Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Now, where was I? Oh yes, that's right...
- Never allow those who taunted me to know they had succeeded.
Well this one is a doozey! I was teased alot at school and my parents tried to help by giving me this advice. They beleived that bullies would get bored if I didn't respond to their taunts and they would go about their business and leave me alone - yeah RIGHT! I felt like it presented as more of a 'challenge'.
"Let's see how much cruelty she will put up with and how long it will take for her to crack!" - Yeah, that's more like the thought processes of a bully.
I would put on the brave face when a retched girl in high school would spit in my hair, daily. I would go home and cry and wonder what I had ever done to deserve this treatment. This torment went on for near 3 years until we graduated. Regardless of my efforts to ignore, taunt back, confront or report this girl's behaviour, it was relentless. She kept pushing until I responded, and if it was going to take all year, she was going to persevere until she won.
For me, there has been a great lesson in all of this. I came to the realisation that it wasn't me that had something wrong with me, it is ALWAYS the bully.
Being exposed to bullying in the workplace recently, I began to uncover some similarities in those who bully others. Insecurity is the key. I started to notice those who taunt, do so to break down a person's self concept and esteem and eventually their confidence. Let's face it, if your opponent is stronger than you, the only way to remove them from the competition is to expose and exploit their weakness. After this stage is complete, the bully then has the 'threat' under control and assumes the role of Master Puppeteer.
"To succeed, you must always use the enemies weapons against them" - a great line by Gene Hackman in the film "Enemy of the State", and brilliant advice to boot!
Correct me if I'm wrong but I think it's fair to say that bullies are aggressive (passively or just in your face, nevertheless, aggressive). Aggressive personalities seek out their aggressee for two reasons;
- To justify their aggressiveness or
- To give their self concept a 'boost', by picking on those who are passive and less confident.
So as you can see, nobody is immune to bullies, not even the bullies themselves. There will always be someone 'stronger' than them too.
Assertiveness can act as a magnet for a bully. After years of soul searching, trying to work out what was wrong with me, I grew more confidence in who am I and what I stand for. When I was young, I attracted bullies because I just didn't want any trouble, a peacemaker, a lover not a fighter - and that was seen as a weakness to exploit. As a confident, assertive adult, I attract a different type of bully, one who seeks an outlet for their aggression and the challenge of an Assertive person is just too good to pass up.
My most recent encounter with not one, but three bullies, all with corporate, positional power was a real test for me. I endured threats, a lack of positional stability and constant unnecessary questioning of my work. All this because I stood up for what was in the company's best interest, and I was heard.
If they wanted a witch-hunt, I was going to be the 'one that got away'. As in all corporations, it is in an employee's best interest to put everything in writing - so that's what I did. I insisted all requests be in writing due to my extensive travel, I wanted to ensure I kept abreast of my workload and this was the most effective method. I also kept a diary of conversations and became a trusted source of information (always maitaining integrity, afterall, I'd never stoop to their level). I kept my colleague's close but my bullies so close I'm surprised they could breathe!
It became a game to me after I got the hang of the rules of play. I gradually learnt how to reel each bully in until they developed a distrust of the other (obviously they were in cohoots with each other). I know how incredibly calculating and cruel this may sound, but I never did anything that was immoral, and I never took revenge. I merely played their game and manipulated their rules to create their undoing. And sat back to enjoy the aftermath.
So if you are or have been subjected to bullying, please know, the problem is not you. It really is the insecurity and severe lack of self esteem of the bully. You are great just as you are, and if they can't have what you've got, they want to take it from you. Take back the control.
In conclusion - If you are or were a bully, I can tell you, this affects a persons entire life - often indefinitely. You're not tough, you're not funny - you are extraordinarily SAD! And one day, you WILL play ball with the WRONG person!
Friday, March 19, 2010
My teenage years were somewhat turmultuous. Then again, whose weren't!
My parents had raised me to be considerate of others, treat them the way I want them to treat me, be accountable for my actions, always use manners and to not allow those who taunted me to know they had succeeded.
Great advice, wasn't it? I love my parents. I know they did the best job they possibly could, so please know that I respect the job they did. After all, they gave me the confidence, trust and encouragement to be my own person, and for that, they have been VERY successful!
Applying these principles has caused me considerable pain and confusion over the years. (I will interject in my own thought processes here to let you know that I am somewhat of an 'extreme' personality. I don't do things by halves and this is more than likely the reason I have got myself into certain predicaments in my life! I am a more balanced adult now, but it has taken some BIG butt kicks to get here.)
So let's start with the first point...
- Be considerate of others.
Little did I realise, this was probably more a reference to the K.I.S.S. method. So, as long as it isn't done/said with the intention of malice, cause of physical harm to myself or others, it's all good! I, however, took this more to mean that before I open my mouth I must consider every possible reaction to what I'm about to say & pre-empt how to offset this. I'm surprised I'm still sane! Do you know how time consuming and confusing it is to worry yourself about every possible reaction a person could have to one simple comment? And then, try dealing with the one response you weren't prepared for!
- Treat people the way I want them to treat me - yeah, well, interesting.
Tissues were my best friend for many years. Even to this day, I always have at least 3 boxes of tissues in my house at any one time.Know this, I still beleive in this philosophy, I just have a very different understanding of what this truly means. The most difficult aspect of this philosophy is grasping the concept that this will not automatically mean that others will treat you 'right'. I experienced alot of disappointment in this area of my life. Even the people who really didn't deserve my attention, I would continue to treat with respect and consideration. Obviously, I was hoping this would show them a concept they may never have considered before. Now I can see that they more than likely would have been exposed to the concept of treating people well, but they chose that it was not for them!
- Be accountable for my actions.
- Always use manners
I think this goes without saying. In my 9 years experience in the Early Childhood industry, I was always conscious of role modelling manners. My area of expertise was children 15 months to 2 1/2 years. Obviously I had to tailor this to be age appropriate, but my group always finished the year with beautiful manners. Something as simple as "ta" is teaching a young child the importance of manners.
Think about the last time someone in your work place or family thanked you for something. Makes you feel valued doesn't it? It amazes me how simple words such as these can make such a huge difference in ones life. Do you thank someone when they do something for you?
- Never allow those who taunted me to know they had succeeded