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 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.

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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!

When Bullying Becomes Mobbing: Detailed Steps Bullies Take to Destroy You

Mobbing is THE severest form of bullying. Once the bullying reaches the stage of mobbing, this is when the bullying becomes life-threatening! And if you’ve ever been a target of it, you know firsthand how destructive it is.

The reasons that mobbing is so hard to remedy is because not only has it already rendered us so distraught that we’re unable to think clearly, but we aren’t able to name, describe, nor communicate the steps bullies take to destroy us.

A successful smear campaign is started by a bully or bullies who are well-practiced in the arts of persuasion and influence and can last for years.

Here’s something I want you to realize. A smear campaign is nowhere near as tricky as it looks. You’d be amazed at just how simple it is to smear someone. It’s so easy that it shouldn’t be so effective, but it is!

To quote the old Geico commercial, it’s “so easy; a caveman can do it.”

Here’s a chronological, step-by-step recap of how bullies do it and succeed at it:

1. The bullies have a dislike for a specific individual who refuses to conform to their standard of who she should be.

Now all this time, the bullies have been able to influence everyone else and get them to submit to their will and every whim. Then, low and behold, along comes the target (we’ll call her “Cindy”) who’s stubborn and either unable to or won’t submit to the bullies’ control and allow them to change her personality into what they think it should be.

And Cindy may not realize the bullies’ motives and that just by being herself and doing her thing, she’s enraging the bullies. So, she goes on about her business, makes plans for her future, makes achievement after achievement, and maybe she gets loads of positive attention and praise from others because she’s so successful and well-liked.

2. Next, the bullies begin to smear Cindy. To implement their smear campaign, they watch Cindy, studying her behavior carefully until they’re able to anticipate her reactions.

3. The bullies then train their audience (i.e., the other classmates or coworkers to expect a specific type of behavior out of Cindy. They point out these behaviors when they occur. The bullies then associate Cindy’s completely innocent behavior with something bad or evil.

For example, let’s say that Cindy is sweet, playful, and likes to engage in a little banter. The bullies watch as Cindy banters with people in the school or workplace. She playfully calls someone a “dummy” or a “goofball,” but others know that it’s all for harmless jokes and think it’s funny because Cindy is a genuinely kind person.

4. So, the bullies begin making offhand comments. They remark that Cindy’s kindness is only an attempt to kiss ass because she wants something from people and that she thinks the people around her really are dummies, but only disguises it under a veil of fun jokes and playfulness.

The bullies also make statements that Cindy thinks she’s cute and that Cindy thinks she’s smarter than everyone else. Then repeat, repeat, repeat!

To quote a propaganda minister to a well-known dictator in history, “Tell a lie once, and it remains a lie. Tell a lie a thousand times, and it becomes the truth.”

5. The next time others see Cindy being kind to and playfully bantering with someone, she doesn’t look so cute, and the banter isn’t so funny anymore. Now people see a side of Cindy they can’t believe they never noticed before.

6. Now feeling smug with gratification, the bullies look at themselves, then at Cindy with smirks on their crooked faces and try the same thing all over again.

7. And before you know it, everyone wonders what they ever saw in Cindy, to begin with, and begins to have negative feelings toward the poor girl.

8. Cindy begins to pick up on the negative vibes around her and withdraws a little. She doesn’t speak to people as much as she did and doesn’t understand what she did or said to bring it all about. The bullies notice that Cindy is more distant than usual, and they point this out to everyone.

“Hey, look! Do you see that? Now, what did we tell you? Cindy really does think we’re all dummies! She really does think she’s smarter than the rest of us!”

“And her ass-kissing (Cindy’s sweet disposition) didn’t work, so now she’s too good to speak to anyone!”

9. Cindy’s withdrawal only inflames everyone’s feelings of dislike and resentment. Although her becoming distant is only out of self-protection, others mistake it for smugness and arrogance.

10. And it only snowballs from there, getting worse and worse over time. Understand that people are human, and they make mistakes. They misjudge innocent others all the time.

And when bullies condition the whole of a group, school, organization, workplace, or community to see any quality in a particular person as a bad thing, a smear campaign is most effective. So everyone, even those who aren’t bullies and are otherwise kind and compassionate, can become extremely cold and cruel to a target. And everyone repeats the same cruelty, over and over again.

Understand that smear campaigns are just too effective because they can quickly become bullying, then escalate to mobbing, which is the most severe kind of bullying. And once it increases to mobbing, it’s unstoppable, and the only way you can take your life back is to leave that toxic, poisonous environment altogether.

Guilt by Association

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Understand that to achieve their goals to isolate the target, bullies will threaten and punish anyone they see who has anything to do with the target.

