Bullies and Gossip

bullies gossip rumor defame

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.

bullying exclusion isolation

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…”

“Poor thing…”

“Bless her heart…”

dreamstime_xs_10518911

 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 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.

bullying mobbing

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.

And sadly, in a majority of cases, targets must leave the school, company, or community to heal and to rebuild their lives.

Be Careful What You Share

bullying gossip rumors

If you are a target of bullying, never share anything with anyone- not even your best friend. Because, in a situation like this, you cannot afford to trust anyone. I don’t care how close you and your friends seem to be. It’s still not a smart move because you never know when your bullies will succeed in turning your friends against you and those friends become willing participants in bullying you.

So, never divulge any info that’s private or personal- anything you wouldn’t want to be known.

Examples of things better kept private are as follows (Some of these are no-brainers):

  1. Your sex life, or lack of.
  2. A drug addict in your family.
  3. Any medical conditions or diseases.
  4. Any mental illnesses.
  5. Any legal troubles- even as minor as traffic tickets.
  6. Family issues- divorce, child custody, births, deaths, etc.
  7. Your past (if you’re old enough to have one).
  8. Past abuse you may have suffered.
  9. Your personal info.
  10. Email and passwords to social media accounts.
  11. Names of your family members.
  12. Never brag about your daughter’s beauty pageant or your son’s perfect grades.
  13. Your views about the recent scandal at school or work.
  14. Your hobbies and interests.
  15. The TV show you watched last night, especially if it’s a slasher show or filled with hot-buttered sex.
  16. Never talk about politics! Ever! That’s a no-no subject!

 Bullies are already looking for dirty laundry. So, why air yours? When you’re a target of bullying, the less they know about you and your life, the better.

Let Them Talk

Business man not listening to nonsense

Businessman not listening to nonsense

Gossips are everywhere! Too many people worry needlessly about what people are saying about them. But here’s the thing, people talk. They’re going to have something to say about you until the day you die. Get used to it. Better, yet embrace it! Love it!

Here’s Why:

1. When people talk about you, they make you relevant! Good or bad, it means you’re an exciting topic- you’re not dull. Remember that it’s much better to be good or bad then to be boring.

2. When people engage in petty gossip about you, it means that they can’t get you off their minds. Somehow, someway, positive or negative, you’ve made an impact on them. You’ve stirred emotions up in them.

dreamstime_xs_145903143

3. When people talk about you, it means they don’t have lives of their own and are obsessed with yours, which means your life must be more exciting than theirs.

4. When people talk behind your back, they reveal much more about themselves than they do you. Remember the old proverb, “Great minds discuss ideas, Average minds discuss events, and Small minds discuss people.”

5. When people can’t shut up about you, you’re the one who’s in control of them. Because you occupy a large amount of space in their minds, you’ve affected them profoundly and with little or no effort.

6. The people who blab about you expend a lot of their energy on you while you get to save yours. They’re thinking of you without getting so much as a thought from you.

dreamstime_xs_131053464

7. When you’re the topic of others’ discussions, it means that they’re your fans, only they don’t know it.

8. In a nutshell, when people can’t stop running their mouths about you, it only means that you have a tremendous amount of power over them and you didn’t have to make an effort to get that power! Yay, you!

So don’t give their talk any validation by reacting. Just sit back and be amused by the talkers, provided it’s just petty gossip and not defamation. I’ll distinguish between the two in a future post.

Message to Targets: Your Reputation Does NOT Equal Your Character!

dreamstime_s_164565845

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

Character is who you truly are. Reputation is who others think you are.
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.

dreamstime_xs_93701973

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.).

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.

dreamstime_xs_86395730

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 very easily use any reactions as validation of any rumors and 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.

Business man not listening to nonsense

Businessman not listening to nonsense

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 every day that you are a great person! Hold on to your faith and your dignity! Hold on to TRUTH!

