posted with permission from Seferin
Long post is long
I’ve been seeing a lot of posts lately about bullies and bullying. They’re all about personal experiences, and they mention how things get better, and that it’s not worth it to give up. Give up, in this case, is a euphemism for committing suicide. I can’t agree entirely, but I will say suicide isn’t the best option available in the long run. I say this since suicide prevents there being a “long run”.
See, bullies never stop bullying; you will never stop being bullied. The same situation you find yourself in with bullies is the same situation you will find yourself in later. They do the same things, scaled up in adult terms. If they’re police officers, they scare you, physically abuse you, or take you money (if you’re lucky, it’s for something official, vs. them just taking all your money and making you prove either they did it, or that it was legally acquired). If they sell a car or repair cars, they will charge you as much as they can, and intimidate you with all the bad things which can happen. If they’re your coworker, or worse, your boss, they make you work harder and longer for the least amount of money possible or make them do your work for them.
So what changes? Unlike school where you are stuck in a prison for eight hours a day with guards, bad food, and torture (see, bad food, indifferent people who you fruitlessly ask for help from, and you go every day knowing that each day will be just as bad as the one before), here, you’re not stuck with the same people over and over and over. Age and location isn’t the only want to pick the people you associate with for more of your time, or even the people who you choose to spend time with. Instead, you get a few friends, and you have a tribe. What’s a tribe? That’s a group of people who you tell about your day, and actually care. The ones who you tell your problems to and listen, and present solutions if the bully continues to bug you, you call your tribe for help.
The bullies grow up, and stay bullies. The alpha bullies, the ones who want everyone to be afraid of them, they go into either business of politics. The former allows them to make miserable thousands or millions of people at a time. With the stroke of a pen, benefits are slashed, people are laid off, lifestyles go down, and it’s all because of them. These alpha sociopaths like it this way, and they don’t want it to change. The masters affect national policy. Look at the people who argue against anti bullying laws because they claim it will infringe on free speech. Homosexuality is the major cause right now, having supplanted “Having dark skin” as a major method of target selection. Religion is still popular, because it gives them the benefit of not actually having to do the bullying themselves. They can stand back and make a pronouncement, and watch as their words are justified and acted upon. Look at the uproar when members of a religion wanted to create a space for themselves. They were told that it was of course legal for them to exercise their freedoms, but nonetheless, it would be preferred if they didn’t do so. Look at Fred Phelps who likes to tell people that God hates them because they are homosexual, whether they are or not. Now, I don’t think it matters one way or another if someone is homosexual, but it’s telling to me that they don’t even care enough about the hatred they spew to be sure it accurately is directed. Look at the Rabbi blamed for ruining Christmas in Seattle for asking for a Menorah to be placed at the airport next to the Christmas decorations. All were removed, and he was blamed, because if they made an exception for him, they would have to do so for everyone.
This is what happens to bullies. They grow up, find a target that is socially accepted, and then they strike. Here’s a smaller and more local example. I posted icons to a community, and someone commented about one of the models I posted, indicating that they didn’t normally like “thick” girls, but that this icon made an exception for them. I won’t say who was in the icon, because it doesn’t matter. What does is that they felt that this was a comment worth sharing. “Normally X has little value, but I will make an exception in this case.” Really? Gee, thanks.
Look at the website (I won’t give it publicity here) which wrote a mock letter to the university a woman attended, claiming to be alumni, demanding her scholarship be revoked. Her action they were protesting? She made a porn film. Regardless of the morality you feel in such (no one died or was hurt, which makes it a moral choice answerable only to herself), it is said that she did this because she felt that it would be hidden and no one would know. You can now search for her school and the company she worked with and get a link to her identity, including her contact information. That’s right, you can see where she works, her telephone number, and her address. All because someone thought it would be amusing to do this.
Look at people “outed” as gay. Their choices are to protest, as if being Gay was something shameful, suffer in silence thus “permitting” the persecution (“Why didn’t they fight back?”), or relocate, and the bullies will select somewhere else. There was a woman who was raped, and the senatorial candidate who was the prosecutor at the time refused to prosecute the rape (admissible or not, the rapist is on tape admitting he did so), which should prove without a doubt that it was worth bringing to trial. Even if it was a “He said she said” case, 50/50 odds of justice are better than none. It wasn’t brought up because of a miscarriage. The woman had one, the prosecutor accused her of having an abortion, and said this might be justification for the rape (it was, as is most, an acquaintance rape). This man is a bully. Amazingly enough, the woman who was raped (I won’t call her a victim, because she did not let this define her) confronted the prosecutor about this.
So if you deal with these people all your life, and it’s difficult to deal with them on your own, at least the wounds heal, right? No. They don’t. Depending on who you are, how you were hurt, how you were healed, if you were permitted to do so, and how you coped, again, if you were able to do so, these experiences may be with you for the rest of your life. Every encounter with these people, every cue which leads to that memory, all those can be tainted. There is still a song which was used as my college song which I can’t stand to hear, or the movie which used it as a main theme. There will still be triggers, there are things which stick with you forever.
I can say that nothing feels as good as when someone tries to pick on you, and your tribe backs you to the hilt. That’s the trick and the key to survival. Find those like yourself, those you like. Watch each other’s back, and protect each other. That allows you to move forward as much as you are able. I say that as someone who has been shoved into traffic, beaten with rocks, been suspended for being punched in the face, assaulted at various times and not been permitted to flee. When I was in college, a friend asked me to join a social group she was part of that did service acts. I tried it, realized they neither liked me nor wanted me, and bowed out. I heard reports later that I was used as a case study as to why their open door policy should be closed, and that a considerable portion of time was spent defaming my good name, such as it was. That was a long time ago, and it still sticks with me, because I was told they accepted everyone, but they wouldn’t accept me.
That’s what hurts the most. When someone proclaims how fair and generous they are, welcoming to everyone, and you find that means to everyone but you. Look at the various political and religious groups today which are exclusionary by design, and which somehow are permitted to make the claim that they aren’t racist, or sexist, not prejudiced or bigoted… what is learned is not that people lie, it’s that you don’t count. To be prejudiced against your kind is not to be prejudiced. To be hypocritical against you is not to be hypocritical. I’m not gay, but I could have been. I’m not a Muslim, but I could have been. That’s why I want to speak up for them. Because if I was, and I wanted someone to speak up for me, who would there be?
I speak up for someone else, because I must. Silence is not always consent, sometimes it’s the belief you are mute, because you yourself have been silenced for too long.
In the end, if our actions do not matter, all that matter are our actions.