“Malicious gossip is a bitter pill indeed – but it’s only poisonous if you swallow it.”
The irony is that it is not just the target who must avoid swallowing. For gossip to spread and be effective, it needs carriers. Those who spread it – gladly swallow it whole – and become embroiled in unnecessary unpleasantness. They don’t see it but they too are being poisoned.
Those who spread gossip become the (unwitting perhaps) apathetic foot soldiers of the offender. Offenders rely completely on the gullibility or neediness of apathetic people – to do the dirty work for them. It’s easy to make such people feel included in a ‘secret’ or that they themselves are important to have been shared the ‘information’. Their egos make them a target. They are being lied to and used – yet they they don’t see it perhaps not even until it’s too late and their own shame of participation is exposed. They don’t realise the irony that in spreading gossip, their leader does not respect them, in fact they are being used to target someone else of more significance.
It thus becomes easy to spot trouble makers – the initiators and the offenders – as they form a ‘circle of sick’. A poisoned well, a murky pool of emotionally sickly people. Such people don’t even realise they are being deliberately poisoned. They are kept unaware as they are enjoying the toxin’s immediate emotional effect of social inclusion.
“truth will out to those who actually care”
If you are being bullied (because gossip is bullying), my advice would firstly, to recognise that it’s not truthful and that truth will out to those conscious/smart enough to care.
Secondly, to take all this effort as a back-handed (though back-stabbing) compliment which suggests that you are in fact perceived to be worth the time and effort. You must be a threat or, be holding enviable traits or, are feared to be in the way of some goal or other. i.e. for some reason, you matter more to your bully, than all of those muck spreaders put together.
Thirdly, move beyond any involvement – it’s poisonous. Don’t spend your time in it. Any retaliation or interaction you provide your bully with, will be seen as a success for them – and will encourage their behaviour. Instead simply share your truth with those who deserve your time.
*Remember* – bullies and stalkers want to possess your attention. Don’t give it. Don’t feed the trolls.