Hello everyone, this isn't a post for help, its more a research post of my own to invite discussion.
There is a lot of chatter about bullying these days; it's a very hot topic. In most cases bullying is in the context of school bullying - grade school or high school. There is less talk, but significant attention to bullying in the workplace - particularly sexual bullying by an authority figure to one's employees, or racial harassment as well. There is family therapy research exploring bullying in the home by siblings or by one spouse to the other or to the children.
In my researching the above, I am noticing an overlap between the bullying practices, results, and treatments described and the practices, results, and treatments described here for infidelity.
Note : When I put infidelity in the context of bullying I am strictly characterizing the interloper or third party (OP) of the infidelity triangle as the bully, with the marriage as the victim.
----------------------------------------------- Definitions : A definition of bullying is below. Lets see how close this measures up to infidelity... -----------------------------------------------
- constant nit-picking, fault-finding and criticism of a trivial nature - the triviality, regularity and frequency betray bullying; often there is a grain of truth (but only a grain) in the criticism to fool you into believing the criticism has validity, which it does not; often, the criticism is based on distortion, misrepresentation or fabrication - simultaneous with the criticism, a constant refusal to acknowledge you and your contributions and achievements or to recognise your existence and value - constant attempts to undermine you and your position, status, worth, value and potential - where you are in a group (eg at work), being singled out and treated differently; for instance, everyone else can get away with murder but the moment you put a foot wrong - however trivial - action is taken against you - being isolated and separated from colleagues, excluded from what's going on, marginalized, overruled, ignored, sidelined, frozen out, sent to Coventry - being belittled, demeaned and patronised, especially in front of others - being humiliated, shouted at and threatened, often in front of others - being overloaded with work, or having all your work taken away and replaced with either menial tasks (filing, photocopying, minute taking) or with no work at all - finding that your work - and the credit for it - is stolen and plagiarised - having your responsibility increased but your authority taken away - having annual leave, sickness leave, and - especially - compassionate leave refused - being denied training necessary for you to fulfil your duties - having unrealistic goals set, which change as you approach them - ditto deadlines which are changed at short notice - or no notice - and without you being informed until it's too late - finding that everything you say and do is twisted, distorted and misrepresented - being subjected to disciplinary procedures with verbal or written warnings imposed for trivial or fabricated reasons and without proper investigation - being coerced into leaving through no fault of your own, constructive dismissal, early or ill-health retirement, etc
Now lets tweak the definition a bit and see how this works to describe the OP's activities towards the vulnerable marriage, mostly passed indirectly through the WS to both poison their vulnerable mind and to avoid being seen causing trouble publically :
- constant nit-picking, fault-finding and criticism of the marriage to the WS in secret - often there is a grain of truth (but only a grain) in the criticism to fool you into believing the criticism has validity, which it does not; often, the criticism is based on distortion, misrepresentation or fabrication - simultaneous with the criticism, a constant refusal to acknowledge your marriage and your contributions and achievements or to recognise your existence and value to the marriage by the OP, they choose to act as if you don't exist or aren't worthy of acknowledgement - constant attempts to undermine you and your position, status, worth, value and potential in the marrriage - many OP's try to restrict the WS's access to the LBS... in order to isolate both the WS and the LBS from working as a couple - being overloaded with household responsabilities, or having all your marital needs once satisfied by your spouse are taken away and replaced with either menial tasks (children, cooking, cleaning, laundry) or with no home at all - finding that your marriage - and the credit for it - is stolen and the OP takes credit for your spouse's happiness - having your responsibility increased but your dignity taken away - being denied time with your spouse necessary for you to repair your marriage - having unrealistic goals set to repair the marriage - it must now compete with a secret taboo sexual affair - finding that everything you say and do is twisted, distorted and misrepresented to characterize you and the marriage as a sham - being coerced into leaving your home and/or marriage through no choice of your own
I want to say a bit about this. Some of you may interpret your spouse as the bully. My suggestion above is that most of the material above that you get thrown at you by your WS was placed there directly by the OP verbally, or indirectly by their actions. In my opinion much of the wayward script we all here is brainwash content from the OP, either directly from their lips to your wayward spouse's, or indirectly by the OP's actions and your WS making comparisons on their own...
