When a Target is Verbally Bullied

When bullies carry out a barrage of verbal attacks against a target, they attack the person’s character, mental stability, and abilities. Therefore, if the target doesn’t maintain his/her sense of self and confidence, the bullies will eventually brainwash them and crush their spirit.

Verbal bullying can be done openly through bursts of rage, overt personal attacks, name-calling, and physical violence threats. Open verbal bullying aims to strike fear in the target.

It also seeks to let the target know in no uncertain terms that the bully is controlling them and that they’d better acquiesce or the bully will hurt them. It also dares the target to protest against it or defend themselves. In open bullying, bullies instill terror in bystanders as well by making an example of the target.

Examples of open verbal bullying include but aren’t limited to:

“You’re such a moron!”

“I’ll kick your butt if you say anything back to me!”

“You’re completely hopeless! Can’t you do anything right?”

It can also be subtle through tiny digs, zingers, offhand comments, and backhanded compliments. Subtle bullying aims to control and dominate its target without them realizing it.

In being subtle, bullies may act like they’re sincerely and genuinely concerned for the target.

Examples of subtle verbal bullying include:

“I’m concerned about you. You need help because you’re always so defensive every time we tell you what you’re doing wrong.”

“We’re telling you to help you.”

There’s a difference between constructive and destructive criticism, and bullies only give you the latter.

This type of verbal aggression aims to manipulate the target. Again, in most cases, the person doesn’t realize the bullies are using them. However, they will notice that they’re not as happy as before and don’t feel as good about themselves as they did once. The target will also sense that something is off.

Bullies use words to discourage, disrespect, and devalue the target, and they do it to diminish the target’s confidence and self-esteem. Targets may consciously or unconsciously try and change their behavior and personality to avoid agitating the bullies and protect themselves from any future bullying. But in doing this, targets only allow bullies to brainwash them into suppressing their authenticity, good natures, talents, and gifts.

Understand that you’ll never know people are bullying based on what outsiders see and tell you. When the bullying is subtle, it’s vague and almost unnoticeable not only by you but especially to others. Over time, the target becomes conditioned to take the abuse.

verbal abuse bullying

This kind of bullying can be unpredictable. The target may think he’s doing quite well until suddenly and out of the blue, bullies blindside him with another barrage of insults. The sudden onslaught only renders the target shocked, stunned, and thrown off-kilter by the bullies’ sarcasm, angry jab, put down, or ridicule.

It won’t matter how intelligent and socially aware you are; you’ll never expect the next attack, and you’ll never know why they attacked you nor how to keep them from attacking you.

Verbal bullies will send conflicting messages to confuse you:

They’ll say there’s nothing wrong, but their body language and the vibes they put out will tell you otherwise. Bullies may say that they don’t care what the target says, does, or thinks, yet they continuously watch her, eavesdropping on her conversations and invading her privacy.

What’s terrible about verbal bullying is that it always escalates. In the early stages of bullying, bullies disguise their insults and ridicule as jokes and fake concern. Over time, they turn it up and dish out their verbal abuse more openly. They do this deliberately to soften the target up for worse abuse later.

Even worse, verbal abuse usually escalates to physical assaults and beatings.

That’s why it’s so important to know when someone is verbally abusing you and put a stop to it as early as possible!

If you’re not sure people are verbally bullying you, listen to what your body tells you. Pay attention to your senses and intuition. If something said to you doesn’t feel right, call it out! I can’t express enough how important this is. Counter with something like,

“I know what you’re trying to do, and I don’t like it! So, I’d suggest that you back off right now!”

“Stop being foolish!”

“I don’t want to hear that garbage!”

Or you can tell them to shut up and walk away like you don’t have time to listen to their boring nonsense.

If you do this in the early stages, the chances are that you’ll stop them dead in their tracks, and they go away and find another target.

With knowledge comes empowerment.

What Happens When You Call a Bully’s Bluff

As we all know, bullies are convincing liars. But what happens when they finally get called out on their lies and evil deeds. Let’s use scenarios to find out.

For example, you’re a target of bullying. You find out that the one friend you thought you could trust has been spreading your deepest secrets and spreading lies behind your back while only pretending to be your best buddy (This can apply to both school and workplace environments). When you confront her, here are her possible reactions.

1. She will deny it or, at the least, try to avoid the subject. How you’ll know she’s dishonest? She will change the subject by talking about a topic irrelevant to the issue while appearing to be busy doing a task. Girls are known for this.

2. She will become irate and go on a tirade. She may even yell and curse at you. She may turn it back on you and accuse you of being paranoid, crazy, a crybaby, etc. But understand that she only looks and sounds desperate when she does this. Know that this is just another dead giveaway, and most bullies get highly defensive when they’re afraid they’re busted.

Understand that most bullies will get loud. They scream, yell, and pound their fists, curse, and swear when they fear exposure. However, don’t let this scare you because the dramatics and theatrics they display only mean that the bullies are desperate!

