How to Deal with the Bullies in Your Life
by Debbie Mandel
Recently, many articles have explored the painful relationship between bullies and their victims. Often rooted in childhood, the consequences are far-reaching and almost never ending for victim and bully. Patterns endure and ultimately define both adult conscious and subconscious behavior. As a result, many of us play the part of the victim in our daily dramas. When bad things happen, we are the victim asking: Why me
? If friends exhaust us, we accept the role of the victim: Yes, I’m sure; I don’t mind
. If spouses and children take advantage of our good natures, we say, I know you had a hard day. I’ll do it for you.
This agreeableness stems from having inadequate self-esteem, our need to please and be well- liked; after all, that’s what bullies have done to us: reduced us, embarrassed us, mocked us and controlled us.
Bullies come in different guises. They are not always big, Neanderthal creatures towering over us and browbeating us into submission. They could be small, fragile and old. You laugh and claim, “I’m not intimidated by a little old lady!” However, if that little woman were your mother, teacher, or doctor, you just might be. After all, you have given up your power and internalized the criticism or judgment. And no matter what you do in life, in your heart you feel that you will never be good enough, that you have missed the boat and that Murphy’s Law governs your life.
Practicing self-awareness will lead you to honestly and objectively identify the self-destructive pattern in order to stand up for yourself. This will compel you to assume responsibility for your actions and to learn from your suffering. You will need to free yourself from the past story, not to forget it, for that would be impossible, but to release its sting and the hold it has taken of your life. You will need to reinterpret it like a nightmare to which you attach a happy ending. Here are some suggestions to help you break the pattern of the perpetual victim:
- Believe in yourself by reciting and writing this affirmation as a screensaver, on your desk, in your car and on your mirror: I am good enough!
- Don’t take yourself so seriously. Express your true feelings. Although this sounds like a contradiction to building up your self-esteem, those who take themselves too seriously are worried about how they present to others, their self image. If you are overly concerned with self-image, then you are a perfectionist and don’t really believe that you are good enough!
- Set boundaries in your relationships, space and time. If you allow people to call you up at 2:00AM to unload their problems and seek your advice, then you need to work on your boundaries. Saying no means saying yes to yourself.
- Strength train to boost your self-esteem because while you work out your muscles and the external body, you are also working out your internal focus and can quantify your improvement, so that there are no doubts about your accomplishment. Chart your progress.
- When you interact with a person in power like your doctor, break the habit of blind acceptance without question. Ask questions, suggest alternatives, get other opinions, do your homework and do not merely do what is dictated. Do not allow yourself to be trivialized or intimidated about getting another opinion. The worst case scenario: there are other doctors.
- When something bad happens, don’t wish for a change by reiterating the negative. Don’t say, I wish I didn’t have cancer, or I wish I had a better job. Instead wish for the positive. For example, I wish for good health, looking fit, to attract true love, etc. First your attitude will improve and then you will actualize your wish through good intention.
- Cultivate your creativity for the greater good. Creativity is an energy that fuels your spirit and sparks your happiness. When you create, you are not a victim, but instead you are empowered by a Godlike force that brings out your unique individual abilities. The best you have to offer emerges.
- Love with your whole heart. Act with kindness toward everyone you meet. Love expands who you are, releasing you from the bondage of inadequacy, anger, doubt and fear. Love gives you the power to see from a greater height and to connect with others in a beneficial, healthy way.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WHLI 1100AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com