This post is based on the following comment: WOW!!! I was amazed to find your post, "How do you know if someone is your friend?" right when I needed it most. I now know what category my daughter's best friend falls under. My daughter has gone through MOST of the examples that were used in this post with her friend for over 3 years and because there is no hitting involved...it was hard to really label what was going on. But terming her a "Stealth Bully" is perfect!! I actually can't believe how on target your examples were; they’re so close to what my daughter has been experiencing with a person who was supposed to be her friend. Just recently, she finally told her supposed friend that she is going to take a break from their relationship because the friend won't stop her negative behavior. The supposed friend had a fit at school (uncontrollable crying) and got sympathy from other students. She told everyone my daughter was bullying her and she didn't know why my daughter won't be her friend anymore. Her supposed friend also manipulated the teacher by breaking out into tears in the classroom and telling the teacher that she has no idea why she is being ignored.
The teacher yelled at my daughter and told her that she will not tolerate any bullying in her class. My daughter had no chance to explain her side and is devastated at how this has blown up in her face when she is not the bully.
Tears are a very strong weapon when used by manipulative, professional victim children. I am coaching my daughter now what to say to the teacher because I want her to learn how to stand up for her rights in a respectful way. I am going to show her your post so that she can understand more what is going on here. Hopefully this will make her feel better, although right now she feels everyone is on her friend’s side. Thanks for the post!
I’m glad you found the post and that it helped.
Taking what you said as accurate and true, you and your daughter have run into a common manipulative, stealthy bullying tactic.
When someone (your daughter’s supposed friend) cries, most people assume that someone else (your daughter) must have done something bad and should be stopped. Most people react to their assumptions and attack the designated perpetrator (your daughter). Your daughter got labeled unfairly and without being allowed to present her side. Also, the teacher didn’t judge by character, because bullies like your daughter’s supposed friend usually manipulate the same way repeatedly. They can be recognized by their repeating pattern of behavior – that’s how the get what they want. And I’d suspect that your daughter doesn’t have a pattern of bullying or abusing her friends. Shame on that teacher for jumping to conclusions, supporting the bully and blaming the true victim.
A person who uses the crying, victim tactic repeatedly is a special type of manipulative, stealth bully that I call “Professional Victims.” Your daughter has been victimized by a person using their hurt feelings to gain power and control; a sneaky professional victim. We often see this between brothers and sisters who want to manipulate their parents.
You’re on the right track coaching your daughter how to stand up for herself. However, since I suspect that she’s younger than high school age, and since adults sometimes won’t admit error in front of children, you also may need to talk with the teacher and the principal to make your daughter’s case. Gather evidence, if you can, of other times when the supposed friend has used the same sort of tactics that depend on her feelings being hurt.
Maybe they also need a copy of the original blog post and my book, “How to Stop Bullies in their Tracks.” My next book, “Parenting Bully-Proof Kids” and a 10 disc CD set containing both books should be out right after Thanksgiving.
Of course, the professional victim is not really a friend of your daughter’s. Professional victims are selfish, vicious, ruthless control-freaks. They try to manipulate authorities to defend them and to punish people they’re trying to beat into line.
Your daughter is now testing everyone at school. She should make her case and then see who is foolish enough to believe the false friend. Your daughter doesn’t really want to be friends with people who don’t recognize her good character, as opposed to the professional victim’s. Your daughter may find out that no one at school sees clearly. Well, now she knows about them. Be resilient. Move on and get better friends when she moves up to the next school. She simply won’t be going to reunions with those people. No great loss.
I know that may sound difficult if she wants to gain acceptance by a peer group. But part of her job in life is to test the whole world and keep on her island only the people who see her worth and whom she likes.
Good luck and best wishes.