Does developing self-love and self-worth somehow create an invisible shield for defense from lies and bullying?

quote by Abdullah Shoaib

“Does developing self-love and self-worth somehow create an invisible shield for defense from lies and bullying?” was an idea I have been mulling ang rolling through my head, and I’m sure I’ve spoken about it at different times, but when CherieWhite of Self-Love Irrespective of What Others Think was speaking about this idea, I figured it was worth expanding on. Cherie blogs about bullies and bullying, and many of her posts ring true personally for me, for anyone who has been verbally abused will attest, verbal abuse is bullying at its worst.

Although verbal abuse seems to be invisible, it does leave deep scars, taking people sometimes decades to overcome.

Verbally abused people, like those who have been bullied in the schoolyard, hear the negative words and take them in. Even if we manage somehow to deflect 95% of them, that 5% can rattle around in our heads for years, affecting our self-worth.

If we get criticized or bullied when our self-worth is depleted, our faces and micro-expressions reveal we have been hurt, and it is difficult to hide it.

Bullies and abusers alike are very keyed into their victim’s responses, feeling powerful when their words can affect someone else. They are keen observers of micro-expressions, and when they see their target flinch, purse their lips, cringe, shrink, get tears in their eyes, get flushed with emotions, etc. they know they have “scored a goal”, so they make mental notes about what are the victim’s triggers.

Years ago when I was still being verbally and physically abused by my mother, I was also the victim of schoolyard bullies.

These were kids who saw I flinched at their unkind remarks when another kid might punch them, or verbally deflect them.

My nonverbal reactions almost hung a sign over my head saying: “Incapable of fighting back!” which was exactly the type of person they were looking for.

It wasn’t that I was deserving of their bullying or that I had done something wrong to them and they needed to retaliate. No, I simply didn’t know how to fight back.

I was already a whipped puppy, and they saw it in my sad eyes, my downcast face, and my face or body cringing when fights broke out or it looked like kids were going to get out of control.

My spirit was already breaking or broken, and they saw it.

Taking an objective look at what was said to us

When I was well into adulthood, I didn’t set out to stop being a target for all types of bullies, instead, I had decided that I wanted to learn how to like myself, for I found it very difficult to keep living with all the hurtful, negative things I was saying to myself.

Photo by Tamara Kulish, quote by Maya Angelou

What I discovered when I looked into the root of why I was saying those terrible things to myself, was that I had internalized the accumulation of all the negative things that had been said to me.

When I looked objectively at what had been said to me, I realized that those things weren’t even true!

I had been told a bunch of lies about myself, and in looking at them, I saw they were lies projected onto me but they really didn’t belong to me!

That was an eye-opening moment to realize that the person/people who were supposed to know me the best would tell me horrible things. I saw that I had blindly believed because I trusted what they were saying to be true, even though I struggled against it inwardly.

The feeling of betrayal is real when we see the people who hurt us the most were the people who were supposed to love and care for us, and honestly, this is a place where many people get stuck and pinned onto emotionally for years, for it is very difficult to reconcile ourselves with what happened to us and what we feel in our hearts should have happened.

Our mental health and our emotional wellness rely on being able to move past this place of hurt.

When we can look objectively at what was said to us, and be able to say “that doesn’t belong to me” or “that no longer belongs to me”, it becomes easier to let those things go.

If they don’t belong to us, there is no need to hold onto them, is there?

Time to let the things that don’t belong to us, go!

This post tells how I was able to do it: Purge by fire… could this help you?

How developing self-worth is a key to defLecting and removing bullies from our life

A result of teaching myself to like myself was I no longer reacted to negatives directed at me. My responses changed down to the micro-expressions on my face and in my body language.

I was no longer affected in the same way as I was before. It no longer entered my heard and wounded me deeply. I was able to look the person in the eyes and say something like “That’s so odd, why would you say that?” or “That doesn’t sound like me, what seems to be the problem?”

