You have more than likely encountered a cry bully sometime in your life, but most likely never had a name for it.
What is a Cry Bully?
A cry bully is someone who engages in intimidation, harassment, or other abusive behaviour while claiming victim status.
They use their perceived moral righteousness, as superior to everyone else on the opposing side, to enable abuse of others they don't agree with and then claim victim status when confronted about the abuse they've been dishing out.
They have no argument against the ideas of their victim and so they use this strategy after engaging in targeted attacks against the true victim. It always follows a targeted smear campaign, which typically includes intimidation, harassment, or other abusive behaviour.
It's a form of gas-lighting where they ignore their own previous bad behaviour and finger wag at you, in an attempt to provoke a reaction.
I covered this specific phenomenon in another post: Unpacking the Past - Understanding Reactive Anger
So why is this a problem? Why should anyone care?
If you are not being shocked, offended or insulted, you are not living in a free society. And if you are okay with that, you are either a fascist or a slave. - John Nolte
It's high time for these behaviours to be called out because these tactics are following a wave of individuals, who are undemocratically seeking control and power. They exist in our personal lives, in our communities, in our education systems and in our governments. They think they have all of the answers and claim know better than you and I, how the world works, our place in it and what justice in the social sphere is or should be.
They will attempt to bully individuals into silence and scream bloody murder if called out or if you fail to agree with their ideas.
They invade an unassuming and/or unaware group and set about to either destroy it or completely change it from what it was, with themselves or their "allies" at the helm.
The schools have focused in on the issue of bullying and providing "safespace" for students for several years now.
Teachers were probably the first witnesses to the evolving bully/cry-bully phenomenon. The young child that has learned bullying behaviors and acts out hitting other children, then someone finally chooses not to put up with it and retaliates and the bully cries, “they hit me.”
This behavior is no longer isolated to school yards. We are seeing it within our communities and online in social media, though not from children but fully grown adults.
Here's the problem, if you don’t fight back, the cry bully bullies you. If you fight back, the cry bully cries and demands a safe space because you hurt their feelings or you disagree with their ideas.
These toxic behaviours have infected higher education, Lindsay Sheppard and the debacle at Wilfred Laurier University (13 min video by Tim Poole explaining the situation there) and the uproar around Jordan B Petersons supposed "trans-phobic" statements around bill c-16 (CBC news clip depicting both sides) in the latter quarter of 2016.
More and more I see it on social media, where someone posts something utterly dumb, racist, risky or insulting and then cries about a public attack on their "private" wall or timeline, because they can't take criticism.
The majority of adults take on the criticism, explore it and fix the flaws.
In some rare cases, in the background they are plotting because your act of criticism is perceived as an attack on them and they must retaliate.
They sometimes act alone, sometimes with others, to get the critical party's social media accounts banned, videos removed, doxing (publicly posting personal information: name, address, employer) public shaming, attempts to guilt people into compliance, etc..
This is all form of censorship and in some situations an illegal act because it relies on fraudulent claims and in some cases is a form of extortion.
False flagging of posts, accounts and videos because they can't refute the logos (logic, idea) of the argument. They have to resort to attacking the ethos (usually some sort of appeal to authority or appeal to popularity) or attack on the character (pathos) because they can't refute the idea with logic, reason and common sense.
This is how cry bullies work. They create a problem, and when you push back in an effort the minimize the damage the cry bully is causing, they accuse you of being the problem.
It's happening all around you, now that you're aware of it, try ignoring it, you won't be able to and you'll see it in places where you didn't expect it.
It's not ok, and it's time to put a full stop to this.
It's my opinion and observation that many of these people consciously or unconsciously understand and apply the concepts from Saul Alinsky's: Rules for Radicals in one way or another. By understanding each rule, we can apply a counter that makes sense to us and our values.
Countering the Cry Bully
RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.
People obsessed with power are weak. By focusing on this you will force detractors to face their fears. Weak people will not stand up to face this. They will use grandeur, entitlement and victimhood to attempt to further their goals and lust for power. Pointing out the hypocrisy here will only expose the insincerity and weakness that they all operate from.
RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.
Never allow yourself to get caught up in an echo chamber, always entertain new ideas and if good, incorporate them. Never insist anyone take your word for anything, insist they listen then research the idea themselves and draw their own conclusions. By never ascribing to a group identity and standing on ones own makes you far stronger than having a group of willing sheep.
RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.
These types will attempt to distract you with many things irrelevant to the core issue. Don't play this game and stay true to your intended goals. If it's an issue you hadn't thought of that is relevant, then research it and form your own conclusion to present as a counter. Otherwise refuse to cooperate with these tactics.
RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.
Don't feel you have to hold back from giving as good as you are getting from those that hold no respect for your principals and values.
RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.
Ridicule is a front for weakness and is a double edged sword. By combining humour with points exposing the flaws in the arguments, you will indirectly expose your detractors as foolish and irrational.
RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.
This alludes to the idea that if it's fun, people will keep coming back for more. At this point make their fun a chore, make your opponents struggle and there will be a massive exodus because most people hate doing chores.
RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news.
Boredom is harmful to momentum and as such your detractor will keep moving the goalposts. If there is something they keep flaking on, keep pushing them back into that corner and pressing on what they are hiding. Force them to deal with the issue because there is a reason they don't want to.
RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.
Don't allow others to force you into a path that isn't important or catches you off-guard. Control the pace and details and you control the field. Force them to deal with you on your terms, not theirs.
RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.
Rationally consider threats and only respond when the threat is real. Never overreact and allow your emotions to control you.
RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.
Always point out the hypocrisy of the professional victim and their abundant reliance on attacks of ethos and pathos.
RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem.
Never compromise your own principals and values. Always be open to new ideas and changing for the better, of course. Anyone that attempts to draw you down into their den of vipers though, invites you down the slippery slope to authoritarianism and group think.
RULE 12: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.
There is only one answer here, fight fire with fire. No harm to innocents, but if someone is seeking to destroy you, turn your inner demon loose and let them have it.
Witnesses will think twice about crossing you when looking at an intellectually burned out husk.
I have had many experiences dealing with behaviours that were unfairly aligned. Fortunately I understood these tactics and by staying true to my values and following the above guidelines allowed me to keep my sanity, freedom and provides a way of dealing with the adverse behaviours of others in a fair and balanced way.