What School Bullies Really Want to Say to Targets Who Stand Up to Them (Part 3)

Jealous Girls taking behind her back

(Continued from Part 3…)

Here are more ways we bullies assert and reinforce control over targets who step out of line.

3. We spread rumors and lies about the target. That’s right! We’ll demonize him. And he won’t even know about it until it’s too late and enough people are itching to take him apart. We’ll sow discord between him and all the other classmates. Hell! Even the teachers! We’ll make him public enemy number one!

Get this straight. All we have to do to demonize our target is to throw around a few offhand remarks and loaded words.

‘You see? We’ve been best friends since kindergarten, and some of us since we were babies. We are a family. We keep each other’s darkest secrets and fiercely protect each other, which means we cover each other’s butts.

Our parents know each other, and we have connections to quite a few city officials and local big shots. Everyone knows us and they love us- very much! We’re in cahoots with the right people and they tell us everything.

bullying bullied

Nothing is private. Not in this school and not in this town. This high school is our kingdom. And it’s crawling with lackeys, suck-ups, and wannabes. These people straddle the fence and they’re the ones he’ll least expect.

And he messed with one of us, so he messed with all of us!

4. Make him do degrading things with the promise of acceptance and inclusion. By this time, we’ll have him so rejected, alone and alienated that he’ll sell his soul to the devil just to get a crumb of acceptance. So, why not give him something to strive toward? Make him do something stupid. And trust us, we’re creative! We’re inventive!

We’ll think of something so humiliating and degrading! We’ll set him up to look pathetic, and we’ll film it for the entire free world to see. And he’ll never be able to get away from it.

We’ll also set him up to get in trouble with the principal by baiting him into a few fights. We’ll get in his face. One of us might even throw the first punch and force him to hit back, and then we’ve got him. We’ll all band together and say he started it, cook up a good story, and he’ll be the one blamed.

And what will be the icing on the cake is that after everyone finishes blaming and punishing the target, they’ll give us sympathy for being victimized by such a monster.

bullying ridicule

That’s just life at the high school. Some matter and some don’t. And if a target tries to defend himself, he’s just defensive, a whiner, or he’s crazy.
But those rules don’t apply to us because we can do no wrong. Remember. We’re royals. And the double-standards we held our target to are beneficial to us. Don’t be surprised and don’t catch an attitude. You’d do the same thing if you were one of us.

5. We fantasize about the target transferring to another school or, even better, killing himself. Seriously, we do. But then again, we really don’t want that because, if he did either one, all the fun would end and it would be game over. We need our target to stick around so that we can continue getting our jollies and free entertainment.

We prefer to make things worse on our target slowly and gradually and drag it out for as long as possible. We’ll enjoy watching him withdraw from everyone, lose his appetite, lose weight, get sick, and shake from nervousness. And we know he will snap sooner or later.

We may be high school kids, but we’re far from stupid. We learned the laws of human nature early. How do you think we got so darned popular with kids and adults alike and rose to the top of the social totem pole? We knew the rules of the social game long before most people knew how to use the bathroom by themselves!

bullied snapped driven crazy

We also know that no one can keep that kind of pressure stuffed down inside forever. It’s impossible. Eventually, the target will explode. It always works better that way. And when he does blow up, we can only hope he does it in front of an audience.

We’re already building a case against the target. We can pick out small incidents, take them out of context, and spin them to make it bigger. We can craft a pattern out of them and make it look like evidence that is so damning.

Sure. Like, love and attractiveness are all subjective, but the system and social dynamic are rigged in our favor.

6. We would love nothing more than to beat the ever-loving crap out of our target but don’t want to risk getting caught. We’re too smart to do something so obvious and we don’t want to get our hands dirty. We’d much rather pick the creep apart in front of everyone and use his words against him. His intentions don’t matter. A screw-up is a screw-up and we’ll stick it to him. We’ll do it under the guise of friendly advice, the stealthier way to attack.

