Editor’s Note: First published at Laramie’s own site.
“We are afflicted in every way but not crushed, perplexed but not despairing, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
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Let’s stop for a minute. There’s a LOT happening right now. Quite a lot. Events are erupting everywhere, betrayal from every corner, and bombs being thrown every minute. It can be overwhelming. If you’re ignorant and unprepared for what’s happening, it would do to understand what’s happening. Because what’s happening in Roman Catholicism—and in the world at large—is occurring in so many places and in so many ways.
A lot of you need a moment of clarity. So let’s go back to the basics for a moment.
I’m going to teach you something most of you don’t know about, but something I know a lot about. It’s time I told you about bullying.
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Bullies and Bullying
You know what a bully is. He or she picks on people. They mock, ridicule, and manipulate people, and they usually do this because they’re screwed up somehow. They are defective and broken in one way or another, and so they take it out on others. They bully other people either overtly or covertly. When most people think of bullies, they think of some sort of a schoolyard boy who’s bigger than the others, he’s overtly mean, rough, and cruel. But there’s other kinds of bullies. In fact, there can be a wide variety of bullies. A passive-aggressive bully, for example, can show no signs of any kind of interest in you, and when no one’s watching, they can stick a foot out to trip you. They can metaphorically “knife you in the side” when no one’s watching. So to speak. They can threaten you, all the while carrying on a façade that they’re the sweetest, most harmless person in the room.
People are kept ignorant about these people. There is no effort to educate others about them. If bullies are doing something horrible, there’s no effort made to investigate them. Many times, if a bully is almost exposed, apologists will come out of the woodwork to try and psychoanalyze the bully. They’ll try to understand the bully, get inside his mind, see what makes him tick, and understand how he came to be. Empathy is built up for the bully, and most of the time, his targets are blamed for everything. Read that again: THE BULLY AND HIS SYMPATHIZERS LIKE TO BLAME THE TARGET. People will say that those picked on and persecuted have somehow drawn the bully’s ire upon themselves—that they did something wrong. And worst of all, when there’s an incidence of bullying, “do-gooder” moderators will come out of the woodwork to “manage” the situation, keeping everyone in the dark about what’s really happening. Nothing gets exposed. There is never justice. Never resolution. The so-called “moderators” in this way actually serve and cover for the bully.
There are many horrible ways a bully operates in this world. It is difficult to cover them all. Entire books have been written on them. There are not just school yard bullies. There are also bullies at work. There are child-trafficking bullies. There are bullies in the media. Bullies in politics. And there are bullies in the Catholic Church. The martyrs were killed by mobs of bullies. Jesus Christ was bullied.
These people are those the bully picks on. They are usually nice people. They are usually “live and let live” types. These are the kind of people who wouldn’t even give a second thought to abusing someone else. Bullies think the worst of those around them, but targets often give others the benefit of the doubt. Targets just want to be left alone. They just want to live their lives without being hounded about anything. You can see how Jesus sought for solitude and quiet in the wilderness on occasion. Like most targets, He didn’t want to be bothered with nonsense.
Yet nonsense happens. Put ten people in a room, and nine of them will choose to eat the tenth. Why? Sheer cruelty. Sheer groupthink.
Targets are often gentle and tender-hearted. They’re nice. And that niceness is often perceived as weakness. This weakness draws out contempt from bullies. They are vulnerable. Open to attack. They just want to exist with everyone. They want to be ecumenical, just get along, and live their lives. They want to build their sandcastles in peace. Perhaps there was an instance at some point where they let on that they are the weakest link. Perhaps they simply have “a certain kind of smell.”
I’ve said in the past that evil and good people smell each other. Yet, weak people smell nothing. Targets (not all, but most) who often keep to themselves don’t lift their heads to see what’s coming. They have no situational awareness. They don’t want to “be paranoid.” “I’m not one of those crazy people,” they might say. A great amount of people in the world are this way. They are weak, effeminate, and subject to attacks. They are unprepared, and when they are brutalized by people from out of nowhere, they are surprised and perplexed.
The Bullying Game
This process is very horrible. Whether at work, on the playground, or in the seminary, it all happens the same way.
