I’m hearing the same story over and over. A person at work, uni or school is confronted by their friends who say they are ‘staging an intervention’ and then proceed to tell them where their character, behaviour, morals and general person needs ‘correcting’.
Their target is not in danger, is not taking drugs, is not getting blackout drunk, is not beating up their partners - they're ordinary people.
If that’s happened to you, let me suggest something. If you’re working in a small room, and someone comes in with an onion sandwich lunch that has your eyes watering, what do you do?
I bet you think first if it’s just you. And then, when you see your colleagues sniffing along with you, there’s a brief discussion where one of you is volunteered to go have a word.
When you do have a word, you very quietly take your colleague aside and say something like, “The sandwich is awesome, but uhm, in this lousy small office, it can be a bit over-present if you know what I mean.”
Then the other person says, “Eek, sorry” and deals with it.
Job done and everyone moves along.
Insight: when something doesn't work in a group setting, people are gentle and respectful about having a chat for effective change.
And if the colleague is eating lettuce and you happen not to like it, would you say something? Nope, because it doesn't impact you in any way.
Insight: people have the right to live their own lives; we don't police their personal choices. <- but abusers do think it's their right to police and control others.
So, I suggest that when you have a gang of people surrounding one person and attacking them, it’s plain old bullying. The fact that they use words like ‘intervention’ and go about ‘analysing’ your behaviour and saying they are only being absolute bitches because it’s for your own good is gaslighting.
What’s interesting is that this modern bullying technique has a long history. In recent history, Marxist-Leninist groups in Communist Russia, China and their allied countries weaponised criticism.
They would set up a target and have their friends and colleagues harass them with accusations until they broke down. Victims were also made to self-criticize as part of the humiliation.
This same nasty mentality is what fuels the Flying Monkeys, the people who attack abuse victims by telling them they need to go back to their violent and controlling spouses, parents, bosses and partners.
In sociology, this practice is called mobbing. (Wikipedia link)
My advice: don’t fall for it. If one friend has a quiet word, that’s great and you can take it under advisement.
But when a gang goes for you, saying the meanest things they can while virtue signalling like mad, recognise them for what they are, tell them to get lost, and find a group of decent people.
Want to read up? Here is a nice journal paper on workplace mobbing: