Creaturiste's Laboratory

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Thursday, February 2, 2017


Someone was posting a message on Facebook today about their kid being bullied in school, and asking for advice. I couldn't stop typing. It's a subject that has affected me for a long time.
As this could potentially help more than just one person, I figured I'd save it here, so I can share as needed later.


If you don't want to read all this, here's the gist of it: DEFEND YOURSELF. ASK FOR HELP UNTIL YOU GET IT. DON'T LET THE BULLIES GET AWAY WITH ANYTHING.
Otherwise they'll grow into bigger problems. Their consequences rot the world.The bullshit keeps happening because we let it. If bullies aren't tolerated, if they face enough resistance, maybe these coward control-freaks will stop hurting people and land. Or maybe we can at least prevent them from doing much harm. AND MAYBE WE CAN HELP THEM become actual beneficial people.
The harm must stop somewhere for the healing to take root.

MY STORYI was bullied with words and hands every day for all of high school. Why? I was different. That's all the triggering they need. How different? I had my own ideas and habits. I liked learning and had good grades in most subjects. I did not like sports nor was I good at them (passing grade, no more). I was not a follower, nor a leader, I just did my own thing. I was a virgin. I was a bit shy but also a clown.  I liked Art and books so much, I regularly read or drew while walking the hallways. I did not swear or make racist or sexist jokes. I was sensitive. I did not get into fights. I preferred the company of girls. I didn't do drugs or smoked. In other words, I was WEIRD. Reason enough for them to make my life a living hell, try to darken me.

Some examples: Physical violence: punching me, throwing me around, bringing my pants down in public, throwing heavy books at my head, kicking me in the butt with steel toed boots, slamming my locker door against my arm as I was rummaging through it as quickly as I could (my locker was put in the bully's "territory" by clerical error, which they would not change). Emotional violence: ways to make me embarrassed, calling negative attention to me, girl bullies being falsely flirtatious just to see my reactions when they would stop the charade, getting me in trouble with staff and teachers.
One year, I was mostly bullied by a "gang" of 6 girls, led by an older kid who had bullied me several times on my way to school when I was in elementary school. She had failed several grades, so she must have been thrilled when she recognized me as I joined her class. She became my first Highschool bully.  Her gang would sneak up on me and kick me in the butt with their cowboy boots (hey, it was the nineties!). Whenever I tried but failed to kick back to defend myself, I was accused of being the bully, a barbarian who would hit girls (I always missed, my coordination was not yet achieved). I had a semi-revenge one day of that year. That girl happened to have been named team captain in one volleyball class. In an attempt to bully me in a whole new way, she complained that I should not be allowed to cross my arms while playing (the gym was cold, I felt warmer that way), as I would not be ready for the ball. Winning was VERY important to her, apparently. That meant I HAD to play well for her (yeah right). The teacher ignored her, and feeling rebellious, I kept on crossing my arms, big smile on my face when she looked. The thing is, I didn't miss the ball when it came my way, but my small rebellion was driving her mad, and she kept yelling louder and louder, while I kept my calm and kept playing, with my arms crossed as much as I could.
After a last warning from the teacher, she kept yelling and got suspended from that class for the rest of the semester. That class actually became pleasant after she was gone.

Besides that one occurrence, no one helped. My single mom probably filed a complaint or two, but nothing was made of it. The school system failed all the victims. We were a source of income, not actual growing people. Back when she was in school, my mom was chubby but very social. No bully messed with her because she was very tough (and scary strong) when she needed to be. But strangely, as an adult decades later, she had become fearful. She would tell me this regularly: "Just avoid these kids. You can't be in a fight if you're not there physically." She failed to understand that bullies have you at their mercy for the entire day, and a school can't provide constant vigilance. Bullies are not always the smartest, but some of them are clever enough with some skills to pin something they did onto you, and get you punished in their place. They find it hilarious, and probably feel more powerful when they get away with it. Corners and empty classrooms are everywhere. School can become a horror movie playground.