Someone who is soft and weak is there in the group. But there is a twisted, broken human being there, too—a bully. And the process is like watching one cat attack another. One cat, unsuspecting and absorbed with some little task has her back turned. But there’s another cat above, perhaps hiding on a bookshelf or on a chair. The second cat sees the first cat with her back turned, and he jumps on her, pouncing, catching her by surprise—as though the first cat’s turned back has allured and tempted the bully cat beyond all self control. It’s the classic ambush, and bullies can’t resist doing it. Wherever there are people, bullying happens. It’s everywhere, even if you’re not seeing it.
So, the bully will pick on the target. Perhaps it will be overt and obvious for everyone to see. If this is the case, then the bully is not just bullying his target, but he is setting an example and trying to frighten everyone else in his presence. He’s making a gesture—a display—to show everyone else what’ll happen to them if they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Yet, sometimes bullies are catty and passive aggressive. Sometimes they’ll corner you when no one is looking. They might have a great reputation, but in that moment, they could be saying the most horrible thing to you, and you’d never have expected for such evil to drip from their mouth.
The next part of the process is horrible. The CIA, the Left, the current hierarchy in the Vatican—they all do this.
Everyone knows the bully is doing horrible things. The group is made aware of the nasty behavior. But how do they respond now? They don’t. They keep their heads down. They pretend nothing has happened or is happening. It is cruel in its ambiguity. The target is left dangling, helpless, attacked, defenseless, with no ally whatsoever. And the rest of the group pretends everything is fine.
Gaslighting is the next phase of this horrible process. The target is getting psychologically brutalized to such a degree, that it will shape them for the rest of their lives. They will become sensitive to this spectrum of human behavior until the day they die. It is a very dramatic thing to be a part of. It causes post-traumatic stress disorder. Yet, as it transpires, everyone pretends the sky is blue, the grass is green, and everything’s just fine. Perhaps you’ve seen an example of this in the movies. But I wonder if you thought it’d never happen to you. It has.
Now, when a bully is persecuting someone, and gaslighting is taking place, the people usually take one of three actions. In the first response, most people keep their heads down. They pretend nothing is going on. They act like the Eloi (of that story The Time Machine) when the Morlocks are attacking them and taking them away—they are indifferent. They are apathetic. They do not concede that anything is happening at all. Only the target and his bully knows what’s going on. The target is isolated, alone, ostracized, and vulnerable. Why does everyone keep low and say nothing about what’s taking place? Because they fear that if they rock the boat, they will become the next target. It is an act of self-preservation.
The second response of people during a bullying event is that they actually join the bully. They think that if they take shelter underneath the wing of a dragon, they will be the last person the monster would ever target. They actively join the bully in going after the target. Perhaps they know they are wrong for doing so, but they are willing to do this anyway. They do not want to risk any possibility of becoming like the poor target. They are the ultimate collectivists. They will gladly assist whatever Stasi or whatever nanny state rules over them. Just as long as they are compliant, unsuspected, and passed over. Perhaps one excellent short story that conveys this dehumanizing behavior is Shirley Jackson’s 1948 short story, The Lottery.
The first and second responses come from those groups of people who do not wrestle with their conscience. These two groups have no self-reflection, no shame, and no self-awareness. They lie to themselves, thinking they are justified in all that they do.
Every way of a man seems right to himself, but the Lord weighs the heart.Proverbs 21:2
The collectivists believe they will be fine, just as long as they go with the program. They are like r-selected rabbits and zebra. They stay in groups, working hard not to stand out. They remain unoriginal, unspectacular, and banal. They hope that if they blend in that they will be left alone by K-selected predators like wolves and lions.
There is, however a third response to a bully during a gaslighting process. It is a rare thing to see. But it happens. That is the act of fighting back. To fight back is a difficult thing. Bullies and their sycophants have MANY tools to use against a target. And a target is already vulnerable and lacking defense, as it is. Worse yet, the target is often left alone to fend for himself. No one will raise a hand to help him. No one will recognize the horror of what is in front of everyone. They’re too scared. Rare is the friend who will rise up and stand beside you to defend you in your hour of need.
Most targets do not enact this third response. Most do not fight back. Most targets run away to other pastures, hoping they’ll escape their problems. Of course, chances are that such people have personal qualities about themselves which will only lead new bullies to make new assaults. They just want to be left alone. But the stench of “victim” lingers upon them like a cloud.
Yet, as most people who’ve spent time in prison can tell you, the primary way to get a bully off of you is to fight back. Such people only understand one thing: force. They must be combatted. Overpowered. Perhaps they’ll get their licks in. Perhaps they’ll hurt you as you fight back against them. But they’re going to walk away from that fight with scars of their own. And they’re going to realize that if they choose YOU as a target, they’ll take damage and hurt themselves. As a father ought to teach his son: don’t start any fights, but make damn sure you finish it.
