As we know, bullies are very practiced and convincing liars and have a flair for using charm to deceive bystanders and authority.
Understand that this “charm” bullies often display is fake. It is all a part of the smokescreen they put up to hoodwink people, cover up bad behavior, and avoid accountability. In short, bullies are only actors and actresses.
Here is a list of excuses that bystanders and authorities often make for the bully anytime a victim reports them for their appalling behavior.
“That’s just his personality.”
“He was only joking.”
“She’s only expressing herself.”
“He just has a very strong personality.”
“She’s going through a hard time right now.”
“But he’s really a good person, he’s just having issues right now.”
“She’s just having problems at home.”
“He’s just being himself.”
“But he’s so well-liked and well mannered. Why would he bully someone like you?”
“But she’s so sweet and everyone loves her. She wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
“But they’re just good kids who made a bad mistake.”
These are a few examples of how others justify and condone the bully’s behavior.
Don’t fall for it! Call them what they are- BULLIES! Never accept any excuse. It’s true that retaliation may follow.
However, stay strong and know that you don’t have to tolerate atrocious behavior from anyone! You have rights. And you have a right to be safe and to live in a healthy environment. Those are non-negotiables!
Lastly, always remember that it’s not your fault and the harassment isn’t about you. It’s about the bullies’ issues!
One of the saddest things about bullying is the confusion it often brings. Many targets of bullying are confused and misled as to whether or not they are legitimately being bullied or only being paranoid.
Oftentimes, when an individual is bullied and they defend themselves, others may gaslight the person by either trivializing the bullying or dismissing it. They tell the target that “it’s only in your mind” or “you’re just being paranoid”. Half the time, people convince the target of the above statements, which only forces him to endure the torment in silence. Bullying cannot thrive without silence.
Therefore, the bully is let off the hook and is free to target the same individual again in the future. The bully gets the message loud and clear that it’s okay to target this person simply because they can – and with impunity.
After so long, the victim begins to feel as if it is somehow wrong to report and stand up to bullies. The victim then questions their own sanity, thinking, “Maybe it really is only in my mind.” and often grows silent for fear of being gaslighted and seen as “paranoid”, “crazy”, “overly sensitive” or other labels that undermine and steal their voice.
If you’re a target of these mind games, let me assure you: It’s NOT only in your imagination. You are not being overly sensitive. You are not being a wimp, wuss, crybaby, crazy or whatever else unsavory people may call you.
Always remember that bullies are very skilled and convincing liars. You always know when something does not feel good. Your brain and your gut always let you know when something isn’t right!
You can see it in the way certain people cut their eyes at you.
You can see and hear them talking through their teeth.
You can hear the short and cold tone in their voices.
You can feel, deep down in your gut, the nasty vibes they exude.
This is why you should always listen to your gut feeling because it is never wrong. Eighty-six those people, pronto!
Anyone who causes you to feel bad does not deserve the time of day from you. It does not matter if they are rich, smart, good looking, popular, successful, cool or tough.
If they cause you to feel less than, ditch them! Weed. Them. Out! They are not worthy of even being in your presence. Never allow anyone to violate your boundaries, whether physical or psychological.
Self awareness is key, as is awareness of everyone and everything around you. You must get to know yourself. Listen to your body and the sensations you feel.
It is imperative that you get absolutely clear on what you will and will not accept. Only then will you be able to tell the difference and send your bullies packing.
One thing I’m certain of is that every person, who has ever been a target of bullying, has at some point asked either themselves or another person these questions:“Why am I always to blame?” and “Why do my tormentors often get away with tormenting me?”
Here are the answers, and there are many:
1. Bullies are very convincing liars. Bullies have been lying and covering up bad behavior all of their lives. They have been doing this for long enough that they have learned what works and what does not work. They are master manipulators, skilled in the art of deception.
Bullies are also very good at rationalizing and justifying their unacceptable behavior. They are wordsmiths and con artists, who often use charm to deceive those in authority.
2. Bullies often use projection. They project all their faults and shortcomings onto their targets, making the target look like the bully and themselves look like the victim. When faced with possible accountability for their evil actions, they often cry and feign victimhood. This tactic is usually employed by female bullies.