7. Pit what friends the target has against him. If we can’t turn his friends against him any other way, we’ll attack them too. We’ll accuse his friend of being in on the target’s little rebellion. Why should we do the dirty work ourselves when we have peer pressure on our side?

shame humiliate banish

His friends will then blame him for dragging them into it and causing them to become targets. They won’t care to hear any explanations or justifications. They’ll just want their lives back and they’ll ostracize and gang up on him to make that happen. Cause and effect is such a beautiful thing! Why not use it to your advantage?

8. Send henchmen to commit our violence for us. As much as we’d love to beat the target’s brains out with our bare hands, we’re too smart to get blood on our hands. In fact, we won’t even be there.

bullying fighting physical

We’ll just send some roughneck or a group of them to kick his tail for us. And why not? We’re the kings and queens of the school. Offer the right incentives and we can get anybody to do anything we want them to do.

Even better, we’ll get the toughest guy with the worst reputation and put a bug in his ear. We’ll make him think that the target is trying to put the moves on his girl. Then we won’t have to offer him anything in return.

It won’t matter what the truth is or whether the target even knows the girl. Because we have all the power, connections and trust, just our names and our word is golden.

The target gets his head kicked in and gets a ride in an ambulance. We fade into the woodwork. And if things get too hairy, we just let the tough guy take the fall! And if tough-guy tells the cops that we put him up to it, do you think they’ll believe him?

Brilliant, huh?

What School Bullies Really Want to Say to Targets Who Stand Up to Them (Part 2)

clique bullying

(Continued from Part 1…)

So, how do we make our target submit?

Here’s how:

We make the little rebel’s life a living hell and use him as an example to the rest of the student body. But we can’t make it too visible. We must be cunning and covert! Our attacks must be deniable.

We’ll do this to teach this punk a lesson show him who’s boss while letting the other schoolmates know that this will happen to them if they dare get out of their places. You call it tit-for-tat, we call it high school justice.

Maybe you think that we don’t know we’re bullies. Well…you poor, clueless thing, you! Newsflash! We know we’re bullies. We know we’re bitches and assholes. We know we’re hell on wheels. And ya know what else? We’re damn PROUD of it!

Why? Because it’s cool to be cruel! Sorry. That’s reality and you can either deal with it or continue to be a hero and get treated worse!

But the higher up on the social hierarchy we are, the more brutal we are, the more brazen we are, the more desperate we are, and the harder we’ll fight to keep the popularity, the attention, the favor, the having our butts kissed, and the social status we so enjoy.

You need to realize that the positions we hold and the friends and followers we have give us special treatment, rewards, and liberties that nobody else can get. And the power we have is too delicious to give up. Outside of our group, our high social status, and this school, we have nothing!

So, if this little geek thinks he’s going to man up and punk us out in front of the entire school, then we’re going to give him both barrels!

In this power struggle, we have an arsenal of power, reputation, connections, and favor. And we’ll use them all to bury this freak

bully bullies arrogant

Arrogant young Caucasian man with three female admirers

Here are some tricks we’ve mastered:

1. We hold the target down. It takes a long time to isolate a target. But we have the patience of Job. And we’ll get our kicks out of watching him suffer! He thinks he can win friends and respect? He thinks he’s cool? He thinks he’s better than us? Not in this lifetime! We decide who talks to who, who makes friends and when they do.

And we can kill any opportunity to make friends, get a date and even turn the teachers, coaches, and other staff against him if we so desire.

We can shut him up by ridiculing him every time he speaks or answers questions in class- even if he gets the answers correct. And if he gets the right answers and the teacher praises him for it, it’ll only further piss us off, and we’ll turn up the heat on his butt!

We’ll shame him by calling him a nerd or a bookworm. We’ll accuse him of being an arrogant know-it-all and being full of himself! By the time we’re through with him, he’ll be too afraid to open his smart mouth!

We can exclude him from school clubs, from ballgames, school dances, proms, and other school functions.

We’ll control his emotions. He won’t get any enjoyment at school unless we say so. We can make sure he does nowhere but down, then leave him to rot in his own loneliness and misery. We’ll make sure he’s stuck on the bottom of the pecking order and never moves up.

