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“When people don’t like themselves very much, they have to make up for it. The classic bully was actually a victim first.” Tom Hiddleston Part 1 of 2

Bullying is a problem but not a new problem. Most adults have a story to tell regarding a bullying incident they experienced. Perhaps we need to look to ourselves for correction before we try to fix our children. Many adults bully others at work, in neighborhoods, and in the general public. Many times we are not even aware of our own bullying tactics or the emotional burdens and sadness it places on others. In the workplace We don’t recognize our own bullying tactics.We must realize the control we are carving over others without their consent. We are tormenting and oppressing others just like the child in the schoolyard. We don’t recognize our own bullying tactics. If someone is different, not only in skin color or ethnicity or even religion, we make the decision unconsciously to keep that person out of our loop. They don’t share a history like my buddy right here. They don’t share my values or lifestyle. They don’t laugh at the jokes I laugh at. They don’t dress the way I like to dress. They are too old or too young.

The result is isolation of that person with everyone’s blessing. We don’t look at this as estrangement. We might feel less guilt by professing it is the person’s fault for being estranged. We say the person can be friends with whomever they want. The truth is, we have stacked the deck against the person. If we are honest we would admit it. We play games with other adults and make them feel inferior, and or unwanted.

Yet we are quick to notice a child in the playground who is being ignored. Adults may jump to correct this and then we discuss how terrible the situation was. The big issue is we are not removed from the same behaviors. This is why bullying has become like an infection. It is widespread and we are players involved in the situation. We are far from compassion and honesty. It’s possible that adults have started the epidemic by tormenting their own children and persecuting others who fail to fall in line behind them and their morals and values.

Question our motives when we speak ill behind another’s back. Think about the bullying damage we do. We can’t take it back any more than we can collect all of the feathers we dumped from the top of a large building on a windy day. If we want to teach our children to stop bullying others, we need to demonstrate it ourselves. If we continue to intimidate and strike our children, we will reap the harvest of a class-one bully. Because we are tired,hungy or in a foul mood does not register retaliation at the kids. They didn’t do it and don’t deserve the wrath we dish out in such situations.

The time has come to take a look at how adults bully others on a daily basis. Sitting at a table with a group of people, one young woman stated how she felt so alienated. The people talked to each other animatedly, and looked directly at each other but never glanced in her direction. If she offered an opinion it was ignored. The same view restated by a more accepted person amongst them was enthusiastically embraced. The group laughed at private jokes, ignoring her uneasiness at being on the outside of the circle. Sometimes they would ignore her morning greetings as they passed by to get to their cubicle. She, at long last, silently passed them by and quickly hid inside her tiny space.

Most of us would deny we would ever do such a thing. I can testify to numerous people being the victims to such situations. If we find a person irritating we want them to be quiet or to go away. Making them uncomfortable usually does the trick. Bullies must feel threatened by these victims who are not afraid to stand alone if necessary. They wordlessly suffer through such ordeals, never sure if others might include them one day only to dismiss them the next day. At times, we forget to include these people in our lunch plans. We don’t consider this a problem or a slight. We don’t even worry about its consequences to the forgotten person. Diminished, these overlooked people remain strong and weather the torments.

Maybe people fear and become jealous of the “new kid on the block.” They don’t want to lose a friendship to this other new person. Popularity plays a role. A person without the glamour is ignored. We instruct children to include others yet miss our own blame. Children observe adult actions. Time to role model respect kindness and thoughtfulness, gifts our kids will build upon and treasure.

“It is now clear to me that the family is a microcosm of the world, we can study the family: Issues such as power, intimacy, autonomy, trust and communication skills are vital parts underlying how we live in the world. To change the world is to change the family.” Virginia Satir

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