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Secret Storms, Public Light, and A Few Things I’ve Learned from Bullies

“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?

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Joy - Thank you, Krista. I needed this.

Julie Farnow - Krista, although I haven’t been through what you’ve experienced, I am confident that what you’ve shared here will inspire someone else reading this to choose to stop allowing bullies to hurt them any longer. It’s amazing that while you were going through this you were still sharing your beautiful heart and perspective in such a positive way. I’m glad your health has improved so much after you made the decision to leave the hurtful people behind.

Adriana @ Classical Quest - Yes. I was bullied last summer and I almost shut down my blog! I went “dark” for a few days to ponder and pray. During that painful time I realized that SOME of what my bully said to me was information that was useful (though the delivery was very poor — very unloving!), but MOST of what this bully said stemmed from ignorance and jealousy. I was physically ill for a while too, Krista. I did NOT see the attack coming and I loved this person very much! My heart was broken! I STILL love her and I feel a pang in my heart when I think about what has been lost. But you know, with hind sight I can see that this experience has made me more empathetic. Now I know something of betrayal that I didn’t understand before. My posts now resonate with a larger audience. Instead of shutting me down, my bully unwittingly strengthened my resolve to do what I’m meant to do! My following has grown about 10x since I lost that relationship. All this happened right around the time you reentered my life Krista! I will never forget how you encouraged me when I was so low! I lost one negative, draining relationship and at the same time I reconnected with a positive friend who inspires me to press forward! Love you dear! 🙂

Jeanne Horak - What an sad yet inspiring post. I am lucky never to have been bullied but I salute the courage of everybody who has ever had to stand up to bullies of any kind Gorgeous phtoos – I love the one where the grass seems to be turning in a circle around the sun!

budgetjan - It amazes me that you managed to write such beautiful posts and see the beauty of the world by photographing it, and all the time your spirit was suffering at the hand of bullies. I am so glad you have risen above it, and can imagine how wonderful you must now feel.

thefisherlady - A lovely heart filled post…so true/ 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.
My third mom was a bully and I had to learn to walk away from her attempts to crush me. The freedom is in separating yourself from them and seeing it as their problem, not yours….and still loving them. That I was able to do by God’s grace.

Krista - XO Thank you so much, @132fe8be674f43d4508b19c8db8df791:disqus . I can feel your love all the way from Nigeria. 🙂 I love how you wrote: “We all deserve a spot on this earth.” That is so beautiful and makes me smile. 🙂

Krista - Thanks so much, @twitter-82747769:disqus 🙂

Krista - Thank you, @4051406338aaef5dd8bf9775f8ab662d:disqus 🙂 Cheers to you too! xo

Krista - I like how you put that, @bcdeb9873aa58892d29aa565c71353f5:disqus “violates your integrity as a human being”. That is so good. xo

Hila - I have nothing to add, except for: I completely agree. Anyone who violates your integrity as a human being, whether physically, emotionally, or psychologically, is someone you don’t need in your life. It’s not always an easy lesson to learn, but once you do, it’s like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

Velva-Tomatoes on the Vine - Awesome post Krista. Cheers to you.

Lindsay Hogg - Great post and pics!

Kitchen Butterfly - Sometimes, its hard to see these things for what they are, Krista. I am glad that we can all learn from you – to trust ourselves a bit more, to keep our boundaries, even when people say they shouldn’t be there.

Well done for ‘refusing to be judged’. We ALL deserve a spot on this earth, and no one person more than another.

Lots of love dear friend – I’m always rooting for you.

Krista - You are amazing, @OrgasmicChef:disqus 🙂 It takes such courage to face these situations and to actually act on it like you did!! Thanks for inspiring me today. 🙂 xo

Maureen | OrgasmicChef - I married a bully a long time ago and since then I don’t have anything to do with anyone who’s negative in any way. I just don’t engage with it and my life hasn’t fallen apart. Whatever people say about me is THEIR business and none of mine. I’m happy just the way I am and so should you be. I think you’re terrific.

Krista - Isn’t the light beautiful, @google-64bc7bbdaaa856e06396e795dfeb19b0:disqus ? These were taken on a walk down the back of our property. Even now looking at them fills me with peace. 🙂

Krista - Thank you so much, @google-e5c33b1197001cb44aefc23700634afe:disqus 🙂 I’m so glad that we could connect in this big ol’ world. 🙂

Krista - Oh Annie, I’m truly sorry to hear that. XOXO What a gutting situation that must’ve been for you. I’m so glad you are free now. Thank you so much for your good advice. XO

Krista - Thank you, @20f68aabb2ee599f949e8335fd7c45a9:disqus XO I really appreciate your words.

Krista - And you are the same to me, dear @twitter-112533047:disqus XO

Andi Perullo, L.Ac. - YOU ARE AN AMAZING INSPIRATION!!!!!!!!!!!! Please don’t for one second ever forget that.

Kristine Price - Loved this. Sorry for what you’ve been through. Thanks for writing and sharing despite the backlash you might receive.

AnnieMammasaurus - I had a bullying controlling ex-husband, he eroded my self confidence so slowly over time that I hadn’t even noticed until it had all gone. Being strong, trusting yourself, confidence and loving oneself is the strongest defence x

Judith Works - Beautiful photos that perfectly accompany the narrative. This would make a helpful booklet for others to use during recovery..

FREYA R - You go girl, I’m glad you could put this behind you. You are a real inspiration. Beautiful post and photos.

