Is this familiar to you?

Bars and Melody – “Hopeful” – courtesy Pixabay.com

I like to write upbeat things for all of you, but this is heavy in my heart and I want you all to read how important this message is, and to do everything you possibly can to help.

When we think of bullying, we automatically think of it happening only to children, but it is not at all true. It happens at all ages, all races, and all cultures. It happens in schools, in workplaces, and out in society in general, as well as with seniors in senior living centers. It happens in the military and in places of worship and spirituality. There is not a place that is safe from bullying.

I have seen it first-hand and have been subjected to it as a child, as an adult working, and definitely as a senior in my living places. And I have seen first-hand what it does to others in my area, from 13-year-olds committing suicide to adults jumping off the overpasses on freeways, or on a lesser scale, children taking away the food of other children or soiling or tearing their clothes, or sometimes breaking glasses or destroying the school books and tools of others. It is perhaps one the most widespread things happening to people today.

What can you and I do to help stop this horror? What causes it? Are the people doing the bullying lacking in what they need to the point where they are taking it out on others? Lack of food, clothing, or perhaps lack of appreciation of them as human beings at home or on the job or jealousy of them in their neighborhoods when they have achieved something good. A man is bullied in his own yard by neighbors and by the police as he picks up trash. The newspapers are full of these situations.

Let today be the day I stop any bullying I see or hear. Let me be brave and not afraid to face the bullies, even those who have bullied me. Let me not wait for someone else to do it. Let it begin with me. And so it is. Thank you most kindly.

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31 thoughts on “Is this familiar to you?

  1. Hi Ann,
    First, I am sorry to hear you have been bullied in so many areas of your life. On reflection the case was the same for me I think. I find the most disturbing aspect is the (non) reaction of onlookers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Margaret. Unfortunately this non-reaction you speak of is quite common today, and in fact, I saw in one of the writings about it the reminder of a lady years ago, whose name I believe was Kitty Genovese. She was coming home from work one evening into a multiple story apartment when she was accosted and stabbed in the parking lot. She began to scream out for help, and the murderer returned several times and continued to stab her again, but still no one came to her aid, or to call the police. So the article was commenting how it seems to be a pattern that observers, the higher the number of them, fail to respond in any manner. Very sad to think of. And in fact, sometimes it starts with a small number in the crowd, and then those whom you would not think would behave similarly start to do that. Very, very sad that this happens anywhere today, but it is a fact of reality. I hope that you are doing well and that you have been working with your mandalas too. I think of you often. Peace and blessings, Anne

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Ann,
        I see I did comment several times on your blog and I mentioned about my technical issues with word press. My two posts of March 9th cover mandalas/art if you are interested.
        Thanks

        Like

    1. Yes, it is truly a cruel world to bear sometimes, but I have learned this one thing from all the challenges such as this that I have faced in my lifetime. Without these great and sorrowful challenges that come to haunt us sometimes, we might never learn compassion for others, how to best help them, and perhaps our walk in this great journey of life would not be so meaningful, or perhaps we would not learn to develop any sort of depth in our spiritual lives. I cannot be certain of any of this, but this is what I came up with in my own thinking and trying to understand all the things I have lived through. Yes, I have talked to a lot of people – men and women both who suffered bullying. I see that for most of us who have lived through it, it has in some strange way brought us to more strength in our beliefs and the way we treat others. So perhaps it is important to go through though to me, there must be a better way to learn these other good traits what most of us have developed. I don’t know for certain; life is full of mysteries.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I can understand this as well… Life is full of mysteries & we learn from the challenges it’s throws at us, if that makes us stronger then we learn to appreciate it… Thank you for your comment ❤

