|Bullies from "A Christmas Story"|
Work place bullying - the cure - dope the victim...?
When I was a boy there were always bullies. They were simply an unavoidable element of life as a school child.
There were few solutions available: confrontation, avoidance, fast-talk and "telling."
Since the "bully" was basically always around at school there was little outside of "confrontation" that offered the prospect of some form of resolution.
And certainly you could try to "working with" a bully - sort of going along with who and what they were in order to maintain peace. Not giving in but establishing a position based on "fast talking" or "out maneuvering" him/her mentally.
Since there were few realistic options for physically dealing with bullies (adults basically ignored this issue or, if you told them, you would be marked with a red "T" for tattle tail and bully target for life) most people, I think, generally created their own working resolution. I say this because I was a relative weakling compared to my friends, most of which who lived and worked on farms. This mean that I had little chance of physically confronting a bully successfully.
In those days there was always a hierarchy of bullies as well. Typically one person was considered the "strongest" or "meanest" and therefore the toughest. Less able bullies arranged themselves beneath the chief bully in tiers.
Some controlled various aspects of playground activity, others seats on the bus, still others controlled the access to food in the lunch room and so on.
So, as a non-bully, weakling I had no choice but to learn how to navigate this hierarchy - there was literally no other choice.
How did I do this?
For on thing, I had to plan my activities carefully in order to avoid situations where I would be put in a position to be bullied. For another I had to learn about the bullies themselves, what did they like, what did they dislike, and so forth.
I used this information to figure out how to "get along" with them.
This required significant efforts in planning, strategy, and generally thinking.
However, in the long this worked out for the best.
Occasionally there would be various physical situations to deal with, "charlie horse" contests, wrestling, things like that. But, for the most part, these would be manageable.
I also found out that bullies weren't very interested in bullying you if you didn't respond as they expected. (Bullies often seems to use physical intimidation rather than clever thinking so you could figure out how to create situations where they would quickly lose interest in you.)
What I found important was that I learned a lot of important skills from this: inter-personal communication, how to read a potentially difficult or dangerous situation, how to argue, how to defuse potential trouble, how to work out to build my strength and endurance (bullies were typically not good at chasing you beyond a very short distance).
Things that would be very important as life went on.
Things that would help me be successful as an adult.
Today, however, adult victims of bullying are drugged. I suspect this is also true for "children."
They use various forms of "psychotropic medications" to help people deal with these situations.
This would not seem to me to resolve any of the issues related to the cause of the bully.
Instead, its more like a physical "self esteem" model where you are taught to feel good about being bad or incapable in some way.
No opportunity to confront the bully, no opportunity to resolve the scenario, nothing but sitting in your corner doped up and, no doubt, filled with talk of how much wonderful "self esteem" you have by some idiot counselor.
I've noticed this in other aspects of life as well - doping someone with psychotropic drugs rather than working toward a resolution of an issue. Difficult family issue? Trouble at work? Here's some of "mother's little helpers" to get you along.
What's wrong with this picture?
Well, for one thing, if you believe this is what must be done then what's been done to, say, the American Indian's in terms of taking their land and lives away, was a "good thing" and, to boot, they medicate themselves with alcohol (the US being the bully).
In the olden days there were various schemes to help the "victim" learn to fight back.
(Please repress the gasps...)
There were various places were you could learn how to "fight."
That's right, actually fight back. Resolve the issue physically. There were boxing gyms, karate schools, and, if nothing else was available, someone's basement with a punching or speed bag and an older brother.
Like the movie "A Christmas Story" pictured above where Ralphy get's into a fight in the ally: things could be effectively resolved with physical force.
And, quite honestly, its not so much about the physical force as the confidence you get from being prepared or from being thrown into the breach, as Ralphy was, on the spur of the moment.
But now this is all taken away.
And there is research that shows "victim's" of bullying end up on psychotropic drugs later in life. My guess is because they feel helpless and, rather than someone directing them on to resolve things, its left to fester.
When you fight back, whether directly with a punch or a clever, disarming comment, or you simply out run the bully and make him look foolish you gain self respect.
Self respect is not the same as self esteem which, by the way, has a Wikipedia entry.
Self respect, for some odd reason, has no Wikipedia entry I can find... oh wait - a search for "self esteem" is where "self respect" redirects you.
Self esteem, according to Wikipedia: "It is a judgement of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self."
Self respect, on the other hand, is "Due respect for oneself, one's character, and one's conduct."
You earn self respect on your own - no one teaches you to have it when you don't deserve it.
In the olden days being bullied was the road to self respect, you had to learn it.
Most kids did because there was always a bully - even those you considered bullies feared others and/or their older brothers and/or "the old man."
Modern society has robbed kids of the means to gain self respect.
Instead, as my grand daughter tells me, they try and teach you "self esteem" so you'll feel good about being an idiot.