A Closer Look at Frenemies (Part 2)

In Part 1, we discussed frenemies and the gradual but growing hot/cold, waxing and waning in their behavior, which snowballs into a terrible lashing of venom that leaves a target both shocked and hurt.

Again, if you’ve ever found yourself on the receiving end of a frenemy’s poison, rest assured that none of it was your fault and you were not the person with the issue. Understand that in using this hot/cold, nice/nasty cycle, the frenemy only used “The Push/Pull Method” on you.

This push and pull technique is exactly how it sounds: the frenemy pulls the target in, pushes him/her away, then pulls them in again. This back and forth cycle is specifically designed to hook you into the friendship and throw you off your game! Realize that the person was more than likely never your friend!

You may ask yourself these questions:

“If this person was never my friend and never liked me to begin with, why then did they exert such much effort to get close to me?”

“Why did this person latch on to me in the first place?”

Jealousy was most likely the culprit. Your frenemy (or frenemies) was intensely jealous of something you possessed and wanted a way to punish you for having something- anything they only wished they had. They wanted to bring you down a few notches…to put you in your place…to cut you down to size!

Rather than a direct, frontal assault, they preferred to out-flank you by carefully cozying up to you, tricking you into dropping your defenses, and winning your complete trust to get close to you!

Another reason could be that the frenemy somehow gets an ego-boost from being “friends” with you and the thought of being seen with you!

Understand that this closeness is a way to hook you into the friendship, then gather intimate, personal details about your life and personality to suss out any weaknesses or less-than-desirable qualities you have. Fake-friends are like police detectives who attempt to build a case against you.

Once they gather the intel they need, they exploit this information, using it as a weapon to harm you, ruin your reputation, and sabotage your personal relationships and associations.

When you finally get fed up, put your foot down and end the friendship, the frenemy then paints you as the mean, mentally-unbalanced, or selfish person and trumpets any dirt collected on you to anyone who will listen to them. I want you to understand that this is how frenemies operate. People such as these are very sneaky, meticulous, and worst of all, patient!

It is much better to have full-blown enemies than frenemies because, with an enemy, you always know where you stand and can more easily avoid contact. However, (especially those who are charming and persuasive) have ways of reeling you in and keeping you dependent on their approval and acceptance.

 

Red flag waving on blue sky background.

And if you are a victim of bullying, the relationship is much harder to get out of because you’re afraid of going back to being friendless. But wouldn’t you rather be to yourself than to keep company with people who only wish to bring you down? I know I would!

Remember that a smiling face does not a friend make. Not everyone who pats you on the back has your best interests at heart. There are red flags you can look for, and speed in friendship progression is a major red flag! Anytime someone is so quick to call you a friend, be alert! Alternating hot and cold (flip-flopping) and micro-flashes of contempt and hostility in their body language are also warnings you should be aware of!

In these scenarios, the best you can do is to step back and maintain plenty of distance between you and the person in question. Only then is it possible to observe them and figure out their true motivations and intentions!

A Closer Look at Frenemies

Every single one of us has had that one “friend” or that handful of “friends,” if that’s what you prefer to call them. They seem to really like us and want to be around us all the time. They cozy up to us very quickly (too quickly), seemingly mesmerized by us, bombarding us with attention and laying the flattery on super-thick really early in the relationship and wanting so badly to be a part of our lives.

They butter us up with compliments, smile at us, and pat us on the back, making us feel great about ourselves. If you’re being bullied and are feeling insecure like I was years ago, this is such a welcome change!

You’re bullied, lonely, rejected, and this seems to be just the thing you’ve been waiting for, giving you that much-needed shot of dopamine you’ve been craving for so long!

Suddenly you feel great about yourself and think that maybe, the bullying might be coming to an end. Soon, however, you notice subtle signs in the person that doesn’t feel so good, occasionally seeing out of the corner of your eye those split-second flashes of disdain on the faces of your “new friends”…a sneer here, an evil, piercing glance there.

Although your gut begins to sound off, telling you that something is “off” about this person (or these people), you only mentally make excuses for them.

