Bullies in our lives By Dr. Michael Brooks
Growing up as an army brat, I have lived all over the world. With my dad being in the military we packed and moved all the time. We never stayed in one place long enough to develop lasting friendships. I used to play with any kid on our block, nomatter where we moved. I never had problems with mean kids, we all got along.
Then when we moved to Chicago from Schweinfurt Germany, that’s when things changed. I was in 4th grade, playing with some kids on the playground of my new school, when a red headed boy walked up to our group and started pushing several kids around. No one resisted, he came up to me and said “you’re the new kid from Germany, aren’t you? You’re a Nazi.” Then he punched me in the stomach, and started laughing and walked off. Everyone was afraid of Pete, he bullied all of us. I never said anything to my parents; maybe because I was embarrassed as this playground abuse was all new to me. I have never encountered anyone like Pete. His older brother was the same way. I remember walking home one Saturday morning in July when Pete’s brother, John, called some kid over and the kid ignored him. John got off his bike went over and beat the kid up. I wondered why these brothers were so mean.
I found out that following year. For some reason Pete seemed to respect me, he stopped bullying me and wanted to be a friend. He invited me over to his house to see his dad’s army stuff he collected. His dad had all kinds of war relics throughout the whole house. German helmets, uniforms, guns, bayonets, civil war swords, hats, Pete’s house was full of this stuff. I never saw Pete’s mom, nor did I ever hear him mention his mother name.
It was a Saturday morning I walked over to Pete’s house to see if he wanted to play. He invited me in and I saw his dad for the first time ever. His dad was sitting on the couch, dressed in a t-shirt, with a stub of a cigar in his mouth, while holding a jar between his legs. He was picking up penny’s, dimes, and quarters, would hold them up so he could see them, and say out loud “In God we hate.” then throw them into the jar, he did this repeatedly, while I stood there and watched! That’s when I saw hate in an adult eyes for the first time. Pete got his bad behavior from his dad, and Pete passed that hate on to the kids at school.
Bullies are in our lives everyday, some we can see and others we have no clue about. They can be friends of ours, family members, co-workers, even strangers we meet while grocery shopping, getting gas or in a city park. I have seen them even in churches.
So, how do we deal with the bullies in our own personal lives? For most of us we avoid them with a passion. We have nothing to do with them. I have had clients who have family members, where avoiding them is not that easy. You run into them at Christmas family gatherings, at family reunions, even at funerals. Most people suffer in silence and just say nothing. I did that as a kid, my parents never said anything, and I wondered, “Did they see I was acting different at home after getting bullied at school?” I doubt it.
My first suggestion is recognize that we will never get along with some people in our lives; we just tolerate some folks in our lives. Looking back at those who bullied us, are we looking at what they did and not the today’s person. I’m sure if I ran into Pete today, he would be someone totally different. If that’s the case then you should look at the relationship in a different way, you need to forgive and move on. I am talking about child to child bullying.
If you are facing someone at work that bullies you and or others, then we are looking at a different perspective! First of all, it’s not your fault that you have been getting bullied. I blamed myself when Pete punched me, I said to myself, what did I say or do that would cause him to hit me? It made me mad, I wanted to get even, and it made me angry that this was happening to me. Then I realized that Pete was responsible for his own actions, not me. I think when Pete saw that he was getting to me, it made him more of a shark, and he wanted to inflict more pain. So, was his hitting me and others making him feel inferior to the rest of us, yes! The adult bully most likely is a coward and when confronted will back down.
Another way to deal with bullies is to be nice to them, I tried this with Pete, he responded after a while. Most bullies will attack you with actions and unkind words if they feel in anyway threatened. I take that thought from the bully off the table as soon as I know they are office bullies. If this doesn’t work after a few times, then don’t waste your time. This suggestion will not work on every bully, but it’s worth a try.
When I worked at a shipping company, I had a boss who would bully everyone at our center. He made verbal threats and was cocky about it. One day when I was outside letting off the pressure off the air brakes, Dave my boss came out and started screaming at me. I stood up and looked him square in the eyes and said, today Dave your bullying stops. I will be respected and treated the way you treat your boss at this company. You will not raise your voice at me any longer, nor will you brow beat me with your verbal attacks anymore. I said to Dave, that I have treated you with respect and deserve likewise. From that moment on, I never had a problem from Dave. Tell the bully to stop in no uncertain terms! You have to take action to get things out in the open. Was I scared to say the things I did? Of course I was. But, what was the price I would pay if I didn’t? My own personal self respect, I reclaimed that morning I confronted Dave. I have learned how to deal with other bullies in my life. I will have other articles on bullies and how to deal with them. If you have any questions about bullies, please feel free to contact me. Next week, I will be writing about how to deal with a bullying boss!
Do you have a difficult time in say no to bullies? Have you lost friendships because of being bullied? Do you want to restore any of those friendships? Do you have pain and guilt from being bullied? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I can help you plan on how to control the bullies that have affected your life. Life Coaching will help you put a working plan together that prevents bullies from controlling your life.
In addition, online/phone Master Life Coaching is affordable, accessible, anonymous, and available by appointment, from the privacy of your own home. Avoid the travel and time it takes to get my office. Since you never have to leave the comfort of your own home to meet with me, your anonymity and privacy is completely secured and protected. I have many out of state clients who prefer this means of coaching, this is the most effective means for Life Coaching for those of you who live out of the Denver-metro area or are out of the state of Colorado. I also have Skype, it’s another way to set up a meeting so we can talk, contact me if your interested in setting up a Skype appointment.
If you want to get more information about the Life Coaching Program, call me at 303.456.0555 or e-mail Dr. Mike at email@example.com to set up a free consultation. All calls are confidential and your privacy is protected.