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  2. No one should be bullied my daughter was dreadfully bullied at school and schools do not take responsibility and they should…I am sorry you have been bullied Ann and you are correct we should all stand up and be counted and only then will it stop 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We sure should. That is so true about the schools, and yet they should be responsible. It reminds me that all of us who have worked with the school districts are mandated reporters and are supposed to report any abuse we see from teachers, aides, or even students or admin. But through the years, I have made plenty of complaints and they all got shelved. The reason is that they are paid by the times the students are in school, and they cannot afford to keep running if the parents pull all their students out, so most all of them (except this recent rash of teachers doing sexual abuse, which ends up in the newspapers) get shelved. And the teachers get relatively light sentences of a couple of years and then are back in the population again as sex offenders. But sex offenders are living everywhere and people these days for the most part just ignore them or forget what they are because there are so many of them out there. I know all the reports I made were just shelved because if they take action against a tenured teacher, it will be a long and expensive process, and again, many parents may pull their children out of school. I am thinking that home schooling or private schooling is at least somewhat better because despite its drawback of the lack of socialization for home schooling, and the potential for other types of abuse in private schools, they are still better alternatives for the children. Is your daughter grown up now, I hope? Yes, school can be disastrous for abuse. I almost had my fingers literally cut off by some boys on the playground when I was a youngster, and also a young girl pulled a knife on me and threatened to stab me with it on the playground. We did not have supervisors then, and I was lucky to escape without harm, but it did harm me mentally for certain. Yes, between being abused at home in several ways and then having to go to school, is it any wonder that I tried to end it all when I was just 10 years old?

      I am so glad that this part of my life is in the past somewhat at least. It is interesting how if we suffered abuse when we were younger, we will likely suffer it again in some form when we are adults. I have suffered at work for sure and in my old neighborhoods as an adult too. But today, being settled in a quite place, and staying inside mostly and minding my own business, and trying to be a good volunteer, I think that I will be OK. We never know day to day though in these unsettling times. I hope most sincerely that your daughter is OK now and that you can let her know that she is not the problem; it is those who do the bullying, often because they too are bullied, or are dealing with parents in prison, on drugs, or in otherwise failing to take care of them properly. I have had a lot of bullies to deal with when I was working in the school system, and almost all of them calmed down and became almost human when i brought food for them and fresh water and juice and insisted that they got something to eat when they came in to our study hall. In fact, most of them completely turned around. So the point is that there are many causes of bullying today. People bully because they are afraid of being bullied themselves if they do not, or they are not getting enough to eat regularly, or don’t have proper clothing or medical care and a bag full of other issues that can affect all of us. I pray that your daughter will be ok for the remainder of her life. And thank you for being a good and caring mother too. I know you, like many of us, have done the best you can, and that is huge. Hugs and blessings always, Anne

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As a person who was born legally but not totally blind, I have experienced my share of bullying, as a child and as an adult. I’ve always tried to fight back, but the impact is real and in some ways permanent. I think of recovery as a beautiful quilt that was ripped and then repaired. I recommend:
    Book Review: Helen Kobek’s Everyday Cruelty: How to Deal With its Effects without Denial, Bitterness or Despair | The Heart of Applebutter Hill
    https://donnawhill.com/2019/02/19/book-review-helen-kobeks-everyday-cruelty-how-to-deal-with-its-effects-without-denial-bitterness-or-despair/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is so beautiful, Donna, and I am going to look it up. Also, are you connected/friends with my good friend Patty Campbell, who is a blind author and who posts. You have spoken in words I can understand and empathize with as I am a long-time quilter and love quilts and any art forms. Thank you so very kindly. You made my day. I am keeping this on top of my desktop so that I can look for it online or in the library here. I hope that you will have a beautiful day and I would love to put you alongside my other good friends of the heart! You are very inspiring. Thank you so kindly. You have a beautiful week. Anne

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I do indeed know your friend Patty Fletcher and her Seeing Eye dog Campbell. In fact, she encouraged me to check out your site more thoroughly.

        Fiber artists? Do you know Passle Helminsky, a blind and physically challenged fiber artist from Pennsylvania (Altuna, I think)?

        Also, I almost didn’t write my little thing about the beautiful quilt, thinking I may have written too much, but then out it came. I’m happy I made your day; you certainly made mine.

