Being left out is a powerful, yet subtle bullying tactic. It hits all ages, races and genders.
She is NOT Invited!
“Hey, so I’ll see you at Amanda’s party on Saturday,” Claire heard for
about the tenth time. For some reason she had not been invited to Amanda’s party this year. Her friends had no explanation as to why Claire had been left out.
“Bye Clair. See you at Amanda’s party. You’re going aren’t you? Everybody is going,” said one of their classmates. Thank goodness it was Friday and after this weekend the humiliation of not being invited would be gone.
Get Over It!
Monday morning. Whew! The whole Amanda’s party thing should be done now. Clair was looking forward to just moving on. Not so easy though. At school, everybody was still talking about the party. “Clair, why didn’t you go to Amanda’s party? You’ve known her the longest. You should’ve been there. It was epic,” one classmate after another reported.
This is only one example of being left out. Unfortunately, this ‘subtle bullying tactic’ doesn’t end when we mature. This tactic is practiced in the early grades, magnified in the upper grades and maliciously reapplied in adulthood. Everyone will most likely be a victim of being left out. Some will be targeted many times.
From Victim to Victory!
When Being Left Out Strikes, Be Prepared!
1. Search your heart.
Have you offended this person on purpose? Have you unintentionally said or done something? If so, make amends. If, in fact this step is applicable, it is paramount. You cannot move on if you are holding any guilt or blame.
In most cases there isn’t a valid reason. The underlying motive for most bullying is clouded in jealousy, resentment, competition, retribution and/or selfishness.
These are FEELINGS the bully is enduring. Therefore, it is out of your control. The person who left you out might be saying that you are boring…a dork…a ‘know it all…’ and any other number of derogatory labels. Often, they take a remark you made and twist it to validate the constant repertoire of self-doubt that haunts them.
REMEMBER: they are clouded in derogatory feelings! There is no denying that in the bully’s eyes, you are smarter, more successful, popular, better looking or all of the above. Once you confirm that you have not intentionally done something to set them off, none of it is YOUR PROBLEM.
The pivotal moment is when you recognize that bullying is a mask for inner turmoil. Even though you are the target, it has nothing to do with YOU. Now, all you need to do is REMEMBER that.
2. Identify the process.
There are 3 stages, the actual snub, the humiliation and then the moving on. Accept that it is going to be uncomfortable, embarrassing, confusing, frustrating.
During the initial 2 stages, it is all about endurance. Liken it to having to run a mile. Just get through it with the thought in mind that it’s not going to last forever.
When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed with emotion during these first two stages, pull from your original conclusion. You are guilt free now. There is no valid reason for feeling less than.
You have to push out any negative thoughts. They go away, only to be replaced by new ones.
Do it again and again. Fight your mind! Do not allow being excluded by someone who is jealous or threatened by you define who you are! You have to fight your inner dialogue that is trying to justify that you deserve this.
3. Get Over Being Left Out
Once the initial snub and humiliation are behind, the task of getting over being left out and moving on is relatively easy. This is the most crucial step in the process.
This is the time to look back at the entire process. What could you have done better? What should you have done that you didn’t? Did you allow it to occupy your mind and lose sleep over it?
Make a strategy for next time. Read a book before bed. Have some sleepy time tea available. It also really helps to make plans for the same time the even that you have been snubbed from is taking place. Then you can focus your mind on being eager for whatever it is that you’ve planned.
Analyze these factors well, identify your strategies, and most importantly, remember them for next time.
4. Let it Go
Put them in your shoe box. There is a term called ‘compartmentalization’ that comes in handy at this point.
You experienced something, perhaps traumatic and handled it as best as you could. You identified your weaknesses and your strengths.
In addition, you differentiated those ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda’ factors.
Now put them in that shoebox and stick them on the shelf for next time.
When ‘Next Time’ Hits…Because it Will!
Oh no! It happened again. Someone intentionally excluded you. Last time this happened it was a mess. You don’t want to go through all of the exclusion and humiliation all over again. You don’t know how you even got through it last time!
Ahhhh, but you do know, because it’s right there on the shelf in your shoe box. Go get it! It holds all of the do’s and don’ts that you learned from last time. Piece of cake. Your disaster plan is in place. Just follow it and continue to ‘diversify & multiply’ your life. Most of all, don’t ever allow subtle bullying tactics suck your energy or break your laser focus.