Following the crowd and conforming too tightly to what everyone else thinks and does is so unhealthy! When the desire to fit in takes up so much of your time and energy, it leaves you feeling exhausted.
Understand that to follow the crowd requires that you neglect your own wants and needs to appease and please others. After so long, you will build up resentment and the funny thing is that you won’t know why you feel so resentful.
But I can tell you why. It’s because you neglected and denied your own needs to satisfy other people. You didn’t practice self-care because you were so afraid of pissing someone off.
Being a crowd-follower leaves one feeling controlled and manipulated. It’s also tiring because it requires so much work and effort.
Can you imagine having to shift-shape yourself constantly, forever having to change and adjust yourself to the new and keep up with the Jones’s? I can, because I did that for a long time and don’t want to ever do it again. It was exhausting and frustrating!
Understand that you’re not a ball of play-doh and no one can mold you into what they want you to be unless you allow them to. When you break your back to follow the crowd, you become a stranger to yourself. You will no longer recognize yourself because you’ve lost any sense of who you are.
When you don’t know yourself anymore, you lose sight of your goals, dreams, and aspirations. In short, you forget all about what you want out of life. Even worse, you’re more likely to take abuse from others and do things you don’t want to do- just to fit in and be liked.
You constantly worry and fret about what others think of you and say about you.
Screw that noise!
That’s no way to live and life’s too short for it!
Once you’re lost yourself, getting reacquainted with yourself is a slow process and can be downright uncomfortable. But it’s a necessity if you ever want to get your life back and be happy and at peace.
Someone came to me with a burning question that I used to ask all the time. I am certain that millions of people worldwide have asked the same question, “Why do People Bully?”
There are many answers, and they all depend on the individual bully.
1. Spoiled, Coddled, Narcissistic bullies.
These kinds of bullies bully because they are arrogant and overconfident. They truly believe that they are superior to and better than anyone else and will stop at nothing to let you know who’s boss. They are self-entitled, self-serving, and have no empathy.
With people such as these, the ends always justify the means. They do everything possible to keep the spotlight on themselves and hog all the attention. They consider themselves highly privileged.
These people are also jealous of anyone who outshines or outdoes them in any way because they believe that any happiness, successes, accolades, and victories should be reserved for only them.
If you have a talent that brings you recognition, look out! Because these bullies will punish you for it, and they will pull out all the stops to crush your self-esteem and kill your confidence.
You will often find these people in the popular and preppy crowd at school or in the “Good Ole Boy” clique at work. These folks will often be jocks, cheerleaders, and sorority/fraternity nuts at school, or in management or one of their suck-ups at work.
2. Hurting and Victimized Bullies (Bully-Victims)
These bullies bully because they are being bullied themselves either in the home, at school/workplace, or both. These folks feel powerless. So, to reclaim some of the power that has been stripped away from them, they search for someone they perceive to be even weaker than they are and bully them.
These people have a strong need to feel like they have control over something in their lives.
Here’s an example:
A child is yelled at by his parents, then he gets mad and kicks the dog. This is why I call this “Kicking the Dog.”
Also, no one wants to be at the bottom of the pecking order. As the age-old saying goes, “Sh** rolls downhill and lands at the bottom.” So, to stay off the bottom, these types will often find someone else to bully, so they don’t feel like they’re the ones stuck in the basement.
3. Bullies who Are Followers, Drones, and Wannabes
These bullies are to be pitied because they are quite pathetic when you really think of it. They will suck up to the in-crowd (the narcissistic bullies), and all too often, they do this by either bullying those lower on the social totem pole or participating in the bullying somehow.
Many of these people will say, ‘How High?’ when a person from the in-crowd tells them to jump. They often do the dirty work of the narcissistic bullies, join in with them in bullying others, or agree with them.
But understand that these people are only kiss-butts, yes-men, and brown-noses; and are only bullying you or your child for a ticket into the popular crowd or because they’re afraid of becoming the next target.
Different people bully for different reasons. When we can distinguish the reasons each bully bullies we can better prepare and protect ourselves.