Nobody wants to be ostracized. Nothing wrong with that. However, when bullies slander you and friends turn against you so easily, it speaks volumes about the kinds of people they are. And sadly, very few people have the sack to stand up to bullies. It stinks, but it’s the gospel truth.

Most people will do anything- and I mean anything to keep from being socially isolated. Most will even turn their backs on their closest friends.

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But understand this. Anybody who claims to be your friend but doesn’t have your back is not your friend! And when it comes to your bullies, you must ask yourself these questions:

1. Who are they (the bullies and anyone else) to set standards for you?
2. Who are they to tell you what standards you should live up to?
3. Who are they to tell you to change?
4. Who are they to tell you how to dress, how to act, and how to live?
5. What authority do they have to make any rules that you should follow?
6. Who died and made them the authority over you?
7. What power do they have to tell everyone else who to associate with and who not to?

If you’re a target of bullying who’s just been abandoned by everybody because the bullies have influenced them to do so, you must also ask yourself this question:

1. I mean, dig deep and really ask yourself: Would you even want to be friends or associate with a bunch of pathetic wussies who are so weak and spineless that they’ll bow down to pacify a bunch of bullies? Do you want to associate with anyone who’s too chicken to stand behind you?

I want you to understand that anyone who says ‘yes’ to bullies and turns on you so quickly didn’t have much sack, to begin with. They were never even worth knowing. Because they only proved to you that they’re worthless and can never be trusted. You don’t want a bunch of wimps for friends. I know it hurts when someone you thought so highly of suddenly throws you under the bus!

Believe me, I’ve been there, and betrayal by people you thought were friends is the most painful part of being a target of bullying. But, as painful as it is, you need to realize that not everyone is worth your time. Not everyone deserves your friendship. So, when people turn against you, understand that it’s only the trash taking itself out!

What you want are strong and brave friends- friends with substance! You want friends with the cajones to have your back and tell the bullies to go take a long walk off a short pier!

Let me warn you. Great friends are hard to find. Because the strong and true are few in this world. Most people really are a bunch of bagless, weak-kneed wusses. Just as a girl must kiss many frogs to find a prince who’s worthy of her love, a target of bullying must weed through a great many wusses to find people who are worthy of her friendship.

You must raise your standards and expectations. You must be very selective of who you allow being pals with you. Selectiveness is a great thing because it shows that you value yourself and that you won’t settle for anything less than what you want! You must put a proverbial price tag on yourself and make sure it isn’t too low! Only then will people respect you.

For others to value you, you must first value yourself! And that means loving yourself enough to walk away from people who are worthless to you (i.e., the fake friends who betray you).

It’s Not Easy to Deter Bullies

In movies and television, we see scenarios where targets stand up to bullies and automatically either get left alone or become friends with their former tormentors. However, in most cases, this is not reality. Remember that bullies are relentless.

Here are the tactics bullies use when a target stands up for themselves:

If you are a target, you must realize that bullies will not relinquish their power so easily. They will not be good sports and hand your human rights back over to you, nor will they bow out of your life gracefully. Bullies have an insatiable need to wield power over another, and without that power, they feel lost.

Why? Because bullies have no redeemable qualities and they’re losers in life. And since they can’t get power by their own merit, the only way left to get it is by ruining someone else’s life.

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Make no mistake about it. When you kick unsavory people out of your life, they will do the following:

1. They will gaslight you- by adding their spin to make you look and feel like the villain and maligning you to others to destroy your good name and credibility.

2. They will lay guilt trips- by trying to convince you that you are at fault or that the abuse is your imagination. Bullies are masters at this, especially female bullies who use feminine charm to deceive bystanders and authority figures.

3. They may recruit followers and start a smear campaign- by recruiting followers to spread rumors and lies. They will also try to turn your friends against you. It happened to me many times and it would come as retaliation for my having the gall to stand up to them and assert my God-given, divine right not to be abused or taken advantage of.

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4. They will turn your friends against you- Females, although becoming more and more physically violent with time, commit much of their bullying by Dividing and Conquering- attacking the targets’ relationships to turn everyone against the target to isolate them. Think about it. The chances are that your friends know your deepest, darkest secrets. They would know the most intimate details about your life. Friends are a GOLDMINE of information to bullies.

5. They will project their shortcomings onto you– Bullies have flaws and their greatest fear is having them exposed. What better way to keep their imperfections hidden than to either project them onto the target?

6. They will distract others’ attention away from their flaws by pointing out yours– What better way is there to hide their own shortcomings than putting the spotlight on yours? It shouldn’t be so easy but it is!

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If bullies can’t control you, they will control how others see you.

