When a Bully Becomes a Buddy

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There is always a possibility that bullies eventually become friends. It doesn’t happen often but it does happen. And when it does, it often becomes one of the best friendships ever! I don’t know why it is but it seems like the bonds are much tighter than if you’ve never been enemies.

I turned a years-long bully into a buddy by appealing to her self-interest and realizing what her desires were. And what I learned was that, more than anything, she wanted to feel validated, valued, and loved.

This lady had been bullied in school herself. And I found that she would get bullied and afterward, she’d come around and bully me. Then, being a smart-mouthed teenager, I would bully her back. Between the two of us, it was tit for tat.

We both left high school, got married, had families of our own, created our own lives, and didn’t see each other again.

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Almost twenty years later, I ran into her again at a bar and grill. If looks could kill, I would’ve been dead on the floor because, when we locked eyes, she immediately knew who I was and that look came over her face- the same expression I remembered from high school.

It was clear that even after all those years, the same hatred was still there- the only things that changed were that we were now adults, we were both mothers, and had marriages behind us. So naturally, I mirrored her reaction.

A few weeks later, I saw her again when I sang in a karaoke contest and won. She was in the audience. After the show was over, she came up and congratulated me, and although I was stunned, I was grateful and thanked her.

We soon began talking as she whipped out of her purse a mini photo album and showed me pictures of her woodwork and paintings. And I’ve got to tell you! This lady was uber-talented!

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Her work looked so professionally done! As I gazed in awe at the pictures and admired what I saw, an epiphany hit me. I realized that all she wanted was to be validated.

I’ll never forget how her eyes lit up when I genuinely complimented her work.

With time, we grew closer and she soon became one of my best friends. ‘You see? She needed someone to make her feel as if she mattered and I gave her that.

We grew to love each other very much. The two of us would go to lunch together, spend girl-time together laughing, chit-chatting, and talking about our kids and our lives. We’d even stick up for one another when we had to.

She and I stayed friends until she died after a three-year-long battle with cancer. She’s been gone for two years now and I still think of her- a lot! I miss her just as much as I did the day she passed away and I’m wiping away tears as I type.

Life hasn’t been quite the same without my beautiful girl-pal. How I wish I could call her!

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Our early enmity and later friendship taught me so much! And that to turn an enemy into a friend, it takes finding out what the other person’s deepest desires are, what voids they may have, and what kind of wounds they’re nursing. You must then help them fulfill those desires, fill the voids, and heal the wounds.

You must make them feel good about themselves by giving them recognition for their talents and successes, respect for the person they are, and unconditional love and friendship. You must value their trust as you would gold. Then make sure it’s reciprocated. Once those requirements are met, you know you’ve turned an enemy into a friend.

This is not to say that this will work for everyone because some bullies will think there’s an ulterior motive and only double-down on their hatred of you. Some will only fear that their softening toward you will be a win for you. But we were the lucky ones.

May you sing and dance down the streets of gold

May you wade in the Crystal Sea
Until I see you again at the pearly gates

In Loving Memory
Stephanie Rains Shoemake
1971 – 2017

Never Chase Anyone Who Doesn’t See Your Worth

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Many victims of bullying are so anxious to make friends that they don’t set boundaries as to the way people should treat them. As long as long as they don’t have to be by themselves, they overlook the shoddy ways their so-called friends treat them.

They get hurt many times over because it turns out that their pals are only tolerating them. And by the time the target realizes those people aren’t good for them, they’ve been hurt, used and humiliated enough times that their self-esteem is damaged.

Here’s my advice to targets who feel lonely and desperate for friends:

Never chase anyone who does not see your worth! It is beneath you and those who do not value you, no matter how ‘cool’ they act or look, do not deserve the privilege of being in your life. You need to cleanse your life of these toxic people.

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I realize that if you are a target of bullying, your options for friendship are extremely limited and I know all too well of the humiliation of sitting alone at the lunch table while everyone else gets to enjoy having friends around them. Believe me, I was there myself once upon a time.

However, if the options that you do have for friends are only tolerating you and they turn hot and cold, exclude you or talk behind your back, then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate those friendships.

There is a difference between someone who genuinely likes you and someone who is only tolerating you. And you always know when someone is only tolerating you because of the way you feel when that person is around. You can feel it in your gut. You can hear the shortness and coldness in the tone of their voices. You can see it in the way that they look at you (or refuse to look at you).

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You can feel the cold vibes that they put out. There is nothing worse than the realization that someone whom you think highly of thinks very little of you. It is the most uncomfortable and sickening feeling. It is the equivalent of being kicked in the stomach!

But I want you to know that you do not have to be around such poisonous people. Anyone who makes you feel uneasy does not deserve your friendship. It does not matter if they are rich, good looking, popular, successful, cool, tough or whatever.

If they make you feel bad about yourself,ditch them! Weed. Then. OUT! They are not worthy of being in your company. You are better off without them. Understand that this may mean staying to yourself for a time.

No one wants to be a loner. I understand it and I sympathize with you. However, I believe that it’s much better to be alone than to crawl up behind anyone who does not see your value.

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It won’t be easy. Nothing worthwhile is. It takes courage to walk away from a person or people who take you for granted, especially when options for human connections are so few.

And I won’t lie to you, you may be by yourself for a while. It may get lonely, even sad, and depressing at times. But be strong and stay true to your own heart! You deserve so much better!

I promise you this. It may take a while, but if you have the courage to walk away from such people, life will eventually reward you for your courage by placing better and more loving people in your path- people who will genuinely love you, and have your best interests at heart.

You will have better friends- friends who want to spend time with you, who want to invite you to parties and other events, and who will be there for you when the chips are down. You will have friends who are tried and true.

Be patient. Your time is coming!