The school staff did mostly nothing, even though I did ask for help. Heck, some teachers and one security guard were bullies in different ways. One student bully hit me so hard in one ear after I turned away, thinking he was finally exhausted from punching my face, that I have ear damage that still affects me, 27 years later. Soaked in cold spring mud, in convulsions and unable to speak from the pain, I had to stand up and drag myself to the school's office without help from anyone from the huge crowd that had witnessed the whole thing. I spent at least half an hour on a chair next to the office, being stared at but ignored by everyone, until my volleyball teacher noticed me and took the time to listen to my garbled speech until he understood. He called my mother so she could come and drive me home. The bully kid didn't face any disciplinary action for what he did. I hope he still has nightmares about that, and that it drives him to make amends by leading a better life.

None of my so-called friends ever defended me. They would watch with the rest of the crowd while the bigger kids would "deal with me". Maybe they were afraid too. At least, they didn't cheer!
Tip: bullied kids should get together and resist the bullies. Bullies are inflated cowards, it takes less than you think to make them back off. One altercation. One lesson is sometimes all it takes. Although be warned you may take some damage trying to find out what their threshold is. Here's an example of inflated bullies from my first year of College:

On the first day, some students approached me all enthusiastic and "friendly", to let me know about the hazing activities, officially called orientation games. "Just so people get to know each other while having fun!" I knew what they were, I had observed them from a high vantage point (old paranoid habits die hard). People were getting humiliated in several ways, and I was not going to take part in that. Their whole attitude changed and they threatened me with being put on a Black List, which meant I'd be "fair game" for people to make my life a living hell for the entire school year.
My reply: "Bring it on. I'm still not doing that." They looked shocked. They went away. No one bothered me that year. 

I had another WEIRD encounter a week or three later.
Out of nowhere one afternoon while most people had classes, my worse bully from high school is standing next to me in the otherwise empty college hallway, looking... meek? (what the hell is going on?): 

"Hi, can I look at your drawings?".
In complete shock by this unusual behavior, I handed him my three-ring binder. He had always approached me with his gang of thugs, always saluting me with a very violent slap on the back, before proceeding with various attempts of humiliations. Not this time. He was alone, subdued, polite, and he took his time looking at each of my drawings.

When he was done: "Wow, these are very good! It's the first time you've ever let me look at your drawings."  I answered in a harsh, cold tone:
"Wow, it's the first time you approach me without hitting me in the BACK." He actually lowered his head and walked away without a word. The actual walk of shame. I had never seen it for real before. Against my own wishes, I felt bad for him. His simpleminded cronies (think several versions of Crab and Goyle) probably stayed behind while he was the only one to graduate. He must have been lonely, maybe even clumsily trying to apologize. Dammit empathy, you robbed me of a hint of revenge! I never saw him again. I hope he got some karma for what he did, but I hope even more that he became a better person from it. That was just a bit of a flash forward in time to let you know now that it DOES GET BETTER. And maybe there's hope of reform for the bullies.

Let's go back in time. Back to High School.
With all the daily harassment, I quickly went from a talkative, cheerful class clown kid to a quiet loner who would verbally snap at people so they'd leave me alone. I trusted no one. I had recurring suicidal thoughts. Thankfully, there was always a tiny bit of hope and wonder for life that keep me here. 

None of my bullies were ever brought to justice or to therapy back then, so they likely kept on bullying people to this day, becoming store managers, cops, politicians, mobsters, or any position that grants a hint of power over others. If they can't control some aspects of themselves or their life, at least they can control and push down other people, dammit!

I hope it won't be the same for you. I hope you get helped in all the ways you need, RIGHT NOW. Even if it means switching to a different, better school/job/galactic conglomerate with a population and staff who CARE and don't tolerate bullying. Those do exist, but I never had the chance to attend one. I did teach some workshops at some good elementary and High Schools later, as an independent artist.
I wish I would have gone there as a student! The most impressive school had so few students, that all of them were in one class, from first grade of elementary to high school levels. The older kids helped the younger, they played and ate lunch together, it was family. No bullies.
Good teachers, healthier environment there and at home: no place for bad drama.
More nurture, less negligence = decent beings!