Reverse Psychology: When Bullies Talk Bad About You, Here Are a Few Positive Ways of Looking at it.

dreamstime_xs_48477896

Bullies will always have something negative to say. So, instead of thinking, there is something wrong with you, why not look at it from these points of view?

1. When people talk about you, good or bad, at least you know you aren’t boring. And most people would rather be “bad” than boring. Also, you must be doing something right if you’re being mentioned all the time. When they talk about you, they make you relevant.

2. When people talk smack about you, it only means you still consume their minds.
So, who’s really in control here?

students gossiping behind classmate back at school

education, bullying, social relations and people concept – students gossiping behind classmate back at school

3. You have a lot of power if you can stir resentment or hate in someone without trying or meaning to. It only goes to show that the dummy doing the talking can easily be controlled with little effort.

4. They must really admire you and want to be like you. Otherwise, you wouldn’t even be an afterthought to them.

5. It says more about them than it does about you. What it says if that they don’t have lives of their own, so they take interest in yours, which means that your life must be more interesting than theirs!

6. People who consistently talk bad about you really have an obsession with you.

dreamstime_xs_158913709

Like the old saying goes, “He who angers you controls you.”

So, why not feel good about it and even better, take advantage of it by letting them talk. Because some things don’t need a defense, especially if the bullies are known for being gossips and troublemakers.

Just sit back, smile and be quietly amused by the pettiness. Be your sweet self and others will see through the gossip too. When I finally wised up and took this approach, I was so surprised at the results! My only regret is not realizing this earlier.

Attitude is what it’s all about. With the right attitude, you can beat your bullies without ever lifting a finger!

The more you know, the better you will protect yourself!

When Bullying Becomes Mobbing: Detailed Steps Bullies Take to Destroy You and The Stages of Bullying That Go with Them

dreamstime_xs_5778092

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

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

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

dreamstime_xs_86667912

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

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

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

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

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

dreamstime_xs_131053464

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

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

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

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

dreamstime_xs_48711241

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

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

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

dreamstime_xs_26207833

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

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

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

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

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

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

dreamstime_xs_159789174

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

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

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

dreamstime_xs_166125536

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

Bullying in Oakley During the ’80s: A Man Called “Smiley”

dreamstime_xs_53745444

If you’re an ‘80’s teenager, you probably remember certain people in your neighborhood who didn’t fit in- the village idiot, the town whore, the ne’er do well family, the spinster, the drug-addict, the wino- anyone others saw as different, or an oddball.

Maybe the person was the childless woman, the lifelong bachelor, or the quiet guy who didn’t speak much. The unlucky individual might have had a mental disability- a Vietnam combat veteran who suffered PTSD, perhaps.

Whatever it was about the person, they had ways about them, which seemed “off.”
Although people nowadays don’t pay as much attention to any oddities in certain people, back in the eighties, it was a big deal, especially in a rural, Southern town like Oakley, Tennessee.

dreamstime_xs_118085985

For instance, if you had a gay couple living next door back then, it would cause a huge stink in town, whereas today, it’s accepted. And a person thought to be mentally imbalanced was frowned upon worse than if he’d been a rapist or murderer.

I remember a guy everyone referred to as “Smiley.” He was a poor, widowed, older man who we’d see out early every morning with a trash bag in his hand, picking up tin cans. He always had a smile on his face. But because he always looked bedraggled, people looked down on him.

They would conjure up wild stories about the man only because he was so poor that he couldn’t afford any decent clothes and wore old, dirty attire full of holes. Kids and teens would misinterpret a genuine smile and wave from Smiley as a flirt and that he was trying to come on to them.

Business man not listening to nonsense

Businessman not listening to nonsense

Young boys would run around telling everyone who would listen that the man was gay, and the girls would accuse him of being a perv.

Some would spread rumors that Smiley was some crazy released from the state mental hospital or a serial killer who’d gotten out of prison. Other tales went around about the man as well, one which was that he had AIDS because he was so frail and skinny.

