Excerpts to the upcoming book, “A Mile in Charlotte’s Shoes” – Bullying, Social Politics, and the Power Dynamic. (Part 2)

Part 2

…Middle school and high school were periods of time during which- right, wrong, good, bad, ugly or indifferent everything, according to everyone in that awkward age group, was shameful and the definition of what was good or bad (or cool) became blurred and not so clear anymore.

It was a time when you were too weird, too straight-laced, too smart, or not smart enough. You were either an evil monster or a goodie-two-shoes, too stoic or too sensitive! Your nose was too crooked, too long, or too short. Your skin was either too clear, too blotchy, too pale, or not pale enough. Your hair was either too long, short, straight, or curly. You were either too skinny or too fat. Your clothes were either overly flashy or much too drab.

Charlotte would often think, “Lord! Can everyone just make up their minds, for crying out loud?” It was all so confusing!

There were things about Charlotte her peers could not wait to nitpick, things which were either beyond her control, chosen at random or completely fabricated. And she wondered why all this trivial crap even mattered.

The world had suddenly become one big and twisted soap opera. And it was obvious whom the biggest stars of this proverbial daytime drama were.

They were the best actors- the best liars and fakers!

Charlotte noticed that anytime she heard a member of the in-crowd tell a bad joke, the rest of the class would only laugh that fake laugh people always used whenever the corny joke was told by someone whose ass they wanted to kiss.

What those suck-ups never realized was that they only degraded themselves by replacing their true laugh with one that was counterfeit. Charlotte could only imagine how furious the so-called cool kids would be if they only knew the rest of the class were only patronizing them.

It was all akin to playing a card game with an opponent and ‘letting them win’- just another form of deception.

All that kindness and consideration shown to the so-called top dogs was only for purposes of vanity and due to their high positions in the school social hierarchy. The rest of the student body most certainly did not like them for them and most of those who were not in the in-crowd were wise enough to see it.

All this drove Charlotte nuts! At times, she would wonder, “How in the blue blazes am I the one who was always in the wrong?”

It was a system that was one big freak show and one Charlotte had no desire to be a part of. Sadly, this attitude would be to her detriment. She learned the hard way that if you want to get along in this thing- this maze called Life, you had to play along!

The thought of it was enough to make her shudder. No way did Charlotte want to be patronized or pacified! She detested liars and fakes and preferred to be told the truth. This kind of fakery was an insult to the recipient!

These were Charlotte’s thoughts:

“If you want a reaction out of me, then you damn well better deserve it!”

When she would hear some moron tell a corny joke, Charlotte would only roll her eyes instead of laughing and as a result, everyone else would take her silence and lack of interest as a direct insult and escalate the harassment.

Charlotte had nothing to say to any of them. Every day, she would pass them in the halls and look right through them instead of at them. Naturally, this was an even bigger insult because it seemed they expected her to bow-down and lick their boots like most of the other kids did.

And many of her classmates did believe they were better than Charlotte and that she owed them complete homage and submission to their will and every whim.

They saw themselves as an authority over her- higher than her and how dare she not acknowledge their superiority! Kids who were considered on the lower end endured those proverbial gut punches every single day!

With every misstep she took, Charlotte would feel the flaming hot coals of ridicule scorch the soles of her feet!

But as painful as it was, she would much rather have resisted her bullies rather than acknowledged them, much less make any effort to appease them or worse, seek their approval. Charlotte was way past crawling up behind anyone and she already knew where it would get her.

In the past, it had always seemed that the harder Charlotte tried not to be a target- the more effort she put into being “normal”, the worse she would fail. She was either being fake or being arrogant and uppity, and only certain kids could be uppity and get away with it.

At Beulah High School, you either knew your place or you were put in it. If you were on the lower ranks, daring to show any confidence or backbone could be dangerous. Because if you weren’t good enough, those in the upper echelons of the social order expected, even demanded that you kept your head down.

The bottom of the stack was like a raging torrent and the harder Charlotte struggled to reach the surface and get her head above water, the stronger the current, and the deeper it seemed to suck her down.