Fighting back is how you are able to live with yourself. Resisting a bully is the one act in which—win or fail—you look back in your life with no regrets.
Gaslighting Is Not Clear Cut
Life is not so simple, that you just fight your bully, win, and resolve everything. Sometimes bullying takes place in an office. Sometimes a bully has poisoned the entire staff and management structure against you. The abuse and harm is terrible and life changing. It shapes a person.
Bullies love gaslighting their victims. They love to exploit the vulnerable weaknesses of those around them. They may not know what the term “gaslighting” means, but they enjoy it very much. This is why the effeminate elites of modern society luxuriate in being called out for their hypocrisy—because they know they’ve effectively gaslit everyone they need to trick. Such bullies are highly successful at what they do. Their manipulation is a craft that they perfect. It is how they accumulate support, henchmen, and immunity from the consequences of their abuse.
They pretend to not know what the target is accusing them of. “What me? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” They question the target’s narrative, throwing them off balance. “What? That’s not how it happened. You are wrong.” They divert the investigation to lead all parties off track. They’ll say: “You’re just never happy. You complain all of the time. You are a real problem, aren’t you?” They’ll trivialize their targets, make them look petty, and hurl insulting accusations against them. Whatever it takes to infantilize them. “These people have a short fuse!” Or, “She is too sensitive. Very emotional!” They’ll either forget or deny any aggression even took place.
The effect is terrible. Targets who are gaslit by bullies often end up distrusting themselves. They’ll feel as though they have mental problems after a while. It lowers people’s self esteem, and contributes to cycles of depression and anxiety. Bullies will often blame the victim—or get their henchmen to do the same—and it turns the target into a pariah.
It is one of the most abusive human relationships to ever manifest on the face of the Earth, and it’s happening every day, right now.
“Why tell me this?”
Because to know how evil is operating will empower you. If you are caught in the middle of this kind of wicked sabotage, whether on the playground, in a group with some colleagues, or you’re at work, in a seminary or a diocese, or if you’re in politics—you are likely going to deal with this. You are a living, breathing person with a soul, and that makes you a target. And when you become targeted by evil people, if you are caught unawares and unprepared, then one of the most powerful and important things you will possess is a stable state of mind and emotion that can withstand such abuses.
Again, I say, having a healthy will, a healthy mind, and unmoved emotions are crucial for your success. Because such bullies—and the henchmen they attract into their orbit—are seeking to break you. They want to isolate you, hurt your feelings, and sometimes even provoke you. They want to poke at you to see what you do. They want to screw with you to get a reaction out of you. They want you to be irrational, to look bad, to make a fool out of yourself.
But you must stand strong. You must demonstrate—whatever the physical outsome—that your will is unbroken and that you can resist them. Perhaps even force them to stop. You must be a hero, show resolve, stand out and above the gentle herds of r-selected cattle, and withstand the onslaught. You must act like a K-selected lion—not an r-selected lemming.
And the first step is to know how this game works. It is crucial that you, your children, your friends, and anyone you love know this. You must know how to fight back. You must know that the wicked are out there, and know how they intend to manipulate you. If you can anticipate their maneuvers and remain unsurprised when they do outrageous things, you can stand strong and keep a cool head while the world around you crumbles apart in anxiety.
Knowing this is the key to being emotionally prepared for the times we are living through, both in your personal life as well as in regards to the multitude of public scandals now plaguing our civilization.
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Since I would like to be practical about this, and since we are all adults who likely have or had 9-5 employment at some point in our lives, I would like to provide some reference materials for those who are besieged by bullies in their adult life. The links below are in regard to workplace bullying; HOWEVER, these lessons translate to most other facets of life, including afternoons on the playground, media intimidation, internet harassments, sex abuse coverups, and so much more. May these references be a blessed balm for your troubles if you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation.
– The Workplace Bullying Institute. (These people are great.)
– Their YouTube channel.
– Their website.
– The Bully at Work: What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity on the Job
– The Bully-Free Workplace: Stop Jerks, Weasels, and Snakes From Killing Your Organization
– Overcoming Mobbing: A Recovery Guide for Workplace Aggression and Bullying
– SJWs Always Double Down: Anticipating the Thought Police (The Laws of Social Justice
– Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (Incerto Book 3)