When you think of a "bully", what do you see? A school aged kid picking on another kid? Name calling and pranks and pushing someone down on the playground? The old saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."? First off, that saying is bullsh*t. Words DO hurt. Second, bullies come in all ages. I admit, I never gave much thought to bullies in the adult world. We have other names for them. Softer names. Names that dismiss their actions. Online, we call them trolls. In real life, we call them jerks. Often, these alternate names disguise what they really are - Bullies. The sad reality is childhood bullies grow up and often remain bullies. Due to their "go getter" personalities, they often end up in positions of power. Supervisors, teachers, law enforcement...just to name a few.
Ok, Michelle, where are you going with this? Hold on...I'm getting there.
Sometimes you meet someone and you just clash. Everything you say is taken the wrong way. Everything you do is picked apart. You notice that this person treats you differently than he/she treats everyone else. You are met with iciness when they are met with warmth. This person seems to go out of his/her way to put you "in your place" and make you feel small. This person will attempt to isolate you from others. At first, you might chalk it up to a personality conflict. But it continues to escalate. Eventually, the stress takes a toll - both mentally and physically. You become depressed. You start getting sick. You dread being around this person, even when you know it is necessary. If this sounds like the voice of experience, that's because it is. I have found myself the victim of an adult bully.
I admit, I can be very naive. I tend to think of people as inherently good. Good people who occasionally do bad things. I see people as good until they prove otherwise. And even then I tend to dismiss their actions as anomalies. I take people at their word and trust until given reason not to trust. When people do things to hurt me, I rationalize their behavior. I dismiss it as a misunderstanding. I can't seem to accept that people hurt other people intentionally. I also wear my heart on my sleeve and tend to reveal things about myself that bad people can use to hurt me. Believe me, it is a dangerous way to live life. I get burned. A lot. This also makes me a prime target for bullies.
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Until last week, I didn't realize that I was dealing with a bully. No, I thought it was me. I spent months trying to figure out what I was doing wrong - why I can't seem to communicate with this person without being misunderstood. I don't have problems communicating with other people. I'm generally seen as a kind and helpful person. So why can't I ever seem to connect with this one person? The stress from this situation has made me physically ill. My migraines are out of control and my IBS is flaring worse than it ever has before. These physical symptoms are standing between me and my goals. I have become generally negative. I smile less. My depression is returning. I'm even starting to lose interest in the things I love - my hobbies that usually bring me immense joy. You may have even noticed it through my writing here. Being torn down by someone in a position that is supposed to encourage you is devastating.
It wasn't until I was talking to another person about the situation that it began to make sense. She told me that others have had the same issue with the person I am dealing with. She called this person's behavior "bullying". I admit, I was shocked by that. I always thought of bullies as a grade school problem. She insisted that the behavior I was describing is adult bullying and challenged me to look it up. I did just that, and I was shocked at what I found. Page after page described my situation to the letter. The page on Adult Bullying on NoBullying.com really drove it home. My entire outlook has changed. I will NOT be bullied anymore. I am a strong, kind person and I have a voice. I will not be silenced by a bully!
Sadly, it took months for someone to give this problem a name. I have discussed the situation with several friends and family. And you would be surprised at the number of people who advised me to ignore it. Press on. Do what you have to do and get it done. Laugh it off. It's only temporary. Keep your eye on the goal. While these friends and family were trying to help, their advice is not sound. Ignoring a bully doesn't stop the torment. Allowing someone to tear you down for any length of time, no matter how temporary, is NOT the answer. Running from a bully won't solve the problem. Especially if running prevents you from reaching your goals. I even attempted to discuss the situation with the bully on several occasions, assuming it was a misunderstanding. Things got better for a day or two, but the bullying behavior always returned. Bullies thrive off of tormenting their victims. They tear you down in order to make themselves feel stronger, more powerful or more important. If you ignore them, the bullying attempts get stronger. More vicious. More direct. The only way to stop a bully is to stand up and say "Stop"!
My mani for this week is a simple one with a "Strong" reminder. I will face this bully. I will beat this bully. I will NOT let this bully stand in my way any longer.
|Base color is KBShimmer What Are you Wading For? from the upcoming spring launch. Ring Finger has one coat of KBShimmer Alloy Matey!, also from the upcoming spring launch. Swatches of these and other KBShimmer Spring polishes coming soon.|
Today is my first outward step in fighting this. I am putting this out there, because I know I'm not alone. If you are living a similar situation, I encourage you to stand up, be strong, and take charge. Report the bully if it is a workplace situation. Stand up to him/her and say "I will not be bullied by you any longer." Never let anyone make you feel the way I have felt for the past few months. No one, I repeat NO ONE, deserves that much control over you. I am a STRONG woman. I'm putting my foot down. If I can do it, so can you.
To anyone dealing with a similar situation, I'm here. If you need an ear, a shoulder, or even advice, PLEASE email me. Do not face this alone. I am thankful for a handful of friends and loved ones who are standing with me. I am here for you if you need me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
*The KBShimmer polishes shown in this post were provided by KBShimmer Bath and Body for my honest review. That review will be published within the next few weeks.