We’ll dim his shine, strip him of any confidence, change his smug attitude, and make him loathe himself! We’ll make him trash!

bullied target isolated excluded

Why Bullies Love to Isolate Their Victims

2. We isolate the target. He crossed us- that makes him a leper as far as anyone else is concerned. Does he really think anyone will stand by him? Sure, other kids in the student body may hate us because they can’t be us, but they fear us! They may talk smack about how they’d stand up to us, but talk’s cheap.

Oh, yeah! The other folks talk the talk. But we know that when the time comes to walk the walk, they’ll only tuck their tails between their legs and run. They’ll leave the little wuss to fend for himself. They’ll know better than to piss us off because they know that we have the power to make their lives just as hard as we made his (the target’s).

Nobody wants to be next on our hit list, and we don’t blame them! It isn’t their problem, and they don’t want to end up down in the basement with him (the target).

So, what’s he going to do about it? If he does manage to scrounge up a few friends, they’ll be the few no-counts who are just as desperate as he is, and they’ll hang with him only because they have no other options themselves, which gives us another juicy idea – Hmmm! Perhaps if we pretend to like and accept those other losers, they’ll throw his sorry butt under the bus too! Then what friends will he have?

Just as there are people who fight to be on top, there are also those who struggle just as hard to stay off the bottom.

Oh, the other losers may feel sorry for the target, but they need us to leave them alone and not to make them bigger laughing stocks than they already are. What few friends he has? They aren’t stupid. Anyone would be a fool to have a dog in this fight!

bully bullying narcissist

A selfish man walks the heads of people as on the steps to the highest post behind the crown. Conceptual scene is a narcissistic and selfish person

At this school, we are royalty! We’re the top dogs. If anyone else wants to be safe, they need our permission. The target’s friends don’t want us to make things any harder than what we already do. And they know that if at any time some blockhead is dumb enough to piss us off, we take no prisoners!

So, even his friends will turn a blind eye. They won’t be so stupid as to have his back. And if he shoots his mouth off to them or anyone else about any of us, many of them will report back to us for these reasons:

a. To get on our good side
b. In hopes that we’ll accept them
c. To stay off our hate-radar

And if we grill the target’s friends with questions about him, they’ll tell us anything they think we want to hear and they more than likely know all his deepest, darkest secrets!

Maybe these friends will know we’re only using them to get the deets from them, and maybe they won’t, but either way, it won’t matter. The only thing that will matter to them is keeping us satisfied, and keeping their butts off our hit list.

Do you see where we’re going with this? The fix is in. If the target continues to grow a pair and push back against us, the other students will stay wayyyy away from him to keep from arousing our wrath. And no matter how strong he thinks he is, he won’t be able to handle that for very long.

(More in Part 3…)

What School Bullies Really Want to Say to Targets Who Stand Up to Them

Stop bullying

We warned you! We warned you not to rock the boat. We told you not to make waves. We made it clear that your place was beneath us and that you should take our abuse without question and without refusing.

But what did you do? You just had to push it! ‘Had to get uppity! ‘Had to be a hero and challenge our authority! ‘You want to make trouble? ‘You want to diss us? ‘Grow some spine and step up to us?

Now, because of you, there’s a risk that everyone in the student body will doubt and question our power!

What would you do if someone on a lower level than you just up and got some guts, and challenged you by fighting back? ‘Caused you embarrassment and made you look like a punk in front of everybody?

Yeah, yeah! Teachers may advise us to just “let it go” or “overlook it!” But this is personal, and there’s no coming back from it!

Do you really think you won any respect by clapping back at us? Uh-uh! Nope! What you did was start a war!

Don’t talk to us about right or wrong! Don’t speak to us about fairness! Because right and wrong, just don’t come into it! And fairness is a fairytale for babies!

no bullying stop

We’re going to teach you that there’s a social order in this place! And there’s a certain way things are done around here! You’ve forgotten who you are, and you need to be taught that some people matter, and some don’t! Some people can, and some can’t!

Don’t say a word because you’d feel the same way we do!

“This loser doesn’t know his place! He’s forgotten who he is! ‘Gotten too big for his britches and too smart for his own good! He don’t know when to leave well enough alone!”

