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.
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.
- School Nurses See Both Bullies and Victims (well.blogs.nytimes.com)
- The Silent Epidemic: Workplace Bullying (psychologytoday.com)
- Six Warning Signs That Your Child is Being Bullied (education.com)
- All About Cyberbullies: Who They Are and What They Do (education.com)