4 Reasons Bystanders Refuse to Help Targets: The Cold, Hard Truth

bystander effect

You not only never forget the bullies, but you also remember the people who were there- the people who had the power to help you but did nothing. Many times, the bystanders who saw it never tried to intervene and stop the attacks, nor did they speak up on my behalf.

As much as I hate to say it, I was guilty of the same thing. When I watched a few others get bullied, I said and did nothing, thinking that my voice wouldn’t make a difference if I did speak up. Other times, I was just damn glad that, for a change, I wasn’t the one targeted and that it was someone else taking heat for a change.

For this, I am very remorseful and would like to apologize to all the other targets I left to fend for themselves. I’m truly sorry.

Bullying Poster Concept Illustration bystanders

Here are the reasons bystanders do nothing to help a target of bullying:

1. They’re afraid of arousing the bullies’ anger and becoming the next target. No one wants to be a target of bullying. I get that. Many bystanders fear getting involved, and for good reasons. However, many bystanders do have some power because they’re high on the social hierarchy.

And the higher you are in the pecking order, the more weight your actions and words carry. So, why not use your power to help the target? Because if you’re extremely popular, the chances are that other bystanders will follow your lead and join you, and the bully will leave the victim alone. There’s strength in numbers.

2. The bystanders see the bullies’ torment of the target as entertainment. Bullies always bully in front of an audience to humiliate the target. During altercations between bullies and targets, bystanders immediately gather around to watch it go down.

Most bystanders then stand around, laughing and pointing fingers. Many of them cheer and egg the bully on, stirring it up to get more entertainment, all of which only encourages the bully to continue and even escalate the abuse.

As long as it isn’t them getting dogged out or having their brains beat in, most bystanders think it’s funny to see it happen to someone else.

Silhouette of two hands with smartphones, shoot a video on a sinking person’s hand, asking for help. The concept of a selfish society, a social problem

It’s the reason that instead of helping the target, bystanders will automatically whip out their smartphones and record the confrontation. They can then watch it later, send the film to their friends, and have another big laugh over it.

But! It’s not the least bit funny to the target. It’s painful and humiliating. It can be devastating to a victim who has already been a target of bullying for an extended time and can drive them over the edge.

3. The bystanders themselves either dislike or hate the target. In many cases, bullies have run vicious smear campaigns and turned everyone against their victims. When an altercation finally breaks out, the bystanders refuse to help the target because they think she deserves the abuse. Many times, these bystanders secretly or openly take pleasure in seeing the target suffer.

They may stand around snickering or join the bullies in tormenting the target. Often, the bullies are only doing to the victim what many bystanders wish they had the stones to do themselves. So, they get complete satisfaction in seeing someone else attack the target. Bystanders often hate the victim so much that they would defend a total stranger before protecting the victim they hate so intensely.

4. They don’t want to get involved. Many bystanders figure that it’s none of their business and choose not to get involved. These bystanders are so indifferent that they won’t even stop and watch. They will only pass by and keep going. They don’t care. Period.

Understand that bullies always perform in front of an audience to show their superiority, strength, and power. Bystanders who do nothing to stop the attacks only silently support and encourage the bullies. These bystanders are just as guilty as the psycho bullies who perpetuate the attacks.

Often, bystanders either don’t understand or underestimate the power they have, especially in large numbers. When witnesses speak up for the target, the bullies will likely stop and leave the victim.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

6 Sure Signs Someone is Having Their Strings Pulled

Believe it or not, it’s easy to tell when someone is being controlled. If you pay attention, you’ll always know if a person you know is being told what to say, what not to say, what to do, and what not to do.

If you are a target of bullying, you more than likely suffer at the request of a powerful ringleader. You may have had friends and allies at first, but you’ve found that slowly, those friends and allies have only disappeared and now, you have no one left who will associate with you, much less help you.

Do you know why? It’s because your bullies have gotten to them somehow. They have either threatened to retaliate and harm them if they have any more to do with you, or they may have given them good incentives to turn against you- social and financial perks, promotions, rewards, etc.

So, how can you tell when a person is compromised?

1. They flip-flop back and forth. This person will say whatever they’re told to say and that often means they have to flip-flop. They say one thing, then later say the opposite. They say whatever they think will benefit them, or, at least, keep them out of hot water.

 2. They say anything they think people want to hear no matter how irrational and stupid they may sound. Again, this goes back to flip-flopping and bullies do change narratives often, so, the puppet must change with their puppet-masters and handlers if they want to stay in their good graces.

 3. They go with whatever the prevailing narrative or belief is. These people will fall in line quick. You can always tell a follower because they stay in lock step with your bullies. They quote whatever quote is popular, say whatever is popular, wear whatever the bullies are wearing, and act however they must, in order to stay on the bandwagon. In short, they’re a bunch of wannabes trying haplessly to fit into the bullies’ world of morals and standards.

