden club out of your life completely, but definitely tread carefully and be careful what you share with her. You’re smart and I’m sure you will move beyond this difficult experience.

  • You’re welcome. I really appreciate your kind words and your comment means a lot to me.

  • Hope some of these tips help, Susee. Glad the article brought a smile to your face – it’s a serious story, but it has a happy ending. Look for the silver lining.

  • Thank you for your comment and kind words. I agree with what you’re saying here in that it’s sad and inspiring at the same time. You’re right that this is how bullying escalates. From the bottom of my heart, I hope this article will inspire others to stand up for themselves in an assertive, genuine, and appropriate way.

  • You’re welcome my friend, my pleasure. Thanks for the awesome insight. #Believe

  • Gabriella West

    I’m thinking that “Tom” was quite obsessed with you, Jeff. As someone who was severely bullied and ostracized in school in my early teens, I find I hold onto the most bitterness towards one particular friend. She bullied other people and she often turned her bullying on me, but at other times she could be charming. (She did sudden violently physical things, like at one point she shoved an ice cream into my face when I said something cheeky to her, or another time she stamped hard on my foot.) It was very confusing, and in the end she walked away and simply ignored me for the last few years at school. She dumped me, basically. This may have been the best thing for her to do, and it may have been the best thing for me as well, but I was at such a vulnerable age that it came across as a massive betrayal.

    I wrote to her a few years later and actually outlined a lot of the things she had put me through. She apologized and basically said she knew she treated me badly and she wished she could have done things differently. But I don’t trust her at all. I still think she wants to look good to other people more than she really wants or is capable of any kind of friendship. For that reason I’ve decided not to have her as a Facebook friend, though we could “make up” at this point and she has sort of made overtures through another woman, trying to feel out if I felt forgiving towards her. But my gut instinct doesn’t see it as very genuine. I do actually feel a little bit sorry for her though and realize she was (and maybe still is) a tortured soul.

    Thanks for letting me unload this. I thought your essay was fascinating, and I wish I had had more resources and resilience when I needed it. Maybe what I’m trying to say is that being bullied by someone who I let get “close” to me was the most damaging experience of all.

    On the flip side, I accepted the Facebook friendship of a woman who had been quite mean to me in school and we had a really interesting conversation–turned out she had been physically abused by her dad and this was what was causing all the acting out she did. So I found it fairly easy to forgive her… And I’m glad I did, though it took some effort on my part to see her side of things. But now I really do understand that the people who bullied me had backgrounds just as dysfunctional as mine…maybe more 🙁

  • Aelio

    This article was great. Thank you

  • You’re welcome. I appreciate your kind words and I’m really glad you liked the article.

  • Gabriella, I really appreciate your comment and I’m glad you unloaded. I relate fully to what you are saying here. Another bullying experience I had before college – less severe than the one discussed in this article but still quite severe – involved someone who was, for a while, a good friend of mine. Similar to what you experienced, he turned on me and ended up verbally attacking me in an abusive and unexpected way. He also excluded me, even though up until his verbal attack we hung out all the time. It was especially difficult because I thought he was a good friend. What we’re discussing here reminds me of a powerful quote by Buddha: “an insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.”

    It sounds like she’s unpredictable and her sudden violent physical actions were completely inappropriate and way over the line. I give you a lot of credit for writing to her, that’s a great way to express your emotions and how you felt when she treated you poorly. You are right not to trust her. I say this respectfully – she’s more concerned with outer appearances than inner truth, and she doesn’t seem to have found her genuine and authentic self. You made the right decision to not have her as a Facebook friend. You hit the nail on the head – she’s a tortured soul and going through something, and I hope she can find her way. I came to realize that despite the front he put on for the world, “Tom” was also a tortured soul and troubled.

    I agree, I also wish I had more resources while going through the experience. But things happen for a reason and it’s good we are discussing these experiences now. My dad is a smart guy and he told me once, “you never know what the bully is going through”, which is what you are talking about when you mention the woman whose Facebook friendship you accepted. Bullies go through dysfunctional troubles of their own that we often don’t know about, and they take out their frustrations and inadequacies by putting down others. It’s sad, but true.

    You have a very mature perspective on things and you are making great choices. You have a healing vibe to your words and loving energy. Keep doing what you’re doing, you are strong.

  • Gabriella West

    I can’t tell you how much your reply means to me. Thank you!

    That is a great Buddha quote, and one that I will keep in mind. It’s strange to be nearly 50 and still questioning myself over these things (and my own judgment), but your thoughtful response helped me put some doubts to rest.

  • Maria

    My ex is a bully and he bullied me up until I finally closed the door on him. As long as you let them, they will keep going at it because it is unfortunately the only way they feel good about themselves. I’m sorry you had to go through all of that too but thank you for sharing! I’m sure it will help inspire others to stand up for themselves as well:)

  • Maria, thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it a lot. Very well said, bullies do this because it makes them feel good about themselves. On the inside they are afraid, but they will never admit that. In extreme cases like ours, they sometimes won’t stop until we take serious measures to solve the situation. I’m sorry you had to go through that as well. We’ve grown from these experiences, which is a good thing. Yes, that’s what I’m hoping – that this article helps others to stand up for themselves, assert themselves, and put an end to bullying in an appropriate and even-tempered way.

