A good friend recently told me, “Kelly, write about what you WANT to write about. The content here belongs to you, and whether or not other people like it…isn’t the point.”
So, I’m going to write about Adult Bullies, more specifically adult WOMEN who stomp their feet like children, yell louder than everyone, and verbally slander other women—simply to “get their point across”. I’m going to write about the utter absurdity of their behavior, as it is their attempt to strongarm other women. These are the mean girls who have never grown up.
But unlike when they were teenagers, and their peers may have stood back and cowered at the buffoonery, when the recipient is a reasonable adult, the perception and knowledge that’s actually transmitted through an encounter is the supreme insecurity and emotional immaturity of your bully.
Of course, this has happened to me. Recently, in fact. When it does happen, my feelings aren’t hurt. It puzzles me, and my only response is to shrug my shoulders and move on.
There are fewer than 10 people in this world that I would lay down my life for. That I LOVE. If they needed a kidney, I would eagerly offer mine.
There are people I care deeply for, and if you are reading this you know who you are.
There are people I tolerate.
There are people who have been friends in the past, and I still wish them well.
There are people who have been friends in the past that I can’t get far enough away from.
And, there are people who are inconsequential. Here lies the bully.
Now, don’t confuse the writing of this piece as an attempt to project anger, or to make it seem as though I give word vomit a second thought. For me to be angry about it, it would have to MEAN something to me. I am writing this because there are many of you out there who have gone through the same thing. Another woman who, while demonstrating her narcisicissim and lack of self worth, goes to great lengths to throw you under the bus. What they don’t know is, that through all of your trials and tribulations you have become:
With this in mind, I want to say something to those of you who have witnessed the behavior of these bullies and made the conscious decision to be a bystander.
“I’m not going to say anything!” you may think. “This is none of my business.”
When this happens, YOU become part of the problem. You are guilty of perpetuating the bully’s behavior.
Undoubtedly, you have begun the process of teaching your children how to stick up for THEMSELVES. The problem there is, THAT is an inborn survival skill. Before we are taught that snatching a toy away from a friend is ill looked upon, we are out to protect our own interests.
What many parents in my lifetime have chosen to forget is…TEACHING their children to protect each other. I use teaching in caps here because that is not an innate survival skill. We are not born with the desire or mindful nature to WANT to advocate for others. It is taught to us, modeled for us, and with persistance by our parents becomes second nature to us at some point. Without the two going hand in hand, we have become the self-centered world we live in today.
So, why don’t we do it? Because it is uncomfortable for US. Because it may turn animosity toward US, and not just the person being bullied. Because it’s easier for US to walk away.
With the clear idea that I may offend some of you, I believe that to be cowardice and one of the most harmful idealisms to replicate in our society. We, the world, WE NEED YOU TO BE BRAVE. We need you to be bigger than yourself. We need you to show and teach that we don’t need to be afraid of bad behavior demonstrated by others, because we will not tolerate it. We need you to teach your children, that NOT stopping a person (adult or child) who is attempting to be hurtful, harmful, or just plain mean, is WRONG.
Ladies, as a gender, we are falling short on advocating for what is right and having each other’s backs. If we can’t do it for each other, what hope do our daughters have of NOT becoming victims? We have shown them that being an inactive bystander is…..the right way to handle mistreatment of others.
Perhaps consider this…Speak UP! Not to the graphic and emotional extent of the bully, but a simple statement like, “What you are doing is wrong.” is a powerful stance. It’s that simple. You don’t need to explain further or make a longer statement, and by turning and walking away afterward, you are making the adult bully aware that SOCIETY sees them. Do nothing and your actions are perceived as a nod of acceptance.
We all know it’s not acceptable. We all know it’s disgraceful. It’s a virus put out into the world, that we are setting our daughters up to deal with.
WE need to raise girls who are not bullies, and who grow up to be adults who have no tolerance for bullying. Girls who are capable of NOT seeing other women as enemies. Who have watched their Mothers demonstrate bravery, humility, and kindness—even if it put them out of their comfort zone.
In ending, I want to acknowledge that I began this piece speaking about adult women who attempt to bully other adult women. If you are the target, walk away. But, if you are a witness DON’T LET THAT PERSON STAND ALONE. It is wrong to the core of wrongness. Be the friend you would want standing next to your daughter. The world will be a better place.