“Sometimes the bravest thing we can ever do is to stand in the storm with our heads held high and wait for the storm to pass. Often this is the best thing for us to do…and the right thing.
Then sometimes, dear friend, the bravest thing we can do is to walk away from the storm…
or even run as fast as we can.
Even when we are the only ones who can even SEE the storm…
these are the hardest kinds of storms to walk away from.
We often carry too much false guilt to walk away from things that are killing us…
especially when no one else can see those things to tell us that it’s okay to walk away, or even that it’s absolutely critical.
Sometimes our deepest agony is caused by things so private that no one else can see. Sometimes we are hurt by things that are so secret, so private, that it is hard to see how devastating they are to us because there is no light shed on them. In the darkness, lies are whispered to us…telling us that we deserve abuse, or that we brought it on ourselves.
Your soul knows, sweetheart.
In the deepest parts of yourself, your soul knows the truth. Your soul longs for light…not darkness. Your soul longs to be cared for, not abused. To walk away from any kind of abuse is brave, powerful, and critical to the life of your soul.
You can do it, beautiful soul…
and you must.
NO ONE deserves to be abused, and NO ONE has the right to abuse you.
You are loved. And you deserve to be loved.”
Brave Girls Club
Over the past few years I’ve received a series of gutting communications from some people in my life. They would start and end with declarations of love, but in the middle was pure poison. Over the past few months they grew in frequency and intensity. I became afraid to go on Facebook, email, even my blog, scared of what I would find there. My health took a steep decline and each day was a difficult struggle dealing with migraines, nightmares, dysentery, and a host of other symptoms of severe stress.
For a long time I thought that I had to receive those communications or I would be A Weak Person. So I kept receiving them. Kept reading them. Kept allowing them to disrupt my life, unsettle my spirit, and ravage my health. I began to doubt myself, to question the things I personally had witnessed and experienced. I began to see myself through their eyes. It was not good.
Over the holidays I finally shared their messages with my counselor. She was horrified and said:
“They are systematic attempts to dismantle your Self, to depersonalize you, make you feel like you don’t even know who you are. It is akin to torture, to breaking down a person. Hostile, aggressive, cruel – it is a form of mental and psychological torture, mental abuse.”
Sometimes we get so used to certain forms of ill treatment that we need someone else to come along and say: “This is not acceptable.”
That was what I needed to find the strength to call the situation for what it was: Bullying. It also gave me the courage to stand up for myself, for my life, my relationships, my health, and to say, “No more. No Bullies Allowed.”
Then something amazing happened. Within a few hours of taking that stand, nearly all my symptoms disappeared. The migraines stopped, the nightmares ceased and I’ve been sleeping like a log. The anxiety and fear that have dogged me have been replaced by peace, courage, and a bubbly happiness that is natural, not something I had to choose. I got to cancel doctors appointments and stop taking medicine and I realized this:
I’m not afraid of them anymore.
Now that I’ve stood up to them, I can see things so much more clearly. It’s amazing how foggy-ing fear is.
These are a few things I’ve learned:
- allowing bullies to bully unchecked is telling them and anyone who is observing that Bullying Is OK. It is not.
- blocking bullies who will not change their behavior is not only healthy, it is essential for healing and growth and happiness.
- bullying doesn’t have to be physical to be bullying. Psychological bullying is equally devastating, if not more so.
- if someone doesn’t respect your boundaries, they are a bully.
- if someone tries to make you doubt your own memories, experiences, and the things you have personally witnessed, they are a bully.
- if someone believes they don’t have to acknowledge bad behavior before a relationship can be restored, they are a bully.
- if someone will only accept you if you change your beliefs, lifestyle, or relationships, they are a bully.
- if someone believes they have the right to dictate how you live and what you do and who you spend time with and what you believe and WHO YOU ARE, they are a bully.
- if someone says you have to accept their bad behavior because “we’ve been friends forever” or “we’re related” or “God told me to tell you this” or “you need some tough love” or “you can’t be trusted to make good decisions” or any other arrogant nonsense, they are a bully.
- the only way to know that a bully has changed is through their behavior, not their words. If their lies are replaced with truth, their cruelty with kindness, their attempts to control with loving support, then, and only then, is the restoration of a relationship possible.
This situation has also made me think of the opposite of bullying: Love.
And that’s what we’ll look at next time. XO
Have you ever been bullied? What helped you deal with it?