Triumphing Over Workplace Bullying and Mobbing- How I Did It (Part 3)

(Continued from part 2…)

Everyone knew about it, but it seemed they were afraid to report it. It was also evident that Harry and Cammie were getting fat off the embezzlement and not only those two but the administrator (Beau) too.

We secretly referred to these three ringleaders of the bully group as “The Thieving Three.” Fran, Marilyn, Misti, and Jules were their lieutenants. At the bottom of this little workplace cabal were the flying monkeys.

There were so many policy violations and illegal activities happening right under our noses. They are as follows:

1. Beau had his Winnebago RV on the property for Harry and Jules to do repairs on during work hours. Again, this was all done out in the open.

Beau knew that most were too scared to talk about it. So, why put in the extra effort to try and cover it up? He would have them work on his camper, therefore neglecting the repairs the nursing facility needed. They would also work on his car. Can you imagine how much Beau was saving on auto repairs while he ran that nursing home?

2. Fighting and Assault on Company Property.

And by the administrator himself! Beau was having an affair with another employee. When her husband found out, he came to the nursing home to confront Beau. And Beau invited him out to the parking lot to fight. And the two men got into a brutal fistfight in the parking lot, in broad daylight, in front of God and everyone. And it happened while Beau was on the clock!

After the fight was over, Beau sent word to every employee that if they uttered one word about the incident at work or outside of work, they would not only lose their jobs, but he’d make sure they didn’t work anywhere else.

3. Embezzlement.

Beau, Harry, and Cammie were robbing Shady Grove blind! Beau made off with several hundreds of thousands of dollars, as did Harry and Cammie. And they were moving up in the world quickly. They all suddenly bought new vehicles and vacation homes on the lake. They began taking lavish vacations and taking them anytime they wanted. For the professions they were working in, they were living high.

Cammie was the payroll clerk and bookkeeper of the facility. She would take the money and doctor the books to make everything look legit. Her husband Harry would clock in, fill out bogus work orders, leave for the day, then come back that night and clock back out before going home. They would also take as many days off as they wanted in a year instead of the allotted vacation time allowed.

Cammie would also make herself Power of Attorney over widowed and childless residents with no families. And she would do this by talking them into signing legal documents, agreeing to leave any assets to her and her husband once they passed away.

Cammie helped her teenage daughter get hired at the nursing home as the person who passed the snacks, juice cups, and the pitchers of ice and water around. She fixed the wages so that her daughter would make twenty dollars per hour on the job, which brings me to the next violation.

4. Nepotism.

Harry and Cammie fixed the system where her children and family got first dibs at any jobs. When the nursing home hired these family members, they would receive massive hourly wages, anywhere from double up to five times the going payments for the job.

It didn’t take long for the whisper to spread, but we had to be careful who we talked around because there were eyes and ears everywhere and increasing in numbers.
Beau, Harry, and Cammie ran the place. Right or wrong, anyone who challenged them in any way, was bullied and mobbed out! And so was anyone who slighted or stood up to any of their favorite people.

Again, Cammie increased her attacks. More and more, she’d provoke me, but I wouldn’t bite. She and the cabal instituted several smear campaigns against me and a few others, but we only doubled down in our resolve not to let them shake us.

I must tell you that it got rough at times. On a few occasions, the payroll clerk and a few CNAs threatened to catch me out and do physical harm. But it never happened, and back then, I went out all the time. I was lucky.

Although the provocations were stressful, I was able to put my hand up to her, tell her what I thought of her, then walk away.

Darnell was excellent! He was a quiet guy, yet firm when he had to be. Darnell was like me. He kept his mouth closed and observed everything that went on around him. The man was much smarter than what people took him to be. He knew what was happening, and he took care of us!

I could never have been more grateful to have such an awesome supervisor. However, this only made the bullies more desperate.