 4. They’re a chameleon. This person will behave one way around this person and another way around that person. Understand that this person has no personality of their own. They change personalities like a model changes clothes.

 5. They can’t think for themselves. Again, these people never think for themselves. They only flex and bend to anything others tell them. They’ve been sucked into the group-think. God help them if they ever had an original thought. Or worse, took a stand (gasp!).

 6. They’re easily led and influenced. Life must really suck if you need someone to hold your hand in order to make decisions and choices. But some people would rather be controlled than to go out on a limb and choose for themselves.

They’re under the belief that it’s better to have security than to have freedom. That freedom and independence are too risky because they just might fail!

It’s true that being your own person involves a lot of risk. To be independent and have your own thoughts and opinions will invite the risk of failure and the enmity of a few others. But understand that anyone who doesn’t like you because you prefer to be yourself is more than likely a controlling person- an abuser, a bully, a narcissist. That’s right. Only people who like to control others hate those who are independent and who think for themselves.

stupid idiot

So, why would you want to please those types of people? Why would you want to have a puppet-master? Understand that only objects have owners. And you’re not an object, you’re a person with your own thoughts, feelings, opinions and beliefs. Keep it that way!

If you’re a target of bullying and your friends and allies have turned their backs on you, it’s best that you have nothing more to do with them and find new friends outside of the bullying environment.

You don’t want friends who are sheep and too weak to have your back when the chips are down. Trust me on that one. You want strong friends and allies- people who aren’t too chicken to have your back and are more than happy to go to bat for you. That’s what real friends do!

You want the types of friends who are hard to find, not those who are a dime a dozen. Know that you deserve better!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

A Few More Reasons I Won’t Go to My High School Reunion

“Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups.” – Nietzche

It’s because of a thing called “group behavior.”

It’s a fact that school bullies rarely get over the passionate hatred of their targets once they graduate and meet them again in the real world later. My old bullies are no exception. They may not admit it to anyone other than each other, but it’s still there- simmering under the surface. Not that I’m concerned about how they feel because I could care less. As long as they stay away from me, they can feel, think, and say whatever and however, they want. It’s of no concern to me.

What would concern me is that going to the next reunion would put me in physical danger. And let’s face it. People act much differently in large groups than they do on their own. In groups, humans will do things they usually wouldn’t do, and they’ll do it for the sole purpose of conforming.

Understand that a high school reunion will have at least fifty to a hundred people in attendance. And the bigger the group, the more compelled the people in it will be to conform.

For example: If twenty out of a hundred classmates attending this reunion decide to jump me, or even kill me, you can bet that for obvious reasons, none of those who stand by and watch would do a thing to help me. They probably wouldn’t so much as run and call for help.

Out of their loyalty for each other and hatred for me, the attendees would, more than likely, let me die. I wouldn’t put it past them. No way would they risk conflict and the possibility of being ostracized by the rest of the class. To be another, “usurper” like me. No way they would.

They’re  didn’t years ago, and they wouldn’t do it today. It doesn’t matter how much older we are. They would value their status within the class more than they would the life of a person they never deemed a human being.

And people like them figure that if no one stops them, it can’t be wrong. Bystanders have a ton of influence. So, when they turn a blind eye to wrongdoing, they’ll likely become participants in it at some point. My classmates like each other and have a lot in common. And the one thing they share is their collective resentment and hate of certain people they decided weren’t worthy of human dignity. Therefore, this would only cement their collusion.

So, why would I even consider going? Going to this reunion would be suicide, and I value myself and my life way too much to put myself in that kind of danger.

The more people present when an emergency strikes, the more likely they’ll only ignore it. Any altruism they have will, more than likely, fly out the window when a person is a part of a large group. Even if cellphones have made it easier to call for help, we’ve seen video after video of vicious beatings and other crimes against fellow humans, where bystanders only stood around, laughed, and filmed the attack rather than use their phones to call for help.

Given the feelings of anger and resentment my classmates still have thirty years later, I wouldn’t put it past them to pull out their phones and begin filming in the event some of them attacked me. It’s precisely the mentality the majority of them still have, and it’s sad.

And most adults aren’t mature adults in this day and age. Adults today aren’t the adults of the ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s. Many of today’s adults, 55 and younger, have no morals nor integrity. The world today is much more evil, and many people have let hatred and immaturity overtake them because, in the current climate, it’s easier to survive in today’s world if you go along.

It’s hard to go high when everyone else goes low. Few people want to be the square peg in a group of round ones because it’s much too risky.

And many of my classmates may not think they’d stand back and watch another human being getting pulverized. After all, we all want to believe we’d do the right thing. But human nature is a fickle thing, and the compulsion to conform to a group is more potent than we realize.

