UNDERSTANDING THE BULLY, THE VICTIM OF BULLYING AND THE BYSTANDER.

BULLIES are made up of 50% Nature (a predisposition) and 50% Nurture (environmental influence).

BULLYING is the conscious desire to hurt another and put them under distress. This is usually done to someone a bully sees as less powerful.

50% of the population has experienced adult bullying. 60% of physical male bullies will be arrested by age 24.

BULLYING TRAITS

Over the years research has shown that bullies all seem to have similar traits. The following are some of them:

  • Dominates others
  • Uses others to get what they want
  • Unwilling to negotiate
  • Difficulty seeing others point of view
  • Concerned with only their wants/needs
  • Unwilling to accept other’s ideas
  • Will hurt others when adults aren’t around
  • Targets those they see as weaker in some way
  • Do not accept responsibility for their actions
  • Blame and false allegations are used to project their inadequacies onto their target

DOMINATE EMOTIONS OF BULLIES

  • Suspicious
  • Frustrated
  • Disgusted
  • Confident
  • Jealous
  • Insecure
  • Lonely

Bullies often feel contempt towards their targets. They also have an intolerance for anyone perceived as different/not worthy of respect and believe they should be isolated.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TEASING AND TAUNTING

Teasing~ Is not intended to harm anyone, it’s innocent in motive and is stopped when one person involved objects or asks it to stop.

Taunting~ This is a one sided power imbalance intended to harm, humiliate, or demean another person. It increases with objections and is not innocent in motive. (All of the new texts use the wore “sinister” I really didn’t feel comfortable using that term)

PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS OF BULLYING VICTIMS

  • Quiet and shy
  • Have difficulty relating
  • Not assertive
  • Lack friends or social support
  • Low self-esteem
  • Their social behaviors are found odd or irritating by others

PSYCHOSOCIAL EFFECTS ON BULLYING VICTIMS

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Insecurity
  • Isolation
  • Avoidance of school and social events
  • Emotional Impairment
  • Social Impairment

SIGNS OF A BULLIED CHILD

  • Increase in fighting
  • Avoiding lunch or recess areas
  • Attendance problems
  • Suspicious bruises
  • Taking different routes to walk home
  • Mood swings
  • Sudden or ongoing illness
  • Problems with concentration
  • Argumentative

EFFECTS OF BYSTANDERS ON THE BULLY

If a bystanders does nothing it amplifies the effects of the situation by increasing the humiliation and social effects. It also encourages the behavior to continue because there is no accountability. When a bystander acts on behalf of the person being bullied it decreases the effect of the incident immensely.

Depending on where you live, the school system and social status, bystander intervention is viewed in different ways. I’ve witnessed adults do nothing while a child was being physically hurt by a much larger child. When I intervened I was told that it “wasn’t my place and I didn’t know how things worked”. The third time I intervened in a bullying incident it was “suggested” that I not come back to the school’s playground.

Every parent there was more worried about fitting in with the “PTA” group than the well being of their children. When my sister told me of a recent event where her child was surrounded by 20 kids calling him a “Killer” and one adult poking her finger at him and saying he “You monster! You killed the butterfly!” I was livid. When I realized that my sister didn’t run to her child and protect him with all she had I was disgusted.

Our mother would’ve been there in a second and that woman would never point a finger again. My mom protected her children when we told her something was wrong. I kept a lot from her because she took on everyone’s problems.

If you see bullying say or do something. It causes a lifetime of problems. I’m proof of that. I believed everything that was said to me after awhile. How can you not when it’s said so much? You just give in and accept it when it starts at a young age and never stops. Maybe I’m weak, I don’t know. I do know that at some point during my drinking I became a bully for awhile. It didn’t make me feel any better. 29eca8a91a94e4c7d29ccb246e469e5f

 

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MY BEAUTIFUL BROKEN BOY (Childhood Trauma and Bullying)

He’s standing there with his backpack waiting for his brother to come out of the School Building. His blond hair shines in the sun between the trees. He has eyes the color of the bluest ocean, just like me, his mother and Grandmother. He has trouble being still so he swings his backpack back and forth not realizing how close he is to a treasured “butterfly cocoon” a PTA Mom has gotten a group of children excited about.

When his pack hits it everything will change for this boy I love like he’s my own. He’s my twin sister’s son, in the 1st Grade and small for his age. I’m not biased when I say he’s beautiful, both of my nephews are. They got all of the good parts of both their parents and none of the bad. Physically that is. As an outsider I’ve noticed things in both of my nephews that scare me. They are both extremely sensitive to what’s going on around them. Their feelings are hurt easily and they have a hard time controlling their emotions. It’s good they have my sister for a Mom.