In this way, the bullying OP turns your SPOUSE into a bully by proxy...
The characteristics of bully's seem to overlap with interlopers... for example :
- Jekyll & Hyde nature - vicious and vindictive in private, but innocent and charming in front of witnesses; no-one can (or wants to) believe this individual has a vindictive nature - only the current target sees both sides - is a convincing, compulsive liar and when called to account, will make up anything spontaneously to fit their needs at that moment - uses lots of charm and is always plausible and convincing when peers, superiors or others are present - excels at deception - exhibits unusual inappropriate attitudes to sexual matters or sexual behaviour; underneath the charming exterior there are often suspicions or intimations of sexual harassment, sex discrimination or sexual abuse (sometimes racial prejudice as well) - exhibits much controlling behaviour and is a control freak - displays a compulsive need to criticise whilst simultaneously refusing to acknowledge, value and praise others - when called upon to share or address the needs and concerns of others, responds with impatience, irritability and aggression - often has an overwhelming, unhealthy and narcissistic need to portray themselves as a wonderful, kind, caring and compassionate person, in contrast to their behaviour and treatment of others; the bully is oblivious to the discrepancy between how they like to be seen (and believe they are seen), and how they are actually seen - has an overbearing belief in their qualities of leadership but cannot distinguish between leadership (maturity, decisiveness, assertiveness, trust and integrity) and bullying (immaturity, impulsiveness, aggression, distrust and deceitfulness) - when called to account, immediately and aggressively denies everything, then counter-attacks with distorted or fabricated criticisms and allegations; if this is insufficient, quickly feigns victimhood, often by bursting into tears (the purpose is to avoid answering the question and thus evade accountability by manipulating others through the use of guilt)
How many here have characterized the OP in the infidelity they dealt with in this way?
What is the health-impact to bullying on the victim?
- constant high levels of stress and anxiety - frequent illness such as viral infections especially flu and glandular fever, colds, coughs, chest, ear, nose and throat infections (stress plays havoc with your immune system) - aches and pains in the joints and muscles with no obvious cause; also back pain with no obvious cause and which won't go away or respond to treatment - headaches and migraines - tiredness, exhaustion, constant fatigue - sleeplessness, nightmares, waking early, waking up more tired than when you went to bed - flashbacks and replays, obsessiveness, can't get the bullying out of your mind - irritable bowel syndrome - skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, athlete's foot, ulcers, shingles, urticaria - poor concentration, can't concentrate on anything for long - bad or intermittently-functioning memory, forgetfulness, especially with trivial day-to-day things - sweating, trembling, shaking, palpitations, panic attacks - tearfulness, bursting into tears regularly and over trivial things - uncharacteristic irritability and angry outbursts - hypervigilance (feels like but is not paranoia), being constantly on edge - hypersensitivity, fragility, isolation, withdrawal - reactive depression, a feeling of woebegoneness, lethargy, hopelessness, anger, futility and more - shattered self-confidence, low self-worth, low self-esteem, loss of self-love, etc
How many LBS' have felt some of this and how much? I for one can confirm to have experienced half to 3/4 of this during the infidelity that wreaked havoc on my home...
I will write more on this, but I wanted to toss this out for a start...
The reccomended treatments for bullying you will find particularly interesting...
I don't expect everyone to find all of this material relevant. My aim is partly to help reveal the underhanded nature of infidelity. Many newcomers to this forum portray the infidelity as some sort of romantic tragedy that they are the losing soul in... My aim is also to help characterize infidleity in a light that is current : bullying is certainly something that is not supported or endorsed in general. Lastly by bringing infidelity into the context of bullying a marriage this may invite readers to expand the breadth of their research into other areas of bullying and the work being done on that subject which is quite extensive right now. Hopefully this may open up some eyes and ideas to those interested in exploring bullying for some insight on how to handle the affair that is bullying your home.