It’s bad enough when bullies mistreat you themselves. But when they set out to prevent you from becoming friends with people besides them, that’s even worse.
Socially and relational bullies are like obsessive exes who won’t allow you to move on from the hurt. They deliberately try to isolate you to wield power over you and make you believe that you need them- that you need their approval to live a happy life.
Another goal is to instill shame in you and make you believe you somehow deserve to be bullied. Bullies also do this to isolate you so that they can more safely continue, even escalate their attacks. If the bullies can turn everyone else against you, then you’re least likely to get support, and they’re least likely to be held responsible for their behavior.
Bullies use socio-relational aggression for many reasons, a couple of which are to get back at you for a perceived slight or intense jealousy of your good relations with others.
Bullies reap other psychological benefits, as well. They get gratification and satisfaction in seeing you alienated from everyone else. Also, your isolation serves them as proof that you’re a terrible person. Bullies always have to be right about you.
Understand that these types of bullies observe you very carefully. They keep track of you to find out who you associate with, who you date, even who your family members are. They also dig up information about your life.
When they find out who your friends are, they then tell your friends lies about you or will threaten to harm your friends if they catch them having any more to do with you. Bullies will also mistreat your partner and even go after your family. You must realize that bullies thrive on fear, and, as I’ve already mentioned, their goal is to isolate you and make you more vulnerable. They cut you off from any protection or assistance.
Once they have succeeded in alienating you, they can bully you at will and with impunity. Bullies can also keep you silent about the abuse. If you have no one to talk to- if no one will listen to you, then there’s no way you can speak out about them or their abuse without getting rebuffed or ridiculed.
In short, social and relational bullying reaps the following rewards for bullies:
• Silence of the target
• the freedom to abuse anytime they want
• confirmation of the target’s unworthiness
• favor with others
• immunity from accountability
• gratification, satisfaction, and, most of all, overall power and domination of the target!
Knowledge is power, so get wise to your bullies. It’s the first step in protecting yourself from them.