Be good enough to forgive someone, but don't be stupid enough to trust them again. forgiveness

This kind of stuff has happened too many times down through history- others looked the other way while the most brutal of atrocities were being committed.

This is not to say for absolute certain that they would resort to physically harming or killing another person because they may not. But there’s no way I can know for sure. And given all this, especially their past behavior, I’m not willing to take that chance. So, the best thing to do is to ensure my safety by avoiding them altogether.

So, if you were a target of bullying in school and you know for a fact that your classmates never resolved their hatred of you, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to go to any reunions, much less bring your spouse and kids to one. Sometimes distance is the safest bet.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

4 Harsh Truths about Bystanders and Witnesses of Bullying

bystander effect

You not only never forget the bullies, but you also remember the people who were there- the people who had the power to help you but did nothing. Many times, the bystanders who saw it never tried to intervene and stop the attacks, nor did they speak up on my behalf.

As much as I hate to say it, I was guilty of the same thing. When I watched a few others get bullied, I said and did nothing, thinking that my voice wouldn’t make a difference if I did speak up. Other times, I was just damn glad that, for a change, I wasn’t the one targeted and that it was someone else taking heat for a change.

For this, I am very remorseful and would like to apologize to all the other targets I left to fend for themselves. I’m truly sorry.

Bullying Poster Concept Illustration bystanders

Here are the reasons bystanders do nothing to help a target of bullying:

1. They’re afraid of arousing the bullies’ anger and becoming the next target. No one wants to be a target of bullying. I get that. Many bystanders fear getting involved, and for good reasons. However, many bystanders do have some power because they’re high on the social hierarchy.

And the higher you are in the pecking order, the more weight your actions and words carry. So, why not use your power to help the target? Because if you’re extremely popular, the chances are that other bystanders will follow your lead and join you, and the bully will leave the victim alone. There’s strength in numbers.

2. The bystanders see the bullies’ torment of the target as entertainment. Bullies always bully in front of an audience to humiliate the target. During altercations between bullies and targets, bystanders immediately gather around to watch it go down.

Most bystanders then stand around, laughing and pointing fingers. Many of them cheer and egg the bully on, stirring it up to get more entertainment, all of which only encourages the bully to continue and even escalate the abuse.

As long as it isn’t them getting dogged out or having their brains beat in, most bystanders think it’s funny to see it happen to someone else.

Silhouette of two hands with smartphones, shoot a video on a sinking person’s hand, asking for help. The concept of a selfish society, a social problem

It’s the reason that instead of helping the target, bystanders will automatically whip out their smartphones and record the confrontation. They can then watch it later, send the film to their friends, and have another big laugh over it.

But! It’s not the least bit funny to the target. It’s painful and humiliating. It can be devastating to a victim who has already been a target of bullying for an extended time and can drive them over the edge.

3. The bystanders themselves either dislike or hate the target. In many cases, bullies have run vicious smear campaigns and turned everyone against their victims. When an altercation finally breaks out, the bystanders refuse to help the target because they think she deserves the abuse. Many times, these bystanders secretly or openly take pleasure in seeing the target suffer.

They may stand around snickering or join the bullies in tormenting the target. Often, the bullies are only doing to the victim what many bystanders wish they had the stones to do themselves. So, they get complete satisfaction in seeing someone else attack the target. Bystanders often hate the victim so much that they would defend a total stranger before protecting the victim they hate so intensely.

4. They don’t want to get involved. Many bystanders figure that it’s none of their business and choose not to get involved. These bystanders are so indifferent that they won’t even stop and watch. They will only pass by and keep going. They don’t care. Period.

Understand that bullies always perform in front of an audience to show their superiority, strength, and power. Bystanders who do nothing to stop the attacks only silently support and encourage the bullies. These bystanders are just as guilty as the psycho bullies who perpetuate the attacks.

Often, bystanders either don’t understand or underestimate the power they have, especially in large numbers. When witnesses speak up for the target, the bullies will likely stop and leave the target alone.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

The Silence, Inaction, and, Dare I Say, Cowardice of Bystanders

bystander effect

How responsible are bystanders of bullying when they may not necessarily participate in the bullying but see it happening and choose to turn a blind eye to it? When they could’ve helped stop it but decided not to?

The truth is that they’re just as responsible as the bullies themselves. Anyone who watches evil and does nothing about it is guilty!

“Judge Lake was applying the legal principle of willful blindness. ‘You are responsible if you could have known, and should have known, something that instead you strove not to see.’ In this case, Skilling and Lay could have known and had the opportunity to know just how rotten their company was. Their claim not to know was no excuse under the law. Since they could’ve known, they were responsible.” (Margaret Hefferman – “Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril” 2012, pp. 1-2)

In the book cited above, the author referred to the trial which followed the Enron Scandal, in which Chairmen Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay were both found guilty and sentenced to federal prison.