The only thing that REALLY helped me stop being a target was a change in my beliefs, which in turn changed my capabilities. Religiously motivated (read: brainwashed), I was a pacifist to a fault (turn the other cheek), so I let people hit me without defending myself, thinking it would hurt me more if I hurt someone else. Sure, I was really good at taking a punch without flinching, but the bruises and cuts did hurt later, when the adrenaline was gone and the feelings returned. That also meant my self esteem took a greater hit over time. If no one takes my defense, not even myself, how worthless must I be?! 

After a particularly bad beat-up, I got very angry. I made a promise to myself. I would hit them back. The next person to hit me would get the same, and I'd keep hitting them until they stopped. They asked for it. If it took sending someone to the hospital for all of them to stop torturing me, then that's what I would do.

But you know what? I only had to try to fight ONE person after that promise. I told no one. I didn't challenge anyone with words or a change of body language, but it seems that bullies have an instinct about who they can get away with torturing. It instantly changed from being bullied every day for 5 years, to no bullying at all. I wish I had gotten angry sooner.

I'm sure that won't be the ONLY solution for everyone. Each situation is different, but all the stories I've heard from victims of bullying have many elements in common with mine.

After my promise to not be passive and helpless anymore, it happened just one more time.
I know, it's annoying, but hey, progress takes time and effort! Somebody was pinching my butt as we were all heading to class as a crowd in the staircase after the bell rang. Fed up, I turned around and punched the guy. But I missed and partially brushed his buddy with my knuckles instead. No harm was done, but he was now justified by the law of the jungle in teaching me a lesson. I knew the drill, so we both stepped off the staircase to be away from the moving mass of people. "Before you proceed, let me remove my glasses", I said. He replied no. So I said"OK, I'll send the repair bill to your parents. His face whitened a bit, but he had his honor to defend, so he just went through the motions. In this case, the usual, he went for my face. They usually did. And I usually didn't feel anything with all the adrenaline, so I kept talking as his fist would attempt to reshape my face. "let me know when you're tired, I DO have a class to get to." When he stopped, my glasses were embedded in the bridge of my nose, and blood was slowly dripping down my face. As he walked away looking exhausted and confused, I said: "Expect to get the glass repair bill in the coming week."

I then proceeded to the secretary's office to file an official complaint against that guy.
I would FINALLY have some tangible proof against one specific bully.
But the receptionist didn't want to cooperate at first. Shocked out of character by necessity and exasperation, I pretended I had some sort of authority over her. She was malleable enough apparently, or maybe it was the blood and the fact I was not sobbing, because at my second request with a bit of authority in my tone, she brought me the school Rolodex, with all the student's identities. The photos were so small and of such crappy quality, that only one kid vaguely resembled my attacker. So I asked for him to be summoned over the public address system. When that kid showed up, I looked down at him, said Hi, and turned to the secretary: "It's not him, the actual guy was much taller than me."  The real culprit avoided me for the rest of the year, I never saw him again, so I was unable to take him to the office, or file a complaint against him, although I really looked. 

Right after the failed attempt at identification, instead of going home to clean up, I decided to milk the situation a bit more. I wanted SOME satisfaction, SOME progress for my effort, dammit!
I went to my English class, still bloody, with  glasses still trying to be one with my nose.
My English teacher was also a bully. I knew why: she had been my mom's classmate, and for some reason she never like her. So irrationally she made a point to make my time in her class as unpleasant as she could without risking her job. She would keep the door locked so we would HAVE TO knock. She would then proceed to lecture us LOUDLY in front of the whole class, with much glee in her eyes and attempts at humiliation. Sadistic sad person. But that day, as she was starting her speech with my full name loudly pronounced, while opening the door, she stopped mid sentence and got really pale. "Oh my God! What happened to you?!!" Most students were then standing up to see the show, and even some of the few cruel classmates looked shocked and concerned for me.
Somehow, acting casual while bloody-faced scores coolness points for these types.
"I just got attacked by a bully, I just wanted to tell you I'm going home to clean up and rest."
"Of course, are you sure you don't need help right now?"
"Nah, I'll be okay. See you next class." She was actually nice and respectful to me for the next two classes. Why should it take THAT much to finally show empathy and decency?