As my sister walks out of the School Building she sees her baby boy surrounded by 15-20 other children and 1 adult woman. The woman is telling her son that he is a “Monster” while the children are chanting “Butterfly Killer” at him. He’s on the ground crying like the World is ending.

Let me say at this point in my sister’s telling me this story I start to feel hot and dizzy I also see spots in front of my eyes. I feel an amount of rage I have not felt since my twenties. I’m happy to say I’m glad I don’t know the woman’s name or address and my sister refused to give it to me. No one threatens the mental or physical well being of people I love. And you better RUN if it’s one of my babies. I can’t have children any longer so I claim them as mine. (My twin doesn’t know this)

I can’t imagine how damaging that must have been for my Shaney. Surrounded like he’s in The Lord of The Flies while being called a Killer with an ADULT leading this behavior.

When my sister intervened and talked to the woman she said my nephew intentionally kicked the cocoon and suggested he had the makings of a serial killer. I don’t know how my sister didn’t ram her head into the monkey bars or said “Let me introduce you to my sister” I would’ve been happy to scare the crap out of her. I know it isn’t right but people like this do not change as adults. They are made as children and it manifests through time making them worse with each passing day. They will never change because that would mean giving up their feeling of control. There’s no point in dealing with them.

But my nephew still has a chance if my sister and her husband deal with everything he’s been going through now. This isn’t the first time he’s been involved in a situation like this. There have been times where I catch him doing something he shouldn’t be and he looks at me with a smile on his face that scares me. But he also is the one who hugs me and doesn’t want to let go, will spend hours outside watching the trees, birds, insects, and inside reading about how to save animals. He’s sensitive and smart but I know how without the right tools and guidance his intelligence and sensitivity can work against him.

I felt like crying and screaming when I could hear him crying in the background and saying “Mommy they all hate me. I don’t want to go to school I don’t want to be a killer Please don’t make me go!”. I thought my heart would break. He doesn’t even know what a killer is. I’m crying as I type this. Humans are the cruelest things on this planet there is nothing else with the same capacity to inflict such pain.

ADULT BULLIES AND HOW TO HANDLE THEM.(sorry, you can’t toilet paper their house)

As an adult you think your bullying days are behind you. For some they never are. I’m trying to think of the best way to say this.

Picture a group of children playing at a playground. They mostly stay in groups. But you will see a few loners. Across the street, unnoticed, is a man with a criminal record and a pair of binoculars watching the children who are alone. Why does he do this? He does this because these are children that are yearning for love and attention. They are most likely  not going to fight back. They are the weak Gazelles in the pack.

Some people display certain mannerisms that give the impression they are “too nice” or “pushovers”. A bully’s dream.

If a person was a bully as a child, most likely they will continue to be one as an adult.

WHAT DOES BULLYING ACTUALLY MEAN?

When one person or a group of people are deliberately cruel to another person or group for any reason.

Victims of adult bullies usually find little sympathy from those around them. Why? As adults we are expected to be able to handle “criticisms” and “insults” without letting it bother us. Truth is, it does.

The problem with adult bullies is they are more difficult to expose. They’ve had years of practice, and hide behind positions of authority, money or other types of power. There is one thing all bullies have in common: they want to hurt someone.

HOW TO RESPOND

A bully’s bad behavior is their responsibility, not yours no matter what they say. Do Not Bother Trying To Find The Root Cause or “Understanding” how the person came to take such pleasure in being cruel to others. The only responsibility you have is to yourself! Self preservation from the emotional, social, or physical harm that a bully can cause.

PERSONALITY

Bullies can be subtle. Ask yourself some questions. When you leave the company of a specific person, do you feel worse but can’t explain why?

I have a few family members who when I spend time with them I feel like trash after. There were always subtle comments made. Backhanded compliments. “Oh, that’s a nice purse. I didn’t know Walmart carried anything that nice”. Or “You always dress so cute for a “girl your size”. And the same family member when drunk “You know you cut your wrists the wrong way honey” she cackled as she walked away. Or I should say as she tried to walk away because she was loaded most of the time.

MY FAMILY

I come from a large Irish/Scottish/Scandinavian family. The majority is Irish. My mom’s side says whatever they are thinking, drink, and are extremely loud. They were all born without filters. This doesn’t make them all bad. Some of their spouses on the other hand are a different story.

My mom was married once before but was widowed while pregnant with my brother. I have always thought of him as my “brother” and never my “half brother”.  He was bullied mercilessly when younger. My mom taught him from birth until puberty that you are polite to adults and stay out of trouble. He was chubby and taller than the other kids. I can’t remember how many times he came home with a swollen bloody lip. So much so he earned the nickname “Fat Lip Phil”.

