When people label you “mentally ill,” “crazy,” “unhinged,” take your pick, based on the lies of bullies; no one has to take you seriously ever again. People will automatically doubt everything you do, good or bad. Anytime society sticks a person with the “mentally imbalanced” label, it can be worse than if they deemed them a criminal. Because at least people take criminals, even murderers and rapists more seriously. What a crying shame!
Therefore, when bullies can con an entire community into deeming you crazy, they can make you disappear and become irrelevant. And they can do it even after you’re dead.
The most insidious thing about this label is that it can make the labelled person doubt their own sanity. In other words, it’s not so much that they think you’re crazy, it’s that they want you to believe it. Why? Because, if they can make you believe it, then you’re more likely to live up to it.
Further, the crazy card is the easiest for bullies to play. Although they can never prove you’re a basket case, there’s no way you can prove that you aren’t one.
The label, “crazy” is worse than the label, “criminal.”
This is why the crazy label is the most widely used among bullies and society as a whole. Also, it’s the most common form of gaslighting. “Crazy” can be used as a last resort when bullies run out of options and can’t pin anything else on you.
Think about it. They can’t as easily label you a whore if you haven’t slept around. Just the same, they can’t as easily label you a criminal if you don’t have a police record to prove it. And they can’t easily label you a thief if you never took anything that wasn’t yours.
Whereas, you can’t as easily disprove crazy.
Therefore, the more we understand the ins, outs, and reasons behind the use of this label, the better we can defend against it.
The best thing you can do in this situation is to keep your head and continue showing them up. It may take a while, but eventually, the label does get old and wear itself out. And when that happens, it will lose it’s effect.
To tell her exactly what was wrong would be like giving top secrets to the enemy! For Charlotte to correct the flaws and rise above the bullying and ridicule would possibly mean to rise above all of them and even worse, surpass them on the social totem pole. No way would they chance that ever happening! Her bullies had climbed to the top of the social ladder and the higher they climbed the more she saw of their behinds.
And once they are at the top, they would always find a way to kick Charlotte off that ladder, then meticulously pull it up behind them, leaving her trapped on the bottom and it was where they intend for her to stay.
It had been said that “you need money to make money.”. The same also went with friends. At Beulah High School, the unwritten rule was that a kid needed to already have friends, and lots of them, to make more friends. Unfortunately, Charlotte had not realized that nugget of truth back when it would have been most useful.
It seemed that the trick to crawling off the trash heap was to prove, or at the very least, give the illusion that you had never been on it, to begin with. And that was next to impossible given her notorious (however unwarranted) reputation, and sadly, Charlotte had worn this scarlet letter for so long that it had become ironclad.
Her peers, especially her bullies, needed her to stay on the bottom and would go out of their way to keep her on it. The pecking order needed whipping boys (or girls)- easy victories for those at the top to collect.
False compliments, fake sympathy, and fraudulent generosity that others showed the bullies and those highest in the pecking order? All of it was for show and Charlotte knew it. She saw all the chicanery and buffoonery for what it really was! Others knew it and hated her for it.
At Beulah High School, life was all about appearances and who the best and most convincing liars and fakers were. Nothing more.
It was not about what was being done, good or bad, it is about who was doing it and where they were in the social order. Anyone from the in-crowd could get wasted at a kegger and either puke everywhere, or pee their pants and it will only be seen as a funny story of a group of crazy kids from high school. But let Charlotte do the same and she would quickly be branded as a schmuck for the rest of her school career.
Cruel was always cool if someone else was on the receiving end of it. The hidden message was, Better you than me. The widely held attitude was that a person was always at their best and most alluring anytime they were delivering the worst insults to the bottom rats and everyone else either wanted to be seen with, have sex with, or be that person.
It was enchanting because everyone wanted to be the one person who was seemingly never in anyone else’s crosshairs and to have that cruel, unfair advantage on their side and working perfectly for them.
It seemed that everyone thought of these types as bad-asses and hell-raisers. Their consistent rule-breaking and torturing of the kids who haven’t matured as quickly, only got them rewarded with popularity, sex, fun- everything a young punk could ever want.
Seeing everyone get rewarded for such idiocy only made Charlotte crazy if she let it.
