Singer Songwriter & Vocal Coach, Lizanne Hennessey - Voice Coach

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Bullied... or ignored. Which is worse?

Shane's powerful presentation on standing up for yourself against bullying, and acknowledging your true beauty, got me thinking.

Bullying is a destructive act. It forces individuals into a category through labeling and name-calling that can sometimes cost that individual an entire lifetime to break out of.

But, what about ignoring an individual? Is denying someone's existence as destructive... or more so?

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    May 12 2013: Hi Lizanne, Kate, Pabitra, Colleen and other commenters.

    Just some thoughts to chip in to the conversation.

    To bully somebody may sometimes mean the following: "I see you and I have problems with accepting myself so I will not accept you, you do not comply. But I still do see you and I will use my energy to inform you of that in ways that are unnacceptable to you and society at large."

    To ignore somebody may sometimes mean this: "I don't see you at all because I'm enclosed in my ego." or "I don't recognise or accept your existence because it's beneath me and my standards" or maybe "I see you but you are so beneath what I am that I will not use any energy to have any sort of contact with you, I won't even use energy to bully you."

    Depends on the situation.

    Why not, instead of bullying or ignoring one another, give one another a smile of acceptance once in a while? Or as often as possible?

    Just a thought from the bullied and sometimes ignored.
    • May 13 2013: Thank you, Anna,
      the simplicity and beauty of that solution is one I think we could all adhere to!!!
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      May 13 2013: Anna,
      I make it a point to smile at at least one stranger everyday when i power walk in the morning. Almost certainly I get a smile back. It's such a joyful exchange!
  • May 12 2013: Ignoring?...
    Yes, I agree, much more destructive
    than being Bullied.

    Societies are known for 'Shunning' as
    a policy to exclude and exile, and so
    to Ignore.

    Out of sight, out of mind...
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    May 12 2013: Actually after giving this more thought :
    I thought it would be worse to be bullied, considering when you are being bullied, you are being ignored as well.
    Yet when you are being ignored, you are not necessarily being bullied.
    Regards,
    Bernard.
  • May 12 2013: Dear Colleen,
    Thank you for your so well written response.
    And, yes I was just kidding you a bit.

    I am a little disappointed with how men have changed the last 40 years
    in their less than Victorian attitudes towards women.

    How do you feel about women being called "bitch" and the overuse
    of the F-word by both sexes during these last 40+ years?
    Has this been good for society?

    I feel that non-human bullying exists today.
    Through Freedom of Expression, our society has been fed an unrestricted
    diet. Bullying us, through popular movies and music, coupled with a
    drug culture, far past the edge of decency (by Victorian attitudes).
    This has changed the thinking of the then youths, into today's adults.

    I am probably tainted with the 1950's. But it was a fun time to be alive.
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      May 12 2013: Oh good... thanks for letting me know Frank. I had a feeling you were kidding, but wasn't sure, and I certainly didn't want to offend you.

      When I say my guy friends curse, I mean very gentle cursing....damn, hell....stuff like that, and not even very often!

      I do not like some of the language that is used.....especially the F-word, which seems to be just a "filler" word in sentences. The incarcerated guys I interacted with while co-facilitating "cognitive self change" sessions used it for every other word in a sentence...ALL the time.

      When I first started with the program, I told them that it simply makes them look like they do not have a very big vocabulary if they cannot think of any other word to use. As we got into the sessions, I would ask them to try to say what they were trying to express with a few different words....if they could. I think they finally understood that it simply made them look foolish, so they DID learn to express themselves differently.

      No, I don't think it's good for society, and in particular, not so great for the individual using the words, because I really do think it makes people look like they don't know any other words....lacking in vocabulary.

      Perhaps there is a difference with the youth and adults of today. Have you interacted with any of the young people here on TED though??? I am very impressed with the intelligence and insight of some of these younger people, and it gives me hope for the future. I liked the 50s too, 60s, 70, 80s, 90s, and I STILL believe today is a fun time to be alive. Just call me Pollyanna:>)
      • May 12 2013: Pollyanna, great response.
        I have to make this short as 2pm is nap time.
        I handicap horse races with a friend each day from 3pm to 8pm.
        And I need to be sharp.
        Last night I got all the races right except 3.
        He won 1 and we both lost the other 2.
        Revenge is certain to be expected today.

        The youths with conversations are special.
        They like some many others will go far in life.
        They understand and are not Sleepyheads.
        Have fun, gotta go.
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    • May 12 2013: You have literally taken the words right out of my mouth (or rather, keyboard!)

      Understanding where these boundaries lie, and how to deal with them, is a daily challenge for me too. I don't know if I'll ever perfect it either. We are, as someone said (was it you, in fact?) 'works in progress'!

      Thanks so much, Kate.
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          May 12 2013: Well thanks Kate!

          This is also a response to your comment....
          "Kate Blake
          30 minutes ago: Thank you for articulating this better than I could at the very top of the conversation Colleen."

          To be honest Kate my friend, I have lost track of the "very top of the conversation"!!! LOL:>)
          Thank you for your kind feedback.....I appreciate you:>)
        • May 12 2013: To you both, thank you.
          Just now, I conducted a little experiment in self-awareness.
          I just went to the grocery store. Without forcing my behavior in any one direction, I observed the way in which I instinctively respond to people around me.
          I acknowledge, I provided space, I as aware of those around me, and I smiled at every person whose eyes I met.
          I think I have made a huge error, by confusing 'kindness and compassion' with trust and surrender.
          I have had the misfortune to meet people who have taken advantage of my kindness and compassion. I, then, allowed myself to trust and surrender my boundaries, in the hopes of pleasing them. What happened was, I gave more than I was capable of, and more than I could ever hope to receive in return.
          You could even say, I put myself in a position to be bullied...