3. Bullies are very charming to the right people, which can be used as another weapon against a target. Bullies seem to emit an oozing charm. Because of this, they had a way of winning people over and making them their allies.
A good reputation can be used as a weapon against any target because, with this good name, the bully has everyone (except the target) fooled. Others cannot believe that “this sweet, innocent, pretty little girl” would harm anyone. Take a look at the outgoing guy that everyone loves.
No one is going to believe that this “fine young man” would ever beat up a smaller boy unless he was provoked.
4. Because this person has so many friends who cherish them. Even if these friends did witness them undertake any wrongdoing, they will still more than likely cover-up for the bully out of loyalty and place the blame on the target.
5. There is strength in numbers Most bullies have a large number of friends behind them. And people in large numbers can have a cumulative power that can be overwhelming even for the greatest, toughest, strongest, most intelligent individuals. To put it plainly, if enough people are against a person, that person is powerless, no matter how strong, smart, beautiful, or easy-going they may be.
6. Bullies use gaslighting- adding their own spin to make you look and feel like the villain or by laying guilt trips- trying to convince you that you are at fault or that the abuse is just your imagination. Bullies are masters at this, especially female bullies who use feminine charm to deceive bystanders and authority figures.
7. Bullies malign you to others to destroy your good name and credibility: They recruit followers and start a campaign of hate and viciousness against you by way of rumors, lies, and trying to turn your friends against you. This occurred to me regularly in school, and it would happen as retaliation for my having the gall to stand up to them and assert my God-given, divine right not to be abused or taken advantage of.
There were several different benefits from the execution of this strategy.
1. It could be used to protect one another from being labeled by a teacher and getting a bad reputation. Most who have been in school have a least gotten into two fights, which sounds perfectly normal.
2. Destroying the target’s name with the staff would lessen any chances of him being listened to, should the target run and “tattle” to members of the authority. Again, protecting them from discipline at school and allowing them the freedom to do whatever they want to the target whenever they feel like it.
3. It’s used to silence the target and make him/her afraid to report the bullying or speak out about it.
Schoolboy angel with wings and halo concept for being clever, good, successful in education or smug
Targets get the blame because, sadly, the attitudes of most bystanders and members of authority are these:
“Why would so many kids have it in for her if she’s not provoking them somehow?”
“Nobody likes him, so there has to be a reason that justifies it.”
After all, who will look any further than the child with the worst reputation anytime a confrontation arises? If people expect trouble to come from a certain place, that is where they’re going to look.
It is all designed to manipulate school staff and save the bullies’ behinds from having to face repercussions and, therefore, leaves an opening for further bullying later on.
Targets not only need the confidence to fight to bully but also the knowledge of bullies. The first step of defense is knowing the mindsets and intentions of bullies and the tactics they use.
In today’s backwards culture, we are continuously encouraged to hate ourselves, especially if we fall under certain criteria. You know what I’m talking about.
Also, we’re being brainwashed into believing that if we hate ourselves because of some kind of “privilege,” or because we’re Americans, or Westerners, or middle class, or because we own a business, whatever, then it shows that we’re “woke.” It’s virtue signaling at its finest, and it’s all a bunch of hogwash!
Here’s why you shouldn’t hate yourself no matter what anyone, including your bullies, the media, and certain politicians tell you:
If they can get you to hate yourself, then they can make you self-destruct. Understand that if you hate yourself, it isn’t to your own benefit, it’s only to theirs (bullies, media, politicians, the elite, etc.) Also, if they can get you to hate yourself, they can talk you into doing the most degrading and demeaning things- like bow down and kneel before other people.
Anyone who can get you to hate yourself can make you feel guilty for things that you had nothing to do with and that aren’t your fault, get you to subjugate yourself, and make you feel that you must “atone” for that guilt.
Depression Concept with Word Cloud and a Humanbeing with broken Brain and Heavy Rain
Understand that people who hate themselves are easily led because they are yes-people too eager to please. They try so hard to show the rest of the world, they’re morally good- that they’re above certain things. These people will jump through hoops to prove they’re decent people.
But folks, if you already know yourself and know without a doubt that you’re a good, moral, and decent person, why then would you feel you must bend over backwards and make such a concerted effort to prove that?