“He’s gotten too cocky, too sure of himself, too bold and too arrogant! In short, he’s become a threat to our positions at the top of the social totem pole! And threats must be contained!”

bully narcissist narcissistic narcissism

During the Medieval period, anyone who disrespected any member of a royal family would be dragged off to the guillotine. And the remaining peasants would know that they would be next if they even mentioned the troublemaker’s name.

The “Divine Right of Kings” rule still stands today, in this school.

Kids in our positions are allowed to beat our chests and throw our weight around freely and with impunity. It’s okay for us to abuse anyone we deem unworthy of humane treatment. If you were any one of us, you’d think,

bullying

“But (target’s name)! Who the hell does that freak think he is! Because he opened his smart mouth and dissed us, now all the losers may rise up and demand their rights to equal treatment, as if allowing them to get through a single day without getting their brains beat in isn’t enough! Shoot! They should be down on their knees, thanking us for not making things worse for them!”

“Losers like him (the target) report you to the principal and get you in trouble, even with your parents! They join anti-bullying groups and get involved in anti-bullying programs at school! Shyeah! Like that’s gonna help them any! And don’t EVEN get me started on those groups! They’re always looking for publicity!”

“They even write journals, publish books, and post on their blogs, calling you and your friends out on things you’d rather people inside or outside the school not find out!”

So, with the bullying awareness movement (Ugh! What a joke!) that’s sweeping the globe, surveillance and since virtually everyone has a smartphone with a camera, how can bullies at the top, like us, punish our target without further exposure and the risk of getting kicked out of school and ruining our prospects for college? How can we reinforce our dominance over this creep, and make him cave in and bow down to us?

(I’ll tell you how bullies do it in Part 2)

Letter to My Bullies- I’m No Longer Afraid of You

Continued from Part 2…

Also, the fact that no one cared about the truth nor even asked is only further proof that you all bullied and mobbed out of pure spite, ignorance, and stupidity. And the same three afflictions is why a few teachers, who followed your lead, also bullied me to the point of considering a lawsuit. A few even escalated the vitriol because they saw me as a threat.

Those few so-called teachers were afraid that I would file citing discrimination based on a perceived disability. Why? Because they found out about the daily journals, I kept each school day, documenting everything! And I’ll never forget their reactions (and those of some of you) each time they saw me writing.

It’s hilarious when I look back now because some of you seemed pretty desperate and afraid!

And the few spineless, undeserving losers I was such a fool to call friends? (Scoff) They didn’t have the stones to have my back, which means it’s safe to say that I didn’t have any friends at OHS. So, should it matter to any of you if I speak up or stay silent?

I can be honest about it now because none of you are anyone I need to impress, and I surely don’t owe any of you anything- not even respect because you did nothing to earn it. I’ll say again. You get no respect from me.

As for the few rotten apples who called themselves teachers, I realize they only fell for your lies and smear campaigns. These teachers, who were supposed to be adults, but only regressed into children by joining you in your evil and spiteful attacks, weren’t smart at all, only educated idiots. They were also too lazy to look for the facts.

Far be it from me to put their names out there because I won’t go that low. But I already suspect you know which teachers I’m referring to. So, I’ll leave it there.

With you, the excuse was always, “I’m afraid of her!” or “She’s crazy!” But the reality was that I was much more afraid of you than you ever were of me. But deep down, most of you were already aware of it.

Oh yeah. I know and you do too. I knew it back then; only I was too afraid to voice it because I knew what most of you would do if I opened my mouth. Oh, yes. You got that one for free. I was afraid of you all back then.

But the difference between then and now is that I’m not anymore. Now that I’m a grown woman, I’m not afraid of any of you.

I don’t have to see any of you. You can’t touch me now. So I can say pretty much anything I want. And I say it loud and proud. Even better, I make speaking out about people like you my livelihood, my bread and butter, and my niche!

Therefore, in bullying me, you were only paving my path for me. In trying to instill fear, you only encouraged me. In trying to keep me down, you only uplifted me! And in turning others against me back then, you ultimately made me truer friends now than I ever could have imagined back then.