3. She will lay guilt trips on you.

“Well, if you were my friend, you wouldn’t believe…”

“If you were a true friend to me, you wouldn’t even question my loyalty.”

Don’t buy that garbage. The person is just trying to make you feel guilty or trying to intimidate you into silence. If your so-called friend was the only person you told any secrets to or knows about your life outside of the school, workplace, or organization, it’s a safe bet they’re guilty. And if enough people tell you that she is saying things behind your back, especially people you’ve never met or had any dealings with or people who aren’t a threat to you, she’s guilty!

Example 2: You have a bully on your back, and you’ve finally had enough. You call him/her out on his/her bad behavior and begin speaking out about the abuse she dishes out.

1. She will escalate the harassment to either punish you or intimidate you and shut you down. Understand that the bully is afraid of being exposed, facing accountability, and losing face and will stop at nothing to silence you.

2. He will justify himself with full conviction.

“If you didn’t always make trouble, I wouldn’t have had to hurt you!”

“If you weren’t so stupid, I wouldn’t give you such a hard time!”

“You made me do it because you always do this when you should do that!”

“If you would just do this, I wouldn’t have to do that!”

“You won’t shut up, so you deserve it!”

Again, don’t believe a word of it! Continue to report the harassment. You must protect yourself by speaking just as loud and with just as much conviction as the bully. Make plenty of noise because the wheel that squeaks loudest gets the grease!

3. She will slander you to everyone who will listen to her and try to turn others against you. Again, understand that this bully is afraid of being exposed. So she spreads rumors and lies to discredit you by distracting others from her appalling and embarrassing behavior by making you look like the guilty party.

If the bully can make you look bad and turn everyone else against you, she reaps several benefits.

a. She can intimidate you into silence and avoid any future risks of exposure.

b. She can discredit you, make herself look like the victim, and, therefore, gain attention and sympathy from other people.

c. She can successfully cut you off from any support you might otherwise receive.

d. She gets the green light to bully you again later and with impunity.

e. She gets to move up the social ladder and win more friends and allies.

f. She gets the satisfaction of maintaining power, domination, and control over another person.

As goes the old political quote from World War II, “Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”

People pointing a woman hidden behind a computer

Understand that any smear campaign is designed to protect the guilty bullies from being exposed and shift blame onto innocent victims. It’s a tactic used since the beginning of time!

So, don’t shut up no matter what! Continue to call out the bullies’ behavior! And if they react like any of the above, tell them like it is.

Say this:

“The tirade isn’t going to work anymore” or “Go ahead and lie all you want. Everybody knows this is only retaliation because I had the gall to expose your deplorable behavior! Right,(the bully’s name)? Is that what this is, (Bully’s name)?”

Be sure to say the bully’s name at the end of the above questions because that really shakes a bully when you put his/her name on it!

If the bully says, “No!” Tell her in a fast and short tone, “Oh, yes it is, and you know it, (Bully’s name)!”

Counter. Everything. She. Comes. Back with!

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…

Mobbing: The Worst Kind of Bullying

Mobbing is bullying by large groups- it is a form of violence where either a vast majority of or whole of alumni in a school, a workforce in a workplace, a(n) entire organization, or community collectively harass and attack a single targeted individual. The mob often act under the influence of a ringleader or someone in a position of power. Mobbing almost always happens out of retaliation against a long-bullied target who became fed-up with the disrespect and cruelty and finally spoke out about or did something about it.

Mobbing has other names as well: Collective Bullying or Mass Bullying.

Remember that bullies and their followers expect the target to stay quiet about the abuse- even demand that he bow down to and submit to it. And when a targeted individual finally has enough and asserts his right to be treated as a human being, the bullies will punish him with mobbing.

Here’s a description of mobbing:

A large group of people (or mob) targets a person who opened his mouth about the bullying and abuse, and they become increasingly aggressive, and the number of attackers against the target grows until the targeted person is completely alone and stripped of power.

Group aggression, or collective bullying, serves to reinforce a shared negative view of the targeted person regardless of the victim’s prior value or reputation. As vicious gossip circulates throughout the environment about the target, destructive labels and damaging accusations will ensue and only isolate the target.

The mob will expand to include several teachers and school staff, or managers on many levels and large numbers of students or coworkers. People who are often peaceful and kind are encouraged to resent or hate the targeted person. A bully in power directs them to gossip about the person and to mistreat and bully him. Even the sweetest, most compassionate people can suddenly become mean and nasty.

And, one by one, the entire student body, workplace, or community judges, slanders, and accuses the target of one thing after another, and after another.

Understand that, in these cases, those who are generally good, kind people won’t see themselves as mean or as participants in bullying but rather, as defenders against an (alleged) evil enemy. They view their own atrocious behavior as justified and necessary because to see themselves as bullying participants goes against their sense of decency.

Understand that people will always act differently when they’re in a group. Always! Because they feel they must conform. Also, understand that once bullying escalates to mobbing, it’s nearly impossible to stop.

