4 Reasons Bystanders Refuse to Help Targets: The Cold, Hard Truth

bystander effect

You not only never forget the bullies, but you also remember the people who were there- the people who had the power to help you but did nothing. Many times, the bystanders who saw it never tried to intervene and stop the attacks, nor did they speak up on my behalf.

As much as I hate to say it, I was guilty of the same thing. When I watched a few others get bullied, I said and did nothing, thinking that my voice wouldn’t make a difference if I did speak up. Other times, I was just damn glad that, for a change, I wasn’t the one targeted and that it was someone else taking heat for a change.

For this, I am very remorseful and would like to apologize to all the other targets I left to fend for themselves. I’m truly sorry.

Bullying Poster Concept Illustration bystanders

Here are the reasons bystanders do nothing to help a target of bullying:

1. They’re afraid of arousing the bullies’ anger and becoming the next target. No one wants to be a target of bullying. I get that. Many bystanders fear getting involved, and for good reasons. However, many bystanders do have some power because they’re high on the social hierarchy.

And the higher you are in the pecking order, the more weight your actions and words carry. So, why not use your power to help the target? Because if you’re extremely popular, the chances are that other bystanders will follow your lead and join you, and the bully will leave the victim alone. There’s strength in numbers.

2. The bystanders see the bullies’ torment of the target as entertainment. Bullies always bully in front of an audience to humiliate the target. During altercations between bullies and targets, bystanders immediately gather around to watch it go down.

Most bystanders then stand around, laughing and pointing fingers. Many of them cheer and egg the bully on, stirring it up to get more entertainment, all of which only encourages the bully to continue and even escalate the abuse.

As long as it isn’t them getting dogged out or having their brains beat in, most bystanders think it’s funny to see it happen to someone else.

Silhouette of two hands with smartphones, shoot a video on a sinking person’s hand, asking for help. The concept of a selfish society, a social problem

It’s the reason that instead of helping the target, bystanders will automatically whip out their smartphones and record the confrontation. They can then watch it later, send the film to their friends, and have another big laugh over it.

But! It’s not the least bit funny to the target. It’s painful and humiliating. It can be devastating to a victim who has already been a target of bullying for an extended time and can drive them over the edge.

3. The bystanders themselves either dislike or hate the target. In many cases, bullies have run vicious smear campaigns and turned everyone against their victims. When an altercation finally breaks out, the bystanders refuse to help the target because they think she deserves the abuse. Many times, these bystanders secretly or openly take pleasure in seeing the target suffer.

They may stand around snickering or join the bullies in tormenting the target. Often, the bullies are only doing to the victim what many bystanders wish they had the stones to do themselves. So, they get complete satisfaction in seeing someone else attack the target. Bystanders often hate the victim so much that they would defend a total stranger before protecting the victim they hate so intensely.

4. They don’t want to get involved. Many bystanders figure that it’s none of their business and choose not to get involved. These bystanders are so indifferent that they won’t even stop and watch. They will only pass by and keep going. They don’t care. Period.

Understand that bullies always perform in front of an audience to show their superiority, strength, and power. Bystanders who do nothing to stop the attacks only silently support and encourage the bullies. These bystanders are just as guilty as the psycho bullies who perpetuate the attacks.

Often, bystanders either don’t understand or underestimate the power they have, especially in large numbers. When witnesses speak up for the target, the bullies will likely stop and leave the victim.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Triumphing Over Workplace Bullying (Part 4)

(Continued from Part 3…)

I remember a night when one of the flying monkeys, Shelly, a CNA, approached me in the hall, from behind and began screaming, cursing, and threatening to jump me over a rumor that had it that I was stabbing her in the back.

She threatened to attack me there on the spot physically, and there were bystanders!
When I turned around, faced her, and called her out for being unprofessional, Shelly became twice as angry.

Later, I was afraid that I might face termination because Shelly had escalated the confrontation to an unprecedented level. Also, I’d seen so many others whom these people had pulled the same tactic on getting fired left and right!