Unfortunately there came a straw that broke the camel’s back and change everyone forever.

The kids bullying my brother were older and bigger. But my brother had been going through a growth spurt of his own. My dad (his stepfather) was at his limit dealing with these kids parents and the kids themselves.

What I remember, and it could be I’ve chosen not to remember some things, is the snow and blood. I remember a big kid on top of my brother in the front yard. I remember my dad struggling with two of the other kids. They were almost the same size as him. I could see my brother’s eyes, the fear. I remember running outside in my pajamas, I remember biting the kid’s leg that was on my brother, I remember tasting denim and blood. After that I don’t remember anything.

I do know that my brother’s growth spurt didn’t stop until he was 6’3″ with a size 13 shoe and 200 and something pounds. This was by the time he was 15. The bullied became the bully. I know why, I know how, I can’t blame him. The things that were said and done to him, no one should have to endure. I shouldn’t have had to witness all of his violence either. Once in awhile his name did come in handy. My brother kept his father’s last name so it wasn’t the same as mine.

I admit I enjoyed seeing the fear in one person’s eyes after he had spit on me as a dare at a party. I was 16 and he was 19. It landed on my chest and not my face. The only thing that saved him. I stood up as tall as I could, I looked him directly in the eye, and I smiled.

He looked so confused. I asked him “Do you know Phil L_____?” he responded “Uh yeah.” I said “Great! Maybe we can both go tell him why you just spit on his sister, his favorite sister”. The look of fear and the apologizing and feeble attempts at trying to clean my shirt while I was wearing it, was worth it.

I didn’t use my brother’s name often. I never knew what type of response I would receive. Some people didn’t fear him, they loathed him. These people would take it out on me. Not fun. Plus, he had plenty of his own problems.

CONCLUSION

Bullies rarely change. There’s nothing you can say or do to make them feel like they should be

“nicer”. You have to change how you respond to their behavior. Expose them for the person they are and don’t back down. Exposure is their weakness. Don’t engage in the same behavior, they’re professionals and you’re not. When exposed they usually back off. When someone engages with them it feeds their need to control the situation or hurt someone. So even though it goes against everything that is screaming in my head I too have to refrain from engaging.

 

 

Idly By (Part 2 of Doctors Everywhere)

I received my bill for my hospital stay yesterday. To say I was pissed off would be putting it mildly. They want me to pay $1,260 for being bullied, talked about, ignored when I needed help to the bathroom, smell other people’s excrement for hours and hours because there was no running water, and I was denied access to two of my Bipolar meds because they didn’t “have them”. My sister and friends were treated rudely when they visited and it was up to me to call and get food for myself. I was seriously ill!!! How was I supposed to remember to call down to the kitchen for food? I was medicated!!

When my mother passed away there my sister and I wanted to sue so bad but my father wouldn’t. They were all gathered around her bed drinking coffee and laughing it was a party while 1 person did CPR. My dad was too grief stricken to do anything. I understood.

This time I’m not letting it slide. I’m a human being, I was scared, it wouldn’t have killed them to be kinder, or more educated about mental health. Not to mention I was asked 2 times what Celiac Disease is by nurses. Disgusted doesn’t begin to cover it. So I called the number on the paper, told the women my grievances and told her I wouldn’t be paying. She said to send her a letter with the list and a “Committee” will decide. I’ll send the letter but their is no decision to make because I have already made it. They’ve done enough. You can’t get blood from a stone anyway. So good luck to you Kent County. I have bigger problems.

Proving Points

I have written about some of these topics before but they have come up again and I need to get them out somehow. My family has a hard time understanding any of it and are part of the problem.

Most of my life I have felt the need to prove I am “good enough”, “that I belong”, and I am not “worthless”. I have always felt this way and those feelings were reinforced by kids at school and sometimes family. I’ve mentioned before my twin sister and even though we are not identical aunts and uncles would get us confused. Their way of telling us apart was by me being the fat one and my sister the thin one. Even my mom would say things without thinking. Introducing my sister as the one in college with a boyfriend and turning to me and saying “oh and that’s her sister”. I never said anything, not even when I was laughed at in school and called names.

In high school I would go to parties with my best friend. My sister-in-law’s brother went to school with us and went to the same parties. He was cute and popular and so were his friends. I remember one of them mooing at me one night, my sister-in-law’s brother said nothing. I just drank more. This happened a few times until I was drunk enough to tell them off. It made things worse. I started showing up with a few guys from a new crowd that were older and bigger, they left me alone then. Problem was the new crowd was way worse.

