Do you ever wonder why most bullies attach labels, such as “crazy,” “unstable,” or “mentally disturbed” to targets who stand up against abuse?
Here are the reasons:
1. The crazy label is used by bullies as a last option when there is nothing else they can pin on their victims.
2. A mental imbalance is the most difficult to disprove. If you are a target of bullying, and you have the guts to stand up against the abuse, the bully may tell everyone that you’re nuts, and everyone else may believe it too. However, although there is no way the bully can prove that you are, in fact, crazy, there is also no way that you can show that you aren’t.
3. They’re trying to make you doubt your own sanity. Don’t you doubt it for a second!
This is why the “crazy” label is just too easy to stick on anyone because people have a strong tendency to see the worst in others, and the burden of proof lies with the target. It is damn hard to prove that you aren’t mentally unstable, especially when bullies attack you from every direction and wear you down.
The natural human response is to react and defend yourself when attacked, and it can very easily be mistaken for mental illness.
It happens when people walk in on you as you’re telling your bully where to stick it. Many times they only catch the tail end of the confrontation. Then they draw the wrong conclusions. Understand that this is what your bullies are counting on!!! Often, they set you up to look like you’ve completely “lost it” to any witnesses who happen to walk by.
Bullies do this all the time to discredit their targets and cover their behinds when they know they’re wrong! If the bully can make you look loony, then who’s going to believe you when you report the harassment? And who’ll take you seriously the next time you let the bully have it?
They’ll only sigh and think, “Uh-oh! There she goes again! She’s having another mental episode! That girl has gone completely batsh**!”
Don’t fall for it! Stand up to them! Look them in the eye, and you tell them,
“You’re wrong, and you know you’re wrong! I’m not going to debate this any further with you!”
Then walk away and leave the bully standing there slack-jawed. If the bully follows you and asks, “What’s your problem?” don’t explain it to them. They’re not five years old, they already know, and you don’t owe them any more than what’s necessary. Say as little as possible.
Tell them, “You know what my problem is!”
The bully may continue to follow you and ask, “What did I do to you?”
You say, “You know what you did! Now get bent!”
Don’t beat around the bush. Get to the point and say it like you mean it. Be firm but don’t yell (yelling makes you look like a basket case). The bully may not change their ways and their attitude toward you. But I promise! You’ll feel so much better about yourself knowing that you put your foot down and looked less “unstable” to any bystanders!
Unfortunately, the label of mental instability is the easiest and most effective label to stick to a person. Sadly, a label like this tends to have loads of staying power because it’s the hardest to disprove- especially when the object of it is being bullied and mobbed.
Also, there’s a good chance that any target of bullying will be an emotional wreck because of the chronic abuse they suffer. So, there’s another reason the crazy label would be a clever label to pin to them.
When bullies label you as crazy, it doesn’t mean they actually think you are. Allow me to explain further:
Remember that bullies are big cowards and if they really and truly thought you were crazy, they wouldn’t mess with you at all. In, fact, they wouldn’t come near you. Instead, they would do everything they could to stay out of your way and avoid poking the bear.
They’d go out of their way to be on their best behavior around you because they know that if a person is, in fact, crazy, that person could rip their heads off and poop down their necks! That person could go postal and wipe them all out, then go eat ice cream!
If a person with any common sense knows someone who is factually and utterly batshit crazy, their first instinct is to walk lightly around them and do their due diligence to keep from setting that person off!
So, if your bullies don’t really think you’re crazy, why then do they label you as such?
The reason your bullies label you crazy is to discredit you in case you get fed up with their crap and decide to either report them or stand up to them. And if everyone thinks you’re crazy and you report that you’re being bullied, who’s going to take you seriously?
Labeling the target mentally imbalanced is also a way to silence and subdue the target to keep them from reporting the abuse or standing up to it. If you know that people think you’re crazy you’re going to be too afraid to open your mouth about it because you know that people probably won’t believe you. They will only say that, because of your “mental instability,” you’re probably just being paranoid.