I remember thinking,

“Well, if I do get canned, they won’t be able to say they didn’t have to work hard at achieving that goal! At the very least, I’ll leave here knowing I put up one hell of a fight!”

One of the bystanders was Deb, the charge nurse, and Shelly’s supervisor and buddy. Therefore, I knew that Deb would sweep Shelly’s behavior under the rug and paint me as the instigator.

Sure enough, she did. These people had a way of turning everything around to fit their narrative and getting others to agree with it.

The other guy was always to blame.
It was always the other guy’s fault.
It was never their fault, and they were never wrong.

They reported the incident to Darnell and suggested that he terminate me right then and there. When he talked to me about it, I calmly explained that Shelly had approached me from behind in a very threatening manner, that I feared for my physical safety, and didn’t know what she would do had I not faced her down.

And by this time, I’d worked under Darnell long enough that he knew the kind of person I was and that I was only taking care of myself.

So, again, Darnell went to bat for me. Also, I had made an awesome friend out of Jane, who was another charge nurse at the nursing home. She, too, went to bat for me as did several of my coworkers.

Each time nothing happened to me, the bullies only became angrier and crazier, until they were all out for blood!

It was then that I starting noticing Jules hovering around in the hall just outside the door to the laundry room. Later, I’d see him milling around nearby anytime I’d stop in the hallway to greet and talk to friends. And I’ve got to tell you! He gave me such a creepy vibe!

Next, I began seeing him standing across the street from my apartment, smoking a cigarette. And I could tell he was watching my apartment. Now that freaked me out!

I found out that he and the neighbor across the street had begun dating and that he was there to see her. She didn’t allow smoking in her house, so he had no choice but to smoke outside. Still, I didn’t feel any better. I felt as if I was being stalked!

I knew why he was hanging around so close. Jules was an eavesdropper for Cammie and her group, listening in on our convos in the laundry room and my discussions with friends in the hallway. Everybody knew it because he’d eavesdropped on many others.

My instinct also told me they’d enlisted him to watch my house. He was watching to see what company I had over- looking for any information with which to report back to Cammie.

The fact that Jules’ girlfriend lived across the street from me was a convenient cover for him and they knew it. Although I knew what was going on, I didn’t speak of it because I knew I couldn’t without sounding completely nuts. I did the best thing by keeping it to myself but filing it in the back of my mind. The only people I told were my closest family and they knew I wasn’t kidding.

Luckily, his girlfriend was a good friend of mine and I knew she only kept him around because she was lonely. So, I used it to my advantage, and cozied up to her a little bit more so she would volunteer to tell me little tidbits about what he was doing. Sure enough, she confirmed my suspicions.

Not much later, Darnell, having himself become a target of the vitriol that inflected the workplace, announced to us that he had put in his two-week notice of resignation and was moving on to a better job and a better work environment.

Although we were happy that he’d finally found something better and was getting out of that hellhole, we were also deeply saddened because we’d miss him so much. We saw Darnell as our fearless leader, our Captain Ahab, and our hero!

What kind of leader would the new supervisor be? And would they protect us from those devils down the hall as Darnell had?

Choosing not to leave anything to chance, I decided that I’d put in my notice as well. Being the type of woman who would always think ahead, I knew that once Darnell was gone, I’d be totally at their mercy. I had a sickening feeling that the next supervisor would toady up to the bullies in the upper echelons of management and the social order.

Strict Boss: Angry upset young business woman with blank speech bubble on white on gray background. Vector illustration.

I knew that Cammie had long waited, with bated breath, for the day when Darnell would either quit or get fired. Then, she could begin working on the new supervisor, ingratiate herself in them, and turn them against us.

Sure enough, my closest coworker told me she’d overheard Cammie saying precisely that, and she was recommending that the new supervisor terminate three of us. Knowing I was one of the three, I quickly filled out my two weeks notice of resignation and gave it to Darnell.

Darnell introduced us to the new supervisor. She was a short, dumpy woman in her forties and by her facial expression, which was hard and cold, I made the conclusion that putting in my notice was the smartest thing to do and gave myself a pat on the back.

