I Am A Recovering Bully…

Yesterday I read a very powerful post by Single Dad Laughing about bullies and being a victim of bullies as a kid.  OMG did I relate to that post!  I got picked on a lot growing up, and until I got to high school and away from all those kids in grade school that had made me a target, I was miserable.  My self esteem was and a lot of times still IS in the toilet.  That is baggage that I’ve dragged through life since then, though I am happy to say over time and through life lessons I’ve gradually left a good deal of it behind.  I will even go as far as to say that the ex-husband had a lot to do with much of it being dumbed on the road side of life.  He has his faults but the man did build up my self esteem in a lot of areas and helped me see myself as a beautiful woman, hot even.  It still is hard for me to accept but I no longer look in the mirror and see plain Jane.

Bullying is not something that is left just to the kids, however.  Adults do it too, only now it is commonly referred to as ‘drama’.  It takes all kinds of shapes, sometimes on online forums, sometimes via social media sites, and even sometimes in blogs.  Bullying can be out and out attacks on a person or their character, or lies and half truths of gossip told behind someone’s back with the intent of turning mutual acquaintances against that individual.  I have been on the receiving end of all of these types of bullying in the recent and distant past, AND I admit, I am guilty of said behavior myself.  I’ve used my blog in the past to attack someone else (those blogs were removed when I realized how juvenile I was being) and I’ve used Twitter for the same purpose (again I did try to clean those up and remove from my feed as I saw how childish it was).  That realization of my negative behavior began to grow as my love and appreciation for me began to grow, which was as my heart was healing through the process of my divorce.

This section of Single Dad Laughing’s blog really stood out to me and got me thinking (emphasis mine):

You see, I’ve learned one universal truth. People who love themselves, don’t hurt other people. The more we hate ourselves, the more we want others to suffer. Every bully that bullied me (and by the end of junior high there were at least a dozen of them) was a desperate and hurting individual. The victim of something going on around them. A soul that was probably crying in solitude as often as I was, even if the crying was silent.

And so, I will ask you now to not hate the bullies. Experience tells me that hating them, or being angry with them, will always make it worse. Instead, put your arm around them. Love them. Tell them that they are valuable. Tell them that you expect great things from them. They will stop the bullying. They will stop, because they will start to love themselves. And people who love themselves don’t bully others.

(copied and pasted from Single Dad Laughing – Memoirs Of A Bullied Kid )

That really hit home with me!!!  I realized that the more I began to heal and really LOOK at Marti, and examine myself during that healing process, the more I began to really LOVE myself.  The more I loved myself, the less I was attacking others.  There is really only one person left that I have issues with, and that I will say negative things about, and that is the ex-husband.  Though I don’t really see that what I write of late that pertains to him is bullying.  But I’m not done examining that yet and I admit I am still hurt, still a tad raw, a bit bitter and angry at him.  Guess I still don’t 100% love myself?

This morning (after I had written and scheduled today’s blogs to publish in the queue late last night) I caught “Jeff Unzipped” on WKRQ.  Jeff shares from the man’s perspective on issues and I tend to find this segment very enlightening.  To sum it all up, he said that when someone has an issue with me, and breaks things off, dumps me as a friend whatever, and says “it’s not you, it’s me”, that this is a true statement!  Even if they say it IS you, something about you (like too full of self, ego, etc), it IS them that has the issue.  We are all who we are and if someone doesn’t like something about us, it is THEIR problem, not ours.  This is pretty much where I was in my thinking when I wrote my post My Ah-Ha Moment when I finally realized that if my husband was telling me the truth, that he had issues with my temper BEFORE he married me, that was HIS problem that he married me knowing it then stayed married to me for just shy of 23  years!  It wasn’t like that was a sudden issue that popped up, I’ve ALWAYS had a temper, always shot off my mouth before thinking, and always went for the emotional jugular on whoever I was going off on at the time.

Thanks to Lexapro I HAVE gotten much better at handling emotional outbursts, but that doesn’t mean there are none.  I’ve unloaded on the ex-husband a few times since I started taking it, but the intensity has gradually diminished.  I openly admit, I did not really love myself much during that time as my marriage to what I thought was Prince Charming was ending and seemingly it was my fault.  I felt like a complete and utter failure.   I now understand it wasn’t my fault, I am what and who I am, it is his own fault for marrying me knowing my faults and then staying there tolerating the ‘intolerable’ for so long. HE was the failure, he failed to love me unconditionally, failed to uphold the marriage vows (better/worse, richer/poor, good times/bad, sickness/health).  He failed when he said “I do” and he didn’t.  I cannot force someone to accept me, so I am better off on my own in this case and I’m not sorry he was so miserable, his misery was of his own choice. But I do admit, I bullied him every time that I went for his throat in verbal anger with the intent to hurt and wound his heart, and for THAT I am sincerely sorry.

Part of my self examination in recent months and the coming to love myself more, is also realizing the need to admit when I did something wrong and apologize.  3 people come to mind at this time, and since the bullying was done publicly the apology is deserved that way as well.

Pete – exhusband, aka Lord Voldemort, Grumpy Dwarf, He Who Shall Not Be Named – I am sorry for any bullying or attacks I’ve made.  I stand by my thoughts and feelings that I have written, and while I cannot prove it beyond a mountain of circumstantial evidence I still believe that Mary had more to do with your desire to leave me than my temper did.  However I do very much apologize for the 3 times I wished you dead and hurt you so deeply, it was bullying without a doubt.  The nicknames etc, I use them in fun, but if they hurt you in anyway I apologize.  I will refrain in the future.

Cinnamon A. – I fully admit that many times I am guilty of bullying tactics in referring to you in most unkind terms, and blogging/tweeting some pretty mean spirited stuff your way. I believe I have removed all of that, but if not feel free to point it out and I’ll take those down.  Either way, I apologize, I was totally out of line and definitely admit I was out to piss you off and hurt your feelings.  We are, for whatever reason, oil and water, but I do think you are one of the more level headed, strong women I know.  Please, don’t stoop to the level I did, you are better than that! (By the way, Cinnamon is a really great writer and you’d very much enjoy her blog page if you surf over to Cinfulcinnamon’s Blog Page if she had a button I’d add it to my page of folks to follow, but she doesn’t so use the  link)

Teresa/Queenie – I don’t even know what to say here.  To this day I don’t really understand what it is that caused you to suddenly turn your back on me and get into the middle of a fight you did not have a dog in.  I only know that something about my blogs, none of which attacked you, but rather focused on me and my pain, my happiness etc., caused you to feel you needed to remove me from your life.  I’m sorry you felt that way, but I am who I am and won’t apologize for that.  If you cannot handle who I am, I respect your right to turn away, that is your choice.  I am glad you befriended the ex-husband, and hope that he finds support and love from you and Randy.  I DO admit to taking on bullying tactics with the blog I wrote on my other page.  It is the only one in which I ever got shitty.  I admit to taking a swipe or two on forums we both visit, I apologize for any of those as well.  I don’t believe I have made a shitty post about you on this blog page but if I have please let me know.  The other one, by the time you see this, will be gone.  It was written to lash out and hurt you, and I apologize for that.

I am perfectly imperfect, full of faults and character flaws.  But I am also a very good person, very loving and forgiving, and I admit when I am wrong. I AM a recovering bully, but working on that and on loving myself more and more every day.  It is easy to ‘bully from behind a PC or say things about someone when they are not present to defend themselves. But again, I’m working on that.