How People Can Believe Lies About You

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

If you’re a target of bullying, I almost certain that you’ve had bullies tell the most outrageous and outright ridiculous falsehoods about you- lies which were laughable at best. And shockingly, everyone in the place actually believed that garbage! And you wondered, “How could anyone with even a lick of sense believe such moronic tales!”

It seemed as if everyone around you was smoking crack. They’d have to be to believe such tripe!

Judgemental girls tauting fellow student

Understand that anytime you’re a target of bullying, you’re at your absolute worst!  Anyone would be a total emotional wreck under the extreme pressure that bullying brings. Anytime a person is bullied by everyone, it doesn’t matter how strong they are, how brave they are, how beautiful, how awesome their personalities are. They will eventually be overcome with exhaustion and taken down.

If you’re bullied long enough by enough people, you’ll only be able to stay strong and withstand it for so long. Because we’re all human, and no one can hold up under that kind of stress and adversity forever.

Bullies instinctively know this. So, they increase the abuse until you begin to crack. You will be overwhelmed with so many emotions. You’ll be completely paranoid- and with good reason!

You’ll be furious; you’ll be terrified, shocked, confused, and stressed to the extreme! You’ll have periods of crying. Your appetite will be gone, and you’ll get very little sleep. You’ll have your hair falling out and your stomach will be in knots. You’ll have excruciating headaches. At times, you’ll feel nauseated and even vomit!

Should it be any wonder that people believe everything they hear about you?

They’ve seen you morph from a cheerful, reliable, responsible, and reasonable person to a stressed out, hot mess of a train wreck who’s barely able to function, much less concentrate on schoolwork or job projects.

Here’s another thing:

Joseph Goebbels, who was the minister of propaganda to Adolf Hitler, said it best when he made these statements,

“Tell a lie once, and it remains a lie. Tell a lie a thousand times, and it becomes the truth.”

“The bigger the lie, the more it will be believed.”

Believe it or not, people will believe the big, outlandish lies before they accept the little white lies that make more sense. If we hear something about another person, especially if it’s something huge and horrible and it comes from a person we trust or who has a little bit of power, we may feel shocked and disbelief at first but we will eventually believe it.

And the reason we end up believing it is that the repercussions of severe wrongdoing are so enormous that we don’t want to think that anyone would tell such a big fat lie about someone if there isn’t some truth to it.

We cling to the belief that if a person is audacious enough to make such an accusation about another person, then somewhere, there must be evidence to back it up. Otherwise, they wouldn’t dare make such bold accusations and risk being proven wrong and made to look like a fool!

So, we hold on to the idea that where there’s smoke, there’s fire and allow caution and speculation to supersede any logic. And if we expect trouble to come from a specific place, that’s where we’re going to look.

And when we look for a specific thing, we usually find it.

Also, if a lie goes against the target’s character, we’re more likely to believe it strictly because any story of hypocrisy has a certain amount of shock value and entertainment to it as long as the story is about someone else and not us.

We’re more prone to believe a big fat lie because it frightens the crap out of us. When people hear a lie so big and outrageous, it makes them wonder if they ever really knew the target at all. And the idea that someone they know could do such a horrible thing scares people to death.

Is it all making sense now? Great!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Bullying and Gossip

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 the target’s punishment by promoting a collective view that she 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.

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…”

 They will acknowledge that the target is a human being, but only because this gives them the green light to talk and helps them feel less like creeps.

It’s true that reputation doesn’t equal character. But understand that though the rumors may be false, and there may be zero credible evidence to back them up, if  pure speculation will best fit the bullies’ goals, that’s what they’ll 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, and 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.

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 most cases, targets must leave the school, company, or community to heal and rebuild their lives.

Reputation Does Not Equal Character

Bullying can be a big weight and a burden with negative influence – Bullying role and impact symbolized by a heavy prisoner’s weight attached to a person, 3d illustration.

“Your reputation is what others think of you; your character is what you truly are. Reputations can be manipulated; character can only be developed and maintained.”

~ Bohdi Sanders ~

All too often, when a person is bullied, his/her reputation takes a big hit due to the many ugly rumors and lies which are spread by their tormentors. Remember that bullying is a campaign.

Just as a politician would go from house to house and business to business, kissing babies and shaking hands with people on the street while giving a spiel of why they’re the best person for the office they’re running for, bullies do the same. They go from person to person spinning their yarn about why no one should associate with the target.

Bullies/Peer Abusers engage everyone, even friends and family of the victim, pulling false accusations out of thin air and making them sound so convincing that others find the lies difficult not to believe.

Tormentors may also use a “tiny grain of truth,” which may be a simple mistake the victim might have made in the past (possibly an error which anybody could have made at any time), then add their spin to it, making it worse and more significant than what it is to make the story even more believable.

Moreover, harassers may use subtle provocations, taunts, and assaults to bait the victim into a reaction, then turn around and use his/her perfectly normal human response as further proof that he/she is a less than desirable person (crazy, stupid, evil, etc.).

