Tag Archives: Bullying

Back to the Subject of Bullying: Watching my Son Struggle!

27 Aug

It always amazes me how God weaves a theme into our lives for several weeks at a time.  

Little did I know, last week when I wrote a couple of posts about how someone attempted to bully me and I learned to push back, that this would become the theme of several of my conversations this week.

But it has.  As I have repeated the old saying several times “Hurt people hurt people” so I have watched some things be purposely done to hurt people I love.

Yet, I have not the slightest doubt that, if I were to call any of the people who have done these hurtful things to task, I would get to hear a story about how someone first hurt them.  

We so love to justify our bullying of other people (and let us use the correct word for it–it is bullying).  

We live on a fallen planet.  God wants to grow us up into maturity, but not into hardheartedness.  So we need to learn to have compassion on hurting people.  We need to learn to not go for revenge when others lash out at us.  But we also need to learn wisdom so that we can shield the precious people we love from becoming the targets of these people who have been hurt so much that they have turned into bullies themselves . . . 

I think of a time when our sweet, naive son was about ten years old.  

He has always been so trusting, with those wide, steady brown eyes watching us in absolute confidence that we would be wise enough to tell him how to solve his problems.

 I shudder to remember the times I have fallen short, either being impatient with him or just flat out telling him I don’t know the answers.  So many questions, so many inadequacies revealed in me.  

But those wide, steady brown eyes keep watching me with confidence.

And there was that Saturday morning when a neighborhood girl, whose name shall remain unspoken (for I have no intent to embarrass her), got Joey to wake up early.  

He was around age ten and had not often interacted with this young girl.  But she told him she had a present for him.  She told him that on Friday night–said she would meet him at 8 AM on Saturday morning outside our house with the present.

I kind of saw through the story right away.  I didn’t trust it.  But how do you deal with a naive child in such a situation?  If you teach him that he is never to trust anyone, you teach him to harden his heart in advance, before anyone ever has a chance to hurt him.

I decided to give her a chance–that there was at least a possibility that she really did have something for Joey.

He hardly slept that night–he was so excited.  When a person has autism, it is not often that his peers reach out to him, so this was definitely an exciting development.  He didn’t want to oversleep and miss it.

He was standing outside of our house at 8 AM sharp.  And, just as I had suspected, the young girl never came out of her house, never brought up the present in conversation again.  

I had to look in those wide, steady brown eyes and see the disappointment of being let down.

in an ironic sort of way, I was thankful that, since Joey has mostly known kindness in his life, the letdown was a big shock to him.  If he had always been bullied, I guess he would have grown to accept that as normal.   

But nothing stops the pain in our hearts when a loved one trusts someone and gets let down, does it?

May we grow to be truly wise in protecting our loved ones from wanton hurt, while never retaliating against those who have become bullies due to being bullied themselves!  

 

 

  

 

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“I’ve Been Bullied, therefore you have to accept any behavior I choose to exhibit . . .”

25 Aug

Had a great talk with my Sunday school ladies today, so I wanted to make sure I was crystal clear in a point I was making the other day about verbal abuse.  This point applies to any verbal abuse, whether someone is doing it to me, I am doing it to someone else, or two totally different parties (or more) are involved.

Verbal abuse/bullying is never okay.  

You should always remove yourself from any situation where verbal abuse/bullying is present (well, if it is a child too young to be left alone, you are unfortunately going to have to stay and help that child make right choices.  But otherwise . . .).  

Do not let the person make an issue of whether you have done “the right thing” in the situation until now.  The other day when I was being verbally savaged, it came down to whether I could prove I had written an email response to something that was sent to me two weeks before.  I had intended to write the response.  I probably did write it.  But I could not find a copy of that email.

And that whole issue was a red herring.  You see, even if I did forget to send that email, nothing ever justifies the torrent of abuse that person was sending my way.  

Understand?  The verbal abuser will try to tell you that you “deserve it.”  That you have done something wrong and that the verbal abuse is so that you will “get yours” in the situation.  

Wrong!  Refer back to my first two paragraphs, above.

Verbal abuse is never justified in any situation.  Full stop.

The other thing that my verbal abuser tried, once she realized (after about three seconds) that I had not the slightest intention of trying to find that email to justify myself in the situation, was dusting off her history.

It went like this, “Well, I have been abused my whole life so this is the only way I know to relate to people.”  

She immediately regretted that, I think, as I told her that, while I will always be her friend and wish her well in her journey, she has more need of a counselor right now than she has need of me (or anyone) as a friend.  

See how that works?  She was pleading, in essence, that she is too pathological to have a normal friendship.  But she wanted the sympathy vote in which I would let her get away with murder verbally and still call the relationship “friendship.”  

Instead, I suggested that, if she is that broken, she needs to work on the brokenness before she can even hold out hope of having an even relationship with another person that would be labeled “friendship.”  

That is sad.  But that is true.  

And isn’t it kindness to tell someone that, instead of letting her think she can go through life verbally attacking people who are trying to help her, then becoming puzzled when they pull away from her?

Like what did she think was going to happen?

I believe our public schools have led the way by letting people use the victim mentality so much that we now believe we can throw the “victim card” to cover any atrocious behavior we may exhibit.  

Not true.  And the way to stop that is to not accept it when someone tries that tack with us.

It is not only for our best, it is for theirs, too.  

Rage just begets more rage.  Studies have shown that.  We do people no favors by letting them vent all over us.

Regardless of their history.

Help them get straight with their history.  

Don’t let them keep on perpetuating a cycle of bullying!  That would go on forever and only diminishes everything in its path.  

Ya know?

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