In The Space of Anger, Remember You Are a Friend to Yourself.

The Rage of Achilles (1757)

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Bullying:  Series Continued.

  • #144 Leave Space In Your Beliefs To Grow
  • #163 ”He’s Never Hit Me.” Abuse.
  • #251 Just Ordinary Bullying – The Bully and The Bullied
  • #253 How to Be A Friend To Yourself When Thinking About Your Bully
  • #254 Free To Do Self-Care, Despite Our Bully
  • #255 Bullying That Includes Life-Threatening Behavior.

You are saying this to provoke me!

Paula was angry.  Her hold on her composure was tenuous.  I backed off before she lost her cool.  No one feels good when they do that.  If she felt this way around this mostly unthreatening environment, she must be suffering its effect on her relationships or lack thereof in her other life environments.  No one feels good when they can’t trust themselves.

I am not going to sit here and take this from you!  You are doing this on purpose!

And Paula walked out.  That was it.  That was all I got.  For now, my opportunity to help was over and I was left to wonder after her.

1.  In taking care of ourselves around anger, the first step is to ensure our personal safety.  Deescalate if possible the tension.  But most importantly, do what we must to be safe.  If we have to leave to do that, than we leave and it is over.  I commend Paula for leaving before she acted out on her anger.  That is good coping going on.

For myself, if she had continued to escalate, I could call for help or leave.

2.  The next step, (exclusively per Dr. Q), for those experiencing the anger…  Well there are many, and if it is happening often, should probably include medical interventions along with other considerations of her biopsychosocial self.

For those subjected to the anger, it will be most friendly to themselves to process their own emotional response to the anger-trigger.  “Do I feel angry too?  Do I think I am responsible for her emotions? Do I think what went down here is about me?”  Get our personal out of the stuff that isn’t.  Why make it about us if that isn’t true?  It is another thing if we were poking her with a skewer or had initiated our own emotional diarrhea before she did.  But that just takes us back to step #1.

3.  Finally, for the “victim,” take some time to tease out if we are putting ourselves in a position that isn’t safe repetitively.  “Is there a pattern?  Do we find ourselves in the space of anger or other negative emotions often?  How often?  Do we allow this person to treat us in a negative way that we would never allow anyone else to treat us?”  The answer to that will be telling about our self-friendliness.

Self-Care Tip #259 – In the space of anger, remember you are a friend to yourself.

Questions:  What patterns, if any, do you see in your life, or someone you love re: anger?  What empowers you towards self-care in the space of anger?

Bullying That Includes Life-Threatening Behavior

Bullying:  Series Continued.

  • #144 Leave Space In Your Beliefs To Grow
  • #163 “He’s Never Hit Me.” Abuse.
  • #251 Just Ordinary Bullying – The Bully and The Bullied
  • #253 How to Be A Friend To Yourself When Thinking About Your Bully
  • #254 Free To Do Self-Care, Despite Our Bully

Bullying is a broad term.  We could call it “dirty,” meaning non-specific.  Here we’ve spent several days discussing it and stil trip on the dirt.  What we want to do is tease life-threatening events included in the broad category of bullying apart from the…, I don’t know, can we call them lesser degrees of bullying?  Anything that isn’t perceived as life-threatening can lay in that heap, let’s say.

Teddy bear - Rory

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Each of us must figure out where we are in these two categories.  What type of bully did I or do I have?  (I have to smile when I say “My bully.”  Sounds like a teddy bear or blankie.  And it sooo is not!)  I think when we can do this, we can know even more about our self-care options.

There is a main category named, “Bullied.”

Event perceived as life-threatening -> you folks on the right.

Event perceived as non-life-threatening -> you folks on the left.

On the right, we have some who have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and some who don’t.  I’ve seen mothers get it after a traumatic birth and post-partum period when their baby might have died.  I’ve seen people get it from watching terribly violent movies.  Of course we’ve all seen or been survivors of abuse, war, or other near death experiences who become angry, irritable, nervous and suspicious of others.  We’ve watched our once cuddly personality disappear.  Everyone in this system is hurt and hurting – bully and bullied and those connected to either.

Not all survivors go on to develop PTSD after life-threatening events and we can’t clearly say why.  These people on the right straddle the line with those on the left.

We also have current events and past events.  We can number there order of passing in our lives.  For example,  1.  saw our mother beat up for years by our father, 2. watched Silence of The Lambs, 3.  excluded and conspired against in high school by mean click, 4.  neighbor strong-arms you into getting rid of your dog and paying him money for perceived damages.

PTSD can set in at any point on that time line because of the conditioning/changes the life-threatening event did to the brain.

Those on the left didn’t get much attention today.  I’m sorry about that.  You guys are just as important but my agenda today was to clarify.

Questions:  How does this clarification help you, if at all?  How would you try to define bullying?

