Believe it or Not, Bullies Get Talked About Too

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!

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. For years, this woman has 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.

The bullies I battled in school are only ordinary people. Yet, even today, most of them 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 many 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.

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.

Instead, they want you to believe that everyone loves them and thinks they are the best things since the wheel’s invention. 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.

Tactics Bullies Use

Social Aggression: When Bullies Spread Lies and Rumors About You

The possible underlying messages are:

“I hate you, and I want everyone else to hate you too!”

“I’m jealous of your relationships!”

“I don’t want you to have friends! I don’t want you to be popular with others! I don’t want you to have support or protection because I plan to bully you again later! Any success you have in relationships will only highlight my lack of social graces or my own dysfunctional relationships! So, I’m going to destroy your friendships to punish you and make myself feel and look better than you! I’m going to trash your reputation so I can shine, and so people will pay more attention to your flaws than they will mine!”

Chess board and text “Strategic plan” Business planning concept

“I’m scared you’ll have more friends than me.”

“I’m scared you’ll have allies who will protect you from me and make me look weak.”

“I’m going to use you as a distraction from my own shortcomings. If people are too busy focusing on your flaws, they’re less likely to see mine.”

When Bullies Beat You up

The possible messages are:

“You challenged my authority over you and made me look like a punk! So, I’m going to show you who’s boss and ensure you never defy my power again!”

“I feel weak and powerless! So, I’m going to use my physical strength to hurt you, embarrass you and make you look weaker so I can feel and look strong to others!”

When the Bully Justifies Themselves to You or Others, or When They Blame You for Their Bad Behavior

The possible messages are:

“I’m so scared that you’ll see right through me! So, I’m going to make you feel like everything is your fault and doubt your sanity! That way, you’ll be least likely to call attention to my terrible actions and make me look bad or get me in trouble with authority!”

“I’m so afraid you’ll expose my terrible deeds to others and damage the excellent reputation that I’ve falsely kept up for so long! So, I’ve got to make up any excuse that sounds plausible to keep my evils hidden and avoid facing accountability!

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“I’m scared that I’ll be found out and punished! So, I’m blaming you so that everyone will think you’re at fault and believe you are the bully! By accusing you, I can avoid responsibility, then get the green light to keep harassing you! Then, I can keep getting the psychological and emotional benefits I’ve been getting at your expense!”

So, you see? The bully’s treatment of you is about them! Not you! Learn to see through the bullies’ facades, and I guarantee that their attacks will have a much lesser effect on you.

What It’s Like When Your Reputation Meets People Before You Do

The most insidious thing about being a victim 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 victim 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.

Mobbing: In Detail

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 reason that mobbing is so hard to remedy is that 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.

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.

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.

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.”

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. They start having 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!”

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.

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.

Rumors and Lies Have Ways of Breeding False Memories

As rumors and lies circulate, details are included and added to the stories, and these details have a way of being inserted into people’s memories. There have been cases of burglaries where the homeowners “thought they saw” an unarmed burglar with a gun when, in fact, there was no gun.

Understand that in these cases, people don’t lie on purpose. They really and truly believe they saw a gun in the criminal’s hand or his pocket. They actually “remember” seeing it.

And the reason they remember it so plainly is that they’ve heard and talked about it so much their brains filled in the blanks with the details based on what they heard. Another reason for false memories is that when bullies ask questions such as,

“Did you see her do this?”

“Did you hear him say that?”

they only suggest that she did do this, or he did say that- the Power of Suggestion at work.

It’s so easy to influence people’s memories by presenting something in a particular way. Also, the memory will adjust itself according to a person’s stereotypes and expectations. People see what they expect to see.

Too often, people’s memories depend on social expectations- what they expect the target to do and not what he is actually doing.

Understand that memories are mistakable and can be falsified. Sure. And whether accurate or make-believe, once it becomes a memory, there’s no way to tell the difference.

If you’re a target of bullying, I want you to realize that this does happen and that you must make preparations accordingly to protect yourself better.

How Do You Know Bullies Are Guilty of Something?