  • BISQQ

    I’m a 55 year old educator. All of my career I’ve had to deal with colleagues that are bullies, and bosses who are bullies – that usually end of in me losing my job after standing up for myself. This comes after a pattern of abusive actions from my bosses or colleagues. Education is uber political. That being said, this last time around or two, I worked SO hard to do a good job, be a good employee, let go and send love……only to end up in the same place – without a job. I keep examining myself to see what’s wrong with me. I don’t know, and can’t figure it out. Any suggestions? I also worked really hard this last time on forgiveness. I’m hoping that my forgiving thoughts will make their way around in karma that will work better for me. Yep, suffered being targeted with crazy untrue accusations, threatened, written up with lies…….. Some of it has to do with parents who want to enable poor student behavior, and still want A’s for zero work, and having ties with school board members. The other is I’m at the highest pay grade, and now with education budget cuts, they don’t want to hire the highest level teachers, but want to hire long term subs instead. I have tried to change industry, because a lot of my skills are transferrable, but no one will give me a chance, because they hire who they know, and although I can run circles around many jobs I know, since I’ve been working since I was 14 years old – I’ve done it all; unless you’ve got specific industry experience, they won’t consider you. So that has led me at times to consider going into business for myself, but….can’t afford it, and can’t afford going back to school.. Pray for me? Please??? Thank you for your wonderful article. I am looking forward to the opportunity of a lifetime, with colleagues who I get along with so well, where work is fun, where I can grow and feel satisfied that what I’m doing contributes to the society in a meaningful way, and that I get paid a salary that makes my purse bulge with bills! I see it now! :o)

  • Thank you for your comment. I relate to you when you say you’ve had to deal with bullies throughout your career, as I’ve encountered some extremely cruel people in the workplace as well. It may feel like there’s something wrong with you, but there’s nothing wrong with you. Don’t let the negative people you’ve had to deal with make you think that. You’ve had some setbacks, but keep pushing forward. It’s great to hear you’ve worked hard on forgiveness. It can be very hard to forgive, but it leads to a much more free life. I’ve worked on forgiveness a lot recently myself. I definitely see you are pursuing a lot of options to solve your situation. I am praying for you and sending you genuine vibes. Your next opportunity is out there, keep looking and don’t give up. I can also see you with a great, meaningful job with a salary you deserve. Continue sending out applications every single day. Attend networking events. Tell people you know about what you do and that you’re looking for a new opportunity. Contact people on LinkedIn. You’ve got a great attitude, and I believe in what you’re doing. Sometimes our best victories are after our greatest defeats. Your victory is close. Continue putting yourself out there, I believe in you.

  • Andreia Rocha

    Hi.The father if my child us a bully.He only knows the language of menace, manipulation and he feels good when he is cruel and uses fear to control us.The problem: he is a saint, submissive and silent worker and a coward facing other men.No one believes he is capable of inciting me to commit suicide, or telling the kid that will take pics of her to humiliate her if she doesn’t do what he wants. It is not just the cruelty but above all the pathological fear and madness that cobtrol our lives.

  • Andreia, I’m terribly sorry to hear of this incredibly difficult situation you’re experiencing. I’ve also encountered people who are one way to the world, and another way behind closed doors. You know the truth, and you know his true colors. It may not be easy, and I’m sure it will be difficult, but you need to remove yourself from his presence. Get away from him, as he’s humiliating others and trying to make you and your family feel badly. Stop spending time with him. Stop relying on him. Move away. Refuse to give your power away to him. Again, I know this will not be easy, but it’s what you need to do. He’s not going to change, and spending time with him will only bring you and your family down. Do what you know in your heart to be the right thing to do. I hope this advice helps, and stay strong. You will get through this.

  • Lorraine French

    I ran into a bully at my grandson’s first birthday party. I am 64y/o and he is about 4 years younger and is my daughters father-in-law. He stood in front of me and gave me the dirtiest look ever. It seemed to last forever, I couldn’t move or say anything. I have had major depression my entire life and this has hurt me so much over the last few years. I wasn’t invited to my grandsons second birthday party. About 11/2 years after the incident, I got up the nerve to write to him about it – it was not an angry letter- I just let him know how much it impacted me. My daughter told me he denied doing that. I’m still crying after all this time – in fact, I’m crying as I type this. This person has never talked to me before that and his wife has never either. I wish you could help me . Your article was good but I felt it was intended for much younger people than me.

  • Lorraine, I understand why you would feel this article is intended for younger people, as I shared an experience from my college years. With that said, the lessons and principles of this article are intended for people of all ages and a variety of situations. I’m sorry to hear about the cruel treatment from your daughters father-in-law. I understand how you feel and I’ve felt the same way before when dealing with people like him. I give you credit for having the courage to write him about it. It’s on him for denying it, you did what you could. Something I learned from listening to Dr. Wayne Dyer is that no one can make you feel a certain way, only you do that by virtue of your thoughts and how you process the situation. Much easier said than done, but perhaps will help. Check out on YouTube Dr. Wayne Dyer’s speech “How to Be a No-Limit Person”, it has some excellent tips in there. Stay strong, you are a wonderful person with a beautiful soul and I believe in you.

  • I also wrote another article for Tiny Buddha called “How to Move Forward When You Feel Like Your Life is Over” that could be of value to you, if you get a moment to check it out. The lessons from that other article are intended for people of all ages and backgrounds.