Therefore, Charlotte had long given up on trying to be like any of them because it was too much work and she had no time for it. She’d be damned if she was going to lie to herself just to win their approval! Forget that noise! She was through with false impressions! She just could not bring herself to do it.

Why? Because all of it was only wasted time, effort, and energy. If you were on the bottom floor, the reality was that the harder you tried to make friends, the harder and further people pushed you away. You were too desperate, too clingy, or too oblivious to how negatively you came across to people and the worst part was that there was no way to fix any of it without knowing what was broken.

And they would never tell her what it was because they didn’t know either. All they knew was that they hated her and couldn’t wait to pick her apart piece by piece.

School Bullying in Stages

Bullying is a process.

1. Bullies search for a target.

2. A target is selected.

3. Bullies signal to bystanders that the target is ripe for bullying.

4. Bystanders are encouraged to join in the torment and unite with the bullies against the selected target.

5. Bystanders then become bullies themselves.

6. The target is involved in many physical fights in trying to defend themselves and gets labeled by teachers and staff as the troublemaker.

7. Bullies and bystanders go home and tell their parents and family members what a terrible person the target is.

8. The parents and family members of the bullies and bystanders go to work or the supermarket and relay the stories about the target to coworkers and friends- stories they were told by their children, grandchildren, younger siblings or cousins, nieces or nephews that this target is a terrible person.

9. The coworkers, friends, and extended family members then pass what they’re told to their families and word of the target’s perceived evilness or craziness spreads throughout the entire community.

10. The target’s reputation is destroyed.

11. The target’s opportunities for love, friendship, jobs, careers, etc. are either limited or lost.

12. The target either commits suicide or leaves town to pursue a better life.

13. The target who relocates finally gets a fresh start and reinvents himself.

How “Good People” Become Willing Participants in Bullying and Turn Evil

Even the best and kindest of people can help bullies to destroy a target. Oh yes! It’s true!

Many times, good people are either scared or duped into joining bullies in destroying targets. Understand that your bullies have either intimidated or lied to these people until they finally succeeded in turning them all against you.

What’s worse? These people really and truly do not believe they’re bullying you. They don’t see it as meanness and an attempt to cause another human being to suffer intense pain. People who willingly join with bullies and take part in torturing and tormenting another person do not think that what they’re doing is evil and sadistic. No.

What these people believe is that what they’re doing is good and morally right. Remember that you’ve been labeled immoral. Bullies have painted you as an evil adversary who needs to be punished.

Although the reality is that you’re totally innocent and wrongly persecuted, perceptions (opinions and attitudes) are everything, and bullies can easily distort others’ perceptions to fall in line with their narratives. And sadly, everything in life is based on appearances, and no one cares about what’s behind them.

Understand that, one by one, the “good” people will be sucked into the bullies’ smoke screens. And, one by one, they’ll join forces with the bullies in defeating “the evil enemy.”

These good people will gradually distance themselves from you. Then, little by little, they’ll join in the gossip and defamation of your character.

Again, these bystanders and witnesses don’t see what they’re doing as bullying. They genuinely believe that what they’re doing is a good thing- they’re only doing it for the greater good- the good of the school, alumni, and staff. They’re doing it for the sake of the company and people in it. They’re only showing loyalty and trustworthiness to the group. They’re heroes.

I want you to realize that this is how good people do bad things to innocent people. When this happens, the fact that you’re innocent and undeserving of the abuse and brutality just doesn’t come into it.

Also, understand that there are benefits that come with siding with a group against “the enemy” and few people will forgo those benefits.

The more you know.

The Characteristics of The Crybully

 

A while back, I wrote a post entitled, “What is a Crybully?”  This post is more in-depth, and describes the characteristics of this type of bully. Here they are:

1. The crybully doesn’t mind provoking the target over and over, but when the victim finally gets fed up and shows their ugly side, the crybully is not only surprised but offended. Understand that the crybully feels entitled to do whatever she wants to do and that no one has the right to stop her- or even say anything against it. The crybully thinks that she is beyond reproach and that she isn’t to be questioned by anyone.

