Bullies and the Damage of the Smear Campaign

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We have been conditioned to believe that we have to think and feel certain ways in order to fit in, succeed in life, please others, and survive.

At the core of the pain we feel from bullying is the survival instinct.

Even the need to be accepted, comes down to the way our brains our wired for self protection and survival. Being thrown out of the tribe is associated with death, in our primal brains….the reptilian cortex.

We instinctively feel threatened and fearful when rejected by a group of people that we need to associate with on a regular basis.

Even the term “workplace harassment” is rooted in this need to be accepted. Otherwise continued emotionally/ mentally  hurtful acts by one employee to another would not be recognized as wrong.

The act on one co-worker starting a smear campaign against you is so emotionally destructive that if it goes in long enough, your mental health will suffer. You will most likely develop depression and anxiety.

Someone spreading lies about you, with the intention of turning the tribe against you, is a menace to the social order. Only the most malevolent member of the social / work. organization would engage in premeditated behavior and calculated actions to remove you from favor within the group.

While I used to believe that what more than one person pointed out about you must be true, I now believe that circumstances like that require further investigation.

I was brought up with the idea that if three different people pointed out some flaw in your character, or behavior, that it must be true. But a situation like this requires some more testing on your part.

If the same annoying trait has been pointed out to you from people who do not know each other, and have no connections with each other, then you might want to take a look at it. But if people who are inter-related at a workplace, a church, a school, or within a family are accusing you of having something wrong with you, that you truly cannot see, then it may be fabricated.

The toxic person will tell others within the social structure  lies about you that make you appear to have a completely different personality than you actually have.

 Often it is something that is completely the opposite of your true character. If you are innately and ethically very honest, then they will tell people that you are dishonest.

Once this circulates back to your being treated as if the lie were true, you will naturally suspect that something about your behavior is giving people that impression. Even if this accusation is very far out of reality, once people begin to react to you as if it were true, you will feel mental and emotional stress.

This is part of the design of this type of slander. The smear campaign is designed to break you down both emotionally and mentally. It is also designed to turn other people against you. It is very effective in blocking your social and professional progress.

Of it takes on a life of its own, one rumor has the capacity to cause you to not only leave the group or the job, but also to begin to doubt your own reality.

This is a form of gaslighting. It is the fabrication an untruth, that is superimposed upon the reality you once knew to be true.

Due to our natural wiring to be accepted by the group, we do not want other people controlling the way we are perceived by others. The personality qualities and values we want to portray,  are important to us, and even a key part of our survival within the social structure.

It is somewhat frightening to realize that it only takes one toxic person, skilled in the art of the smear campaign, to alter who we are, and how we are perceived,  in the minds of an entire social group…even as large as an entire community. I have clients that have had to move to another city to restart their lives, and lots of people have changed jobs due to similar evil being perpetrated against them.

The level of destructiveness one simple rumor can cause limitless.

Hundreds of preteens and teenagers commit suicide over what started out as one rumor. Bullies have caused havoc in the schools for as long as any of us can remember.

The newest mutation of the smear campaign, of course, is cyber bullying. This gives the lazy narcissist an easy way to plant a lie about someone, and not have to be held accountable for having done it. Their identity can be hidden behind a false profile and a fake photo image.

So if you are being accused of having defects that you don’t relate to at all, you should explore the truth of that in social situation and with people far removed from the original source. Talk to people that are far removed from any of the people that have accused you.

If this particular personality trait is not recognized by outsiders to the problematic group, then you probably don’t have it. If people who do not know anyone in the toxified group do not seem to see you in this distorted way, then you can rest assured about your personality being perfectly fine.

In situations where someone is trying to destroy everyone’s perception about you, it is not an issue of your behavior not being in line with how you want people to see you. You are not defective or unclear in your perceptions about yourself.

However, you very likely may have to remove yourself from the place where the toxic person has ruined your reputation. Once people’s minds become manipulated, it can be impossible to get them to see reality.

People tend to want to hold onto whatever reality they have. Shifts in perspective are not often welcome.