Self-Care Tip #255 – Know what type of bully you had or have to know how to approach yourself in friendship.

What Do You Say About Bullying?

Rally

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Bullying:  Series Continued. 

  • #144 Leave Space In Your Beliefs To Grow
  • #163 ”He’s Never Hit Me.” Abuse.
  • #251 Just Ordinary Bullying – The Bully and The Bullied
  • #253 How to Be A Friend To Yourself When Thinking About Your Bully
  • #254 Free To Do Self-Care, Despite Our Bully

Being a friend to ourselves in the context of bullying has been one of the most difficult things to get positive about, to talk about with hope, to feel empowered and to claim our freedom to self-care.

Why is that?

How do we claim our freedom to self-care?

We talked a lot about kids, many of us hopeless to a degree about their vulnerability to bullies.  But what about adults?  What are some examples of empowered adults in the context of being bullied?

Our own Sarah McGaugh of birdinyourhand blog-site asked yesterday,

What should we do to keep from getting angry when we are forced to interact/negotiate with a bully? Say, in the line of work, when we have to sit in a meeting with them or something. Some people come into those situations with only fight in them. Usually in my previous position I was fairly good at diffusing them…but I would still feel the anger over it. How do we not let a bully get into our inner world, and still deal with them?

How can we respond?

I would love to hear from you.

Free To Do Self-Care, Despite Our Bully

Demonstration in London supporting Serbia

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Bullying:  Series Continued.  (I didn’t even realize I was writing a series until now!)

  • #144 Leave Space In Your Beliefs To Grow
  • #163 “He’s Never Hit Me.” Abuse.
  • #251 Just Ordinary Bullying – The Bully and The Bullied
  • #253 How to Be A Friend To Yourself When Thinking About Your Bully

Bit’s and parts of us are unbelieving in what number of options to self-care that we have, when it comes to being bullied.  I don’t say this lightly about terrors.  Terrors change us irrevocably and hurt to the brink of our own abyss.

The question is, are we free to do self-care even when we are bullied?

Yesterday, Carl in his candid way, said,

Empathy and forgiveness? You gotta be kidding. Do you know what it is like for a twelve year-old to face this…  for an entire school term? Probably not? Cope? Isn’t coping with a chronic negative stimulus as debilitating as being unable to cope….  There may be situations where “book smart” stuff is not applicable because we cannot negotiate with the bully.

Go Serbia

Image by SanforaQ8 via Flickr

We cannot negotiate with the bully.  True, to the degree that Carl said, if I understand him.  (Carl you will surely set me straight soon.)

It is true that people who like to fight, fight well.  People who bully generally will bully better than I can ever defend myself.  They have had a lot more practice.  Have you heard this?  You never want to go up against someone who has nothing to lose because the only one that will lose is you.

When someone is agitated, in psychiatry we learn that it is good not to make eye-contact.  Avert the body.  Keep your voice low and don’t engage as much as possible.  It reminds me of letting the mist of early morning dew expire the coals in the camp fire.  Getting attacked is something we want to avoid.

Early on in my training, I was rounding on the inpatient psychiatry ward.  We often have people who are agitated admitted there and this morning, I remember it was about seven AM on a Sunday….  This particular patient hadn’t slept well.  He wasn’t well-groomed and he scowled.  All the nurses where in another room in a nurses meeting and I didn’t notice he and I were alone in the hallway.  I looked him in the eyes directly.  I didn’t concern myself with tempering my interview.  I was still sleepy myself and wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible to start my Sunday stuff at home.  (I know.  Stellar attitude for a resident-physician, right?)  He grabbed me around the waist and I nearly lost my water!  I screamed at him like a she-dog and he let go.  That was all.  No big deal right?  Well I was ticked at him and at the nurses for not being available.  No one was at the nurses station, which is illegal too.

In truth, I was pretty much an idiot on all accounts.  It doesn’t condone the assault but I have since been better about not negotiating with the bully.  

That probably wasn’t exactly what Carl was talking about but it is related.  It is by no means a full year of negative harassment, but when responding to the concept of not being able to negotiate with the bully, I don’t know at what point in degrees of trauma experiences that becomes true for us.  Perhaps it isn’t a matter of qualifying them or quantifying them.  Perhaps more depends on the victim.  I don’t know.  Do you?

What I do know, is that Carl and I are both partly wrong.  We can.  I don’t know about then.  We can now.  We are free even from those molesting monsters because of who we are.  We were created free and those horrors can’t extinguish that bit of us.  We are free not because of the protection or lack of protection we’ve lived in life.  We are free.

We don’t claim to know all the innumerable forms of suffering out there.  That is not what this self-care engages with.

Questions:  How do you find yourself free at this time in your life, despite it all?  How do you describe your freedom, even with your bully?  How have you seen others in this context?    Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Tip #254 – Free yourself from your bully.

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