Crybullies feel that the world owes them and that they have the right to mistreat their targets. Even more astonishing is that crybullies think that their victims are just supposed to bow down to them and take the abuse- to let them harm them and take it with a smile and a yes sir/ma’am. Why? Because:

“I’m always right, and you’re always wrong.”

“I’m better than you.”

“I’m superior, and you’re inferior. And how dare you stand up to me. You have no rights as far as I’m concerned.” 

Note the quotations above and understand that, though they may never come out and say it, this is how crybullies think.

2. A crybully will gripe, whine, and complain when something they don’t like happens. Like when you call the crybully out on his BS, report or speak out about his bullying, or do anything to cause him to be held accountable for his despicable behavior? The crybully will bitch, moan, and regress into an angry toddler if they have to face responsibility for anything. They’ll  throw a temper tantrum, railing against the injustice and unfairness of it all. He may also do something to get back at you for daring to stand up for yourself.

Understand that crybullies must always get their way and think they can do no wrong. Many times, they will get furious with and throw a fit with the target. If the crybully is female, she may dissolve into a puddle of tears and tell not only authority but anyone who’ll listen that the target is the bully.

3. Crybullies will shout you down if you don’t agree with them or call them out on their bad behavior. They think their words, actions, and beliefs are golden. If you happen to speak against their deplorable behavior or hold a different view, crybullies will instantly turn into petulant children, call you all kinds of ugly names and launch personal attacks against you.

4. A crybully wants everything handed to them and doesn’t like to put in the effort to earn it. Crybullies are entitled to have whatever they want when and how they want it. They don’t like to work for anything, and neither do they like to wait for it.

They’re like spoiled children. If they don’t get what they want, they will never stop bothering you until you cave in and give it to them. Crybullies do this to wear you down. However, you must only double down and resist, no matter what. So, stand firm- if for nothing more than to teach them a lesson.

5. Crybullies hate the thought of anyone else having a life better than they do. When a crybully sees someone else doing better than them at anything, it makes them feel indignant, and that life hasn’t given them a fair shake. They will often sulk and play on others’ sympathy. The crybully will also try to get back at the person for being just a little luckier than him/her.

6. They Have a victim mentality. This point takes me back to how the crybully tries to make the victim look like the bully. In some cases, the crybully deludes herself into believing that she is, in fact, the victim.

And sadly, in most cases, the crybully is very successful in making others believe her drivel.

Think Nellie Olson in “Little House on the Prairie.”

There you have it, folks. If you see any of the above characteristics, you might have a crybully on your hands. The best way to battle this type of bullying is to name it and shame it. Putting a name on these things makes them so much easier to deal with and overcome.

The more you know.

Ways Workplace Bullies Set You Up to Fail

If you are a target of bullying, you must understand that your bullies will have slick ways of setting you up for failure. You must also learn to recognize these tactics, so you’ll be able to protect yourself.

Here are these tactics:

  1. They distract you from your work. Workplace bullies deliberately distract their targets from their projects with constant interruptions, which are very time-consuming. Bullies know that if they can stall their targets, they’ll cause them to miss deadlines.

 If you have a coworker who’s constantly distracting you, politely tell the person you’re busy and will be with them when you’re able or lock the door to your office if you have one. This may or may not go over so well, but you’re still asserting yourself and that’s important too.

  1. Withholding information. Bullies deliberately prevent targets from having the information needed to do their jobs. If you are a victim, they will cause you to miss important meetings and deadlines, which can put your job and career in jeopardy.

If you find that you’re not getting the proper information to do your job, find other and creative ways to get your needed info. Keep your ears peeled in case someone has a big mouth.

  1. Overloading you with work. Bully bosses will either overwhelm their targets with extra work or assign tasks that are impossible to fulfill or complete on time. They may even make them work extra long hours to stress them out and keep them from getting adequate sleep. Bullies know that a person can’t do their jobs as effectively if they’re sleep-deprived.

 If this starts happening, it might be wise to quietly begin looking for another job. Tell no one of your plans to leave and for Heaven’s sake don’t tell them where you’re going! The last thing you need is for someone to make a quick phone call and cause your future employer a change of heart.

