You already know the first three ways bullies use gaslighting. Here are more of their evil tactics and what you can do to keep your self-esteem intact.
4. Isolating the Target (Divide and Conquer)
Bullies often force their targets into isolation through social aggression (spreading rumors and lies about the person or intimidating his/her associates).
In doing this, bullies strategically turn the target’s friends and associates against them to cut him/her off from any support or protection they might otherwise receive. Once the subject is isolated, the bullies then move in for the kill and take the bullying to new heights.
If the target expresses the desire to change schools or workplaces, the bullies may try to discourage him/her by convincing them that they won’t be treated any better in the new environment or attempting to block the targets’ transfer and cut off any means of escape.
5. Bullies Make Themselves Out to be Superior and Cunningly Convince the Target that he/she needs them to get along.
Bullies slyly force their target to believe he/she somehow needs their approval. If the bullies can make the target dependent on them, their power and control only increase.
Bullies do this by convincing to target that they (the bullies) are the only ones who can better his/her (the target’s) situation- that only through them (the bullies) will the person be able to make friends and enjoy positive relationships! And only with their (the bullies’) permission will the target find happiness and fulfillment.
Also, bullies make the target believe that they must submit to their every whim and wish, no matter how demeaning, before they grant him/her relief from the attacks. But understand that bullies will never leave you alone! It’s is only another tactic to assert domination!
6. Empty Promises
“If you do this, I’ll go away quietly and leave you alone.”
“If you do that, I’ll be your friend.”
“If you’d only do XYZ, I’ll make things easier for you.”
Don’t buy any of it! You can never appease a bully. They will never go away or stop the harassment. They only make empty promises to keep you under their control. Understand that bullies have an insatiable appetite for power, control, and destruction.
They are like bottomless pits, and no matter what you do to please them, they’ll only continue or increase the torment. You must realize that no amount of bullying is ever enough for a bully. Bullies are power and drama addicts, and harassment of their targets is like a drug to them. They can never get enough! Bullies always come back for more! In short, they become drunk on their own power.
The only way to stop a bully is to either use reverse psychology, put the fear of God into him/her by calling them out publicly, or go no contact if you can. If you can’t, then use the first two suggestions. It may or may not work, but keep it up. Because if you just clam up and say nothing, you’ll feel terrible about yourself later.
There are two things bullies fear most. Losing face and losing power, which would only come from having their evil exposed and and with the target ceasing to care what they say and think altogether. NOTE: When you stop caring (which can only happen after you see the bullies for the pathetic souls they really are), it’ll be so much easier to come back with a witty, one-line counter-dig and keep walking.
Another important note: DOCUMENT EVERYTHING! Write it all down in detail to keep records of this kind of stuff! You may need it!!!!!!
Jot down what happened (in detail), including date and time it happened, where it happened, who the bullies are, names of any bystanders, teachers, supervisors, etc., and if possible, why it happened (was it retaliation?)! EVERYTHING!
Find ways to expose bullies and reclaim your power.