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finding our way

Persons who have been constantly bullied, and do not understand why, can easily lose their bearings. It's possible, in time, for them to accept abuse as a way of life. Then it becomes difficult to return to normalcy without outside intervention.

Abused persons should know that bullying is all about the person doing it, not the person being abused. For targeted persons, abuse can affect every aspect of their lives, including self-esteem.

Being bullied can be very confusing. Although bullying is never the fault of persons who are being abused (no matter how much the bully tries to blame it on them) targeted individuals feel ashamed.

We hope, through the information here, individuals can increase their awareness and be rid of feelings of shame and embarrassment, and experience hope and peace.

defending yourself

If you have found your way to this site, chances are you or someone you love has or is being bullied. My purpose in creating this site is to inform and educate. I do this by presenting the wisdom and words of others- professionals in the field and experts (those who have experienced bullying) One question remains. Does one EVER get over bullying? Only those (and their professional counselors) who have been through it can answer the question.

If one can not get over it entirely, at least one can benefit from the experience by realizing he/she is now an expert- one who knows first hand how it feels and what effects it has had on their lives. That information can be used to help others.

Why is it so hard to defend oneself? By the time the bullying is in full force, one feels immobilized, isolated, and unable to trust that anyone will believe them. One may even doubt themselves, or worse- blames themselves. Their self-talk may be; "it's not all that bad... it's really their problem... I'm not going to let it bother me... They must have had trauma in their childhood to make them behave this way.. (and my personal favorite) I need to forgive if I want a blessed life."

This is not about refusing to forgive; it is about staying healthy- avoiding a type of stress that can lead to serious illness. Enabling a bully may mean enabling his/her next victim.

This site explores overt actions that are recognizable if not to the victim, to others. Recently I have become aware of an insidious form of bullying. That is discounting, ignoring, and isolating the target from peers or family by the bully. I hope to post more about it in the future, especially in regards to how it is used to victimized elders.

It is important to recognize the damage done by bullying. The following is by Hans Selye:

Stages of Stress

The Bully is the source of stress, the Stressor. It's the body and mind's response to stressors that determines the extent of damage inflicted. The sequence of biological stress is well known. There are three stages (Hans Selye):

1. Alarm--the turning on of the body's defense systems, that is designed to be brief for it is truly widespread in its effects throughout the body--it enables the "flight or fight" response in the face of danger--physical or psychological. The body reacts the same to fright from the impending pounce of a tiger as it does to an insult from the bully. Alarm triggers the sympathetic nervous system that releases adrenaline, in addition to many other functions.

2. Resistance--the maintenance of an alert stage that the body expected, and needs, to be turned off. Resistance to the bully and all that that requires depletes the body's defenses. If you stay in the resistance stage too long, the body will rebound then it's finally turned off, the body rebounds and the actual damage occurs when the stressor is gone. The parasympathetic nervous system restores normalcy; it turns off the sympathetic.

3. Exhaustion-- which can lead to death if the stressor never disappears and the body and mind must fight indefinitely. Exhaustion is a full system breakdown, mentally and physically. It demands that the stressor be removed or it will claim your life. To get to exhaustion, you have to ignore all the warning signs that your body gives you (see above psychological and physical effects).

A cautionary word about stress "management." It is usually the wrongdoer's prescribed solution for the Target. No amount of cognitive distortion or discounting will stop life-jeopardizing stress caused by a bully and her accomplices. The only long-term solution to stress is to REMOVE THE STRESSOR. Separation from the bully is an imperative first step. To argue otherwise prolongs the Target's misery.

The following from Tim Field's "Bully on Line" about workplace bullying is invauable information for those wondering why it is so difficult to defend oneself.


Asserting your right not to be bullied, fighting back, taking action

"Why don't you stand up for yourself?" is an oft-asked question. We're adults, aren't we?

In most cases, the bullying follows a two-phase procedure. Phase one is control which is exercised through constant trivial daily nit-picking criticism etc. Eventually there's a defining moment when the target realises that the criticisms have no validity and that they constitute bullying; the target asserts their right not to be bullied, perhaps by initiating a grievance, and the bullying moves into phase two: elimination, which is achieved by dismissal on false charges, ill-health retirement, forced resignation, redundancy, or death from suicide or heart attack due to prolonged negative stress.

The reasons people don't assert their right not to be bullied are complex as the following list shows (all the fears are justified):

the target of bullying has been disempowered through isolation and exclusion and the manipulation of co-workers and management's perceptions

the bully is constantly threatening and intimidating the target and co-workers

there is a climate of dysfunction and fear in which people are frightened to assert their rights

the target now has artificially high levels of shame, embarrassment, fear and guilt - all stimulated by the bully, for this is how all abusers control their victims

the target feels bewildered and often still cannot believe that what is happening is happening; the target feels responsible in some way, as evidenced by the nagging thoughts "Why me?" and "Why did I let it happen to me?"

the target fears for loss of their job

the target fears they will be unable to obtain a reference (this is especially true in the professions) and the bully never misses an opportunity to strike at their target, even after the target has left; being asked for a reference is an ideal opportunity to bad-mouth their target

if you take your employer to an employment tribunal you're obviously a troublemaker and no employer will take the risk employing you - despite the fact that you did nothing wrong

there is no law against bullying and the laws that do exist are difficult to apply to bullying

real jobs are scarce and if you're over 40 and in a permanent full-time position the chances of obtaining another permanent full-time position are slim (the government likes to give the impression that there are under one million people unemployed in the UK but the figure quoted is the number of people who qualify for jobseekers allowance - the number of people aged between 18-65 without a job is between 4-6 million)

by this time the target is suffering a severe psychiatric injury, is traumatised and unable to articulate their circumstances - whilst the bully remains glib and plausible

trauma and fear combine to prevent the target from being able to find the right words to identify, unmask and call to account their tormentor (contact us for a list of phrases and strategies)

when the symptoms of psychiatric injury start to appear the bully plays the mental health trap, claiming this person "has a mental health problem" (psychiatric injury has nothing to do with mental illness

the target has no knowledge of serial bullies, sociopaths, etc, and no experience of dealing with these characters

the bully relies on compulsive lying, Jekyll & Hyde nature, deception, deviousness, evasiveness and charm
and uses denial, counter-attack, projection and feigning victimhood to evade accountability

