How Demonization Works

I want you to realize that everything you say, good or bad, can be used against you in the court of public opinion if you are a target of bullying. So, please, don’t be confused or surprised when this happens as it will only further cloud your thinking and cause you not to defend yourself properly.

If you are a target of bullying, EXPECT the following:

  1. Any joke you fell, no matter how funny it may be, will be considered unfunny.
  2. Any self-deprecating humor will be seen as your having no self-confidence or being mentally unstable.
  3. Any sarcasm will be taken literally.
  4. Any casual comments such as, “I would love to have been able to sleep in this morning,” will be taken as your admitting you planned to be absent from school or work today and are complaining about having to come in. They will accuse you of either being a lazy bum or so depressed that you found it difficult to get out of bed.

  1. Any positive statements or compliments will be seen as kissing up or an attempt to score points with the recipient.
  2. Any self-confidence and good self-esteem will be perceived as being pompous, arrogant, and full of yourself.
  3. Refusing to talk to your bullies and their minions or to answer any gotcha questions, though justified, will be deemed as your being “too good to speak” or having something to hide.
  4. If you smile, they’ll think you’re plotting something.
  5. If you’re happy, you must’ve done something evil.

In short, when you are a target of bullying, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

The sooner you realize this, the sooner you’ll be able to prepare to make your escape and move on to a better and more positive environment.

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.