Day 16

So, I’m not comfortable writing about this.  For some reason I’m very uncomfortable with the topic…what is the topic?  Mean, spiteful, (what appears to be) evil-spirited bullying behavior.

Let me first own up to the fact that, I’m human, and as hard as I try to root my intentions in love, I occasionally miss the mark and they are rooted in fear.  Actions rooted in fear can often end up hurting myself and the people I love.  I know this, because typically when I’ve hurt a friend or colleague, we have the kind of relationship where they tell me, point blank.  “Hey Molly.  You hurt my feelings.”

I then do my best to examine my actions and then examine them through the eyes of the other person.  On most occasions, I understand.  As St. Francis suggested, “seek first to understand and then be understood.”  I can honestly say that I never intend to hurt someone.  I may act selfishly or self-centeredly without my knowledge and hurt someone’s feelings, but I never go out of my way or intend to injure or hurt anothe r person’s spirit.

We hear a lot in the media about the “mean girls syndrome” where girls are intentionally mean.  I can “kinda” understand when someone is mean to someone when they have been bullied or intentionally hurt or injured by someone else…but what I  have difficulty with is the first one to throw the pitch…the individual who  intentionally sets out upon a course to hurt, demean or bully someone who has done nothing or at least done nothing with a hurtful intention backing it.  Of course, when I go more deeply into my compassionate and loving self, I know that even mean-spirited people don’t behave that way by accident.  More than likely they have received this behavior somewhere along the line and the anger and feelings of powerlessness erupt in anger towards others not at all associated with the initial bully.

I’ve recently witnessed this kind of behavior in a number of places and am trying to find the balance between showing compassion for the person and standing up to their behavior. There is a part of me that wants to respond becasue I am angry and then there is another part of me that wants to just ignore it and kiss the relationship good bye.  The higher ME wants to do the right and noble thing…to figure out how to love, but to also stand up to or call out the behavior.

I’m quite certain that my internal struggle on this has something to do with the irrational belief I clung to in my youth (and 20’s and 30’s) to be a friend to everyone…the people pleaser in me doesn’t want to upset the apple cart.

How have you managed bullying or the witnessing of someone being bullied?  What thoughts circle through your brain as you decided how to address the situation?  I’d like to know. Do you address it differently when you know the individual as opposed to when you don’t?  Please share.  I could sure use your insight!

4 thoughts on “Day 16

  1. As a first responder I’ve dealt first-hand with some of the lowest of the low-down, trash-talkin’, foul-mouthed, trouble-makin’, fightin’, bullyin’ and downright ornery scallywags Charlotte has to offer. Sometimes physical intervention is required. But if physical intervention isn’t necessary, one of my favorite tactics is simply silence. That is not to see that I disengage, but rather I engage with silence. I mean if someone is really letting me have it in a completely juvenile and disrespectful way, I just sit there and don’t even creact. It REALLY throws a bully off their game if you simply take what they dish, and it often de-escalates a situation to a level that reason can be brought to bear in some kind of decent dialogue.
    Think of it with this firefighter wisdom… yes we fight fire… we rush TO the conflict as we must (remember Burke’s maxim that “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men (and women) to do nothing.” But ultimately we fight fire with water.
    If all this doesn’t help, you can always watch Andy Griffith season 2 episode 1 “Opie and the Bully”. Andy always has the answer!!

  2. I was the child that was bullied. I was smaller than all of the other girls and I was shy and quiet. My mother had past away when I was 7yrs old and what that event did to me made me an even easier target. School was torture for me and the some of the same people that tortured me at school lived in my neighborhood and road my bus. So from the moment I went to the bus stop until the moment I got off of the bus and went back into my house I lived in fear and with anxiety. The bullying went on for most of my childhood….and even when I wasn’t actively being tortured anymore…..the effects of what I had been through stayed with me…..and are probably still with me in many ways. (In addition to being bullied….I was also being abused) My experiences with being bullied have made me very sensitive to others being bullied. I have been very protective of my own two daughters and have a very tender heart for others. All that I have been through is what makes GOTR so very important to me. GOTR wasn’t available when my oldest daughter was growing up…..but my youngest daughter (she is 9yr old and in 4th grade) just started her GOTR program a couple of weeks ago. I found GOTR last year after my daughter walked into my living room and touched her stomach and said “I’m fat”. I was crushed and immediately told her that she was NOT fat in any way shape or form….and immediately went online in search of something…..a program or class that I could get her involved with to help her with her self esteem. I was so very happy to find GOTR and then to find that her school was going to have the program available. I hope to get involved more with GOTR to help other girls hopefully not go through what I went through.

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