And the reason why it’s the most damaging to a target is that he quickly loses support as more and more people jump on the hate bandwagon, until everyone avoids, defames, and blames the mark for any tiny thing that goes wrong.

School staff, the management, or community authorities then close ranks, thereby eliminating any help or escape from the abuse.

Sadly, there isn’t much you can do once the violence has escalated to this point. But in the next post, I will talk about mobbing in more detail. I’ll talk about the steps, stages, and signs that bullying is heading toward mobbing and how you can name it, describe it and raise your chances of heading the bullying off before it gets that far.

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!

Calling the Bully’s Bluff: Notorious Ways Bullies React When You Do

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As we all know, bullies are convincing liars. But what happens when they finally get called out on their lies and evil deeds. Let’s use scenarios to find out.

For example, you’re a target of bullying. You find out that the one friend you thought you could trust has been spreading your deepest secrets and spreading lies behind your back while only pretending to be your best buddy (This can apply to both school and workplace environments). When you confront her, here are his/her possible reactions.

1. She will deny it or, at the least, try to avoid the subject. How you’ll know she’s dishonest? She will change the subject by talking about a topic irrelevant to the issue at hand while appearing to be busy doing a task. Girls are known for this.

dreamstime_xs_170692908

2. She will become irate and go on a tirade. She may even yell and curse at you. She may turn it back on you and accuse you of being paranoid, crazy, a crybaby, etc. But understand that she only looks and sounds desperate when she does this. Know that this is just another dead giveaway, and most bullies get highly defensive when they’re afraid they’re busted.

Understand that most bullies will get loud. They scream, yell, and pound their fists, curse, and swear when they fear exposure. However, don’t let this scare you because the dramatics and theatrics they display only mean that the bullies are desperate!

Bullying, friendship and people concept

Bullying, friendship and people concept. Girl patronizing screaming pointing finger at shy timid nerdy woman who is looking down

3. She will lay guilt trips on you.

“Well, if you were my friend, you wouldn’t believe…”

“If you were a true friend to me, you wouldn’t even question my loyalty.”

Don’t buy that garbage. The person is just trying to make you feel guilty or trying to intimidate you into silence. If your so-called friend was the only person you told any secrets to or knows about your life outside of the school, workplace, or organization, it’s a safe bet they’re guilty. And if enough people tell you that she is saying things behind your back, especially people you’ve never met or had any dealings with or people who aren’t a threat to you, she’s guilty!

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Example 2: You have a bully on your back, and you’ve finally had enough. You call him/her out on his/her bad behavior and begin speaking out about the abuse she dishes out.

1. She will escalate the harassment to either punish you or to intimidate you and shut you down. Understand that the bully is afraid of being exposed, facing accountability, and losing face and will stop at nothing to silence you.

2. He will justify himself with full conviction.

“If you didn’t always make trouble, I wouldn’t have had to hurt you!”

“If you weren’t so stupid, I wouldn’t give you such a hard time!”

“You made me do it because you always do this when you should do that!”

“If you would just do this, I wouldn’t have to do that!”

“You won’t shut up, so you deserve it!”

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Again, don’t believe a word of it! Continue to report the harassment. You must protect yourself by speaking just as loud and with just as much conviction as the bully. Make plenty of noise because the wheel that squeaks loudest gets the grease!

3. She will slander you to everyone who will listen to her and try to turn others against you. Again, understand that this bully is afraid of being exposed. So she spreads rumors and lies to discredit you by distracting others from her appalling and embarrassing behavior by making you look like the guilty party.

If the bully can make you look bad and turn everyone else against you, she reaps several benefits.

a. She can intimidate you into silence and avoid any future risks of exposure.

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b. She can discredit you, make herself look like the victim, and, therefore, gain attention and sympathy from other people.

c. She can successfully cut you off from any support you might otherwise receive.

d. She gets the green light to bully you again later and with impunity.

e. She gets to move up the social ladder and win more friends and allies.

f. She gets the satisfaction of being able to maintain power, domination, and control over another person.

As goes the old political quote from World War II, “Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”

Understand that any smear campaign is designed to protect the guilty bullies from being exposed and shift blame onto innocent victims. It’s a tactic used since the beginning of time!

dreamstime_xs_167234704

So, don’t shut up no matter what! Continue to call out the bullies’ behavior! And if they react like any of the above, tell them like it is.

Say this:

“The tirade isn’t going to work anymore” or “Go ahead and lie all you want. Everybody knows this is only retaliation because I had the gall to expose your deplorable behavior! Right,(the bully’s name)? Is that what this is, (Bully’s name)?”

Be sure to say the bully’s name at the end of the above questions because that really shakes a bully when you put his/her name on it!

If the bully says “No!” Tell her in a fast and short tone, “Oh, yes it is and you know it, (Bully’s name)!”

Counter. Everything. She. Comes. Back with!