Charm has a motive - deception.

the serial bully abuses power, exhibits amoral behaviour and lacks conscience and remorse

there's a lot of ignorance and unenlightenedness about bullying

the silence is deafening

denial is everywhere

disbelief is prevalent too - the target fears that no-one will believe them and even the target eventually questions their belief that this is happening, especially as the bully persistently and plausibly denies everything

bullies are encouraged and rewarded, often by promotion

cases that are settled are subject to gagging clauses

employers network with each other, sometimes discussing cases and people at fraternal meetings

in many cases unions are unhelpful; in some cases the union is part of the problem

the target doesn't want to have "stress" on their health record

the target doesn't want to get others into trouble and is reluctant to initiate a grievance against a fellow human being

the target naively believes that the system is there to protect them and will work for them (it isn't and it doesn't)

the target naively believes that their loyalty and good service record will stand them in good stead (it won't and the employer is likely to ignore and dismiss it)

the target naively believes that Human Resources and personnel are there to protect employees

grievance procedures are notoriously useless for dealing with bullying, as the manager, with whom the grievance is normally conducted, is often the bully - or is supporting the bully, either by colluding (active support), or by refusing and failing to deal with the bully (passive support)

even if another manager handles the grievance, he or she is usually connected with the bully in some way

bullying is a betrayal; the target trusted and depended on the integrity of another (eg manager) and that person betrayed them; the target fears and anticipates that when they report the bullying, they will be betrayed again (they often are)

those in authority did nothing to prevent the bullying while it was happening, nor did they do anything subsequently; very often it is the person in the position of authority who is the bully; trust in authority is low, with justification

bullying is a form of psychological rape because of its intrusive and violational nature

the target felt and continues to feel guilty about what happened, having been encouraged by the bully to believe they were responsible

the target may have been encouraged to withdraw from legal action by the bully feigning victimhood and playing on their target's forgiving chord and manipulating other people's sympathies

bullying causes Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and any thought, memory or reminder of the bullying immediately results in the sufferer experiencing PTSD symptoms


The lists of traits and characteristics of bullies have been obtained from several websites including Tim Field's "Bully on Line." Because there is so much crossover information concerning this serious topic it is sometimes difficult to know where our own thoughts leave off and others begin.

We have done our utmost to give credit where credit is due. I hope you find the information you seek within the links we provided.

bullied no more!

If you were ever bullied in school, in the workplace, or by your family, you will relate to this blog. We've all been there at one time or another- from playground to family gatherings. Few escape. What is common to the experience is how it makes us feel.

I began to research bullying on the Internet to understand why a frail senior recovering from a serious illness had become the target of bullying. When those nearest and dearest attempted to defend her and ask for the abuse to stop, the abuser worked her venom on them. Thus began our research into why and how this could happen to one so vulnerable. Our research was enlightening and we want to share that with you.

It covers all our emotions from anger, hurt, sadness, fear and even guilt. What had our elderly friend done to invite the bullying? The answer is nothing! No one deserves to be bullied and no one invites abuse.

Thanks to the experts. (See links) we came to understand the many layers of bullying. How it spreads and how everyone related to the targeted individual takes on a role in the drama. You will not change your bully. You will not make them see the light. The quick answer is to distance yourself if you can and as quickly as you can.

My hope is that in reading this, you who have been similarly abused will find coping mechanisms or at least understand your own response and feelings. As they say, you did not cause it (the bullying) and you can't cure it. We are directed through our faith to pray for our family bully to forgive her. It is our path to freedom and healing. There is nothing that says we have to like the bully- only to forgive so that we can move beyond the control of the bully- to be bullied no more.

Here is what expert Tim Field has to say about bullying within the family:

"A favorite tactic of the bully in the family is to set people against each other. The benefits to the bully are that: the bully gains a great deal of gratification from encouraging and provoking argument, quarrelling and hostility, and then from watching others engage in adversarial interaction and destructive conflict, and the ensuing conflict ensures that people's attention is distracted and diverted away from the cause of the conflict.

Bullies within the family, especially female bullies, are masters of manipulation and are fond of manipulating people through their emotions (e.g. guilt) and through their beliefs, attitudes and perceptions. Bullies see any form of vulnerability as an opportunity for manipulation, and are especially prone to exploiting those who are most emotionally needy. Elderly relatives, those with infirmity, illness, those with the greatest vulnerability, or those who are emotionally needy or behaviorally immature family members are likely to be favorite targets for exploitation.

The family bully encourages and manipulates family members etc to lie, act dishonorably and dishonestly, withhold information, spread misinformation, and to punish the target for alleged infractions, i.e. the family members become the bully's unwitting (and sometimes witting) instruments of harassment.

Bullies are adept at distorting peoples' perceptions with intent to engender a negative view of their target in the minds of family members, neighbors, friends and people in positions of officialdom and authority; this is achieved through undermining, the creation of doubts and suspicions, and the sharing of false concerns, etc. This poisoning of people's minds is difficult to counter, however explaining the game in a calm articulate manner helps people to see through the mask of deceit and to understand how and why they are being used as pawns.

The bully may try to establish an exclusive relationship (based on apparent trust and confidence) with one family member such that they (the bully) are seen as the sole reliable source of information; this may be achieved by portraying the target (and certain other family members) as irresponsible, unstable, undependable, uncaring, unreliable and untrustworthy, perhaps by the constant highlighting - using distortion and fabrication - of alleged failures, breaches of trust, lack of reliability, etc. The process is reinforced by inclusion of the occasional piece of juicy gossip about the target's alleged misdemeanors or untrustworthiness in respect of relationships and communication with people.

The objective is to manipulate the family member's perceptions and create a dependency so that the family member comes to rely exclusively on the bully and see the bully as the sole source of reliable information whilst distrusting everyone else. Any person who is capable of exposing and breaking the dependency is targeted with venom and will find their name blackened at every opportunity.

When close to being outwitted and exposed, the bully feigns victim hood and turns the focus on themselves - this is another example of manipulating people through their emotion of guilt, e.g. sympathy, feeling sorry, etc. Female serial bullies are especially partial to making them the centre of attention by claiming to be the injured party whilst portraying their target as the villain of the piece. When the target tries to explain the game, they are immediately labeled "paranoid". Attention-seeking behavior is common with emotionally immature people."