Spy Snooping Spiders Spies Covert Intelligence 3d Illustration

Off and on during the last two weeks, I’d catch those tiny micro flashes of suspicion and contempt the new supervisor would flash toward me and a few others. And the bullies were completely enraged once word of my pending exit reached their ears. But once I was out of there, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I was quite proud of myself for having escaped that toxic place and walked away from the job with confidence and my self-esteem still intact.

But the best and juiciest part is yet to be told!

(Continued in Part 5…)

4 Harsh Truths about Bystanders and Witnesses of Bullying

bystander effect

You not only never forget the bullies, but you also remember the people who were there- the people who had the power to help you but did nothing. Many times, the bystanders who saw it never tried to intervene and stop the attacks, nor did they speak up on my behalf.

As much as I hate to say it, I was guilty of the same thing. When I watched a few others get bullied, I said and did nothing, thinking that my voice wouldn’t make a difference if I did speak up. Other times, I was just damn glad that, for a change, I wasn’t the one targeted and that it was someone else taking heat for a change.

For this, I am very remorseful and would like to apologize to all the other targets I left to fend for themselves. I’m truly sorry.

Bullying Poster Concept Illustration bystanders

Here are the reasons bystanders do nothing to help a target of bullying:

1. They’re afraid of arousing the bullies’ anger and becoming the next target. No one wants to be a target of bullying. I get that. Many bystanders fear getting involved, and for good reasons. However, many bystanders do have some power because they’re high on the social hierarchy.

And the higher you are in the pecking order, the more weight your actions and words carry. So, why not use your power to help the target? Because if you’re extremely popular, the chances are that other bystanders will follow your lead and join you, and the bully will leave the victim alone. There’s strength in numbers.

2. The bystanders see the bullies’ torment of the target as entertainment. Bullies always bully in front of an audience to humiliate the target. During altercations between bullies and targets, bystanders immediately gather around to watch it go down.

Most bystanders then stand around, laughing and pointing fingers. Many of them cheer and egg the bully on, stirring it up to get more entertainment, all of which only encourages the bully to continue and even escalate the abuse.

As long as it isn’t them getting dogged out or having their brains beat in, most bystanders think it’s funny to see it happen to someone else.

Silhouette of two hands with smartphones, shoot a video on a sinking person’s hand, asking for help. The concept of a selfish society, a social problem

It’s the reason that instead of helping the target, bystanders will automatically whip out their smartphones and record the confrontation. They can then watch it later, send the film to their friends, and have another big laugh over it.

But! It’s not the least bit funny to the target. It’s painful and humiliating. It can be devastating to a victim who has already been a target of bullying for an extended time and can drive them over the edge.

3. The bystanders themselves either dislike or hate the target. In many cases, bullies have run vicious smear campaigns and turned everyone against their victims. When an altercation finally breaks out, the bystanders refuse to help the target because they think she deserves the abuse. Many times, these bystanders secretly or openly take pleasure in seeing the target suffer.

They may stand around snickering or join the bullies in tormenting the target. Often, the bullies are only doing to the victim what many bystanders wish they had the stones to do themselves. So, they get complete satisfaction in seeing someone else attack the target. Bystanders often hate the victim so much that they would defend a total stranger before protecting the victim they hate so intensely.

4. They don’t want to get involved. Many bystanders figure that it’s none of their business and choose not to get involved. These bystanders are so indifferent that they won’t even stop and watch. They will only pass by and keep going. They don’t care. Period.

Understand that bullies always perform in front of an audience to show their superiority, strength, and power. Bystanders who do nothing to stop the attacks only silently support and encourage the bullies. These bystanders are just as guilty as the psycho bullies who perpetuate the attacks.

Often, bystanders either don’t understand or underestimate the power they have, especially in large numbers. When witnesses speak up for the target, the bullies will likely stop and leave the target alone.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

How “Good People” Become Willing Participants in Bullying

Even the best and kindest of people can help bullies to destroy a target. Oh yes! It’s true!

