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!