A Tale of Two Bullies

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Bullies of All Kinds

Mrs. Night lived across the street and a few houses down.  She was old. She was crabby.  She was  a bully.  Her lawn was precise and practical.  Not one blade of grass was out of place.  If a weed popped up or one blade of grass grew longer than the other, she went out with her sun bonnet and scissors, got down on her hands and knees and went to work.  The bullying came when we would be playing catch across the street and a ball rolled on to her lawn.  Within seconds she would zip out of her front door, scoop up our ball and run back inside of her house while she yelled, “I am always watching!”  She terrorized us.  The neighbors that lived across the street from us had children that grew up in the 60’s, and they said Mrs. Night was old and mean way back then.  We theorized that she must have a room full of balls that she collected through the decades.

Stacy bullied me in high school.  She had eyes for my then boyfriend.  She was about 6ft tall, her hair almost taller than she was.  She wore acid washed jeans, a jean jacket, ripped up flannel shirt and dark, dark eye-liner.  Every day I saw her in the hallway she would mutter under her breath her choice expletive of the day as she ran into me-absolutely terrifying me.  I remember being at a school fair with some friends and heard that she was there and wanted to kick my behind (not the word she used).  I was so terrified of her, my stomach started to hurt and I started shaking.  She smoked.  She did drugs. She beat people up on a regular basis.  She was a bully.

What Bullies Want

These bullies might look very different, but they both want one thing—to be in charge.  They want what they want and will push, shove, manipulate, smash, and pulverize whoever gets in their way to their goal.

Each of my girls have been bullied in one way or another.  When it happens, we try to deal with each unique situation with fresh eyes.  Every bully is motivated to get what they want, but every bully is hurting and crying out for attention in a negative way.  We talk about how  they probably don’t have a home where they feel safe.  We tell them that some people are just mean.  We tell them that bullies bully because they have been bullied, either by their parents or other kids.

When our kids are bullied, I want nothing more than to take out my Mamma Bear claws and fight back.  I’m learning to step back and give lots of hugs while helping them understand why this might have happened from the bully’s perspective.

Were you bullied?  Have your kids been?  What is your first response to bullying?  What is your best response?

10 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Bullies

  • October 21, 2010 at 10:21 am
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    Oh yeah. My youngest is in a relationship right now that borders on bullying. Manipulation. Lying. One-upsmanship. All of these can be forms of bullying too. UGH.

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  • October 21, 2010 at 10:38 am
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    I knew this post was coming. And yes to all, I was bullied, my kids have been bullies but worst of all I probably in a small way also have been a bully. Please figure it all out for us. 🙂

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    • October 21, 2010 at 10:44 am
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      That’s the thing about bullies. I think we all bully at some time in our lives. Bullies aren’t monsters–they’re US, and we all have to learn to tame our inner-bully. 🙂

      Reply
  • October 21, 2010 at 2:51 pm
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    My eldest son had a situation in 1st grade in which he was bullied or manipulated by two other boys. One was a much bigger boy in his class, someone who regularly caused disturbances; the other was someone who had a great deal of instability in his home life and who seemed to want to “control” my son by saying things like “jump from this high place or I won’t be your friend.” Once I learned it was happening, we talked with his teacher about it and made her aware of the situation, but the behaviors from the other kids continued. We realized that the school was not going to do much to intervene and couldn’t really watch all the kids all the time, so we tried to give our then 6-year-old a few tools to handle these other boys. With the “manipulation bully,” we kept trying to help our son understand that he had the freedom and power to refuse to do something that he was not comfortable with; with the “big boy bully,” we gave him a different tactic, which was to try to befriend him as he seemed a needy child acting out as opposed to truly a mean one. In both cases, the tactics helped but it was a constant process of helping to remind our son of these and other tactics; we would pray for these other boys as well, that God would be in their lives and helping them to make good choices.

    All that having been said, though, bullying whenever and wherever it happens makes my heart ache. I experienced mild forms of bullying in elementary school and I still remember those moments as clearly as if they had happened yesterday. Children of any age who constantly deal with these situations need our prayer and our support–I feel that bullying has become as critical a pro-life issue in the wake of entirely too many teen suicides as of late. How can the church be more proactive to help children and teens in this area? No easy answers but a great discussion to have.

    Reply
    • October 21, 2010 at 3:06 pm
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      Helen, when you said, “–I feel that bullying has become as critical a pro-life issue in the wake of entirely too many teen suicides as of late. ” I couldn’t agree more. A childhood friend of mine committed suicide because he was different. We were only kids. It is something that has haunted me into my adult years. It has motivated me to teach my kids to not only accept, but reach out to kids on the fringes.

      Reply
  • October 21, 2010 at 9:10 pm
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    Michelle…you just went up 50 points on my respect meter and I didn’t think that was possible. You are already at the top. Thank you for writing about person behind the behavior.

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  • Pingback: What I Know About Bullying… : The Missional Mom: Living with Purpose in the Home and the World

  • October 21, 2010 at 10:41 pm
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    Michelle…you inspired me to write my own post about bullying. The more people who are talking about this issue, the better! Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring me to do the same!

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  • Pingback: What I Know About Bullying… | Helen Lee: Author, Speaker, Missional Mom

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