It takes too much work for people to do, and they often do not have the flexibility to do so. In addition to those reasons, people tend to feel threatened when they are presented with a conflicting reality to one they have been presented with and have been functioning out of.

The power of the smear campaign comes out of the number of people who are saying the same thing, and reacting as if it were true. Even the body language of other people around you will influence the perception someone has of you. It goes far beyond the words.

One of the most destructive places that a smear campaign can exist within is your family. If you grew up with a narcissistic parent, you may have had your identity challenged or interfered with by your own parent. It can also be another family member.

Even your own adult child can create or contribute to a smear campaign. Luckily most people do not experience this, because it is possibly the most hurtful of all. But I can tell you that I have seen it before withcertain clients.

Being aware of how the smear campaign works does not really prevent it from happening to you. But it can help to validate your reality, and keep you from thinking you are the crazy one.

Narcissists and other  toxic people will probably always exist. It is like the predators and prey in the animal kingdom. We just have to be aware of it and take whatever steps are needed to protect ourselves from the damage.

Your mental stability is the main thing that any good human  predator is going to attack. All the games are designed at making you question your reality and to doubt yourself. If they can take those things from you, the rest becomes easy.

You must maintain your sense of self and your belief in yourself. Detach mentally and emotionally from the behaviors of people who make you feel unsafe.

Listen to your feelings when you are around people. This is your first warning system, long before you have any evidence that they are toxic.

 

 

 

Saying NO to Emotional Manipulators

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image from Pinterest link HERE

Saying “no” to people comes very easily to some and is nearly impossible for others.

I have found that many people with  C-PTSD have trouble saying no.  If you were brought up in a mentally or otherwise abusive childhood, saying “NO,” may be associated with severe consequences to you.

If you lived with a parent that had narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder, then they probably used confusion tactics on you, to the point where there was “no” way to say no to them.

Gaslighting can confuse our ability to trust ourselves and our perceptions.

It may be difficult to tell what situations that “NO,” would be perfectly okay, and what situations where saying no, would really cause a problem.

If you grew up in an environment where your feelings and thoughts were not considered relevant, then you probably feel that your feeling of wanting to say no, just does not count. Even though the same person may say “No” to you all the time, you do not feel that you have the same right to say no, that they do.

If you were even in an abusive situation where disobeying meant punishment , then you probably have a fear of retaliation from others.  There is an anxiety response triggered by saying no and  refusing to comply with another person’s request.

THE ACT OF SAYING NO, CAN TRIGGER A VERY UNCOMFORTABLE PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSE. IN ORDER TO AVOID FEELING  SEVERELY UNCOMFORTABLE, WE JUST SAY “YES” WHEN WE REALLY WANT TO SAY “NO.”

Triggers are very real and the tendency is to want to avoid feeling the bodily sensations  associated with them. Ignoring triggers and going against our conditioned responses, is a very difficult thing to do.

IT IS PERFECTLY NORMAL AND ACCEPTABLE FOR YOU TO SAY “NO” TO PEOPLE WHEN THEY ARE ASKING YOU TO DO SOMETHING THAT YOU DO NOT WANT TO DO OR SOMETHING WHICH CROSSES YOUR BOUNDARIES.

You are allowed to set personal boundaries for yourself. You can also set boundaries for certain people that you do not want crossed.

You can set boundaries in regards to your emotions, your time, your energy, your work and your social interactions. You can set boundaries in regards to dating, doing work for people and doing favors for people.

You can set boundaries about your personal space and your personal items. 

 Any situation where someone is trying to get you to do something by using your emotions against you, is a situation where your boundaries need to come into play.  

Sometimes people do not accept your simple NO or your reasons for saying NO. They try to convince you be making you feel guilty or by shaming you. 

They are trying to use your good and caring personality against you.

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image from mylovestory.me and Pinterest

They want you to feel bad and they do this by intentionally pushing whatever buttons they know you have. If they know that you want to feel like you are cooperative they will call you uncooperative.

If they know that you have helped them many times in the past, they will lie and tell you that they do not remember the last time you did them any favors.

