Total Pageviews

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 Mentalhealth.net:

"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."

No comments: