The dumbstruck look

The moment you reply in a calm, polite, assertive manner, you will surprise the bully. She can't believe it. She expects you to be upset and react, not cool, calm and collected. So she does a very funny thing: her eyes go wide, her jaw drops and her mouth opens wider; her head goes back a little. She looks dumbstruck, like a deer in the headlights, like a fish that's been knocked on the head. It's the 'stunned mullet look'. Bullies, like everyone else, don't like being put in their place when they make a mistake. They feel stupid, stuck and powerless. The moment you give a good retort, the bully senses that something strange and inexplicable has happened. You weren't mean but she feels uncomfortable and odd.

The subtle sting of your retort confuses the bully and she feels embarrassed. She doesn't understand that she's lost the power to hurt you. But the fear of being embarrassed again, especially in front of her mates, stops her bullying you. She gives up. Even if you don't see the dumbstruck look, you know it's worked because you feel safe - nobody bullies you. You might even smile when you tell your parents what happened!

Moral Manifesto

Moral Manifesto

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