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).

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.

“Don’t Associate with Her!” Why Relational Aggression is the Must Insidious Kind of Bullying

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It’s bad enough when bullies mistreat you themselves. But when they set out to prevent you from becoming friends with people besides them, that’s even worse.

Socially and relational bullies are like obsessive exes who won’t allow you to move on from the hurt. They deliberately try to isolate you to wield power over you and make you believe that you need them- that you need their approval to live a happy life.

Another goal is to instill shame in you and make you believe you somehow deserve to be bullied. Bullies also do this to isolate you so that they can more safely continue, even escalate their attacks. If the bullies can turn everyone else against you, then you’re least likely to get support, and they’re least likely to be held responsible for their behavior.

Bullies use socio-relational aggression for many reasons, a couple of which are to get back at you for a perceived slight or intense jealousy of your good relations with others.

Bullies reap other psychological benefits, as well. They get gratification and satisfaction in seeing you alienated from everyone else. Also, your isolation serves them as proof that you’re a terrible person. Bullies always have to be right about you.

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Understand that these types of bullies observe you very carefully. They keep track of you to find out who you associate with, who you date, even who your family members are. They also dig up information about your life.

When they find out who your friends are, they then tell your friends lies about you or will threaten to harm your friends if they catch them having any more to do with you. Bullies will also mistreat your partner and even go after your family. You must realize that bullies thrive on fear, and, as I’ve already mentioned, their goal is to isolate you and make you more vulnerable. They cut you off from any protection or assistance.

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Once they have succeeded in alienating you, they can bully you at will and with impunity. Bullies can also keep you silent about the abuse. If you have no one to talk to- if no one will listen to you, then there’s no way you can speak out about them or their abuse without getting rebuffed or ridiculed.

In short, social and relational bullying reaps the following rewards for bullies:

• Silence of the target
• the freedom to abuse anytime they want
• protection
• confirmation of the target’s unworthiness
• favor with others
• immunity from accountability
• gratification, satisfaction, and, most of all, overall power and domination of the target!

Knowledge is power, so get wise to your bullies. It’s the first step in protecting yourself from them.

 

Bullying By Instigation (Part 2)

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In the first part, we discussed one of the ways bullies bully by instigation- by instigating an argument between the target and someone not normally involved in the bullying.
There are many ways in which bullies instigate and bait others to participate in the bullying unwillingly.

Here are a few more baiting strategies:

The Secret Admirer Bait

A bully will use this to bait someone to insult and humiliate the target.
Here’s how it goes:

The bully and a few classmates or coworkers will see the target. The target is nearby and within earshot. If the target is female, the bully will point to a nearby male and say,

“Hey, (target’s name)! John said he was madly in love with you!”
John will then get on the defensive and say,
“Oh, hell, no! I don’t like that ugly thing!” or, “That whore? No freakin’ way!”

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By doing this, the bully slyly baits John in a knee-jerk reaction that includes insulting and humiliating the unfortunate target and achieves gratification in seeing the target humiliated and hurt.

The secret admirer bait is mostly used in middle and high school.

The Invitation bait

In this situation, the bullies will, all of a sudden, out of the blue, becomes chummy with the target and pretends to have a change of heart to win the target’s trust.

Once trust is won, the bullies will invite the target to a birthday party, cookout, sleepover, or kegger, then humiliate the target somehow.

This may involve getting the target drunk or high, then manipulating them into compromising situations. This is used by both school-aged and adult bullies.

Here’s how to shut these monsters down:

1. Understand that no one ever becomes true friends overnight. If someone who has bullied you suddenly starts to buddy up to you and it seems to have come out of nowhere, it’s a red flag and you should steer clear! You can be sure that this creep is up to no good.

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2. Also, if bullies are trying to bait you into anything. They will lay it on thick! They’ll overdo the pleasantries. It will sound so sickeningly sweet, you’ll want to grab a barf bag. You’ll know it’s fake if you’re paying attention.

But remember that bullies are very convincing and if you’re young and still in school, you’re likely to overlook the yuck if you aren’t careful. So don’t fall for it! Don’t go anywhere with those people. Because once you’re alone with them, you’re at their mercy!

3. If you’re a kid in school and a bully uses the secret admirer bait and tricks someone into humiliating you, deal out a good burn for the person baited into insulting you.

For example, you can say:

“No chance. I could never be that desperate and you could never be that lucky.”

Then keep walking.

Your witty comeback will sting the poor sucker who took the bully’s bait and tried to insult you. But hey! Better them than you. Right?

Bullying in Oakley During the ’80s: A Man Called “Smiley”

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If you’re an ‘80’s teenager, you probably remember certain people in your neighborhood who didn’t fit in- the village idiot, the town whore, the ne’er do well family, the spinster, the drug-addict, the wino- anyone others saw as different, or an oddball.