Now, you must ask yourselves what good all that meanness did in the long run, and where did it get you? It certainly didn’t help you reach the top! It didn’t get you fame or fortune because none of you ever went anywhere.

Continued in Part 4…

Letter to My Bullies- You Only Made A Winner Out of Me

Continued from Part 1…

I’ll give you this much. For a while, you had me down and even managed to keep me there during school. I forgot who I was. Or maybe without meaning to, I allowed you to take the knowledge of who I was from me. You even succeeded in making me out to be the troubled one.

And while you bullied, harassed, name-called, slut-shamed, shoved, tripped, jumped, beat, choked, and kicked me- even threatened my life with a blade on two different occasions; I was told to ignore it, to toughen up, and not to be a snitch or a crybaby.

Even worse, people also dared to tell me to be thankful that the abuse wasn’t worse or just to take it in silence.

But as you can see, it didn’t last. You couldn’t keep me in your little box and your vacuum. And once I got away from you, I began to flourish.

In the end, you only made a fighter out of me. What you did is make a winner out of me. You ended up making me more determined to love myself.  The girl who used to finish last now finishes first. Why? Because I put myself first.

When you all attacked me, others judged me unfairly and brutalized me- even those who were bystanders and those I thought were friends. And that was worse because the betrayal was more devastating than the bullying and mobbing itself.

motivational inspirational

Oh, yes. I’ll admit. People, even a few school staff, only scoffed when I went to them for help and tried to explain to them what I was going through. When I needed a listening ear and a shoulder to lean and cry on, they only ignored me. When I needed someone to care, understand, and make sense of what was happening, they abandoned me. Therefore, for a while, you won.

I even went against my better judgment and asked many of you why. Not even you could give me a straight answer, which should’ve been my first clue that none of you knew and, more than likely, still don’t know why you acted so ignorant and stupid.

Though I was only a kid and didn’t realize it back then, it’s only proof that you had no excuse nor justification for the simple way you behaved. And the most astonishing part was you didn’t need any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part to rally the school to your side.

Continued in Part 3…

Group Mentality- Us versus Them

Bullies and, sadly, bystanders tend to relish the humiliation of the target. Bullies and bystanders are as fans rooting for their favorite ball team and against the rival team. Only the rival team only consists of one person- the target.

This is even better because the bullies and their loyal sycophants vastly outnumber the target and feel that it’s safe to show hostility. People in groups are far more open with abuse because they get a certain degree of cover and anonymity from the group.

The group’s comradery and empathy for each other, combined with their blatant hostility for the target are both powerful and dangerous. It’s the same kind of scenario you see in political fights and persecution.

A crowd of people surrounded the red man. Accusation of crime, mob law over a person, lynch court. The leader in the center of the crowd, the leader, an example for diving. Angry crowd

The enthusiasm of the supporters who back the bullies is that of the audience for their favorite ball teams, or an entire nation when its soldiers return home from war. It spreads throughout the group with extreme fervor and exalts their “heroes” while degrading the adversary or enemy.

Whether in sports against the opposing team, in the military against the enemy on the battlefield, or a group of bullies and bystanders against a target, the mentality and feelings of hostility are all the same- it’s the dynamic of “us versus them.”

When bullies turn an entire school, workplace, or organization against one target, the entire group shares a great degree of esprit de corps. Members of the group solidify themselves to one another and distance themselves from the target. In this, they overplay the sameness in their clique and differences from the target.

The greater the hatred and hostility, the more they band together and bond with each other and the more hostility they heap onto the target.

Simply put, hatred and hostility only serve to strengthen their desire to not only isolate the target, but to eliminate him/her altogether.

The more you know about pack mentality, the better prepared you’ll be when the mob comes for you.

Reality of Reality Shows- Glorifying and Glamorizing Bullying

Reality shows and the present epidemic of bullying:

One of the reasons that bullying has become so out of control in our schools is the overabundance of reality shows on television, which seem to glorify and glamorize the abuse of others.