Krista - I LOVE that title, @facebook-1245572041:disqus 🙂 That makes me smile so big. Peace to you too, dear lady! 🙂 xo

Krista - I love you to pieces too, dear @katyabroad:disqus 🙂 Thank you so much for helping me through the bad times and now being here to cheer on the good ones. XO

katyabroad - You know I have always marvelled at your courage. I am so, so proud of you and so happy that you have found the strength to stand up to the people bullying you and bring those devastating consequences to an end. I am so glad you are now in a place with people who love you unconditionally, without judgement. Despite everything, you have succeeded in creating a beautiful life for yourself. To paraphrase the Brave Girls Club – you are very loved. XO

Bethany Miller - This poetry should be Chapter 1: Lightening my life and being true to myself” by Krista the Rambling Tart. You really need to write a full-on book- it would be fascinating and so helpful to others. You’re a light, Krista. Peace!

Krista - You have simplified it beautifully, Val. Thank you. 🙂 xo

bellini - The message is simple. Life is too short to accept negative things and people into our lives. Surround yourself by what makes you happy.

Krista - Thank you, dear @c5a00ce72f14b2fcd6cdaba9fe0bfef6:disqus XO I absolutely love your positive quotes each day, AND your gorgeous pictures and stories. They help me so much and I always look forward to them. 🙂 I’m so glad we got to “meet” in this big ol’ world, and hope that one day we can meet in person. 🙂 XO

Krista - Dear @disqus_YftlpTRq9K:disqus , thank you so much for sharing your story with me. XO I’m truly sorry you had to go through such a painful situation. You are so strong and brave to be able to stand up and not take it anymore and to see their lies and cruelty for what they are. Wishing you so much happiness and peace. XO

Krista - Thank you, dear, dear, T. 🙂 I’m so grateful for your incredible support, wisdom and patience over the years. You’re such a good friend. 🙂 Glad you like the pics!!

Cathy - What a beautiful post Krista. I hear you loud and clear, and to be truthful I find myself rather speechless. Rest assured your words have had an effect and thank you for your bravery in sharing this post with your readers. Earlier this week I was reading something and I realised at the end that you just need to focus on the positive people, it can be hard to shut out the bullies. We need to find inner strength within ourselves to do so. It is not easy, but we must make the effort to do so. It is one of the reasons why I often share positive quotes, it helps my own mental journey.

Ulysses S. Rant - This is one of the best “ramblings” you’ve ever posted, K. I am so proud of you for making this kind of progress and sharing these kinds of insights! The pics were pretty sweet, too. 😉

Col - Krista how well I could relate to your story. I am so proud you finally stood up to them. Yes I have been bullied to within an inch of my life. Sadly the bullies were my middle son and his eldest daughter, my Grand daughter aged 23. I began to doubt my sanity, believe their lies, Their abuse was soul destroying and I began to believe I was this dreadul person. Then like you I took my control back. I deleted them from my life. The Granddaughter forever my son can come into my life at any time but on my terms. No more lies and hate. You will continue to grow stronger but you will still reflect with sadness as to why people are so intent on hurting others. Love you col

Krista - XO

Krista - Thank you so much, @google-01bbdd9fc7f53cd54265810538a0c5c5:disqus 🙂 I really love the light in these pictures too. I took them while walking in the bush with my dog. 🙂 I always feel peaceful when I look at them.

Ken Powell - Dear Krista, your words are so moving thought provoking, but it is impossible not to also comment that your photos are awesome. They appear to me to be full of light and hope. Grace & Peace.

Lizzy - I’m honored to know you too hun. How you’re facing and conquering your fears and the bullies in your life one by one and making a beautiful life that befits your beautiful self is wonderful. I’m so glad we’re friends =) xo

Krista - Oh @jenny_atasteoftravel:disqus , thank you for that. XO Some moments I do not feel strong at all!! I’m so glad I have brave people like you in my life to inspire me when I DO feel wobbly. 🙂

Krista - It IS so hard, @SevenGreySweaters:disqus , by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But I’m so grateful now. And I DO have hope that one day the bullies will change, will be kind and loving and accepting and all those good things that will make their own lives better too. XO

Krista - Oh @disqus_l6fxHJAVIb:disqus , it makes me furious to think anyone would bully you!! Brings out the mama bear in me, I think. 🙂 You are amazing, dear friend, the way you’ve handled it, and the incredibly brave, honest, and loving person you’ve become. I’m so honored to know you. 🙂 XO

Lizzy - Good on you sweet girl, I could kiss you and your counsellor right now =D hehe

I was verbally bullied in school, both in Primary when I was in a Private School and High when I switched to a Public School. Unfortunately teachers hold little power when it comes to bullying, they all seem to subscribe to the school of thought that it’s character building and you just have to learn to deal with it. So I did, by sharpening my tongue, little by little, until I could cut them back or simply ignoring their words because they did not have a say in my life or the power to hurt me any more.

It also helps to believe in Karma, every little bit of hate and poison that they spit will eventually come around tenfold and bite them in the butt =P

Amy @ Seven Grey Sweaters - Some people really are trolls in disguise. I’m so sorry that anyone would treat you like that. It’s really hard to decide to divorce a friend or family member, isn’t it? What a delight to hear that your body is confirming that you made the right choice! Your story is an inspiration — thank you for sharing it as it unfolds!

jenny_atasteoftravel - Go Krista…your strength is amazing. Keep it up. By the way, I love the photos!

Krista - You are one of my heroes, Jackie. XO Thank you so much for your kindness, your friendship and your incredible example of real love and honesty. XO

Jackie - My heart is singing for you right now Krista. You go girl! I never judge people on what they say they’ll do, but what they actually do do. Much love being sent your way. xx

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