The Principal actually summoned me into his office the next day. I was foolish to think he wanted to help. His "concerned" words, translated here from French to English: "You know, there's only two weeks of school left. It would be best if you just forget about the whole thing." I guess he wanted to avoid the paperwork and tedious meetings with parents and the authorities. He was such a classy guy.
Always well dressed, always a smile. And apparently that was just a facade. He wouldn't do an important part of his job: take care of the student's well being. So another bully got away with personal abuse and property damage. And my parents had to pay for my new glasses. We were actually rather poor, but I had no idea, as my mom always made sure we had enough, even if she had to skip meals so we would have more on our plates, while pretending she had already eaten. So, that bully actually hurt my whole family. But I only learned that years later. Blissful ignorance of childhood, I miss you!

In today's confused society, kids are thought that violence should be avoided at all costs, while at the same time our entertainment and governing bodies are full of it. Only bad kids get in fights, right? schools have Tolerance Zero policies against violence, and for some of them, it means everyone involved gets punished! Well, what if the one being attacked did NOT want to fight? Shouldn't they defend themselves against harm?

If they see you as a weak & easy target, then they'll keep harassing you. So, don't run when you can face them. Build up to it gradually if you must, or go big and be a hero to someone or yourself. But get backup and witnesses whenever possible. One bully can't do much against 5 of his victims who decide they won't take it anymore. Unless he's a deranged killer, which is another topic, but a real danger in schools nonetheless. So just try to judge on a case by case basis.

I do recommend to HIT THEM BACK when necessary, or at least be ready to do so.
Sure, there will be consequences, and the very real possibility of getting in trouble with the school/job/law. You could even get expelled! BETTER THAT THAN REMAINING HELPLESS and staying in a place that doesn't provide a safe environment.

You have a right to defend yourself. It's your health, and possibly your life that's in danger. 
Still, be smart about it. Consider the consequences if someone is accompanying you. Is their safety at risk too? Maybe you should leave instead of confronting. Don't hit first (but try to avoid getting hit). Don't lose control, make every decision instead of reacting from rage. Hit only as hard and as often as necessary for them to stop or for you to escape safely, no more. Don't kill or maim unless it's your life or your companion on the line. Don't get prison time for one moment of losing control while just trying to survive. The law isn't always fair. So help it become fairer: get witnesses, film and audio record the incidents. And keep asking for help until you get it.

After high school was behind me, it took me more than a decade to stop being angry almost all the time at all the injustice in the world. I still get angry sometimes but I keep it in balance. I USE it to make better decisions. I want my impact to be a positive one! All that anger and despair was litterally making me sick. Don't let it be that way for you. Address the problem now, get allies, talk to someone wise, learn to defend yourself verbally and physically. Self defense and martial arts classes should help too. Find a PURPOSE. And dammit, HAVE FUN! Life is so enjoyable when we take the time to discover it, and appreciate it!

For my second year of college, as I was finally eligible for student loans, I was able to move to a far away small town. I chose it among other colleges with the same program, because of the distance. 
I needed a change from the small-minded town of my birth, where so much judgment and unfairness was making me depressed. I wanted a new place that would not automatically label me as a reject.
A place fee of the bullies' influence.

So I spent three years in the new town, making friends from all over the province.Variety! Geeks and sporty people studying and playing together! I was learning who I was and not feeling worthless, desperate, or fearful anymore. I even participated in the orientation day, where the activities there could not really be called hazing. Harmless ridiculous clothing and acting silly. I didn't drink, but that didn't prevent me from having fun with the rest of them at the bar. Some tried to make fun of me by demanding I sing on stage, since I was not doing any drinking games, but when they found I could actually sing, it got me the attention of people who quickly became my friends.

HOPE had found me. One small change could have meant a very different three years for me. You see, I learned that one person had stood up for me on that first week there. I had been invited to a private party by a group of roommates and their new-made friends. The cool, popular kids wanted to hang out with ME? But actually, they were planning to make fun of me, as I seemed so weird and eager to them. "Bring your art supplies, we'll do murals!" I was so excited, I brought most of what I had! And despite being very shy, I started the mural, since nobody was doing it. Then they joined me.

