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Some people are just destined to be abused by others or at least it seems that way. I grew up in the 1980s when terms like “autism”, “ADHD”, and “Asperger’s” just didn’t exist.

A child who acted strangely was a target for abuse by not only his or her peers but teachers and staff as well. And just because that child grows up, graduates, and moves into the workforce doesn’t mean the bullying stops. It just comes in different forms.

If you’re someone who gets bullied, mocked, picked on, made fun of, and passed over, you’ve probably wondered what it is about you that makes you a target for abuse.

I completely understand.

It wasn’t until six years ago that I would stumble upon the reason I always felt out of step with others. Why others seemed to sense there was something “off” about me even on my best days. I have so many of the symptoms and character traits of Asperger’s syndrome, that I officially diagnosed myself after months of extensive research.

However, you don’t have to have a developmental disorder, mental health problem, or physical disability to be a target for abuse. It can happen to anyone. From the years I suffered with being a bullying target and the research I’ve done, I’ve come up with the top 3 reasons you have an invisible “kick me” sign on your back (and what you can do to remove it).

Why You’re a Target for Abuse

  1. You Expect to be Bullied

Think about the first time someone shattered your self-image and let you know loudly and clearly that you were different. Maybe you were five years old and some big kid made fun of your glasses and pushed you down on the playground. Maybe you tripped over a purposely-outstretched foot and landed face-first into your lunch tray to the glee of a crowded cafeteria.

Whatever it was, it was in that moment that someone or something outside of you shattered your belief that you were perfect and complete just as you are. Suddenly, there was doubt, red-faced embarrassment, uncertainty, and fear.

Incidents like that are deeply, profoundly traumatizing. They completely alter your perception of yourself and the world around you in one heart-stopping moment. It’s horrible and it can stay with you for life. Once a child or young adult become a target for abuse, the cycle perpetuates itself. The young boy with the glasses avoids the big bully and looks nervous around him. The girl with the lunch tray starts walking around with her head down.

Though in both of these examples, the children are just desperately trying to avoid more abuse, they’re actually inviting it. They expect to be abused again and attract more of it to them. If the bullying continues, the child grows into adulthood expecting that the world is a cruel, horrible place where others will abuse him and this will become his reality.

If you’re continuing to be bullied and abused in your adult life, you are attracting the continued abuse because you expect it. This is The Law of Attraction in action. The Law of Attraction was made popular by the 2006 movie, “The Secret”. In this movie, it explains the universal law that what you think about and feel strongly about, you attract. This means every time you go out into the world and fear abuse, the more of it you will attract. The more you attract, the angrier and more fearful you become, which brings about more abuse.

  1. You Lack Confidence

If we lived in a perfect world where there was no such thing as abuse and everybody’s home life was a wonderful dream filled with lollipops and sunshine, we’d all be brimming with confidence. But let’s face it, it’s not. Anyone who has been neglected, abused at home or bullied will not have the kind of confidence and self-respect as someone who did not experience these traumas.

If you lack confidence in yourself for these reasons or any other, it’s understandable. Unfortunately, it’s also what makes you a continued target for bullies. People who lack confidence carry themselves a certain way. Their shoulders are usually hunched, their heads are down, they speak in a low voice, they avoid eye contact, and they show signs of nervousness and/or social confusion.

This type of behavior makes you a prime target for bullies. It’s like putting a raw, prime cut of meat in front of a hungry pack of wolves. I’m not exaggerating.

  1. You Smell Strange

No, I don’t mean you have body odor or bad breath, I mean you might be a target for abuse because of your pheromones. Pheromones are odorless chemical compounds emitted by humans, animals, and insects. These pheromones regulate social and sexual behavior and have a profound unconscious effect on those around you.

Nervous people often emit a fear pheromone that makes others around them feel more aggressive. If you expect to be abused and mistreated and you’re around a certain type of person who triggers this fear, you’ll start to smell different. Scientific evidence has proven that the smell of fear can cause otherwise-rational human beings to lash out and attack.

Some research has even suggested that those on the autistic spectrum may have low levels of oxytocin, a social bonding pheromone, which may make them smell different from neurotypical (non-autistic) people. If you are on the autistic spectrum, your pheromone smell could possibly be a contributing factor in the way others treat you.

How to Stop Being a Target for Abuse

You don’t have to be a target for abuse even if you’re been one your entire life. You don’t deserve it. You’re worth ten times more what other people have been telling you. The first step to no longer being a human doormat is getting confident.

Right now, pick up a piece of paper and a pen or open a blank Word document. Write down 10 things you like about yourself. The more aware you are of what’s good about you, the more others will be as well. When you focus on your good qualities, you are using The Law of Attraction to draw more positive people and experiences into your life.

It’s not vain or conceited to be aware of your unique gifts and talents. It will help you attract more like-minded people who will see you as a whole person instead of a verbal punching bag. Each day, when you get up in the morning, read your list of 10 things. If it makes you angry or disgusted to read the list, it may mean you have a lot of self-hatred. Over time, this self-hatred will fade and turn to acceptance if you continue to remind yourself that you’re a good person who is worthy of love and respect.

Once you’ve become comfortable with what’s good about you, it’s time to start doing some visualizations. Visualizing what you want in your life is an effective way of drawing it to you. Again, it’s all about The Law of Attraction. What you think about, you bring about.

When you have 5 or 10 spare minutes, sit quietly and imagine social or work scenarios where you’ve been bullied or mistreated. Now change the script. Imagine standing tall, walking with confidence, smiling, shaking hands, and laughing with your peers. Even if this has never happened and you’ve never felt accepted, just imagine it. And as you imagine it, really feel the relief, peace, and happiness that this new-found life is bringing you.

The stronger your emotion about a visualization, the faster you’ll attract the life you envision.

As far as changing the way you smell, once you feel more confident, calm, and relaxed, you won’t smell like fear anymore. There have been some studies to suggest that wearing a perfume or cologne containing oxytocin might make others feel more relaxed, sociable, and comfortable around you.

Being a target for abuse is demoralizing. It can completely change the way you view the world and the people around you. The good news is, you have the power within to rewrite the script and emerge as a whole new you any time you want. You just have to make the decision that you’re worth more and you deserve to be respected. The rest will take care of itself.

What about you? Have you been bullied? How have you dealt with it?

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