Another unwritten rule was that if a kid did not partake in, or at the very least, put on convincing airs that they were partaking in sex, drugs, rock, and roll, or anything that was considered cool, they would be branded a loser! A wuss! A bore!
And if you were labeled those things, you were plain S.O.L.
Many bullies and higher-ups only pretended to be drunk at parties. Most of those fakers would only take one sip from a bottle- just one! And suddenly, magically, they were plastered and silly, screaming with exaggerated laughter and stumbling all over the place.
Could they have been any more transparent?
But there was a bright side that Charlotte was too young to realize. The things about her that her classmates ridiculed and put her down for were the same characteristics that people would one day love about her.
Charlotte knew that her classmates were a bunch of coddled, punk kids who did not know human strength even if it came up and bit them. And it was only because they themselves did not have an ounce of it.
You couldn’t recognize something you never had or saw examples of.
Charlotte knew that most of the bullies came from families who were a bunch of materialistic, plastic, and fake put-ons themselves. They were not truly happy, otherwise, they would not work so hard at putting on airs.
The reason why they hated her so much was that, although they would never admit it, Charlotte was everything they only wished they could be- authentic and not afraid to be herself. And she knew that soon, there would come a day when she would have true friends, who adored her simply for being Charlotte.
They not concerned with facts, only the excitement that the rumors and lies create and the close bonding it brings their group.
Understand that your bullies already know the truth. Oh, yes! They know that you aren’t what they say you are. And they know that they’re lying through their teeth. That’s the sad part.
Bullies know that you’re better than what they try to make you out to be. But, here’s the thing.
The truth doesn’t fit their narratives, nor their agenda. So, they’ll go out of their way to make the falsehoods look true. Realize that the bullies are benefiting from the ruination of your reputation. And they’ll move Heaven and Earth to keep those benefits.
Your bullies are the ones that have to work so doggone hard because it takes a ton of work to cover up lies and half-truths. Lies tend to have a never-ending chain. They tell the first lie and have to put out a second lie to cover up the first. Then they must lie a third time to cover up the first two lies about you. And on and on it goes. It’s a never-ending chain.
Lies have a way of building and they build so much that it soon becomes hard for the bullies to keep their stories straight. I mean, seriously! After so long and so many lies, who can keep up with all that? They eventually lie themselves into a crack they can’t pull themselves out of.
If you stay calm and play your hand correctly, your bullies will eventually spin themselves into their own web and get stuck in it. So, sit back and watch them fall into the trap of their own making. Even better have lots of pun- oops- fun watching the show.
Gossip is purely judgmental and includes hasty generalizations about the target’s character and private life, which has nothing to do with the school, community, or workplace. The purpose of gossip is to control the target’s status by demoting the target on the social hierarchy.
Another purpose of gossip is to justify any punishment of the target by promoting a collective view that the victim doesn’t deserve respect, dignity, or humanity, but only abuse and hostility.
And once a target is viewed to deserve abuse, others will always escalate it!
Gossip has another benefit. It tightens group connections, gives higher status to the people who are privy to the negative information, and sets expectations and norms in the group as to how they should treat the target.
Through gossip, the group establishes, maintains, or changes social infrastructures. Gossip promotes unity and shared negative perceptions of the target. With the use of it, the group will foster justification for hostility. Therefore, no one in the group considers their actions as bullying. They will only say that the target “deserves it” and say they were reacting to “an evil enemy.”
People tell others to keep it secret, but they also ask them to inform the group of any new information and updates that concern their target.
Realize that it serves to provide bullies reaffirmations that their perceptions of the target are correct, that the target deserves abuse.
Gossipers will often cover their bad behavior with a slight confession of guilt by beginning their sentences with things like,
“I know I shouldn’t say this, but…”
“Bless her heart…”
They will acknowledge that the target is a human being, but only because this gives them the green light to go on talking and helps them to feel less like the creeps they are.
It’s true that reputation doesn’t equal character. But it can effect life. Understand that the rumors may, in fact, be false and there may be zero credible evidence to back them up. But if pure speculation best fits the bullies’ goals, that’s what they will go along with.