Since we began this blog after researching the bullying of elders, we want to note here from

"Elder abuse is an umbrella term used to describe one or more of the following:

Physical abuse is the willful infliction of physical pain or injury, e.g., slapping, bruising, sexually molesting, or restraining.
Sexual abuse is the infliction of non-consensual sexual contact of any kind.

Emotional or psychological abuse is the infliction of mental or emotional anguish, e.g., humiliating, intimidating, or threatening.

Financial or material exploitation is the improper act or process of an individual, using the resources of an older person, without his/her consent, for someone else's benefit.

Neglect is the failure of a caretaker to provide goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish or mental illness, e.g., abandonment, denial of food or health related services.

Self-neglect is characterized as the behavior of an elderly person that threatens his/her own health or safety."

through the looking glass

This blog speaks to bullies- yours and mine. The message is: We have informed ourselves about your traits and tendencies and why you behave the way you do and why and how you choose your targets. We have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure you out. We have answers. We have mechanisms to stop you and to free ourselves from your disordered behavior.

We have a word for those whom you have enlisted to join in your attacks on us. Those who have aligned themselves with you are your unwitting pawns. You care about them only so long as they will promote your agenda of hate. Others who stood by silently and did nothing to defend us have reasons of their own. They have their own unresolved issues. They hurt us only so long as we were uninformed about bullying dynamics.

The experts (Tim Field and others) tell us you choose your targets because they have character. You hate that. You target them because of your low self-esteem and your need to feel important and your need to control others.

You want people to feel sorry for you. You accomplish this by speaking half-truths, exaggerations and out and out lies about how people treat you. When your agenda becomes known, others fearing they will be your next target, will distance themselves and you will find yourself standing alone on stage. Justice happens.

IF WE HELD A MIRROR UP TO YOU, I doubt you would see what we see. You may not get the picture. Bullies remain clueless unless they get help. Often they are very reluctant to do so.

A bully can be:

emotionally immature

selectively friendly

sickening sweet to some people, rude and offhand to others, ignoring the rest

a tendency to be cold and aggressive towards anyone who sees them for what they really are

overfriendly, helpful, or generous with their new target, especially in the initial stages of a new working relationship

manipulative of people's perceptions, but in an amateur and childish manner

manipulative with guilt

use flattery to keep a person in authority on side

treats everything as a drama, usually a poor-me drama

prefers not to solve problems in own life so that they can be used and re-used for gaining sympathy and attention

capitalizes on issues and uses them as a soapbox for gaining attention

exploits others' SUFFERING AND GRIEF as a vehicle for gaining attention

misappropriates others' statements, for control and attention-seeking

makes excuses for everything

shows a lot of indignation, especially when challenged

has lots of self-pity

often feels miserable, apart from carefully constructed moments of charm when in the act of deceiving

demanding of others

easily provoked

feigns victim hood when held accountable, usually by bursting into tears or claiming they're the one being bullied

presents as a false victim when outwitted

may feign exclusion, isolation or persecution

can be malicious

constantly tries and will do almost anything to be in the spotlight. The focus of their life is to be the centre of attention

Why in the world?

You have chosen us as your target. In doing so, you have classified us as having the following positive tendencies. So your efforts are in vain. We are not diminished. We are educated about ourselves and why you have chosen us. The following list has been complied by experts on bullying.

Tim Field lists the following qualities that bullies find irresistable.

popularity (this stimulates jealousy in the less-than-popular bully)

competence (this stimulates envy in the less-than-competent bully)

intelligence and intellect

honesty and integrity (which bullies despise)

you're trustworthy, trusting, conscientious, loyal and dependable

a well-developed integrity that you're unwilling to compromise

you're always willing to go that extra mile and expect others to do the same

successful, tenacious, determined, courageous, having fortitude

a sense of humor, including displays of quick-wittedness

imaginative, creative, innovative

idealistic, optimistic, always working for improvement and betterment of self, family, the employer, and the world

ability to master new skills

ability to think long term and to see the bigger picture

sensitivity (this is a constellation of values to be cherished including empathy, concern for others, respect, tolerance etc)

slow to anger

helpful, always willing to share knowledge and experience

giving and selfless

difficulty saying no

diligent, industrious


strong sense of honor

irrepressible, wanting to tackle and correct injustice wherever you see it

low propensity to violence (i.e. you prefer to resolve conflict through dialogue rather than through violence or legal action)

a strong forgiving streak (which the bully exploits and manipulates to dissuade you from taking grievance and legal action)

a desire to always think well of others

being incorruptible, having high moral standards which you are unwilling to compromise

being unwilling to lower standards

a strong well-defined set of values, which you are unwilling to compromise or abandon

high expectations of those in authority and a dislike of incompetent people in positions of power who abuse power

a tendency to self-deprecation, indecisiveness, deference and approval seeking

low assertiveness

quick to apologize when accused, even if not guilty

a strong sense of fair play and a desire to always be reasonable

high coping skills under stress, especially when the injury to health becomes apparent

a tendency to internalize anger rather than express it

information obtained from: Bully OnLine

coping strategies


1. THE PATHOLOGICAL LIAR is skillfully deceptive and very convincing. Avoids accountability by diverting topics, dodging questions, and making up new lies, bluffs or threats when questioned. His memory is self serving as he denies past statements. Constant chaos and diverting from reality is their chosen environment.

Defense Strategy:
Verify his words. Do not reveal anything about yourself - he'll use it against you. Head for the door when things don't add up. Don't ask him questions - you'll only be inviting more lies.

2. THE CONTRACT BREAKER agrees to anything then turns around and does the opposite. Marriage, Legal, Custody agreements, normal social/personal protocol are meaningless. This con artist will accuse you of being the contract breaker. Enjoys orchestrating legal action and playing the role of the 'poor me' victim.

Defense Strategy:
Expect him to disregard any agreement. Have Plan B in place. Protect yourself financially and emotionally.