I had only ever been to one party before, and that was in elementary school! A high school party would have been dangerous for me, so I never went to one. Back to that college party: 

Before the party happened, one girl got angry and told them to give me a chance, to get to know me instead of going through with the humiliating prank they had in mind. It must have worked, because I had a great time, and most of us hung out for three years. My wish had been granted. Because ONE person stood up for me. One HELPER. Be like that whenever you can. You won't always know how much of a positive impact you've had, but you'll feel good about it. 

Another set of helpers happened during those three years. As I was taking an archery class, the government mandated an extra activity every week that was more cardiovascular , in order to get a real physical effort for that semester. Frustrated at that bureaucratic meddling with an adult student, I found out I had only a choice between badminton and Volleyball at the time. I liked both, but Volleyball was a bit more intense, so I went with that. The Archery teacher recommended I join a casual meetup of players on Tuesday nights. I showed up and most of them were much older adult EXPERTS. Sport addicts, all very fit while I was chubby. I knew none of them. I felt very self conscious, looking at them practice their throws and receptions. "Hey, new guy, come here, Partner up with her!" So we exchanged a few throws, most of which I missed and then the game began. These were no jokers, their services were almost always smashes, their aim was amazing, and ALL their long throws were so powerful they were PAINFUL if you caught with a flawed technique. They wouldn't make it easy for the new guy, and I appreciated that. That's how you learn, by playing with better players than you! They were very patient and understanding, with tips to help me improve, and within three meetups, I could actually play with them without looking too out of place, or slowing or losing the game. I was never one of the best players, but I finally understood how that game could be FUN. And why some maniacs would regularly throw themselves at the hardwood or marble floor to catch a silly BALL. I did that too! I got hurt but I did it again! Back in high school, I was never motivated enough to risk a scraped knee. It was more fun to frustrate the bully Captain at "making us lose!!!"

Three years in that small town with friendly folks made me enjoy life again.
I felt ready and confident enough to tackle a new chapter in my life: the big city, a university program in the Arts (Painting and Drawing), in a Language I wasn't yet fluent in: English.  I won't dwell on those two university years, they were mostly pleasant and personally instructive, even though the program was lacking in the techniques I needed. The social interactions made it worth it for that long, but no more.I had to move on. I fell in love with that big city where I still live. Job opportunities! Cultural Diversity! Live Entertainment! More Art Supplies! More FOOD Variety! My weirdness is barely noticed among so many grander weirdos! Heck, it's sometimes CELEBRATED!

So, I went from nearly hopeless (and almost turning bully myself) for FIVE years, to being full of joy less than a YEAR later. Because I faced my fears, took a risk, made a change, was HELPED, tried new things all the time, and discovered who I am. Don't let the bad-kind-of-darkness win! Whatever its name(s), it wants you to give up! So it can control you, so you can add to the misery it wants to spread. Don't be a poison, be a cure. Be a helper. Helping others can help you.

Bullies must be stopped and shown other ways. For our own good and theirs, we must convince them NOT to grow into bigger bullies. Help them reverse the process! It's a contagious disease. They keep raising the bullying bar, BECAUSE WE LET THEM. As long as they feel they can get away with it, they keep doing it, and want to do more of it. "Hey, it works, why should I mess with a good system?" If we don't resist them, we might as well be cheering them on, as it's the same result: when you enable the bullies, more people will get hurt, it's never just you.   

Bullies recruit by example, as many victims become bullies. I almost did. "I'll show them, I'll become as bad as they are, and then NOBODY will mess with me!!!" Thankfully, some things kept me from crossing that line. A sense of fairness. HOPES. DREAMS. POTENTIAL. And some seemingly random acts of kindness from strangers, happening just as I was close to giving up. EVERY TIME.
I don't believe in coincidences. I do believe in some helper spirits. Call them angels if you want. Labels probably don't matter to them, as long as they can keep doing their job.

Life is not just hardship. It's a place more beautiful and amazing than we can perceive when we are blinded by painful circumstances. Connect and participate with people who live more joy, accomplishment and beauty. You will create more good too! It's contagious! Open your eyes and mind wider and notice all the good things to be grateful for. Even things that haven't happened yet! List it mechanically at first if you must, but soon enough, there's going to be such a long list that your skeptical and negative sides will just have to accept that things are MUCH better than they had felt.
There's POTENTIAL. There's help. People care.