The same can be said for bullying as well, although bullying and embezzlement are two different things. In bullying, a person may or may not go to prison, but the principle is still the same. If bystanders could’ve or should’ve known, and in a vast majority of bullying incidents, they know but decide not to do the right thing, these bystanders are also guilty.

Willful blindness happens all the time and has down through history.

It was the same in Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, the Stalinist Soviet Union, Castro’s Cuba. And yes, even right here in America, our very own media ignores Antifa’s destruction of our cities and terrorizing everyday citizens- mainly citizens who are elderly and can’t protect themselves. Willful blindness has always been alive and well.

It even happens at home. A businessman is working late every single night, yet his dutiful wife doesn’t entertain the probability that he might be having an affair. And why would she if she’s invested her entire life in her marriage, family, and home?

When bullies prey on those perceived to have the least power to fight back, those who see it, hear of it, and who can put a stop to it, only close their eyes to it, or worse, join in. And the sad thing is that in most bullying situations, people feel complete apathy, indifference, even hatred toward the target. And where there are apathy and indifference, bullying isn’t hidden but done in plain sight- in full view of many people who only choose to look the other way and not even to question it, much less call it out.

Willful blindness is all around us. It seems that only a few souls want to address the fact that certain extremist and terrorist groups wish to bring Communism to America through The Great Reset and a pandemic that is real but being used to promote the agenda of arrogant, power hungry, and evil elites.

Willful blindness has other names as well- willful ignorance and cognitive dissonance. Put plainly, people don’t want to know and, therefore, act like they don’t. In willful blindness, we only acknowledge what makes us feel good, confirms our beliefs, and soothes our delicate egos. We never take the time to ask questions, investigate, nor do our research because we’re either too lazy or so afraid that what we found out might prove us to be wrong! And that’s especially true with bullying.

When we hate someone, we want to believe the absolute worst of them. When a target is bullied, bullies and bystanders don’t want to think that the person might be an excellent person with a heart of gold. They don’t want to get to know the target first because they’re afraid that they just might end up liking the person (gasp!). It sure makes you wonder how much proof to the contrary bullies and bystanders are willing to ignore.

Many factors contribute to willful blindness- fear of conflict, fear of change, a compulsion to go along with the crowd, money, and material gain. Also, it provides social safety- an example would be keeping your mouth shut to your best friend when you know her husband has a chick on the side. It’s much easier to act like you don’t know about it because you’re afraid of what it might do to your friendship if you told her.

There are many reasons for willful blindness. And no, those reasons aren’t excuses. But watching someone get bullied and pounded to a pulp without helping the person or running to get help is just wrong on so many levels, especially if the person getting bullied is supposed to be a friend.

So, know that if you have trouble with a bully and your friends and others around you see it but don’t lift a finger to help you, it only shows what kind of people they are- and who you should drop from your life. It shows you that it’s time to pick new friends.

With knowledge comes empowerment.

How “Good People” Become Willing Participants in Bullying

Even the best and kindest of people can help bullies to destroy a target. Oh yes! It’s true!

Many times, good people are either scared or duped into joining bullies in destroying targets. Understand that your bullies have either intimidated or lied to these people until they finally succeeded in turning them all against you.

What’s worse? These people really and truly do not believe they’re bullying you. They don’t see it as meanness and an attempt to cause another human being to suffer intense pain. People who willingly join with bullies and take part in torturing and tormenting another person do not think that what they’re doing is evil and sadistic. No.

What these people believe is that what they’re doing is good and morally right. Remember that you’ve been labeled immoral. Bullies have painted you as an evil adversary who needs to be punished.

Although the reality is that you’re totally innocent and wrongly persecuted, perceptions (opinions and attitudes) are everything, and bullies can easily distort others’ perceptions to fall in line with their narratives. And sadly, everything in life is based on appearances, and no one cares about what’s behind them.

Understand that, one by one, the “good” people will be sucked into the bullies’ smoke screens. And, one by one, they’ll join forces with the bullies in defeating “the evil enemy.”

These good people will gradually distance themselves from you. Then, little by little, they’ll join in the gossip and defamation of your character.

Again, these bystanders and witnesses don’t see what they’re doing as bullying. They genuinely believe that what they’re doing is a good thing- they’re only doing it for the greater good- the good of the school, alumni, and staff. They’re doing it for the sake of the company and people in it. They’re only showing loyalty and trustworthiness to the group. They’re heroes.

I want you to realize that this is how good people do bad things to innocent people. When this happens, the fact that you’re innocent and undeserving of the abuse and brutality just doesn’t come into it.