          Your responses have made me think deeper than I have in a long time about my own disposition. This discussion has been thoroughly enlightening!
          Thumbs up from the bottom of my heart to you both.
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          May 12 2013: GOOD JOB LIZANNE!!! GREAT DISCOVERY!!!

          OK....here's another little piece....take it or leave it.....as you wish:>)

          You say you gave "more than I could ever hope to receive in return".

          That suggests that you had expectations of getting something in return, which often sets us up for disappointment...perhaps you put yourself in a position to be disappointed?
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        • May 13 2013: I think so, Colleen, albeit subconsciously.
          Perhaps, because it is so deeply-rooted in my own character to give, I can't imagine someone else not giving the same amount!! I have learned from it, and am still learning, which is what it's really all about. :)

          Kate, you are so right about everyone needing boundaries, particularly children.
          In your conversation "Hardships and Hassles", I commented on my struggle, and that despite the muddled view I had, my children came through clear as day.
          I did not want my children to copy my example of surrendering my boundaries! How could I teach them how to protect theirs, while I was stretching mine out of proportion?

          Having children really is like having a big mirror in front of you all the time - they teach us SO much about ourselves!

          Thank you, you beautiful ladies!
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    May 11 2013: Lizanne, Both are bad. However, bulling is direct and personal and is not always physical. Ignored and all that goes with it (deliberately avoid somebody: to avoid somebody or something intentionally Synonyms: avoid, turn away from, spurn, reject, eschew, ignore, shirk, recoil from, balk at, shrink from.) are very direct and mentally disabling. The early religions practiced shunning and for all purposes the individual was dead. I can go places where the bully is not .. I can have friends .. I still have family ... I have a life and it can be pretty good and only is somewhat diminished when the bully is present. But when your community shuns you all of the things mentioned above cease to exist ... and so do you in their eyes.

    Being bullied may go away with one of you moving, or growing up, etc ... being shunned is for life.

    Of the two being bullied although not preferable would be better than being shunned.

    I wish you well. Bob.
    • May 12 2013: Absolutely, Bob, psychological bullying can be as harmful, if not more so, than physical! A bruise heals quicker than mental abuse.

      'Being shunned' is exactly the right term!! Your comment, "The early religions practiced shunning and for all purposes the individual was dead." gave me the chills. This is exactly what it is.

      I can imagine - a bully who labels people probably feels bad about him/herself, and a short-term way of feeling a little bit better, is by making someone else feel worse than they do.
      In my personal opinion, by intentionally avoiding someone, pretending they are in fact 'dead', or perhaps worse, that they never existed in the first place, is hurtful beyond any 'name calling'.
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    May 11 2013: Hi Colleen, a great question and I have heard the term leveling before.

    I do agree that bullies are trying to level the playing field and the rewards are fleeting. How does a victim of bullying defend themselves when these hateful words reach so many people even ones they do not know? Colleen there are so many ways to deliver these horrible and most likely untruthful words. Before the introduction of all this technology I think the profile you share would be accurate. In this 21st century, to some doing the bullying it is a game, a sick game and they feel no shame. They get a thrill from starting this mob like mentally of slurring someone, and they know who to pick. You are right Colleen, the victim has truly nothing to be ashamed of for there lies no truth in the words but, how in the world does recover their reputation and dignity? How does one recover from the hateful words shared about them that reached ones that only know of them but don't know them? Maybe the shame I would feel is that someone chose me as a target never really knowing why.

    Colleen, technology is a wonderful thing. If not for this Internet I would never have had the opportunity of sharing a conversation with a smart and insightful woman as yourself for geography would never allow it to happen!

    It does give rise to all sorts of new and unexplored negatives. New lessons to learn by all.

    thanks again for your reply!
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      May 11 2013: Hi Mary Ellen,
      I just checked your profile for the first time, and realize that we are neighbors in New England! Sweet!

      I agree with you that with our technology these days, cyberspace bullying reaches MANY people in a moment! I think in the old days, kids had some safety net....the home/family....school/friends, etc. Now, with the internet, there is no place to escape, and that is problematic for a lot of bullied kids!

      I still think that those who bully feel something. I volunteered with incarcerated offenders for 6 years......they are human....they feel! The next thing is....how do we get to them?

      One method we used in the "cognitive self change" sessions, is to demonstrate to them that bullying really shows how insecure they really are. Bullying, dominating, control over other people is weak....not strong.

      I believe we can use technology as a beneficial tool....just as it is sometimes used as not so benificial. If enough people truly believe, and demonstrate that bullying is weak, and not strong, there may be a chance?

      My glass is ALWAYS at least half full:>)
      • May 12 2013: How good of you to bring up social media, Colleen.

        Personally, I think the negative effects of social media are quickly outweighing the positive... I am hearing a lot of reports on bullying via Facebook, which leads to horrific, out-of-proportion things, from mass destruction caused by a 'Project X' to murder.

        What I am also hearing about is 'Social Envy'. When peoples' posts are not reacted to enough, they don't get as many virtual 'happy birthdays', or they feel jealousy about what someone else's posts, it hurdles them into a state of insecurity, depression and isolation:
        http://www.worldcrunch.com/culture-society/social-envy-study-finds-facebook-causes-depression-and-isolation/zuckerberg-social-network-health-depression-fb/c3s10718/

        Is this not a form of bullying ourselves?
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          May 12 2013: Lizanne,
          When a person uses the computer/internet as the focus of his/her life, it doesn't surprise me that when things do not go well for them in that form, insecurity, depression and isolation may result. It certainly is a choice that some people make for themselves.