“Maybe he/she is having a rough day.”
“Maybe someone made him/her angry before they came to visit.”
“Maybe they’re just in a bad mood.”

Wanting to believe the very best of the person(s), you mentally explain away the signs that tell you that something just isn’t right. Then, when it happens again, you begin to ask yourself,

“Was it something I said or something I did accidentally to offend this person?”

Next, your new buddy or buddies seem cold toward you. They begin to alternate hot and cold, and you’re left bewildered as to the causation, all the while your sixth sense is telling you to put some distance yourself and these people and to do it fast! But you don’t because this person is a friend. You love them and don’t want to seem like a heel or that you don’t appreciate their friendship.

Also, the bullies have suddenly disappeared, and you want to keep it this way. Even worse and more pathetic, you dread the possibility of going back to square one…eating your lunch alone, walking alone in the halls, and once again, being the target of bullies.

So, you continue to tolerate unacceptable behavior because, deep down, you don’t think that you can find better people to be pals with. You’ve been bullied and shamed for so long that you have actually forgotten what a true friend is and what it’s like to have one.

When you finally work up the nerve to ask the person about his/her behavior, they either lie about the behavior, downplay it, or worse, tell you that you’re imagining things or being too sensitive. However, as time goes by, those tiny micro-expressions of ire, the split-second glares, and subtle, back-handed compliments and coldness only become more frequent!

Now, your Spidey-senses are screaming! Others you thought were decent toward you are now giving you the silent treatment, and you don’t know why.

Suddenly, BAM! It happens! The person lashes out at you for reasons that are so trivial, or worse, reasons which seem to be made up! You know you should tell them to take a hike, but you only blame yourself or give misplaced apologies instead, looking even more pathetic to bystanders and witnesses! Even worse, now, you look like an even bigger target to bullies!

Continued in Part 2…

Excuses People Make for Bullies

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As we know, bullies are very practiced and convincing liars and have a flair for using charm to deceive bystanders and authority.

Understand that this “charm” bullies often display is fake. It is all a part of the smokescreen they put up to hoodwink people, cover up bad behavior, and avoid accountability. In short, bullies are only actors and actresses.

Here is a list of excuses that bystanders and authorities often make for the bully anytime a victim reports them for their appalling behavior.

“That’s just his personality.”

“He was only joking.”

“She’s only expressing herself.”

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“He just has a very strong personality.”

“She’s going through a hard time right now.”

“But he’s really a good person, he’s just having issues right now.”

“She’s just having problems at home.”

“He’s just being himself.”

“But he’s so well-liked and well mannered. Why would he bully someone like you?”

“But she’s so sweet and everyone loves her. She wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

“But they’re just good kids who made a bad mistake.”

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These are a few examples of how others justify and condone the bully’s behavior.

Don’t fall for it! Call them what they are- BULLIES! Never accept any excuse. It’s true that retaliation may follow.

However, stay strong and know that you don’t have to tolerate atrocious behavior from anyone! You have rights. And you have a right to be safe and to live in a healthy environment. Those are non-negotiables!

Lastly, always remember that it’s not your fault and the harassment isn’t about you. It’s about the bullies’ issues!

Who Are the People Most Hurtful to a Target? ‘Tisn’t the Bullies (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1…)

When you’re a target of bullying in school or at work, you can’t afford to put all your trust in anyone, not even those who seem to be your friends. I’m not suggesting you be completely paranoid, only nonchalant. Because in a toxic area, you will have a few nosy wolves in sheep’s clothing around you, who will try to get close to you for no other reason than to probe for intimate details about you and your life.

They will also study you like a lab-rat to see how you react to certain things and find out your opinions, especially opinions of your bullies and other people you go to school or work with. Why? So they can take the juicy deets and report back to your bullies with them.

Here are ways that you can pick up on your classmates or coworkers’ hidden attitudes and intentions.

1. Always observe the people around you – without looking like you’re watching, of course. Use your peripheral vision to scan them and your environment, and you’ll quickly pick up on the moods and sense the elephant in the room (if there is one).