Easy! They’re busy accusing someone else of it.

Bullies are notorious for projecting. Anything they accuse you of doing, you can bet dollars to doughnuts they’re doing it. Put another way, bullies do the same things they accuse innocent targets of doing. Understand that this is how they tell off on themselves.

There’s so much truth to the saying that, any time you point a finger, there are always three pointed back at you.

Humans can never know the inner workings of anyone else but themselves. They see from their own perspectives and speak from their own thoughts and attitudes. It is why most cheating spouses will often accuse the other spouse of doing the cheating. Every wife or husband who’s ever been cheated on knows that this is a red flag that’s all too common.

Realize that any time you have some schmuck accusing you of something terrible that you know in your heart you’re not guilty of, the chances are high that your accuser(s) is/are the one(s) guilty of it. Projection is one of the oldest tricks in the book.

Remember the quotes of Joseph Goebbels, a well-known propaganda minister:

“Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”

And…

“A lie told once remains a lie. A lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.”

So, understand that when bullies project, they’ll repeat the same lie over and over again until people (even you if you aren’t careful) begin believing it.

The more you know!

Should the Opinions of Bullies Matter? (In-Depth)

Indifferent.

Recently, I wrote a blog post entitled, “Should the Opinions of Bullies Matter?” In it, I stated the reasons why they shouldn’t and that the only opinions that should were those of the people who love us and want the best for us.

And it’s true. Bullies’ opinions shouldn’t concern us and for some targets, they don’t. but the more I thought about it, the clearer it became that maybe I should’ve added more to the post.

So, here goes!

Though bullies’ thoughts and feelings of you shouldn’t matter, it doesn’t mean they can’t affect us, or even hinder us.

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The reality is that the bullies’ opinions of their target can have a huge impact on the target’s life. Their thoughts and feelings of the target can determine whether other people outside the bully/target conflict feel comfortable associating with the target.

Although we don’t want to admit it and, no, it isn’t fair, the personal opinions of other people often are the deciding factor or whether we’re well-liked or lonely and hated.

Bullies influence the attitudes of others who otherwise either wouldn’t have an issue with us or would be great friends under different circumstances. The opinions of bullies have a way of spreading far and wide- making bullies out of those who, under normal circumstances, would never resort to mistreating another human being.

It’s amazing what a contagion effect bullying has on schools, companies, organizations, and communities.

We must learn about bullying from all angles. Because the more we know, the better we will be able to salvage our good names and counter some of the effects it may have on our lives.

Gossips, Buttinskies, and Busybodies

Whether it’s the nosy classmate who’s never short of personal and intimate questions about your private life, the workplace gossip who never shuts up and always seems to know your business before you do, or the spying neighbor across the street who forever peers through her window to spy on the neighbors outside, these kinds of people can be a real hemorrhoid to those of us who only want to be left alone and allowed to live our lives in peace.

I even had one woman ask me how much I got paid and how much I paid in rent or mortgage? I know. The nerve! Right?

After the shock wore off, I politely told her that she was getting too personal and that I didn’t share such private information with anyone, not even my family members. Oooeee! She didn’t like it.

These types often leave you shaking and scratching your head because you just can’t believe anyone would have the chutzpah. Especially if you were raised to mind your own business like I was.

Understand that these people can be bullies too and their gossip, butting-in, and having a constant nose stuck in your life can be a form of attempted control. Bullies will often ask you these kinds of questions to embarrass or humiliate you.
And anybody who openly asks you such questions has no respect for your privacy, and you should deal with them accordingly.

But! Because they can’t seem to control their own lives, they wish to control yours, even if it’s nothing more than to cause an annoyance or embarrassment.

Though the years, there was always that one neighbor who would sit on their porch all day and watch not only my house but the other houses in the neighborhood as well. So, on a good note, I can’t say that I was left out but was in good company with most of the other neighbors in my community.

Many of the others in the community weren’t short of complaints about the lady and we had a nickname for her- “Mrs. I-Spy.”

