Archive | September 2017

When Chronic Illness Is Mistaken For A Drug Addiction

There are so many people with a legitimate illnesses which cause severe pain (Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Addison’s Disease and so many other ailments), but unfairly judged for being “addicts”! My heart goes out to you all!

The second time around

Medicine bottles spill out of my cupboard, and I finally decide to combine the many prescriptions into fewer containers. One reason I do this is for my own convenience, the other reason is that I have been labeled a drug addict. I will try to keep  my humor intact while writing about this (all too common) accusation  and the mistrust that ensues on the side of both the pill-popper (me) and the finger-pointer.

I must give a little background information on my illness. Having suffered numerous pains (in my spine, neck, ribs, and chest) I was not given a correct diagnosis for several years. It was only when I moved to Europe that I found help. When my doctor in Scotland told me I had Ankylosing Spondylitis, he spent the time to carefully explain what had happened in my body, and that the disease was chronic or life-long. He said…

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HOW A PRIMARY TARGET MAY BE IDENTIFIED.

Here is an article from another blogger about bullying and how to ID a primary victim of bullying. This article is great because all to often, the primary target has a hard time telling others what happened due to shame or fear of retaliation, making it more difficult to get the help they need. Thank you, threetimes for this article!

threetimestotell

AN ADVOCATE may find out about his/her PRIMARY TARGET in the following ways:
* The ADVOCATE notices his/her child’s discomfort.
* The child TELLS or tries to TELL.
* An ADULT IN CHARGE notices the child’s discomfort and TELLS the ADVOCATE that ‘Something Catastrophic has Happened’, ‘Something’s Definitely Wrong’ or ‘Things are Generally Fine BUT…’
*The parent/guardian of another child TELLS the ADVOCATE that his/her child has a problem with or is concerned for the ADVOCATE’S child.
* A member of the public witnesses a bullying event and reports it.

Whatever way (or combination of ways), there is likely to be some confusion around how exactly a child may have participated in whatever situation/event that has caused him/her (and perhaps others) to be so upset. (Some PRIMARY TARGETS may have resorted to using bullying tactics in an attempt to defend themselves and/or to claw back some dignity).

Other people (including…

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From My Own Perspective: Adult Survivors of School Bullying and the Ways We Do Things

Being a victim of school bullying often teaches us very hard lessons…lessons that we carry into adulthood, shaping our personalities and the ways we do things once we are out of school and away from our tormentors. Being an adult survivor myself, I can tell you what I took from it:

1. Having been bullied during school sharpened my emotional intelligence- Because I learned very early on how truly evil people can be, I now have a sixth sense. Adult survivors of school bullying are excellent at picking up vibes (especially bad ones) and reading people and their intentions. We know how to watch people without looking like we’re watching them, noting body language, facial expressions, micro-expressions, tonality, delivery, and demeanor. Because our people-sense wasn’t fully developed during our school years, we often let those in our lives, whom were only there to harm us. We paid dearly for it, which is the reason we’re extra watchful and therefore able to avoid such people, now that we’re adults.

2. We’re not afraid to say “no” and will sometimes say it simply because we can! This is because as schoolkids, we had our boundaries violated so much so that we weren’t allowed to protest when something didn’t feel right to us. Therefore, we were forced to take a lot of abuse from others. Now that we’re adults, we get to decide what we will and will not tolerate and we exercise that freedom and autonomy every chance we get!

3. Survivors of school bullying are no-nonsense adults, or at least I am- we’ve learned early on the games people play and we won’t be duped. We live by the old, “fool me once…” saying and hold it close to our hearts.

4. We have a very open and solid refusal to take any crap from anyone, no matter the consequences we may face for that refusal. I’m no exception. We took enough crap in school from our classmates and a few rotten apples, whom called themselves school staff that we’re even more determined as adults not to let others violate our boundaries.

5. We don’t give people many chances. To us, first impressions are important so you’d better make it count. One red flag, I’m gone! One bad vibe, I’m gone! Any attempts to bullshit, I’m gone! This is due to having been too forgiving of others when we were young, being taken for granted, having our kindness taken for weakness and then exploited, much to our own humiliation. And we refuse to ever again be put back in that position.

6. We work our asses off! We’re tenacious when it comes to getting what we want and will stop at almost nothing to reach success- we’ve had enough of what we don’t want when we were in school. We’ve been called “failure” so many times that it lit a fire under us and made us that much more determined to succeed at everything we set out to do, if for no other reason than to show the haters and naysayers (even our ex-school bullies) that we can!

7. We like having control over our own lives and will do anything to keep that control- survivors of school bullying had enough of others taking control of their lives long ago and we will shut down the first person who tries to take away our personal power.

8. We can spot a bully five miles away in the dark- Yes! We’re that good! We dealt with bullies in school, for years, on a daily basis. So naturally, we would be good, nearly expert, at pointing them out.

9. As adults, we either avoid bullies like the plague. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, we take extreme pleasure in putting bullies in their places, calling them out every chance we get and making them feel like the losers they really are- remembering all the times we didn’t or couldn’t defend ourselves against them in school.

10. We have a thick skin that has become difficult for others, other than those close to us, to penetrate.

11. We can’t stand to watch others being made fun of and will rush to their defense. We’re not afraid to get nose to nose with the bully if need be- not only to help the person being bullied, but subconsciously, to make up for all the times we felt helpless and didn’t or couldn’t defend ourselves against our bullies in school.

12. Adult survivors of school bullying are sensitive to the emotions of others and cannot stand the thought of causing another person emotional or physical harm, if that person isn’t trying to harm them first.

13. Adult survivors of bullying place extra value on their families and friends and never (intentionally) take them for granted- we know what it’s like to be completely alone and not to have any friends. Therefore, we cherish family/friends and time spent with them.

14. Adult survivors of school bullying are, in some ways, selfish. I know I am. We put a lot of value on ourselves, our wants, our needs and our interests. This is because we weren’t valued as kids during school. So, we make it a point to put ourselves first in almost everything. Our children and/or parents may be the only people we put ahead of us.

15. We aren’t convinced by words. We’re only swayed by action and habits. Due to our past histories of being duped by the empty promises and cheap words of school bullies and paying dearly for it. We’ll be damned if we ever repeat that mistake again.

Being bullied as a kid in school has not only make me a very strong adult, it has also exponentially sharpened my people-senses, which in turn has afforded me not only scores of friends who love and respect me, successes and even more opportunities, but ultimately, a very rewarding life!

This entry was posted on September 26, 2017. 2 Comments

Telltale Signs of a Target of Bullying

As we know, bullied teens are often silent about the torment they face in school and in most cases. This is due to shame and embarrassment. Also, Most parents are not even aware that there is a problem and those who are aware are often at a loss as to how to deal with it. If you are a parent and are wondering whether or not your son or daughter is a target of bullying, here are the signs of a bullied teen:

1. Withdrawal from family and friends- as we know, being the target of a bully can slowly chip away at the victim’s self esteem. And people with low self esteem have a tendency to withdraw. It is a defense mechanism to protect oneself against further attacks because bully targets, after being victimized for so long, begin to think that ALL people are vicious and cannot be trusted. So therefore, they put up their guard and close themselves off, which can result in missed opportunities for closeness with family members, friendships, or romantic relationships.

2. Underachievement- Most bully targets are underachievers. Their self esteem has been so badly beaten that they no longer believe in themselves, which can cause a condition known as “Learned Helplessness”. A bully target, after being told that they are a “loser”, “no good” and/or that they “can’t do anything right” so often for so long, they tend to believe it themselves. This can have a negative impact on grades, class participation, and performance.

3. Over achievement- I mentioned in number 2 about underachievement and with most targets of bullying, this is usually the case. However, this can go either way. Some targets of bullying dive into schoolwork and achieve exceptional grades and class performance to compensate for their low social status among their peers. They feel that they are socially inept somehow, so these kids try to make up for this by excelling in their studies, talents, or any other area.

4. Bruises, scrapes, and or cuts on their physical body- most victims of bullying are victims of physical bullying (being punched, kicked, knocked down, dragged, etc), which occurs mostly in boys, but thanks partially to feminism and the moral decline in today’s young girls and women, physical assaults perpetrated by females are increasing at an alarming rate.

5. Sadness and Depression- symptoms are crying, withdrawal, loss of interest in activities one normally enjoys, and fatigue.

6. Excessive absences from school- Most bully-targets are afraid of going to school because they know that as soon as they step onto that school bus or get to school, bullies will be waiting for them. So they avoid going to school by either skipping, or feigning an illness as an excuse to stay home.

7. They may become bullies themselves- Often, bullied children and teens feel helpless. They feel that they have absolutely no control over anything. So they too become bullies in an attempt to feel some sense of power and control over something…ANYTHING. They often bully others who are even more powerless than they are to make themselves feel better about themselves and to feel that they are a rung or two up from the bottom of the social hierarchy. Crap always rolls downhill. An example of this would be: A child gets yelled at by parents, then goes outside and kicks the dog. It’s the same with most bully targets. And as much as I hate to admit it, I was guilty of the same thing in school. I simply call this “Kicking the Dog”.

8.Suicidal thoughts and attempts- sadly, suicides resulting from bullying are at an all-time high! Most children and teens who are bullied do not know what to do about it. Most have tried reporting it to an adult or handling it themselves to no avail. Bully targets often feel alone and have no one in their corner. They feel that there is something wrong with them. They feel like they have some major defect either physical or social, that causes them to be mistreated by others. They often feel as is it is their fault and that somehow, they deserve the shabby treatment they get. Sadly, some targets break under the pressure and suicide may seem to them to be the only way out….the only way to make the bullying and the pain stop. If you even THINK that your child or grandchild might be suicidal, GET HELP NOW! And be there for them. Bully-targets need a support system! Be that support system!
If you see any of these signs in your child or grandchild, DO NOT IGNORE IT OR MINIMIZE IT! Ask questions!!!

Try to get them to open up. It won’t be easy, as children, especially teens do not like to admit being bullied, even to their own families. However, if you want to help them, you have to address it and you have to do it gently and lovingly.

The Importance of Self-Acceptance

Anyone who has ever been bullied will tell you that it sometimes takes years to overcome the after affects, get completely comfortable with yourself and find happiness.

Because of the torment I suffered at school, I was a shy person for years and my shyness peaked during my childbearing years. I would not speak to anyone unless they spoke to me first, out of fear that I would say something wrong. I didn’t like myself because I felt that I was somehow different…that God had put a mark on me like Cain. I felt that I didn’t quite measure up. And this was during my early 20s when I was just beginning to discover who I was and what I really wanted out of life.

Throughout junior high and high school, I was bullied so much that I was blinded to my own feminine beauty (I was a very beautiful young girl). I also did not feel free to express myself and most importantly, get to know myself.

Being in a toxic environment or around toxic people can block you from opportunities, blind you to your own inner and outer beauty, diminish the ability to use talents and natural abilities, prevent you from having your own opinions and feelings and from accepting and being yourself when you are young and haven’t been in the world long enough to know the difference.

When I finally left that toxic, poisonous, downright dangerous environment that was my old school and transferred to a new high school, I felt like a bird out of a cage…like I had just been given a full pardon and released from prison.

From that day forward, I could finally begin working on getting to know ME and I was put on the road to self discovery. However, that road proved to be a long one.

During my mid to late 20’s I became hungry for self betterment. I slowly began trying new things and confronting my fears and shyness HEAD ON by actually doing the things I feared most! I discovered talents and abilities I never thought I had and could express myself and my wants and needs without ridicule.

Like magic, new opportunities and better situations began opening up to me. It was like the floodgates of heaven had suddenly opened and I was washed away in a river of blessing.

But it took years to get through the anger, the sadness, the shyness, the defensiveness and being closed up and guarded before I was finally able to totally and completely accept who I was as a woman. And when I finally accepted myself, which meant accepting the good, the bad, and the ugly qualities, I found a peace and happiness I never thought possible.

Am I perfect? No. Do I try to be? Nope. I accept all characteristics of me. I know my good traits: that I have a good heart, that I have compassion and empathy for others, that I am outgoing and confident, that I like to have fun, that I love to sing, dance and write novels. Am I proud of that? YES! YES! YESSSS!!!

I also know my bad traits and I embrace them.

I accept that I am sometimes forgetful.

I also accept that I no longer have the perfect body after having had children. I am comfortable in my own skin.

I also prefer Tee shirts, jeans, and sneakers over fancy dresses and high heels (which I only wear when an occasion calls for it). Do I like this about myself? ABSOLUTELY!

What I want is for you to completely accept yourself because it is a stepping stone to happiness. When you accept yourself as you are, quirks and all, and stop being so concerned about how you are seen by others, you actually FREE yourself from that ball and chain called self consciousness. It is like a huge weight being lifted off of you.

Also, you become much more attractive to people and they are drawn to you like a magnet. And the individuals who are waiting for you to mess up actually get bored, give up and stop watching you. I know this from experience. Acceptance of self (all aspects) is such sweet freedom!

No one likes to be around a self conscious and insecure victim. I’ll say it again:
No. One. Likes. A. Victim!

So I want you to make a brand new start today and begin your new life by accepting who you are. Count your blessings, your friends, your family, and your chance opportunities. Anything positive that is happening OR has happened in your life is a blessing. This is where you start. Start by counting blessings. Take a pen and piece of paper and write down each blessing and I guarantee you will be on your way!

I wonder how many people can actually list all of their blessings without running out of paper and/or ink. I know I couldn’t.

Why Bullies Love to Isolate Their Victims

If you are a victim of bullying, then I’m sure that on many occasions, you have wondered why bullies try to turn your friends and everyone else against you. Here’s an in-depth explanation:

In his book, “The Art of Seduction”, Robert Greene said it best when he quoted, “Few are drawn to the person, whom others avoid or neglect; people gather around those who have already attracted interest.”

It’s human nature to want to be around someone who seems to be desired by others and to avoid lone wolves. All through history, people have had a tendency to assume that those who are loners are also unwanted or defected somehow. Bullies consciously know this, so they stop at nothing to turn everyone against you…friends, teachers, principals, bosses, and sometimes yes…ever family members.

Bullies do this not only to make you look unappealing to others, but also as a means to garner support for the lies and rumors they have spread about the victim…for validation of their words and make them more convincing, while making the victim look bad. They also do this to discredit the victim in case he/she tries to report the attacks and call the bullies into account. It’s just another way for bullies to slyly cover their own behinds and lessen the chances of being exposed. As long as the victim looks like the enemy, then others will look no further than that victim.

If this is something that you’re dealing with now, know that this is only part of the illusion that bullies create to build their case against you and to silence you. It’s nothing more than a magic trick and it doesn’t mean that you are what they say you are. You are NOT how bullies make you look!

You are awesome in your own right and there will come a day when you will have genuine and loving friends, who love you only for being you. You are worth fighting for and you are worth living for! Don’t give up on yourself!

When Bullying is Referred to as “Darwinism”, “Natural Selection” or “Survival of the Fittest”

Anytime I hear people refer to bullying as either of the three mentioned in the title of this article, I find it cringe-worthy at best! And the words that immediately flash through my mind are “cop out”, “trivialization” and “excuses”.

To call bullying one of these three things is to say that:

  1. Bullying is completely normal and natural.
  2. Victims of bullying are weak and/or undesirable and must be eliminated from the human race.
  3. Bullying is required for survival of the human race.

Allow me to rebut these three (conscious or unconscious) beliefs:

  1. Bullying is anything but normal or natural. It is brutal, malicious, hurtful and cowardly.
  2. Victims of bullying are NOT weak, nor are they undesirable. They may only think differently than most. Victims are often exceptional people with brilliant minds. Many celebrities, CEO’s, inventors, writers, scientists, doctors and professors were bullied as children and teens. If these people had not survived bullying, the world may never have seen may awesome inventions and breakthroughs, such as the electric light bulb, telephone, or the first organ transplant. Where would we be without these people?
  3. Bullying is NOT required for survival of the human race but can actually destroy it. An example of this would be the Nazi’s bullying of Jews during World War II and slaughtering of six million during the holocaust. Now. Do you still think that bullying is necessary for survival of our species?

Bullying is NEVER okay and if you are a victim, I want to assure you that it does not mean that you are defective in any way. It only means that you are an individual, who is brave enough to think outside the box and that you refuse to be a follower. Those are characteristics that you should be proud of because you have a chance to go far and change society.

Don’t give up! Give yourself a chance! You never know, in the future, YOU may be the person who brings positive change to the world and your bullies will more than likely end up living less than desirable lives. Suicide is not the answer. Don’t you want to live long enough to see your own potential? I want you to.

Have a wonderful day!