When I went to bars I always tried to look my best even at 250 pounds. If a guy I liked was ignoring me I would drink more and act like an ass. Proving points my friend Christian called it. He also said I was proving points to people who weren’t worth it and I was hurting myself. He was right. I had been proving points my whole life.

My niece’s graduation party is soon and there will be people there I haven’t seen in a long time. They don’t know I have lost over 120 pounds and now have red hair. I mentioned wearing something nice to my sister and she got mad. She said it wasn’t my day or about me. She doesn’t understand how it feels to be at family functions constantly tugging on your clothes because you feel fat and ugly. I’m also thinner than her now it makes her mad. Where was she when I was being spit on and being called “a fat f**king pig”? She was having fun at college. She knows the humiliation I went through she just worries about herself. So I was told not to dress up or anything. My sister-in-law’s brother will be there. Did I mention he would flirt with me if we were alone? Funny. I will look my best no matter what anyone says. I’m not going to wear an evening gown or anything but I’ll try to look nice because I always did anyway. Shame on anyone that wants to take that away from me. To finally be ok with myself at 42 I think I deserve it.

Weight For Me

A lot of you may know that I spent the majority of my life in the body of a 250 pound person. When I was diagnosed as Bipolar then with Celiac Disease things began to change. I also began my journey of sobriety. The meds can make you gain or lose weight, it’s difficult to find food that is appealing and affordable for Celiac and alcohol bloats you and puts on the pounds.

The combination of meds I have taken for the last few years made me lose weight rapidly, I am also always sick from the Celiac because mine stays active. I lost 120 pounds in less than a year. It looks like more because I have a muscle wasting disease caused by the Celiac. It shows mostly in my face. There isn’t anything I can do about it. I also no longer have the trigger in my brain that tells me I’m thirsty, this leads to dehydration.

I bring all of this up because it is difficult to respond to people who haven’t seen me in awhile. People don’t realize the things they say. I often get the response of “You must be so much happier now that you are thin”. Actually I’m not. My brain has trouble processing it when I look in the mirror. I also didn’t lose the weight in a healthy way. This leaves me in an awkward position. Do I tell the truth or do I lie so everyone feels better? Why do they have to assume my happiness depends on my weight? My sister tells me I look awful, like a skeleton. My father has asked that I don’t lose anymore. Others say I look good. I looked up my height and age and I am within my target weight. I’m just tired of the comments and questions.

I’m also tired of going clothes shopping alone. My sister refuses because she is no longer thinner than me. I cry in dressing rooms. I was always complimented on my style as a plus sized woman. Now I can’t even decide on a pair of socks. It shouldn’t be this way should it? I should be enjoying this time. I try not to let other people bother me but guess what? I’m human and Bipolar and over sensitive. I think robes should make a good fashion statement. I love pajamas. Maybe I’ll stick to those.

Mad As Hell And I Just Have To Take It

When I look back at my childhood and into my adulthood I see clearly where I allowed people to bully me. I still do sometimes. As a child there isn’t much you can do. If you tell your parents you’re a tattle-tale, if you don’t it keeps getting worse. Most children don’t tell. Most teachers are aware of it and do nothing for fear that it reflects badly on them. They can’t control their classroom. The parents see it and do nothing. Buying into the crap “boys will be boys” or “that’s just how kids play”. I personally am banned from my nephew’s playground at his school. It is like watching a version of Lord of the Flies. I tried to step in when a larger kid had a tiny kid on the ground and threw sand directly in his eyes. NO OTHER PARENT DID A THING. And they were all there! So my sister told me to take a walk. I will say that usually my sister does step in and handles it well. Almost professionally.

You can say and do what you want to me, I don’t care. My family is another matter. My beautiful, smart, kind nephew, that’s something else entirely. I can’t have children, my twin sister’s kids are like my own, they are as close as I will get. She is a great mom and my brother in law is a great dad. I don’t think either is aggressive enough when it comes to the bullying. My nephew stayed home from school today complaining of a stomach ache and his head hurting. He was also sweating a lot. He’s small for his age. Come to find out yesterday in class a bigger kid, and I mean bigger, punched him as hard as he could in the back. That’s why he didn’t want to go to school. This child has been in trouble before. So much so that he has his own aide. Where was his aide when he was punching people? I am all for integrated classrooms. Except if the child is consistently violent. Then the situation needs to be looked at again.

I loathe bullying in any way, shape, or, form. It’s right up there with lying. I would rather you punch me in the face than look me in the face and lie. As someone I used to know was fond of say “But D**a, if they believe it it’s the truth”. Typical con thinking but true.

So if you see bullying DO SOMETHING! We need to stop being so afraid of what the other parents might do or say. Afraid of rocking the boat. So what if you get a little wet you’ll dry.