You wouldn’t. Because you know that the goodness, morals, and decency are already there whether others know it or not. Your conscience is clear, and you know that you’ve done nothing wrong. Therefore, you instinctively know that anything the media, politicians, or anyone on the street might put out does not apply to you.
Anyone who virtue signals- who has to work so hard and put on a show to prove something to others can’t have a clear conscience- so they must pander, virtue signal, and really strain themselves not only to prove to the rest of the world that they’re on top of the moral mountain, but to ease their guilty conscience.
On the other hand, if your conscience is clear and you know that none of the narratives apply to you, you wouldn’t waste your time and energy trying to prove it.
‘Know where I’m going with this? Great! I thought that you would!
No matter where you come from, it’s best to love yourself just the way God made you and turn a deaf ear to the lies of The Enemy!
Bullies have been around since the beginning of time and bullying is a dark part of human nature. However, that doesn’t mean that we should put up with it.
I’ve dealt with bullies at different times my whole life and it has led me to evaluate the way I dealt with bullying in the past. It has also led to a passion for learning more about bullying and what makes bullies tick.
Here’s what I’ve learned.
Bullies are highly insecure, egotistical, know-it-all creeps with god complexes, and they feel they must always be the center of attention. Therefore, they feel entitled to waste your precious time by telling you how they think you should behave, what clothes, accessories, and hairstyles they think you should wear, trying to teach you things that you already know and most likely learned when you were five, and being passive-aggressive (or overtly aggressive). They do this to impress others by making you look inferior.
This is how bullies get the attention they crave.
And the best way to deal with a bully is to refuse them the attention they want. And when we deny bullies attention, we don’t value their opinions of us or anything that comes out of their mouths. We deny them that supply- that ego trip they seek, and in that, we cease to be victims. We might still be targets, but never victims.
In the past, I’ve had bullies force me to justify myself over the most harmless and trivial things, compel me to do things I never wanted to do, and attack me with stealthy put-downs disguised as “teachable moments” and “friendly advice.”
Back then, I over-apologized for just being me, or for things I had nothing to do with. I apologized for other people’s bad behavior, which were things I had absolutely no control over. I bought into their lies and gaslighting and apologized any time a bully let me know that my interpretation of what they would say to me wasn’t meant the way it came across and that they’d never say such terrible things to another person. Then I’d feel bad for taking them the wrong way. All the while, they’d continue and even escalate the abuse.
I’d let bullies push me into losing my temper and returning fire with the same verbal attacks they launched against me. I would then feel terrible when the bullies would whine, cry, and moan about how much I’d hurt their little feelings and how I had “overreacted.”
It’s funny how bullies can always dish it out but can never take it when the crap gets kicked back their way.
What I didn’t realize was that by my reactions, I was giving these bullies the attention they were looking for. I was giving them the green light to push my buttons, to question my mental stability and jerk me around. I was making myself their play-toy. I was allowing them to tear me down in order to build up their own fragile egos.
It was all a load of tripe, and I fell for it- hook, line, and sinker.
But no more. Since then, I’ve learned to spot a bully by observing the same types of behavior. I’ve also learned not to play their games. A person may bully me once. But trust me, they’ll only do it one time because I know bullying and abuse when I see it. And I also know what it looks like in the early stages.
I make it a point to treat others how I’d like to be treated and to listen to other people’s opinions and takes on things. However, bullies and abusers are the exceptions here. And when I see the signs and realize that someone is starting to bully me, they automatically lose a target. And when I’m done with a person, I’m done and there’s no looking back. I won’t continue to stroke a bully’s ego.
If the person is someone in a high position, I’ll withdraw my support. If the person is a coworker, I’ll find another job or I’ll expose them by simply giving them plenty of rope, then sit back and bide my time until the person hangs themselves and gets fired. If the person is someone related, any future contact will be on my terms.
And when I go no-contact, I won’t bother to explain to the person why I’m done with them because I owe them no explanations. Neither will I smack them across the head and let them know when they are about to cross the line. If they don’t have the self-awareness to realize that their evil actions and behavior are the problems, that’s on them and they’re the one who must deal with the consequences.