Don’t fall for these manipulative behaviors. If someone feels the need to make you feel guilty in order to do them a favor, then they really do not deserve the favor.

People should accept No, especially if you have perfectly good reasons for saying no, even if the reason is that you just do not feel comfortable doing it or do not want to do it.

Here is a list of ways to say NO…

No.

No, thank you.

No, I really cannot do that.

No, I do not want to do that.

No, I am not interested in that.

No, I cannot find time in my schedule to do that.

 No, I am just too overloaded right now, to do that.

No, I am not interested in doing that.  

No, you go ahead without me.

No, please ask someone else.

No, I do not have to think about it.  I would rather tell you NO right now.

I said no. Please respect my answer

If you have a history with this person that tells you that they will counter any reasons you give them for saying No, then you can try something like this..

“In the past my giving reasons for my No, seems to have just been an opening for someone to tell me the reasons are not good enough or to dispute my reasons in some way. So this time I am going to say simply No without going over my reasons with you. “

If they refuse to accept your “no”, then you still do not have to do what they want just to make them stop complaining.

 Just because they are going to upset that you told them “no”,  does not mean that you are responsible for their feelings. As long as you were not intentionally trying to hurt their feelings, then you did not cause for them to feel bad.

If someone  is an adult then they are responsible for their own feelings. Much of the time, manipulative people are acting when they get dramatic with you. They can be very dramatic about how disappointed they are in you or about how selfish they think you are.

These are more reasons not to tell them  “yes”  every time they demand something from you. The more times they are able to manipulate you, the more they will resort to the same tactics over and over again. 

**Please note that this article is not talking about partner relationships where the person will physically abuse you or will otherwise punish you for saying no. Those relationships are volatile and should be escaped as soon as possible but I never recommend to ignite retaliation in a severely abusive person.

It is designed more for situations where you are in no immediate danger  or impending danger.

This article is also not a recommendation to tell your boss no to doing work, thus risking your job. If your boss is abusive it is a different topic and must be handled with a different strategy that is not discussed in this post.

Setting Boundaries with Manipulative People

  1. Other people do not get to decide what upsets you and what does not.
  2. Other people have no frame of reference about your life, to be able to decide if you are being “too sensitive” or “hyper sensitive” . No…they just don’t get to!
  3. Shaming someone is not love or support in any way, no matter how they attempt to twist things around to convince you. No shaming! Don’t accept it!
  4. People do not have the right to tell you how to perceive reality or to question you perception of reality. No they don’t! Just say NO !
  5. You are completely entitled to your feelings and to feel hurt when someone is….. mean, disrespectful, inconsiderate, selfish, sarcastic, deceitful, dishonest, disappointing, exploitative, condescending or minimizing to your reality. (image from Pinterest link HERE)puppet.jpg
  6. Someone insisting you perceive things the way they tell you to all the time is gaslighting you.
  7. You have the right to a conversation with a loved one about abusive or hurtful behavior. You are not being abusive to them when you point out behavior that hurts you and express your feelings about that behavior!!!
  8. Conversations about your feelings that always turn around somehow to be about their feelings, is a red flag of narcissistic abuse.
  9. No demeaning behavior, embarrassing you, disrespectful behavior or condescending attitudes have to be tolerated. It does not prove that you love them…it is just evidence that you have been desensitized to that kind of treatment.
  10. Excuses for their behavior that make you the cause of it, are UNACCEPTABE !

 

*PLEASE NOTE **If you are in an abusive relationship with someone that you fear may become violent, then please do not provoke them ! …. Get help, and carefully plan your escape from them. …..Do not risk violence to yourself or your children….. Pathological people can suddenly become much more violent when confronted by a partner. 

The Problem with Warning Victims of Psychopaths and Narcissists

Just because we point out the hole someone is about to fall into, does not mean we are being cruel to the person who dug the hole.

We are just trying to keep the person from falling in, because we recognize the hunter who is patiently watching them.

When the prey sees the hunter through the rose colored glasses he gave them, they think we are demonizing the hunter. But we are more concerned with watching our friend fall into the nasty, jagged pothole that is just a few more inches from their toes.