          Social media, computers, internet are tools we can use for beneficial purposes, or for destructive purposes. In my perception, it is like anyting else in the life adventure, and we have choices.

          I do my little part, by not participating with social media very much....except TED, which I believe is a valuable tool. I immediately delete anything that is off color, and only forward constructive, encouraging messages. I realize I am only one little person......what if EVERYONE......or at least the majority of people in our world did that?
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          May 12 2013: I found you and your comment Kate....reply button or not!

          I enjoyed volunteering at a terminal care facility, and spending time with dying friends and relatives for the same reason Kate. It is not unusual, at the time of death, to do an evaluation of life, and I like taking that journey with people. Many folks are uncomfortable with the dying process, and don't want to be around those who are near death. I am comfortable with the process, and feel honored to be asked to "be" with someone at that time of transition.
  • May 11 2013: I used to think of my mom as Edith Bunker too- small world.
    Not the sweet little old lady type & I sure am not a "lady". LOL
    Just an old dragon who gums her food to death on regular occasions. (removeable teeth).
    No matter where your from or where ya living, just as long as your livin' right. LOL
    See ya on Ipernity.
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    May 11 2013: Ignoring a person is worse, its not your fault to get ignored. If an opposite person is ignoring you then he lacks ability to understand you, thats it. !!
    • May 11 2013: Thank you Ranjith!
      What you describe is indeed 'ignorance' - being willfully uniformed, which is a destructive state to be in, for yourself and others.

      You say, "its not your fault to get ignored". I would think, it is never someone's own fault, to be bullied or ignored. By labeling someone, the bully determines that person's identity.

      Is there such a thing as 'anti-bullying'? Placing someone in the spotlight or categorizing them as something 'better' than others?
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        May 13 2013: I do agree with you Lizanne, It is never someone's fault to get ignored, but people get depressed or some times mentally disturbed especially children because of such activities. I used that phrase 'its not your fault' to alleviate those who faced ignorance.
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    May 10 2013: Bullied, of course. Bullying is one of the harmful behaviours a child can suffer. Its a sort of monstruous attack with massive destruction effects on the kids.
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    May 13 2013: thank you for the reply Fritzie. I am pleased to hear the subject is being addressed and it sounds like you have all bases covered. a couple of questions;

    Is your school also educating parents to better equip them about the signs to look for in a victim?

    Are parents being informed as to the correct and most effective procedure to follow if they believe their child or another is being bullied?

    It's very difficult for a young adult to report being the victim of bullying for a host of reasons.

    again, thanks!
  • May 13 2013: Which is better?
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      May 13 2013: Which is worse, which is better?

      Maybe understanding is the key.

      Answer to your question and a solution to the problem mentioned? Maybe.
      • May 13 2013: Yes, understanding is the key Anna. I sometimes feel that as long as humans remain humans, both of these character traits will continue to exist side by side.

        However, when humans become humane, and have an understanding of their own personal character flaws, and then, motivated by love make an effort to change themselves, then, we can begin to see improvement....little by little......it takes time...... these deeply entrenched personality traits that do so much harm to others are difficult to get rid of at times........one must have a good motivation.

        I can't help but think that one of the saddest times I have seen bullying, and or ignoring of individuals has been in the classroom...........the perpetrator?------------the teacher--------

        It is sad to see adults bullying children, and even worse, ignoring them. This I have seen more often than I care to remember. Each time, it has broken my heart.
  • May 12 2013: Bullied first...

    I taught my boys, when a Bully attacks,
    they must grab one of his hands,
    and hit him in the nose 6 times. And,
    they were further instructed to count
    each hit as they struck.

    One day, looking out my upstairs window,
    the situation occurred in the yard below.
    The Bully (my son was afraid of) was quickly
    dispatched. I counseled my son to not make
    the bully mad again, but to try and befriend him.

    The two boys became friends for life.
    I like a nice ending to my stories.
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    May 12 2013: The problem I find with this question.
    Is these two concepts over-lap a lot.
    I mean to be "bullied" you need to be ignored, in the way that those "bystanders" will be ignoring you.
    And to be "ignored" you need to have been bullied, or have a "negative stereotype" towards you. Thus increasing the likelihood that people will "ignore" you.
    So which is worse :
    Having bystanders watch you be bullied?
    or
    Having a negative stereotype (/ dehumanization) towards you which increase the chances of you getting bullied?

    However it is worth mentioning, that I think the answer will depend a lot on the person (or in other words there isn't one absolute answer which will apply to everybody! There will be many different answers). Considering the fact that one of these options will increase anxiety more than the other one. Also this could be "scientifically tested", you could do an (un-moral) experiment. Where you test which scenario increases anxiety and stress.
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    May 12 2013: oh my word Vermont, a beautiful state! I live in NE Conn. We call it " the last green valley". A hidden gem that's kept all the trees and pastures !

    You know you have a great idea here Colleen. I vote for starting programs such as your "cognitive self change " in our schools with focus on middle and high school young adults. Get them before those young brains are hard -wired and the "Virtual world" many live in leave them partially desensitized.

    here here to half full glasses!
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      May 13 2013: Schools do this now, Mary, though not using that language. It starts in primary grades, because bullying is already an issue then

      It might have been since the disaster at Columbine High School that my state requires all schools to have anti-bullying programs that meet certain criteria. These programs typically involve regular short class meetings with groups of students that include consideration of the various people in bullying scenarios- bully, victim, and bystander, how to problem-solve in any of those positions, productive self-talk, and so forth.

      Even aside from this, Health class addresses some of these issues as well.
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      May 13 2013: Mary Ellen and Fritzie,
      Sorry I didn't see this sooner Mary Ellen....it was not connected to our conversation, so I didn't get a notice.

