How sad that we have an anti-bullying week as it has a celebration feel to it. I would like to see Kindness Week instead and think of all the ways we could be kind to someone, our loved ones and especially someone we might not have been so kind to. Kindness communicates that we care about the other person.
Having said that, The Anti Bullying Alliance’s theme for this week is Power for Good which is, in my opinion, a wonderful theme for the week and the whole of our lives.
Unfortunately, bullying is another way of communicating which the bully thinks is effective and indeed, can be very effective if the other person is scared enough to do the bully’s bidding or the bully hurts them.
Even though this is an unacceptable form of communication, it normally means that the bully was bullied and doesn’t know how to be different.
Bullying can be in the form of verbal abuse or physical abuse and can have long lasting effects on the bullied person, hence they can become bullies themselves.
Unfortunately, I see this happening in relationships…in couples and families and in business. And indeed, it has happened to me.
I remember being bullied by a girl at secondary school. She would be in the cloakroom and pull my hair and other girls’ hair. As bullying goes, it wasn’t so bad but I was scared and found myself not wanting to go in the cloakroom unless someone else was there or with me…I avoided her as best I could.
I remember seeing 2 male teachers bullying the boys in my class. One used a slipper and the other a belt.
The strange thing is, that I never saw my father as a bully even though he both sexually and physically abused me…but he was. And I felt emotionally bullied by my husband…feeling criticised and blamed for everything.
I remember being very angry with my children…and now I would say I was over the top angry…I am sure they felt bullied. I am so so sorry that I couldn’t see how angry I was and how much I hurt my children with the anger. I certainly didn’t intend to bully them.
Nowadays, I work with couples, individuals, families and businesses where the people involved want to have better relationships and in some relationships there is bullying. There is a young woman whose husband will demand this and that of her and accuse her of being selfish. She agreed that she had been selfish because she had always been giving and was told she needed to think of herself. She didn’t know how to think of herself and be inclusive of others. She just went to the polar opposite.
(Taking care of ourselves and being inclusive of other is a bit like we are asked to put on our life jackets if there is a possibility of the plane crashing…we are told to do this without helping others first…not to help children, the elderly or the infirm but put ours on first. WHY? Because if we don’t take care of ourselves first, we cannot help others.)
However, her husband was not willing to change in any way whatsoever and stopped coming. He is still bullying her by leaving home until she begs him to return, smashing their wedding photos to get her to comply. My client was so desperate that she did his bidding. Now things are changing and she is learning to take care of herself and still love him. She lets him go and calls/texts him to say how much she loves and misses him and asks him to come home but she will not say he is completely right and she is completely wrong nor beg him to come back.
Bullies are powerful and so are victims. My client has been powerful as a victim too but now she is becoming a powerful woman for good in her relationship and other relationships she has, in particular her family.
What do I mean by being powerful as a victim. As a victim, I would cry without thinking and people would feel sorry for me. I would be angry and go to the polar opposite by being angry.
Awareness is key. I wasn’t aware of what I was saying or doing. Once I became aware I could choose to find out how to be different and choosing is very powerful indeed.
If you are being bullied or have been told you are a bully in your relationship, please choose to do something different and get help. I would love to help you but if it’s not me, please go to someone who can help you.
If seeing someone is too challenging at the moment, please buy my paperback book Rekindle the Magic in Your Relationship ~ Making Love Work here or the Kindle version on Amazon.co.uk here . The Kindle version is also on all the Amazon sites around the world.
In Rekindle the Magic in Your Relationship ~ Making Love Work, you will find exercises to help you communicate effectively.
I love you
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