They use the above strategies not only to cover their backsides and to punish you for daring to grow a spine and defend yourself, but also to close you off from any possible help or protection.

Once the target is isolated, the bullies move in for the kill. Now, they can do with you whatever they choose to do, freely and with impunity because if everyone is against you, the least likely they are to report or stop the abuse. In the minds of others, you deserve what’s happening to you.

Bullies want to, figuratively, hold the target hostage, and they will resort to any means necessary to keep him/her on emotional lock down and “in their place.”

They will do it with physical violence when exclusion, subtle digs, verbal assaults, gaslighting, and other forms of psychological abuse no longer have an impact. Bullies will commit their violence either by committing bodily harm themselves or sending someone else to do their savagery for them.

This does not mean that you should not stand up for yourself because you should. However, when you do, be prepared. The torment will get worse before it gets better. Be strong. Be brave and know that none of it is your fault.
The more you know.

School Bullying in Stages

Bullying is a process.

1. Bullies search for a target.

2. A target is selected.

3. Bullies signal to bystanders that the target is ripe for bullying.

4. Bystanders are encouraged to join in the torment and unite with the bullies against the selected target.

5. Bystanders then become bullies themselves.

6. The target is involved in many physical fights in trying to defend themselves and gets labeled by teachers and staff as the troublemaker.

7. Bullies and bystanders go home and tell their parents and family members what a terrible person the target is.

8. The parents and family members of the bullies and bystanders go to work or the supermarket and relay the stories about the target to coworkers and friends- stories they were told by their children, grandchildren, younger siblings or cousins, nieces or nephews that this target is a terrible person.

9. The coworkers, friends, and extended family members then pass what they’re told to their families and word of the target’s perceived evilness or craziness spreads throughout the entire community.

10. The target’s reputation is destroyed.

11. The target’s opportunities for love, friendship, jobs, careers, etc. are either limited or lost.

12. The target either commits suicide or leaves town to pursue a better life.

13. The target who relocates finally gets a fresh start and reinvents himself.

Mobbing: In Detail

Mobbing is THE severest form of bullying. Once the bullying reaches the stage of mobbing, this is when the bullying becomes life-threatening! And if you’ve ever been a target of it, you know firsthand how destructive it is.

The reason that mobbing is so hard to remedy is that not only has it already rendered us so distraught that we’re unable to think clearly, but we aren’t able to name, describe, nor communicate the steps bullies take to destroy us.

A successful smear campaign is started by a bully or bullies who are well-practiced in the arts of persuasion and influence and can last for years.

Here’s something I want you to realize. A smear campaign is nowhere near as tricky as it looks. You’d be amazed at just how simple it is to smear someone. It’s so easy that it shouldn’t be so effective, but it is!

To quote the old Geico commercial, it’s “so easy; a caveman can do it.”

Here’s a chronological, step-by-step recap of how bullies do it and succeed at it:

1. The bullies have a dislike for a specific individual who refuses to conform to their standard of who she should be.

Now all this time, the bullies have been able to influence everyone else and get them to submit to their will and every whim. Then, low and behold, along comes the target (we’ll call her “Cindy”) who’s stubborn and either unable to or won’t submit to the bullies’ control and allow them to change her personality into what they think it should be.

And Cindy may not realize the bullies’ motives and that just by doing her thing, she’s enraging the bullies. So, she goes on about her business, makes plans for her future, makes achievement after achievement, and maybe she gets loads of positive attention and praise from others because she’s so successful and well-liked.

2. Next, the bullies begin to smear Cindy. To implement their smear campaign, they watch Cindy, studying her behavior carefully until they’re able to anticipate her reactions.

3. The bullies then train their audience (i.e., the other classmates or coworkers to expect a specific type of behavior out of Cindy. They point out these behaviors when they occur. The bullies then associate Cindy’s completely innocent behavior with something bad or evil.

For example, let’s say that Cindy is sweet, playful, and likes to engage in a little banter. The bullies watch as Cindy banters with people in the school or workplace. She playfully calls someone a “dummy” or a “goofball,” but others know that it’s all for harmless jokes and think it’s funny because Cindy is a genuinely kind person.

4. So, the bullies begin making offhand comments. They remark that Cindy’s kindness is only an attempt to kiss ass because she wants something from people and that she thinks the people around her really are dummies, but only disguises it under a veil of fun jokes and playfulness.

The bullies also make statements that Cindy thinks she’s cute and that Cindy thinks she’s smarter than everyone else. Then repeat, repeat, repeat!

To quote a propaganda minister to a well-known dictator in history, “Tell a lie once, and it remains a lie. Tell a lie a thousand times, and it becomes the truth.”

