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When A Bully Says “I Was Only Kidding”

When A Bully Says “I Was Only Kidding”
Reading Time: 2 minutes

By: Lisa Cavallaro – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.

Four simple words. Six brief syllables. Often spoken with a smile on one’s face. “I was only kidding” is the brief, light-hearted, typical response often expressed by someone accused of bullying.

But what does the statement really mean?

Anyone who follows my work knows I rarely talk about bullies. My emphasis is on Targets and developing Target strengths. Since understanding the bully mindset is one of these strengths, I’ll talk about it here.

When a bully says he’s only kidding, what he really means is that he refuses to hold himself accountable for what he’s done. And if he can get you to believe there was no harm intended, then you’ll excuse him for it, and he can pretend he didn’t try to hurt someone.

But it doesn’t stop there. There’s an underlying meaning to the statement “I was only kidding.”

Part Two of the meaning is that YOU misunderstood his intent. He wants you to know that you’re too sensitive… you need to lighten up and change your impression of him and what he did.

He’ll tell you that he “always” does things like this and people “always” know he’s kidding. You’re the “only” one who’s different.

And right there, my friend, is where he’s right because you ARE different!


  • You’re brave enough to respectfully call him on his sh*t.
  • You’re smart enough to know his actions have nothing to do with you.
  • You’re kind enough not to tell him the others don’t believe he’s kidding… it’s just that they’re afraid to stand up to him.
  • You’re confident enough to know you’re awesome, no matter what he thinks.

People who bully aren’t bad people. They just learned a way of getting things they want… like power, friends, money, laughs… by doing things that hurt other people. They don’t necessarily intend to hurt others, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

It’s not our job to teach bullies how their actions affect other people. But for our own good, we ARE responsible for understanding their behavior as a demonstration of THEIR weaknesses, not ours.

More by Lisa:

Charlotte School Shooting: Another Example of Kids Screaming for Emotional Tools



Lisa Cavallaro, The Confidence Coach, is an LOA Coach with a solution-focused spin on bullying. She helps parents leverage Law of Attraction to raise kids who are self-confident and have a positive outlook toward peers, school and life. Lisa is the author of No More Drama and ADHD The Natural Way.



Confluence Daily is the one place where everything comes together. The one-stop for daily news for women.

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