      We have similar programs here too in schools as well as correctional facilities, and I think they have been more of a focus recently because of the increase in violence and cyberbullying, as Fritzie mentions. I'm not involved at all with schools, and have not been involved with corrections for a few years, but I hear about the programs.
  • May 11 2013: I coach.
    As a coach I sometimes bully.

    I was bullying my student the other day. In his face, the spittle flying...
    He was standing their looking almost unconcerned, when he said
    in a quiet voice...
    "Hey Frank, did you take your insulin shot this morning?"

    I had not done so. I recognized my problem. We laughed.
    ===
    The thing is -- Women and Men are different animals.
    Men spend their days bullying one another, and think
    little about it. Conversely, men have no idea of how
    women think. We just want to vacate the premises
    when women get started. Un huh, and yes dear,
    seem to work best..
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      May 11 2013: Frank,
      I am curious to know how you feel when you bully?

      Your student sounds like a very mature, kind and compassionate person to be able to reach out to you while you are bullying. Do you recognize that?

      "Men spend their days bullying one another, and think little about it".....really? I hang around with, and participate in sports with a LOT of guys, and I do not observe them spending their days bullying one another. Perhaps the guys I hang with have better things to do then try to belittle and demean another person.

      It sounds like you are saying your perception is that boys will be boys, and it is ok?
      • May 12 2013: Frank, to be honest, I don't think I consider what you do/did to be bullying...
        Sometimes, we need a 'kick in the butt' - for lack of a better phrase!
        You are an educator. Your job is to educate. So, when you see a kid with potential, who isn't trying hard enough, or at all,it would make sense to me that you go into 'butt-kicking' mode!
        I've been on the receiving end of a 'butt-kicker' (both male and female versions, incidentally), to whom I am grateful for getting me back on track, and challenging me when I needed a push in the right direction.
        • May 12 2013: Lizanne,

          Thank you for understanding.

          I coach Snooker. A pool game played by older men
          at our Senior Center. I enjoy doing so. It is not a
          paid position, and Coach was the label given me by
          the others. We do have one older woman who
          plays, but avoids the snooker games, unless we
          guys coddle her a bit. She is in her 90's now and
          sharp as a tack. She wins most of her 8 ball games.
          But unless I am generous she wins no snooker game.

          I go ballistic when my student, not having a shot at
          making his designated pocket, forgets to control his
          Q-ball after his shot. I do get a bit out of hand. Not
          having my insulin shot makes me crazy indeed.
          I like a nice ending to my stories.
      • May 12 2013: Collen,
        Please stop bullying me.
        Do I recognize that? Of course !!
        Am I offended by your query? Of course !!

        When 'you' hang around 'the guys',
        they cannot act as they would --
        as 'just a bunch of guys'. (alone)

        Guys, when spotting a woman around them,
        stop their cursing, and clean up their acts.
        Sometimes, quietly telling the offender to stop.
        With a quick look, or "ahem!"
        It is not my 'perception' it is fact.
        I do not judge the fact.

        And the unconscious need to protect,
        leaks into what we 'guys' are doing.

        While society has changed how women
        are treated by the younger males, we older
        men still hold the door, and walk on the more
        dangerous side of the sidewalk. Ever the
        protector of the weaker sex.
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          May 12 2013: Dear Frank,
          I did not intend to bully, I guess you know that? You gave my comment a thumbs up, so perhaps you are kidding with me?

          Yeah....I think they act like "normal" guys around me because they consider me one of the guys:>) We do sports together (bike, hike, sail, ski, kayak, etc.) and most of them are in committed relationships, so we don't have the intimate relationship dynamic to deal with:>)
          They don't stop cursing for me darlin'...they are what they are, and I love them as they are. I love all of their life partners as well:>)

          I agree that the need to protect comes into play....they are all retired engineers, so when my bike tire blows, or other sport equipment needs attention, they often take care of it. When they get hurt, I usually take care of the wound, because I know a little about that sort of thing.

          My guy friends are in their 60s and 70s and still hold doors for me, which I like if it's convenient. However, when I sometimes tell them I cannot do something because I am only a weak female, that's all I hear is laughter!!! LOL:>)
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    May 11 2013: I would much prefer to be ignored .In this technologically age the act of bullying has more avenues to rear it's head than I care to share, none of which has a face. Ignore me but, please do not shame me.
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      May 11 2013: Mary Ellen,
      Who do you see as the person carrying the shame? The bully? Or the victim?

      Are you familiar with the psychological term called leveling? A person will sometimes try to bring another person to their level of distress, insecurity, pain, discomfort, etc.

      http://counsellingresource.com/features/2009/04/01/leveling-as-manipulation-tactic/

      Bullying may be a way to try, superficially, consciously or unconsciously, to feel like they are "leveling" the playing field. So, I perceive the bully to be the one carrying the shame......not the victim, who in my perception, has nothing to be ashamed of.
      • May 12 2013: Colleen, I have never heard of 'leveling', but immediately understand how it could be effective for a bully... or, preferably said, someone who needs help.

        We tend to focus on the victim of bullying, when perhaps it is the bully that needs attention?
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          May 12 2013: Actually Lizanne, I believe the concept of "leveling" can be effective for all of us. We all have the ability to contribute to people being at our level of security/insecurity, comfort/discomfort, etc. We ALL like and need attention....do we not? :>)

          So, going back to our other part of this conversation....compassion and kindness being limited/unlimited....

          Is it more beneficial to sit back and wait for others to extend kindness and compassion to us before we give that to them? Or might it be beneficial to be the first to extend kindness/compassion?
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          May 12 2013: That is what I thought Kate, when I first became aware of the concept years ago....it makes so much sense, and is relatively easy to understand, don't you think?