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  4. Hi Donna, You can never write too many words or thoughts for me. I love it because we all need to communicate and learn from each other. I am not familiar with Passle, but I am going to look her up. In the book I edited with 23 physically challenged fiber artists, I think three of them all have different types of blindness. Besides Lynda, one of the ladies has albinism, and another has another type of blindness, and I am not sure if if is like Lynda’s or yours or not. You definitely have contributed so much to the quality of my life this day. We are talking blindness, and I am currently reading a highly interesting, sad and educational book, Genie: A Scientific Tragedy by Russ Rymer, the true story of a little girl who was rescued from a life of abuse and imprisonment to the point where she had NO human contact, and was beaten even as a tiny baby and had no input in terms of acquiring language or communication skills. It is very hard to read in some parts, but it goes into a lot of aspects of how we acquire these skills, and how they are affected by a number of issues. The writer is also a well-known journalist, and I am not sure if he is still alive or not, but I strongly recommend this book too as an excellent “look” if you will of another means of learning and relating to the world that likely most of us don’t think much about. Sensory deprivation certainly contribute more than we can imagine to a lack of understanding of what we are dealing with in any form. Thank you kindly, and my e-mail is anneappraiser@gmail.com if you ever want to write outside this context. Hugs, Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you as always, Jennie. Some of my youngest charges in school have been known to bully. I guess you are never too young to start. I remember once the entire class was bullying one little fellow, who was special needs. They would all run and tell the teacher every time they thought he was doing something that he shouldn’t even though the poor little fellow had no clue. So I gathered them all up and asked them to think about how they would feel if someone did that to them. Then I asked them to help him to do the right things each time instead of reporting each thing to the teacher. And I asked them to take charge of him and help him know how to do whatever it was that he did not know. The mood changed and they all became caring “teachers” of the little fellow, each one helping him to do whatever it was right, and then telling him he did a good job, which I also helped them to know was important. So he got a lot of “Good Job’s” and then “Let’s try it again.” But at least it was not the indirect bullying again. Sometimes the children, especially the youngest ones, don’t really understand what constitutes bullying. Good stuff for a class using art or writing or out loud sharing about what bullying means to each child. At least some of them might change in how they do something that may be meant as helpful instead of a form of bullying. I think it would help them if they have mistaken idea to converse about how they might do kind things instead of things that might hurt others. Thank you again Jennie. Your children are so lucky to have you and to have good parents who know how to make sure their children have what they need every day and to teach them good things. Hugs, Anne

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Your story is one that is not in common in school. And how you helped turn it around and change the children into helpers is exactly what to do. Thank you, Anne. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Bullying is SO unacceptable & SAD!! ☹️ I’m so sorry that you ever had to deal with it but I do ADMIRE your strength!! This is a great strong message that you’re sending through this post ❤️ Keep inspiring people and encouraging what is RIGHT.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It bothers me when I see so much debate on what constitutes bullying. Adults who argue the point are the most puzzling to me. It is easy to see when we hurt someone and when children feel hurt or shamed, there is cause for concern. Hearing my 3rd grade granddaughter talk about behavior in the classroom is heartbreaking.I am sorry you had to experience this behavior. We all need to be more vocal when we witness such behavior.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is, along with many other things happening in our society today, one of the issues that is heightened by not having clear definitions or distinctions for what constitutes bullying instead of finding various ways to help those who suffer from it. Thank you kindly for your good comments. It seems to be getting worse today, though it got pretty violent when I was a child. I have not known of anyone, adult or child threatened to have their fingers cut off with a cutter for cigars or one for cutting slides in a darkroom (they looked like miniature versions of guillotines). So the means and ideas about what constitutes bullying are evolving and so are the laws related to it because it has become such a complex issue, like many things in our society that needn’t be so complex, but somehow are. Yes, I imagine hearing a child talk about things going on in the classroom are truly sad. And as I have told people, it isn’t just children doing the bullying in school. I have seen it with teachers, and with other adults working in the school system as well. I have reported more cases of child abuse in my 15+ years of working as a substitute in the school districts, only to have all of my reports “shelved” or put into File 13. The reason is because the schools are paid for the number of children in attendance, not those who are out because of bullying, etc. And if the parents knew some of this stuff, they would all have their children in private schools or homeschooled. Plus there are other issues involved, none of which are right, some of them having to do with a teacher’s tenure. Just about the ONLY cases we hear about related to bullying or abuse in the school (which are pretty much the same thing in my mind), are those involving teachers who have sexually abused children, and that is because the school districts pretty much can’t ignore the cases that come up with the police, etc. But it is not to say that nothing ever happens. As I noted, it is very commonplace for abuse or bullying of children and teens to take place regularly, but even the conscientious person who tries to report such things is often bullied to the point where they will not even try to report such things. This is just wrong, no matter how we look at it. Thank you most kindly.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Like a lot of things that have the “don’t kill the messenger” aspect, reporting on bullying has long been a no-no because it disturbs the social norm. Even people who didn’t like bullying used to say that you should leave it alone for the kids to work out on their own – it’s all part of growing up. Of course, it’s also part of adulthood.

