The Three B’s of Bullying

bullying charlie brown lucy

Believe it or not, there is a method to the bully’s madness. Bullies are master life-chess players. They put a lot of forethought into their attacks against their targets. Always. Here’s how bullies can bully and get away with it.

Baiting

First, a bully slyly baits her intended target by provoking her for a reaction. If the target blows it off and fails to react, the bully meticulously and subtly intensifies the taunts. They will wear her down, over time, until they achieve the desired reaction. And they often do this in the presence of bystanders and witnesses. A bully is very much aware that everyone has a breaking point.

gossip rumors lies bitches

Bashing

Once the target reaches his limit and reacts (yelling, telling the bully off, cursing the bully out, punching the bully in the face, etc.), the bully weasels his way into the hearts of bystanders and authority, using superficial charm and charisma to feign victimhood.

The bully bashes the target by using her perfectly normal reaction as proof of the target’s “mental illness” or “meanness.” They very meticulously make it look as though the target is at fault. And bullies do this to distract others from their own evil actions, projecting guilt onto the target.

victim blame It's your fault

Blaming

Once the bully has succeeded in turning everyone against the target, she entices others to join her in shaming the target. Everyone may gang up on the victim, making statements such as, “Aww! You just need to toughen up!” or “Can’t you take a joke?”

Others may accuse the target of “bringing it all on herself” when in reality, the opposite is true. It is the bully who has harassed the target for months, even years. It reality, the target has tried to handle the abuse calmly and objectively. However, after so long, she only succumbs to exhaustion and reach her limit.

Moreover, when the target reports the abuse, the guilt is placed on the her and the bully goes unpunished. Then the bully takes the impunity as a green light for future torment. All the while, others see the target in a very negative light, with no other choice but to endure the torment in silence. The target will often clam up because they know they will only further tarnish her already damaged reputation. And why not? By this point, there’s a strong chance that no one will believe her anyway.

bullied victim blame blaming burned at the stake effigy

Each time the target makes a report, others who are often in a position to help, blow her off, thinking that the torment is justified. The bully then becomes more emboldened and the victim becomes more devastated and damaged.

The more brazen the bully becomes, the higher the degree to which the harassment escalates. Therefore, the more frequent and intense the attacks become. And it continues until the targete is maimed, is killed, is removed, or transfers schools to escape the torment or commits suicide.

Widening the Imbalance of Power

The bully benefits from the feeling of power and control she gets from mistreating her target and getting away with it.  Moreover, this gives the bully a sense that she is invincible and untouchable. The bully also enjoys the sympathy and petting others give her.

This strategy is also used as a means of striking fear into and silencing the target. It discourages any future attempts at speaking out and exposing the bully for what they truly are. And what they are, are cowardly, sniveling pieces of human filth.

bullying baiting

If bullies target you for abuse, you already know too well how it feels to be mistreated and then blamed for your own torment. It’s horrible enough to be constantly harassed, but to be blamed for that harassment is downright devastating. It leaves you feeling completely powerless!

Understand that this is just another weapon the bully uses and how she tricks people into allowing her to continue her bad behavior with impunity. And it is nothing new! Bullies have always used this method.

So, remember the 3 ‘B’s- Bait, Bash, and Blame and I believe that you will be better able to explain your situation when you report the harassment. At the same time, be expectant of what bullies are likely to do.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

What is DARVO and How do You Spot It?

DARVO 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. Also, bullies will use gaslighting to make you question or doubt yourself. And they will say to you, things like:

“You’re overreacting.”

“You’re crazy.”

“But you’re just looking for a fight.”

“You’re a drama queen.”

“You’re being paranoid.”

“But 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

and

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. Therefore, your bullies will make statements such as:

“It’s your fault.”

“You asked for it.”

“But you had it coming.”

“You made me hurt you.”

“You’re the bully, not me!”

I want you to know that DARVO has been around since the beginning of time, only today, it has a name. 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.

You can read more about Dr. Freyd and DARVO here:

https://dynamic.uoregon.edu/jjf/defineDARVO.html

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Othello’s Error: Why Targets Take the Blame

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) on engraving from the 1800s. English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. Published in London by L.Tallis.

Othello’s Error often happens in police interrogation rooms and principal’s offices.

