Behind the Bully’s Tactics

Social Aggression: When Bullies Spread Lies and Rumors About You

The possible underlying messages are:

“I hate you, and I want everyone else to hate you too!”

“I’m jealous of your relationships!”

“I don’t want you to have friends! I don’t want you to be popular with others! I don’t want you to have support or protection because I plan to bully you again later! Any success you have in relationships will only highlight my lack of social graces or my own dysfunctional relationships! So, I’m going to destroy your friendships to punish you and make myself feel and look better than you! I’m going to trash your reputation so I can shine, and so people will pay more attention to your flaws than they will mine!”

“I’m scared you’ll have more friends than me.”

“I’m scared you’ll have allies who will protect you from me and make me look weak.”

“I’m going to use you as a distraction from my own shortcomings. If people are too busy focusing on your flaws, they’re less likely to see mine.”

When Bullies Beat You up

The possible messages are:

“You challenged my authority over you and made me look like a punk! So, I’m going to show you who’s boss and ensure you never defy my power again!”

“I feel weak and powerless! So, I’m going to use my physical strength to hurt you, embarrass you and make you look weaker so I can feel and look strong to others!”

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When the Bully Justifies Themselves to You or Others, or When They Blame You for Their Bad Behavior

The possible messages are:

“I’m so scared that you’ll see right through me! So, I’m going to make you feel like everything is your fault and doubt your sanity! That way, you’ll be least likely to call attention to my terrible actions and make me look bad or get me in trouble with authority!”

“I’m so afraid you’ll expose my terrible deeds to others and damage the excellent reputation that I’ve falsely kept up for so long! So, I’ve got to make up any excuse that sounds plausible to keep my evils hidden and avoid facing accountability!

“I’m scared that I’ll be found out and punished! So, I’m blaming you so that everyone will think you’re at fault and believe you are the bully! By accusing you, I can avoid responsibility, then get the green light to keep harassing you! Then, I can keep getting the psychological and emotional benefits I’ve been getting at your expense!”

So, you see? The bully’s treatment of you is about them! Not you! Learn to see through the bullies’ facades, and I guarantee that their attacks will have a much lesser effect on you.

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