I grew up with a mother who was a bully. My response was to shut down into a kind of frozen numbness. When I was 12 I started smoking cigarettes and at 16 I started drinking – all to continue the numbing process so as not to feel the pain.
Now, I’ve un-numbed myself, let go of cigarettes and alcohol, and found my true self. Life is filled with love, joy, and inner peace. Along the way, I had to learn how to stand up for myself, be vulnerable, and speak my truth.
Here are my 8 Keys to addressing a bully and giving them an opportunity to apologise. They might apologise, or they might not – I’ve experienced both. Either way, the success is yours, because you have spoken your truth. Your self-confidence builds and eventually, if a bully starts up, you can dismiss them quickly, and easily, without getting upset..
1. BE EMOTIONALLY HONEST WITH YOURSELF
Are you emotionally honest? Ask yourself: How do I feel when a person is abusive to me? Angry? Hurt? Paralyzed with fear? Numb? The important thing here is to be HONEST WITH YOURSELF about how you feel. This is the primary key to freeing yourself from the prison of victimization.
2. ACCEPT – DON’T JUDGE YOURSELF
Keep the focus on yourself, not on the bully. Accept your present moment, whatever it contains. Beware the ego coming in and dismissing your feelings, saying things like: ”It’s no big deal”, “I’m fine” etc. The Ego doesn’t like us being put down so it might try and distract you by focusing on the bully or rationalize you out of your feelings. Stay with your present-moment reality, no matter how uncomfortable (uncomfortable is good because it means you are moving away from an old habit that doesn’t serve you) –simply allowing things to be as they are, without judging yourself. And have compassion for yourself – you’re doing the best you can with the best conscious awareness you have in the moment.
3. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
If you don’t know how you feel, your body will tell you. Are you contracted in fear or rage? Is your heart heavy with pain? Or do you just feel numb all over? Whatever is happening, allow it to be so. Your body is your friend. It acts like a shock absorber in stressful situations to help you deal with things. Pay attention because the body gives us warning signals when we are not in harmony and at ease with a person/situation. The more in tune you are with your body, the easier it is to address things early on, before they escalate into something worse.
4. GET SUPPORT
Find a friend or a family member you are close to, SOMEONE WHO LOVES YOU VERY MUCH. Tell them what happened. This will bring you some instant relief and the powerful loving support you need to speak up to the bully. Allow yourself to RECEIVE the love of your friend to fill yourself up and build your confidence.
5. BE WILLING TO LET GO OF THE PERSON/SITUATION
Before you address the bully, spend some time in self-reflection and realize that you might have to walk away from this person, or from this situation. Friends can be helpful here to help you see things clearly. You might not have to let go, but you might. A lot depends on the response of the bully. Do they apologise? Do they “get it”? If not, they are highly likely to bully you again.
6. SPEAK YOUR TRUTH
Speaking your truth means RESPECTING YOURSELF enough to let people know that YOU DESERVE RESPECT. Bullies will transform, or leave. Either way, you win!
Best case scenario is to speak to the bully in person, in a calm, respectful manner, simply stating how you feel about what happened. Bring a friend as a witness and for support. If that is not possible, talk on the phone.(Your friend standing by). Third best option – send an email or letter. Know this truth: bullies, underneath their aggressivity, are cowards. In many instances, they are embarrassed you’ve called them out and apologise, which allows the possibility of taking the relationship to a whole new level. If they don’t apologise, see #5!
7. BE COURAGEOUS AND ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE VULNERABLE
Courage means going into the unknown in spite of all the fears. Courage does not mean fearlessness. Fearlessness happens over time when you go on being more and more courageous. In the beginning, the only difference between a coward and a courageous person is that the coward listens to their fears and follows them; the courageous person puts them aside and goes ahead. The courageous person can say, for example: “What you said hurt me”, in spite of inner trembling and a constricted throat.
Be willing to be vulnerable, befriend your fears, and remember that this situation is happening for you, not to you. It’s helping you step out of victim into mastery of yourself. It’s helping you expand even more into who you are.
8. PRACTICE EXPRESSIVE MEDITATION
Expressive Meditation techniques can help you become more aware of your feelings and be honest with yourself. The Gibberish expressive meditation is great for releasing the charge of anger, rage, frustration and resentment, and helps you come back to a calm, neutral place of clarity.
You can learn to express your emotions without being emotional.
Expressive Techniques for healing grief, sadness, and emotional pain, help with the emotional wounding that can keep you in a victim state.(all these techniques are in my book Laughter, Tears, Silence ).You will experience pain transforming into peace and love.
From personal experience these 8 keys work! By speaking your truth you attract people who treat you with courtesy and respect….because you are treating YOURSELF with courtesy and respect!
I look forward to your comments below.