(Continued in Part 4…)

Reasons You Have Haters

Many of the greatest, most tender-hearted, and level-headed people I know have a pack of haters behind them. And many of them don’t understand why. Down through the years, I’ve heard them ask, “What did I ever do to them?” or “I know I’m not a bad person and I treat everyone how I would want to be treated. So, what is it that they (the haters) think is wrong with me?” I’ve got to admit it. I asked the same questions many times when I was young and it happened to me. But here’s a little assurance.

First, if you are one of those good people who certain others hate on, and you yourself are asking yourself the same questions, let me tell you: You didn’t do anything to them. In fact, you did nothing wrong. Secondly, what they think is wrong with you doesn’t matter. What they think period doesn’t matter. And there’s nothing wrong with you. I want you to know that you’re okay. You’re enough. And you’re awesome just the way you are.

I know what you’re likely to say next and you’re probably thinking it now: “But there’s got to be some reason they hate me so much.”

And you’re right. There are many reasons your haters hate you. But those reasons have nothing to do with you, and here they are:

1. They don’t have a life. …or one that’s meaningful. Most haters aren’t what they appear to be. Many are life losers who have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. So, they have nothing better to do than to hate on others. Many of these types of haters are broke, jobless, partner-less, and live in their mommy’s basement.

To feel better about themselves, they’ll troll your social media pages, make incendiary comments, and post vile things about you. If they happen to be local to your area and you know them, they’ll talk trash about you behind your back and try to kill your reputation, your opportunities and prospects. These types of haters are bored with life and the only entertainment and rush of endorphins they can get is to cause drama in other people’s lives.

These are the types of people you should feel sorry for because they live truly miserable and pathetic lives. And the only way they can feel powerful is to ruin other people’s lives. Sadly, we have so many people like that today, and many of them get involved in the cancel culture that’s so prevalent. Again, understand that this is a last-ditch effort for them to achieve power. And sadly, it seems to work for them.

2. They’re not happy in their lives. This can go hand in hand with number 1. However, some people can have everything, a good job, a nice home, good family, and still not be happy. What they lack is contentment. Or, it could be that they aren’t happy with some things in their life. Whatever it may be, their attitude is this. If they can’t be happy, then by George, they’re going to make sure you’re not happy either.

They want to take away your peace of mind and bring you down to their level of misery. And you aren’t the only one. There are probably other people they do this to as well. Again, this person is a miserable individual and you shouldn’t hate them back, you should only pity them.

Jealousy

3. You have something they don’t have. No one ever said life was fair. Some people can, and some can’t. Some have, and some don’t. It’s a hard part of reality that makes some people angry because they can’t seem to figure out how to obtain the things they want. So, they hate on anyone who has the things they (the haters) have been longing for and who has life a little easier than they do.

4. Jealousy. This goes back to you having something your haters don’t have and those poor souls not being happy in their lives. Whether it’s an admirable trait you may have, such as the ability to make friends easily, or how you look, what you have, or even the ability to be happy, haters want to take it all from you because they don’t have it and don’t think they can ever get it.

5. Your good qualities are a threat to them- In other words, you make them look bad. You cause them to compare themselves with you and see you as competition. And if they ever feel like you’re winning over them, look out!

Therefore, realize that you aren’t at fault here. It was nothing you said or did to ruffle their feathers and there’s nothing wrong with you. You are enough. In fact, you are awesome! Your haters only say otherwise to mess with your mind and throw you off balance. Don’t let them do that to you!

Haters can stress you out, yes. But they can also motivate you. So, be your best self and keep your haters blabbing. Think about it. Your haters are the ones who keep you relevant.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Never Let Bad Eggs Make You Feel Rotten

All through life, you will encounter negative and downright toxic people. You meet these mouth-breathers at school, work, the neighborhood, or (gasp) in the family. They’re everywhere and come in all flavors. These kinds of people always seem to take the energy out of the room and suck the oxygen out of the people around them. They’re annoying, obnoxious, and some can be downright intimidating.

These are people who make you feel uncomfortable, terrible about yourself, and worst of all unstable.

With that said, bad eggs are the angry, jealous, and resentful type. They put on a good act and talk a good game, but the proof is in how they treat you. And they will say and do things to try and make you feel bad about yourself.

