“Reputation is the cornerstone of power.” – Robert Greene
Simply put, bullies attack your reputation to strip you of power. Once your reputation is gone, you’re defenseless and extremely vulnerable to attack. Bullies can freely attack you from all directions. Even worse, you’re at the mercy of virtually everyone around you.
Bullies know that if they can poke holes in your reputation, they won’t have to work so hard to bring you down because now, they have public opinion on their side. They can then stand back and watch with glee as widely held perceptions of you finish you off.
To start, bullies will plant seeds of doubt about your character in the minds of others. Doubt is a powerful tool.
Next, they spread rumors and lies.
Bullies are proof that offense is the best defense. Drawing first blood is always best because the target can only respond in either one of two ways.
1. He could deny the rumors, even produce evidence that proves his innocence of the accusations. Or,
2. He could ignore the lies and blow his accusers off with a “whatever” and walk away laughing.
Either way, people will still look at the target with suspicion.
1. If the target defends himself and produces evidence to the contrary, the prevailing thought will be,
“There must be some truth to the rumors, otherwise he wouldn’t be defending himself so vehemently.”
2. If he ignores the lies and waves his accusers away with a laugh, others will be even more suspicious of him because they’ll think that he has something to hide and is only playing it cool.
Bullies know that if they instigate rumors the right way, there’s a possibility that they can get the target so enraged and rattled that while defending himself, he ends up making a truckload of mistakes.
And if the target hasn’t yet established a reputation, the smear campaign will only work all the more in the bullies’ favor.
And the sad fact is this:
Two different people can do the exact same thing the exact same way. And each person’s reputation will decide whether the action is brilliant or terrible.
Put simpler. It’s not what you do. It’s who you are when you do it. It’s not the action itself, but who the person is that does it.
A person who’s well-liked and has a stellar reputation can write an essay, and others will deem it a brilliant piece.
But let a person who’s despised by everyone and has a lousy reputation write the exact same essay, and others will only view it as a worthless piece of garbage that’s not even worth reading, which brings me to the final conclusion:
Reputation can affect all areas of your life. It can be the difference between having success or failure- in everything!
But there’s hope.
Although extremely difficult, you can still salvage your reputation and change your life for the better. Here’s how.
1. Move to a different area. Sometimes you must go somewhere else and start over again. It may be difficult to leave your family behind, but if you stay in the town where people judge you unfavorably, you’ll never have the chance to move forward and will always be stuck right where you are. Why not pack your things and leave for greener pastures.
2. Find a good cause to fight for and that you’re passionate about. Any time you fight for a good cause, you will meet like-minded people who are fighting for the same purpose
The cause could be “The Me Too Movement,” “The Victim’s Rights Movement,” or even “The Anti-Bullying Movement.” Whatever the cause, you will attract those who are fighting for the same things. And you’ll easily make positive connections with them and become life-long friends.
Although many doors get slammed shut and locked, there’s always a way out if you look for it. I guarantee it!
0 thoughts on “A Deeper Understanding of Why Bullies Attack Your Reputation”
Thank you so much for your excellent posts about bullying. They are definitely so helpful and I think that so many of us out there have been bullied in our lifetimes. I think I wrote to you earlier after reading one of your good posts. I have been trying to put together a book on the emotions of bullying and being bullied through your life, and how it gets started, sometimes even when you are a tiny baby or a toddler. People may not recognize it as such, but child molestation is definitely a severe form of bullying, and when the mother will not come forth (or the father as the case may be) to protect the child, the child grows up a sort of victim that is very sad, for they have never learned that they too have any rights. Often both parents are involved. If the father is the molester, the mother may tell her child that she (or he) is the one who is responsible for that. Having no other alternatives to believe, the child takes on that huge burden, and somehow people sense that the child is a victim, and they take advantage of it even when they do not know that child personally. The child grows up with the bullying becoming worse and worse all thru his or her life, and never really understanding how he or she has been branded so to speak. I certainly did nothing to be able to understand the horrific things that happened to me throughout my life, and only now when I am 78 am I beginning to be able to look back on my life and see how growing up the way I did made me the perfect victim for every kind of bully everywhere my family went. And now that I have lived as an adult over the years, I can see how my own attempts, however misguided, to stop being a victim resulted in worse bullying in whole new areas such as work and in the senior mobile home parks where I lived.
Please don’t misunderstand me as I am still working on not being a victim today, and yet, the older we become, the more difficult it becomes. Society in all its social unrest, is full of agitated people who take out their frustrations with being victims of unseen powers that they can hardly control (politics, economics, etc.) on others. I am a criminal justice graduate, and have worked as a volunteer over time, and so I see it with the police reports in my area (the larger county) every single day. It is interesting how the very act of bullying is changing forms all the time. Police chases happen every single day, sometimes two or three times a day, and the people who are being chased seem to be taunting or bullying the police without any care for anything else. Yes, I probably took the route I did in education as a senior to try to regain some of my own power, but it did not work, and in reality, I should not have expected that having a new role would ever regain that power. It has to come from within and no title, etc. can ever restore that. Thank you for the way you have addressed this complex issue. I love the way you write about things that are related to this topic.