In the late stages of gossip, all bystanders will become willing co-conspirators. Gossip brings scandal, which means to assassinate the target’s character, integrity, mental fitness, and worth as a student, worker, neighbor, or human being.
Anyone who questions or disbelieves the lies will immediately become an object of bullying as well. Nobody wants to be isolated, so this forces others to stay in line with the running narrative.
And if the target attempts to defend himself or speak out against the abuse, it will be used against him.
Unfortunately, at this stage, the only way for the target to ensure his safety and escape the abuse is to leave the toxic environment and go to a new place where he can start anew, establish new connections, and reinvent himself.
Remember the character, Chris Chambers, in the movie “Stand by Me.” Although he was a great kid, he was considered a rogue and a thief. Remember the scene where he was crying to his friend, Gordy, telling him about how he got his bad name and wishing he could go somewhere where no one knew him.
During the conversation, the character of Chris Chambers, played by River Phoenix, tearfully tells Gordy that a member of staff took the lunch money out of the teal but he got blamed for it solely because of his family name. It was heartbreaking to watch.
And sadly, that happens a lot. In a majority of cases, targets must leave the school, company, or community to heal and to rebuild their lives.
Bullying can be a big weight and a burden with negative influence – Bullying role and impact symbolized by a heavy prisoner’s weight attached to a person, 3d illustration.
“Your reputation is what others think of you; your character is what you truly are. Reputations can be manipulated; character can only be developed and maintained.”
~ Bohdi Sanders ~
All too often, when a person is bullied, his/her reputation takes a big hit due to the many ugly rumors and lies which are spread by their tormentors. Remember that bullying is a campaign.
Just as a politician would go from house to house and business to business, kissing babies and shaking hands with people on the street while giving a spiel of why they’re the best person for the office they’re running for, bullies do the same. They go from person to person spinning their yarn about why no one should associate with the target.
Bullies/Peer Abusers engage everyone, even friends and family of the victim, pulling false accusations out of thin air and making them sound so convincing that others find the lies difficult not to believe.
Tormentors may also use a “tiny grain of truth,” which may be a simple mistake the victim might have made in the past (possibly an error which anybody could have made at any time), then add their spin to it, making it worse and more significant than what it is to make the story even more believable.
Moreover, harassers may use subtle provocations, taunts, and assaults to bait the victim into a reaction, then turn around and use his/her perfectly normal human response as further proof that he/she is a less than desirable person (crazy, stupid, evil, etc.).
Businessman not listening to nonsense.
You must realize that bullies are sociopaths. They have a wealth of superficial charm at their disposal and are masters in the arts of persuasion and influence. People of this nature are very skilled wordsmiths, which is why they are seemingly able to pull a complete fabrication out of their butts and make it smell sweet and sound plausible.
Because of this oozing charm that most seasoned bullies possess, they can encourage bystanders and sometimes authority (teachers, principals, monitors, etc.) to join in the torment.
After being attacked for so long, it’s too easy for victims to become worn down and go the “eye for an eye” route and return the attacks (physically or verbally). Although defending oneself is a perfectly reasonable response to assaults, victims are forced to be cautious in their counter-attacks and very carefully choose their battles because a well-experienced bully can easily use any reactions to validate any rumors lies about them.
Before long, even those who aren’t normally bullies will either shun or brutalize the selected target. Thus, the reputation of the innocent victim is tarnished and will take years to repair.
With all the above combined, bullies can be a weapon of mass destruction to their victims, ripping them to shreds and destroying any credibility they once had. Right or wrong, once credibility is lost, victims are powerless and have almost zero chance of redeeming themselves, and opportunities can be lost even before they present themselves.
If you are a target of bullying, I want to assure you that your reputation DOES NOT equal your character. You are an intelligent, goodhearted person, and you are worthy of being loved regardless of how others may perceive you.
As difficult as it may be to do so, you must never let your reputation define you. Never let bullies dim your shine! Hold on, with everything you have in you, to your remarkable qualities, even if you have to remind yourself that you are a great person every day! Hold on to your faith and your dignity! Hold on to TRUTH!
Understand that to achieve their goals to isolate the target, bullies will threaten and punish anyone they see having anything to do with the target.
Nobody wants to be ostracized. Nothing wrong with that. However, when bullies slander you and friends turn against you so easily, it speaks volumes about the kinds of people they are. And sadly, very few people have the sack to stand up to bullies. It stinks, but it’s the gospel truth.
Most people will do anything- and I mean anything to keep from being socially isolated. Most will even turn their backs on their closest friends.
But understand this. Anybody who claims to be your friend but doesn’t have your back is not your friend! And when it comes to your bullies, you must ask yourself these questions:
1. Who are they (the bullies and anyone else) to set standards for you?
2. Who are they to tell you what standards you should live up to?
3. Who are they to tell you to change?
4. Who are they to tell you how to dress, how to act, and how to live?
5. What authority do they have to make any rules that you should follow?
6. Who died and made them the authority over you?
7. What power do they have to tell everyone else who to associate with and who not to?
If you’re a target of bullying who’s just been abandoned by everybody because the bullies have influenced them to do so, you must also ask yourself this question:
1. Would you even want to be friends or associate with a bunch of pathetic wussies who are so weak and spineless that they’ll bow down to pacify a bunch of bullies? Do you want to associate with anyone who’s too chicken to stand behind you?
I want you to understand that anyone who says ‘yes’ to bullies and turns on you so quickly didn’t have much sack, to begin with. They were never even worth knowing. Because they only proved to you that they’re worthless and can never be trusted. You don’t want a bunch of wimps for friends. I know it hurts when someone you thought so highly of suddenly throws you under the bus!
Believe me, I’ve been there, and betrayal by people you thought were friends is the most painful part of being a target of bullying. But, as painful as it is, you need to realize that not everyone is worth your time. Not everyone deserves your friendship. So, when people turn against you, understand that it’s only the trash taking itself out!
What you want are strong and brave friends- friends with substance! You want friends with the cajones to have your back and tell the bullies to go take a long walk off a short pier!
Let me warn you. Great friends are hard to find. Because the strong and true are few in this world. Most people really are a bunch of bagless, weak-kneed wusses. Just as a girl must kiss many frogs to find a prince who’s worthy of her love, a target of bullying must weed through a great many wusses to find people who are worthy of her friendship.
You must raise your standards and expectations. You must be very selective of who you allow being pals with you. Selectiveness is a great thing because it shows that you value yourself and that you won’t settle for anything less than what you want! You must put a proverbial price tag on yourself and make sure it isn’t too low! Only then will people respect you.
For others to value you, you must first value yourself! And that means loving yourself enough to walk away from people who are worthless to you (i.e., the fake friends who betray you).
If you’re a survivor of bullying and abuse and you finally begin speaking out about your bullies and their abusive behavior, you instantly put them on high alert. You put them in defense mode, and they will do one, some, or all of four things:
1. Lash out at you. This is, perhaps, the most revealing. Many bullies and abusers will go into a tirade. They’ll scream and yell at you, they’ll curse you out and call you the ugliest names- everything but a child of God. I know it’s difficult to do, but don’t panic and don’t be afraid.
See it for what it is- you just forced them to reveal their true colors because when your bullies (or former bullies) attack you by getting enraged and flying off the handle, that’s when you know you’ve busted them. Or, more appropriately, you’ve forced them to bust themselves! Yay for you!
2. Deny their abuse, and sometimes to your face. Lots of times, bullies and abusers may confront you either calmly or aggressively, claiming they never bullied or mistreated you. They may even through out subtle hints that you must’ve misinterpreted them or that you “have everything misconstrued.” Again, no matter how calmly or subtly they do it, this is gaslighting and it speaks volumes about their character.
3. Defame you. The second you see their bullying and abuse for what it is and call it out, is the second bullies and abusers lose control over you. If these people can no longer control you, they will control your image in the eyes of others. And they will tell everyone who will listen what a lowdown piece of garbage you are.
But, as difficult as it may be, don’t let it phase you. Realize that they’re panicking and in a mad rush to do some damage control because they’re afraid that word about their true nature just might get around and cause them to lose face.
Most of the time, your former bullies and abusers will tell others that you’re “crazy” and that you’re having some sort of mental episode. Again, they’re only revealing their true colors because if you weren’t telling the truth, they wouldn’t care and wouldn’t react so desperately. So, always see this as an admission of guilt.
