”Ignore them. They’ll lose interest eventually.”
“Leave it to the authorities. It’s not for you to deal with.”
“Rise above them.”
“Just laugh at them on the inside. They’ll be cleaning your toilet 20 years from now.”
Cruel things are said to kids that are bullied.
I was taught how to adjust to a life as a victim or how adults like to vocalize impossible wishes. Then they forgot me and abandoned me in the life as a victim.
I’m Type A, and as a child I missed the opportunity to learn to ignore/disobey instructions given to me. So that’s basically what I did until, in grade 5, I punched a bully. She screamed and cried, and, while it gave me the new confidence that these bullies really are pussies, she got me in so much trouble – nearly got me labeled as a bully.
Getting in trouble was nothing compared to how incredibly horrible it felt to cause pain to someone even if it’s someone who’s caused so much to me.
Other than starting to take judo instead of boxing so I can subdue the bullies if, and only if, I’m really in danger, I changed nothing. Ignored those who ostracized me. Left everything to authorities who left everything to “kids will work it out among themselves.” Rose above while those sat on my chest. Laughed at them about the fact they’ll be cleaning the toilet that my head was currently in.
I’ve turned 40. My choices were still affected by those things that were told to me when I was a child. I know now, looking back.
Something shifted today.
Someone was bullying me at work. This offense was as reliable as tax every time I saw her, that I’ve quietly tolerated. I stepped back and used my own brain. Ok, what are my authority, responsibility, and limits here. What advice would I give this person if it weren’t me? What would a person do in this exact situation if I hadn’t been beaten down by adults telling me how to be a victim and not teach me how to be empowered.
I exercised exactly the right amount of authority and put the bullies in her place without humiliating her.
The moment I realized that the adults’ effort to make it my problem, not their problem, has affected me far more and longer-term than the bullying itself.