Also, understand that there are benefits that come with siding with a group against “the enemy” and few people will forgo those benefits.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

4 Reasons Bullies Turn Your Friends Against You

It’s especially painful when those you thought were friends suddenly go turncoat. It’s not the bullies who hurt you the most, it’s the betrayal from friends and the silence of the bystanders. Understand that during a smear campaign, your friends will be at the top of your bullies’ list of people they wish to win over to their side. They will also be the first people your bullies will go to. Here’s why:

1.Bullies know that if they can get the people you care about and trust the most to turn against you, they’ll be able to strike a devastating blow! Having the bullies themselves, total strangers, or people you don’t care much about turn against you is painful, don’t get me wrong. But it’s much easier to take than if it’s someone you care about. Nothing hurts worse than having the people you love most and think highly of turn against you.

2. By persuading your most cherished friends to turn against you, your bullies take away much needed social support. If they can isolate you from your friends, bullies know that you’ll become stressed and your performance and activities will take a hit. This will make it much easier for them to bully you.

3. Your friends know the most intimate details about you and your life. Bullies know that if they can get your friends to turn against you, then they will have complete access to the most private details about you. Your friends will most likely know your deepest, darkest secrets and your weaknesses. They may also know about any future plans you’re making and anything you may have said about the bullies or anyone else in the toxic environment.

4. Because bystanders may turn against you too. People will figure that if your own friends turn against you, then damn! You must really have it coming! You must have really done something lowdown and dirty!

They’ll think that maybe you slept with your best friend’s boyfriend or spouse. Maybe you stole from them. Maybe you emotionally abused their child. When others see that your own friends have turned against you, all these above possible reasons immediately come to mind. That’s the worst thing about being hung out to dry.

So, if your own friends turn against you, why would anyone else be fool enough to have anything to do with you?

I would definitely stick with my friend because I’d know what kind of person my friend is. But! To tell you the truth, if I didn’t already know the person in question, I don’t know how I would handle it. If the targeted person was a total stranger, I don’t know if I would want anything to do with the person either. I’m only human and I make mistakes like everyone else. And my first priority is keeping myself safe, as it would be any bystander.

It hurts me to have to admit that. I would hope that I would be able to see through the smokescreen. I think that I would be able to quell my own fear and try to get the facts before judging the person- I would try to do that. But if there was no way I could find the truth, I would stay away from the person out of concern for my own safety and not because I hated them for no reason. We all hope that we would be able to do the right thing.

This is how people get thrown under the bus. Know that bullies understand how it works and they will play it to the hilt. Here’s another thing I want you to understand about your bullies:

If you are a target of bullying, no amount of pain you suffer will ever be enough for your bullies. They will always want more suffering- more, more, and more! Bullies have an obsessive blood-lust for their victims and their hunger for the victim’s pain will never be satisfied. Please keep that in mind if someone targets you for bullying and handle the bully accordingly.

The key here is to know what to expect and prepare for it. Only then will you be able to strategize and outflank them. Also, realize that if people do turn against you, they never were your friends, to begin with, and you must refuse to associate with them for your own protection and dignity.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

How You Know Someone Is Having Their Strings Pulled

Believe it or not, it’s easy to tell when someone is being controlled. If you pay attention, you’ll always know if a person you know is being told what to say, what not to say, what to do, and what not to do.

If you are a target of bullying, you more than likely suffer at the request of a powerful ringleader. You may have had friends and allies at first, but you’ve found that slowly, those friends and allies have only disappeared and now, you have no one left who will associate with you, much less help you.

Do you know why? It’s because your bullies have gotten to them somehow. They have either threatened to retaliate and harm them if they have any more to do with you, or they may have given them good incentives to turn against you- social and financial perks, promotions, rewards, etc.

So, how can you tell when a person is compromised?

1. They flip-flop back and forth. This person will say whatever they’re told to say and that often means they have to flip-flop. They say one thing, then later say the opposite. They say whatever they think will benefit them, or, at least, keep them out of hot water.

 2. They say anything they think people want to hear no matter how irrational and stupid they may sound. Again, this goes back to flip-flopping and bullies do change narratives often, so, the puppet must change with their puppet-masters and handlers if they want to stay in their good graces.

 3. They go with whatever the prevailing narrative or belief is. These people will fall in line quick. You can always tell a follower because they stay in lock step with your bullies. They quote whatever quote is popular, say whatever is popular, wear whatever the bullies are wearing, and act however they must, in order to stay on the bandwagon. In short, they’re a bunch of wannabes trying haplessly to fit into the bullies’ world of morals and standards.

 4. They’re a chameleon. This person will behave one way around this person and another way around that person. Understand that this person has no personality of their own. They change personalities like a model changes clothes.

 5. They can’t think for themselves. Again, these people never think for themselves. They only flex and bend to anything others tell them. They’ve been sucked into the group-think. God help them if they ever had an original thought. Or worse, took a stand (gasp!).