Narcissists Drink Your Tears and Your Anger


 

Narcissistic Parents of Adult Children

image chef change you

If you have a narcissistic parent, then nothing of your own belongs to you. Not your mind, not your thoughts, not your feelings.

The narcissists feels entitled to control and own all of your things, both physical and mental.

When you have an idea you want to try that is different from theirs, they will put up a fight to make you change to their way of doing things. They have no right to d this. You are an adult with the same rights they have. 

They do not ever see you as an adult, or as an individual with your own rights, gifts and talents.

They feel you are something they own and should control when you need controlling. 

If you do not comply with their wishes, they will try to undermine you in any way they can.

Narcissistic parents have gone so far as to publicly shame their children, spread lies and gossip about them, and cause them to lose jobs and relationships.

They will take over responsibilities that are yours, and tell you it is for your own good, because you are inadequate.

This wears down your self esteem and effects how others see you. The narcissistic parent does not want you to shine independently from them. 

If you do something well, they will claim the credit for it.  Even if they did nothing but counter and interfere with something, they will still assume the credit. 

If they disapprove of something you do, then they will punish you in the form of shunning. silent treatment, demeaning you, scapegoating you, or causing a mobbing effect from other family members, who they turn against you.

These are hurtful, malicious games, designed to keep them in the spotlight and you in the darkness, and under their shadow.

The narcissist is sure they are right all the time. They will never listen to your idea, your pint of view, or your circumstances. They do not care. 

No contact is usually the best way to live.

Then you will have autonomy and be able to flourish and grow in ways you can not imagine while you are under their darkness.

If you cannot go no contact, then do your best to stick to your own ideas and plans.

Do not give in to the pleas of the narcissist or believe them when they call you abusive to them. It is a typical tactic designed to make you feel shame and guilt. 

Adult Bullies – Feels Like 6th Grade Again!

It is staggering to my mind how these same type of bullies who tormented me in 6th grade persist to continue the same behaviors as adults. Do people ever grow up?

I should not be surprised when I run into one of them. You know how it is. You go for a few years without running into one of them and then…Oh crap, …they are a supervisor at your job or a teacher at your college or a co-worker you have to have your desk next to?

I have heard all the theories about how they really just want to “fit in” but they don’t know how. They really are insecure inside and they are scared of us. Really?

I think they just like being bullies. I think they are not scared at all. I think they get off on their power trip and enjoy making people as miserable as possible.

Their purpose in life is to lower other people’s self-esteem so they can be the dominant the social rank or work situation. They will crush the top of your head, climbing on you, to get up the ladder of success.

If they were so afraid of everyone then why would they put so much attention on themselves? They gossip and they “tell” on you even if they have to create a story. Just like in 6th grade.

They have their click of friends like in 6th grade. They walk with their nose up in the air at you. They have an obvious feeling that they are better than you.

No. I don’t buy the “bullies have low self esteem” theory. I have never known anyone who was able to take charge of their environment in such a dominating way, who had low self esteem.

It is more likely that they are spoiled, like a spoiled princess and want everything their way. Somehow they want to get their way by cutting down other people.

Worse yet, for people that already have anxiety, social anxiety, or depression issues, dealing with this person on a regular basis is a nightmare. But don’t let them know. It would not end well for you.

I do not feel sorry for mean people. They have no right to hurt other people. Their self-esteem gets higher as they crush yours down.

There are a few tactics I have learned through years of running into these bullies from time to time. They are always out there. It is not “just you”, that you keep running into them.

They might even be in your own family. That can be the hardest to deal with.

Do the best you can not to stoop to their level. It will not earn you respect. If you have the respect of those around you, then you will survive better.

The bully will not be respected by many people. They may be feared but they are not respected. Respect is a better thing to have.

Stooping to their level will doom you. Keep your good Karma. Sooner or later people get sick and tired of these whiny, time wasting, superficial people. Their general energy brings people down. Your good energy of trustworthiness and integrity will bring people up.

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