5. The next time others see Cindy being kind to and playfully bantering with someone, she doesn’t look so cute, and the banter isn’t so funny anymore. Now people see a side of Cindy they can’t believe they never noticed before.

6. Now feeling smug with gratification, the bullies look at themselves, then at Cindy with smirks on their crooked faces and try the same thing all over again.

7. And before you know it, everyone wonders what they ever saw in Cindy, to begin with. They start having negative feelings toward the poor girl.

8. Cindy begins to pick up on the negative vibes around her and withdraws a little. She doesn’t speak to people as much as she did and doesn’t understand what she did or said to bring it all about. The bullies notice that Cindy is more distant than usual, and they point this out to everyone.

“Hey, look! Do you see that? Now, what did we tell you? Cindy really does think we’re all dummies! She really does think she’s smarter than the rest of us!”

“And her ass-kissing (Cindy’s sweet disposition) didn’t work, so now she’s too good to speak to anyone!”

9. Cindy’s withdrawal only inflames everyone’s feelings of dislike and resentment. Although her becoming distant is only out of self-protection, others mistake it for smugness and arrogance.

10. And it only snowballs from there, getting worse and worse over time. Understand that people are human, and they make mistakes. They misjudge innocent others all the time.

And when bullies condition the whole of a group, school, organization, workplace, or community to see any quality in a particular person as a bad thing, a smear campaign is most effective. So everyone, even those who aren’t bullies and are otherwise kind and compassionate, can become extremely cold and cruel to a target. And everyone repeats the same cruelty, over and over again.

Understand that smear campaigns are just too effective because they can quickly become bullying, then escalate to mobbing, which is the most severe kind of bullying. And once it increases to mobbing, it’s unstoppable, and the only way you can take your life back is to leave that toxic, poisonous environment altogether.

The Process of Bullying in Stages

Bullying is a process. It goes through stages, pre-beginning stage, beginning stage, middle stage, and late stage. Understand that depending on the people involved, the environment, and the situation, the bullying can move through the stages either quickly or more slowly and can even skip stages.

Pre-beginning Stage of Bullying

A group of classmates or coworkers (bullies) search for a target. Once they spot a potential target (PT), they watch them closely, studying them. Here’s what the bullies try to figure out:

  • What excites the PT
  • What makes the PT happy, sad, angry, upset, etc.
  • What the PT most desires
  • Any voids in life the PT has
  • Any unmet and unfulfilled wants and needs the PT has.
  • The PT’s body language and facial expressions to assess moods and mental states.

Close up of examining of test sample of microchip transistor under the microscope in laboratory.

Understand that bullies want to know these things to figure out whether the PT would be an easy target.

Beginning Stage.

Bullies test the waters by throwing out subtle or not-so-subtle insults and attacks to see how the PT reacts. If the PT gives the bullies the reaction they’re looking for, the bullies then select the PT and make him their target.

By this stage, the bullies have gathered the intel they searched for in the pre-beginning stage. They then weaponize it and use it in their attacks against the target.

For example: If the bullies find out that the target’s father is an alcoholic or that his wife cheating on him. They may use the info to bait the target into a reaction.  They may say something to the effect of:

“Hey, So-and-so! I heard that your father is a drunk (or, your wife cheated on you)! Is that true?”

The target then fires back saying:

“No, he’s not (she didn’t)! You lay off!

They put the target on the defense, then build off the target’s defensive reaction. The bullies laugh and say, “Aww! ‘Smatter? ‘Truth hurt?”

And on and on the bullies build on each answer to get the target riled.

The bullies continue to berate the new target until they get bored with the same tactics. They then escalate the attacks.

Middle Stage.

In this stage, the bullies signal to other classmates or coworkers that the target is ripe for attack. Bystanders are encouraged, even recruited to unite with the bullies and join in the torment. They do this through gossip, rumors, accusations, and smear campaigns. One by one, people turn against the target until she has no support system and no friends left.

Now the target has become radioactive- no one wants to associate with the target because they know they risk becoming the next target if they do. To ensure their own reputations don’t become tarnished, the bystanders may either avoid the person altogether, or they become willing participants in the attacks. These people become secondary bullies.

The bullying becomes physical and the target begins to suffer physical attacks and beatings by the bullies. Although physical bullying can happen in the workplace, it’s much more common in the school environment.

Also, bullies and their recruits go home and tell their families what a terrible person the target is. The family members then spread the word to the people they know and everyone meets the target’s reputation before getting the chance to meet the person.

Late Stage.

