Another Kind of Bully
by Valerie Sherrard
They’ve always been around, but, thanks to a recent surge of attention, we’ve become much more aware them. Who are they? They’re the name-calling, lunch-swiping, shoulder-shoving tyrants we know as bullies.
The media is giving a whole lot of attention to the subject at the moment, and that’s a good thing. The focus, quite naturally, has been on the stereotypical bully – that cowardly plague of the halls and schoolyards and streets. I say: good for the media that draws our attention to the problem; good for the schools who take steps toward prevention, and, good for the peers who step up and speak up against their cruelty.
But there is another breed of bully, one who is perhaps just as damaging. This one is harder to recognize, and may even be someone in your family or your circle of friends. Who are they?
They are the people who pester or pout until you give them their way. They are the 'friends' who say they’ll no longer be your friend or they won’t like you anymore if they don’t get what they want. Their methods are different and less obvious than the schoolyard tormentor, but they are still sending the message that their wants or beliefs or opinions are more valuable than yours. These people depend on you wanting to keep the peace and avoid conflict. They use a variety of emotional threats to get your cooperation.
Remember this: healthy friendships (or other relationships) involve compromise. They are built on mutual respect, give and take, courtesy, understanding and fairness. Bullies don’t make good friends ... until they stop bullying.
I know you can find examples in real life, but I’d like to challenge you to also look for bullies (of both kinds) in the fiction you read, and to pay particular attention to the way you feel about those characters.
Being informed, aware and prepared gives you the advantage you need to deal with bullies.
I'm not sure about the rest of you but I know I've had 'friends' like that before. Specifically when I was quite a bit younger and more desperate to fit in. One of the things I despise most about the kind of bullies Valerie just discussed is when they say you'll no longer be their friend if you are friends with a certain other person. Personally, I'm so over that and thank God I learned how to see through to the true personality of those so-called friends.
Thank you so much, Valerie for writing this post. Knowing the difference between healthy and unhealthy friendships is very important and not always something that's as clear as black and white.
I hope you all enjoyed this guest post and thanks for stopping by.