It comes from Shakespeare’s play, “Othello.”  In the play, the main character, Othello, assumes that his wife, Desdemona, is having an affair. The reason he believes this is because of her nervous response when he questions her.

In reality, Desdemona is innocent.

However, Othello  questions her in a aggressive and volatile manner. And this makes the poor wife nervous. Even worse, Othello takes her nervousness as a sign of guilt.

Sadly, his often occurs in real life.

Often, targets become nervous when someone questions them aggressively. The questioner then misreads the response. taking it as a sign that the person is lying or hiding something. It’s how so many people have gotten blamed for something they didn’t do.

Just as nervousness is mistaken for deception, the show of confidence is mistaken for honesty and trustworthiness. As we all know, bullies are well-known for feigned confidence and false bravado.

Targets of bullying are always nervous, and rightfully so. Who wouldn’t be if they were constantly abused, shamed, threatened, and attacked?

People tend to rush to the first possible explanation that fits what they want to see. Should it be any wonder why people blame targets and let bullies go scot-free?

After the abuse goes on for so long, targets learn to expect more of the same. And they usually get it. In other words, the expectation of such treatment brings more of the same. As a result, the target grows more nervous with each occurrence.

As the target grows more nervous, bystanders and authorities grow more and more suspicious of him.

The fact is that nervousness has several reasons, and the mistake often occurs in the decoding of it and not the observation!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Here’s How You Figure Out Who the Real Bully Is

blame victim

Reactive bullying happens when a victim has taken so much abuse for so long that the pressure builds to the boiling point, the targeted person blows up or ‘snaps,’ lashing out at their tormentors. In essence, the victim “bullies them back.”

Believe me. I get that people can only take so much. I understand that victims are sick of it, and I’m with them. However, targets don’t realize that an explosive reaction is precisely what the bullies want. They want the target to snap. Bullies want the victim to blow up on them so they can then claim victimhood and make their victims look like the bully.

If you are a parent, teacher, supervisor, or manager, understand that bullies are experts at baiting a target into a reaction, then using the justified response as proof that the targeted person is “mentally unstable,” “crazy,” “a dangerous person,” “too sensitive,” or a “drama queen”!

Bullies also use the victim’s normal reaction to guilt and convince him/her that it’s all their fault and make statements such as:

“Well? Maybe if you wouldn’t get so overly emotional, you’d have friends!”

“If you didn’t overreact to everything, people would want to be around you more!”

In short, bullies gaslight their targets with statements like these to make excuses for the behavior and deflect the blame back onto the victims. And sadly, it works like a charm, and bystanders and witnesses believe the target is unstable.

Note: A perfect example is a scene in the movie “Home Alone” when the main character, Kevin McAllister’s older brother Buzz makes a fake apology to his family, then sneakily calls Kevin a trout-sniffer during a family meeting after the fiasco in the kitchen over Kevin’s cheese pizza. Notice how Buzz baits his younger brother Kevin into a reaction!

If you are a target, I want you to understand that there is a name for this. It’s called gaslighting, and it’s a trick to throw you off balance. Realize that every single human one of us is capable of losing our cool when we’re under that kind of pressure. After we’re attacked and subjected to vile treatment for so long, we snap and act a fool.

This is why teachers, supervisors, and others in authority must learn to distinguish between provocation and a reaction so that they will be able to identify the real bully and victim. And targets must also learn to tell the difference between the two so that instead of erupting, they can call it out when it happens.
Luckily, here’s a surefire sign to look for:

A victim who has only reacted always feels terrible about the way they acted once they’ve calmed down.

The real victim is usually the first to apologize for it.

A real victim will also not be afraid to admit they’ve made a mistake.

the sad girl has problems with mockery and bullying at school.

A bully, on the other hand, always has to be right and will never admit they’ve done anything wrong.

A bully will still place blame on the victim and be overly critical of the victim and the reaction.

Bullies will also use the tiniest screw-up or imperfection and make it bigger than it is. They are also excessively dramatic.

Please note that if the bully is a smooth talker, he might even admit to a few minor mistakes or wrongdoings. However, they will always follow that with the claim that the victim is at fault.

So, always look for these signs, and you’ll be able to peel the mask off the bully, layer by layer! Moreover, you’ll be able to protect and care for the victim!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

3 Reasons Bullies Get Away with Murder and 2 Ways to Protect Yourself

It’s because they somehow appeal to the self-interest of the school and school district. So, how do bullies do this, you might ask?