Thank you so, so much, Anne! This really means a lot and touches my heart!
I had no idea you had been through so much. You had told me that you were bullied but not in detail. I’m so sorry that you’ve been used and abused so horrifically! I wish I could reach out and give you a big hug!
More than anything, thank you so much for sharing this with me. And know that I’m always on your side!
Often, when we’re bullied and abused, we take up certain behaviors in order to make the abuse stop and cease to be a target, only to have it backfire in our faces. This happened to me so many times I can’t even count! In essence, we punish ourselves because of the shame that comes with abuse.
But please don’t beat yourself up for taking the wrong route. I took the wrong route for so many years myself and like you, there are times I wish I could get that time back for a do-over. I think we all wish that when we’ve been abused in the past.
I want you to know that you were never at fault in any of it. Though they may have told you otherwise, the people who abused you hold ALL the guilt here. THEY are the ones who are trash and THEY are the ones who should feel shame! And they will be held accountable for it someday. I guarantee it.
Know that you are beautiful and are worthy of love and friendship. Know that you bring so much good to this world! And know that there are people who care. Pssst! I’m one of them! <3 <3 <3
You know, Cherie, the truth is that if WE were abused by parents, etc. as you and I have described, you can be sure that we are not the first generation to have that happen. It is sad that most of it comes through a chain of abuse. I just read (all in one night) the first of two books by a man, Dave Pelzer, A Child Called “It”” One Child’s Courage to Survive. This is a true account of this poor child, one of a bunch of children (all boys) in his family who suffered the historical worst abuse in the state of California, and his amazing will to live. I found mine at a thrift store, and now I am on the follow-up book, found later at the same thrift store, The Lost Boy: A Foster Child’s Search for the Love of a Family, and it is also something that really helps us to understand how ill-equipped children really are to deal with any form of abuse, be it mental, physical, or a combo of both.
Unfortunately, people who are so ill-equipped to be parents often end up having babies, and here in my area in a town where I used to live (next to where I am now), a lady began to read horrible reports about newborn babies being thrown out onto the freeway in one area of Southern California. Normally such incidents result in the child (who cannot be traced to anyone), ends up in a morgue, and is ultimately cremated with all sorts of people – homeless, felons, etc.) And so a tiny life that never even had a chance is gone from this world forever. This woman went to the county and fought hard to gain the right to give the child a decent burial. She would get the child, wash and clean the tiny body and then wrap it in a receiving blanket and sit in a rocking chair with it for a short time. Then she would take it alone in her car to the funeral home where the burial was a beautiful ceremony and the child would be given a first name and something significant would be written to describe the child as well (Beautiful Angel, Brave Warrior, etc.) since the county would not allow her to give them a last name for some legal reasons. Anyway, she was very poor when she started this and she sold the family car to take care of creating the Garden of Angels in Calimesa, CA (you can look it up) and she also fought for and gained the rights for unwed mothers or fathers to surrender their newborns at a hospital without being arrested for such acts. It cut down the number of babies thrown away from 500 a year down to 100 (still way too much).
There is so much sorrow around children who are abused. My younger brother knew but of course did not understand what was happening, and he grew up trying to protect me, something he himself was ill-equipped to do since when he was a young teen after I left home he started being “bought” by my gay uncle, who gave him all sorts of things in exchange for having him as a boyfriend. These types of stories are also very common. It is really an in-family type of human trafficking if you think of it. So today, he too is very mixed up, and though I don’t think he has been bullied as I have, I know he is one very confused individual who believes that having new things will solve everything.
Well, I have gone on too long, but thank you so kindly for your kindness and understanding, and my heart goes out to you too for the suffering you have had in your lifetime. One thing for sure is that we are not at all the unique and rare cases. This is a national and international pandemic. I am trying to focus on helping my senior neighbors, many of whom are victimized by the landlords and park owners as I already noted. But I am growing weak and forgetting some things now so I must take care of my own family (my significant other and me and our 5 chihuahuas and 1 cat). I am his caregiver/advocate since he has become partly paralyzed with nerve damage and two failed cervical surgeries. We are hanging in there though and he is a genuinely good man and perhaps the first one ever who has not been in some way or other a bully or abuser. Thank you once again for your great post, and you hang in there too.
And thank you so much. I have to say that I was fortunate at home. I wasn’t abused by my parents. Only my father placed us on the back burner after he married another woman. And my mother finished raising us on her own. Although my.mother and I went through some rough times and there were many times we didn’t see eye to eye and had many blowups. I can say that she did the best she could and did an awesome job.
Im so sorry you were abused by your parents. I can’t imagine the pain of being brutalized by the people who were supposed to love you. It just hurts me so for you!
Know that you’ve got a friend here! <3