Shows like “Bad Girls Club,” Jersey Shore (which I think are the absolute worst), and The Real Housewives franchise, are shows in which people as old as their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s act like middle schoolers in a locker room brawl. Grown men and women, whom you would think would have a modicum of maturity, often resort to name-calling, bashing others, and yes…even hair-pulling, shoving, punching, and kicking.

When I see this, a question always comes to mind: “What kind of example and message are these shows and their stars sending our children and teenagers?”

Violence has indeed been shown on TV and in movies for decades. However, before reality shows were heard of, TV was not real, and kids of my generation understood because our parents never let us forget it.

We knew that what we were seeing was only actors playing the parts of fictional characters in fictional shows. Moreover, we were taught not to try anything we saw on TV in real life because it would put us at risk of getting hurt and/or worse. We grew up with the understanding that “It’s only a television series” or “It’s just a movie,” and none of it was real.

Sadly, as television networks slowly run out of ideas for fictional shows and reality shows gradually take over the airwaves, TV is becoming less fictional (and interesting) and is sending the message to kids that bullying is okay or that you have to be a bully to move up in the world…that to get ahead, you have to step over another person.

And most reality show stars are narcissistic has-beens who are just dying to stay relevant and get the last shot at fame, which makes them lousy role models!

Such a shame!

Why Bullies Crave Power (And Can’t Get Enough of It)

Simple. Because it feels good.

“Power is not what you have. It’s what the enemy thinks you have.”  ~ Saul D. Alinsky (Rules for Radicals)

Bullies crave power like a fat kid craves McDonald’s Big Macs. Power tastes delicious. Understand that most bullies attack in groups, or more appropriately, mobs. Being in a mob gives people tremendous power and bullies know it.

Power feels good because it can get people prestige, street cred, notoriety, and popularity. Power has a way of cushioning the ego, and as we already know, most bullies have meaningless lives outside of the mob and bullying environment (school, work, community, etc.). So, the power they get from being a part of a mob adds “meaning” to their lives that they could never get by any other means. Power is what gives bullies a cause and a purpose in life.

Group power is even better! Because in a mob, each individual can bully a target, lose themselves in the bullying, and get a degree of anonymity. Therefore, bullies are much safer in the group. The group shields each bully from taking any responsibility for their appalling behavior. Groups provide protection from exposure and personal consequences.

So, how do you fight back against a mob?

One way is to call out one or two of their members by their names and tell them to “get a grip,” “knock it off,” or “calm down.”

I recently read this in a book about survival and it makes perfect sense. Anytime you call out a few members of a mob by their names, it brings them back to themselves by personalizing them. What you’re doing is basically, separating them from the mob when you loudly call out their name.

How I wish I’d known this earlier in life.

When Bullying Becomes Mobbing: Detailed Steps Bullies Take to Destroy You

Mobbing is THE severest form of bullying. Once the bullying reaches the stage of mobbing, this is when the bullying becomes life-threatening! And if you’ve ever been a target of it, you know firsthand how destructive it is.

The reasons that mobbing is so hard to remedy is because not only has it already rendered us so distraught that we’re unable to think clearly, but we aren’t able to name, describe, nor communicate the steps bullies take to destroy us.

A successful smear campaign is started by a bully or bullies who are well-practiced in the arts of persuasion and influence and can last for years.

Here’s something I want you to realize. A smear campaign is nowhere near as tricky as it looks. You’d be amazed at just how simple it is to smear someone. It’s so easy that it shouldn’t be so effective, but it is!

To quote the old Geico commercial, it’s “so easy; a caveman can do it.”

Here’s a chronological, step-by-step recap of how bullies do it and succeed at it:

1. The bullies have a dislike for a specific individual who refuses to conform to their standard of who she should be.

Now all this time, the bullies have been able to influence everyone else and get them to submit to their will and every whim. Then, low and behold, along comes the target (we’ll call her “Cindy”) who’s stubborn and either unable to or won’t submit to the bullies’ control and allow them to change her personality into what they think it should be.

And Cindy may not realize the bullies’ motives and that just by being herself and doing her thing, she’s enraging the bullies. So, she goes on about her business, makes plans for her future, makes achievement after achievement, and maybe she gets loads of positive attention and praise from others because she’s so successful and well-liked.

2. Next, the bullies begin to smear Cindy. To implement their smear campaign, they watch Cindy, studying her behavior carefully until they’re able to anticipate her reactions.

3. The bullies then train their audience (i.e., the other classmates or coworkers to expect a specific type of behavior out of Cindy. They point out these behaviors when they occur. The bullies then associate Cindy’s completely innocent behavior with something bad or evil.

For example, let’s say that Cindy is sweet, playful, and likes to engage in a little banter. The bullies watch as Cindy banters with people in the school or workplace. She playfully calls someone a “dummy” or a “goofball,” but others know that it’s all for harmless jokes and think it’s funny because Cindy is a genuinely kind person.

4. So, the bullies begin making offhand comments. They remark that Cindy’s kindness is only an attempt to kiss ass because she wants something from people and that she thinks the people around her really are dummies, but only disguises it under a veil of fun jokes and playfulness.

The bullies also make statements that Cindy thinks she’s cute and that Cindy thinks she’s smarter than everyone else. Then repeat, repeat, repeat!

To quote a propaganda minister to a well-known dictator in history, “Tell a lie once, and it remains a lie. Tell a lie a thousand times, and it becomes the truth.”

5. The next time others see Cindy being kind to and playfully bantering with someone, she doesn’t look so cute, and the banter isn’t so funny anymore. Now people see a side of Cindy they can’t believe they never noticed before.

6. Now feeling smug with gratification, the bullies look at themselves, then at Cindy with smirks on their crooked faces and try the same thing all over again.

7. And before you know it, everyone wonders what they ever saw in Cindy, to begin with, and begins to have negative feelings toward the poor girl.

8. Cindy begins to pick up on the negative vibes around her and withdraws a little. She doesn’t speak to people as much as she did and doesn’t understand what she did or said to bring it all about. The bullies notice that Cindy is more distant than usual, and they point this out to everyone.

“Hey, look! Do you see that? Now, what did we tell you? Cindy really does think we’re all dummies! She really does think she’s smarter than the rest of us!”

“And her ass-kissing (Cindy’s sweet disposition) didn’t work, so now she’s too good to speak to anyone!”

9. Cindy’s withdrawal only inflames everyone’s feelings of dislike and resentment. Although her becoming distant is only out of self-protection, others mistake it for smugness and arrogance.

10. And it only snowballs from there, getting worse and worse over time. Understand that people are human, and they make mistakes. They misjudge innocent others all the time.

And when bullies condition the whole of a group, school, organization, workplace, or community to see any quality in a particular person as a bad thing, a smear campaign is most effective. So everyone, even those who aren’t bullies and are otherwise kind and compassionate, can become extremely cold and cruel to a target. And everyone repeats the same cruelty, over and over again.

Understand that smear campaigns are just too effective because they can quickly become bullying, then escalate to mobbing, which is the most severe kind of bullying. And once it increases to mobbing, it’s unstoppable, and the only way you can take your life back is to leave that toxic, poisonous environment altogether.

It’s Not Only About Punishing Bullies. It’s About Helping Targets.

bullying blame shame victim-blaming

People pointing a woman hidden behind a computer

Holding bullies accountable isn’t the end-all, be-all. Yes, bullies must be exposed and made to take responsibility. I’ll agree with that. But!

A bully may be punished and severely so, but there’s no guarantee he/she will learn from it and leave the target alone.

In fact, it almost never works because in most situations, when a bully is caught and held responsible, it only further angers the bully and makes them that much more vindictive and determined to retaliate against the target.

In instances such as these, the objective should also be to take steps to care for and protect the victim.

If a bully sees that others are rallying around the target and showering him/her with love and support, the least likely he (the bully) will continue to harass that target or plot retaliation.

Remember that bullies are great big wusses at heart and prefer to catch the target alone and isolated because that is when the target is most vulnerable.

Giving support to a victim of bullying could be as simple as walking them home from school, praising them for an accomplishment, or helping them to enroll in a self-defense class.

So, if you see someone being bullied, give them support, and show you care. You never know. You could end up saving a life! You could be someone’s hero! How awesome is that?