3. THE HIGH ROLLER Successfully plows and backstabs his way to the top. His family a disposable prop in his success facade. Is charismatic, eloquent and intelligent in his field, but often fakes abilities and credentials. Needs to have iron-fisted control, relying on his manipulation skills. Will ruthlessly support, exploit or target others in pursuit of his ever-changing agenda. Mercilessly abuses the power of his position. Uses treachery or terrorism to rule or govern. Potential problem or failure situations are delegated to others. A vindictive bully in the office with no social or personal conscience. Often suspicious and paranoid. Others may support him to further their own Mephistophelian objectives, but this wheeler-dealer leaves them holding the bag. Disappears quickly when consequences loom.

Defense Strategy:
Keep your references and resume up to date. Don't get involved in anything illegal. Document thoroughly to protect yourself. Thwarting them may backlash with a cascade of retaliation. Be on the lookout and spot them running for office and vote them out. Educate yourself about corporate bullies

4. THE SEXUAL NARCISSIST is often hypersexual (male or female). Pornography, masturbation, incest are reported by his targets. Anything, anyone, young, old, male/female, are there for his gratification. This predator takes what is available. Can have a preference for 'sado-maso' sexuality. Often easily bored, he demands increasingly deviant stimulation. However, another behaviour exists, the one who withholds sex or emotional support.

Defense Strategy:
Expect this type to try to degrade you. Get away from him. Expect him to tell lies about your sexuality to evade exposure of his own.

5. THE BLAME-GAME NARCISSIST never accepts responsibility. Blames others for his failures and circumstances. A master at projection.

Defense Strategy:
Learn about projection. Don't take the bait when he blames you. He made the mess let him clean it up.

6. THE VIOLENT NARCISSIST is a wife-Beater, Murderer, Serial Killer, Stalker, Terrorist. Has a 'chip-on-his-shoulder' attitude. He lashes out and destroys or uses others (particularly women and children) as scapegoats for his aggression or revenge. He has poor impulse control. Fearless and guiltless, he shows bad judgement. He anticipates betrayal, humiliation or punishment, imagines rejection and will reject first to 'get it over with'. He will harass and push to make you pay attention to him and get a reaction. He will try to make you look out of control. Can become dangerous and unpredictable. Has no remorse or regard for the rights of others. 

Defense Strategy:
Don't antagonize or tip your hand you're leaving. Ask for help from the police and shelters.

7. THE CONTROLLER/MANIPULATOR pits people against each other. Keeps his allies and targets separated. Is verbally skillful at twisting words and actions. Is charismatic and usually gets his way. Often undermines our support network and discourages us from seeing our family and friends. Money is often his objective. Other people's money is even better. He is ruthless, demanding and cruel. This control-freak bully wants you pregnant, isolated and financially dependent on him. Appears pitiful, confused and in need of help. We rush in to help him with our finances, assets, and talents. We may be used as his proxy interacting with others on his behalf as he sets us up to take the fall or enjoys the performance he is directing.

Defense Strategy:
Know the 'nature of the beast'. Facing his failure and consequences will be his best lesson. Be suspicious of his motives, and avoid involvement. Don't bail him out.

8. THE SUBSTANCE ABUSER Alcohol, drugs, you name it, this N does it. We see his over-indulgence in food, exercise or sex and his need for instant gratification. Will want you to do likewise.

Defense Strategy:
Don't sink to his level. Say No.

9. OUR "SOUL MATE" is cunning and knows who to select and who to avoid. He will come on strong, sweep us off our feet. He seems to have the same values, interests, goals, philosophies, tastes, habits. He admires our intellect, ambition, honesty and sincerity. He wants to marry us quickly. He fakes integrity, appears helpful, comforting, generous in his 'idealization' of us phase. It never lasts. Eventually Jekyll turns into Hyde. His discarded victims suffer emotional and financial devastation. He will very much enjoy the double-dipping attention he gets by cheating. We end the relationship and salvage what we can, or we are discarded quickly as he attaches to a "new perfect soul mate". He is an opportunistic parasite. Our "Knight in Shining Armor" has become our nightmare. Our healing is lengthy.

Defense Strategy:
Seek therapy. Learn about this disorder. Know the red flags of their behaviour, and "If he seems too good to be true..." Hide the hurt you feel. Never let him see it. Be watchful for the internet predator.

10. THE QUIET NARCISSIST is socially withdrawn, often dirty, unkempt. Odd thinking is observed. Used as a disguise to appear pitiful to obtain whatever he can,

11. THE SADIST is now the fully-unmasked malignant narcissist. His objective is watching us dangle as he inflicts emotional, financial, physical and verbal cruelty. His enjoyment is all too obvious. He'll be back for more. His pleasure is in getting away with taking other people's assets. His target: women, children, the elderly, anyone vulnerabie. 

Defense Strategy:
Accept the Jekyll/Hyde reality. Make a "No Contact' rule. Avoid him altogether. End any avenue of vulnerability. Don't allow thoughts of his past 'good guy' image to lessen the reality of his disorder.

12. THE RAGER flies off the handle for little or no provocation. Has a severely disproportionate overreaction. Childish tantrums. His rage can be intimidating. He wants control, attention and compliance. In our hurt and confusion we struggle to make things right. Any reaction is his payoff. He seeks both good or bad attention. Even our fear, crying, yelling, screaming, name calling, hatred are his objectives. If he can get attention by cruelty he will do so. 

Defense Strategy:
Manage your responses. Be fully independent. Don't take the bait of his verbal abuse. Expect emotional hurt. Volence is possible.

13. THE BRAINWASHER is very charismatic. He is able to manipulate others to obtain status, control, compliance, money, attention. Often found in religion and politics. He masterfully targets the naive, vulnerable, uneducated or mentally weak.

Defense Strategy. Learn about brainwashing techniques. Listen to your gut instinct. Avoid them.

14. THE RISK-TAKING THRILL-SEEKER never learns from his past follies and bad judgment. Poor impulse control is a hallmark. 
Defense Strategy:
Don't get involved. Use your own good judgement. Say No.

15. THE PARANOID NARCISSIST is suspicious of everything usually for no reason. Terrified of exposure and may be dangerous if threatened. Suddenly ends relationships if he anticipates exposure or abandonment. 

Defense Strategy:
Give him no reason to be suspicious of you. Let some things slide. Protect yourself if you anticipate violence.

