When bullies can’t push your buttons anymore, the game is over. When you stop re-acting to the bully and his game, he will move on to something or someone else. Don’t indulge the bully and his tactics by reacting! All that does is propel the bully to keep attacking you. YOU, and you alone have the power within you to stop the attacks. Refuse to play his game. The worst thing you can do is ignore a bully.

Yes, it is easier said than done; but there’s nothing like the present to start honing your skills in deflecting attacks. Each time you try and resist, you are actually building your internal power base one step at a time. Then, each succeeding time you come across a bully, you will have more stamina to resist. Eventually, he will become bored and move on.

The best initial tactic against a bully is showing no fear. You can be quaking in your boots internally, but if you let it show, then the bully wins. So be steadfast in your determination and display an outward calm… you can absolutely show you’re pissed, but under no circumstances should you show FEAR.

When I was 18 years old, I encountered a bully at school. He was an acquaintance’s boyfriend. He decided to entertain his friends one day by attempting to bully me. Big mistake! Now this could have gone one of two ways – but I was determined to end up the victor, so there was only one option open to me.

Turn the tables…

Stand my ground, resist, and turn the tables on him, making him feel like he tried to make me feel: worthless and a joke.

As he spoke his poisonous words, I did not fear him outwardly. I literally stood my ground, looking him directly in the eyes, unflinching, and allowed a pissed off outer expression to grace my eyes and lips. The bastard had no idea who he was dealing with until he tried to bully me. I literally stared him down as he tried to come up with a retort. No chance! He became so uncomfortable that he suggested to his friends they go elsewhere. He never, ever bothered me again. That experience was incredibly empowering and one I still have not forgotten over 40 years later.

Always remember, bullies are cowards at heart…

Stay strong, and no one can hurt you. Do not agree to play their game. Turn the tables on a bully and watch him retreat. Show him your inner strength and he will move on.

I experienced another bully, this time a female, when I was 15. We were in the same gym class and basically she was a jock. I was not a jock. Physically, she could be intimidating as she was a much taller and larger person than I. She was pretty relentless, coming after me not only in gym class, but anywhere she saw me in school. Luckily, I never had to meet her outside of school.

I racked my brain trying to figure out how to make her stop when it suddenly dawned on me. We happened to be learning fencing in gym class, and luckily for me, I was damn good at it! Up until this point, whenever we sparred I noticed the instructor would always award her the majority of winning points. Even when I was clearly the winner. Jocks that flock together… sigh.

(The point is, people band together based on similarities. That’s really all I meant.)

Yet, on this particular day, I decided to change tactics. I was going to come at her the way she always came at me. I would attack first, with all the fierceness I could muster. Yes, I scored the first hit, and lo and behold it was recognized by the instructor! Not only that, but the look in my opponents’ eyes was definitely FEAR!!

Score! For the rest of gym class that day, I continued to show inner strength and fortitude, racking up point after point. I dared her with my eyes to come after me now… she didn’t.

After that day, she no longer looked to go after me in gym class or anywhere else for that matter. I may not have been her physical equal, but mentally and spiritually – where it counts the most – I was definitely superior on that particular day. Why? Because fear was absent, replaced with inner fortitude.

My earliest run-in with a bully happened at age three, in nursery school. Her name was Suzanne and for some reason I still to this day don’t understand, I became her favorite target. I guess she must’ve felt empowered by her boldness. At this tender age, I was definitely afraid so I never let myself be alone with her. But one day I grew tired of the fear and the dread she invoked in me. That was the day I told myself I would not fear her anymore, that I would stand up to her. And I did! When she tried to scribble on my art project, I picked up several crayons and proceeded to do the same to her. She was shocked – it literally registered on her face – and she never, ever bullied me again. Why? Because I stood up to her, letting her know that I would no longer tolerate her behavior towards me.

Even a relative who loved to bully me discovered a fighter one day instead of a scared little girl. And to this day, whenever I need to stand up for myself against the bully du jour, I simply invoke my inner fighter bitch. She can be quite scary.

Final thoughts

Again, all bullies are cowards hiding behind a mask of insecurity. Accept this truth and you won’t be an easy target anymore; your confidence will shine and they’ll move on.

This tactic of standing your ground and facing your bully, eye to eye, with all the fierceness your eyes can convey, is a great tactic against potential sexual abusers also. Because aren’t they the ultimate bully, preying on the perceived weakness of others?

The best way to combat bullying is to develop a strong sense of self with the confidence to match. Focus on eliminating any feelings of low self-esteem. If we as a society were to focus on building people up instead of tearing them down, as well as educating our youth on how to treat people, then eventually the problem of bullying would become a thing of the past.

Comment below on your efforts (successful or not) to stop a bully.