This type of bullying is indirect and extremely cowardly. These types of bullies don’t have the guts to be direct or the stomach to get their hands dirty. So they do their bullying by instigating a conflict between the target and another individual. They then stand back, at a safe distance, and watch from afar, enjoying seeing the target humiliated and in distress.
In most cases, the individual these bullies pit against the target is not a bully and has had no history of conflicts with the target. The person pitted against the target can be a stranger, an acquaintance, friend, teacher, or supervisor.
These bullies will often instigate discord between the target and a friend, teacher, or principal at school. At work, bullies may instigate conflict between the targeted employee and the supervisor or another employee.
There are several reasons people bully by instigation:
• To create a situation where they can gleefully watch as the target gets humiliated and stressed out.
• To turn others against the target.
• To create drama and entertainment
• To parade the target
• To distract from their own evil deeds. If two or more people are too busy fighting and others are too busy watching and getting their kicks, they’re too occupied to pay attention to what the bully is doing.
• To isolate the target by making him look like the bad guy. The more people the bullies can turn against the target, the worse the target looks, and the less power he has.
Often, when you’re a target of bullying by instigation, the person or people your bully has pitted against you will start their sentences off as:
“Hey! I heard you’re trying to get with my boyfriend!”
“Somebody told me that you did…”
“I heard you told so-and-so such and such!”
“Somebody told me you’re talking smack about me behind me back! How about having the guts to say it to my face!”
If you’re a target of bullying and someone has instigated a conflict between you and someone you don’t usually have trouble with, the first words out of your accuser’s mouth will be,
“Somebody told me…”
“It’s going around that…”
“It was brought to my attention…”
Those first few little words are your first clue of bullying by instigation, and that one or more of your bullies is trying to pit others against you.
If you’re a target of bullying and you’re ever in a situation like this, here are a few comebacks you can’t make to the accuser:
Laugh at the accuser and say one of these,
“Really? You ‘heard,’? Boy, you’re so gullible you’ll believe anything, won’t you?”
“Wow! And you believed that? Boy, are you stupid!”
“Gee, you’ll fall for anything, won’t you!”
Challenge the accuser’s intelligence, then walk away laughing. Your accuser will be stunned, and your bullies, who are surely watching from afar, will be sorely disappointed.
How I wish I were this quick in school. But, as an adult, I was better able to defuse it by the above counter statements.
Always imply that your accuser is dumb for believing the lies, and I guarantee that the person will back down. It’s what worked for me.