There are several ways:

1.Many bullies are stars of the school’s sports teams. Let’s face it. Schools have an interest in their sports teams. They want to win games and to win in regional, state, and national championships. Why? Because it bolsters the school’s image. And what school board member or principal wouldn’t want these things?

And if the school has a great reputation, the larger number of attending students they’re likely to have, and the more parents they’re likely to have to want their kids to attend. And the more students they have, the more funding the school gets from their state. Understand that schools have a vested interest in keeping their images in a positive light.

2. Many bullies excel academically. Schools are also rated by the grades their students make. If a school can keep the dropout rate low and crank out more graduates, particularly those who are students with high honors and candidates for colleges, the better their reputations and the higher the school is rated. And sadly, because of bullying, many targets drop out.

So, right or wrong, why would the school side with anyone other than its brightest stars and highest achievers?

It’s because schools are afraid that if they suspended a lot of bullies, the bullies’ grades will drop. Then, their parents, who are more than likely adult bullies, would show up demanding to know why their little darlings were suspended? And, this brings me to number three.

3. Many of these parents mentioned in number two are boosters. People who help fund the school’s programs. And trust me when I say that schools won’t risk losing these funders!

Therefore, schools will always side with the bullies and blame the target because appealing to the self-interest of any person or entity equals POWER! And most targets of bullying, I’m sorry to tell you, either don’t have the power that bullies have, or they don’t think they do.

I want you to realize that in most cases of bullying, it’s not about who’s right or wrong, it’s about who is perceived to have the most power. Again, most people care less about right and wrong. What they care about is power and how you can benefit them in some way, shape, or form.

“What’s in it for me?”

If you can find a way to appeal to the school’s self-interest, then you have an ace in the hole.

Here are ways you can do this:

1. Excel and keep your grades up. I realize that this can be hard to do when you’re a target of relentless bullying because it breaks your concentration. Instead of focusing on schoolwork, you naturally focus on ways to be safe. That’s completely understandable. But make your bullies your motivation to excel.

There’s nothing wrong with compensating. And sometimes you must compensate to buffer your self-esteem and protect your mental health. So, compensate for your lack of friends and social connections with stellar grades and class performance. It will pay huge dividends. And you’ll feel so much better about yourself.

School boy angel with wings and halo concept for being clever, good, success in education or smug

3. Find ways to benefit the school with your talents and gifts. If you can use your talents to bolster the school’s image, that’s a win for you, and the school will more likely support and protect you from bullies.

If you can sing, join the school choir and win in the all-state championships. Not only will you look good, but your school will also look good too!

Knowledge is power. So use it to your advantage!

Bullies Are Well-Known for Making Snap Judgements

If you’re a target of bullying, you often wonder why bullies and their followers make snap judgments about you before getting to know you or before seeing any evidence and getting the facts. You may also wonder why your classmates, coworkers, or neighbors automatically believe rumors and lies about you, especially rumors and lies that sound completely ridiculous.

I know how you feel. Some of the accusations my classmates accused me of were so absurd and ludicrous, that any sane person would’ve dismissed them outright. If you find yourself asking why your peers fall for such foolishness, here’s your answer.

Bullies don’t care what the facts are. Never are they concerned with the truth. Understand that these quick judgments are judgments that fit their agendas. The only agendas they have are to hurt you! Nothing else! And they will look for any justification and opportunity to do so.

People, especially bullies, don’t believe facts. They only think whatever feels good to them. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fact, opinion, or a complete falsehood.

Here’s an example: A wife has a husband she loves dearly. The wife’s best friend sees the husband out with another woman and kissing her one Saturday night. So, the best friend informs the wife that her husband is cheating, only for the wife to get angry at the best friend and throw her out.

Even though the husband is, in fact, guilty of cheating and the BFF did witness him kissing the mistress, the wife doesn’t believe it because she doesn’t want to believe it. Therefore, it feels much better to assume that the BFF is jealous of her happy marriage and is trying to break them apart.