Be the best self you can be. You have lots to offer the world.
For that to happen, you must allow yourself to be strong and safe from abuse.

Now, I have not been physically bullied in school after my promise and that first attempt at defending myself, but I WAS bullied later in life a few times. Always by power-hungry control-freaks in positions of power. Only once was it physical, all the other times it was verbal and actions to attempt to control me and make me feel small. Bosses, colleagues, service providers, "friends". Several of those people were considered by most as charming, good people, or at least "successful natural leaders". Bullshit. They were charismatic bullies. Many people confuse bully behavior with leadership qualities. 

For SIX years, I thought I had a best friend, he felt more like a big brother I looked up to.
He seemed to have had more experienced, wiser. He was also a VERY popular guy. The kind everybody gravitates towards, they want to be his friend, to give him opportunities, to work for him, even for FREE. They want to please him. Ladies were mad for him, and he certainly didn't say no. They came back for more. He was the luckiest person I have ever met: He would find ideal tools, money, opportunities and situations in such abundance that it defies statistics. He always got what he needed, exactly when he needed it, without effort. "I have a strong destiny", he would often smugly say about it. On top of all that, he seemed like a genuine good guy, unpretentious despite all his talents and skills. People felt relaxed and cheerful in his presence. His charisma is the most impressive I've ever seen. His influence is so strong, that if he ever starts a cult, or goes into politics, he'd be DANGEROUS. Long story short, he is a womanizing, manipulative, opportunistic user of people, a control-freak, self-serving asshole who belittles people just to feel bigger, all the while coming out looking like the ultimate friendly good guy. It took a lot for me to realize I was not imagining it all, and that he was NOT going to even try to be decent.

He blackmailed me during the biggest job of my career, just to get his way. The whole project, my reputation and the salaries of at least 12 other people were in danger from his pressure, so I just had to cave in. He lost a friend. I gained some wisdom. And a new outlook on charismatic people.
Beware of those. Make sure they are DESERVING of admiration, instead of just projecting the kind of image designed to better fool you into being compliant and useful.

People admire and follow what appears to be Strength.
Learn the difference between the real thing and the facade that weak people put on so they'll feel better about themselves.

A good, strong person doesn't need to belittle others, they try to understand, to learn, to help.
They know we're all in this together, and that we all make mistakes. So they make allowances and understand. There's wisdom in all of this. If you notice a person you admire is acting like a jerk, maybe it's time to look for these behaviors. They may be a charismatic bully! Most bullies are ins some or many ways! And a LOT of people fall under their influence. I know from experience that it feels safe to be "under the wing" of someone who appears confident, capable, strong, POWERFUL! Who's going to mess with you when you're this connected?  But more often than not, paying enough attention will reveal their true face.

 •constant praise, adulation and the spotlight on them. "I'm the BEST, and people know it!"
 •to keep listing their successes and dropping names of powerful/rich/famous "friends",
 •to belittle others, feeling better by comparison, "You're a whale! Stop eating like a pig!"
 •to control others, (often can't control themselves) "You're NOT getting your own bank account!"
 •to put the blame on others (scapegoats, enemies) "These people are stealing our jobs!"
 •to have power over others, it's a thrill! "You'll do it because I SAID so. And SMILE."
 •to appear knowledgeable & wise, though they are the ignorant. "I know better! You're WRONG!"
 •to attack by scandal or insult when their position is threatened. "You're a filthy atheist!"
 •sympathy, they'll convincingly play the victim, "They're jealous of my success!" 
 •to have subordinates, to feel bigger by comparison. "I don't pay you to think. Get me a coffee!"
 •to feed their greed. More money = more choices = more power
 •privilege: exclusive experiences, luxury items. "Nothing but the best & rarest for me!"
 •leverage: ways to control their allies and enemies. "I know what you are behind closed doors."
 •sponsors: rarely all-powerful, they answer to someone or some group that gives them their power.
 •causes. Rarely genuine, it's for show, to rally the people: "I'm a true believer, I'll do God's work!" 
 •a lack of empathy, to be able to keep doing worse things. Other people don't matter.
 •a lack of responsibility. "Future consequences don't matter, as long as I get what I want NOW."