Many times, good people are either scared or duped into joining bullies in destroying targets. Understand that your bullies have either intimidated or lied to these people until they finally succeeded in turning them all against you.

What’s worse? These people really and truly do not believe they’re bullying you. They don’t see it as meanness and an attempt to cause another human being to suffer intense pain. People who willingly join with bullies and take part in torturing and tormenting another person do not think that what they’re doing is evil and sadistic. No.

What these people believe is that what they’re doing is good and morally right. Remember that you’ve been labeled immoral. Bullies have painted you as an evil adversary who needs to be punished.

Although the reality is that you’re totally innocent and wrongly persecuted, perceptions (opinions and attitudes) are everything, and bullies can easily distort others’ perceptions to fall in line with their narratives. And sadly, everything in life is based on appearances, and no one cares about what’s behind them.

Understand that, one by one, the “good” people will be sucked into the bullies’ smoke screens. And, one by one, they’ll join forces with the bullies in defeating “the evil enemy.”

These good people will gradually distance themselves from you. Then, little by little, they’ll join in the gossip and defamation of your character.

Again, these bystanders and witnesses don’t see what they’re doing as bullying. They genuinely believe that what they’re doing is a good thing- they’re only doing it for the greater good- the good of the school, alumni, and staff. They’re doing it for the sake of the company and people in it. They’re only showing loyalty and trustworthiness to the group. They’re heroes.

I want you to realize that this is how good people do bad things to innocent people. When this happens, the fact that you’re innocent and undeserving of the abuse and brutality just doesn’t come into it.

Also, understand that there are benefits that come with siding with a group against “the enemy” and few people will forgo those benefits.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

The 4 Stages of Bullying

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.

Bullying becomes mobbing when it reaches this 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.

Making Excuses for Bullies- 10 Reasons Why People Do It

Down through the ages, either at school, the workplace, or the community, people have made excuses for bullies’ behavior, and it can be downright sickening to targets of such evil acts. Often, the bully has gotten away with it for so long that they get too comfortable and no longer try to hide it. It leaves targets feeling not only a sense of injustice and resentment but endangerment! Unfortunately, this happens all the time, and it’s nothing new.

If you’re a target of such brutality and find yourself wondering why people make excuses for bullies, here are your answers below:

1. They’re afraid of becoming the next target. Nobody wants a bully on their back, so they make excuses for the bullies to protect themselves from being ostracized and to keep from arousing the bullies’ anger. These people often “don’t want to make waves” or “rock the boat.”

2. They’re loyal followers of the bullies. Many people are under the impression that being friends or followers of the bullies will give them status, popularity, favors, and, most of all, protection. And in many cases, it does. But in others, the followers are only being used and will be quickly dismissed as soon as they’ve “served their purpose.”

bystander effect

3. They hate the target worse than they hate the bullies. They take the lesser of two evils route. If people hate the target worse than they do the bullies, they’re naturally going to side with the bullies and help demonize the target, all for the satisfaction of seeing the victim suffer.

4. It’s expected of them. And people will often do what’s expected of them to do in an environment. Often, the bullying of a particular individual has become the status quo in that specific environment, whether it be a school, workplace, or community. And no one wants to challenge that for fear of being marginalized and forced to join the target at the bottom of the heap.

Silhouette of two hands with smartphones, shoot a video on a sinking person’s hand, asking for help. The concept of a selfish society, a social problem

5. They prefer to “cheer for the winning team.” Many people will side with the person who wields the most power. When people are on the side of the winners or ones with the most power, they get a share in being one of the big dogs. Many times, there’s a certain amount of social status and prestige that goes with rooting for a particular clique, team, or group who seems to be in charge and run the school, place of employment, or community.

6. They want to be a part of the in-crowd. (See number 5)

7. They think it will keep down the drama and allow some peace in that particular environment. Let’s face it. Bullying is stressful for bystanders and witnesses too. You don’t have to be a target for it to suck the energy out of you. All it takes for bullying to take the oxygen out of the room is for you to see it. So, people make excuses for the bully, often in their presence, to appease them and calm them down.