          I agree....most of us seek approval. Can you imagine if the concept of "leveling" was taught to very young children?

          I don't like to label anyone "damaged goods" because as I'm sure you know, some of those labels are carried by the person throughout their lives, and limits their perception of themselves.

          It was not uncommon, when working with incarcerated men to hear them say...."I'm ADD....what do you expect?" "I'm from an abusive family....what do you expect?.

          Well, I didn't "expect" anything and I told them that. What I do know, however, is that with new information, people can change....we can all learn, grow and move out of certain "catagories".
  • May 11 2013: Okay i enjoyed academics there is something attractive about being ignored by some people. Bullying is always painful. Maybe we all want to be ignored by bullies - I know that
    I do.
    • May 11 2013: Then I would be tempted to say. George, that you were someone who felt good enough about yourself to not feel the need to fit into a clique, and enjoyed the solitude. I was similar. I was friends with everyone and no one, which suited me fine.
      You say, "Maybe we all want to be ignored by bullies". With that I agree completely! But then, you could argue, anyone who ignores you, whether that person is labelled a 'bully' or not, could be considered a bully.

      Which brings me to another thought: a bully is labelled too. Does a bully categorize him/herself, or is he/she forced into that category, just like the bullied are?
      • May 12 2013: Lizanne I think you are right like usual - some of us don't feel the need to be one of the crowd. I am glad you were able to help your ignored by her parents classmate.
  • May 10 2013: I accept your offer of friendship and I have many friends, I have never met in person, in the Netherlands.
    I am NOT a sweet old lady! I am one of those: "Oh hell what is she up to now sort of person."
    FYI I hang out on Ipernity.. Just look for Max Kooser
    • May 11 2013: Gale, it's a pleasure!
      How interesting, you would not want to be associated with the 'sweet old lady' type! My grandma was one of those. I often thought she was like Archie Bunker's Edith, which I discovered later, was not the greatest compliment. Only after she died, did I realize she was sweet on the outside, but tough as nails on the inside...

      Just so you know, I am in the Netherlands, but I am not actually Dutch... don't want any misunderstandings on that! I'll look for you on Ipernity!
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    May 10 2013: Kia, Lizanne, I think it's possible to survive, more or less harmness to an ignorating behaviour. But to be bullied is something you never can forget, and it's made during the most important years (age) for the construction of the kid personality.
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        May 11 2013: Kate, you're right, that's ok, but I can't forget youg people are the most vulnerable human beings. Probably they are th most-in-need people. I've known a boy who suffered serious bullying who today is a man of 62, and he never forgot what happened during this nice time of the adolescence. ¨For him, it was a hell. He's not weak or coward, dureing his life has protagonized events of bravery and solidarity. But in those years, he was not happy, he suffered, and adquired strange inmunologic diseases. He kew what is hating. No, too much for a kid.
        And yes, ok, too much also for an adult. Of course.
        Greets.
    • May 11 2013: I can see both of your perspectives clearly, Sean and Kate.

      I feel, the long-term effects of bullying really depend on the person's own level of self-esteem. There are kids who let labeling slide of them, for whom bullying has no effect. Bullies sense this though, as if they have radars! They will probably 'pick' on those who are susceptible to being picked on.

      I really agree with what you say, Kate, that being ignored places someone in a position where they have no opportunity to stand up for themselves. It is a sneaky, underhanded and malicious way to treat someone, without any amount of respect whatsoever. Bullying, which is equally harmful, is also a form of attention, even if it is negative.

      Your comment, Sean, made me think of something, though. You said it's "made during the most important years (age) for the construction of the kid personality", with which I completely agree.
      What about bullying among adults?
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        May 11 2013: Yes, you're right.Bullying among adults is also horrible. But, in my opinion, there are more probabilities to make permanent scars, and, from my point of view, even considering (I really consider it so) that in both cases that behaviour is completely rejectable, however, over kids or young people, it's more dangerous, harmful and vile. And I also think the scars could change the right direction of a new life into a wrong one. And in both cases -kiids or adults- provoking a lot of suffering.
        • May 12 2013: Totally in agreement, Sean.
          It isn't called 'scarred for life' for nothing!

          I'm curious though - if and when bullying among adults takes place, is the grown-up bully, a bully as a child? Or the victim?
  • May 10 2013: Both are NOT good!
    I was a feisty kid growing up & stood up to bullies that got smart mouthed with my friends and I have always befriended the "shy" person. Even at my age, of 68, I still take on the bullies and have many "shy" friends. No one, it seems, wants to end up on the 5 o'clock news cause they were beat up by a grey haired old lady.
    The show Glee, addresses both bullies and the ignored ones. And due to that show, many students are changing their views.
    • May 10 2013: Gale, you made me laugh out loud - I would be proud to have a friend like you at any age!
      How great that "Glee" deals with these aspects. I remember seeing shows when I was kid that dealt with both, and am relieved to hear this form of bullying is receiving the attention it deserves.
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    May 10 2013: bullied.
    • May 10 2013: Greg, I appreciate your one-word answer!
      I feel the need to elaborate by way of a story:

      I had this friend in grade school. She was creative, fun and what really impressed me, was that she had never missed a day of school. She often looked kind of messy, her hair was unwashed, and she tended to wear the same thing for days in a row. I never minded, and never questioned why. After a couple years, she transferred to another school.
      Recently, I reconnected with her. But what I thought would be joyful reminiscing was like pouring lemon juice over open wounds for her. She told me that she was severely neglected at home, (which in retrospect explained her appearance and her perfect attendance), but even worse, was that she was ignored at school.
      She was aware that a sort of agreement had been made by our class, that everyone was to ignore her, pretend she didn't exist. Because I was totally oblivious of that kind of thing, I (thankfully) never 'got the message'.
      She told me, which broke my heart and healed it simultaneously, that if it wasn't for our friendship, she probably would've taken her own life. She has been fighting against 'being invisible' her whole life.
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        May 10 2013: Being ignored is a form of bullying, however, it's a more acceptable form. Your friend was blessed to have you.
        • May 10 2013: I tend to agree, Kia.
          I think by denying her existence, my cruel classmates were in fact putting her into the category of 'not worth bullying'. The effects were just as devastating for her, but sadly, she never got the chance to stand up for herself...
          Thank you!
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          May 12 2013: Kia, are being left on one's own and ignored one and same?
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        • May 11 2013: I am flattered, Kate, and she actually said something along those lines to me too - but I can't agree with that. The fact that I was so 'out of it' when it came to stuff like gossip and cliques as a kid, can't in any degree make me responsible for saving her in any way. She told me how much I meant to her, but she meant as much to me.
          Transferring schools is what saved her, fortunately her parents came to realize our school was not a healthy place for her to be.
          My parents were literally told by my 6th grade teacher, that the entire year was a waste of time for me academically. I can honestly only remember the positive aspects of that year - like hearing "The Lord of the Rings" for the first time.

          She is a strong, vibrant, beautiful woman now. She recently married the love of her life, and is surrounded by love and support. She has spent an enormous portion of her life struggling against this feeling of anonymity, though. Time wasted, because to me, she was anything but non-existent.
      • May 11 2013: Lizanne, I struggle with this very issue with students. Most students, who are dealing with these issues, don't open up about it so we, the teachers, never know. Now some might say, "It is you job to know". True, but not when the only answer we ever get to the question is "everything is fine".

        If no information is provided regarding what is going on, and no one is willing to talk about it, then others will not find out what is going on. Kids are masters of hiding what they don't want others to know. Teachers are not trained in every aspect of counseling to resolve these issues. We try, believe me, the good ones try. But I have had more than one example of "you should have known that my child was...".

        Neither issue is easy. Bullying is easier to deal with as, if it is reported, can be resolved more quickly. Ignoring a person is very hard to notice and quite frankly, you can't make someone like someone else and talk to them.

        Both are tough...
        • May 11 2013: Everett, I can relate to what you're saying.
          A good friend of mine is a principal of an elementary school here, and this is an issue he is dealing with on a daily basis. There are all sorts of programs being developed here at the moment, but success levels are still low - like you say, the kids need to open up, but when there is so much fear, it can't be easy to come out and tell someone!

          It's a stigma. I think, kids might feel they are in some way responsible for being bullied. There is shame attached. "Maybe I deserved this".
          On the other hand, parents play an enormous role. My friend, the principal, said the biggest hurdles is communicating with the parents of a bully, who will by no means want to accept this!

          Bullies need help, as much as the bullied.
      • May 11 2013: LIzanne, I have actually had more of an issue with the parents of the child who was being "bullied". Sadly those children who are being ignored, are generally having more issues at home than they are at school and the parents just ignore them and don't report anything.

        What I have experienced is a conversation that usually starts along the lines of "what do you mean you didn't know my child was being bullied? Isn't that your job?" Which is incredibly frustrating when it is the parent telling you this. There are many programs about bullying, prevention of bullying, how to respond to bullies, how to and not to be a bully, etc. ad naseum that it is hard not to say that you know what a bully is and isn't. Parents and kids have been taught that they NEED TO REPORT it to someone in a position of authority and not assume. More and more, due to the mass media (thank you very much), most bullies are getting smarter and don't do it in public where people can see. And, it is not reported to anyone so, teachers don't know. It is incredibly frustrating to be on the receiving end of that conversation when you are doing your best to help the child.

        Ignoring is so much more difficult. Especially when the child draws away from the group. It is so much more subtle and not as noticeable. And quite frankly, even if the teachers work together to help students, a quiet kid doesn't necessarily get noticed in a class where there are other issues.
        • May 11 2013: Everett, I can understand your frustration!
          Kids are indeed clever. They know darn well when they're being watched! I get the impression, from your story and from stories my friend has related to me, parents like these prefer to shift the responsibility on the educators, rather than take any responsibility themselves. That could very well be the root of the problem.

          You said, kids have been taught they need to report bullying, which suddenly made me think of the role of their peers, who share this responsibility! Not only those who are a victim of bullying, but those who witness it, need to speak up.

          When I was in elementary school, I was a 'Natural Helper'. We were the 'go-between', and kids with problems could confide in us, if they didn't feel comfortable about going to an authoritative figure. We received training in how to deal with every kind of problem, including bullying, but also issues at home.

          I was happy to see, this program is still alive and well:
          http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct97/vol55/num02/Peer-Helpers@-Encouraging-Kids-to-Confide.aspx
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        • May 11 2013: I would hope so, Kate.
          The good thing about the "Natural Helpers" program, was that we received training to deal with the really big issues, like suicide, and we had a direct link to grown-ups who were in a position to help. Kids who tell each other stuff is great, it's a start, but getting that information to an authority can still be an obstacle.

