Archive | June 2017

Suicide is NEVER the Solution! (Part 4)

In the previous segments of this post, I discussed how despite how beat down by bullying you may feel, you should never let it push you to taking your own life. For this last segment, I’d like to give you advice on how to overcome those feelings.

First, be positive and take charge!

Make their bullying your motivator and become that much more determined to live—to live a happier, more peaceful, and more successful life. Spend as much time as possible doing the things you enjoy and being around the people who love you the most, especially the positive people who lift you up and make you feel awesome. The caring people. The loving people. The happier you are, the less the ignorant actions and words of any bully will affect you.

Always look your best—for yourself, not for anyone else. Always do your best at any task—so you know, no matter how it turns out, that it represents all you can do—excel in your studies and pursue your interests and talents, whether art or music or sports or anything else that you do. Do what makes you feel good about yourself, just as long as it causes no harm to another person.

It’s okay to feel emotion when someone hurts you, but don’t get wrapped up in self-pity, no matter how bad things get. Be angry. Be sad. Cry, beat a pillow—do whatever you need to let those emotions out because you certainly don’t want to hold them in. And never dwell on them. Get out of that hurtful place as soon as you can to protect your confidence and self-worth.

Be a positive person! Be kind (without being a pushover of course). Meet new people. Interest yourself in others and what’s going on in their lives—folks love you if you are genuinely interested in them. Let them talk about themselves, their hobbies and interests and listen to them. While they are talking, listen with your eyes focused on them. People love someone who is excited about them. Show genuine interest in what they tell you about and get excited about their dreams. Be happy for them when they achieve those dreams and wish them well. Smile and greet people, calling them by name. Doing this, you will eventually make lots of friends and live down any bad any reputation caused by bullies.

That’s how I did it. I no longer have the horrible reputation I once had. I have so many friends today that it’s hard for me to keep up with all of them. I’ve also won over many of my former bullies from school. That’s right. Several of the people who once bullied me in school are now some of my closest friends!

I did it by taking my focus off of me and acquiring a genuine interest in others. I did it by replacing hate, contempt, and bitterness with love, acceptance, and forgiveness. I did it by loving myself and seeing my own worth as a person. I quit worrying about what others thought of me and I made my goal to do the right thing always.

Did that make everybody like me? Of course not. But instead of concerning myself with what others think or do, I focus on how good I make others feel about themselves. Did I put a smile on someone’s face, someone who would otherwise be sad? Did I make a difference in the life of at least one person today? Did I restore someone’s hope? Was I the difference in someone deciding against taking his or her own life?

I always hope so!

Build yourself up by building up others. Meet new and interesting people and connect with them. You’ll be surprised how having those people in your life will push aside your experiences with the bad and turn things around for you. You have too much to experience and too much to offer, so get out there, do your best, make a difference, and enjoy each and every day for the gift it is!

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Bullying and “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”: Level 2- Safety – Protection from Elements, Security, Order, Law, Limits, Stability, Freedom from Fear.

LEVEL 2: SAFETY – PROTECTION FROM ELEMENTS, SECURITY, ORDER, LAW, LIMITS, STABILITY, FREEDOM FROM FEAR.

This is a biggie! In any bullying situation, no matter how big or small, safety is always at risk…always! Bullying is now considered a health and safety issue by the CDC in Atlanta and rightfully so!

When a person is bullied, whether in school, work, home or the community, that person is clearly NOT safe in that particular environment. And they KNOW they aren’t safe. When a person is bullied, they often become vigilant and their time and energy, which should and would, under normal circumstances, be spent focused on lessons, studies, projects, job performance and other priorities in life, is instead spent focusing on ways to be and stay safe!

How can anyone engage and work effectively and successfully, when they’re constantly stuck in fight or flight mode and being singled out for abuse? They can’t! It’s next to impossible! This is why bullying is so sinister and so devastating, it doesn’t only negatively affect life at school or work (the environment in which the bullying is taking place), bullying has a way of permeating all other areas of your life as well!

Therefore, when you are a victim of bullying, you are anything BUT safe! All sub-levels of levels of safety are violated and all levels in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs risk being denied you.

A. Protection from elements- I once knew a boy who was stripped down to his underwear and tied to a flag pole in below-freezing temperatures! Bullies denied this boy this protection!

B. Security- When you are bullied, there is no security! Denial of Security or sense of! Of course this goes without saying.