4. Avoid you. These types won’t bother you. Instead, they’ll avoid you like the plague because they’re scared. Understand that this is the best outcome because if they’re avoiding you, you don’t have to worry about them abusing and bullying you again. Why? Because they know they’ve been found out and that word of their abuse is already very quickly circulating.
So, the last thing they want is to do anything that has even a scant possibility of making them look guilty because they fear their reputations are already on shaky ground. Although these people are cowards, they’re making the smartest move by simply staying away from you and avoiding even mentioning your name.
However, be advised that not all people who avoid you will stay away from you for long, they may avoid you long enough to defame you to others or they just might be secretly plotting revenge against you for daring to open your mouth. Different bullies and abusers react in different ways and may use any or all four of the above defensive measures.
You must realize that bullies and abusers, even those who are formerly so, count on your silence and they detest, or more appropriately, fear being exposed. Exposure is the worst thing that could happen to them because they risk losing respect in the community and other people seeing them for the monsters they are.
Bullies make everything about appearances and when you will back the curtain, you make liars and hypocrites out of them.
So, naturally, they’re going to either attack you, avoid you, or both. They may make statements such as:
“Well, we were just kids then.”
“But that’s all water under the bridge.”
“Just let bygones be bygones.”
”Just let sleeping dogs lie.”
They may tell you to “get over it” or accuse you of bringing up old stuff. Understand that any time people make these statements, their main goal is to shut you up.
But they have other objectives as well:
1. To minimize their past brutality and the impact it all had on you
2. To make you look like a whiner who just can’t “let the past go.”
3. To cover their backsides and minimize any dents to their reputations or any backlash they might receive.
Again, don’t be afraid. Instead, see it as they’re unwittingly revealing themselves and let them go at it. Let them launch their personal attacks.
Before I close, I’d like to make another huge point: When you speak out about your bullies and their abuse, you force them to explain themselves. Anyone who must explain and justify themselves or their behavior is never in a powerful position.
So, in forcing your bullies to explain themselves you instantly snatch them out of their position of power and move them into a vulnerable position. In other words, you automatically turn the tables and leave the bullies in a very helpless and subordinate place. In short, you strip them of power. Ouch!
In forcing the bully to explain their past or present behavior, you instantly remove their “authority”- their power because neither power nor authority ever explains itself. It doesn’t have to.
Hence the reason bullies despise even the thought of having to give explanations because it puts them in a weak and subordinate position.
The most insidious thing about being a target of bullying is the loss of opportunities to meet new people and the inability to move on with new friends. When bullies and their drones have unjustly slandered or libeled you, even total strangers will no doubt hear of you, and chances are, they will automatically have their minds made up about you before they get a chance to meet you. Sadly, this is one feature of bullying that crosses very few people’s minds.
What’s even scarier is that you are left completely defenseless against any attack these strangers may bring because you haven’t the slightest idea who they are. How do you know who to watch out for? How do you know who to avoid? It’s impossible to protect yourself from invisible enemies.
It is a situation in which you are walking blind, which is very dangerous! You cannot see the enemy. Someone could walk right up to you on the street, in broad daylight, with a weapon hidden on them and you would never know of their intent to hurt or kill you until it was too late.
Remember. We lost the Vietnam War because we didn’t know who the enemy was. We didn’t know exactly who was or wasn’t on our side!
It’s the same when you are a target of bullying, especially if you live in a rural area where everyone knows everyone. Once your tarnished reputation reaches far and wide, there will be times when you won’t know who is coming for you and it will be as if you are fighting ghosts.
Sadly, in these cases, the bullying has for so long gone on that your reputation in the community has become ironclad, and there isn’t much you can do to change it. Therefore, the best you can do to better your life is to move away and get a fresh start in a new town. It may be the only way you will find happiness and stability.
It always starts subtly. Bullies start rumors by dropping a suggestion. And all it takes is one little rumor- just one! Because people will want to believe it.
If enough people do, it will become the truth even if it is a bald-faced lie. And there’s no getting away from public opinion no matter how false or unjustified it is.
