Gossip… we all know it. We have all dealt with it and know its a part of life. And… when does it get bad? Why can’t we tell… I mean you get a heads up on so many situations, why can’t you get a heads up on gossip? Seriously, a little pop up needs to happen in the air in the midst of a conversation that says “Ok, this is the really bad line that gets crossed in a gossipy conversation which takes it from yucky to really awful…”
But, so often not the case. It takes a kind of force to stop these things when they are in motion. Add to that out may be a family member, best friend or spouse who is actively going full speed ahead on the gossip train. That can be one of the toughest things to do is to stand up to someone close to you when they are verbally assaulting someone else.
Even though its such a pervasive part of life gossip plays a huge role as a resource for stalkers and who I will call the wannabees. These folks are close to the stalkers and are often very desperate for their approval. You have seen them too. Remember the high school bully… heck the office bully… they both had groupies.
Well stalkers have them too.
These folks often end up being the fall guy for the stalker as well, or at least they are available in case a fall guy is needed.
Gossip. A Source of Information. A Source of Abuse.
Second hand information is a great way to find out some if not all kinds of information about your target. Stalkers are obsessive by nature. When you focus on someone enough you can and often will acquire an intuitive sense about them. Stalkers also have a similar sense of entitlement that abusers do.
Because well, they are entitled to be harassing, abusing, trespassing, vandalising and causing all kinds of harm to someone else.
It is human nature to be helpful… Most people are very forthcoming about information and things they know about most anything as well. So all it takes is a malicious abusive stalker who can maintain a decent first impression long enough to get by, strategically placed in a group of well meaning people and, voila!
You have a source of information always available for the stalker.
Stalking: Solitude Amidst the Crowd
Yes, this saying has its spiritual connotations but takes on a whole other meaning when a stalker is involved.
Just as this is a source of information for the stalker, the well meaning group is the unwitting pawn in isolating the target if they are in the orbit of the group.
Here is where you step into the nebulous and unpredictable world of group consciousness.
You never quite know how a group is going to handle the process of a stalker, especially a manipulative one. They may adore them, or protect them if the target goes after them. The group may also turn on them.
For the target its always a very lonely process surviving a stalker in your social orbit.
The creep factor of this effect is especially creepy because isolation does not happen instantly. It happens conversation by conversation, act by act over time.
Then from the perspective of the target it seems like it happens suddenly, when more likely the isolation reached a critical mass and the group had transitioned from explicit to implicit communications making the group more responsive to non-verbal communications. This scenario makes it easy for a stalker to stalk, isolate and terrorize their target.
Now, I will add the disclaimer that each group is different.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Abusive situations of all kinds have that repetitive quality and this is no different. When you go through life thinking that one thing is happening and clearly something else is because it comes to the foreground oh so much later.
So, without even getting to the shock and awe of discovering the ruse of deception that started as gossip and has morphed into an assimilated consciousness about someone, you have two other things going on.
You have the target living their life. And on the other hand you have the stalker coupled with the group surrounding them, wittingly or unwittingly. At some point those two sets of consciousnesses will collide into that awkward mess of misunderstanding that makes up these circumstances.
All the while the stalker is orbiting, watching, manipulating. So, even if you make progress and have the conversations and clear things up you are always in that space of never knowing the influences and fighting the internal battle of trust in those you once trusted.
Even in the midst of this the stalker gets the thrill of knowing the discomfort, difficulty and pain they cause people especially by creating the separation in relationships. Gossip disguised as concern is not concern if the person ‘concerned’ never goes directly to them.
This has nothing to do with truth, accuracy, care, concern. This has to do with how much pain can be inflicted and how far you can mentally and emotionally push someone before they break, get so sick they are never the same or they die.
Stopping the Gossip Train
Here is what you can do. I have no issue calling people out and at least differentiating their personal experience with someone with the entirety of that person. People in a negative frame of mind will complain about most anything. If they have a specific person to focus on all the better.
If you have a particularly toxic individual you can use a ‘2 minute guideline’ where you insist that they have 2 minutes to vent on whatever they want to and then they must focus on a solution.
Having done this personally, you learn very quickly who is committed to their negativity over who is willing to look at another perspective. You will also find out if the person has had first had experience or if they are just gleaning from other people’s experiences adding their dash of special junk and using it to target someone.
The irony with gossip… No one sees truly everything about everyone else let alone ourselves, so a gossipy person is coming from their personal point of view with an agenda. If they can get you to hop on their gossip train then you enjoy emotional cruise control and don’t have to think about anything.
Just remember the gossipy person, gossiping about someone else will do the same to you just as quickly.