Have you ever been the victim of bullying, perhaps as a child or a teen? Maybe your parents moved and you were the new boy or girl at school, different from the others. You might have been introverted, shy, insecure, or uncomfortable in social situations. Or perhaps you were perceived as the teacher’s pet, as smarter than the others or less intelligent and easy to tease. Maybe you were big and fat or small and skinny. Or it could even be that someone was jealous of you and started gossiping and telling lies about you.
Many of us have been teased, hurt or even humiliated by one of our peers in front of our friends and classmates. Maybe you were able to defend yourself. Maybe you had supportive friends who stood up for you. Or maybe you felt all alone, abused, ashamed and abandoned.
Regardless of our early experiences, most of are relieved to have grown up and gotten away from all that pain and drama. We believe that the bullying and humiliating experiences are over. However, a study at Indiana State University found that 15 percent of teenagers reported having been bullied and a larger 22 percent said they were cyberbullied. And then they graduate from college and figure it is all over.
Bullying behavior is not relegated to elementary school, high school or college. That type of behavior sometimes continues into the workplace and has been found in many long term intimate relationships. At work, the bully may be a co-worker, a supervisor or your boss. And the behavior may be subtle and slowly elevating so that it is difficult for others to know what is happening. For example, a supervisor may pile up workloads that are impossible to achieve, followed by very poor evaluations. The supervisor may criticize and humiliate you in front of co-workers and even your boss. Your co-workers may gossip about you and spread false rumors. Someone may want to prevent you from being promoted to the new position that he or she wants. And because this behavior can be insidious and slow building, it can be difficult to get support from others.
Intimate partners are notorious for bullying the one they claim to love. A man may humiliate his wife because he has been earning the money while she has “nothing to do” at home, belittling her and her efforts and the hard work she does to keep the house and raise the children. When the woman earn the higher income, she may consistently express her disappointment and even disgust about her partner’s inability to provide for her. Sometimes the bullying happens around sex. When a man pressures a woman for sex no matter how she feels, if she refuses he may resort to insulting her appearance, telling her she is frigid, or perhaps blatantly flirting with others and and threatening to cheat. Some women bully the man they say they love by poking fun at his masculinity, pressuring him into “performing” and then beating him up emotionally when he doesn’t “perform” to her expectations.
People who bully others have not learned how to love. Believe it or not, cruel and sadistic behavior really stems from insecurity. When we feel loved and lovable we cannot imagine hurting another person. When we feel the love inside our own self we care how we are affecting another and we want the other person to feel loved also. The bully has to prove that he or she is okay by overpowering another person which makes him or her feel superior in some way. When the bully is confronted by someone stronger, more powerful or more emotionally centered, the bully can become weak and a wimpering coward.
So, my question to you is this. WHO IS BULLYING YOU? Is someone outside yourself bullying you, insulting and belittling you, and causing you to doubt yourself and feel inadequate? Very often, it is not an outside person who is bullying us. Every day we think thoughts and say words to ourself that another person would construe as bullying if we said those same words to them. YOU may be your own worst bully. If you are currently being bullied by someone else, take a deep hard look at your own inner dialogue. You may be feeding the bully’s strength by silently agreeing.
Tame your inner bully now. Catch yourself saying something harsh, such as “You idiot; you always do that” or “You are so stupid, no wonder you can’t make any money.” As soon as you hear yourself even thinking critical and demeaning thoughts about yourself, STOP, listen, and change the words. Instead of saying “You idiot,” choose a more kind and caring way to tell yourself that you did something wrong and you are now learning and will do better next time. Instead of saying “You are so stupid,” find someone who knows what you don’t know and ask that person to teach you.
Send you bully on a long vacation and invite your inner lover to join you in your daily life. We all have inner bullies yet some us have learned how to tame that negative voice and love our self into peace of mind and a successful life orientation.
If you are struggling with your own inner or outer bully and don’t know what to do, I can help. SCHEDULE A SESSION.
THE GIFT OF LOVE ONLY $0.99 THIS WEEK.
THE DELICATE DANCE OF LOVE FREE PROMO – 4/08 – 4/10/13
Please share your thoughts and feelings and responses in the comment section below.
After responding to comments about this post, I have added a link to an important article by Rosemary about how you can
KEEP YOUR CHILDREN SAFE using social media.