Self-Care Tip #253 – Humanize and forgive your bully.
How to be a friend to yourself when thinking about your bully?
Have you noticed that when we think about our bully, we don’t feel so good. Just thinking about him! Sheeze! In our last post on bullying, Nancy said,
Wow! This one brought up WAY too much pain. I’m feeling very vulnerable and uncomfortable and hurt and stupid at the moment.
There are jumbled emotions that flood us, such as anger, shame, helplessness, anxiety or more. Our autonomics may even trigger, making us hypervigilant as if we were being attacked. We are in defense mode – all the while sitting alone in a chair at our desk, in the quiet of our bed while falling asleep, or any other place of our generally hum-drum lives. These feelings and nervous system changes come in a time and place when we are not in danger. They come without us realizing their approach, stealth feet and skilled hands; we are in their company before we know it.
Is there no hope? What can we do so we don’t feel victimized all over again.
1. Do research on the bully. Find out about him on the internet. See what others have said about him.
This helps us:
- see him as a human, mortal, without superhuman powers.
- feel like we are less alone in this.
- realize that we are not chosen, so to speak, to suffer at his hands. He is a bully and not just around “Me.”
- we didn’t cause his behaviors. He chooses his behaviors because of the same biopsychosocial paradigm that we choose ours.
- realize that he hasn’t chosen to do his self-care, making him more vulnerable to his own negative feelings and behaviors.
- Humanizing our bully helps us move towards empathy and forgiveness.
- Anger debts only hurt Me and that’s not friendly to Me.
Grow our self-confidence
- Such as doing our own thing.
- Grow our own natural genius. Work hard at it and see how it is there for us, like a friend when we are feeling pushed down. Our friend will be standing beside us, reminding us of our value when this remembering tries to beat us down. Our friend will be there reminding us that this negative event in our life does not define us.
Now if they continue, these rememberings, and if these rememberings are frequent enough that we believe our quality of life is affected, we may be looking at something else. There are other medical illnesses that can disable our abilities to cope. In this scenario, I am thinking especially about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.)
In PTSD, we relive experiences of trauma (which we perceived to have been life threatening to ourselves or observed by us in other(s).) We may also feel hypervigilant, as if we are about to be attacked at times when our lives are not threatened. We might have nightmares and avoid things that remind us of the trauma event as well.
PTSD is easily reactivated by other stressful situations – such as being bullied. When we have a history of PTSD that has been quiet for a time, even years, we are more vulnerable to stressors reactivating it’s symptoms. Then, although the said stressor may not have been a life-threatening stressor, we perceive similar feelings and neurologic changes we did when in the life-threatening situation. Then, although the said stressor may be over and not recurring, those PTSD symptoms start happening all over again and may continue indeterminately – propagated by the disease process and not our bully event.
This might be endured and it may go away in time without treatment. But it isn’t good for anyone while it is happening. PTSD can improve with medical therapies.
Question: How have you been able to humanize and forgive your bully? Please tell me your story.