Now people who don’t even know the target wish to attack him. It becomes a case of “you don’t know me, but I know you.” Understand that this stage is the most dangerous because everyone has become so deranged and emboldened that they don’t try to hide their hate anymore. Why? They’ve gotten away with their abuse for so long that they know that there’s no incentive to stop the attacks.

And where there’s no accountability for abuse, there are no boundaries or limits to it. Therefore, the bullies (and everyone else) can now escalate the abuse at will. This is the stage that bullying has become life-threatening. Everyone in the community hates the target and wants nothing more than to see the target suffer. They don’t know why they hate the target and, more than likely, couldn’t tell you what the target did to deserve it. All they know is that they loathe the target and have an intense desire to destroy the person.

Again, this stage is the most dangerous and if you’ve reached this stage, now is the time to leave. Pick up and move to a different area and tell no one where you’re going or even that you’re moving. Just quickly and quietly disappear because your life may depend on it.

Why Bullies “Need” Their Targets

It’s because bullies need scapegoats. The use of a scapegoat is nothing new. People have used them for many millennia! During the Medieval Period, scapegoats were often used by kings to make sure the monarch’s hands stayed clean- or at least looked clean.

Back then, it was common practice to execute scapegoats for the wrongdoings of kings. Blaming them, then putting them to death kept the scapegoats quiet and the kings above reproach, unquestioned, and smelling like roses. Bullies do the same today, only in different ways.

Bullying and scapegoating go hand in hand.

The purpose of scapegoating is to force another person to accept blame for sins, which you, yourself, are guilty. Sadly, the person blamed is often innocent. Even sadder is the fact that he’s usually the one least likely to fight back. The person is then punished and sacrificed.

Bullies are notorious for refusing to accept blame for any wrongdoing or mistake. So, they search for the most convenient person to lay blame on- their target. And what’s the victim going to do about it?

The ability to transfer guilt to their victims gives bullies immense power. Understand that bullies depend on appearances to maintain their fake facades of gleaming-white perfection. Well-seasoned bullies must appear to be god-like at all times.

They’re very much afraid that if they don’t keep up this pathetic charade, they’ll lose their power and with it, the foothold on their targets. What better way to maintain that power than to scapegoat the target?

“Blame so-and-so for my shortcomings by pointing out his!”

“Blame so-and-so for my imperfections by distracting others’ attention to his!”

“Blame so-and-so for my despicable behavior by claiming he did something to deserve it!”

“Blame Joe Blow for my pathetic incompetence and stupidity by saying that he caused me to screw up!”

“Blame so-and-so for any tiny thing that goes wrong, and I get to hitch a ride on his back to move up!”

A selfish man walks the heads of people as on the steps to the highest post behind the crown. Conceptual scene is a narcissistic and selfish person

“Because I’m number one, and Hell will freeze over before I give that up! And blaming so-and-so is so easy it shouldn’t work!”

I want you to realize that bullies, bystanders, and friends will scapegoat a target of bullying for one reason and one reason only: He has the least power to fight back!

Targets are often either naïve or exceptionally intelligent and pose the biggest threat to the bullies’ positions. If the victim is naïve, bullies will exploit his naivete to the fullest because they know that naïve people aren’t taken seriously. Also, the naïve tend to overdo their claims of innocence. And people often mistake it as a sign of guilt.

Intelligent targets, bullies will undermine and wear down with constant smear campaigns, exclusion, and personal attacks. Also, smart victims will often overdo being calm, and relaxed, which can also be mistaken for guilt, because people will assume that his keeping it together is only an act and that he’s hiding something.

blame point fingers

Here’s another reason bullies need targets. They need someone to make responsible for their negative feelings- feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and hurt. And when they make the victim responsible for their bad feelings, the target becomes the offender who must be punished and eliminated.

To combat their negative emotions, bullies demand that their targets show them respect at all times- even while they’re abusing them. They also have the attitude that the victim should do whatever they tell them to do and make them feel powerful.

In short, bullies need the target to use as a dumping ground for all their mental and emotional issues.

Here’s a third reason, bullies and bystanders need a bottom rat to ensure that they themselves don’t end up on the bottom. If you’re a target of bullying, they need you to stay on the bottom and will go out of their way to keep you there. Any pecking order needs whipping boys (or girls) – easy victories for the higher-ups to collect.

If you are a target of bullying, I want you to understand that bullies consider it to be of the utmost importance that you stay on the bottom and you make them look good and like the innocent party. When they brutalize you, everything must appear as if you had it coming – that they were wronged or betrayed by your stupidity, incompetence, or evil.

If people are using you as a scapegoat, the best you can do is to get out of the environment. Just pick up and leave. Only then will you be able to preserve your dignity, your sanity, and your life.