2. Look for body language that isn’t congruent with words and context – Actions speak louder than words. If their body language isn’t congruent with words, background, or the situation and shows even a hint of hostility and discomfort when they’re around you, then “Houston, we have a problem.”

back-stabbing colleagues threatening an employee with scissors and knife

3. Watch for micro flashes – If you’re not careful, you’re likely to miss those tiny, split-second micro flashes of contempt people give without realizing it or when they think you aren’t aware of it. There are good actors; don’t get me wrong, but there are certain things the body gives away involuntarily, and if you look for it, you’ll see it.

When you’re around fake friends, sometimes, as you turn your back, you’ll see a tiny micro flash of contempt on their faces out of the corner of your eye. Then, you’ll get that nagging feeling in the pit of your gut. Don’t ignore that because you don’t only imagine things! Eighty-six, these creeps fast!

4. Notice the person’s feet – You can tell a lot by the feet! If the person is talking to you, facing you, but their feet are pointing away from you, that means they aren’t as “with you” as you think. Put some distance between you and that person.

5. Watch for crossed arms while talking to the person – If you’re having a conversation with the person and they cross their arms over their chest, that’s a dead giveaway! They’re exhibiting closed body language, and they’re closing themselves off to anything you have to say. It’s time to make an excuse to end the tete-a-tete and walk away. You don’t want this person around you.

6. Looking at you without blinking – if they do this, it’s a sure sign of contempt, or they’re trying to intimidate you. Either way, this person is not the person you want to be around.

7. Other signs to look for – a furrowed brow, one corner of the lip slightly raised, an icy, piercing stare, smiling at you with their mouth but not the eyes (no crinkles around the eyes). Any of these signs, you might want to distance yourself.

8. If they look at you, then look at each other when you walk away – again, you want nothing to do with these people.

9. Watch what you share– Very important! Don’t tell anyone anything they don’t need to know. Not even to those who seem friendly Don’t reveal information that’s better off private. Don’t badmouth anybody, especially the bullies, to anyone. They may smile in your face, but you can be sure they’ll report back to the bullies with anything you say and try to fan the flames.

10. Watch for eavesdroppers – If you have an innocent conversation with someone in the hall, be on the lookout for eavesdroppers. Don’t talk near corners or open doors. Many times people will listen in on your discussion, then report back to the bullies with it. Pay attention to people who walk by.

And if you see other people standing around while you’re speaking and those people aren’t a part of the conversation, take the discussion to a place more private.

Who Are the People Most Hurtful to a Target? ‘Tisn’t the Bullies.

It wasn’t the attacks from the bullies themselves. The bullies were the people from whom I’d come to expect that kind of behavior. From them, any vitriol, any vile and disgusting words and actions came as no surprise to me!

What hurt more than anything was the betrayal– when those I thought were my friends would so quickly and without question believe the lies and rumors that my bullies had spread. It was akin to being kicked in the stomach. Also, these so-called friends in school never had my back. Some even had the power to stop the bullying and protect me but refused, only throwing me under the bus.

Friends are supposed to be the people who believe the best of you. They are supposed to have your back any time someone attacks you. They’ll speak on your behalf when another person so much as badmouths you behind your back but in front of them, and they’ll stick up for you even when you’re not around to see them do it. Real friends are with you no matter what, especially when the chips are down. They will go to hell and back for you.

But sadly, during school, the people I thought I could trust did the opposite; they’d either go along with or believe the lies- and without bothering to ask me first!

My fake friends often sold me out- delivered me up to my bullies- with my head on a plate.

Rejection and mistreatment from a bully are easier to deal with because, from a bully, you expect nothing more. It’s much harder to take when it comes from someone you think is a friend and think highly of. When I look back now, I realize that I didn’t have friends in school until I was in the twelfth grade.

Before senior year, I only kept these so-called pals around and put up with them because they were the only options I had. It was pathetic.

The betrayals I suffered years ago is why I’m so selective of who I let in my life today. It’s also why I prefer to keep my circle small. I’d rather have only a handful of real friends than a million half-baked, fake ones. But we don’t value ourselves like we should when we’re teenagers and haven’t been in the world very long.

