Staying Spiritually In-Tune While Dealing with Bullies - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 09-09-2010, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am in a bit of a spiritual quandry right now. I've been growing in my sense of oneness with the whole universe, and I'm learning/seeking to see everything and everybody as "us" and to move away from the "us vs. them" mentality -- yet we are dealing with some bullies at our neighborhood playground who seem to have a need to be treated as "them." Here's a link to the thread if anyone is interested in knowing more details --

http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1260719

Even the fact that I am now labeling these children "bullies" is evidence that I am no longer embracing them as "us."

I'm reminded of that old "Friends" episode where Ross (or maybe it was Jerry in "Seinfeld") gets this ugly growth on his butt, and he keeps trying to get rid of it but nothing medical is working ... then he goes to a healer who tells him it needs love ... and within a few seconds the growth is all gone.

I guess I'm somehow wanting to believe in the power of love to make ugliness go away -- but at the same time I need to protect my girls. I know there are tremendous things to learn from this, and most of all I want to be a good example for my girls so THEY can learn to deal with bullying now and not still be as puzzled as I am at age 46.

So, maybe being positive and excited about this whole learning experience is a start in loving the ugly butt-growth.

As I shared in the other thread, I feel like this issue is coming back to me like old sewage 'cause I hid out and did my best to avoid these situations as a kid.

So... Tao mamas and anyone with an insight, please share.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#2 of 9 Old 09-10-2010, 10:23 AM
 
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i am reminded right away of spiritually-grounded activists whom i know, and the work they have done (and continue to do) to combat the ugliness of racism—which, when acted upon, becomes a kind of bullying.

i'm far from expert at handling this right, but my first thought is of the need to separate the behavior from the person doing the behavior. no matter how ugly a person may be acting, they also have the potential for love and goodness, they also are a part of God's creation. and i think love has an amazing power to transform hearts.

if you are backing up your children, supporting them with knowledge that bullying is wrong, and you remind yourself that those children have the potential to act in another way, i think you'll be ok. maybe you've already done some reading on what makes people act as bullies....maybe help your children know that people often act that way because it's all they know--perhaps those children get bullied at home.

if you are aware that these children, behaving as bullies now, have the potential to be good loving children, it is not your job to "fix" them or transform them, but just to react without fear. to find, maybe, some compassion for the lack of love they might see in the world.

forgive me if this comment is rambly. this issue has been much on my own mind, and i may be thinking aloud here.

peace be upon you.

mama to one amazing daughter born 1/2004
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#3 of 9 Old 09-10-2010, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for reminding me of the need to separate the behavior from the person. I haven't been doing a very good job of that lately. I need to move away from telling my daughter these are "rude children" and simply focus on the reality that there is no real communication with people who are choosing to act rudely and disrespectfully.

There was one point the other day when the boy who was calling dd names came to me and said that he wasn't going to be mean any more -- but then a few minutes later he changed his mind. So it's a bit complicated to say the least.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#4 of 9 Old 09-12-2010, 01:02 PM
 
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Hey Susan, I dealt with it for four or five years straight in the previous location we lived. We lived next door to a couple of lads, brothers, who would set fires to random things on the estate, they threw my son's head into a brick wall for saying one of them lied sometimes. They tried strangling my dd on one occassion, often threw stones at our windows, as well as stole several of our toys. They lied all the time and were basically the nastiest kids I ever met in my life. On the one hand I really felt for them but at the same time it was impossible to really be kind to them without them really taking advantage. So, I learned a lot thru that situation. Oh, and the last week before we moved, they threatened my kids with a kitchen knife. Their mother was my age, always on something and was civil to me until my dh left to start a new job 300 miles away and I was alone, then she kicked off with me too.

I learned that ...uuuum.... I didnt have to like people like that, what I mean is that I didnt have to befriend or keep them close to me. I could keep my distance and recognise they werent very nice people. Simple as that. I did what I could to show them ...what I would consider Christ-like love. I was patient with them. I didnt retaliate, I baked them cookies for goodness sake. I spoke to their mother with respect, I didnt fight her, verbally or otherwise. But I didnt stand for them hurting my kids like that. I told my kids it was alright for them to defend themselves. They learned they had courage and strength to face very difficult situations. For me, that wasnt a lesson in loving my enemies, it was a lesson in strength for my kids when dealing with seriously nasty bullies, and those lessons are still seeing fruit to this day almost three years later. What I did learn also was that loving our enemies didnt always mean we were going to ....change them. That wasnt the point in loving our enemies, or to win them over to our way of thinking. It was more about who I was, who my kids were. How we responded when under that kind of pressure. We were never going to teach them how to be nice to people. I did pray for them and we still do sometimes. Things are learnt in situations like that and sometimes those things arent easily defined. They just either reveal something about ourselves or they build up something in us that we dont always see until later, always thru the work of the Holy Spirit.

Dont know if that helps but thats my two penneth worth
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#5 of 9 Old 09-13-2010, 01:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, genifer, for sharing! That sounds like a wild experience!

I did just post an undate because we went back today for the first time; we had a lot of fun and stayed for three hours, but I did end up needing to call the police on the boy toward the end. They came and talked to him, and I am feeling pretty empowered; I won't share too much here since I covered it all in the other thread.

I agree with not needing to like the bullies, and I'm feeling more and more positive about how empowered we're all going to become because of this experience.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#6 of 9 Old 09-13-2010, 05:46 AM
 
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Something else Ive learned about love is that it can sometimes need to be tough. So you calling the police, well I wonder if sometimes some people dont possess very good social skills bc of what they are dealing with in their lives and maybe its a good thing to show that it is socially unacceptable to treat people 'that way'. I havent found your other thread. Ill go and have a look in a mo.
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#7 of 9 Old 09-13-2010, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi genifer, here's that link again:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1260719

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#8 of 9 Old 09-16-2010, 02:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've just shared some things I've been learning on the other thread, and thought I'd copy and paste that post here:

I've gone a little further reading the articles, and I see now that I really was wrong to seek help from the police when the boy wouldn't stop throwing acorns at me. Since it wasn't phyisically hurting me, I could have ignored it or moved or something.

I also see that I've been entrenching myself and my girls in unlife by actually hating these bullies. They can sense my hate and they feel powerless to do anything but hate us back.

I need to recognize that they are composed of the same matter that forms the flowers, trees, and earth, as well as my girls and me. I don't have to "make nice" and give them our food, and I don't have to say anything to them or anything, but I just need to release myself from the hate that I hadn't even realized that I'd lately been allowing to strangle me.

Now I'm feeling much more connected to life again, and much more freed from the spirit of unlife that they've been exhaling all over that playground.

I honestly don't feel attached to outcomes any more in this situation. Others can choose hate and unlife if they want to. We're going to live, and I won't give up trying to make our neighborhood a safe place for life and love to flourish. I'll probably take occasional breaks, but I won't ever give up completely.

Thanks to anyone who is still listening, and I still welcome everyone's input.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#9 of 9 Old 09-16-2010, 02:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ooh, I just got another cool revelation and posted it on the other thread, and I'm reposting it here because it's so very, very spiritual:

Also, to the poster who was concerned that I've devoted too much of my life/energy to these bullies: I'm realizing that, just as the authors of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things say, there is no waste if all waste is converted to food.

I'll add to that, no time is ever wasted that is time spent learning to live more fully.

Whatever time and evergy I've "given" to these bullies is now flowing back full-circle to me. And, who knows, maybe at some point it will flow back to them ... it will just be up to them to decide whether they want to choose life or not.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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