And no. I won’t have as much as a shred of guilt over it because self-care is nothing to feel guilty over. I value my sanity and peace of mind more than I ever will others’ opinions of me.
Bullies are notorious for gaslighting their targets. As we know, when a target speaks out about the abuse and begins defending themselves, bullies are quick to paint the targets as crazy, try to reverse the roles to make the target look like the bully, or try to convince the target that what happened didn’t really happen- that it was all in the target’s imagination, or they’re being overly sensitive, overreacting, etc.
If you’re a target, understand that bullies will gaslight you to shut you up, so that they can keep their moral high ground. They do it to make you doubt your sanity because they know that if you doubt your own sanity, it’s a sure bet that others will doubt it too.
It’s tough to know when someone is gaslighting you because when others agree with them, you’ll feel even more compelled to just shut up and go along with it. The reason for this compulsion is fear. You know that, more than likely, if you don’t just clam up and go along, you’ll only suffer more abuse as punishment for daring to open your mouth.
So, how do you know that someone is gaslighting you?
Simple. You know just by how it makes you feel. Here are the symptoms:
1. You’ll constantly second guess yourself – It’s a brutal cycle. You say something, make a judgement call, maybe a decision, and then you turn right around and begin wondering if you said or did the right thing. This is bad because second-guessing ourselves can cause us to feel stuck in life, and there are few worse things than feeling stuck.
You’re hyper-self-aware, self-conscious, and always on guard to make sure you do and say the right thing all the time. Also, too much second guessing can cause us to do and say the wrong things out of nervousness and that is no way to live life!
How you solve this problem is to stop worrying about what others think and to realize that your first instinct will usually be the correct one.
2. You wonder if you’re imagining things or being too sensitive and you do it several times a day- They don’t call it “crazy-making” for nothing because it can drive you crazy. When people are constantly taking pot shots at you, you hesitate to make any comebacks because, again, you’re too busy doubting yourself and putting too much value on the opinions of others.
Again, the best way to solve this problem is to trust what you feel and go with it. You may get bullied harder for it, but wouldn’t you feel better about yourself later, knowing that you stood up to those creeps?
3. You over-apologize- You apologize for trivial stuff that anyone else could do and probably get away with. You apologize for other people’s behavior. You even apologize for having to go to the bathroom! In short, you apologize for everything!
4. You’re confused all the time- Should you do this or that, say this or that? You live in constant confusion.
5. You’re never happy but you feel you should be- that’s a dead ringer that you’re being gaslighted. Because when people gaslight you even for feeling a certain way, this is what happens. And your feelings are right. You should be happier. Only you have a bullying gaslighter in your life holding you back from the happiness you so richly deserve.
6. You make excuses for other people’s behavior- this especially happens when you have fake friends who only use and abuse you. You don’t want others to know what they’re doing to you because you already know, and you’re riddled with shame over it. And it can be embarrassing when the people you call friends disrespect you because you end up looking pathetic to others. Therefore, you make excuses for them not only to hide the shame of being abused, but to keep your abusers from being angry and making you pay for it later.
But the only way to stop this is to face the truth and, even better, ditching these fakers. Because if you must make excuses for someone who’s bullying and abusing you, they can’t be a friend.
7. You lie to avoid being ridiculed or put down, even about things you should have nothing to worry about- when you feel you must lie about things that are not a big deal, that’s definitely a red flag!
Here are a few more symptoms to be aware of:
8. You feel that you’ve changed- that you’re no longer the confident and outgoing person you used to be.
9. You feel like you can’t do anything right.
10. You feel hopeless.
11. You wonder if you’re good enough.
12. You know something’s wrong, but you can’t put your finger on it.
Realize that being gaslighted day in and day out causes you to eventually lose yourself- to lose sight of who you are and once that happens, bullies and abusers will have you exactly where they want you.
Understand that some things are not so clear and that there are situations that we won’t get direct and easy answers to. That is why it’s so important to go with how you feel. Listen to your body- listen to your gut.
“Trust your feelings, Luke.” – Yoda (Star Wars)
There are times when the way you feel will be all the answers you need.
And once you go with your feelings, find a way to rid yourself of the life-leeches in your life (if possible). It’s the only way you’ll be able to heal, get yourself back, and live a peaceful, happy, and purposeful life.