Nevertheless, although I’d get annoyed by her a few times, I couldn’t get angry with her like many of the others. Mrs. I-Spy was disabled and could barely get around. All I could feel was bad for her because I knew she wasn’t a happy person. Who would be if their health were deteriorating to the point of barely able to perform activities of daily living? And home health was scarce back then.

And on the days when she couldn’t get outside, she’d have her grandchildren watch the neighbors then go back inside and give her a report of the goings-on in the others’ yards and the traffic in and out of their houses. It’s hilarious when I look back now.

I can honestly say that if there were a burglary or trouble nearby, she’d have been the first to see it and call the cops. So, there’s a silver lining to all this. Thank God for nosy neighbors because they do serve a great purpose!

My classmates in high school, not so much. I had very little respect for them because most of them were nosy as hell! They would watch me closely and eavesdrop on any of my conversations. They always had an ear cocked. At Oakley High School, the walls had ears!

Always in my business, questioning me on things that were so trivial yet to them was a huge deal. They would even ask me the most personal and embarrassing questions.

“Have you started your period yet?”
“Are you a virgin?”
“How is your boyfriend in bed?”

These kinds of questions made me cringe! Naturally, it upset me back then and I’d only storm off. But if one of them had the audacity to do that today, I’d only laugh, make fun of and humiliate them. And I’d enjoy humiliating them.

Hell! Today, I wish they would and give me the chance to show them I’m not as slow as I used to be and almost nothing shocks me anymore. Understand that when you’ve been bullied, you learn quick wit very quickly because it’s essential for survival.
I’ve known other adult survivors of school bullying and we’re the most quick-witted people in the bunch! We had to be!

With that said, you must realize that even in the adult world, you’re going to have people who have more nerve than a bad tooth- those who will pry into your business and openly ask you personal, even embarrassing questions. You might as well prepare for it now because they’re everywhere!

Many of these people had parents who were the same way- mothers and grandmothers who would tell them to watch others and report back to them. I know this because of watching Mrs. I-Spy do the same many years ago. So, it’s safe to say that nosiness is a generational thing with many. About ninety percent of my classmates also came from nosy and overbearing families as did many coworkers I’ve worked with down through the years.

And it’s these kinds of people you should blow off and wave away like that pesky little fly that keeps buzzing around your face.

Don’t get angry with them. Just shake your head and pity them. Because it’s those types who really need to get a life and often don’t have one. Or, if you’re a smartass like I am, take the opportunity to have a little fun with the person- catch it, throw it back at them and shame them with it.

And why not? They asked for it.

Bullies Despise It When You Outshine Them

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Especially those who are narcissists. These bullies have to be at the top of the game in everything. They must be the center of attention- all the time.

Anyone who outshines them in any way is fair game for attack. If you have any talents, anything at all you’re good at, or in which you’re super successful, these bullies will never stop coming after you.

They’ll often accuse you behind your back of the following:

1. “She’s just showing off.”
2. “Oh, she’s just trying to get attention.”
3. “He just loves to flaunt his (money, material possessions, masculinity, etc.)”
4. “She’s not so hot!”
5. “He’s a wuss, wimp, etc.”
6. “She’s arrogant, full of herself, pompous, stuck up, etc.”

hypocrite hypocrisy double standard

But notice! These bullies will often accuse the target of the same things they are guilty of themselves.

By displaying your talents, winning awards, and favor with others and charming those in authority, the target unwillingly offends the bullies’ own excessive vanity. The target instills an imbalance of the bullies’ sense of self and makes them doubt their superiority by poking holes in their importance.

These jealous brutes are often at the top of the pecking order- the popular kids at school or the high executives in the workplace.

Understand that people such as these can’t accept being outdone in anything by anyone. And if they’re outshone by anyone they deem as inferior- their targets, all the worse! They’ll then stop at nothing to “put you back in your place.”

narcissist bully

They don’t care about your talents, your natural gifts, your successes, or smarts. If anything, they despise them. They hate any threat to their superiority.

