Wednesday last week was anti bullying day – way to go! It is really important to focus on bullying – a topic that affects many peoples lives every day. Both the victims and the bullies!
It is important to help the victims, support them and do everything we can to protect them from bullying. I am sure we have all tried to be bullied to various degrees and we can all agree that it is awful and can have life-long effects.
But in order to really make a difference and get to the root of bullying we have to also understand the bully. No one bullies because they want to be mean or evil, it’s because of the pain inside. You can say bullying is pain projected out into the world. When I worked with children of alcoholics I met children who were terrible bullies – it was their way of coping with anxiety, frustration and pain. It was their way of coping with being humiliated by parents, by being beaten emotionally, physically or sexually. They did not know how to express how they felt and what they needed so bullying was the only way. It was a scream for help but no one heard it ……………..it was a way to say, I feel so alone, I feel inadequate and unlovable, I am scared and terrified to go home.
I am not saying that bullying is okay. It is absolutely NOT okay and we need to stop it. But how? Is punishment the way to stop it ?
What if we look at the bully we all have inside – and we all have one. It is the one who tells us we are not good enough, intelligent enough or it tell us we are ugly or too fat or never gonna amount to anything in life. It can even be so nasty that it holds us back from living our lives – it keeps commenting on and censoring everything we do. Could we punish it to behave?
The bully, both the one that is projected out and the one turned inward is really screaming for help. What if we stopped and asked, with out judging, with compassion and love – ” Please, I really want to understand you, tell me what is it you are really trying to tell us?
When my inner bully is active it has no mercy, it is the meanest thing on earth and it keeps going at me – until I realize what is going on. Then I can embrace it and ask it what is the matter? Often it will tell me that it feels really hurt by something someone said or did – but because emotions can be so hard to hold and express I turn it in, rather than talk about it. The inner bully is an alarm for me now – I know for sure that if I catch my inner bully in beating me up, there is something I have not expressed.The same thing with the bullies we meet in school, through work or other places – there is something underneath that needs attention and love.
Loving the inner and outer bully is the only way to heal – it is getting to the root of it. Quieting it forever or until next time and we can ask it “Hey buddy what’s really up, what is it you really need to express? “