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Facing Verbal Bullies
A Terribly Misread Situation
Sometimes a good and relevant quotation may be the best way to start a text that's meant to inspire. One that comes to mind is a Latin saying: "Si duo faciunt idem---non est idem"; or in English: "If two (people) are doing the same---is not the same".
Adding an example to it---think of two dudes facing a bully and seemingly reacting the same way to his silly antiques by just passively taking it without responding in any way.
One of them is doing it out of a paralyzing fear and completely intimidated, cooking in his own oils inside and hating himself for not being able to mobilize some gutsiness to put the idiot in place.
The other, apparently doing the same, is actually feeling sorry for the jerk, with a sort of an attitude of a male nurse at a psychiatric ward observing him and thinking how badly he needs these cheap victories to feel good about himself.
If you are identifying yourself to any degree to that first dude, the time may have come for you to junk that dark obsessing about "what might happen out of that". The example of these two dudes clearly shows how not responding to a bully does not automatically make you look like a coward, so why feel like one?
Moreover, if anyone is a coward there it is the bully, because he is so loaded with insecurities that he is desperate to compensate for them by bullying others. So, let me put it this way---All along you have been beating on yourself for nothing, because all those past bullies needed a therapy more than you did.
Remember, it's a simple fact of human psychology that it's absolutely impossible to have a need to bully others without being emotionally unstable. Such a person doesn't need a "lesson that he will never forget", he needs a good therapy.
And you are probably not up to volunteering to be the one, so just drop the whole thing as a misread situation back there when someone instilled into your survival instinct this unnecessary fear.
An Overactive Limbic Brain
Let's go a little to the brain mechanics of that fear, because that may further help to drop this uneasiness about bullying.
Actually, it's quite possible that a bullying by an intimidating parent, a sibling or a classmate hit a fertile soil somewhere long ago; and we are talking about a general predisposition of ascribing too big a significance to emotions.
Roughly mapping the brain for our purposes, there is a limbic part, responsible for our survival and generating aggression and fear as two main emotions---popularly called fight/flight mechanism in all self-help literature.
Well, we are all different, and so we experience the hierarchy of our mental forces in a different manner---some giving this limbic brain more importance than the others. Some of us simply spend our life "present" in that brain function, that's how they are impressed by their emotions catering to their psycho-physical survival.
Others, however, are more present in their neo-cortex, prone to be more pro-active than re-active, to observe and to decide upon a most rational line of responses, while not taking a counsel from their limbic excessive reactiveness to life.
So, we could say that in their particular hierarchy of mental forces their emotionality is not running their show.
It's somewhat unfortunate truism about our world that the great majority of humans are at the limbic side of the scale, meaning that their lives are to one degree or another determined by the way their primordial part of the brain is dictating it.
Limbic brain can be, and generally is so much of a boss in our heads that it contaminates our logicalness, so that we create all kinds of illusions about possible threats and outcomes, along with some corresponding strategies to deal with them.
This brings us to this equally illusionary threat of bullying. It will enormously help any sufferer if they cut through that crap and once and for all realize how their brain has been playing dirty tricks on them for quite a while.
In the circles of brain scientists it is a well known fact that brain plays all kinds of tricks on us, and so much more than we may ever realize. Unfortunately, whatever we experience in the theatre of our mind we readily accept as real, and the threat of bullying---at least the verbal one---is far from being an exception.
It computes some most irrational beliefs, impressions and attitudes---when allowed to. Oftentimes it's enough to turn the light of consciousness on so that all those scary shadows disappear. And such is exactly the case with this fear of bullying.
A Bully Disarmed
Nothing disarms a bully like a steady and calm resting of your eyes on his eyes and that shadow of a Mona Lisa smile on your face, while he doesn't know what to make of it.
As he is preying for any signs of your being intimidated---and he is not seeing or hearing any--- he is bound to use something of a "bigger caliber". Namely, since he wants you to talk, to say something in your defense, he must ask you a mocking question to get something out of you.
And then he gets another blow because you are still not saying anything and just shifting your resting eyes from his mouth to his eyes, back and forth, as if studying, analyzing him.
Bullying is usually done with witnesses around, because he needs an audience for his "superiority". Your pro-active and conscious choice of your behavior simply glows with its willful vibrations, and before he is fully aware of it, his audience is seeing a complete idiot in him.
It's next to ridiculous to assume that he would escalate his verbal assaults into a physical one, because that only happens with school kids. Grownup bullies stick to "more civilized forms", like sarcasm, mocking, name calling, scapegoating, and ridiculing. And all that is just something that a bully uses to feed his ailing ego.
Remember Mahatma Gandhi and his teaching of a passive resistance which defeated one mighty British Empire. What especially helps is this rewiring of our brain from excessive limbic to neo-cortex neural pathways is the realization that no one can walk into our head.
Think about it for a moment, and get impressed with this fact as I am---whatever is happening in your personal space is of your own make, there are no damn phantoms pressing on some buttons in there and "making you" feel this or that way.
And after having realized that fear of bullying is nothing but a bag of shadows, it's important that you humbly admit that you did it to yourself, and now you are using that same power to undo it.
Both your limbic and your neo-brain are yours and yours alone to operate, exactly like your hands. I have proven to myself times and times again that with a simple, although somewhat "enlightened" intent it is possible to choose our ways of emotional dealing with life's demands.
Just because people and textbooks are not talking about it, and you don't hear about it from your friends over a cup of coffee---it doesn't mean that emotional sovereignty is an outlandish task.
Decades ago I started thinking out of the box and never regretted it. On the contrary, thanks to that intellectual freedom my life is an adventure even while I am standing by the window and watching the cars passing below. My day doesn't need a special entertaining feature so that I would feel entertained.
These days I am even watching the news from the American political arena and having fun. Listen folks, I am not asking you to believe me, but I'll share it with you just the same---the whole outside reality is nothing but a state of mind and we have the power to be in a director's seat in that theatre of our mind.
If you want to go a little more philosophical and induce a good dose of mystery into the whole game called life---everything is just a virtual reality, like a simulation. The good news is that you don't have to wait for the quantum theorists to prove it one way or another, because you can start right now, by choosing how you interpret every aspect of your reality. Magnify this, discard that, turn the mind's volume knob down to get rid or that constant mental chat in there...do anything, it's yours to use.
I have used that old truism many times before, and I'll use it again, because it's so relevant to this topic---Mind is an obedient servant---but a cruel master. Really folks, why allow our limbic brain to parade so much with all those fears over our surviving? Let me give it to you straight---you are already surviving, and not one bit "because you never stood up to a bully"---so why all that fear.
Who are the bullies of your life? There is only one---right between your ears in your lower brain, and he is there only for as long as you want him there to keep validating an illusion.
You choose. It's your mind. It has always been.