          How very sweet of you to say that. I guess, Kate, by accepting that I had anything to do with her survival, it would be suggesting I was aware she needed saving, which I was not.
          I valued then, and still value, her friendship, and am infinitely glad we found each other again, after so many years!
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      May 11 2013: I agree with you greg. But I shall need to expand a bit. Though I have become progressively mellower with age, for most part of my life I preferred to be ignored compared to being bullied. I certainly do not like to relive my past but I don't regret it either by admitting that I don't remember one single instance of being bullied without the situation going towards very strong protest - involving serious risk for the bully and when the bully was way stronger (physically) than me, my health :)
      I don't think kindness and compassion are so cheap as to waste on undeserving people.
      • May 11 2013: Wow, Pabitra: "I don't think kindness and compassion are so cheap as to waste on undeserving people. "
        Indeed, these are traits that should be respected, treasured and given to those who truly deserve it.
        If someone showers everyone they meet with an unlimited supply of kindness and compassion, then a friendship with that person can't mean much...
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          May 12 2013: Thanks Lizanne. I am a common man with limited and hard earned virtues. A bully is not one who gets anything from me, leave alone kindness and compassion.
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          May 12 2013: Dear Kate,
          I have met a huge number of bullies in my life, so many that I find it impractical to check their individual life experiences before dealing with them. Moreover, since it is my kindness and my compassion ( and I hope you will agree that kindness and compassion cost you - at least I believe these are not mere gestures but definite actions with consequences) I think I retain the right to dispense it to someone who is more likely to appreciate that it is valuable and not a weakness.
          I shall be honored and happy to be your friend, not even an ideal one and certainly no hero.:)
          Of course I prefer to be ignored rather than being bullied.
        • May 12 2013: Kate, kudos for pointing out the unfairness in that statement. You're right - everyone deserves compassion. Empathy is vital to our survival. It is impossible to judge who is deserving of that compassion, and who isn't, at face value.

          I do agree with Pabitra, though, that "kindness and compassion cost you". They are arguably our most valued possessions, which we have worked hard, in some cases perhaps an entire lifetime, to develop. They could be seen as gifts, to bestow on who we choose.
          In theory, I would say, if I am treated with compassion, I will bestow it.

          Some people don't get the chance, though, to show compassion. Or perhaps, have not learned how to. These individuals are as deserving, and maybe even more so!
          Thank you for helping me see this from another perspective, Kate.
        • May 12 2013: Kate, it seems we're commenting simultaneously!
          Did you see my reaction to Colleen's reply: "Colleen, I said "If someone showers everyone they..."? I think I may have answered your question - if not, please say so!
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          May 12 2013: Lizanne,
          You say..."I would say, if I am treated with compassion, I will bestow it."

          So, to feel compassion, for you is conditional? If you are treated that way, you treat others that way?
        • May 12 2013: Colleen, I think I wasn't clear in what I was trying to get across.
          Absolutely not, no - I love and respect without condition.

          I was trying to say that, in theory, I would treat someone as I am treated. But continued with, that some people don't get the chance, and that everyone is indeed truly deserving.

          I described in one of my comments, how my unconditional supply of kindness and compassion was becoming detrimental to me. As Kate put it (all the way at the top), I was - and am - a 'people-pleaser', and still struggle with prioritizing my own needs and defining my boundaries on a daily basis.

          My self-protection/survival mechanism was to bestow kindness and compassion on anyone that crossed my path, to the point of ignoring my own need for those same things. But, this same mechanism was destroying me. I am still finding that balance.

          This discussion has opened my eyes further than I thought it would! I am so grateful!
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          May 12 2013: Hi again Lizanne,
          I think/feel you were clear, and I think I understand what you are saying...it seems clear to me.... "I would treat someone as I am treated".

          That feels conditional to me.......I will give it to you, if you give it to me. I respect that concept as your personal choice.

          I responded to your comment regarding how and why you feel that your unconditional supply of kindness and compassion was becoming detrimental to you.

          Was your effort to bestow kindness and compassion on anyone that crossed your path for the purpose of self-protection/survival alone? Could it also have been based on a desire to be accepted and liked?

          I believe I will ALWAYS be seeking balance, because what I have discovered, is that as we shift things in our "self" (thoughts, feelings, ideas, beliefs, opinions, physical activity, etc. etc. etc.), it helps to be aware of how, why, when, and for what reason we readjust the balance in our "self":>)

          "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes..."
          (Marcel Proust)
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        May 11 2013: Pabitra, Lizanne and Kate,

        Pabitra:
        "I don't think kindness and compassion are so cheap as to waste on undeserving people"?

        Lizanne:
        "If someone showers everyone they meet with an unlimited supply of kindness and compassion, then a friendship with that person can't mean much..."?

        I agree with you Kate, and do not agree with these ideas. I also have worked with SO many people who are wounded, and we NEVER know what battles a person is waging in him/herself. Are we to judge who is deserving and who is not, even though we may not know the whole story behind the person? That is not my choice.

        Lizanne, why do you say..."If someone showers everyone they meet with an unlimited supply of kindness and compassion, then a friendship with that person can't mean much... "?

        I believe that kindness and compassion are unlimited, so why not shower everyone with it? We can "BE" what we want to "SEE" in each and every moment, and modeling a behavior is the best teacher I know:>)
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          May 12 2013: I would have been happier if I could have you in agreement, Colleen. One thing I feel very sure about is that my kindness and compassion are not unlimited. So just like a poor man weighs his pennies, I need to be careful whom I shower it with.
        • May 12 2013: Colleen, I said "If someone showers everyone they meet with an unlimited supply of kindness and compassion, then a friendship with that person can't mean much...?" because someone once said it to me.

          A few years ago, I reconnected with an old classmate. I asked her, why we weren't better friends in school? That is when she told me, I was so nice to everyone, I was friends with everyone, so she assumed a friendship with me couldn't mean that much, and consequently never made the effort to become better friends with me.

