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When Getting Outpaced, Just Say We Won

by Sudhama Ranganathan Thursday, Aug. 04, 2011 at 11:19 AM

If you ever find yourself in a position where you are targeted for harassment at your workplace, school or any other place and choose to stick things out, it may be helpful at times to read what others have to say about their experiences; their stories and the like. No matter how seemingly similar or dissimilar they may or may not appear at first, listen to or read it if possible. There may be bits and pieces to connect with or integrate into your own survival toolbox and sets of strategies for survival. They may not display immediately obvious applications to your situation, but later on could open up as things that are helpful with regards to implementing towards your own survival experience.

When Getting Outpace...
whenreallygettingoutpacedjustsaywewon.jpgxckixi.jpg, image/jpeg, 300x248

During my own experience there wasn't much I could find for insights and survival strategies as most stuff online just gave basic legal advice. There was stuff advising reporting it to the proper in-house department/ agency etc. If that failed, advice always seemed to point to trying various governmental bodies. Next was to try NGO's like the NAACP, NOW, or whatever applies situationally. There may be more than one with regards to that. Even if these places cannot help out in any actionable way in terms of stepping in to help they can give great tips and advice towards survival. Then of course the final and last step, typical of online advice, in the series of steps was hiring a private attorney.

What was hard to find was people just talking about what happened to them and passing on objective observations. There were sad stories (understandable), a lot of angry frustrated rants, detailed personal accounts, etc. Yet as far as advice on surviving or just reflections or observations there was but a small amount and not many really helped.

There were some organizations devoted to harassment and anybody being harassed is encouraged to check all options out, but be careful. There are organizations that may be genuine, but there are some that are just plain weird, out there, kooky and quite frankly cultish. People that have already encountered these may relate.

Aside from a couple of things here and there most reading always cast the harassed person as a helpless victim whether purposefully to or not. In the end the advice was if you can't afford a lawyer and nothing else works; quit, cry or be tortured. While it is not easy, is stressful and can feel like psychological torture at times it is a mistake to play the role of a victim. Any person being harassed will not survive that way. It does not make things right or make the harassed person not a victim of harassment if they stand up for themselves, if the harassed person wants to make it to a specific goal then they must discover paths to deal and survive. This does not mean breaking rules, but to work within the rules and find a path that way. It means do the right thing the right way. Fight but fight right.

There may be more advice online now than when I was looking so for people being harassed do look. When I was being harassed, after hitting the goal I had set at the place I experienced harassment, and then leaving and recovering, there came the opportunity to reflect. Personally, part of dealing with the aftermath of the situation and the tangled mess of thoughts and emotions was just writing about it and putting down observations and putting them online. Not to claim the role of an expert because that's not the case, it's just what was experienced that can perhaps help shed light for people being harassed about alternative possibilities and ways of keeping their mind. If people can be helped, that's always a bonus. It's alright to leave the situation for people choosing to do so and judging those that do is better left to experts. As for those choosing to stick it out, perhaps some of what is said may ring true and help in some way.

The ultimate goal of harassers is to get you to do something. Typically it is to get you to break down and then leave, to quit something, to fall behind or to react and then get yourself kicked out/ fired, etc. Harassers in any institutional setting typically don't want to get caught as then they too will be forced to suffer repercussions, so they work to avoid that at all costs, mistakes notwithstanding.

They will often try to cause feelings of isolation, discouragement, humiliation, being degraded, helplessness, depression etc. They will typically attempt this through very basic and perhaps crude methods primarily. If this proves to be unsuccessful, they may get increasingly sophisticated attempting to employ more or less subtle techniques and methods depending on the situation. They may even use both simultaneously to varying degrees. Invariably at the end of each little game played, ploy hatched or strategy seen through they will expect a result – they win you lose. It's as simple as that – childish I know but true.

Often at the end of each plan hatched by the people doing the harassing there will be exclamations letting the person being harassed know how the people doing the harassing feel things went however conscious or unconscious. The more time passes the more variations on this that can occur. At times there will be exclamations of things based in reality, at others falsehoods also all things imaginable in between the two points. Some of these exclamations can give a heads up to where things really are, thus allowing the person being harassed to assess clearly the situation and to tell a bit about where the harassers are or feel or hope they are etc.

