Oooh, that’s a challenging title. But bear with me.
Some has just contacted me to say that ‘Once a bully always a bully and once a bullied always a bullied’, which is what prompted me to write this post, which I’ve been meaning to get around to for ages. There is an ounce of truth in the quote that I was sent, but with a slight difference, which is:
Everyone is a BULLY. Everyone gets BULLIED. ALL the time. AS much as each other. Just in DIFFERENT ways/places.
Now that might be a bit challenging, but bear with me and I will explain myself! The reason that I’m saying this, is because if you really want to transform the bullying in yours/your child’s life, then we need to start with a true understanding of the situation. From there, we can make a real change! After all, how depressing would it be if it was really true that you were labelled as either bully/bullied from the start and that was how the rest of your life was going to be. Things would be looking pretty miserable for me, that’s for sure.
Step 1: Define what bullying means to you
Surprisingly you will find that it is different for different people. E.g. general picking on to making someone feel unconfident/unhappy (my experience of school), name calling, physically beating, scareing someone (this is what happened to my little boy), taking things from them, ignoring them, making them do things they don’t want to do – oh the list is endless.
Step 2: Now have a look for where you have done that definition elsewhere
It’s quite likely that if you were bullied at school, there were at least a couple of incidents where you also ‘bullied’ (see your definition above), or stood by and let it happen to someone else. But keep looking in different places in your life, either then or now. For example, work, spiritual views, finances, physical health, social networks, family/relationships. Plus, it might not have been to the same extent or focussed at just one child, it might be that it was lots of little times.
In my life now I totally do that! I definitely don’t let Max do what he wants to do all the time, that’s when he says I’m being ‘rude or naughty’! There are times with my clients, that I have to initially help them to see someone painful before we can move on. There are other times that my clients are a bit full of themselves and not appreciating their lives/relationships/work and my job is to bring more love of their life back, which requires me showing them how great those things are, and that maybe they are not the as much ‘the best thing since sliced bread’ as they think – you know we all need to be brought down a peg or too sometimes, for our own health! You’ll have taken promotions and jobs away from people, and affected the financial health of your family by deciding what could/couldn’t be afforded. There will be people that you didn’t invite around because you were not keen on their views. Do you see, how it goes?
It’s not that you had the intention of bullying someone. It’s just that they saw something that you did in a specific way, and therefore felt a certain way about it.
Step 3: There is an equal amount
If bullying or being bullied has been an issue for you or your child, then take a week or so with a big notebook and write down all the times that you/they have felt like a bully or like they are being bullied.
Admittedly the ‘bullying’ may always be coming/going to a particular person in a very focussed way. Whereas the balance/opposite could be coming/going to many different people in many different places. But if you can start to understand that it is always there, and always will be, then we can really help to transform it in your lives.
Remember at the beginning I said that bullying is always there. BUT you can change the way it shows up in your life or your kids life. That’s what I’m looking for with Max, my little boy. A balance of both me & my husband bullying him at home, so that it isn’t purely the ‘job’ of one person to keep him on the straight and narrow and give him boundaries. Plus a balance at nursery/school which doesn’t come from a particular child, but is generally mixed around all the children when they are a bit grumpy.
This is something that is achievable.
Plus it doesn’t make anyone powerless or a victim.
Plus once you learn it, it will stay with you, so it is sustainable.
So even if it is a little tricky to get your head around, I’d love it if you would have a go and let me know how you do.