8. They’re bullies themselves. Birds of a feather flock together. People have a nose for and take care of their own.

9. For purposes of self-interest. The bullies benefit them somehow. If the bullies are stars on the school football team, star performers in a corporation, or successful business people in a community, they boost the image of that school, corporation, or district and often bring or attract money into the coffers of these entities.

The prevailing thought is this, “If someone makes me look good and is bringing in the money, I’d be a fool to do anything to jeopardize it!”

Also, in return for keeping their mouths shut or justifying their wrongdoings, bullies will often reward bystanders and witnesses with social status, perks, favors, and protection. Or the reward may be the feeling of importance in knowing that they’re on the team that holds the most power and prestige.

10. They want to impress the bullies and be admired by them. Many people have a desire to run with the “cool crowd.” Therefore, they make excuses for them to impress them and win favor. They feel that if the bullies, who already have an overinflated sense of their own importance, think well of them too, then they must be hot items themselves. And it’s a huge self-esteem boost.

However, these people are only letting these bullies’ approval define who they are, which is dangerous. Because once the bullies decide they don’t need them anymore, it will be devastating for them.

You must understand that there is a payoff in it somewhere. Human Nature dictates that none of us do anything unless it somehow, someway, appeals to our self-interests, even a little bit. If people make excuses for bullies, you can be sure that those people are somehow benefiting from it, whether it be a psychological, social, or material gain.

Triumphing Over Workplace Bullying and Mobbing- How I Did It (Part 4)

(Continued from Part 3…)

I remember a night when one of the flying monkeys, Shelly, a CNA, approached me in the hall, from behind and began screaming, cursing, and threatening to jump me over a rumor that had it that I was stabbing her in the back.

She threatened to attack me there on the spot physically, and there were bystanders!
When I turned around, faced her, and called her out for being unprofessional, Shelly became twice as angry.

Later, I was afraid that I might face termination because Shelly had escalated the confrontation to an unprecedented level. Also, I’d seen so many others whom these people had pulled the same tactic on getting fired left and right!

I remember thinking,

“Well, if I do get canned, they won’t be able to say they didn’t have to work hard at achieving that goal! At the very least, I’ll leave here knowing I put up one hell of a fight!”

One of the bystanders was Deb, the charge nurse, and Shelly’s supervisor and buddy. Therefore, I knew that Deb would sweep Shelly’s behavior under the rug and paint me as the instigator.

Sure enough, she did. These people had a way of turning everything around to fit their narrative and getting others to agree with it.

The other guy was always to blame.
It was always the other guy’s fault.
It was never their fault, and they were never wrong.

They reported the incident to Darnell and suggested that he terminate me right then and there. When he talked to me about it, I calmly explained that Shelly had approached me from behind in a very threatening manner, that I feared for my physical safety, and didn’t know what she would do had I not faced her down.

And by this time, I’d worked under Darnell long enough that he knew the kind of person I was and that I was only taking care of myself.

A crowd of people surrounded the red man. Accusation of crime, mob law over a person, lynch court. The leader in the center of the crowd, the leader, an example for diving. Angry crowd

So, again, Darnell had my back and went to bat for me. Also, I had made an awesome friend out of Jane, who was another charge nurse at the nursing home. She, too, went to bat for me as did several of my coworkers.

Each time nothing happened to me, the bullies only became angrier and crazier, until they were all out for blood!

It was then that I starting noticing Jules hovering around in the hall just outside the door to the laundry room. Later, I’d see him milling around nearby anytime I’d stop in the hallway to greet and talk to friends. And I’ve got to tell you! He gave me such a creepy vibe!

Next, I began seeing him standing across the street from my apartment, smoking a cigarette. And I could tell he was watching my apartment. Now that freaked me out!

I found out that he and the neighbor across the street had begun dating and that he was there to see her. She didn’t allow smoking in her house, so he had no choice but to smoke outside. Still, I didn’t feel any better. I felt as if I was being stalked!