C. Order- Where there is bullying, there is no order!

D. Law- Oftentimes, the law is ineffective for targets of bullying. Because bullies have a knack for flying under the radar and the majority of people are still ignorant to bullying and it’s affects, the victim often either is ignored or worse…gets the blame! Denial of Law and Justice!

E. Limits- Bullies have no limits! I repeat! There are no limits to what bullies will do to harm you! As the bully grows more emboldened, the abuse will escalate! There have been a few victims, whom have been murdered by their bullies! Just google the case of Amy Joyner-Francis, of Delaware, who was brutally murdered by her classmates in the girl’s bathroom. No limits mean a denial of a break or reprieve from the abuse!

F. Stability- There is no stability for victims of bullying. Being bullied is equal to being trapped on a roller coaster with no way to get off! In most cases of bullying, the abuse will escalate and lessen…build, reach a peak, then seem to lull from a time until the next attack! Also, it can destabilize the victim as well! Denial of stability in life!

G. Freedom from fear- This is a no-brainer! Bullying and fear go hand in hand! Fear is what bullies thrive on! It is their motivation and is what they use to, in essence, keep the victim on lock-down in a prison of deplorable treatment! Fear-tactics are often employed by the bully to keep the victim from speaking out about the abuse, discourage the victim from standing up to the bully, undermining his/her perceived authority, exposing the bully’s evilness to others or comply with the bully’s demands!

When you are a victim of bullying everything is fair game for denial! Stay tuned for the next post on Level 3- Love and Belongingness.

(to be continued…)

Bullying and “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”: Level 1- Air, Food, Drink, Shelter, Warmth, Sex, Sleep. (Part 1)

In 1943, Abraham Maslow wrote a paper, detailing a five-tiered outline of human needs, which we all have. With each post,I will explain each level in more detail, giving examples of it’s relation to bullying. As we know, when a person is targeted by bullies, they are denied many of the needs listed in the hierarchy…needs, which are essential for growth and development (physical, psychological and emotional).

Level 1. Biological and Physiological – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep.

Level 2. Safety – protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, freedom from fear.

Level 3. Love and belongingness – trust ,acceptance, affection being part of a group (family, friends, work).

Level 4. Esteem – achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, respect from others.

Level 5. Self-Actualization – realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

FOCUS OF TODAY’S POST- LEVEL 1

Level 1. Biological and Physiological – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep.

A. Air- a physical bully may place the victim in a choke hold, therefore cutting off the person’s air supply, denying them adequate air supply.

B. Food/Drink- a bully may force the victim to hand over his/her lunch money, with threats of physical violence for failure to comply. No student wants to be physically assaulted, so they often hand over the money just to keep from getting hurt and it’s usually an everyday occurrence. These kids end up having to starve just to be safe…denial of nutrition and hydration.

C. Shelter/Warmth- I was lucky to have a family, which were and still are close knit, so I never went without shelter or warmth. However, I have heard stories of family bullies locking their victims out of the house just for kicks or for a perceived slight. Therefore, the bully denies the victim shelter and warmth.

D. Sex- This is a big one! Most bully victims have been stripped of a once good reputation and their reputations with the opposite sex are no less tarnished. A victim of bullying can find it difficult to get a date due to being targeted by relational bullies, who spew their venom by way of rumors, lies, and humiliating the victim in front of others, which is all designed to keep the victim isolated. The bully, in essence, denies the victim opportunities for dating, love and sex.

E. Sleep- Victims of bullying often have difficulty sleeping, due to being in constant fight or flight mode, or worried about what the next day will bring…possibly more bullying. Therefore, the victim is denied adequate sleep.

Tomorrow, I will discuss Level 2 and it’s relation to bullying.
(to be continued…)

Suicide is NEVER the Solution (Part 3)

I tell you all this because I understand what it’s like to be driven to such a dark and awful place. When I was young and bullied and felt completely alone, I resorted to an attempt to take my own life. It was one of the stupidest things I’d ever considered, ever attempted, and I tell you this only because I want you to know I really do understand your pain and your desperation to get out of the corner you feel your bullies have backed you into.

In hindsight, I never should have made that attempt on my own life. All that would come of it would have been the people who called me names and thought I was stupid and weak and beneath them would get to think they were right all along. Instead, I should have wanted to live and to stick around—Even if for no other reason than to just to piss off all those who had made me so miserable that I would think about something so final and wasteful.

Besides, suicide is for quitters. I fought like hell to hold on to my pride, dignity, and self-respect! And most importantly, I lived through it and eventually things changed for the better. I lived to write a book, which has been my way of turning what was once a very negative experience into a positive outcome, and help people who are suffering as I did.