You’ll also be too afraid to fight back because if you do, you know that the bullies will only convincingly reverse roles and play victim. Then, others will only assume that you went postal and either hurt those poor, innocent bullies, or you just threw a temper tantrum and began shouting and cursing people out for no reason. All because you’re just “crazy.”
Sure. Mental instability is one of the hardest to prove. It’s true that your bullies can never prove you’re crazy, but there’s also no way that you can prove for certain that you aren’t. And it’s why this label is just too easy to pen on someone and make stick. In fact, it shouldn’t be this easy and be so successful. But it is.
Do you see how this works?
So, no. Your bullies don’t think you’re crazy, they think you’re weak. They only push the crazy label because weakness or helplessness in a person does have a certain allure and appeal and others may feel compelled to come to that person’s aid. Helplessness sparks a natural tendency in people to want to take care of the person who is helpless, but people are less likely to help the person who is deemed crazy. Bullies instinctively know this. So, they label the target crazy to strip him/her of that allure and appeal.
In labeling you crazy and making it stick, bullies are better able to avoid being held accountable and if they can successfully dodge responsibility for their abuse of another human being, then they get to continue hurting and abusing that person freely and with impunity.
Understand that there’s a method behind the label of mental instability, crazy, unhinged, or whatever name you prefer. If you’re aware of the motives behind that label, the better you’ll be able to catch it and counter your bullies with it.
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.
To tell her exactly what was wrong would be like giving top secrets to the enemy! For Charlotte to correct the flaws and rise above the bullying and ridicule would possibly mean to rise above all of them and even worse, surpass them on the social totem pole. No way would they chance that ever happening! Her bullies had climbed to the top of the social ladder and the higher they climbed the more she saw of their behinds.
And once they are at the top, they would always find a way to kick Charlotte off that ladder, then meticulously pull it up behind them, leaving her trapped on the bottom and it was where they intend for her to stay.
It had been said that “you need money to make money.”. The same also went with friends. At Beulah High School, the unwritten rule was that a kid needed to already have friends, and lots of them, to make more friends. Unfortunately, Charlotte had not realized that nugget of truth back when it would have been most useful.
It seemed that the trick to crawling off the trash heap was to prove, or at the very least, give the illusion that you had never been on it, to begin with. And that was next to impossible given her notorious (however unwarranted) reputation, and sadly, Charlotte had worn this scarlet letter for so long that it had become ironclad.
Her peers, especially her bullies, needed her to stay on the bottom and would go out of their way to keep her on it. The pecking order needed whipping boys (or girls)- easy victories for those at the top to collect.
False compliments, fake sympathy, and fraudulent generosity that others showed the bullies and those highest in the pecking order? All of it was for show and Charlotte knew it. She saw all the chicanery and buffoonery for what it really was! Others knew it and hated her for it.
At Beulah High School, life was all about appearances and who the best and most convincing liars and fakers were. Nothing more.
It was not about what was being done, good or bad, it is about who was doing it and where they were in the social order. Anyone from the in-crowd could get wasted at a kegger and either puke everywhere, or pee their pants and it will only be seen as a funny story of a group of crazy kids from high school. But let Charlotte do the same and she would quickly be branded as a schmuck for the rest of her school career.
Cruel was always cool if someone else was on the receiving end of it. The hidden message was, Better you than me. The widely held attitude was that a person was always at their best and most alluring anytime they were delivering the worst insults to the bottom rats and everyone else either wanted to be seen with, have sex with, or be that person.
It was enchanting because everyone wanted to be the one person who was seemingly never in anyone else’s crosshairs and to have that cruel, unfair advantage on their side and working perfectly for them.
It seemed that everyone thought of these types as bad-asses and hell-raisers. Their consistent rule-breaking and torturing of the kids who haven’t matured as quickly, only got them rewarded with popularity, sex, fun- everything a young punk could ever want.
Seeing everyone get rewarded for such idiocy only made Charlotte crazy if she let it.
Another unwritten rule was that if a kid did not partake in, or at the very least, put on convincing airs that they were partaking in sex, drugs, rock, and roll, or anything that was considered cool, they would be branded a loser! A wuss! A bore!