I knew why he was hanging around so close. Jules was an eavesdropper for Cammie and her group, listening in on our convos in the laundry room and my discussions with friends in the hallway. Everybody knew it because he’d eavesdropped on many others.

My instinct also told me they’d enlisted him to watch my house. He was watching to see what company I had over- looking for any information with which to report back to Cammie.

The fact that Jules’ girlfriend lived across the street from me was a convenient cover for him and they knew it. Although I knew what was going on, I didn’t speak of it because I knew I couldn’t without sounding completely nuts. I did the best thing by keeping it to myself but filing it in the back of my mind. The only people I told were my closest family and they knew I wasn’t kidding.

Luckily, his girlfriend was a good friend of mine and I knew she only kept him around because she was lonely. So, I used it to my advantage, and cozied up to her a little bit more so she would volunteer to tell me little tidbits about what he was doing. Sure enough, she confirmed my suspicions.

Not much later, Darnell, having himself become a target of the vitriol that inflected the workplace, announced to us that he had put in his two-week notice of resignation and was moving on to a better job and a better work environment.

Although we were happy that he’d finally found something better and was getting out of that hellhole, we were also deeply saddened because we’d miss him so much. We saw Darnell as our fearless leader, our Captain Ahab, and our hero!

What kind of leader would the new supervisor be? And would they protect us from those devils down the hall as Darnell had?

Choosing not to leave anything to chance, I decided that I’d put in my notice as well. Being the type of woman who would always think ahead, I knew that once Darnell was gone, I’d be totally at their mercy. I had a sickening feeling that the next supervisor would toady up to the bullies in the upper echelons of management and the social order.

Strict Boss: Angry upset young business woman with blank speech bubble on white on gray background. Vector illustration.

I knew that Cammie had long waited, with bated breath, for the day when Darnell would either quit or get fired. Then, she could begin working on the new supervisor, ingratiate herself in them, and turn them against us.

Sure enough, my closest coworker told me she’d overheard Cammie saying precisely that, and she was recommending that the new supervisor terminate three of us. Knowing I was one of the three, I quickly filled out my two weeks notice of resignation and gave it to Darnell.

Darnell introduced us to the new supervisor. She was a short, dumpy woman in her forties and by her facial expression, which was hard and cold, I made the conclusion that putting in my notice was the smartest thing to do and gave myself a pat on the back.

Off and on during the last two weeks, I’d catch those tiny micro flashes of suspicion and contempt the new supervisor would flash toward me and a few others. And the bullies were completely enraged once word of my pending exit reached their ears. But once I was out of there, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I was quite proud of myself for having escaped that toxic place and walked away from the job with confidence and my self-esteem still intact.

But the best and juiciest part is yet to be told!

(Continued in Part 5…)

The Cold, Hard Truth About Bystanders

bystander effect

You not only never forget the bullies, but you also remember the people who were there- the people who had the power to help you but did nothing. Many times, the bystanders who saw it never tried to intervene and stop the attacks, nor did they speak up on my behalf.

As much as I hate to say it, I was guilty of the same thing. When I watched a few others get bullied, I said and did nothing, thinking that my voice wouldn’t make a difference if I did speak up. Other times, I was just damn glad that, for a change, I wasn’t the one targeted and that it was someone else taking heat for a change.

For this, I am very remorseful and would like to apologize to all the other targets I left to fend for themselves. I’m truly sorry.

Bullying Poster Concept Illustration bystanders

Here are the reasons bystanders do nothing to help a target of bullying:

1. They’re afraid of arousing the bullies’ anger and becoming the next target. No one wants to be a target of bullying. I get that. Many bystanders fear getting involved, and for good reasons. However, many bystanders do have some power because they’re high on the social hierarchy.

And the higher you are in the pecking order, the more weight your actions and words carry. So, why not use your power to help the target? Because if you’re extremely popular, the chances are that other bystanders will follow your lead and join you, and the bully will leave the victim alone. There’s strength in numbers.