16. THE IMAGE MAKER will flaunt his 'toys', his children, his wife, his credentials and accomplishments. Admiration, attention, even glances from others, our envy or our fear are his objective. He is never satisfied. We see his arrogance and haughty strut as he demands center stage. He will alter his mask at will to appear pitiful, inept, solicitous, concerned, or haughty and superior. Appears the the perfect father, husband, friend - to those outside his home.

Defense Strategy:
Ignore his childlike behaviours. Know his payoff is getting attention, deceiving or abusing others. Provide him with 'supply' to avert problems.

17. THE EMOTIONAL VACUUM is the cruellest blow of all. We learn his lack of empathy. He has deceived us by his cunning ability to mimic human emotions. We are left numbed by the realization. It is incomprehensible and painful. We now remember times we saw his cold vacant eyes and when he showed odd reactions. Those closest to him become objectified and expendable.

Defense Strategy:
Face the reality. They can deceive trained professionals.

18. THE SAINTLY NARCISSIST proclaims high moral standing. Accuses others of immorality. "Hang 'em high" he says about the murderer on the 6:00 news. This hypocrite lies, cheats, schemes, corrupts, abuses, deceives, controls, manipulates and torments while portraying himself of high morals. 

Defense Strategy:
Learn the red flags of behaviour. Be suspicious of people claiming high morals. Can be spotted at a church near you.

19. THE CALLING-CARD NARCISSIST forewarns his targets. Early in the relationship he may 'slip up' revealing his nature saying "You need to protect yourself around me" or "Watch out, you never know what I'm up to." We laugh along with him and misinterpret his words. Years later, coping with the devastation left behind, his victims recall the chilling warning. 
Defense Strategy: Know the red flags and be suspicious of the intentions of others.

20. THE PENITENT NARCISSIST says "I've behaved horribly, I'll change, I love you, I'll go for therapy." Appears to 'come clean' admitting past abuse and asking forgiveness. Claims we are at fault and need to change too. The sincerity of his words and actions appear convincing. We learn his words are verbal hooks. He knows our vulnerabilities and what buttons to push. We question our judgement about his disorder. We can disregard "Fool me once..." We hope for change and minimize past abuse. With a successful retargeting attempt, this N will enjoy his second reign of terror even more if we allow him back in our lives.

Defense Strategy:
Expect this. Self-impose a "No Contact" rule. Focus on the reality of his disorder. Journal past abusive behavior to remind yourself. Join a support group

Source: Narcissistic Personality Disorder (MSN group)

How to Identify a Spousal Batterer

Look to see if he or she isolates the spouse from friends and family.

Claims family members exclude him/her.

Portrays them as mean or abusive.

Lying, withholding family messages, phone calls.

Not acknowledging gifts or favors.

Appearing to be the victim. Is never wrong.

Is always the injured party.

Attempts to distort the spouse’s view of his family and friends.

Make note if he or she calls their spouse degrading or hurtful names or makes fun of them “is just kidding.”

Watch out for signs of cruelty and/or abuse towards animals or children. Excludes stepchildren. Treats them differently then “his/hers.”

Notice if this person denies his/her anger at the same time that he/she displays signs of it. They may also be unwilling to admit or discuss their problems.

Keep your eyes open for an out of control temper, or emotional outburst, crying etc. over a small thing or event.

Make note if he/she gets easily defensive, or hears criticism when it's not meant that way.

Consider his/her childhood and background. People who have grown up in abusive households or been in abusive relationships are more likely to take abusive action towards their own family.

Look into his or her background, keeping your eyes open for information by old boyfriends/girlfriends, employers. What is his/her work history. Do they “hate” former employers, friends, family, etc.”

Remember that an absence of long-term, close relationships of any kind may be a sign of personal instability.

Tips & Warnings

An abusive relationship is often characterized by the following cycle.

First things are calm.

Suddenly, an event triggers anger or emotional, crying etc. outbursts,
followed by a "honeymoon" with apologies, claims to change, agreeing to go to counseling, or gift giving, and using sex.

Things become calm again and the cycle repeats itself over another minor occurance.

Source: How to Identify a Spousal Batterer

if it quacks...

These characteristics apply to either gender.

Your bully is/has:

Emotional immaturity. Behavior is not age appropriate.

Self-centeredness. She comes first and foremost.

Is insincere about real interest in other people.

Little if any remorse for mistakes.

Poor judgment.

Unreliability, undependability, irresponsibility.

Inability to profit from experience – does not learn a lesson from making mistakes.

Inability to postpone immediate gratification – what she wants, she wants now.

Impulsive and demanding.

Conflict with, or defiance of, authority.

Lack of appreciation for the consequences of her actions.

Tendency to project her shortcomings on to the world about him – frequent blaming. Never at fault.

Little if any conscience.

Behavior develops little sense of direction – often uninfluenced by concepts of right and wrong.

Gives lip service to professed values and beliefs.

Often involved with illegal or unethical acts.

Shallow interpersonal skills – inability to experience and verbalize deep feelings and emotions.

Often insensitive to the needs and feelings of others.

Cannot identify with how others feel.

Ability to put up a good “front” to impress and exploit others.

Low stress tolerance with explosive behavior.

Can “con” to get what she wants to meet her needs, often at the expense of others.

Sees others as pawns on the chessboard.

Maneuvers people around for her purposes. When done with them, they are rejected.

Ready rationalization – rarely at a loss for words – twists conversation to divorce herself from responsibility.

When she is trapped, she just keeps talking or changes the subject, or gets angry.

Incapable of maintaining genuine loyalties to any person, group, or code.

Chronic lying.

Chip on shoulder” attitude – cocky and arrogant.

Cancels commitments without sound reason or warning.

A taker – not a giver. Gives for show but expects something in return.

Glimpses of integrity and emotion are seen – but short lived.

Gives you hope she’s changing, but returns soon to deviant behavior.

Lacks well-defined values.

Comes across initially as caring and understanding and reads others “like a book” because she makes it her business to know how to maneuver people.

n a trust relationship, she inevitably betrays and violates the commitments and gets blocked emotionally when gets too close to those she says she loves.

Angry mood most of the time.

Uses sex to control, cover her insecurity or make up after a fight.

Has no concept of open sharing of ideas, feelings, and emotions.

Conversation goes per his direction. She has the last word always.

She determines how, when, where we talk, and about what she wants to talk about.

Can show real tenderness of feeling, and then return to customary behaviors.