  1. Misleading You. Bullies will sometimes give targets wrong times and dates for deadlines or meetings. This is done not only to sabotage you but to humiliate you and make you look incompetent.

Again, find other ways of finding these things out. Never trust your boss if he’s bullying you and never trust your coworkers either.

  1. Giving you meaningless or degrading assignments. Bully bosses will often take targets off their regular work assignments and give them degrading or subservient jobs, such as cleaning the office bathrooms, making lunch and coffee runs for everyone else, serving coffee to the rest of the team, or emptying all the trash.

Again, this is when it might be time to begin looking for new employment. But do it in secret!

Knowing is half the battle against bullies!

Bullies and Doublespeak

Bullies are slick with their insults. Many times, they may disguise their vitriol and contempt with the use of doublespeak.

The term “doublespeak” comes from George Orwell’s book “1984” and a person uses it when he uses euphemisms and words that sound more palatable to the ears. Bullies use doublespeak to sound concerned rather than hateful to keep from turning other people off.

For example:

a bully is degrading and defaming their target. But rather than being blunt and saying,

“I can’t stand him, he’s batshit crazy and he belongs in the nuthouse!” the bully will instead say,

“I’m very concerned about him. I think he has a mental imbalance somewhere that hasn’t been addressed. I hope he gets the help he needs.”

The first version would make the bully sound like the person she truly is- a nasty old shrew! The second version sounds so much better and makes the bully look like a good person who’s genuinely concerned for the target.

Here’s another example:

A bully is putting her neighbor down. But rather than say,

“I’d like to catch her in the street and beat the living crap out of her and leave her to die!” which would make the bully sound like a vindictive and hateful bitch, she says,

“If she doesn’t change her attitude, I’m afraid someone’s going to hurt her really bad!”

Again, the second version sounds so much better because it shows concern rather than hatred for the target and it also makes the target look like she must be bringing the bad treatment on herself.

It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it and the nonverbal communication you use with it that makes all the difference. It’s too easy to bully someone without looking like a bully!

Believe it or not, if you’re a target, you know when you’re being bullied no matter how covert your bullies may be. The trick is to call it out in the early stages before the sneaky attacks become a habit or a set pattern.

Never let anyone grow too comfortable with abusing you. Once they do, the abuse will get so out of control that people won’t even try to hide it! And that’s when you will be in grave danger!

Again! Call it out in the early stages. It’s the only way you’ll be able to put a stop to it!

Why Bullies Turn Your Friends Against You

It’s especially painful when those you thought were friends suddenly go turncoat. It’s not the bullies who hurt you the most, it’s the betrayal from friends and the silence of the bystanders. Understand that during a smear campaign, your friends will be at the top of your bullies’ list of people they wish to win over to their side. They will also be the first people your bullies will go to. Here’s why:

  1. Bullies know that if they can get the people you care about and trust the most to turn against you, they’ll be able to strike a devastating blow! Having the bullies themselves, total strangers, or people you don’t care much about turn against you is painful, don’t get me wrong. But it’s much easier to take than if it’s someone you care about. Nothing hurts worse than having the people you love most and think highly of turn against you.

 

  1. By persuading your most cherished friends to turn against you, your bullies take away much needed social support. If they can isolate you from your friends, bullies know that you’ll become stressed and your performance and activities will take a hit. This will make it much easier for them to bully you.

  1. Your friends know the most intimate details about you and your life. Bullies know that if they can get your friends to turn against you, then they will have complete access to the most private details about you. Your friends will most likely know your deepest, darkest secrets and your weaknesses. They may also know about any future plans you’re making and anything you may have said about the bullies or anyone else in the toxic environment.

 

  1. Because bystanders may turn against you too. People will figure that if your own friends turn against you, then damn! You must really have it coming! You must have really done something lowdown and dirty!

They’ll think that maybe you slept with your best friend’s boyfriend or spouse. Maybe you stole from them. Maybe you emotionally abused their child. When others see that your own friends have turned against you, all these above possible reasons immediately come to mind. That’s the worst thing about being hung out to dry.

So, if your own friends turn against you, why would anyone else be fool enough to have anything to do with you?