2. The bystanders see the bullies’ torment of the target as entertainment. Bullies always bully in front of an audience to humiliate the target. During altercations between bullies and targets, bystanders immediately gather around to watch it go down.

Most bystanders then stand around, laughing and pointing fingers. Many of them cheer and egg the bully on, stirring it up to get more entertainment, all of which only encourages the bully to continue and even escalate the abuse.

As long as it isn’t them getting dogged out or having their brains beat in, most bystanders think it’s funny to see it happen to someone else.

Silhouette of two hands with smartphones, shoot a video on a sinking person’s hand, asking for help. The concept of a selfish society, a social problem

It’s the reason that instead of helping the target, bystanders will automatically whip out their smartphones and record the confrontation. They can then watch it later, send the film to their friends, and have another big laugh over it.

But! It’s not the least bit funny to the target. It’s painful and humiliating. It can be devastating to a victim who has already been a target of bullying for an extended time and can drive them over the edge.

3. The bystanders themselves either dislike or hate the target. In many cases, bullies have run vicious smear campaigns and turned everyone against their victims. When an altercation finally breaks out, the bystanders refuse to help the target because they think she deserves the abuse. Many times, these bystanders secretly or openly take pleasure in seeing the target suffer.

They may stand around snickering or join the bullies in tormenting the target. Often, the bullies are only doing to the victim what many bystanders wish they had the stones to do themselves. So, they get complete satisfaction in seeing someone else attack the target. Bystanders often hate the victim so much that they would defend a total stranger before protecting the victim they hate so intensely.

4. They don’t want to get involved. Many bystanders figure that it’s none of their business and choose not to get involved. These bystanders are so indifferent that they won’t even stop and watch. They will only pass by and keep going. They don’t care. Period.

Understand that bullies always perform in front of an audience to show their superiority, strength, and power. Bystanders who do nothing to stop the attacks only silently support and encourage the bullies. These bystanders are just as guilty as the psycho bullies who perpetuate the attacks.

Often, bystanders either don’t understand or underestimate the power they have, especially in large numbers. When witnesses speak up for the target, the bullies will likely stop and leave the victim.

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.

How “Good People” Become Willing Participants in Bullying and Turn Evil

Even the best and kindest of people can help bullies to destroy a target. Oh yes! It’s true!

Many times, good people are either scared or duped into joining bullies in destroying targets. Understand that your bullies have either intimidated or lied to these people until they finally succeeded in turning them all against you.

What’s worse? These people really and truly do not believe they’re bullying you. They don’t see it as meanness and an attempt to cause another human being to suffer intense pain. People who willingly join with bullies and take part in torturing and tormenting another person do not think that what they’re doing is evil and sadistic. No.

What these people believe is that what they’re doing is good and morally right. Remember that you’ve been labeled immoral. Bullies have painted you as an evil adversary who needs to be punished.

Although the reality is that you’re totally innocent and wrongly persecuted, perceptions (opinions and attitudes) are everything, and bullies can easily distort others’ perceptions to fall in line with their narratives. And sadly, everything in life is based on appearances, and no one cares about what’s behind them.

Understand that, one by one, the “good” people will be sucked into the bullies’ smoke screens. And, one by one, they’ll join forces with the bullies in defeating “the evil enemy.”

These good people will gradually distance themselves from you. Then, little by little, they’ll join in the gossip and defamation of your character.

Again, these bystanders and witnesses don’t see what they’re doing as bullying. They genuinely believe that what they’re doing is a good thing- they’re only doing it for the greater good- the good of the school, alumni, and staff. They’re doing it for the sake of the company and people in it. They’re only showing loyalty and trustworthiness to the group. They’re heroes.

I want you to realize that this is how good people do bad things to innocent people. When this happens, the fact that you’re innocent and undeserving of the abuse and brutality just doesn’t come into it.

Also, understand that there are benefits that come with siding with a group against “the enemy” and few people will forgo those benefits.

The more you know.