These bullies will have followers who will kiss up to them and many others who are afraid of them. You’ll know these people right away when you meet them.

They’ll be loud, obnoxious, and arrogant. These bullies will be in a clique and will have attitudes of self-entitlement. They’ll also expect perks and favors and more than likely get them. Anyone outside of their group, they will treat like dirt under their shoes.

Although talk is cheap and what they say behind your back is just a bunch of hot air, be careful your bullies don’t try to do something harmful to you.

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If you attract these bullies’ ire, here’s a short list of ways to keep them at bay:

1. Never reveal your plans and goals.
2. Never share anything you wouldn’t want anyone to know.
3. Display your talents, yes. But don’t brag about them.
4. Don’t dumb down for anyone, but don’t be too flashy with any intelligence, especially in the workplace.
5. Politely thank those who compliment you. Nothing more.
6. Humble yourself, yes. But you don’t have to undermine yourself to satisfy these brutes. Quiet confidence is key here.

Do these things, and you’re less likely to have a target on your back!

A Deeper Understanding of Why Bullies Attack Your Reputation

reputation

“Reputation is the cornerstone of power.” – Robert Greene

Simply put, bullies attack your reputation to strip you of power. Once your reputation is gone, you’re defenseless and extremely vulnerable to attack. Bullies can freely attack you from all directions. Even worse, you’re at the mercy of virtually everyone around you.

Bullies know that if they can poke holes in your reputation, they won’t have to work so hard to bring you down because now, they have public opinion on their side. They can then stand back and watch with glee as widely held perceptions of you finish you off.

To start, bullies will plant seeds of doubt about your character in the minds of others. Doubt is a powerful tool.

Next, they spread rumors and lies.

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Bullies are proof that offense is the best defense. Drawing first blood is always best because the target can only respond in either one of two ways.

1. He could deny the rumors, even produce evidence that proves his innocence of the accusations. Or,

2. He could ignore the lies and blow his accusers off with a “whatever” and walk away laughing.

But!

Either way, people will still look at the target with suspicion.

1. If the target defends himself and produces evidence to the contrary, the prevailing thought will be,

“There must be some truth to the rumors, otherwise he wouldn’t be defending himself so vehemently.”

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2. If he ignores the lies and waves his accusers away with a laugh, others will be even more suspicious of him because they’ll think that he has something to hide and is only playing it cool.

Bullies know that if they instigate rumors the right way, there’s a possibility that they can get the target so enraged and rattled that while defending himself, he ends up making a truckload of mistakes.

And if the target hasn’t yet established a reputation, the smear campaign will only work all the more in the bullies’ favor.

And the sad fact is this:

Two different people can do the exact same thing the exact same way. And each person’s reputation will decide whether the action is brilliant or terrible.
Put simpler. It’s not what you do. It’s who you are when you do it. It’s not the action itself, but who the person is that does it.

A person who’s well-liked and has a stellar reputation can write an essay, and others will deem it a brilliant piece.

bullying storm damage

But let a person who’s despised by everyone and has a lousy reputation write the exact same essay, and others will only view it as a worthless piece of garbage that’s not even worth reading, which brings me to the final conclusion:

Reputation can affect all areas of your life. It can be the difference between having success or failure- in everything!

But there’s hope.

Although extremely difficult, you can still salvage your reputation and change your life for the better. Here’s how.

1. Move to a different area. Sometimes you must go somewhere else and start over again. It may be difficult to leave your family behind, but if you stay in the town where people judge you unfavorably, you’ll never have the chance to move forward and will always be stuck right where you are. Why not pack your things and leave for greener pastures.

2. Find a good cause to fight for and that you’re passionate about. Any time you fight for a good cause, you will meet like-minded people who are fighting for the same purpose.

The cause could be “The Me Too Movement,” “The Victim’s Rights Movement,” or even “The Anti-Bullying Movement.” Whatever the cause, you will attract those who are fighting for the same things. And you’ll easily make positive connections with them and become life-long friends.

Although many doors get slammed shut and locked, there’s always a way out if you look for it. I guarantee it!