Here’s another example: Lori hates Veronica. Lori is best friends with Cindy. Cindy befriends Veronica and finds out what a sweet and genuine person Veronica is. Later, she tells Lori that Veronica is not such a bad person, that she’s, in fact, a lovely and caring lady. Lori refuses to believe Cindy and only wants to believe the worst about Veronica.

Lori gets angry at Cindy for having anything to do with Veronica and accuses Cindy of betraying her (Lori). Lori now refuses to talk to Cindy.

But understand that Lori only stops talking to Cindy to manipulate her into cutting ties with Veronica. Because of Lori’s blind hatred for Veronica, she refuses to believe that Veronica may, in fact, be a great friend if Lori ever got to know her.

Lori has VDS- Veronica Derangement Syndrome.

Again, bullies don’t care about facts or evidence. They want to believe the lies, and even worse, they want the lies to be true! Self-deception and willful blindness always feel better to bullies.

Ignorance is bliss, and unfortunately, bullies are some of the most blissful people on earth.

If you are a target of such people, my advice would be NOT to try and convince them because you’d only be wasting your time and energy. Instead, continue to love and accept yourself regardless. Also realize that these people aren’t good for you and shouldn’t be in your life. You’re better off without them.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

A Short List of Crappy Advice Given to Targets of Bullying

If you have ever been a target of bullying, how many of these pieces of really bad advice did you hear from others, teachers, supervisors,  even your well-meaning family members and friends when you were trying to deal with the onslaught of bullies?

  1. Keep a low profile
  2. Keep your nose clean
  3. Tread lightly
  4. Don’t rock the boat
  5. Don’t make waves
  6. Tone it down a little
  7. Don’t draw attention to yourself
  8. Stay out of the way
  9. Keep your head down
  10. Don’t poke the bear
  11. Make yourself scarce
  12. Be nonchalant
  13. Stay out of trouble
  14. Go the extra mile
  15. Try to blend in

If you were ever told one (or more) of these 15 things, feel free to comment!

Targets of Bullying: Don’t Be Shocked If the School Doesn’t Help You

blind eye deaf ear denial

Schools are supposed to protect children. And some schools do help targets of bullying. I’ve read quite a few stories with this happy ending and to those schools, I extend my love and respect.

However, I’ve also read and heard stories in which the school either failed or refused to help the victim and only sided with the bullies and I also found this out years ago from experience. And sadly, this ending is much more common than the first.

Therefore, if you are an object of bullying at your school, do take the proper channels to address the problem and get it solved. Report the bullying to the teacher, principal, or district.

But if the school does nothing about it, sweeps it under the rug, or worse, blames you, don’t be surprised. And don’t be surprised if you face retaliation not only from the bullies but from school staff and officials as well.

deaf ear

Understand that in these cases where the school doesn’t act on your behalf, it is because the school district is only interested in the sports programs, how many points an athlete can score for their school team, getting their football team into the playoffs, and how many kids they can send to colleges.

Another thing to consider is that school bullies likely have connections with several local politicians and other high-ranking officials. Also, many bullies who excel academically or are star athletes make the school look good and are least likely to be held accountable.

And seasoned bullies tend to be exceptionally socially intelligent and know how to ingratiate themselves into the good graces of teachers and school staff. They are also wordsmiths who are experts at feigning victimhood, explaining everything away, and rationalizing their bad behavior, which often makes the target look like the bully.

So, these are a few things to consider should you find yourself a target, report the bullying and the school fail to respond to your pleas for help.

But don’t give up. Remember. You are worth fighting for! You are worth living for!

Reactive Bullying, What is It?

Reactive bullying happens when a target has taken so much abuse for so long that when the pressure builds to the boiling point, the targeted person blows up or
‘snaps,’ lashing out at their tormentors.

The target let’s them have it! Many would say that the victim  “bullies them back” and I have made the same statement. However, the more I think about that statement, the more it sounds like an oxymoron.

Be that as it may, is blowing up and going off on bullies the wisest thing for targets to do?

Believe me. I get that people can only take so much. I understand that when you’ve had enough, you’ve had enough, and I’m with you. However, make no mistake. An explosive reaction is precisely what the bullies want.

They want you to snap.

They want you to blow up on them so they can then claim victimhood and make you look like the bully.

Understand that bullies are experts at baiting a target into a reaction, then using the justified (and perfectly normal) response as proof that the targeted person is “mentally unstable,” “crazy,” “a dangerous person,” “too sensitive,” or a “drama queen”!