 6. They’re easily led and influenced. Life must really suck if you need someone to hold your hand in order to make decisions and choices. But some people would rather be controlled than to go out on a limb and choose for themselves.

They’re under the belief that it’s better to have security than to have freedom. That freedom and independence are too risky because they just might fail!

It’s true that being your own person involves a lot of risk. To be independent and have your own thoughts and opinions will invite the risk of failure and the enmity of a few others. But understand that anyone who doesn’t like you because you prefer to be yourself is more than likely a controlling person- an abuser, a bully, a narcissist. That’s right. Only people who like to control others hate those who are independent and who think for themselves.

stupid idiot

So, why would you want to please those types of people? Why would you want to have a puppet-master? Understand that only objects have owners. And you’re not an object, you’re a person with your own thoughts, feelings, opinions and beliefs. Keep it that way!

If you’re a target of bullying and your friends and allies have turned their backs on you, it’s best that you have nothing more to do with them and find new friends outside of the bullying environment.

You don’t want friends who are sheep and too weak to have your back when the chips are down. Trust me on that one. You want strong friends and allies- people who aren’t too chicken to have your back and are more than happy to go to bat for you. That’s what real friends do!

You want the types of friends who are hard to find, not those who are a dime a dozen. Know that you deserve better!

Another Reason I Won’t Go to Any Reunions

“Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups.” – Nietzche

It’s because of a thing called “group behavior.”

It’s a fact that school bullies rarely get over the passionate hatred of their targets once they graduate and meet them again in the real world later. My old bullies are no exception. They may not admit it to anyone other than each other, but it’s still there- simmering under the surface. Not that I’m concerned about how they feel because I could care less. As long as they stay away from me, they can feel, think, and say whatever and however, they want. It’s of no concern to me.

What would concern me is that going to the next reunion would put me in physical danger. And let’s face it. People act much differently in large groups than they do on their own. In groups, humans will do things they usually wouldn’t do, and they’ll do it for the sole purpose of conforming.

Understand that a high school reunion will have at least fifty to a hundred people in attendance. And the bigger the group, the more compelled the people in it will be to conform.

For example: If twenty out of a hundred classmates attending this reunion decide to jump me, or even kill me, you can bet that for obvious reasons, none of those who stand by and watch would do a thing to help me. They probably wouldn’t so much as run and call for help.

Out of their loyalty for each other and hatred for me, the attendees would, more than likely, let me die. I wouldn’t put it past them. No way would they risk conflict and the possibility of being ostracized by the rest of the class. To be another, “usurper” like me. No way they would.

They’re  didn’t years ago, and they wouldn’t do it today. It doesn’t matter how much older we are. They would value their status within the class more than they would the life of a person they never deemed a human being.

And people like them figure that if no one stops them, it can’t be wrong. Bystanders have a ton of influence. So, when they turn a blind eye to wrongdoing, they’ll likely become participants in it at some point. My classmates like each other and have a lot in common. And the one thing they share is their collective resentment and hate of certain people they decided weren’t worthy of human dignity. Therefore, this would only cement their collusion.

So, why would I even consider going? Going to this reunion would be suicide, and I value myself and my life way too much to put myself in that kind of danger.

The more people present when an emergency strikes, the more likely they’ll only ignore it. Any altruism they have will, more than likely, fly out the window when a person is a part of a large group. Even if cellphones have made it easier to call for help, we’ve seen video after video of vicious beatings and other crimes against fellow humans, where bystanders only stood around, laughed, and filmed the attack rather than use their phones to call for help.

Given the feelings of anger and resentment my classmates still have thirty years later, I wouldn’t put it past them to pull out their phones and begin filming in the event some of them attacked me. It’s precisely the mentality the majority of them still have, and it’s sad.

And most adults aren’t mature adults in this day and age. Adults today aren’t the adults of the ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s. Many of today’s adults, 55 and younger, have no morals nor integrity. The world today is much more evil, and many people have let hatred and immaturity overtake them because, in the current climate, it’s easier to survive in today’s world if you go along.

It’s hard to go high when everyone else goes low. Few people want to be the square peg in a group of round ones because it’s much too risky.

And many of my classmates may not think they’d stand back and watch another human being getting pulverized. After all, we all want to believe we’d do the right thing. But human nature is a fickle thing, and the compulsion to conform to a group is more potent than we realize.

Be good enough to forgive someone, but don't be stupid enough to trust them again. forgiveness

This kind of stuff has happened too many times down through history- others looked the other way while the most brutal of atrocities were being committed.

This is not to say for absolute certain that they would resort to physically harming or killing another person because they may not. But there’s no way I can know for sure. And given all this, especially their past behavior, I’m not willing to take that chance. So, the best thing to do is to ensure my safety by avoiding them altogether.