If this list (probably incomplete) seems to describe some corrupt politicians, it's no coincidence.
Bullies seek money, influence and power. Politics offer all of that and more. Many say power corrupts. I'm not sure that is entirely correct. I think power focuses and concentrates what's already there. If not-so-deep-down you're an evil control-freak, the more power you have, the more lives you can control and ruin, and the more overtly you can do it, without fearing the consequences. Bullies leave a legacy of ruin and outrage. When Justice if controlled by the powerful, it favors the powerful & their friends.

On the other hand, if you're a generous problem solver, with more power, you'll get to help more people, fix more problems, leave a legacy you can genuinely be proud of. Because instead of ruin, you'll leave things BETTER, for more people to benefit.

I digressed a bit, but back to topic: 

In short, I think bullies are insecure all the time, so they seek POWER over others and situations. It's reassuring to KNOW you can do what you want and when you want, get away with anything,  that nothing can harm you, and that people perceive you as STRONG. But that power they have is superficial. Sure it's real and it can cause a lot of damage, loss of jobs and life, awful changes in society. But it's only as real as WE allow it to be. The most powerful bully can be dethroned or dispatched by the cook in their castle. Or by a handful of high-ranking officers. Or by the Army they used to control. Or the people they oppressed until their survival depended on rebellion. What's an ex despot to do against a people? How can the now-pariah be clothed, fed, lodged and healed if EVERYBODY refuses to lend them assistance?

Time to make sure bullies get CONSEQUENCES for their actions. No preferential treatment.
You broke it, you bought it. Does that mean they should get punished? Sometimes. Often? But I like to believe that in many cases, they might be smart enough to at least TRY to learn a better way. Probably more likely if they are caught earlier in life! If they discover their potential for a good and productive life that benefits others and themselves, maybe they'll mend their ways? There is hope. But's let's not be TOO naive. They DID decide to treat people like garbage, after all. Keep an eye on them. Make sure the reform is not a scam. Limit their access to power. It's a potent drug to them.

More concrete, everyday example:
A bully boss will not likely hire someone who could possibly be a threat to their own position. 
So the manager they hire will be a bit less qualified than they are. When they leave for greener pastures, the manager can be the new boss, and that can mean the quality of service will already be lessened. Over just a few "generations" of this type of hiring, the overall quality of service of a company, and eventually an entire field,  has gone down the drain. That probably explains the mediocre service we usually get from retail businesses. Getting a good service, from staff who is knowledgeable, gives clear advice, is honest and truly there to help, is the exception, not the standard.
I've come to expect bad service, but I'm grateful when I get the good kind. 
Too many bullies seek out and get manager positions. They protect their own interest & they have lower moral standards, so the employees and customers pay the price of their abuse, cheating & power grabbing. Well qualified employees routinely get fired, because abusive companies want to avoid having to put them on the company's health and insurance plans, as would be required by law after a set period of time. They'll hire students, because they have less experience and can be malleable. They'll find excuses to fire someone who shows too much initiative or can affirm themselves. They'll give as little as they can, to reap as much profit as they can. Just like in their beloved school days, taking the smaller kid's lunch money, just because they can. "What a thrill!
I got away with it AGAIN! People are such IDIOTS and I'm SO smart!" Do you see why we MUST stop them every step of the way?  Do you see we must TRY to show them a better way? It's as much for them as for us. It must be lonely and miserable to be above everyone else, to be envied, conspired against, manipulated, misunderstood. No wonder they are usually paranoid! MUST grab more power to make sure I don't lose my power!!!

Remembering my earlier teenage promise, I actually had to quit THREE jobs following some abusive behavior from bosses or managers. One such quitting moment is still one of my proudest achievements, when I calmly and politely told my boss how wrong it was for her to treat her employees and customers that way. A month or two later, when I went there to meet with a friend who still worked there, that same abusive boss treated me like royalty. Some bullies only respect a person who stands up to or bullies them back. "Everyone else is just a weak person who DESERVES to be brought down", they seem to believe.