As time passes and the people doing the harassing see instead of a discouraged target of their harassment one more and more set on perseverance and encouraged with each new plot, the teeth of failure will sink painfully deeper into their behinds and they will most likely feel the sting of it more and more. As a result there may be various incarnations of those doing the harassing wearing costumes designed to convey the message “all's well.” They want the target of their harassment to feel that their harassers are fit and in the fight. They want the target of their harassment to feel they as harassers are ready for the next step. Sounds crazy yes, but never underestimate the the dullness of bullies, the mob mentality and the weakness of people that follow out of fear.

The harassers in this situation want the person being harassed to feel as insecure as they do of to offset any “win” the person being harassed may have experienced in an attempt to allay the people doing the harassing's own insecurities. So in such circumstances often there will typically be a sort of out of desperation flailing exclamation of “we won.” Conversely they may also say, “you lost.” This is all to make themselves feel better and the target of their harassment feel worse than the people doing the harassing hope their target feels. They just want a reaction other than what they see to rally themselves and their troops. It's kind of a way of saying “we lost but not that badly guys.”

In such circumstances the charade is not about what the people doing the harassing actually believe it is more what they so wish they felt and what they want the target of their harassment to believe they believe. Sounds complex and circuitous yes, but people chasing the same thing can actually begin to take quiet shots at themselves without any notice or realization. As such they give their target the heads up those doing the harassing missed again, and if the target of harassment were also employing their own counter strategy, then in fact the counter strategy was successful.

When this happens the person being harassed shouldn't get all puffy or big headed about it just make a note and keep it going. The more clueless the people doing the harassing are or are operating on phony material trumped up by their own egos falsely emboldening themselves the better. If they arrived at wrong assumptions how ever they did, let them continue with the false notions until they figure it out, and that can literally take years. For other things the person being harassed may find their harassers never come to a clear place where they can accurately visualize the position their target takes or doesn't take on specific things before the target of the harassment reaches their goal.

As such the person being harassed may find one of their best friends is the call of frustration emanating from the depths of despair and confusion as to why something didn't workout for the people doing the harassing whether outright or veiled expressions. The target of the harassment may actually learn to find a strange comfort in the way the people doing the harassing exclaim at times “we won.” Because after a while the person being harassed will recognize the real stuff from the phony foam padding like underbelly of false confidence mixed with a dash of spongy plastic failure. It's as if the people doing the harassing are saying “I want them there,” and are hoping that, because their actions did not pan out, by saying it the will behind the words will somehow manifest at least something they can shade as a win. At times it can get to the point their goal is merely to convince themselves they are doing great or at least better than they really are.

At that point the person being harassed has watched the people harassing them openly reduced from a win or loss mentality to having to back-peddle changing to saying essentially “we only got 89% of our butts kicked this time so essentially we can somehow look at that as a win. Cake anyone?” At times like that they are saying “we almost got a hit. We'll just say we did and hope that everybody smiles with us and doesn't see that little sign displaying 'a loss' just riding the crown of our heads.” In such situations it just means that losing people have started putting paint and costume over their losses because they can no longer effectively recover from their losses and stand up on their own looking fresh.

The person being harassed may see people guffawing and huffing pride. At such points the person being harassed should just wait patiently and watch the way the people doing the harassing peter out as they continuously bump into the thick trunk of the facts. Watch how the “we're gonna get you” starts up letting the person being harassed know how great they're doing because if the people harassing them were doing so well why would they feel they need to get the person being harassed? Aren't they supposed to know they got the person being harassed? Isn't it over? In such cases gradients are excuses and the indulgences of the weakened. Crutches for those that once strutted about like peacocks.

The person being harassed will at times get hit and at times get wins. Neither is real cause to celebrate. It's the end goal that counts. All the rest is just what happens in between. The person being harassed will see people once in opposition forced to admit things they boastfully claimed were the opposite previously. Don't get too happy, just be calm about the fact it's a little more clarity about where things are. That's all.

And good luck. Surviving harassment at times can depend not so much on what you do but what you don't do, and observing the specific people harassing you and their reactions to various situations. The longer you're with them the more you have time to learn how they operate. As such in many ways time can be on your side and an asset in your struggle to come through.

And always remember you are being harassed and they are the ones doing the harassing. As such so long as you don't break the law or anything of the like you will always be on the side of justice and what's right and they will always be criminals no matter what they keep saying to themselves hoping they can convince you of it if not themselves. In that way you are always taking steps towards your goals there and in life and those are good things. Find the time for happiness and persevere.

To read about my inspiration for this article go to

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