And if you were labeled those things, you were plain S.O.L.
Many bullies and higher-ups only pretended to be drunk at parties. Most of those fakers would only take one sip from a bottle- just one! And suddenly, magically, they were plastered and silly, screaming with exaggerated laughter and stumbling all over the place.
Could they have been any more transparent?
But there was a bright side that Charlotte was too young to realize. The things about her that her classmates ridiculed and put her down for were the same characteristics that people would one day love about her.
Charlotte knew that her classmates were a bunch of coddled, punk kids who did not know human strength even if it came up and bit them. And it was only because they themselves did not have an ounce of it.
You couldn’t recognize something you never had or saw examples of.
Charlotte knew that most of the bullies came from families who were a bunch of materialistic, plastic, and fake put-ons themselves. They were not truly happy, otherwise, they would not work so hard at putting on airs.
The reason why they hated her so much was that, although they would never admit it, Charlotte was everything they only wished they could be- authentic and not afraid to be herself. And she knew that soon, there would come a day when she would have true friends, who adored her simply for being Charlotte.
It’s not easy for people to distinguish between the real bully and the victim. Bullies are good at making victims look guilty, showing only the victim the worst, most brutal, and evil sides of themselves while showing everyone else their best, sweetest, and most loving halves of their personalities.
The bully may feign sympathy and compassion for her victim by making statements such as, “I feel so terrible for (victim’s name). I sincerely hope she gets the help she needs before it’s too late.”
Bullies accuse their victims of attacking them when it’s the over way around, and people can quickly either get confused and not know who did what to who or blame the wrong person altogether.
Many times, if you’re a target of such torment, whether people believe you or not depends on their relationship with ou and with the bully. If the bully is someone they either like or love, they will, out of loyalty, take the bully’s word over yours. It won’t matter that the bully is in the wrong.
People tend to believe those they care about and disbelieve those they don’t care about or don’t know. Even worse, they may know that the person is, in fact, an abuser but still side with them against you if they like them even a little more than they do you.
Bullies aren’t stupid. They know what they’re doing. Often, they will act as a great person around everyone else. In public, they present as fine, exemplary, upstanding, and respectable human beings. But only the poor, demonized victim knows the truth.
Victims are usually stressed and worn down. If the bully has gaslighted them for long enough, he has persuaded they victim himself that it’s all his fault. Many targets of bullying have had their realities distorted over time, and it’s the worst thing to happen to them.
Many victims believe themselves to be horrible people and deserving of the torture inflicted upon them because many times, they’re blamed and made responsible for their suffering. That’s what bullying and gaslighting do after so long. They brainwash you!
That’s why Bullying and Gaslighting are such a deadly combination. Bullies and their allies force victims to believe that they’re so inherently evil that the only thing they can do is cause anger, hurt, and hatred.
Here’s what life is like for a target of such atrociousness:
You try. You try so hard to be the best person you can be. Yet you’re tortured and tormented by bullies every day. Deep inside, you know you’re a great person, but no one else can see inside you to make that determination.
Because your reputation is in the toilet, others consistently attack you because bullies have defamed you for so long that everyone believes the lies. And no one will tell you what you did wrong, nor will they tell you how to fix it.
And because of the constant attacks, you live in continuous fight-or-flight mode. You can’t help but stay on the defense, and you’re a mess of emotions.
Because bullying leaves you so emotional, you cry, even sob- sometimes uncontrollably! You lash out at the bullies who attack you and at the bystanders who join them after they’ve all pushed you so far.
Although your emotional reaction is entirely normal and natural under the circumstances, they all have the nerve, the audacity, the chutzpah- to get angry at you! That’s right! They get pissed at you for the emotional outburst and use it against you.
Even worse, they use any signs of self-defense against you. And they use it as their confirmations that you’re the bad guy, you’re too sensitive, too emotional, or that you’re crazy.