My no longer getting affected the way I had before was eye-opening for me when I acted like the observer again in my life, for I saw that I wasn’t getting deeply hurt. My calm, non-plus expressions didn’t seem to excite the other person, and they ended up hastily backing off. I’m not sure, but my more recent lack of interest in their barbs seems to have developed an almost “resting bitch face”, and bullies never know when that can work out badly for them! LOL!

We don’t realize how much our inner worth gets telegraphed outwardly, but when we make that inward shift, the exterior changes too!

If you want to learn more about how I did develop self-worth and taught myself to speak nicely to myself, please read these posts:

A Dome of Protection

I agree with the points you make. I discovered that by recognizing all the lies I had been told about myself, as being lies, I was able to release huge swathes of my brain to finally train myself to see myself in a positive light.

The more I practiced this, the less negative people tried to tell me lies. It’s almost like an invisible barrier was created, a dome of protection if you will. I’m an observer in my own life, so I like to analyze what’s going on, and it was very interesting to be able to observe this phenomenon happening, all because I was changing my thoughts about myself!

My response to CherieWhite of Self-Love Irrespective of What Others Think

Imagine that!

An inner change that acts almost like a dome of protection!

Negative remarks and negative people never really go away, but when our inner self-worth has been elevated, we’re no longer seen as a possible target, so they move on!

I’ve experienced the same kind of trajectory, when I learned to like myself it did see as though magically a portal had been opened and opportunities and great people came into my life, but in truth, they were always there, I just wasn’t filtering them all out!

My response to CherieWhite in The Importance of Self-Acceptance

The opportunities and the great people were always there, but we filtered them out because, in our broken state, we didn’t feel they applied to us or that we deserved anything good, so we effectively self-sabotaged ourselves, without realizing it!

When we’re broken and hurt, we filter out the positives and feel more connected with the negatives, because we relate to what is familiar to us.

This is why people who were abused or bullied as kids end up in abusive, bullying relationships! (Here is a good post to read Why we’re so attracted to people who end up abusing us)

As we do this difficult inner work, we grow, change and become more and more whole. In this wholeness, we are able to choose better and more positive things for ourselves!

This is really exciting, for even if you are still struggling with the effects of abuse or bullying in your life, know that it is possible to knit yourself together!

We can create a better self, and a better life for ourselves and we don’t need to stay stuck!

I hope you’ll poke around my Archived Posts to find a wonderful trove of supportive and encouraging posts! Don’t forget to Like, Comment, and Follow my blog! If you want to become a Guest writer, please contact me and we’ll work out the details!

I’m sharing more posts that may be helpful for you:

More good stuff:

Blessings!
Thank you for sharing this post and for following me!
Tamara
https://tamarakulish.com/ Archived Posts: https://tamarakulish.com/archived-posts/

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50 thoughts on “Does developing self-love and self-worth somehow create an invisible shield for defense from lies and bullying?

  1. Tamara, after countless efforts, I finally managed to access your wonderful blog today. I have had similar problems with a few other blogs and have (fingers crossed) solved the problem.
    What an inspiring post. Kudos.
    I love your summation, “We don’t realize how much our inner worth gets telegraphed outwardly, but when we make that inward shift, the exterior changes too!” Beautifully penned.
    All the best.
    Chaya

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Chaya! I appreciate your efforts to get onto the blog and I’m so happy it spoke to you! Developing this love is pretty amazing and I’m continuing to see the effects more long-term.

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  2. Thank you again, Tamara, for a wonderful and helpful post. I’m sorry you suffered at the hands of abusers and bullies in your childhood, but very glad that you have learned how to love yourself so that you are less affected by this sort of behaviour these days. Self-love is difficult for me – it’s something I still can’t grasp. However, I decided to keep both of your books that I ordered and am working my way through them and finding them incredibly helpful. I’m not reading cover to cover but just dipping in and out of the parts that feel right for me at the time of reading. Yesterday, I went to the library (one of my favourite places; it feels so peaceful there, somehow, even if it’s busy). I took your books and a notepad with me and am making notes of all the things I want to read more about as I go through the pages. I can’t thank you enough for all the encouragement you’ve given me over the weeks. Although I’m not at that place of self-love, I am learning a lot from you and your writings, and I hope that one day, I will get to the place where I love, care, and be able to protect myself from bullies and abusers.