So, if you were a target of bullying in school and you know for a fact that your classmates never resolved their hatred of you, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to go to any reunions, much less bring your spouse and kids to one. Sometimes distance is the safest bet.

The Cold, Hard Truth About Bystanders

bystander effect

You not only never forget the bullies, but you also remember the people who were there- the people who had the power to help you but did nothing. Many times, the bystanders who saw it never tried to intervene and stop the attacks, nor did they speak up on my behalf.

As much as I hate to say it, I was guilty of the same thing. When I watched a few others get bullied, I said and did nothing, thinking that my voice wouldn’t make a difference if I did speak up. Other times, I was just damn glad that, for a change, I wasn’t the one targeted and that it was someone else taking heat for a change.

For this, I am very remorseful and would like to apologize to all the other targets I left to fend for themselves. I’m truly sorry.

Bullying Poster Concept Illustration bystanders

Here are the reasons bystanders do nothing to help a target of bullying:

1. They’re afraid of arousing the bullies’ anger and becoming the next target. No one wants to be a target of bullying. I get that. Many bystanders fear getting involved, and for good reasons. However, many bystanders do have some power because they’re high on the social hierarchy.

And the higher you are in the pecking order, the more weight your actions and words carry. So, why not use your power to help the target? Because if you’re extremely popular, the chances are that other bystanders will follow your lead and join you, and the bully will leave the victim alone. There’s strength in numbers.

2. The bystanders see the bullies’ torment of the target as entertainment. Bullies always bully in front of an audience to humiliate the target. During altercations between bullies and targets, bystanders immediately gather around to watch it go down.

Most bystanders then stand around, laughing and pointing fingers. Many of them cheer and egg the bully on, stirring it up to get more entertainment, all of which only encourages the bully to continue and even escalate the abuse.

As long as it isn’t them getting dogged out or having their brains beat in, most bystanders think it’s funny to see it happen to someone else.

Silhouette of two hands with smartphones, shoot a video on a sinking person’s hand, asking for help. The concept of a selfish society, a social problem

It’s the reason that instead of helping the target, bystanders will automatically whip out their smartphones and record the confrontation. They can then watch it later, send the film to their friends, and have another big laugh over it.

But! It’s not the least bit funny to the target. It’s painful and humiliating. It can be devastating to a victim who has already been a target of bullying for an extended time and can drive them over the edge.

3. The bystanders themselves either dislike or hate the target. In many cases, bullies have run vicious smear campaigns and turned everyone against their victims. When an altercation finally breaks out, the bystanders refuse to help the target because they think she deserves the abuse. Many times, these bystanders secretly or openly take pleasure in seeing the target suffer.

They may stand around snickering or join the bullies in tormenting the target. Often, the bullies are only doing to the victim what many bystanders wish they had the stones to do themselves. So, they get complete satisfaction in seeing someone else attack the target. Bystanders often hate the victim so much that they would defend a total stranger before protecting the victim they hate so intensely.

4. They don’t want to get involved. Many bystanders figure that it’s none of their business and choose not to get involved. These bystanders are so indifferent that they won’t even stop and watch. They will only pass by and keep going. They don’t care. Period.

Understand that bullies always perform in front of an audience to show their superiority, strength, and power. Bystanders who do nothing to stop the attacks only silently support and encourage the bullies. These bystanders are just as guilty as the psycho bullies who perpetuate the attacks.

Often, bystanders either don’t understand or underestimate the power they have, especially in large numbers. When witnesses speak up for the target, the bullies will likely stop and leave the victim.

School Bullying in Stages

Bullying is a process.

1. Bullies search for a target.

2. A target is selected.

3. Bullies signal to bystanders that the target is ripe for bullying.

4. Bystanders are encouraged to join in the torment and unite with the bullies against the selected target.

5. Bystanders then become bullies themselves.

6. The target is involved in many physical fights in trying to defend themselves and gets labeled by teachers and staff as the troublemaker.

7. Bullies and bystanders go home and tell their parents and family members what a terrible person the target is.

8. The parents and family members of the bullies and bystanders go to work or the supermarket and relay the stories about the target to coworkers and friends- stories they were told by their children, grandchildren, younger siblings or cousins, nieces or nephews that this target is a terrible person.

9. The coworkers, friends, and extended family members then pass what they’re told to their families and word of the target’s perceived evilness or craziness spreads throughout the entire community.

10. The target’s reputation is destroyed.

11. The target’s opportunities for love, friendship, jobs, careers, etc. are either limited or lost.

12. The target either commits suicide or leaves town to pursue a better life.

13. The target who relocates finally gets a fresh start and reinvents himself.

How “Good People” Become Willing Participants in Bullying and Turn Evil

Even the best and kindest of people can help bullies to destroy a target. Oh yes! It’s true!

