I recently came across someone who’s a bully. She’s a pretty girl when cleaned up, pretty troubled that is, who has always wanted “in” the “biz”, tired of always being sidelined in life. Bless her heart, poor thing; I can’t believe this behavior is intentional.
I hope this note helps someone else find the clarity that I needed in case a bully comes along…
Bullies, especially female bullies, are masters (mistresses?) of manipulation and are fond of manipulating people through their emotions (e.g. guilt). Bullies see any form of vulnerability as an opportunity for manipulation, and are especially prone to exploiting one particular target at a time, and this target will likely change over the longterm, even drastically from a pawn to a target. Those who are emotionally needy or financially in need are likely to be favorite pawns for exploitation in attempting to maintain control, albeit negatively received, over the target.
This bully encourages and manipulates other cult-like victims around them to act dishonorably and dishonestly, withholds information, spreads misinformation, and the bully will go so far as to punish pawns for alleged public infractions against the perceived message.
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. The root cause is a feeling of abandonment by the target in many cases. Physical violence against the target is possible when other means of harming the target non-physically do not succeed.
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 person 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. Mostly this is projection. The objective is to manipulate other’s perceptions and create a dependency so that as many as possible come to rely exclusively on the bully and see the bully as the sole source of reliable information while 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. In general, though the target may cease to communicate with the bully, the bully will rarely forget the target, and in the worst cases, the bully will perpetuate a perceived relationship with the target in absentia.
When close to being outwitted and exposed, the bully feigns victimhood and turns the focus on themselves – this is another example of manipulating people through their emotion of guilt, eg sympathy, feeling sorry, etc. Female serial bullies are especially partial to making themselves the center of attention by claiming to be the injured party whilst portraying their target as the villain . If the the target were to explain the game, they are immediately labelled “paranoid”. Attention-seeking behavior is common with emotionally immature people, and the bully will cast blame on the target merely to continue the in absentia relationship.
In general, the bully’s behavior is transparent when viewed over time (years or decades), and a bully’s control cannot accept true, healthy, long-lasting relationships once a bully glimpses these, which they have likely never known. Damaging the relationship and causing havoc is the modus operandi (see Borderline Personality Disorder). The bully generally exhibits strong favorable then disfavorable relationships with the same individuals, often to the bizarre extremes, but maintains up to a lifelong obsession with the target. Destruction is the mission of the bully, and the target is generally advised to curtail all ties with and avoid the bully to the extent possible by the circumstances.