If I had it to do over, the most important change would be that I would have worked on me. I would have gotten busy practicing and honing my talents, and I would be unafraid to display those talents. I would have entered talent shows and writing contests—winning all sorts of prizes! I would have begun striving toward self-improvement and a deeper understanding of both what was happening to me and the world and the people around me.

If you’re reading this and you’re in the same godawful place I was then, let me tell you something: You are not a quitter! You are a fighter, and if you remain tough long enough, you will emerge a winner! I can almost guarantee it! So don’t give up! Don’t quit! As long as you keep on living, you keep on fighting. And as long as you keep on fighting, you’ve already won.

You just don’t know it yet.

Suicide is never the answer. Never. I didn’t realize then that I was playing right into my bullies’ hands. I was giving them exactly what they wanted—they were already out to destroy me, and I was making it easier for them.

Now that I know better, there will be a cold day in Hades before I will ever let another person beat me that far down again. Instead, I will only be that much more determined to keep living and enjoying the good things.

There is beauty in life, if you look for it.

(To be continued.)

Suicide is NEVER the Solution (Part 2)

In Part 1, I discussed how suicide not only cheats you out of all the great possibilities ahead of you, it only really hurts the people who love you, and how it really just gives your bully the final say over you. Today, I’d like to expand on who you let have say over you.

In terms of who you are, it’s not what anyone calls you or say to you.

It’s what you answer to.

Your life does not depend on who does or who does not like you. Neither does it depend on who hates you.

I recently went to my twenty-fifth class reunion, where I got to see about thirty classmates, most of whom either bullied me or sold me out at some point when we were in school together. Although the vast majority of them have grown up and become kind people, there were still maybe two or three who—after all these years—still hold resentment and contempt.

Although, they never came out and said anything (for fear of looking bad in front of our other classmates—remember that one of bullies’ biggest fears is having their own flaws exposed), when they looked at me I could see their disdain plain in their eyes, in their facial expressions and in their body language. One woman—a grown woman in her forties—even threw a dig at me while sitting right beside me at a meeting just a month prior to the reunion.

How did I respond, you’re wondering? With a smile, of course, before receiving a genuine hug from another classmate in the room.

More mature and far stronger than I was in high school, I could have fired an evil shot of my own back at her. But why would I? Rather than waste the energy on her, I simply—and very gracefully—blew her off, giving only more proof to my understanding that there are, believe it or not, adolescents over the age of forty out there.

Age does not equal maturity.

I was the adult, and she was the petty high school girl looking for someone to bully to make herself feel more important. I take great pride in myself for responding to such immature ugliness with class. And I had an awesome time at the reunion! I continued to be my authentic and fabulous self. I socialized and danced! I let my hair down, let myself shine, and ended up having a wonderful time and being very glad I went!

What I didn’t do was let a few nasties spoil it for me.

The bullying didn’t stop at graduation twenty-five years ago. As sad as this sounds, all through life, you will encounter ignorant and unpleasant people.

I want to prepare you for this.

You must learn now how to let the ignorance of these few small-minded people roll off your back. There will always be people who won’t approve of you. But remember: it’s their issue, not yours. If it isn’t you, it will be someone else. Don’t take what they say and do as truth about yourself. Never allow yourself to be sucked into thinking that there is something wrong with you just because people refuse to see your worth. There is nothing wrong with you.

They may call you the foulest, most horrible names in the English language—so what? It doesn’t mean that you’re what they say. Remember that bullies are liars! You are strong, resilient, determined, intelligent, and they don’t like it because it reminds them of what they are not!

Refuse to let them bring you down! Never give anyone the power to determine how you feel about yourself. Never let them decide if you’re having fun or what mood you should be in. And for sure, never give them the power to cause you to end your own life. All that happens then is they get to know they were right about you.

And you won’t get to see how truly pathetic they are at your high school reunion.

(To be continued)

Suicide is Never the Solution (Part 1)

(Part 1 of 3)

Last year, the suicide of Destiny Gleason drew media attention last year, driving home the sad truth of an epidemic of suicide among young people due to bullying and abuse. What I cannot stress enough is that suicide is totally fruitless and counter-productive. People who take their own lives seldom think of the ramifications.

When you commit suicide at such a young age, you cheat yourself out of possibility—possibility happiness, of fulfillment, and of any chance at a wonderful future. You also cheat the people who love you, setting them up for a lifetime of heartache and the years and years of the nagging question Why? that they will ask for a lifetime and never have answered.