          I am someone who makes sure everyone else in the room is comfortable, content, happy before I allow myself to even sit down. I over-adapt, I place the needs of others before my own. My unlimited supply of kindness and compassion is a reflection of this. Unfortunately, it was a destructive pattern that was having a detrimental effect on me. I was giving too much of myself away, was literally drying up.
          I am aware of this 'lifetrap', it has been the subject of many years of therapy, and has helped me become the person I am proud to be now, compared to the person I had struggled to be 5 years ago.

          I have been taken advantage of and manipulated, because of my endless supply of kindness and compassion... I was vulnerable to those who saw an opportunity to use me.

          Let me be absolutely clear about one thing - I possess love and respect for everyone. Even those who have wronged me, perhaps especially those. I do not possess the ability or capacity to hate.
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          May 12 2013: The cost is, in one part the pain and suffering that I make my own and live my life as if it is my pain and suffering for the person towards whom my kindness and compassion flow. In other part, the cost is in sharing my own resources to help alleviate the pain and suffering and to change life a bit towards better for the person towards whom my kindness and compassion flow. Depending on the situation this cost may even be financial.
          Except for these tangible actions I believe kindness and compassion do not become meaningful for me. I am a very ordinary person with limited resources so my ability to be kind and compassionate is not unlimited therefore.
          I have stressed my family for this nature of mine yet I can go out and help only so many. It is difficult to explain here how many suffer how much around me. I feel very sad for my limitedness and hope others will reach out in equal measure.
          Btw Kate, not everyone who has sustained damage is a bully. I think a bully is basically a coward and a weakling. Real strength is in protecting not in attacking.
          Boxers hug each other when they get too close, do you know that? :D
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          May 12 2013: Lizanne,
          This is a response to your comment which begins:

          "Colleen, I said "If someone showers everyone they meet with an unlimited supply of kindness and compassion, then a friendship with that person can't mean much...?" because someone once said it to me...."

          Your classmate/friend didn't connect with you because she made an assumption about you and your behavior....you were so nice to everyone, so she assumed a friendship with you couldn't mean that much. Do I have that right?

          Ok.....so.....you accepted and adopted that belief? Which was based on HER assumption?

          I understand the concept of depleting our energy....I've been there....done that by trying to help another person be comfortable.

          What I learned, is that to make an effort to help others be comfortable before taking care of myself is what depletes the energy. If we are honestly giving, without conditions and expectations of others, the energy, (compassion, empathy, respect and unconditional love) flows without limitations.

          When we "struggle" to "be" a certain kind of person, our effort may not be coming from a genuine intent to give without expectations/conditions.....which is why it feels like a "struggle".

          I agree that some people will "use" us when they discover we may have an unlimited supply of kindness and compassion. That is when "knowing" ourselves and our intent can be helpful.

          You shared your example of trying to be nice and help everyone around you be comfortable. People pick up on that, and will sometimes take advantage when possible. When we "know" ourselves, our intent and practices, we KNOW when someone is trying to do that, and we do not have to interact with that person.....it is a choice. Kindness and compassion can be extended from afar! We can say...I have compassion and kindness in my heart for a person, and I do not choose to try to make that person more comfortable than I am in myself. Make any sense?
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        May 12 2013: Dear Pabitra,
        It is ok if we do not agree. I still offer you respect, compassion, kindness unconditionally and unlimited whether or not we agree:>) I do not fully understand being careful with kindness and compassion, and I certainly respect your choice.

        I agree with Kate, that kindness and compassion flows from a limitless well within us. In my perception and experience, it has to be a conscious effort to limit that flow. I do not recognize a "cost" to me for allowing the kindness and compassion to flow through me. In fact, I believe it fills my heart and mind, so it is not only a gift to others....it is a gift to myself as well.

        I also agree with Kate, that often, the tougher/rougher the exterior, the more damage one may have inside. I learned this with the incarcerated guys. They often project a very tough, rough persona, and when I read their files, I discovered unbelievable experiences they had as children.

        Their challenging childhood does not justify bullying or hurting others, but it does provide information with which we can better understand some of the underlying dynamics of bullying.
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          May 12 2013: If challenging childhood and damages sustained are the reasons of becoming a bully, I would have been one Colleen. Had I been one, I think I could not have hidden it here too. I admire and respect you despite this and many differences. :)
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          May 12 2013: I did and my answer (already to you) remains unchanged. It is apparent that you and I have different ideas about kindness and compassion. The resourcefulness of being kind and compassionate is important to me and in that aspect I have not yet found an infinite fountainhead.
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          May 12 2013: Pabitra,
          You say...."If challenging childhood and damages sustained are the reasons of becoming a bully, I would have been one Colleen".

          There are MANY factors, which influence any individual, because we are all different, so a challenging childhood is not the only reason underlying the bullying behavior, as I'm sure you know.

          I have 7 siblings, and all 8 of us made different choices regarding how to deal with a childhood that was influenced by a violent, abusive father. Thankfully, we all stayed out of jail, and live lives that are productive. AND we all dealt with the violence and abuse in different ways. Most of my siblings didn't even talk about it for a very long time....until I began to lend them my ear:>)

          In fact, the brother who died in January began talking a LOT about his childhood and our father as he approached death. He had been carrying a lot of emotional pain for 74 years. He used his pain to motivate kindness and respect, rather than the way our bullying, abusive, violent father used his pain.
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          May 12 2013: I would have felt kind and compassionate to your brother. There are people on earth who can assimilate pain and suffering into positive virtues. There are more people outside of correctional homes than inside who have suffered a lot, whom life has not dealt with any fairness. But they can still smile and bear it with dignity and kindness.
          A bully should be handled with firm denial of his pleasure, I mean no hatred either, but I shall not feel inclined to be kind and accomodative to one.