Too many people are overly concerned with having a large number of friends but don’t realize that real friends- people who have your back, who have your best at heart and will go to bat for you under the worst conditions- are a rare commodity and don’t come around every day.

Finding genuine friends is like opening a thousand empty oysters and finding only five or six pearls. These are the friends who are worth more than gold! And if you have them, you’d better appreciate them for all that they are!

When I meet a new person for the first time, I no longer wonder whether they’ll like me; I now wonder if I’m going to like them. I choose who I let in and who I give the boot, and if I stop having anything to do with someone, you can bet they betrayed me somehow, and I consider betrayal a deadly sin that will get someone dismissed very quickly.

I know what I want in a friend, and I won’t settle for anything less because anything less than desired is unacceptable. Loyalty is a virtue I look for, and if the person isn’t loyal, they aren’t worthy!

I want you to understand that if you have friends who are so quick to believe the lies your bullies tell them that they get angry with you and refuse to speak to you, guess what? These people are not your friends. They never were! Why else would they take your bullies’ word over yours and be so quick to turn against you?

Maybe those you thought were your friends only tolerated you because they felt sorry for you. And why would you settle for someone’s pity? Or, maybe your so-called friends didn’t have many options themselves, and you were only a second choice friend, or worse! The last-resort-friend! Ewww! Who wants that!

If you have friends who don’t stand with you and fade into the woodwork when your bullies attack you, they’re not worth your time or energy. Friends like that don’t deserve the privilege of being a part of your life. You’re better off without them.

You need to ditch these losers and find better friends, even if it means you have to be by yourself for a while. Hey, I know it sucks. Nobody wants to be alone. However, you must learn to be your own best friend before anyone else can.

Sometimes you must clean out all the trash to make room for the good stuff- the people who deserve to be in your life.

Continued in Part 2…

Why Frenemies Are Worse Than Enemies

Targets often pick “friends” who only tolerate them or those who wish them ill will because they’re often lonely and desperate. For so long, they have been wrongly alienated from others due to rumors and lies that bullies have spread about them to keep them from making friends.

Because the target is so hungry for a connection…any connection, he/she will befriend anyone…and I mean anyone! They are not selective with who they call “friend” and end up latching on to people who are not even worth knowing…predators, who only take advantage.

Also, young victims often assume that to be “cool,” they have to have a big circle of friends. This is not true.

With that being said, I want you to know that if you are a victim of bullying, you do not need a whole slew of people in your life to be happy nor to feel like or be a whole person. You only need your family and a few true friends. It’s safer this way. Wouldn’t you much rather have just a handful of true friends than to have an abundance of frenemies? I know I would.

In fact, you should prefer to have enemies over ‘frenemies’ because, with an enemy, you know exactly where they stand without having to do any guesswork. However, you will always be the last to know with frenemies after being played for a sucker.

If at any time you wonder about a person…if your intuition is telling you that something is “off,” put some distance between yourself and that individual and do it fast! Instinct is trying to warn you.

If your so-called friends are only tolerating you, stabbing you in the back, or sabotaging you in any way, it’s time to eighty-six of these leaches to your self-esteem. And the sooner you do, the better!

Toxic Friendship

Have you ever had so-called friends who seemed to turn hot and cold toward you? Who manipulated you into doing something you didn’t want to do? Fake friends who never had your back and always threw you under the bus whenever you were in trouble or in danger? Who treated you shabbily and didn’t seem to care how they hurt you? Whom you had to apologize to for things you weren’t guilty of just to keep the peace?

Have you ever had that particular friend who seemed possessive of you and wanted to keep you all to herself? Who would get angry when she saw you talking to another friend of yours, or worse, treat the other friend like a fifth wheel because she feels threatened by your friendship with the other girl?

Or…maybe it’s less obvious. Your so-called friend discourages you when you tell him what your plans for the future are. You tell your frenemy that you’re planning to cut a CD, or write a book and publish it. And he shoots you off your saddle by telling you in the most caring and concerned tone,

“I want to warn you before you get your hopes up because the last thing I want is to see you disappointed. Most singers and writers never get anywhere with their music and books. It’s hard to make it in that industry today.”