A crowd of people surrounded the red man. The accusation of a crime, mob law over a person, lynch court. The leader in the center of the crowd, the leader, an example for diving. Angry crowd
First, let’s define the term “Social Contagion.” It is the spread of thoughts, ideas, emotions, and behaviors from person to person and larger groups affected by shared information, mimicry, and conformity.
A certain emotion or mood can spread quickly through a large crowd, leading them to extreme mindsets. This explains the “pack mentality” where people in large groups act in ways they may later regret.
It is the same with bullying. A target is selected by a few bullies out of the whole class, workplace, or community. Before you know it, the entire student body, workplace, or neighborhood is acting in evil and brutal ways toward the selected target- doing sadistic things that, under normal circumstances, they would never do.
Intense hate spreads throughout the group like cancer. Bystanders, witnesses, even teachers, school officials, supervisors, and managers will partake in the abuse of the singled-out and defenseless target.
They do this for several reasons:
1. To keep from being the next target
2. To fit into the group
3. To feel better about themselves and superior to someone (anyone).
4. They believe any lies/rumors about the target
5. To tighten bonds among themselves- using the target as the common enemy to unite against
To beat bullies at their own game, we must first know what makes them tick and why they do what they do. Once we learn the bully mindset, we will be able to better protect ourselves against them.
Peeling the masks of the bullies one layer at a time!
Believe it or not, it’s easy to tell when someone is being controlled. If you pay attention, you’ll always know if a person you know is being told what to say, what not to say, what to do, and what not to do.
If you are a target of bullying, you more than likely suffer at the request of a powerful ringleader. You may have had friends and allies at first, but you’ve found that slowly, those friends and allies have only disappeared and now, you have no one left who will associate with you, much less help you.
Do you know why? It’s because your bullies have gotten to them somehow. They have either threatened to retaliate and harm them if they have any more to do with you, or they may have given them good incentives to turn against you- social and financial perks, promotions, rewards, etc.
So, how can you tell when a person is compromised?
1. They flip-flop back and forth. This person will say whatever they’re told to say and that often means they have to flip-flop. They say one thing, then later say the opposite. They say whatever they think will benefit them, or, at least, keep them out of hot water.
2. They say anything they think people want to hear no matter how irrational and stupid they may sound. Again, this goes back to flip-flopping and bullies do change narratives often, so, the puppet must change with their puppet-masters and handlers if they want to stay in their good graces.
3. They go with whatever the prevailing narrative or belief is. These people will fall in line quick. You can always tell a follower because they stay in lock step with your bullies. They quote whatever quote is popular, say whatever is popular, wear whatever the bullies are wearing, and act however they must, in order to stay on the bandwagon. In short, they’re a bunch of wannabes trying haplessly to fit into the bullies’ world of morals and standards.
4. They’re a chameleon. This person will behave one way around this person and another way around that person. Understand that this person has no personality of their own. They change personalities like a model changes clothes.
5. They can’t think for themselves. Again, these people never think for themselves. They only flex and bend to anything others tell them. They’ve been sucked into the group-think. God help them if they ever had an original thought. Or worse, took a stand (gasp!).
6. They’re easily led and influenced. Life must really suck if you need someone to hold your hand in order to make decisions and choices. But some people would rather be controlled than to go out on a limb and choose for themselves.
They’re under the belief that it’s better to have security than to have freedom. That freedom and independence are too risky because they just might fail!
It’s true that being your own person involves a lot of risk. To be independent and have your own thoughts and opinions will invite the risk of failure and the enmity of a few others. But understand that anyone who doesn’t like you because you prefer to be yourself is more than likely a controlling person- an abuser, a bully, a narcissist. That’s right. Only people who like to control others hate those who are independent and who think for themselves.
So, why would you want to please those types of people? Why would you want to have a puppet-master? Understand that only objects have owners. And you’re not an object, you’re a person with your own thoughts, feelings, opinions and beliefs. Keep it that way!