These people will search for anything about you that they can use against you. They will even turn your good and positive qualities against you and make them seem bad.

For instance, if you are generally a happy person who likes to laugh and have a good time, these types will say that you’re fake and that your laughter is fake. If you have talents and gifts and like to display them, they’ll accuse you of showing off and trying to get attention.

If you’ve made an accomplishment or reached any kind of success, these killjoys will trivialize it by saying that the success you made could’ve been made by anyone. If you won an award, they’ll claim that you didn’t get the award because you either knew people in high places or that you kissed up to them somehow.

If you have a loving spouse and good family, bad eggs will go out of their way to find something wrong with that. If you have a little bit of money, they’ll claim you didn’t work for it but got an inheritance. Or they’ll claim you obtained it either illegally or unjustly.

These rotten bananas will also bully and abuse you- give you a hard time if there’s anything in life you have that they don’t, or you have things just a little bit easier than they do. It’s as if they’re trying to punish you because they think you have it so good.

But don’t let it get to you because that’s what they want. Rest assured that none of it is your fault and that there’s nothing wrong with you.

Understand that their behavior says everything about them and zero about you. It says that they have serious mental issues and that they need help. It also says that these people feel insecure about something or many things in their own lives and their desire is to drag you down in the gutter with them.

When people are brutal to us, our first instinct is to blame ourselves, try to figure out what’s wrong, then fix it. But realize that there’s no need to fix what isn’t broken. And you’re not the one with the issue.

Instead, reframe your thinking and realize that it’s them and not you. Only then will you feel better about yourself. Even better, you might find that you feel sorry for them instead of resenting or hating them for the way they treat you. And believe me, most people with any pride would much rather be hated than pitied.

Bullies will care less about your anger and hate toward them. But they’ll resent and even loathe it when you pity them. There’s dignity in being hated but never in being pitied.

Different Quotes About Bullies, Creeps, Jerks, and Haters

“Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.”  – Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Don’t hate what you can’t imitate!”  – Unknown.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt, former first lady and diplomat.

“Haters are my motivators.” – Nicki Minaj, American rapper and singer-songwriter.

“Hatred makes us all ugly.” – Laurell K. Hamilton, American writer.

“Haters never win. I just think that’s true about life because negative energy always costs in the end.” – Tom Hiddleston, English actor.

“There’s a certain logic to avoiding haters, but as a strategy, it’s utterly flawed. When you turn off the feedback, you lose the benefits as well as the drawbacks. It’s like having a sore finger and cutting off your arm.” – Rob Manuel, American digital artist.

“The haters always scream the loudest.” – Tucker Max, American Author.

“Something about winning attracts losers with opinions.” – Unknown.

“Haters are cowards. When confronted, they often back down. We must resist haters.” – Janet Reno, former U.S. Attorney General.

“I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.” – Booker T. Washington, American author and civil rights leader.

“Make your supporters proud and your haters jealous.” – Unknown.

“It is only out of ignorance that people are cruel because they don’t think it will come back.” – Maya Angelou, American writer.

“An open enemy is better than a false friend.” – Greek proverb.

Always give your best. Never get discouraged. Never be petty. Others may hate you. But those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.” – Richard M. Nixon, 37th U.S. President.

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

Envious? Of What?

When I look back today, I can see so much clearer. I never needed friends like those. However, when it’s happening, you don’t see it so clearly. Being in the middle of a storm can obscure your vision and cloud your judgment, causing you to feel things that are entirely out of your character. And one of those feelings is jealousy.

Being a target of relentless bullying is a lonely existence. The target not only becomes secretly desperate to have friends, but he also grows to hate anyone who does have them. I can testify to this because I’d watch the girls who were lucky enough to be surrounded by friends when I was a target. I’d watch them laugh and notice the bright smiles and their auras brimming with confidence- and I’d feel white-hot rage brewing- stirring inside me.

I could feel my eyes blaze and shoot daggers of fire at those happy girls. I never showed it, but I hated them with the fierceness of a hurricane! It was one of the reasons why I’d often instigate fights and sow discord between other classmates.