Unless they deserve it from their words and actions, people should not be treated like garbage.
Maybe even not then, as the people inflicting the garbage may also get poisoned by the action.
WHEN and where do we stop harming each other? We should learn to feel and not be afraid of it.
We should use our feelings to understand and offer choices to each other.
Maybe that bully's dreams were trampled by another bully, or a limiting situation?
Maybe they are lashing out? I've never been able to detect a single hint that any bully has any true friend. They have lackeys, henchpeople, slaves, victims & enemies. Must be awfully lonely.
That might explain  the behavior, but it doesn't excuse it.

Here's an Idea!
Help bullies find their Mission. 
I believe that a person who pursues their own true positive passion wouldn't have time or energy to spend on trying to control, belittle, rob and destroy others. Wouldn't they prefer to study, create and enjoy their own projects? Wouldn't they want to share that joy with the world? Instead of punishment as a sole solution for bad behavior, we should try to help the bullies find whatever it is they are missing. Show them the healthy kind of pride at something they have accomplished, something beneficial and appreciated instead of destructive! Surely, even the most selfish person, if they are intelligent and observant enough, should be able to understand the benefits and avoidance of troubles brought by good behavior and a sense of community? PEOPLE LIKE YOU: YOU GET FREE STUFF and people don't want you dead! Crazy, right? Get in on that action!

Addressing the bullies who might be reading this: Hey asshole! Fake it till you make it! See what a year of good deeds and respect brings you! See if that changes your outlook! I TRIPLE DARE YOU!

If bullies refuse our help however, we must find ways to prevent them from harming others.
"First do no harm" is not just for doctors. 

Despite all the hardships and heartaches from bullies of different types in my past, 
nowadays, I'm the happiest I've ever been. I like who I am. I know what I am: a storyteller, student, teacher, artist, buffoon, MAKER. I avoid destruction; I strive to mend and heal. I weigh consequences before I choose to act. I favor thoughtful actions over mindless reaction.
I'm unique, weird! That means original, and now I know that can be a GOOD thing.
Actually, we're all weird, from many other's points of view. So might as well be the kind of weird we want to be, and hopefully we'll find the kind of weird we can be friends with!

I used to feel useless, worthless. What could I possible contribute, when all I did was drawing pictures and making dollies? Well, I do what I love for a living, and it's helping people in several ways. I propagate and provoke inspiration, spontaneity, curiosity, problem-solving and fun! I encourage people to identify and follow their Mission! I act and dress as serious or as silly as I feel. I have EYES on my hats! My winter hat is a Huge brown furball with giant yellow eyes, wiggly long ears, and a TAIL! It provokes a lot of smiles whenever I'm out and about. And yes, I sometimes get judged unfairly by the narrow-minded and meddlers, but that's their choice, not mine, so I just carry on, and wish for them an epiphany. From the life I've lived so far, I have very little to feel guilty about, and I'm working on mending what can be. I'm a work in progress. I think we all are, but not all of us will admit that.

So, it's reassuring that I can be now be silly, joyful and peaceful.
But it doesn't mean I'm an easy target.
I don't let people bully me.
I defend others when the need arises. I can't stand and passively watch as people are being mistreated. Because I know how it feels. 

KARMASure, bullies MAY get what's coming to them "someday".
What about in the meantime? What about all the victims suffering NOW?
Wishes and Karma need your help. Change can't happen here without human minds, hearts and hands. Bullies won't mend their ways if they have it easy succeeding at what they have been doing all along. And it's harder to change the world alone. So, find a community if that's your style.
If not, or until then, be a sleeper agent for good, an ever vigilant helper. EVERY BIT HELPS. It all adds up!  Maybe life has been training all of us for it.

Adult life is just like high school sometimes. The bullies get away with it when we don't RESIST THEM.


Peaceful but not Defenseless,
Joyful but not Oblivious,
Vulnerable but not Weak,
Generous but not self-depleting,
Loving but not Obsessive,
Sexy but not Flammable,
Trusting but not Naive,
Teachers but not Indoctrinators,
Humble but not Worthless, 
Spiritual but not so darn Sure you Know the Only Truth! 
Wiser by admitting there's Always More to Learn,
from Everyone and Everything.

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