Many times, good people are either scared or duped into joining bullies in destroying targets. Understand that your bullies have either intimidated or lied to these people until they finally succeeded in turning them all against you.

What’s worse? These people really and truly do not believe they’re bullying you. They don’t see it as meanness and an attempt to cause another human being to suffer intense pain. People who willingly join with bullies and take part in torturing and tormenting another person do not think that what they’re doing is evil and sadistic. No.

What these people believe is that what they’re doing is good and morally right. Remember that you’ve been labeled immoral. Bullies have painted you as an evil adversary who needs to be punished.

Although the reality is that you’re totally innocent and wrongly persecuted, perceptions (opinions and attitudes) are everything, and bullies can easily distort others’ perceptions to fall in line with their narratives. And sadly, everything in life is based on appearances, and no one cares about what’s behind them.

Understand that, one by one, the “good” people will be sucked into the bullies’ smoke screens. And, one by one, they’ll join forces with the bullies in defeating “the evil enemy.”

These good people will gradually distance themselves from you. Then, little by little, they’ll join in the gossip and defamation of your character.

Again, these bystanders and witnesses don’t see what they’re doing as bullying. They genuinely believe that what they’re doing is a good thing- they’re only doing it for the greater good- the good of the school, alumni, and staff. They’re doing it for the sake of the company and people in it. They’re only showing loyalty and trustworthiness to the group. They’re heroes.

I want you to realize that this is how good people do bad things to innocent people. When this happens, the fact that you’re innocent and undeserving of the abuse and brutality just doesn’t come into it.

Also, understand that there are benefits that come with siding with a group against “the enemy” and few people will forgo those benefits.

The more you know.

Why Bullies Turn Your Friends Against You

It’s especially painful when those you thought were friends suddenly go turncoat. It’s not the bullies who hurt you the most, it’s the betrayal from friends and the silence of the bystanders. Understand that during a smear campaign, your friends will be at the top of your bullies’ list of people they wish to win over to their side. They will also be the first people your bullies will go to. Here’s why:

  1. Bullies know that if they can get the people you care about and trust the most to turn against you, they’ll be able to strike a devastating blow! Having the bullies themselves, total strangers, or people you don’t care much about turn against you is painful, don’t get me wrong. But it’s much easier to take than if it’s someone you care about. Nothing hurts worse than having the people you love most and think highly of turn against you.

 

  1. By persuading your most cherished friends to turn against you, your bullies take away much needed social support. If they can isolate you from your friends, bullies know that you’ll become stressed and your performance and activities will take a hit. This will make it much easier for them to bully you.

  1. Your friends know the most intimate details about you and your life. Bullies know that if they can get your friends to turn against you, then they will have complete access to the most private details about you. Your friends will most likely know your deepest, darkest secrets and your weaknesses. They may also know about any future plans you’re making and anything you may have said about the bullies or anyone else in the toxic environment.

 

  1. Because bystanders may turn against you too. People will figure that if your own friends turn against you, then damn! You must really have it coming! You must have really done something lowdown and dirty!

They’ll think that maybe you slept with your best friend’s boyfriend or spouse. Maybe you stole from them. Maybe you emotionally abused their child. When others see that your own friends have turned against you, all these above possible reasons immediately come to mind. That’s the worst thing about being hung out to dry.

So, if your own friends turn against you, why would anyone else be fool enough to have anything to do with you?

I would definitely stick with my friend because I’d know what kind of person my friend is. But! To tell you the truth, if I didn’t already know the person in question, I don’t know how I would handle it. If the targeted person was a total stranger, I don’t know if I would want anything to do with the person either. I’m only human and I make mistakes like everyone else. And my first priority is keeping myself safe, as it would be any bystander.

It hurts me to have to admit that. I would hope that I would be able to see through the smokescreen. I think that I would be able to quell my own fear and try to get the facts before judging the person- I would try to do that. But if there was no way I could find the truth, I would stay away from the person out of concern for my own safety and not because I hated them for no reason. We all hope that we would be able to do the right thing.

This is how people get thrown under the bus. Know that bullies understand how it works and they will play it to the hilt. Here’s another thing I want you to understand about your bullies:

If you are a target of bullying, no amount of pain you suffer will ever be enough for your bullies. They will always want more suffering- more, more, and more! Bullies have an obsessive bloodlust for their victims and their hunger for the victim’s pain will never be satisfied. Please keep that in mind if someone targets you for bullying and handle the bully accordingly.

The key here is to know what to expect and prepare for it. Only then will you be able to strategize and outflank them. Also, realize that if people do turn against you, they never were your friends, to begin with, and you must refuse to associate with them for your own protection and dignity.