Two (or more) vastly different sides to her personality are seen.

Poor planner with time and activity.

Is very slow to forgive others.

Hangs onto resentment.

Excessively concerned with personal appearance, e.g., hair, weight, car he drives, clothes, having money to flash, career dreaming.

Seems to enjoy disturbing others.

Likes to agitate and disrupt for no apparent reason.

Feels entitled to the “good life” .

She never seems to get enough of what she wants.

She leaves others drained and confused.

Others get upset when in her presence.

There’s a feeling of guardedness, caution, and suspicion that she creates in others.

Moody – switches from nice to anger without much provocation.

Poor work history – quitting, being fired, and interpersonal conflicts.

Seldom expresses appreciation. Again, is thinking of her needs vs. needs of others.

Grandiose. Convinced that she knows more than other people and is correct and right in almost all she says and does.

Clueless as to how she comes across to others and to how she is viewed. Gets defensive when confronted with her behavior.

Never her fault. May be apologetic and seem sincere but soon repeats offensive behavior without appearing to have learned from it.

Motive for behavior is usually self-serving and she does not recognize it.

Can get very emotional, even tearful, but behavior is more about show or frustration rather than contrition or sorrow.

She breaks her partner's spirit to keep him dependent so he won’t be strong enough to leave her.

Thinks in terms of tearing people down vs. building them up.

Survives on threats, intimidation to keep others chained to her.

Sabotages anything that makes her spouse happy. Wants him to be happy only through her and to have few/ no outside interests/friends/family.

Possessive and controlling, Makes people account to her often about “who you were with, and what did you do”, etc.,

Rants and raves about what other people do with their lives.

You feel you have lost all personal freedom and you become focused on keeping peace in the relationship.

You are miserable and trapped. She often threatens suicide if you try to leave her. You live in fear of her next outburst.

Highly contradictory. She loves me, she hates me.

She threatens me, and then indulges our relationship or me.

She is always working somebody over – either subtly or aggressively.

Double standard. She is free to do her thing, but expects others to be what she wants them to be/do.

She doesn’t let others be themselves.

Convincing. Successful at getting other people to believe in her perception of a problem.

Is adamant that people side with her vs. allows them to fee/believe differently.

Hides who she really is from everyone.

No one really knows the real her.

Scorns everyone/everything that she disagrees with.

Does not allow for differences to be respected.

Difficult to pin her down to a certain level of integrity that you can live with.

Resists all efforts to define her values, behaviors, and stands.

Kind to you usually only if she’s getting from you what he wants.

She has to be right. She has to win. She has to look good.

She announces, not discusses. She tells, not asks.

You end up feeling responsible for the problem.

She gets to your feelings. No matter what, she wins- you lose.

She wins at the expense of your feelings.

Thinks only of the end result without considering your feelings, needs in the process.

Attitude of “I’ll meet your needs if you meet mine”. If you don’t, I’ll find someone else who will or I will not meet yours.”

Does not take responsibility for her behavior.

The hurt she describes is because she got caught or she’s mad that you’re mad, and not because she believes she made a mistake.

Secret life. You’re often wondering what she does or whom she is that you don’t know about.

Always feels misunderstood.

Most of the time you feel miserable living with this person. When it’s good you relish the peace but that is usually short lived.

She is so skilled at making a mountain out of a molehill and you become so tired of the conflict. It drains all of your energy, love, and hope.

Is usually through listening once she’s made her arguments.

We talk about her feelings, not yours.

Unchallenged by people because they seem to be put off by her, afraid of her or she eludes them.

Labels all mental health providers as “quacks” if she cannot out-smart them or if they figure her out.

Does not last long in therapy.

Try this one! – Ask her what behaviors or attributes she needs to overcome or change – expect denial or a lot of rambling words that mean nothing.

Expect “narcissistic rage” if called on her behavior.

Remember she can only love one person at a time – and that person is herself.

Poor listener. Easily distracted, avoidant, Changes subjects. Cannot reflect back with sincerity on what the other person has said.

The ultimate goal is to have power over others.

Copyright 1995-2006 J. Kent Griffiths-

the family scapegoat

A word about scapegoats. A lot of families have that one individual who is blamed for all the family woes. They are blamed so that other family members might avoid looking within themselves.

Robert Burney author of "Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls; A Cosmic Perspective on Codependence and the Human Condition," identifies the "Acting out child" - "Scapegoat" This is the child that the family feels ashamed of - and the most emotionally honest child in the family. He/she acts out the tension and anger the family ignores. This child provides distraction from the real issues in the family. The scapegoat usually has trouble in school because they get attention the only way they know how - which is negatively. They often become pregnant or addicted as teenagers.

These children are usually the most sensitive and caring, which is why they feel such tremendous hurt. They are romantics who become very cynical and distrustful. They have a lot of self-hatred and can be very self-destructive. This often results in this child becoming the first person in the family to get into some kind of recovery.

There are serious problems that arise for the scapegoat. Everyone needs other people. Family, friends, acquaintances and relationships in general are all supportive and protective factors in your life. If your social relationships fail to support you or even undermine you, you will be vulnerable and an easy victim for any scapegoater coming around and searching for someone to blame.

The danger of becoming a victim is, of course, greatest when the scapegoater is someone close to you. Being victimized and scapegoated by your own family - thus by people you have trusted - is probably the hardest thing anyone can experience in this life. And not without reason, what can you do if your own roots fail you and you are denied interconnectedness with those closest to you. Some scapegoating families may keep the scapegoat within the family because the family needs its victim, but the scapegoat is accepted only if he or she assumes the social identity of a scapegoat.

Usually the scapegoat is stigmatized as someone different, strange, inferior even, any kind of negative attributes may be given to the scapegoat. He or she is everything scapegoaters do not recognize or want to recognize in themselves. Or he may be seen as having characteristics that scapegoaters do not even have but fear or imagine that they might have them. In such cases the victim is often driven out of the group, into isolation, because only that way the scapegoaters feel having really got rid of all the negative characteristics they don't want. The projection carrier cannot be 'one of us'.

effects on children

The American Academy of Pediatrics lists some things we should know about the effects of violence (bullying) on children

Children witness family bullying are likely to exhibit one or more of the following behaviors:

Fear,worried about being safe

aggression toward others



reluctance to explore their physical environment

psychosomatic symptoms (headaches, stomachaches)

mental disorders (neuroses, anxiety)

eating disorders

lowered self-esteem


poor school performance;6 difficulty paying attention

suicidal tendencies

post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)(1) - a life stressor that leads to re-experiencing the trauma, avoidant behavior, numbing of responsiveness, increased or decreased arousal, and a variety of other symptoms.

