In the article “11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting” published by Psychology Today, gaslighting is described as a tactic in which a person or entity–in order to gain more power–make a victim question their reality. The article goes on to say that gaslighting is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders.
Applying this thought to a bully’s overall agenda we see how all bullying characteristic works together to achieve one ultimate goal–gaslighting. That is, to create a “believable” false narrative influencing others against their victim. It is sabotage on every level. Onlookers becomes numb and impaired in their judgement. This is because they have drunken, so to speak, from the Kool-Aid of gaslighting.
The brave few who stand up in defense of a victim are quickly cut down to a stump by the gaslighter or their followers. Unfortunately, a gaslighter typically has loyal followers. Utilizing followers is strategic. They are methodically placed within a bullying scenario to cheer on the bully and brow beat opposers.
For those of us who recognize being in this kind of bullying situation, or a eyewitness to it, we must decisively put down our cup of Kool-Aid. This is an intentional step in combating bullying. We must stop drinking from a narrative that has become convoluted. Even the best minds will have trouble deciphering between what’s true and what’s being deliberately spun. Therefore, the antidote is not found in looking at facts (that may be falsified) but rather character. It all goes back to character. When in doubt character is a safe guide back to reality and wisdom.
For instance, a victim’s narrative may look bleak because it’s been vandalized and discredited by a bully—but their character will always tell a different story. Likewise, a bully’s narrative may look very sleek and well packaged—but their character will always smell of fear and intimidation. In other words, even if a bully’s narrative is convincing joining their camp is a dangerous venture. In the same way they treat others they will eventually treat you.
Do you know someone who is being bullied? If so give them an encouraging wink that lets them know that you are not drinking the Kool-Aid served by bully/gaslighters. (Paula Masters)