He was a freak
He stank
He was just plain gross
He was a pervert
He looked nasty
He didn’t take baths

dreamstime_xs_166615770

Those were things I’d often hear. People didn’t accept Smiley nor want him around. It was heartbreaking.

These rumors would spread to the parents and other adults in the neighborhood, and they’d tell their children to keep away from him. Some of the adults would see him walking up the street and come outside, screaming obscenities at the poor guy.
The adults would also ask around about Smiley- Had anyone “seen anything suspicious or peculiar out of him?”

People like Smiley were prime targets for vandalism and physical assault. People would throw rocks through their windows, key their cars, or spray-paint the word “FREAK” in big black letters on the side of their houses. Eventually, people like him got severely beaten or worse. Or maybe they’d have no choice but to move away.

We’d like to think that eventually, bullies grow up and get lives of their own, but the reality is that most of them only get worse as they get older.

dreamstime_xs_161721678

Sadly, the same stuff happens today. Innocent people- good people are accused of some of the most unspeakable deeds- all because they’re different somehow. And most of the time, there’s no truth in any of it.

If the rumors are proven to be false, many people will still hold negative views of the person and reject any evidence that he’s innocent- even if the evidence is undeniable.Understand that most bullies (and most people) will believe what’s most familiar to them and what feels right to them. And no amount of evidence to the contrary will change their minds.

If you ever find yourself a target of such people and such rumors, lies, and gossip (mainly for several years), you must focus on taking care of yourself. Focus on you! That’s what Smiley did.

dreamstime_xs_121502578

He didn’t worry about what others were saying. Smiley looked out for himself. He focused on his wants, his needs, his goals, and the few people in town who treated him well. Eventually, he moved away to be near his five children, who loved and took care of him until the day he died.

So, do what’s best for you. And sometimes, what’s best is to get out of the environment altogether. If you have to pack up and move, do it! Go where you can be happy, be yourself, and be free of such negativity.

Your safety, peace, and happiness should be top priority!

Psst! I Have a Secret: Bullies Get Gossiped About Too, Only People Are Quieter About It.

dreamstime_s_111961310

If there’s one thing small towns are known for, it’s gossip. If you find yourself unfortunate enough to be a victim of bullies in a small town, gossip about your (perceived) transgressions has reached from city limits to city limits…at light speed.

However, take it from someone who has been there. Bullies get talked about too, only people never talk openly about them. Because the talkers fear becoming the bullies’ next targets, the talk is always in secret.

Believe me, you aren’t the only one being victimized. There are others. But because the others more than likely won’t admit to being bullied and because bullies will never tell you if there are others, you never hear about it and therefore, mistakenly think that you are the only one they pick on.

If you are a victim of bullies, it would be in your best interest to find out who your bullies’ enemies are and align yourself with them. It’s what I did and boy, did I find out some really juicy tidbits about their lives…most of which is rather embarrassing information!

dreamstime_xs_16998436

I didn’t have to ask. I would only sit or stand quietly, observe and listen! Bullies may think they’re stars, but scratch the surface and you’ll discover that they don’t shine so brightly after all.

One of my bullies is now a nurse and I am good friends with several nurses who’ve had the displeasure of working with her. In their words, “she is as incompetent as they come.”. Also, she has a big family secret and if you’ve lived in the same town that she lives in long enough, you know what that secret is.

I’ll stop here to protect privacy. This woman has for years bounced from one job to another, either getting fired or quitting when things didn’t go her way. She has also been through five, maybe six marriages.

Another bully dropped out of high school and ended up working as a waitress. She now owns her own restaurant but barely breaks even. Several others are incarcerated or have been, with one being convicted of murder and another convicted of armed robbery, running guns and possession of illegal substances.

dreamstime_xs_5778092

The bullies I battled in school are only ordinary people, yet most of them, even today, continue trying like mad to keep up with the Jones’s, making everyone think they have beaten the rat race, and failing miserably. Most have never left the small town and still put on the facade of power and a perfect life. It’s hilarious when you really think about it.

