Bully Beat Down


 

 

“Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others.” ~Wikipedia

Just read that to yourselves a few times. Let that sink in. Open your eyes to what’s going on in your world and maybe even your own life. We seem to think abuse has to be a fist in the face resulting in a black eye or a few missing teeth. We go along with the idea that if there are no bruises to show then no injury could have been done. We think broken bones and fragile nerves and weepy frailness personifies those who are bullied by another. Those who allow themselves to be beat down figuratively because if it’s not literal it can’t possibly be real. We lie to ourselves.

The tricky thing about abusers, narcissists and bullies is that we expect them to look like their afflictions suggest. We picture ugly and cruel and scary looking. Unfortunately, that isn’t usually the case. We don’t always get that kind of visual “heads up”. A lot of the time these traits hide behind a handsome or pretty face, a noble reputation or a soft voice. Sometimes the face the public sees is not what we live with. We allow ourselves to be trapped in the delusion we build for ourselves to make our choice in life easier to swallow.

I will never forget the moment I realized that I had slowly built someone into something they were not so that I could live more easily with my choice to allow them into my life. I shamed, humiliated and embarrassed myself in front of my own soul. You don’t get any lower than that. But I digress.

There are times when those who are allowing themselves to suffer under these circumstances appear to the world as a pillar of strength. They seem strong and indomitable. They project strength, confidence and authority in all other aspects of their lives save the one that matters most. They stumble blindly behind the scenes of their own lives allowing themselves to be that quiet cowering thing that they themselves have no respect for. It’s a slow and insidious downward spiral into isolation.

They are often the champion of the weak around them. They are the vigilantes for justice for everyone but themselves. I promise you that they hate themselves for it. They stand and fight for others, all but the most aggressive bend before their will to prevail. But they do not stand for themselves. They do not draw or guard those lines of decency that must exist between one human being and another. The way they allow themselves to be treated makes a mockery of the rest of their lives by their own perception. It’s a losing game.

There are bullies everywhere. They are cleverly disguised as spouses, parents and friends. You know them by the way you feel “lesser than” when you’re with them. You will know them by the way you tone down your personality, dim your exuberance and let them be the winner in any situation. You will know them because you can’t breathe freely or smile genuinely or laugh from your gut when you’re with them. Lightning strike me now if I’m lying to you. You know it’s true. You know it.

I hate to tell you this, but this is what I know for sure. It is not enough to run away. It is not enough to save yourself by relocating to a new place where you are ready to be a victim again. You have to turn around and stand up to the one that scares you. You have to not allow them to bully you anymore. You have to look them in the eye and say “NO”.  You have to stand your ground, come what may. If you don’t, you’re just another might have been ready to be run into the ground by the next big show. Because that’s all it is darling. A great big dramatic show that you’ve bought into. You will continue to be that one in the movies that trips on the root and gets chopped to pieces by the psycho. Not to scare you or anything, just saying.

Walk away. Then run as fast and far as you can. Then take a deep breath and turn around to face the thing that scares you the most: your own weakness. You are not fucking weak, you have merely been uneducated to the quality of a real life. Once you get a taste of it, you’ll be more than willing to turn around and face what you have to. You’ll wrestle that bear and win the right to breathe freely and with all the joy you can stand.

I double dog dare you.

 

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I’m Sorry Is Not Enough


 

 

This has been one hell of a week. I screwed up in a big way, unwittingly hurt a wonderful friend and got my ass handed to me. It wasn’t pretty. After studying the whole situation inside and out, I had to own the injury I caused. It didn’t matter if I meant to hurt, what mattered is that I did. It totally sucked that I had to step up and apologize for being an idiot, but it had to happen.

Unfortunately, saying I’m sorry isn’t always enough. Sometimes we have to let them speak. They have a right to tell us what hurt them and how it felt. They have a right for us to hear them and respect their feelings and take the punch to the stomach we feel as their pain drains out of them and onto our ego.

That being said, there are lines that should not be crossed without immediate action. No name-calling. No repetitive cursing or bully beat-down. Redemption is supposed to hurt like a mother but as adults who actually have the power of speech, logic and reason there is no good side to that kind of loss of composure. Now I do imagine that it feels good to rain hell fire down on someone who deserves it. I’d bet the farm that there was a huge sense of relief and release.

Hurting someone you care for on purpose is a severe loss to both parties.

Sorry, but there it is. I wasn’t trying to erase the wrong I’d done, that’s not possible. I wanted to “man up” so to speak and own my shit. I wanted my friend to know that I saw clearly how my behavior resulted in this downward spiral. I don’t think it mattered that I’m the type of person that bleeds for a long time if I find out I’ve hurt someone I love, or maybe they just don’t know that about me yet.

Honestly, sometimes “I’m sorry” isn’t enough. It deserves to be said and heard, but the pain or injury can take some time to fade enough to look a little closer and forgive. If I care for you in any way, knowing my past behavior is still causing pain is hell to me. Take comfort in that if you will. I am my own hair shirt when it comes to penalties for hurting anyone I love.

I have heard a handful of things in my life that I will never forget. There are words that have been said to me on purpose that I will never be able to un-hear. I am trying not to carry them forward with me, but it is hard to let go of my need to protect myself from those who would break my heart if I let them. This is a weakness, a cowardice that I will work to overcome. Otherwise, they win.

This time, something odd happened. I took my hits and understood the ferocity behind them. I heard the hurt and fury behind every word that stabbed me straight in the heart. I sat with all of this afterwards and just let it roll through my head and my heart. I let it sink in and settle. I even got pissed for a day or so because I owned my shit didn’t I? I apologized and copped to screwing up right? I did the right thing and this is what happens? WTF???

I hurt someone I love without thinking. They hurt me on purpose because I deserved it. I learned several things from the fiasco of this week from hell. Get my head out of my ass and listen to those who care for me. Do not insult them by minimizing their feelings of concern. Saying “I’m sorry” isn’t a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Dammit.

I also learned I have limits. I have boundaries I’m laying down to maintain the human dignity in any conversation I have. I’ll listen to every feeling, every sorrow, every injury I’ve created by any action of stupidity I perpetrate upon another. I’ll take every tear and jaw clenching description offered to explain why I am temporarily a low life, scum sucking piece of crap that needs to be lit on fire and put out with an ice pick. I can do that.

Name calling and cursing, over and over…not so much. No. Won’t be happening again.

This is the lesson I’ve learned. I hope, with all my heart, you learn from my mistakes.

Nut up. Take your medicine. Hold the line of decency. That is all.