Maybe the person was the childless woman, the lifelong bachelor, or the quiet guy who didn’t speak much. The unlucky individual might have had a mental disability- a Vietnam combat veteran who suffered PTSD, perhaps.

Whatever it was about the person, they had ways about them, which seemed “off.”
Although people nowadays don’t pay as much attention to any oddities in certain people, back in the eighties, it was a big deal, especially in a rural, Southern town like Oakley, Tennessee.

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For instance, if you had a gay couple living next door back then, it would cause a huge stink in town, whereas today, it’s accepted. And a person thought to be mentally imbalanced was frowned upon worse than if he’d been a rapist or murderer.

I remember a guy everyone referred to as “Smiley.” He was a poor, widowed, older man who we’d see out early every morning with a trash bag in his hand, picking up tin cans. He always had a smile on his face. But because he always looked bedraggled, people looked down on him.

They would conjure up wild stories about the man only because he was so poor that he couldn’t afford any decent clothes and wore old, dirty attire full of holes. Kids and teens would misinterpret a genuine smile and wave from Smiley as a flirt and that he was trying to come on to them.

Business man not listening to nonsense

Businessman not listening to nonsense

Young boys would run around telling everyone who would listen that the man was gay, and the girls would accuse him of being a perv.

Some would spread rumors that Smiley was some crazy released from the state mental hospital or a serial killer who’d gotten out of prison. Other tales went around about the man as well, one which was that he had AIDS because he was so frail and skinny.

He was a freak
He stank
He was just plain gross
He was a pervert
He looked nasty
He didn’t take baths

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Those were things I’d often hear. People didn’t accept Smiley nor want him around. It was heartbreaking.

These rumors would spread to the parents and other adults in the neighborhood, and they’d tell their children to keep away from him. Some of the adults would see him walking up the street and come outside, screaming obscenities at the poor guy.
The adults would also ask around about Smiley- Had anyone “seen anything suspicious or peculiar out of him?”

People like Smiley were prime targets for vandalism and physical assault. People would throw rocks through their windows, key their cars, or spray-paint the word “FREAK” in big black letters on the side of their houses. Eventually, people like him got severely beaten or worse. Or maybe they’d have no choice but to move away.

We’d like to think that eventually, bullies grow up and get lives of their own, but the reality is that most of them only get worse as they get older.

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Sadly, the same stuff happens today. Innocent people- good people are accused of some of the most unspeakable deeds- all because they’re different somehow. And most of the time, there’s no truth in any of it.

If the rumors are proven to be false, many people will still hold negative views of the person and reject any evidence that he’s innocent- even if the evidence is undeniable.Understand that most bullies (and most people) will believe what’s most familiar to them and what feels right to them. And no amount of evidence to the contrary will change their minds.

If you ever find yourself a target of such people and such rumors, lies, and gossip (mainly for several years), you must focus on taking care of yourself. Focus on you! That’s what Smiley did.

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He didn’t worry about what others were saying. Smiley looked out for himself. He focused on his wants, his needs, his goals, and the few people in town who treated him well. Eventually, he moved away to be near his five children, who loved and took care of him until the day he died.

So, do what’s best for you. And sometimes, what’s best is to get out of the environment altogether. If you have to pack up and move, do it! Go where you can be happy, be yourself, and be free of such negativity.

Your safety, peace, and happiness should be top priority!

Guilt by Association: When Bullies Turn Others Against You.

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Understand that to achieve their goals to isolate the target, bullies will threaten and punish anyone they see who’s having 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?

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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!

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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 to be pals with you. Selectiveness is a great thing because it shows that you put value on 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.

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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).

Trust Issues and Why Targets Have Them

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It’s not that targets don’t want to trust people because they do. They want so badly to be able to trust someone not to harm them or to turn on them.

Targets want so much to trust, to be able to relax and to be comfortable in social situations. Only they don’t know who to trust. Therefore, it’s much safer not to trust anyone- safer to put up walls and keep the rest of the world out.

Targets have, over time, built up invisible fortresses around themselves for protection. The problem with this is that these protective fortresses can become prisons and sometimes tombs!

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Here’s why this happens:

1. Targets of bullying have been outcasts for so long they don’t trust invitations to events. Even worst, they don’t trust people enough to even talk to them.

2. They get blamed for everything that goes wrong in the environment they’re stuck in.

3. They’ve been treated so badly that they’ve lost faith in humanity.

4. Bullies and their followers have, in the past, baited the target into trusting them somehow, all for the purpose of pulling a joke or prank on him. And the target can no longer risk being fooled again.

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Understand that people need human connection. And trust issues are a factor that re-enforces isolation and is no way for anyone to live. It’s a terrible existence and can sometimes create an opportunity for the target to commit suicide.

If you notice that your loved one is isolating themselves or is developing trust issues. It’s imperative that you lovingly talk to them, do a little investigating, and find out why.

Someone just might be bullying your loved one.