Infants show increased irritability and fears of being alone.

Young children may regress developmentally, such as in toileting and language; they may revert to crying, clinging, wetting the bed or getting very frightened.

Children must learn at a very early age how to deal with loss and to grieve for family members or friends who have been killed.
Exposure to bullying and being a victim of bullying are associated with self-reported use of bullying and carrying a weapon. Many children use bullying to protect themselves against the belief that "if you are not a predator, you are prey, and it is a whole lot better being a predator."

Adolescent problems related to bullying exposure have been most visible in literature and media. Adolescents who are exposed to or victims of bullying are more likely to be depressed, have higher levels of hopelessness and lower purpose in life; family bullying seemed to cause more emotional distress than community bullying.

Children who observe bullying at home may learn that bullying is a way of communicating and of dealing with life's everyday issues.

Because early relationships form the basis for all later relationship experiences, stress associated with bullying at an early age may be problematic for a child's later development. Evidence suggests that for many children, involvement in aggression and bullying as early as age 3 or 4, sets a life course for later bullying and criminal activity.(6)

Parents living with bullying often communicate helplessness and hopelessness and are, therefore, unable to help their children feel safe.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics: Some Things You Should Know About the Effects of Violence on Children

survivor symptoms

Tim Field’s list (in part) of survivor symptoms due to bullying:

An overwhelming desire for acknowledgement, understanding, recognition and validation of their experience.

A simultaneous and paradoxical unwillingness to talk about it

A lack of desire for revenge, but a strong motivation for justice.

A tendency to oscillate between conciliation (forgiveness) and anger (revenge) with objectivity being the main casualty

Extreme fragility, where formerly the person was of a strong, stable character

Numbness, both physical (toes, fingertips, and lips) and emotional (inability to feel love and joy)



Hyperawareness and an acute sense of time passing, seasons changing, and distances traveled

An enhanced environmental awareness, often on a planetary scale

An appreciation of the need to adopt a healthier diet, possibly reducing or eliminating meat - especially red meat

Willingness to try complementary medicine and alternative, holistic therapies, etc

A constant feeling that one has to justify everything one says and does

A constant need to prove oneself, even when surrounded by good, positive people

An unusually strong sense of vulnerability, victimization or possible victimization, often wrongly diagnosed as "persecution"

Feelings of worthlessness, rejection, a sense of being unwanted, unlikable and unlovable

A feeling of being small, insignificant, and invisible

An overwhelming sense of betrayal, and a consequent inability and unwillingness to trust anyone, even those close to you

an initial reluctance to take action against the bully and report him/her knowing that he/she could lose his/her job
later, this reluctance gives way to a strong urge to take action against the bully so that others, especially successors, don't have to suffer a similar fate

reluctance to feel happiness and joy because one's sense of other people's suffering throughout the world is heightened

a proneness to identifying with other people's suffering

a heightened sense of unworthiness, and non-entitlement (some might call this shame)

a heightened sense of indebtedness, and undue obligation

a reluctance to earn or accept money because one's sense of poverty and injustice throughout the world is heightened

an unwillingness to draw unemployment benefit to which the person is entitled

an unusually strong desire to educate the employer and help the employer introduce an anti-bullying ethos, usually proportional to the employer's lack of interest in anti-bullying measures

a desire to help others, often overwhelming and bordering on obsession, and to be available for others at any time regardless of the cost to oneself

an unusually high inclination to feel sorry for other people who are under stress...


In her article, “Nowhere Feels Safe: The Bullying Epidemic" (Based on her book "Raising Our Children to Be Resilient,") Linda Goldman states; “One aspect of prevention is education for adults and children. When a community is educated about recognizing hurtful behaviors, its members are more likely to intervene and eliminate them.

Another aspect is firm actions and boundaries to create a zero tolerance for bullying at home, in the schools and throughout the community.

Still a third aspect is guidelines and procedures established in families and educational systems that allow safe harbor for those victimized by bullying and expedite action against those that perpetuate abusive behaviors.

Only then can we begin to eliminate the imbalance of power so inherent in the challenge of eliminating the dangers of bullying for our children.”

We only have to look around to see how we have blurred boundaries in our society. Celebrities, politicians. sports figures have been in the news concerning their verbal insensitivity towards an identified group of individuals. Often they blame their remarks on alcoholism or early abuse etc.

Linda Goldman further states: "Creating and enforcing strong boundaries for our children are first steps toward eliminating bullying behaviors. Children are empowered by providing ways for them to help themselves.

Her strategies for helping victims:

It is impossible for children to solve bullying issues alone. Adults must be role models and not allow verbal abuse, physical threats and sexual innuendo in our homes, schools or neighborhoods. It must be our goal to change the mindset and convince adults that bullying-victimization encounters are dangerous to our children and that those youths who torment, tease and abuse will be appropriately disciplined. We must not only clearly define bullying but also instill the concept that we help people and save lives by speaking out.

• Learn to protect yourself

• Stay away from a bully

• Report loss of possessions and threats of violence to someone you trust

• Take a look at yourself for signs of bullying behavior

• Walk in groups on the playground, in the hall and to and from school

• Do not ignore bullying

• Defend classmates from bullying

• Children are more effective in speaking up against bullying in groups

• Start a bullying prevention program in school

• Create a bully policy in school."

Source: Healing Magazine - Nowhere Feels Safe: The Bullying Epidemic

calling the kettle black?

ARE we calling the kettle black?

In the children's fairytale, what did the witch do after she saw Snow White's image in the looking glass? She brewed a concoction in her kettle.

Her purpose was to eliminate her competition.

Someone suggested we were robbing the bully of her humanity by listing bullying traits. Our purpose is not to annihilate bullies but to identify them by their traits and behaviors because those they target tend to blame themselves.

Targeted individuals need to know they did not invite the bullying and there is little they can do to change the bully. If we can identify bullying behaviors and traits we can distance ourselves from their disordered behaviors or at least know where our stress is coming. That’s it in a nutshell.