    I can see from your other readers’ comments how much they all appreciate your writings and lessons of life. You are a much-respected and valued member of our blogging community with so much wise knowledge to impart. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Xx 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ellie, I appreciate your very thoughtful and kind feedback, it is very supportive.

      I understand your difficulty with self-love. When I realized that I really didn’t like myself and tuned into how I was speaking to myself so very harshly and meanly, I decided I would try to learn how to “stand myself”, because the thought of liking myself was still too far out for me to envision. I figured if I could learn to accept myself that maybe I wouldn’t speak so harshly to myself and that would in turn help my depression and help stop me from falling down the rabbit holes of despair.

      I discovered that baby steps work best for me as I can handle things in small doses. As I slowly built myself up I discovered that the first lessons hang around and we build incrementally a new platform on which to stand.

      The fact that you didn’t just buy the books and shelve them, but are actively reading and making notes tells me you are ready for the work, and dedicated to building a new platform to stand on. Bravo!

      I love how you are working intuitively! Listen to your body! If it leans into something you read, dig deeper! If something makes you recoil, step back and take a look, for your body may be telling you an area that is still raw that needs more nourishment! Feed it what it needs! It’s amazing how our bodies tell us what our minds and spirits need!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Tamara, I wanted to say thank you so much for your reply/comment. I almost feel that I am a real disappointment. Yesterday and today have been awful days for me. I wrote a poem early this morning, having written it last night. I explained how I was feeling. It wasn’t good. Today, I now have my best friend with me till this evening and am expecting a call from my doctor later this afternoon. I just want to reassure you I’ll be okay despite my very depressed and lonely feelings. At least, I have my friend here with me and that is a blessing. I didn’t want you to think I was giving up on my ‘journey’ into recovery – this is just a somewhat large step backwards. The feelings somehow overtook my mind and body and left me feeling very fragile and vulnerable. However, I have my son and the children staying this weekend, so it’s going to be a case of having to be okay, like it or not. Perhaps, that’s how it’s meant to be. Perhaps, the universe decided that I ought not to be alone this weekend feeling as I do. I might take a break from my blog for a few days. I want to concentrate on writing and less so reading other bloggers’ work and commenting. I will probably still read some, but won’t push myself to write comments for everyone as I do (and enjoy) currently. I may well put a post on my blog to say this is what I’ll be doing for a short while. Please, bear with me. I hope I can back on track before too long. Love Ellie Xx 🖤

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Please stop thinking you are disappointing me. Part of this work does require we take down time when we need it. This is part of being healthy.

          When we’re unhealthy we keep going and going until we collapse, because we feel an urgency not to let others down. What this does however is let ourselves down!

          You are recognizing your limits and pumping the brakes accordingly! This is good! Keep listening to your body!

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  3. I always wondered why we tell kids the “sticks and stones” chant. Names can definitely hurt you. I read some research that shows that verbal attacks lights up the same area of the brain as physical pain. I know a lot about the ramifications of internalizing someone else’s negative assessment of you. It has taken me many years to disbelieve.

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    1. I remember being told that same rhyme when I was a kid. I think it was meant to get other kids to back off, and let them know they weren’t hurting us, so that they wouldn’t continue. I think it was meant to be our defense system! After all, bullies tend to move on and find another target who they CAN hurt.

      Those of us who were hurt by the bully’s taunts struggled with the message, because of course, it DID hurt. I know for me, I was already broken or partly broken, so I didn’t have the inner abilities to shrug it off, so it entered my psyche. It was only much later in life I developed the tools I needed to be able to handle bullies in my life.

