Thursday, May 13, 2010

Which Direction Am I Headed?

Bullies are exhausting, not only for the stress they create and the chaos that ensues, but also for the fact that one has to be continually defending one's boundaries, in order not to have them knocked asunder, and then trampled underfoot.

I realised today, that if when talking to someone, I'm immediately feeling that I must explain and apologise, and my heart begins to pound, I'm being bullied. It was so obvious - I saw it as it was happening, and this allowed me to take a step back, detach, and decide that I was not going to accept being treated in that way by this person.  I was, (thankyou Dog Whisperer,) "calm-assertive."

The result was an instant retreat from the unacceptable behavior, with a flurry of explanations. I let it go, and put the information away for future pondering. It's interesting how one sees an entirely different side of some people when they are angry.

It's more interesting, how stating what I considered a fairly minor boundary could bring on the reaction that it did. At one time, this person was a fairly close friend; time and distance have made our encounters fewer. This allows me to have a level of detachment not possible when we were closer.

One thing getting older has done for me, is solidify just how unwilling I am to continue being treated unkindly by anyone, whether it's to maintain a friendship, or because I'm not sure how to speak up.

Tolerating unacceptable behavior is teaching the other that I can be misused - only I can put those boundaries in place, and then be willing to push back against them, when they are tested. When I distill it all down to "Is this kindness?" I achieve clarity.


  1. I ask myself what are my motives for letting myself be bullied. Am I being kind to myself by letting myself be treated unkindly? Life is just too short to be bombarded by those who are irritable and discontented with themselves, and as a consequence, others.

  2. Relationships--even unhealthy ones--teach us so much about ourselves.

  3. Thanks for another great post, Cheryl! I plan to use your single clarifying question..."Is this kindness?" Nice way to keep things simple...and crystal clear :)