I realize now that it was terrible for me to feel that way. I was certainly wrong for feeling the way I did. However, when you’re a kid, you don’t understand why life is one way for some and not others.

And when life seems to be so bad that you want to look up and either cry out to or angrily lash out at God for allowing such an unfair injustice- for not only allowing you to starve but for seemingly forcing you to watch everyone else enjoy a five-course feast. At the same time, you go without, that’s when you know your attitude needs an overhaul!

When you’re a kid, you don’t understand why some have it better than others. You don’t know why some can and some can’t. And you wrack your brain, trying to figure out what the secret ingredients are.

But now that I know what the secret ingredients are, I realize that it never was anything I would’ve wanted in the first place. It wouldn’t have been worth it. They wouldn’t have been worth it.

To have to put on an act to be accepted by everyone?

To have to keep up appearances to be popular?

To be totally dependent on the approval of others?

To let other people’s opinions and the number of friends be the definition of who I am?

To have to be someone I’m not and micromanage every move I make and everything I say to keep from accidentally letting the real me slip out and risk displeasing people around me?

To have to cover one lie with a new one?

To be always afraid of people finding out who I really am?

To have my peace, happiness, and freedoms depend on the permission of others?

bullyingbeingfake

No thanks! They can have all the friends they want through all the fakery they want. That’s too much work, and I’m too lazy. If people don’t like the real me, they can hit the bricks. I don’t need them around.

I look back and realize that the vast majority of my classmates lived solely for their friends and the approval of others. They didn’t know what they wanted. Even worse, they didn’t know who they were! Sadly, as adults, they still don’t.

Even today, they’re slaves to the approval of others- tools- followers, sheep.

Me? I refuse to live that way. And I don’t live for them. I’m not out to win a popularity contest. I only want to be and do what makes me happy and live a drama-free life and in comfort. No more, no less.

Other than God, myself, and my family, I don’t live for anyone else, and I couldn’t care less about their approval.

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I know who I am, and I live for much better things!

When I look back to all those years ago, I realize that there was nothing to be envious of. In fact, I was much better off than any of them. I was the luckier one. I didn’t have to jump through hoops and bend over backward for them. Although it was hard and I paid a heavy price for it, I lived for me, and I’m so glad I did.

If you’re a target of bullying and you ever find yourself jealous of your bullies and everyone else who has all these friends around them, I urge you to consider all the personal sacrifices they’re making to have those friends. What do they have to give up?

Is having to stuff down and bury your true nature a way you want to live? Having others dictate to you what you should be?

I hope not.

Narcissists, Bullies, and Jealousy

Bullies see any recognition the target gets for a good deed, high marks, an accomplishment, or success as the target’s having diminished them somehow. If you’re a target, these types of bullies will only see any success you enjoy as a reflection on them.

You force them to think about and take stock of their own successes and failures. Understand that it’s the bullies’ self-focus that sets the stage for their anger and hostility toward you. They will personalize your success as if you’re an opponent who’s competing with them for the same prize.

The bullies are forced to compare themselves with you because they’re afraid that other people will consider them less worthy or important than you. They feel invisible and left out because they’re not getting the praise that you’re getting. So, they get a sense of disregard from others.

But rather than have normal feelings of disappointment and regret, they have anger and hatred toward you.

Although you never harm them, the bullies feel a sense of injustice because they feel that you don’t deserve the recognition, but they do. They feel wronged and very much entitled to their anger and hostility.

Bullies will then accuse you of thinking you’re better than they are- as if they know what you’re thinking. And they really do think they can read your mind correctly, which then only further arouses their anger and hate.

Again, according to the bullies’ logic, you’ve wronged them somehow so, you are the enemy. And this perceived wrong that you’ve done compels the bullies to act hostile toward you because the bullies’ egos have been bruised by your successes and accomplishments.

Just as money is the root of evil, the ego is the root of jealousy. And bullies have enormous egos!

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.