        I believe bullying and the social reaction to it has long been a way of solidifying the social structure – a primitive way of deciding who is top dog and where everyone else falls. Obviously, there are now people speaking out against this method of social control. Can we truly move beyond what may well be a genetically predestined method? I hope we can. I think we should give it a good solid try and not give up till others take our place. If humans really want to reach their potential, we need to stop this cruel and nonproductive behavior.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Donna, Great response and I totally agree with what you are saying. I believe that we need to work with the bullies because they don’t seem to have a current day way of doing things. It IS somewhat primitive in a lot of respects, and if it keeps evolving at it seems to be doing, it will evolve into total violence. A non related and yet potentially related issue is that researchers observing chimpanzee behavior have reported that the creatures that once ate only fruits and some fish they occasionally caught, and only threatened if other creatures came into their territory which they mark with scent and showed signs of aggression. Now they have been observed to go out seeking other chimps outside their territory and killing them and eating the babies in a most savage way not connected with normal hunger.

    They really don’t understand what is going on, but the chimps had never previously exhibited any of this behavior. Anyway, there is clearly some phenomena going on in the universe that is causing all people, not just bullies, to change their behavior, and not for the better. We may not know what it is in this lifetime, but it might come to a head not too far in the distance. Yes, bullying hurts everyone, and unfortunately, I have been aware of so many suicides recently and more and more they seem related to some form of bullying or basic nonacceptance, which is another form of bullying.

    Having been through it really horribly as an adult, I know that it made me feel like killing myself, and I did have to go to a psychiatric place overnight or so for observation. It was a nightmare to deal with for it was a whole chain of events well planed out by more than 15 bullies in my old mobile home park and home which was so nice and which I had taken the time and money to fix even better. I had to sell it quick to the landlords, who I solidly believe were involved with the whole thing because I had reported drug dealings right next door and also other crimes in the neighborhood, and they had not done a thing about it. The owner would not even talk to me directly though I sent him many certified and registered letters about what was going on. I was in Citizens Patrol and getting a degree in criminal justice, hoping to become a mentor/advocate for juvenile delinquents. I was assaulted in that park, and also in order to get out safely for me and my animals, I had to sell at $6,000 less than I paid to the managers, who I believe had someone lined up even before I told them I would sell it to them.

    So today I suffer from severe PTSD, and it has cost me a lot in terms of not being to work outside because of panic attacks, nightmares, and extreme fear of being brutalized as I was before. I was almost assaulted two other times in that park. I moved 2014 on Labor Day weekend, and had to find and buy another home all in that same time and with a lot less money to work with as I had to use part of it to pay the movers as I could not do it myself and was living alone with pets at the time. The people broke into my home and stole things, and I had to call the police to come the second day I came back to get the remainder of my things. I don’t know if I will ever truly recover from such terrible and unjust behavior just because they did not want me to report the drug use or someone’s teenage grandsons who lit part of the hills behind the park on fire or looking to kill wild creatures in the area right around the park.

    One huge woman, another race (which should not matter, but in this case it did) who was psychotic tried to assault me right in front of a sheriff’s deputy. He had to come between us, and she would have really hurt me badly. So much for all of that. I am glad to be here in another town even though the other one is right next door. And now I have Richard, my significant other, so he protects me, but I am still afraid.

    So yes, bullying is a very personal and first-hand experience for me, and I am not sure I could live through it again. I am 77 now, and have been through cancer and the breakdown, and I am not sure how much of this affects my health and well-being, but I imagine that it is not positive.

    Today I am doing what I can to help myself and to try to be a creative person able to help others in society. I am not there yet totally, but hope to be soon. Thank you most kindly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ann, That’s all very horrible. I am glad you have Richard. I have my own Richard, who has made things safer and better for me as well. I’m 69, and as I might have said before, I don’t think we ever completely recover from these kinds of things, but we can move forward, as you are clearly doing. I had cancer back in the early ’90s and the first time I thought about suicide was when I was eleven. I think we have a lot in common, though I never put myself out there like you did, when you reported the drugs etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I personally relate to everything you say here. But the question remains. How can kind people really resist the bulliers. People will say they know the way, but they really don’t. This is just a huge and harmful problem.

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