We have all been there. Being called 4-eyes, fat, ugly, told….”you don’t belong here”, ” you sound funny”, “you are stupid”…and worse. Thinking back, we were each one of three kids on the playground. The bully, the one getting bullied or the one on the sidelines. Each a different dynamic. Each stirring up a different image, a different memory in your mind. Maybe you were the bully and won’t (or can’t) bring yourself to admit it. Maybe you were the one that stood on the sidelines and watched someone get bullied. You may have wanted to intervene, but couldn’t. And then there was the one that was being bullied. The feeling is probably still raw, even after 10 or 30 years. Moving schools and getting new friends may have put a Band-Aid on it…but you swore to never inflict that kind of pain on another person. Hopefully you, like myself, promised to be an advocate, and never to be a ‘hurter’ or one that stood on the sidelines and allowed another person to be treated poorly.
So, fast forward 30+ years and you are an adult. High school and college complete and so is the drama. You are probably married, with kids. Adulting! Yeah! Something that we should NOT be dealing with is bullying! But alas, we are. I am and you may have too! But it’s not the playground kind 4-eyes kind. Oh, this, my friends is serious passive-aggressive, covert bullying. Top notch shit. Things that make you go “did that just really happen?” Yeah, holy balls, that just really happened. Are we in junior high again?
This covert form is the most insidious. With many bullies, you can see them coming from a mile away because they are quick to make their intimidating presence known. A covert bully, however, behaves appropriately on the surface, is bubbly, fun, things are always GREAT….“I’m great, things are great, how are you? hey girlfriend, Love those shoes!”…and they take you down behind your back. Examples of passive-aggressive, covert bullying include gossip, negative joking at someone’s expense, sarcasm, condescending eye contact, mimicking, deliberately causing embarrassment, ignoring, social exclusion, professional isolation, and deliberately sabotaging someone’s well-being, happiness, and success, overlooking for promotions on purpose, “black balling”.
About 37% of adults get bullied at work (or in a professional setting i.e. ) and 40% of adults have been cyber bullied. The statistics for kids upset me…but as adults, we should know better and DO BETTER! When I started to do research for this blog several weeks ago, I had almost forgotten about a trip to Mississippi for a special occasion; the 95th birthday party of my Aunt Ella Mae! If you looked up “strong, loving, classy, southern belle” in Webster’s, her photo would be there. (yes, I went old school with an actual dictionary reference) . I spent Saturday evening surrounded with family and I was yet again reminded that there is NOTHING more important than family and God. Cousins that I hadn’t seen since they were in diapers, from all over the south, came in to celebrate! New babies, old cousins, it was a great evening. It hurt me to think, of the sweet teens & baby cousins and the current statistics. 4 out of 10 children will drop out of high school this year because they are being bullied at school.
Now let me be clear. Having a bad experience, or a disagreement with someone or a heated discussion with a group or people is NOT bullying. That is called LIFE. It’s not all lollipops and daisies 100% of the time. This term “bullying” is thrown out WAY too much these days, I think. The American Psychological Association defines bullying as “a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. If the SAME person or group of people are targeting you over and over….and over, that my friend, is bullying. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words, or more subtle actions.” A bully can be an aggressive juvenile, an intimidating boss or colleague, a controlling partner, an unruly neighbor, a family member, a shaming social acquaintance, or those in a variety of other types of abusive relationships. Either way it is NOT cool. As adults and as a WOMEN, we should not tolerate any type of bullying. Also, as women, we also should not be DOING any of the bullying, but that is a far cry of hope. Let’s face it…some people are just plain mean. For some reason or the other, someone just may not like you. No matter what you do, how much you kiss their a$$. You could be mother Teresa…they just may have it out for you. That is when their true colors of passive-aggressive, Cruella Deville-ish, covert bullying will show true. Not everyone will see it…but sooner or later it still stick out like a sore thumb and will eventually shine like Kim Kardashians diamond ring. (and that is big). #LeopardsSpotsWillShow
After the 95th birthday celebration, my mom and I headed down to New Orleans for a catholic conference. (and no, the building didn’t bust into flames when I walked in) And wait, let me be more specific…not New Orleans…Metairie, so I did NOT get my Nola ‘fix’ and the bar across from the hotel…I think I heard gunshots, just saying. (thanks mom! LOL)
The conference, which had speakers with the gift of a healing ministry, was what I was HOPING for grace from. Some of you may think it is far-fetched, but not having slept in-Rx-aided in 20 years and having it affect so many other health issues…well, I was willing to go to a conference with my mom, in Metairie, and hope that someone would lay hands on me. And it was a pretty awesome conference, if I do say so.
To be real, I have suffered from migraines and insomnia for decades. Someone told me once “you always look so cute”. My response; “thank you, but honey, I’m kind of a hot mess on the inside.” IBS, migraines, insomnia….I can keep going and we all have issues and mine are NOT a big deal compared to what some other face. But, it would be SO nice to get to sleep before 1, 2, 3am. #CountingSheepEVERYDangNight
Father Mark Goring gave the sermon and y’all he was a trip! Serious northern accent… but I liked to think of it as more Irish, LOL (he’s Canadian). He spoke about God’s ‘selective memory’. How he/God let’s go of the past and would NEVER throw the past in our face. (So, why do we throw the past in the face of our partners, friends, kids? In the faces of those we are trying to belittle? Those we are trying to control? Those that are being bullied?) Father Mark went on to mention judging…’at the gates, you will be judged as you have judged.’ This was heavy… I was like DUDE, you been hacking into my BLOG page?
Matthew 7:1-5 .…Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Romans 14:1-13….You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister ? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat….Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.
I mean WOW, if it was ONLY that easy, for us to follow what the Lord says about gossiping …and heck, I think the Lord was kind of even talking about bullying too! If only overnight, we could change the world…stop the ugliness and grow in grace. But, the truth is, once you are hurt, it is hard to forget. God has ‘selective memory’…maybe we should all work on that. Letting go of the bad and keeping the good. I know SOOOOO many “good Christians” that would fall short in the ‘throw the first stone’ department. Myself included at times. The difference is, I am not afraid to say INCLUDE myself in the ‘falling short department.’ Heck, I run that department! I restock that department on the daily. It is the ones that can’t admit that…well, I guess we just have to pray for. #RestockOnIsle4
Another little nugget he mentioned…How do you weed a garden? You pull one weed at a time and change comes one step at a time. I feel that Much time and effort have been spent trying to discover what motivates a person to bully others, especially in childhood, where this type of behavior usually begins. On-the-spot amateur psychology, however, probably won’t spare you any hurt when a bully comes-a-knocking. Remember, if you find yourself the victim of bullying, a bully’s bad behavior is entirely his or her responsibility, not yours, no matter what the bully may tell you. Also remember that change can happen in small steps. If you are an adult, and find yourself accepting the fact, that you were or still are a bully…it is not to late to stop the cycle. Just take one step at a time.
Proverbs 21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
I know I got a little #holy in this Blog. But, sometimes, you just have to go there.
Peace, Love & Cheers