Bullies also use the target’s normal reaction to guilt and convince him/her that it’s all their fault.

Bullies will make statements such as:

“Well? Maybe if you wouldn’t get so overly emotional, you’d have friends!”

“If you didn’t overreact to everything, people would want to be around you more!”

In short, bullies gaslight their targets with statements like these to make excuses for the behavior and deflect the blame back onto the victims. And sadly, it works like a charm, and bystanders and witnesses believe the target is unstable.

Note: A perfect example is a scene in one of the “Home Alone” movies, when the main character, Kevin McAllister’s older brother Buzz makes a fake apology to his family, then sneakily calls Kevin a trout-sniffer during a family meeting after the fiasco at the choir concert. Notice how Buzz baits his younger brother Kevin into a reaction!

If you are a target, I want you to understand that there is a name for this. It’s called gaslighting, and it’s a trick to throw you off balance.

Understand that, if you blow a gasket and tear into your bullies, in no way will your harsh reaction undercut the fact that they initiated it- that your bullies are the ones who asked for it and drove you to get out of character.

Realize that every single human one of us is capable of losing our cool when we’re under that kind of pressure after we’re attacked and subjected to vile treatment for so long.

However, there are many people who do think otherwise and will punish you because they feel you overreacted. There will be those who feel that the punishment outweighed the crime.

This is why teachers, supervisors, and others in authority must learn to distinguish between provocation and a reaction so that they will be able to identify the real bully and victim. And you must also learn to tell the difference between the two so that you can call it out when it happens to you.

Luckily, there are a few sure-fire ways of identifying the real victim who is only reacting to a provocation by a bully.

1. A victim who has only reacted always feels terrible about how they acted once they’ve calmed down and is usually the first to apologize for it. A real victim will also not be afraid to admit they’ve made a mistake.

On the other hand, a bully must always be right and will never admit they’ve done anything wrong. A bully will still blame the victim and be overly critical of the victim and the reaction. Bullies will also use the tiniest screw-up or imperfection and make it bigger than it is. They are also excessively dramatic.

2. A victim will also apologize, sometimes nervously and excessively.

A bully will never apologize. Because a bully is never wrong, even feels that it is their right to mistreat their targets.

Please note that if the bully is a smooth talker, he might even admit to a few minor mistakes or wrongdoings. However, they will always follow that with the claim that the victim is at fault.

So, always look for these signs, and you’ll be able to peel the mask off the bully, layer by layer! Moreover, you’ll be able to protect and care for the victim!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

When Bullies Make “You Make Me” or “You Made Me” Statements

When you are or were bullied, did your bully ever justify their horrific treatment by making statements such as, “You ‘made me’ do it!”? I’ll bet that you have. Bullies often make the following statements to their targets to justify their behavior and intimidate the poor targets into keeping silent.

“You ‘made me’ or ‘make me’ hit you!”
“You ‘make’ people want to hurt you!”
“Don’t ‘make me’ hurt you!”
“Don’t ‘make me’ mad!”
“You make people want to yell at you!”
“You make me hate you!”

Bullying, friendship, and people concept. Girl patronizing screaming pointing the finger at the shy timid nerdy woman who is looking down

You get the point.

These are all statements bullies use to gaslight targets and to brainwash them into believing that it’s their (the target’s)fault. That the target made them (the bullies) lash out.

I can’t count the times I heard these from my classmates, and I must admit, it was very hurtful and intimidating. However, I look back now and realize that this was only my bullies’ way of shifting the blame my way because they were so afraid that I would call them out on their terrible behavior and expose them for the trash they truly were. They also wanted to maintain the upper hand.

The keywords in these sentences are either “made” or “make,” and they are very telling if you really stop and think about it.

If you are a victim of bullying, expect those kinds of remarks. But understand that these are classic statements bullies make to shift the blame your way and to avoid losing their power over you, being caught, and the possibility of facing the consequences.

There’s always a way to bust the bullies who try to shift blame onto you this way:

Simply counter the bully’s statement and say this:

“No! I didn’t make you do a damn thing! You did that all on your own!”

Say it point-blank and with conviction. If possible, say it in front of an audience. Call the bully out, and more than likely, the bully will think twice before saying anything else.