Opinion: Mindful moments on bullying

POSTED: 02/5/15 5:15 PM

“Bullying survives on silence” – author unknown

Mindfulness is understanding that we will all die. To know this, every day, all day and with this in mind to know that we are all one; all connected. There are many opportunities in a day for one to connect with others in a profound and meaningful way – do it.

Bullying may seem like an unrelated topic to mental-health but I can assure you that these go if not hand in hand are definitely one of the fingers of the hand that hinder people from recovering if it isn’t the palm of the hand from which certain mental illnesses arise. They are five categories of bullying, starting with the obvious physical bullying. The usual tactics are; tripping up an unsuspecting peer consistently, aiming spitballs through the straw at a peer steadily annoying that person. Mepping  (a lash across the head area) another person constantly. Chucking people to the side or just hitting someone else for no reason. As the person that bullies progressively wears down the other’s peace of mind, psychological turmoil with an underlining theme of helplessness, takes up mental preoccupation, leaving the person feeling distraught, anxious and isolated. These are some symptoms of depression. Actually, all methods of bullying leave its victim emotionally or psychologically scarred. Whether physical, verbal, covert (hidden) or the new method of cyberbullying these antics of “power over” someone else is a disease mentality that ought to be addressed in our young and discussed often to encourage empathy here. (There is also self-bullying as a bullying tactic but I’ll discuss this form in another article). For the mentally compromised whether diagnosed or just being neglected and blamed for symptoms like impulsivity, hyperactivity, clumsiness, excessive talking, academically challenged, emotionally confused and psychologically lost. These children or adolescents do not need to be victimized again by being judged and ostracized by classmates or teachers or parents for that matter. These situations should be addressed by a caring care team. It makes no difference if it’s a private school, public school, Methodist or Catholic – promoting bullying needs to be an open forum on what it looks like, and how it gets done. Getting licks for compulsive behavior, like tapping the desk or choopsing, a protective, and yes disrespectful mechanism when being yelled at by an adult seems counterproductive by asking parents to beat their children at home so that teachers can get some relief from the side effects of these disorders. I classify this as covert bullying and child’s need for being understood is not being met. Such acts-of-callousness leaves me scratching my head at the ignorance of professionals that spend so much time with our children, wondering why the children are so oppositional. Many times these same children and students do on to others as has been done unto them. “-Duh” It is hurtful enough that many children/students feel self- conscious of being different and never having the leeway or environment to safely discuss these issues. Teachers and other unaware adults should know by now that many students sprouting these signs are already vulnerable because they get constantly criticized for their behavior. To encourage parents to shame and breakoff the relationship by beating, ridiculing and ripping an already fragile safety net (the relationship) means that the symptoms might temporarily be suppressed – but by George, at what cost? Mostly this repressed feeling comes back like a raging bull on a later occasion. Maybe the child might internalize it (self-harm), but many choose to externalize their hate on (to begin with) an unsympathetic society. We are superior, smarter, richer, poorer, more endowed, more favored by God, going places, intellectually more capable, we are even angrier, more entitled, more wretched…better, bigger whatever makes you feel separated from other humans. The direct antidote to bullying is having discussions on our rights and our responsibilities. Opportunities to positively recognize our worth and building connections to others, just those “aha moments” when you recognize – that could have been me – or register the pain and hurt that crosses on the faces of the bullied. Empowering children and people to have a more accepting attitude about their self – and I don’t mean the “I don’t care” defiant attitude, but more the “I realize that others are unaware of the importance of being kind to me, and I accept who I am” thinking. Encouraging the community to show empathy for others who are struggling or educating the community on the fact that we are as strong as our vulnerable members; we are connected. BTW, these are the persons that are more likely to develop and addiction (for another article).

I want to thank the people that share their stories of pain, strength and struggle with me. It is my honor bring awareness of our vulnerability (though sometimes it is painful). Thanks for the encouragement. For those that occasionally are turned off by my use of big words, I thank you for pushing through and discussing the topics. I also want to thank Myriam Haar for her presence and sharing the children’s experience with me.

Be Kind

Debbie Zwanikken

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