I would definitely stick with my friend because I’d know what kind of person my friend is. But! To tell you the truth, if I didn’t already know the person in question, I don’t know how I would handle it. If the targeted person was a total stranger, I don’t know if I would want anything to do with the person either. I’m only human and I make mistakes like everyone else. And my first priority is keeping myself safe, as it would be any bystander.

It hurts me to have to admit that. I would hope that I would be able to see through the smokescreen. I think that I would be able to quell my own fear and try to get the facts before judging the person- I would try to do that. But if there was no way I could find the truth, I would stay away from the person out of concern for my own safety and not because I hated them for no reason. We all hope that we would be able to do the right thing.

This is how people get thrown under the bus. Know that bullies understand how it works and they will play it to the hilt. Here’s another thing I want you to understand about your bullies:

If you are a target of bullying, no amount of pain you suffer will ever be enough for your bullies. They will always want more suffering- more, more, and more! Bullies have an obsessive bloodlust for their victims and their hunger for the victim’s pain will never be satisfied. Please keep that in mind if someone targets you for bullying and handle the bully accordingly.

The key here is to know what to expect and prepare for it. Only then will you be able to strategize and outflank them. Also, realize that if people do turn against you, they never were your friends, to begin with, and you must refuse to associate with them for your own protection and dignity.

Bullies Always Get Their Power from An Entourage.

concept of a mob attacking a person that they think is different

You will never see a bully alone. Why? Because they could never handle being by themselves. Peer-abusers are cowards! Wimps! Wusses! They always attack in groups because they need their wingmen as a source from which to draw and re-enforce power.

Without their backup, bullies are just as powerless as you are. A bully is too afraid to attack you one on one because they fear that you would bury them where they fall.

Yet, victims are (mistakenly) branded as cowards, although they are the ones who come to school or work and face bullies…alone, no matter how viciously they get brutalized. Through all the name-calling, the taunts, the brutal beatings, the threats to their lives, targets manage to reach within themselves and push through another day.

To endure that every single day for several years and still find the resolve to soldier on? Now that takes courage! These people are the real warriors!

It takes bravery to be a target of relentless bullying and remain standing tall. To be a victim of daily and constant abuse and make it to the finish line of high school graduation or the end-of-week paycheck?

To stay in the race, while most bullies drop out of school or quit their jobs when the going gets tough? That’s not only brave, but it’s also heroic! To be your own hero? That takes bravery bullies will never have!

Now, will the real wimps in the workplace or classroom please stand?
I rest my case.

If you are a victim, know that your bullies could never be half the man/woman you are! You have more heart, more soul, and more strength than they ever will!

Responding in Kind

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with responding in kind when someone tries to mistreat you. It shows that you command the dignity and respect that’s due to the next person and that you won’t tolerate crap from bullies. It also shows that you have the guts to stand your ground when some creep violates your boundaries.

As a society, we’ve been conditioned by politicians, the media, corporations, educators, and even certain members of our families that responding in kind only makes us as bad as the bullies. And we’re still being conditioned to believe it. We’re being told to “ignore” people’s atrocious behavior, and in some cases, even submit to it.

However, I want you to understand that the only thing bullies understand is strength and power and anyone they deem as weak is fair game.

Therefore, if you don’t respond in kind to bad behavior, bullies will get the message that there are no consequences for their abuse and that they can walk on you anytime they feel like it. There’ll be no stopping them from escalating the bullying and no limit to what they’ll try next.

Full Length of Two Adult Woman Standing Side by Side with Hands on Hips in Separate Lanes of Outdoor Running Track – Two Friends Sizing Up Competition

You must set boundaries, and how you set boundaries is by imposing consequences on anyone who violates those boundaries. But how do you impose consequences? By responding in kind to bullies when they cross the line.

Notice I say “respond” and not react. By responding the right way, you show that you’re not afraid to stand your ground and that you command the same dignity and respect given to the next person.

There’s no law that says that you must accept abuse from anyone. Yet, we’re very subtly being told that we should take it, and with a smile, and a yes sir/ma’am, then ask for seconds. In today’s world, society tries to dictate that we should agree to abuse.