Businessman not listening to nonsense.

You must realize that bullies are sociopaths. They have a wealth of superficial charm at their disposal and are masters in the arts of persuasion and influence. People of this nature are very skilled wordsmiths, which is why they are seemingly able to pull a complete fabrication out of their butts and make it smell sweet and sound plausible.

Because of this oozing charm that most seasoned bullies possess, they can encourage bystanders and sometimes authority (teachers, principals, monitors, etc.) to join in the torment.

After being attacked for so long, it’s too easy for victims to become worn down and go the “eye for an eye” route and return the attacks (physically or verbally). Although defending oneself is a perfectly reasonable response to assaults, victims are forced to be cautious in their counter-attacks and very carefully choose their battles because a well-experienced bully can easily use any reactions to validate any rumors lies about them.

Before long, even those who aren’t normally bullies will either shun or brutalize the selected target. Thus, the reputation of the innocent victim is tarnished and will take years to repair.

With all the above combined, bullies can be a weapon of mass destruction to their victims, ripping them to shreds and destroying any credibility they once had. Right or wrong, once credibility is lost, victims are powerless and have almost zero chance of redeeming themselves, and opportunities can be lost even before they present themselves.

If you are a target of bullying, I want to assure you that your reputation DOES NOT equal your character. You are an intelligent, goodhearted person, and you are worthy of being loved regardless of how others may perceive you.

As difficult as it may be to do so, you must never let your reputation define you. Never let bullies dim your shine! Hold on, with everything you have in you, to your remarkable qualities, even if you have to remind yourself that you are a great person every day! Hold on to your faith and your dignity! Hold on to TRUTH!

When People Lump You into A Category Based on The Bad Behavior of Someone Close to You

I hear these stories all the time from people who have a ne’er do well brother, an uncle who’s the town drunk, or a sister who’s notorious for being promiscuous. But whether your dad did a stint in prison, or your mom is perceived by others to be the town nut-job, know that these are things you have no control over and therefore, are not your responsibility. You aren’t defined by the lousy choices or unfortunate circumstances of a few relatives.

Yes, I know that the judgement people heap on top of you hurts and hurts terribly, but I want you to know that you’re an innocent person in all of it. You’re an individual and you shouldn’t feel ashamed of anything because you’ve done nothing wrong. Realize that humans have a bad habit of lumping people into categories, whether justly or unjustly. And they’re wrong for painting you with the same brush based on bad choices a few of your family members made.

People also do this with different races and ethnic groups as well. It seems that many automatically think that all Blacks are thugs, all Whites are racist, all Native Americans are savages, all Hispanics are illegal aliens and so forth.

Yes, I’ve heard all the above statements throughout high school, in a few workplaces, even in the news media and it’s all garbage! We should all know that none of it is true. There are some of the greatest, loving, and most tenderhearted people in every race and there are many who don’t live up to the ignorant stereotypes that society likes to hoist upon them.

Therefore, I want you to know that anyone who puts you in a category with a few evil bad apples, or people who’ve simply made bad choices, doesn’t know the individual you. They do not know your heart nor your inner reality. And they don’t know what you think and feel.

Nobody can possibly know these things but you and God. And if they claim they do know, they’re only playing God by claiming to know the unknowable. Realize that when people perceive you to be someone you aren’t, their thoughts and opinions aren’t worthy of even being considered and you shouldn’t place any value to them.

In fact, you should kick these people to the curb because they aren’t worth your time nor energy. You deserve people in your life who get you- who love you for you and the good you bring to this world.

So, know that you deserve better and that you are not the labels others stick to you.

A More In-Depth Explanation of Smear Campaigns

 

It always starts subtly. Bullies start rumors by dropping a suggestion. And all it takes is one little rumor- just one! Because people will want to believe it.

If enough people do, it will become the truth even if it is a bald-faced lie. And there’s no getting away from public opinion no matter how false or unjustified it is.

Bullies ruin targets by making things up, leaking info they hear, or spreading ideas. Next, the bullies will fade into the background because they know that with everything put together, the rumor or whatever lie they spread will stick. They’ve done their part, and now they can sit back and let the rumor mill do the work for them. It’s that easy!

Let’s break it down.

The bullies start by suggesting that the target would be better off if he/she got professional help, moved, etc . They will say that it’s for his (the target’s) own good.

They may then drop an offhand comment here and another there.

In the beginning, the target may have friends and be very well-liked. And these friends may try to support the victim and speak on his behalf, but that’s when the bullies will tell them, “Oh, no. There’s more to it than what he told you.” Or, the bullies may lie to the friends by telling them that sometime in the past, the target criticized them (the friends) or stabbed them in the back.

Now it’s time for the bullies to stand back and let the old rumor mill do its handiwork. And, sure enough, the lies become the truth. People begin reporting things to the bullies and higher-ups in the social hierarchy- even things that never happened.