Although that may be true- it’s very difficult to make it in both the music and publishing industries, your friend should at least encourage you and be proud of you for having the guts to try. Because, who knows? You may be one of the lucky few who do make it. However, if you don’t even try, you won’t even have a chance of succeeding.

Maybe you have a dream of one day becoming an actor and your friends ridicule you for having that dream and tell you that you’ll only crash and burn.

Maybe you’ve made a great achievement or won an award and your friends only give you backhanded compliments, or trivialize your accomplishment.

Any time friends discourage you like that, you have to wonder if they’re only discouraging you because they’re afraid that you just might be successful. You also must ask yourself whether they believe in you or not, or if they’re secretly resentful of your success.

If you’re having these problems with those who are supposed to be your friends. My loving advice is to find new friends. You owe it to yourself. Realize that real friends make us feel better about ourselves not worse. Real friends enhance your life, they don’t cause pain or humiliation.

Toxic friends only suck the life out of you and leave you feeling worthless. You deserve friends who are ride or die. You deserve friends who are there for you no matter what kind of storms you may be going through. And you deserve friends who value you and don’t want to lose you.

But first, you must value yourself. And how you value yourself is to get rid of anyone who doesn’t treat you as well as you treat them. You may be alone for a spell, but your people will find you eventually and it will be worth it in the end. I guarantee it!

Fake Superiority

Instead of putting in the work to improve and better themselves, bullies would rather tear down and destroy another person to look bigger and better than what they are. Understand that bullies never build up, they tear down. They do not create or restore, they destroy. And they don’t add to anything, but they subtract from everything.

Understand that bullies are losers, and they cannot survive in a meritocracy. They have no redeeming characteristics and no real personalities nor qualities. So, in being the weak and pathetic losers they really are, bullies tap into the only power they have left- their last resort, and they make a last-ditch effort to preserve their fragile egos.

They select a person to target and say something mean and hurtful. If that person is you, you’re naturally shocked at first and you feel off balance. Next the shock wears off and you begin feeling the pain in your heart.

If you’re a target, chances are really good that you’re a decent person and you’ve been raised with morals. You’ve been taught to treat others as you yourself would want others to treat you. And like any good person, you won’t be able to understand how or why people would be so mean-spirited and vicious to another person.

After having this happen to you for so long, you wonder, “Was it something I said? Something I did that rubbed them the wrong way?”

You then begin developing negative thoughts because others have made you feel completely worthless and useless. But!

Realize that this is a trap and if you’re not careful, you will fall into the habit of demeaning yourself. Instead, make a promise to yourself and keep it. Promise yourself that you will no longer let someone else define you. Promise yourself that you will no longer let another person decide your worth, that you will never allow other people to decide your successes or failures, or what your capabilities are.

It’ll be hard at first. But make a conscious, intentional, and concerted effort not to value the opinions and insults of a bully. Understand that you have no control over other peoples’ actions, behaviors, nor opinions. If they have a problem with you, it’s their problem, not yours.

Many of my classmates would come out and tell me, “You know what? I’ll got a real problem with you…” They had a problem alright, that much was true. But their problem wasn’t my problem.

Understand that people only look down on you to make themselves look and feel superior, and to bring you down to their level. Realize that people look down on you to conceal their own jealousy, emotional/mental instability, low self-esteem, and insecurity.

Here’s another reason people look down on you. Because it works for them- makes them feel powerful. It works because you give them validity by placing too much value to their opinions. If you didn’t, why else would you give their childish behavior and petty insults any energy at all?

You owe it to yourself to learn and see what’s behind the mask of superiority. You must see through the facades that bullies put up. And once you do, it will no longer bother you when people look down on you. In fact, you might even see the hilarity in your bullies’ collective fakery, and give them a scoff and a horselaugh as you walk past them. Now that’s the way to take the wind right out of their sails!