It’s funny how protecting yourself from bullies can be twisted into over-sensitivity, paranoia, vindictiveness, or vengefulness. But that’s exactly what bullies, or, in this case, gaslighters are good for.
When bullying progresses to a point when you feel like you have to wear a body camera to work or school to get evidence of what bullies are putting you through, that’s when you know without a doubt, you’re being gaslighted. So, it’s most important that you trust those feelings.
And sometimes, things may get so out of control that you may need to wear a body camera to work or school. And when you do, make sure you catch it raw and unfiltered. Also, be sure no one, not even your best friend knows you’re wearing it. That way, you risk less of a chance of retaliation, or your evidence being tampered with or destroyed.
But realize that once the evidence is out, whether it comes out in court, and your bullies realize they’ve been busted, they will then continue to gaslight you, especially to others. They’ll accuse you of being sneaky, shady, scandalous, paranoid, or crazy.
But to catch gaslighting early on, before you ever have to wear a body camera, here are a few common things gaslighters tell their targets:
“You’re too sensitive.”
“You’re make something out of nothing.”
“I never said that.”
“I don’t remember saying that.”
“I’m not angry. If I was angry, you’d know it.”
“It’s all your fault.”
“You bring it all on yourself.”
“Well, if you hadn’t done this, I wouldn’t have done that.”
“You made me do it.”
“You’re mentally unstable.”
“Nobody’s ever going to love you.”
“You’re lucky I put up with you.”
“This is why nobody likes you.”
“You’re being petty.”
“You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.”
“You can’t take a joke!”
“It’s all in your mind.”
“It’s all a figment of your imagination.”
“If you love me, you’ll do this.”
And the list goes on and on.
Realize that no matter how you do it, you absolutely must protect yourself against these psychos, and doing so requires that you know gaslighting when you hear it or see it. It also requires that you maintain your sense of self and if you did not do anything to provoke these bullies, stand strong and never let them twist the facts and accuse you otherwise.
It is just another term for gaslighting but is more in-depth. Bullies will discredit the victim by discrediting the claims.
DARVO is an acronym that stands for:
D – Deny – Anytime the target calls out their bullies’ abuse, the bullies will first deny the behavior. Bullies will counter with things like,
“That’s not what I said.”
“That never happened.”
“That’s not what I did.”
Or, they may not necessarily deny it, but may minimize their behavior by saying things like:
“It wasn’t that serious.”
“I didn’t hit you that hard. That was a love-pat compared to what I could’ve done to you.”
“If I was mad, you’d know it.”
A – Attack – Next, the bullies will attack you. They will discredit you by discrediting your claims. Bullies will use gaslighting to make you question or doubt yourself. And they will say to you, things like:
“You’re just looking for a fight.”
“You’re a drama queen.”
“You’re being paranoid.”
“You’re being difficult.”
“You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.”
“You just won’t leave well enough alone.”
R – Reverse
V – Victim
O – Offender – The bullies will blame you for their behavior. They’ll claim that you did something to them to make them act the way they acted. Your bullies will make statements such as:
“It’s your fault.”
“You asked for it.”
“You had it coming.”
“You made me hurt you.”
“You’re the bully, not me!”
Understand that bullies do this to escape accountability and, at the same time, cause the target to doubt and blame themselves. The stronger the bullies’ DARVO reaction, the more likely the target will blame themselves. And when it happens, the target will feel crazy, stupid, guilty, and responsible. This is why targets often take responsibility for the abuse they suffer.
DARVO is also used to silence targets and make them afraid to speak out. If victims are brainwashed into thinking they’re crazy, they’ll be afraid that everyone else will think the same thing.
I want you to know that you’re not responsible for the vile behavior of another person because you can’t control someone else’s behavior. You can only control yours.
Know that it isn’t your place to carry someone else’s emotional baggage! And how you unload it is to go grey-rock and cut the bullies out of your life if possible.
DARVO has been around since the beginning of time. Down through history, it’s been the most common manipulation tactic of psychological abusers. Only 24 years ago did someone put a name to it! DARVO came from the work of psychologist Jennifer Freyd, PhD, who first introduced the term in late 1997.