So, they punish you by escalating the bullying. How can a target- one who’s bullied to pieces and to the point of exhaustion- possibly defend himself against such forces if they don’t have any knowledge about how bullies operate and what they can do to counter them?
Understand that this is the plight of the target.
In bully-speak, targets are not allowed to be themselves. They’re not allowed to stand up for themselves nor speak out against the abuse. In the minds of bullies and bystanders, targets should take it, because they’re beneath everyone else and they deserve it. Bullies expect them to eat crap and enjoy it- just take it with a smile and a yes sir/ma’am, then ask for seconds.
Here’s another scenario to be aware of:
In some cases, you’re so marginalized and have so many people after you that when you’re in a crowded hallway and someone sneaks up behind you and wallops you between the shoulder blades hard enough to knock the wind out of you, and you look behind you to see who it was that hit you, no one points them out. The person who hit you only cowardly fades in the sea of people.
As you look around for your attacker, everyone in the crowd is eyeing you with a mixture of hostility, hilarity, and contempt. And you know what they’re thinking just by the way their eyes seem to shoot firey bullets at you.
They all look at you as if to say,
“Ha! Yeah! We know who hit you! Like we’ll ever tell you!” or
“So? Whadaya gonna do? Accuse all of us? Right! Like you’d have even a chance of making it home in one piece if you did!”
Maybe someone steals from you or keys your car. Again, you don’t know who to suspect because there are so many people out to hurt you. There’s no way you can pinpoint a specific person.
Understand that this is what it’s like once the bullying reaches a certain point. It’s as if the bullying has now taken on a life of its own. Because the idea of tormenting you seems to be so ingrained in everyone around you- bullies, bystanders, even authority figures- that they can no longer help themselves.
Anytime things have reached such a fever pitch, they’re signs that you’re in grave danger! In a situation like this, the bullying has escalated to a hazardous level, and it likely won’t get better but only worse. Your only recourse is to leave the environment and make a new start somewhere else.
Leave now while you still have your health- and maybe your life! Because if the bullies or their minions don’t kill you first, the stress of it will!
“The essence of deception is distraction.” – Robert Greene
The bully uses distraction, often called deflection, when they use the target’s imperfections to distract other people’s attention away from their own shortcomings. It is the reason that so many people in authority, bystanders, and witnesses unjustly label targets as bullies and troublemakers.
Because bullies are highly skilled at deflecting their misdeeds onto others, people will falsely accuse innocent victims of being the instigators of arguments or fights, and perpetrators of bullying behaviors.
Here’s how the bully does it:
He extends acts of kindness and shows honesty in front of everyone – everyone except his victim. He does this to charm and disarm authority and potential bystanders and witnesses. The bully fools them all into believing that he’s such a fine young man and would never mistreat another person. And he ultimately wins everyone else over to his side.
What this elaborate display of (false) kindness and authenticity does is soften everyone outside the bully/victim relationship and turn them into allies. People hungrily eat up any affection the bully extends to them. She (the bully) then sweetens the deal by inviting them out to do lunch or to hang out.
But understand that she only pours on the pleasantries and charm to everyone else to trick them into feeling obligated in the event she must ask them to do some dirty work for her against her victim.
If you’re a victim of this type of bullying, I want you to know that your bullies don’t do this because they just happen to like everyone else but you, they do it for the sole purpose of gaining favor and loyalty from them! Realize that the bullies only see everyone else as tools and worker bees.
Have you noticed how most bullies suck up to teachers and managers?
The bully will then slyly bait her victim by pushing their hot buttons and triggering them into an emotional reaction. And she will make sure that everyone is around to see the victim’s breakdown or outburst.
He will also accuse the victim of the same behaviors that he’s guilty of or of having the same flaws he has.
But understand that this is all part of the distraction. The bully aims to give others the illusion that you are the bully and he is the victim.
Remember that most bullies can be very alluring and they’re good at this game. You must know the tactics in detail, so you can call them out to protect yourself from being abused and blamed, then ultimately labeled.
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.
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.
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 was just plain gross
He was a pervert
He looked nasty
He didn’t take baths
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.
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.
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!