Then allow yourself a few chuckles, because, at the end of the day, these people really are quite entertaining- and pathetic.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Seeing Through the Bully’s Facade

We all know that bullies are cowards who hide behind a façade. But what makes that façade? What are the exact ingredients that make up the bully’s façade?

Before I give you each ingredient in detail, let me tell you that bullies are like peacocks. They like to strut around and fan out their tails, showing us their prettiest colors. And they do this to collect admirers, followers, and allies. That’s exactly what the bully’s façade is used for- to draw people to them. And bullies are good at duping their cohorts into thinking that they’re perfect and can’t be touched.

Only their targets know what’s behind the facades- victims know the real people behind the masks. So, again, what exactly are the ingredients that bullies use to build their carefully crafted facades and promote those fake images?

Here are your answers:

1. Impeccable Attire. Most seasoned and well-practiced bullies dress in the best and latest fashions. These people love to be pleasing to the eyes because they understand that, sadly, most people are materialistic and beauty-obsessed, and everything is based on appearances. So, they wear the fanciest clothes, the sportiest hairstyles, the sexiest makeup.

They show off these things to look the best and give the appearance that they’re rolling in money and that their life is perfect- all to impress others. Most of all, bullies also do it for one-upmanship!

And…here’s something else! Many of my bullies didn’t have a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out. Not that being poor makes a person bad, but!

Most bullies will go flat broke buying fancy clothes and sporty cars to pimp around town in just to keep up a fake persona. And they’ll be up to their eyeballs in debt. Many of these people are constantly having a hard time paying or failing to pay their bills.

They’re the types who will run to mommy and daddy for bailouts and handouts, yet they spend a fortune on clothes, hairstyles, manicures, pedicures, facials, cosmetic surgeries, you name it!

Because of this, I’ve known many workplace bullies who committed crimes such as theft, embezzlement, and forgery because they lived way beyond their means and got their butts in a crack they couldn’t get out of. And they got caught!

2. They put on a good show. Seasoned bullies are also the best showmen. They put on an act to gain admiration, support, or sympathy. They make grand gestures. They’re good at reading people and finding out their likes and dislikes and how they react to certain stimuli. They make themselves constantly hyperaware of the people and moods around them, then adapt to them.

You’ll often find these bullies standing in the very center of even room they’re in, and they’re the types who despise being outshone, outsmarted, or outdone.

3. They’re master wordsmiths. They use dumb clichés, euphemisms, and loaded words to impress others with their speech. They also use big words to prove how smart they are when, in reality, they’re as incompetent as they come. They also tell people what they want to hear and say everything with conviction. This is why they’re such convincing liars and why they’re so good at making the target look like the bad guy.

But here’s something else you need to know:

Although seasoned bullies are very popular among people, they’re also hated and feared by rivals and enemies. And they do eventually get brought down. I’ve seen it happen many times.

Julius Caesar was one such example.

“Caesar had his Brutus and Charles I, his Cromwell…” – Patrick Henry.

How Bullying Can Sharpen Your BS Detector

If you were ever a victim of bullying, it more than likely did the same for you. This is not to say that abuse of any form is a good thing because no one should ever be bullied. Ever! However, though painful and humiliating when it was happening, a bullied past has had its positive takeaways, one of which is my fine-tuned ability to smell bulls*** from a mile away.

Judging from my own experience and having heard stories of others who have endured the same, being a target of bullies has a way of giving you an almost psychic ability to see through people and detect true motives and intentions.


It allowed me to observe a large group of people, then spot and pick out the fakes and troublemakers at lightning speed and with accuracy. I don’t have to speak a word to anyone, only stand back and watch.

Just as a person who loses his sight experiences a much keener sense of hearing, a victim of bullying quickly grows the ability to read people like newspapers. Why? Out of sheer necessity. Many survivors can read body language like an FBI agent, deciphering the tiniest of micro-expressions. In fact, one can even pick up on the vibes others put out…especially negative ones.

When any certain skill is mandatory for your survival, nature gives you no choice but to quickly hon that skill and use it to near perfection.

I consider this sixth sense to be a gift. However, this gift came at a heavy price.