Bullies ruin targets by making things up, leaking info they hear, or spreading ideas. Next, the bullies will fade into the background because they know that with everything put together, the rumor or whatever lie they spread will stick. They’ve done their part, and now they can sit back and let the rumor mill do the work for them. It’s that easy!
Let’s break it down.
The bullies start by suggesting that the target would be better off if he/she got professional help, moved, etc . They will say that it’s for his (the target’s) own good.
They may then drop an offhand comment here and another there.
In the beginning, the target may have friends and be very well-liked. And these friends may try to support the victim and speak on his behalf, but that’s when the bullies will tell them, “Oh, no. There’s more to it than what he told you.” Or, the bullies may lie to the friends by telling them that sometime in the past, the target criticized them (the friends) or stabbed them in the back.
Now it’s time for the bullies to stand back and let the old rumor mill do its handiwork. And, sure enough, the lies become the truth. People begin reporting things to the bullies and higher-ups in the social hierarchy- even things that never happened.
And as the rumors and lies spread from person to person, the bigger they get until they sound so bizarre and outlandish they’d be fit for a horror movie.
The target might say, “Aw, but they’re my friends. They’d never do that to me. They know I’m a good person, and I have a clean reputation. All I have to do is tell them my side of things, and this stuff will go away.”
Once the rumors get around, the target’s friends will no longer believe him to be right. They’ll only think the victim is a thorn in the side with a big mouth. By the time bullying is underway, your reputation is no longer clean.
Now, everyone thinks the target never deserved any respect or friendship. The people around him also feel that the reason he was so well-liked is that he conned his way into their hearts.
They’ll say that the target put on a front, and he only weaseled his way into everyone’s good graces. The bullies and their followers may even accuse the victim of being a kiss-arse.
The target’s past wins, accomplishments, successes, or accolades will be made irrelevant. And every mistake and failure will be maximized, along with many more he didn’t make. At the same time, they’ll rewrite the victim’s history.
When you’re a target, even if others see with their own eyes evidence of your successes, friendships- anything positive, they’ll only react by claiming that you’re only a smooth-talker who’s darn good at using fake charm to manipulate others.
And the friends that your bullies turn against you? Your former friends will claim that they never liked you from the start and that they were only kind to you because they were afraid of you, felt sorry for you, or because you smooth-talked and conned them.
Your so-called friends will tell others, “who you really are.” They’ll claim that the bullies you bitched about were only reacting to your sneaky provocations, and if they ever agreed with you about your bullies, they only did so because you fooled them into it.
And telling your side of things will do no good because they’ll never believe it anyway. Your embittered friends “may have fallen for it at first,” but now they claim to “know better.”
I want you to understand that their minds are already made up and there’s no changing it.
In cases like these, it’s best just to find a way to get out of the environment altogether and never look back, and to never have anything to do with any of these people again. You owe it to yourself to kick them all to the curb.
I want you to realize that everything you say, good or bad, can be used against you in the court of public opinion if you are a target of bullying. So, please, don’t be confused or surprised when this happens as it will only further cloud your thinking and cause you not to defend yourself properly.
If you are a target of bullying, EXPECT the following:
1. Any joke you tell, no matter how funny it may be, will be considered unfunny.
2. Any self-deprecating humor will be seen as your having no self-confidence or being mentally unstable.
3. Any sarcasm will be taken literally.
4. Any casual comments such as, “I would love to have been able to sleep in this morning,” will be taken as your admitting you planned to be absent from school or work today and are complaining about having to come in. They will accuse you of either being a lazy bum or so depressed that you found it difficult to get out of bed.
5. Any positive statements or compliments will be seen as kissing up or an attempt to score points with the recipient.
6. Any self-confidence and good self-esteem will be perceived as being pompous, arrogant, and full of yourself.
7. Refusing to talk to your bullies and their minions or to answer any gotcha questions, though justified, will be deemed as your being “too good to speak” or having something to hide.
8. If you smile, they’ll think you’re plotting something.
9. If you’re happy, you must’ve done something evil.
In short, when you are a target of bullying, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.
The sooner you realize this, the sooner you’ll be able to prepare for the attacks and to either properly counter them or to make your escape to a better environment.