If you’re a target of bullying and your friends and allies have turned their backs on you, it’s best that you have nothing more to do with them and find new friends outside of the bullying environment.
You don’t want friends who are sheep and too weak to have your back when the chips are down. Trust me on that one. You want strong friends and allies- people who aren’t too chicken to have your back and are more than happy to go to bat for you. That’s what real friends do!
You want the types of friends who are hard to find, not those who are a dime a dozen. Know that you deserve better!
“Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups.” – Nietzche
It’s because of a thing called “group behavior.”
It’s a fact that school bullies rarely get over the passionate hatred of their targets once they graduate and meet them again in the real world later. My old bullies are no exception. They may not admit it to anyone other than each other, but it’s still there- simmering under the surface. Not that I’m concerned about how they feel because I could care less. As long as they stay away from me, they can feel, think, and say whatever and however, they want. It’s of no concern to me.
What would concern me is that going to the next reunion would put me in physical danger. And let’s face it. People act much differently in large groups than they do on their own. In groups, humans will do things they usually wouldn’t do, and they’ll do it for the sole purpose of conforming.
Understand that a high school reunion will have at least fifty to a hundred people in attendance. And the bigger the group, the more compelled the people in it will be to conform.
For example: If twenty out of a hundred classmates attending this reunion decide to jump me, or even kill me, you can bet that for obvious reasons, none of those who stand by and watch would do a thing to help me. They probably wouldn’t so much as run and call for help.
Out of their loyalty for each other and hatred for me, the attendees would, more than likely, let me die. I wouldn’t put it past them. No way would they risk conflict and the possibility of being ostracized by the rest of the class. To be another, “usurper” like me. No way they would.
They’re didn’t years ago, and they wouldn’t do it today. It doesn’t matter how much older we are. They would value their status within the class more than they would the life of a person they never deemed a human being.
And people like them figure that if no one stops them, it can’t be wrong. Bystanders have a ton of influence. So, when they turn a blind eye to wrongdoing, they’ll likely become participants in it at some point. My classmates like each other and have a lot in common. And the one thing they share is their collective resentment and hate of certain people they decided weren’t worthy of human dignity. Therefore, this would only cement their collusion.
So, why would I even consider going? Going to this reunion would be suicide, and I value myself and my life way too much to put myself in that kind of danger.
The more people present when an emergency strikes, the more likely they’ll only ignore it. Any altruism they have will, more than likely, fly out the window when a person is a part of a large group. Even if cellphones have made it easier to call for help, we’ve seen video after video of vicious beatings and other crimes against fellow humans, where bystanders only stood around, laughed, and filmed the attack rather than use their phones to call for help.
Given the feelings of anger and resentment my classmates still have thirty years later, I wouldn’t put it past them to pull out their phones and begin filming in the event some of them attacked me. It’s precisely the mentality the majority of them still have, and it’s sad.
And most adults aren’t mature adults in this day and age. Adults today aren’t the adults of the ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s. Many of today’s adults, 55 and younger, have no morals nor integrity. The world today is much more evil, and many people have let hatred and immaturity overtake them because, in the current climate, it’s easier to survive in today’s world if you go along.
It’s hard to go high when everyone else goes low. Few people want to be the square peg in a group of round ones because it’s much too risky.
And many of my classmates may not think they’d stand back and watch another human being getting pulverized. After all, we all want to believe we’d do the right thing. But human nature is a fickle thing, and the compulsion to conform to a group is more potent than we realize.
This kind of stuff has happened too many times down through history- others looked the other way while the most brutal of atrocities were being committed.
This is not to say for absolute certain that they would resort to physically harming or killing another person because they may not. But there’s no way I can know for sure. And given all this, especially their past behavior, I’m not willing to take that chance. So, the best thing to do is to ensure my safety by avoiding them altogether.
So, if you were a target of bullying in school and you know for a fact that your classmates never resolved their hatred of you, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to go to any reunions, much less bring your spouse and kids to one. Sometimes distance is the safest bet.