Please realize that even though things may seem hopeless now, life can and most likely will eventually change for the better. As long as you are still alive, things can improve…and they can improve drastically. Taking your own life leaves you no chance for anything else, no chance to see things get better. Once you’re gone, there’s no coming back. You miss out on all the possibilities, and end up cheating yourself.

Suicide is not an escape. It’s not glamorous. And it is certainly not a way to obtain sympathy. The bullies and whoever else mistreated you won’t feel the least bit sorry about it—some, in fact, some might even be happy that you’re no longer around. The worst of them will even feel satisfied that they were able to control you so far as to end your own life! And you know what they’ll do then? Select someone else to torment and denigrate while you’re six feet under and forgotten.

Suicide isn’t; a way to be remembered. People will mourn you, but only for a little while. Then they’ll move on with their lives—Life will go on after you’re gone. If I seem brutal and unfeeling telling you this, it’s because truth is both cold and hard and shock a little sense into any of you who are contemplating doing something really, really stupid.

That’s what suicide is…stupid.

Before you make the decision to end your life, ask yourself these questons:

Is suicide something that you want to be remembered for?
Do you really want to give your bullies the satisfaction of knowing that they had the power of life and death over you?
Do you want to give them that power?

I would hope and pray you do not!

They already have enough power over you. Don’t give them any more!

If a bully tells you “go kill yourself,” ask the bully and ask yourself who that person is to decide whether you should live or die? In fact think about these questions:

Who are they to decide your worth as a human being
Who are they to decide whether or not you’re good enough?
Who are they to decide who or what you are or should be?
And who the, um, heck are they to decide whether you should live or die?

(To be continued.)

Message to Victims: Your Reputation Does Not Equal Your Character!

Character is who you truly are. Reputation is who others think you are.

All too often, when a person is bullied, his/her reputation takes a big hit, due to the many ugly rumors and lies which are spread by their tormentors. Remember that bullying is a campaign.

Just as a politician would go from house to house and business to business, kissing babies and shaking hands with people on the street while giving a spiel of why they’re the best person for the office they’re running for, bullies basically do the same. They go from person to person spinning their yarn about why no one should associate with the target.

Bullies/Peer Abusers engage everyone, even friends and family of the victim, pulling false accusations out of thin air and making them sound so convincing that others find the lies difficult not to believe.

Tormentors may also use a “tiny grain of truth”, which may be a simple mistake the victim might have made in the past (possibly a mistake which anybody could have made at any time), then add their own spin on it, making it worse and bigger than what it is for the purpose of making the story even more believable.

Moreover, harassers may use subtle provocations, taunts and assaults to bait the victim into a reaction, then turn around and use his/her perfectly normal human response as further proof that he/she really is a less than desirable person (crazy, stupid, evil, etc.).

You must realize that bullies are sociopaths. They have a wealth of superficial charm at their disposal and are masters in the arts of persuasion and influence. People of this nature are very skilled wordsmiths, which is why they are seemingly able to pull a complete fabrication out of their own butts and make it smell sweet and sound plausible. Because of this oozing charm that most seasoned bullies possess, they are able to encourage bystanders and sometimes authority (teachers, principals, monitors, etc.) to join in the torment.

After being attacked for so long, it’s too easy for victims to become worn down and go the “eye for an eye” route and return the attacks (physically or verbally). Although defending oneself is a perfectly normal response to assaults, victims must be very careful in their counter-attacks and very carefully choose their battles because a well experienced bully can very easily use any reactions as validation of any rumors and lies which have been spread. Before long, even those who aren’t normally bullies will either shun or brutalize the selected victim. Thus, the reputation of the innocent victim is tarnished and will take years to repair.

With all the above combined, bullies can be a weapon of mass destruction to their victims, ripping them to shreds and destroying any credibility they once had. Right or wrong, once credibility is lost, victims are powerless and have almost zero chance of redeeming themselves and opportunities can be lost even before they present themselves.

If you are a target of bullying, I want to assure you that your reputation DOES NOT equal your character. You are an awesome, intelligent, goodhearted person and you are worthy of being loved regardless of how others may perceive you. As difficult as it may be to do so, you must never let your reputation define you. Never let bullies dim your shine! Hold on, with everything you have in you, to your awesome qualities even if you have to remind yourself every day that you are a great person! Hold on to your faith and your dignity! Hold on to TRUTH!

This entry was posted on June 14, 2017. 3 Comments