I recognize a bully when I see him and I am beginning to dream of refuge from the bullying I experience represented in the current political climate in my country. Those with means are talking about relocating to their second homes or purchasing homes in other countries come November. I don’t have means to relocate, but I do wonder about what I can do.
My usual personal approach to bullying in my own life has been to keep doing what I’m doing to stand in my own power in a non-aggressive, “lower frequency” way: Meditate. Ignore. Avoid. Care for myself.
I admit these may not be the best strategies to dealing with a bully. What happens when everyone who feels bullied allows the schoolyard to be inhabited only by those who are standing with the bully out of fear?
If you don’t think current rhetoric fits the definition of bullying, here’s a prominent public resource defining types of bullying beyond physical attack. Did you see the “debates”? Have you absorbed any media in the last 24-hour cycle?:
Verbal bullying means:
Relationship bullying means:
- Refusing to talk to someone
- Spreading lies or rumors about someone
- Making someone do things he or she doesn’t want to do
One thing I know is we can never have a civil conversation with anyone if we have insulted them up front. We can never contribute diverse solutions to important problems if entire groups of people are shunned from the discussion. Or if there is no discussion at all.
For anyone wanting actual data on immigration of peoples around the world, here is a fabulous resource that indicates contrary to rhetoric, certain groups (Mexicans in this case) are currently leaving the US in greater numbers than arriving.
What can we do? What concerns me most about the current climate is the sense of helplessness and fear and disbelief many of us are experiencing. Do we shut down? Do we avoid? Do we continue to teach empathy to our children even if our leaders don’t display it? According to many sources on bullying, empathy is the #1 thing missing in the bully’s own life. So they don’t have empathy to give to others.
The common ways to deal with a bully that are taught to children in school are to: 1) Confide in an adult for help. Who do we approach in the current political arena? 2) Be kind to kids being bullied.
Maybe there’s a third way, but I’m not sure what that is. Oh, Canada?