Rather than calling the kettle black, we are shedding light on harmful behaviors and identifying those who are likely to use them.

If identifying the bullying traits robs them of them of their humanity perhaps we should not identify any bad behavior at all. Live and let live as they say. The problem with that is that too many people who are not able to defend themselves, the elderly, children, and persons with disabilities are being bullied.

We as civilized individuals need to protect them- not in a way that robs them of their growth or independence but in a manner that keeps them safe.


Lucy was abused in her first marriage and then in next relationship. Her new husband says she has been through a lot. She says her boyfriend beat her. No one is going to fault a woman for being abused. There is enough out there about battered woman’s syndrome and reason woman don’t leave. They feel powerless, diminished in their capacity to earn a living on their own, their self-esteem is shattered, or they still love their partner who has shown his good side many times between battering episodes.

Her present husband dotes on her and makes all kinds of accommodations for her unresolved anger, her temper tantrums, emotional outbursts and manipulation by guilt BECAUSE “she has been through a lot.” He further expects his family to accommodate her whims and her control over family gatherings, visitation of grandkids, etc. For her, it is never enough. She wants more and when she gets it she still wants more.

Persons targeted by abuse need therapy. So do those who marry them if they have not resolved their previous issues. Unresolved problems of abuse get transferred to the next relationship. One can only feel compassion for a person in this situation. But one does not have to take on the consequences of what was done by a former abusive spouse. The new spouse and the in-laws do not need to aide and abet the process but need to be strong and resist the urge to accommodate the formerly targeted individual’s pain and suffering.


Was Albert Einstein a target of bullying?

He was four years old before he was able to talk and seven before he could read.

His teachers told Thomas Edison that he was stupid.

Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade.

"Gifted children with learning disabilities are known as "twice exceptional". Some characteristics to look for when attempting to identify these children are as follows: evidence of an outstanding talent or ability, a discrepancy between expected and actual achievement and evidence of a processing deficit.

They also may have trouble getting along with peers and show evidence of low self-esteem (Brody & Mills, 1997). It is also important to note that learning disabilities are life long impairments...:

The following from Tim Field’s Bully OnLine should be a great help to others challenged with learning disabilities.


Bullies are predators and choose their prey by homing in on vulnerability. Everyone has vulnerabilities. Here a a few:

being the sole breadwinner
being single and not having anyone to support you on a regular basis
living alone and having no-one to turn to at the end of each day
having caring responsibilities at home, e.g. an elderly relative
having a child with special needs or who needs special care
caring for a disabled partner or family member
experiencing separation or divorce
caring for a dying partner or relative
undergoing bereavement
suffering grief during the mourning phase following bereavement
belonging to an ethnic minority
belonging to a minority group
having a different sexual orientation
having a different cultural background
having a different religious belief
suffering an illness, whether related to work or not
suffering an injury, whether it be at work, as a result of work, or outside work
being female in a male environment being male in a female environment
not having English as your first language, or not having the national language as your first language
being too old, or too young

anti-bully Tim Field

The Field Foundation is committed to working for a world free of bullying.

"Our aim is to achieve this through the activities, research and projects... and by providing the latest and best information available on bullying.

Central to our mission is the development of insight and understanding of the human propensity for violence and violational interaction.

Helping humans make enlightened choices through more highly developed conscious awareness and evolve beyond their need to exhibit the behaviours of bullying will be achieved by everyone who is validated, empowered and inspired by the work of The Field Foundation."

The core project of The Field Foundation is Bully OnLine.

anti-bully Mother Teresa

Do not wait for leaders;
do it alone,
Mother Teresa

more to follow-


A few books and articles we like and why:


We agree with Tim Field that bullying (in all its manifestations) is the single most important social issue of the day. Tens of thousands of copies of “Bully In Sight,” by Tim Field, anti-bullying campaigner, have been sold in 30 countries. His information comes from first hand experience. He himself had been a victim of workplace bullying and, as a result, he suffered a breakdown. Before his death from cancer at the age of 53, he became and remains a world authority of bullying.

ELEMENTS OF ARGUMENTATION, A Text and Reader by Annette T. Rottenberg

This book has been an invaluable source of information in helping us to understand false accusations and argumentation. One feels empowered by the ability to take apart the bullies' unfounded claims. It is helpful in identifiing exactly where they are coming from and why.

THE HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON, How to Thrive When The World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.

Highly sensitive people are often targeted by bullies. (See "eanie meanie") Also they are apt to feel the bullying more intensely and have more serious long-lasting side effects unless they understand the nature of bullying and that they were chosen as targets for their positive characteristics- not because they are weak.


It covers a lot of ground for persons seeking individual human rights and dignity. ".... man has a natural right to be respected. He has a right to his good name..."


They shed a lot of light on the topic with lists of identifying traits and characteristics

THE NO ASSHOLE RULE: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't by Robert I. Sutton

This book goes a long way in empowering those who are bullied in the workplace. Dr. Sutton offers concrete ways to deal with workplace bullies. The book has gotten high praise from its readers.

Smart, But Feeling Dumb:
The Challenging New Research on Dyslexia—And How It May Help You by Harold N. Levinson

Adults with dyslexia, (a group known to have been targeted by bullies,) have said, that the author had gotten their feelings & symptoms right.

Oprah's Ugly Secret By Peter Birkenhead

Hooray for fearless writers! Peter Birkenhead exposes “The Secret's" blame-the-victim mentality. “With survivors of Auschwitz still alive, Oprah writes this about "The Secret" on her Web site, "the energy you put into the world -- both good and bad -- is exactly what comes back to you.”

We agree with expert Tim Field "Bully On Line" that targets of bullying are not responsible for their bullies’ actions directed at them. Neither do we believe that persons are to blame for their cancer diagnosis or other serious illness, persons who have lost a child, victims and survivors of Katrina, those targeted by racial and other discrimination, those abused by religious figures, therapists, teachers or other authority figures, or persons in a position of public trust and so on, caused their circumstances.

more to follow-

friends and enemies

- Martin Luther King

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
- Winston Churchill

If you want to make enemies, try to change something.
-Woodrow Wilson

Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings.
-Helen Keller

Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
-Christopher Robin to Pooh