And as the rumors and lies spread from person to person, the bigger they get until they sound so bizarre and outlandish they’d be fit for a horror movie.

The target might say, “Aw, but they’re my friends. They’d never do that to me. They know I’m a good person, and I have a clean reputation. All I have to do is tell them my side of things, and this stuff will go away.”

Wrong!

Once the rumors get around, the target’s friends will no longer believe him to be right. They’ll only think the victim is a thorn in the side with a big mouth. By the time bullying is underway, your reputation is no longer clean.

Now, everyone thinks the target never deserved any respect or friendship. The people around him also feel that the reason he was so well-liked is that he conned his way into their hearts.

They’ll say that the target put on a front, and he only weaseled his way into everyone’s good graces. The bullies and their followers may even accuse the victim of being a kiss-arse.

The target’s past wins, accomplishments, successes, or accolades will be made irrelevant. And every mistake and failure will be maximized, along with many more he didn’t make. At the same time, they’ll rewrite the victim’s history.

When you’re a target, even if others see with their own eyes evidence of your successes, friendships- anything positive, they’ll only react by claiming that you’re only a smooth-talker who’s darn good at using fake charm to manipulate others.

And the friends that your bullies turn against you? Your former friends will claim that they never liked you from the start and that they were only kind to you because they were afraid of you, felt sorry for you, or because you smooth-talked and conned them.

Your so-called friends will tell others, “who you really are.” They’ll claim that the bullies you bitched about were only reacting to your sneaky provocations, and if they ever agreed with you about your bullies, they only did so because you fooled them into it.

And telling your side of things will do no good because they’ll never believe it anyway. Your embittered friends “may have fallen for it at first,” but now they claim to “know better.”

I want you to understand that their minds are already made up and there’s no changing it.

In cases like these, it’s best just to find a way to get out of the environment altogether and never look back, and to never have anything to do with any of these people again. You owe it to yourself to kick them all to the curb.

The more you know…

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.

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.

gossip rumors defamation

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.”

gossip

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!

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

dreamstime_s_164565845

Bullying can be a big weight and a burden with negative influence – Bullying role and impact symbolized by a heavy prisoner’s weight attached to a person, 3d illustration

Character is who you truly are. Reputation is who others think you are.
All too often, when a person is bullied, his/her reputation takes a big hit due to the many ugly rumors and lies which are spread by their tormentors. Remember that bullying is a campaign.

Just as a politician would go from house to house and business to business, kissing babies and shaking hands with people on the street while giving a spiel of why they’re the best person for the office they’re running for, bullies do the same. They go from person to person spinning their yarn about why no one should associate with the target.

Bullies/Peer Abusers engage everyone, even friends and family of the victim, pulling false accusations out of thin air and making them sound so convincing that others find the lies difficult not to believe.

dreamstime_xs_93701973

Tormentors may also use a “tiny grain of truth,” which may be a simple mistake the victim might have made in the past (possibly an error which anybody could have made at any time), then add their spin to it, making it worse and more significant than what it is to make the story even more believable.

Moreover, harassers may use subtle provocations, taunts, and assaults to bait the victim into a reaction, then turn around and use his/her perfectly normal human response as further proof that he/she is a less than desirable person (crazy, stupid, evil, etc.).

You must realize that bullies are sociopaths. They have a wealth of superficial charm at their disposal and are masters in the arts of persuasion and influence. People of this nature are very skilled wordsmiths, which is why they are seemingly able to pull a complete fabrication out of their butts and make it smell sweet and sound plausible.

dreamstime_xs_86395730

Because of this oozing charm that most seasoned bullies possess, they can encourage bystanders and sometimes authority (teachers, principals, monitors, etc.) to join in the torment.

After being attacked for so long, it’s too easy for victims to become worn down and go the “eye for an eye” route and return the attacks (physically or verbally). Although defending oneself is a perfectly reasonable response to assaults, victims are forced to be cautious in their counter-attacks and very carefully choose their battles because a well-experienced bully can very easily use any reactions as validation of any rumors and lies about them.

Before long, even those who aren’t normally bullies will either shun or brutalize the selected target. Thus, the reputation of the innocent victim is tarnished and will take years to repair.

Business man not listening to nonsense

Businessman not listening to nonsense

With all the above combined, bullies can be a weapon of mass destruction to their victims, ripping them to shreds and destroying any credibility they once had. Right or wrong, once credibility is lost, victims are powerless and have almost zero chance of redeeming themselves, and opportunities can be lost even before they present themselves.

If you are a target of bullying, I want to assure you that your reputation DOES NOT equal your character. You are an intelligent, goodhearted person and you are worthy of being loved regardless of how others may perceive you.

As difficult as it may be to do so, you must never let your reputation define you. Never let bullies dim your shine! Hold on, with everything you have in you, to your remarkable qualities, even if you have to remind yourself every day that you are a great person! Hold on to your faith and your dignity! Hold on to TRUTH!