      I’m very happy that you have been able to prove to yourself that the bullies were wrong, and you don’t need to hold onto their negativity. Bravo! That’s so amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your strength never fails to astonish me, Tamara. And now you share your wisdom. The “Kick Me” sign on someone is within our power to remove. You have learned this. All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Dr. Stein, I appreciate your supportive words, they’re very validating! Yes, the kick me sign is removable and the work to do so is doable. Difficult but doable. I’m trying to be one of the people who doesn’t forget those steps but who shares them. I don’t want to be someone who arrives at a finish line and then tells people that “if I did it, you can too” without giving a road map! I want to be the kind of person who says “you can do this, here are the steps that I took to get here”.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Not everyone gives back, no matter how much they receive or say thank you. You do give back, Tamara. This should never be taken for granted by those who receive benefits from another.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m smiling as I read your words, they light me up! Yes, it’s true, many are takers, and have no thought of giving back. I have known such people. I bless them and send them good thoughts. I suppose their examples have deepened my views that giving back is important because, so few do it and do it freely. I’m always very deeply touched when someone reaches out to me and lets me know when my words have helped them. Those definitely are the highlights that keep me doing this!

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  5. I really like the idea of this ma’am. I wish someone had told me this 12 years ago. As, I have been bullied, I lost all my confidence. I was scared to go in public, and I become awkward. I have show real me to very few. I still think of that person, and it angers me. I don’t know what I will do to him if I see him again now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Other people’s perceptions of us are their own lens into their heart, but don’t necessarily reflect who we are! Keep doing your inner work on yourself too, for that’s even more important than any outer work. My hope for you is to change the inner reason why you’re doing this: to create a focus on doing the exercises for your health, and to keep healthy! My hope for you is you will feel so good about yourself that if you meet him again, that you can walk away, knowing you’re the better person, who doesn’t need to tear someone down in order to feel better about themselves.

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        1. *I should have put “unlike him, you are not a person to tear another down”, which makes a difference in how it is read I believe.

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            1. That’s really good! I hope with your work you’re going that the anger will leave you, for That’s not a great energy to have to li e with. Blessings to you!

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            2. That’s really good! I hope with your work you’re going that the anger will leave you, for That’s not a great energy to have to live with. Blessings to you!

              Like

  6. The biggest part of whether we take on what is thrown at us is…those doubts and fears we grow up with. Until we finally see us truthfully it always floats in the background. And as we grow we break down those walls we had built and allow in that love, increasing that belief and love that we are until it becomes just water off a ducks back. It was an incredible thing to see that while ever we ‘hold’ those walls those horrible things keep pounding on our walls…but the moment you understand yourself, you totally open and it just flows on by. I couldn’t believe it at first until I realized it was only what I believed that gave it its power. The moment I found the truth of those doubts and fears that I had I could see that what was being said or thrown at me…wasn’t really me but the person who was throwing it…so I moved on, ignored it or if it was bad enough went to some authority because I had the courage then to face them. And they knew it then and thought twice about doing it again. I do realize that these situations can get quite devolved and ugly. But in yourself you finally come to that place within yourself, knowing that love when you find your truth 😀❤️🙏🏽

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “wasn’t really me but the person who was throwing it…” this is indeed a huge turning point to realize it wasn’t about us! It was all about them, and how they saw life, but we could have been anyone else and they would have still behaved the same way because we were available and just there.

      This is huge isn’t it? I thought I was a lover and unlovable, but those were the results of having internalized all the lies. When I discovered that the universe is based on love, that we are each loved and worthy of lo e, that the universe cherishes us, that was huge.

      The big gap between the 2 viewpoints many people get caught up on is believing the perverted logic that if God and the universe trylu did love us, they would have prevented them from hurting us. They gave every single being on this planet free will to make their own decisions, and whatever choose, we aren’t free from the consequences of those choices. Amazingly though, they do everything they can to help us get through it and to heal.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed dear lady, it is in actually going through those ‘hard bits’ that lead to that loving understanding of who we really are. We cannot truly appreciate happiness unless we experience sadness too. And that is this worlds purpose, to teach us those emotional opposites in everything we do, all those ‘conditional’ parts of it so that we will truly appreciate unconditional love when it arrives…and it most certainly will 😀❤️🙏🏽