Here’s some advice:

1. Befriend your bullies’ enemies. Befriend the other outcasts in your school, workplace or community. Because I guarantee you that you aren’t the only one they’ve steamrolled. Bullies leave a lot of shattered lives in their wake and make lots of enemies. And strength always comes in numbers.

2. Listen out! You will hear a lot of stories about your bullies from other outcasts and other people who cannot stand them. You will be surprised at what you find out. It may be that your bullies get laughed at too. People are only careful who they do it around and are quieter about it. They must be or the bullies will target them too.

dreamstime_xs_48477896

Bullies aren’t as important or invincible as they put on. It’s only an act! People such as these must work hard to maintain the facades they put on and the reason they give victims a difficult time is that victims don’t have to work that hard. They simply choose to be themselves.

How do I know this? Because I ingratiated myself into the good graces of the enemies of my bullies and would get an ear-full every time we got together.

Any information you get about your bullies is valuable to you. Always! Because it can then be used as leverage should the bullies come for you.

Make no mistake. Bullies have enemies…LOTS of them! However, they will never in a million years tell you about it. They don’t want you to believe that others disrespect them behind their backs because it would shatter the image of invincibility they’ve set for themselves.

dreamstime_xs_64423495

Instead, they want you to believe that everyone loves them and thinks they are the best things since the invention of the wheel. And they want you to believe it because they want you to feel bad about yourself.

Put another way, if bullies can make you think that everyone loves them, then you’re more likely to believe the lie they drum into your head every day. That you’re just plain garbage. Because a bully’s popularity and greatness (perceived or not) only serves to re-enforce any dislike the target has for themselves after they’ve been bullied for so long.

Please don’t let this happen to you. Befriend your bullies’ enemies. Open your eyes not only to your great value and worth but also to the facades your bullies hide behind and the acts they put on. I guarantee that your self-esteem will skyrocket.

Let Them Talk

dreamstime_xs_174836845

Gossips are everywhere! Too many people worry needlessly about what people are saying about them. But here’s the thing, people talk. They’re going to have something to say about you until the day you die. Get used to it. Better, yet embrace it! Love it!

Here’s Why:

1. When people talk about you, they make you relevant! Good or bad, it means you’re an exciting topic- you’re not dull. Remember that it’s much better to be good or bad then to be boring.

dreamstime_xs_16998436

2. When people engage in petty gossip about you, it means that they can’t get you off their minds. Somehow, someway, positive or negative, you’ve made an impact on them. You’ve stirred emotions up in them.

3. When people talk about you, it means they don’t have lives of their own and are obsessed with yours, which means your life must be more exciting than theirs.

dreamstime_xs_48477896

4. When people talk behind your back, they reveal much more about themselves than they do you. Remember the old proverb, “Great minds discuss ideas, Average minds discuss events, and Small minds discuss people.”

5. When people can’t shut up about you, you’re the one who’s in control of them. Because you occupy a large amount of space in their minds, you’ve affected them profoundly and with little or no effort.

Business man not listening to nonsense

Businessman not listening to nonsense

Businessman not listening to nonsense

6. The people who blab about you expend a lot of their energy on you while you get to save yours. They’re thinking of you without getting so much as a thought from you.

7. When you’re the topic of others’ discussions, it means that they’re your fans, only they don’t know it.

dreamstime_xs_158913709

8. In a nutshell, when people can’t stop running their mouths about you, it only means that you have a tremendous amount of power over them and you didn’t have to make an effort to get that power! Yay, you!

So don’t give their talk any validation by reacting. Just sit back and be amused by the talkers, provided it’s just petty gossip and not defamation. I’ll distinguish between the two in a future post.