Why Bullies Discourage Targets from Pursuing Their Goals

“The reason bullies tell you, ‘You can’t,’ is because they fear that you can and are even more afraid that you will.”

If you’re working hard to better your life and pursue your goals and dreams, bullies  will discourage and dishearten you if you aren’t careful. If you’re a target of bullying, understand that it’s nothing more than psy-ops bullies are trying to use against you.

It’s all designed to suppress you and make you afraid of even trying because you risk the possibility of failing. Why? Because bullies know that if you keep trying  long enough, you’re very likely to succeed.

Bullies can’t handle the successes of anyone. And they most definitely can’t take it if it’s achieved by anyone they deem inferior. Realize that a bully’s feelings of power and superiority come from one-upmanship, and when his/her target succeeds at anything, it undermines that sense of superiority.

Jealousy

Proverbially, it takes bullies down a notch or two, which makes them angry and desire to put the target “back in their place.”

When you reach success, expect this type of attitude and behavior from your bullies. Know that it will reignite a lot of rage and jealousy in them. It will also induce the need to take revenge. “How dare you!” They will want to get even. No way will they stand for you rising above them!

When this happens, don’t be surprised. Instead of feeling bad, feel good because it only shows that your bullies are jealous and desperate to have what you have. Expect people to act ignorant and never apologize for any successes you’ve had.

With knowledge comes empowerment.

“Who Do You Think You Are!”

Have you ever had people seemingly mistake your confidence for conceit? Or worse, get offended by it? And you knew it but never understood why? Heaven forbid you actually have even a minuscule amount of self-esteem and take pride in your accomplishments.

 

Sadly, we live in a world that’s insecure, self-conscious, and unhappy and there will be people who resent your spirit and your happiness. There are environments that are very toxic and the toxic people within them have an intense hatred of those who are cheerful and have a strong sense of self.

Bullies are such people. But realize that, though they’d tell you differently, bullies aren’t happy people. They can’t be because anyone who’s truly happy wouldn’t try to make others feel lousy.

Moreover, they wouldn’t resent the happiness, confidence, or successes of others.

I’ve dealt with these types of people- people who resented my confidence, which was confidence that I’d worked hard to rebuild. I saw it written all over their faces- the scowls, how their eyes would narrow and turn into slits and brows would furrow anytime they saw a smile on mine or anyone else’s face. I can just imagine what they were thinking: “The nerve!”

I’ve even heard the disdainful remarks:

“She thinks too highly of herself and needs to be brought down a notch or two!”

“He’s an arrogant jerk!”

“She’s so uppity!”

“He loves himself too much!”

“She needs to bring herself down to earth with the rest of us!”

I could go on and on.

Many people act as if being confident and loving yourself is wrong. The message you get is that it’s “selfish,” and that you need to climb down off your high horse, or you’re too big for your britches. They try to make you think that having pride in yourself is something to be ashamed of. ”How dehhhhh you!”

Bullies tend to think that if a person has confidence and high self-esteem, he is pompous and sanctimonious- he’s the worst person in the world. In their minds, it’s horrible to have even a modicum of self-value and to believe in yourself. “Who do you think you are!”

As much as I hate to admit it, back when I was young and had self-esteem issues, I said the same thing about the same people. And do you know what else? I’ve since realized that I was wrong for it and that it was said out of pure stupidity.

So, I want you to know that, if you have the audacity to like yourself, there will be those who’ll try to tear you down for it. They will attempt to make you feel ashamed of it. Some will even punish you for it. But realize that these people aren’t happy, nor confident and they’re jealous of you because you are. Your bullies and others are bitter toward you because you have something they don’t have. And because they think they can’t have it, they want to take it from the people who do.

So, go for it! Be happy! Be confident! Believe in and love yourself! Treat yourself well whether anyone else likes it! And never let them take it away!

Don’t worry about the people around you. Know that how they act says nothing about you but everything about them. Their actions only expose them as the miserable, sorry pieces of crap they are. So, dig in those heels and double down on your positive sense of self.

Do everything you can to hold on to your joy and self-belief, and let the haters stew in their own juices.

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.