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, those hard bits are the hardest to get through, but when we do, we cherish the lessons we have learned and who we have grown into! The love we have come to see and to recognize is real and is not a warped reflection, like the old lies. Indeed, this new reality is 💯 better!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I hadn’t thought of self-love and self-worth shielding one from bullies but I can see how that would work. I think bullies/abusers/narcissists tend to target those with low self-esteem because they are easy victims. And loving yourself and knowing your self worth probably keeps you away from their radar because you can defend yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, those were my observations too! I wouldn’t have believed it before but after observing it in action, I believe it is a HUGE thing!!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Self-love, self- appreciation, self-worth are definitely some ways to make ourselves feel good. Bullies target confidence, they see a person and try to take advantage of that. In result, it breaks the person and that person never realize their own value. They downgrade themselves due to what others think about them.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Agreed. Bullies tear down our self confidence, and the best antidote is to rebuild ourselves so we are no longer a target who doesn’t fight back. When we focus on rebuilding ourselves, we end up giving ourselves a very precious gift!

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        1. Looks like my comment didn’t go through the other day… yes, I think their attacks a 2-fold – to try to vent out the inner negativity and when they see it hurts they keep going. The trick with bullies or negative critics is to try to remember that it is more a reflection of their inner selves than who we are. Hard to do, but a good strategy.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with Pennize Pics that you’re an inspiration! And to now be using your experiences as a way of helping others is simply wonderful, Tamara.
    As to the post, I loved everything about it! 🤍

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am in the process of telling myself that my thoughts are thoughts not truth and it’s because somewhere after years and years of verbal abuse at home and bullying, I believed what I was told about myself. It really stinks. I am going to click some of the links you posted. This was really well written and informative. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re very welcome Nicole! Yes, as kids we internalize all the anger, all the hostility, all the abuse and bullying as if it were our fault, that if we were good people it wouldn’t have happened, and our kid brain just can’t comprehend that it’s not about us!

      It’s not about us, even if it was directed at us. We were just there. We were just unable to fight back. We were the unfortunate recipients of our family’s brokenness, and their own inner world.

      It wasn’t about us, even if it was directed at us. 99% were lies. The 1% was just us being a kid!

      Bravo to you for doing the work to disconnect from those old lies and the negatives that were directed at you!

      Baby steps! Those are the best I found!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Right?! I know I craved all the positives for myself, but I selfsabotaged when I came close, because it felt too different, to scary, and I didn’t feel ready.

      As much as we want a healthy, sane, positive life when we’re still broken, or partly broken, unfortunately we filter out the positive possibilities because our self worth interferes. Our low self worth tells us we don’t really deserve it, or it really won’t work out for us, so we succumb to that inner voice, then get more depressed by the reality our negative self worth has once again imposed on us.

      This method is one of those sneaky, backdoor of the brain workarounds!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s so sad to hear that you were bullied and abused the majority of your young life, but I am happy that you found your inner strength and learned how to pull yourself out of such a dark place. You are an inspiration Tamara.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Pennize! I didn’t think back then I would be possible to change my inner world, I thought I was doomed to live the life of a “loser”, and that if other people were able to change their lives by changing their thoughts, it never would apply to me or ever be able to work for me.

      I never say to people ” if I did it, then so can you” for those were things I never thought would apply to me, and they just depressed me as a result.

      I really had no idea that changing how I spoke to myself and learning to accept and to like myself could ever have such life changing effects as they had!

      It was a series of very small, tiny steps that led to a massive change. I still can’t believe it when I stop to think about it, so I write about it frequently.

      Small steps can lead to the most amazing things!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I think that’s very true, Tamara! People no longer try to bully me; they can see that steel core! I am very kind, but if you push me too far or try to hurt one of my kiddos, then the steel is very apparent!

    I spent years married to an abuser, who beat me down until I could no longer make a decision. Any one decision I made was wrong. Took me a long time to realize that there was never a right answer. I couldn’t win. It was a rigged game. Many years later now, and I am stronger. I look people on the eye and let them know by my body language, that taking advantage is not an option!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Good for you! It’s amazing how as our inner thoughts change, everything else changes. You’re no longer the same person. It’s amazing!

      Liked by 2 people

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