Um- no! That’s now how life or human nature works! Every action is followed by a response!

Bullies must realize that there are consequences if they harm another person. And we must realize that it is the threat of consequences that keeps the bad guys from coming for us and keeps us safe. Without accountability, there would be chaos and anarchy! Bullies would have free reign over us all.

So, never be afraid to respond in kind and never feel guilty for it. It’s normal, expected, and it’s how you defend yourself and treat yourself well.

The more you know…

10 Reasons Why People Make Excuses for Bullies

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Down through the ages, either at school, the workplace, or the community, people have made excuses for the behavior of bullies and it can be downright sickening to targets of such evil acts. Often, the bully has gotten away with it for so long that they get too comfortable and no longer try to hide it. It leaves targets feeling not only a sense of injustice and resentment but downright furious! Unfortunately, this happens all the time, and it’s nothing new.

If you’re a target of such brutality and find yourself wondering why people make excuses for bullies, here are your answers below:

1. They’re afraid of becoming the next target. Nobody wants a bully on their back, so they make excuses for the bullies to protect themselves from being ostracized and to keep from arousing the bullies’ anger. These people often “don’t want to make waves” or “rock the boat.”

concept of a mob attacking a person that they think is different

2. They’re loyal followers of the bullies. Many people are under the impression that being friends or followers of the bullies will give them status, popularity, favors, and most of all, protection. And in many cases, it does. But in others, the followers are only being used and will be quickly dismissed as soon as they’ve “served their purpose.”

3. They hate the target worse than they hate the bullies. They take the lesser of two evils route. If people hate the target worse than they do the bullies, they’re naturally going to side with the bullies and help demonize the target all for the satisfaction of seeing the victim suffer.

4. It’s expected of them. And people will often do what’s expected of them to do in an environment. Many times, the bullying of a particular individual has become the status quo in that specific environment, whether it be a school, workplace, or community. And no one wants to challenge that for fear of being marginalized and forced to join the target at the bottom of the heap.

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5. They prefer to “cheer for the winning team.” Many people will side with the person who wields the most power. When people are on the side of the winners or ones with the most power, they get a share in being one of the big dogs. Many times, there’s a certain amount of social status and prestige that goes with rooting for a particular clique, team, or group who seems to be in charge and run the school, place of employment, or community.

6. They want to be a part of the in-crowd. (See number 5)

7. They think it will keep down the drama and allow some peace in that particular environment. Let’s face it. Bullying is stressful for bystanders and witnesses too. You don’t have to be a target for it to suck the energy out of you. All it takes for bullying to take the oxygen out of the room is for you to see it. So, people make excuses for the bully, often in their presence, to appease them and calm them down.

8. They’re bullies themselves. Birds of a feather flock together. People have a nose for and take care of their own.

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9. For purposes of self-interest. The bullies benefit them somehow. If the bullies are stars on the school football team, star performers in a corporation, or successful business people in a community, they boost the image of that school, corporation, or district and often bring or attract money into the coffers of these entities.

The prevailing thought is this, “If someone makes me look good and is bringing in the money, I’d be a fool to do anything to jeopardize it!”

Also, in return for keeping their mouths shut or justifying their wrongdoings, bullies will often reward bystanders and witnesses with social status, perks, favors, and protection. Or the reward may be the feeling of importance in knowing that that they’re on the team that holds the most power and prestige.

10. They want to impress the bullies and be admired by them. Many people have a desire to run with the “cool crowd.” Therefore, they make excuses for them to impress them and win favor. They feel that if the bullies, who already have an overinflated sense of their own importance, think well of them too, then they must be hot items themselves. And it’s a huge self-esteem boost.

bystander effect

However, these people are only letting the approval of these bullies define who they are, which is dangerous. Because once the bullies decide they don’t need them anymore, it’s going to be devastating for them.

You must understand that there is a payoff in it somewhere. Human Nature dictates that none of us do anything unless it somehow, someway, appeals to our self-interests, even a little bit. If people are making excuses for bullies, you can be sure that those people are somehow benefiting from it, whether it be a psychological, social, or material gain.