No, I’m not talking about a physical bully. Not the in-your-face, “I’m gonna take your lunch money” kind of bully. I’m talking about the Bully we fight in our heads. The one that tells you “You’re stupid!” “You’re a failure!” “Who are you to (x, y or z)?” “You’re not pretty enough, rich enough, smart enough, kind enough, motivated enough, healthy enough, loved enough…” You know . . . that one? This Bully is dangerous. She’s frightening, not because of her physicality or threats to harm you, but because of how damn sneaky she is.
This Bully is a wolf-in-sheep’s clothing.
Why? Because she disguises herself as you. She tells you that she has THE RIGHT ANSWER. And she may be the most persuasive voice you’ll encounter. Her voice might start as a whisper or it may stay a whisper that’s stuck on repeat. This Bully might emerge to “save” you, so she says. She’s only telling you these things so you don’t make a fool of yourself! She’s trying to spare you pain or worry or loss, she says. She knows what’s best for you. Really, why wouldn’t we listen to this voice that’s only trying to keep our best interests at heart?
BECAUSE THIS BULLY IS A GODDAMN LIAR! I’ll say it again: THIS BULLY IS FULL OF LIES!
And, she’s soooo good at it. She uses her manipulation to convince us to believe utter bull. How do I know? I know because this Bully talks to you in ways you would never talk to anyone in your life. You wouldn’t dream of saying to your friend, your partner, your colleague the things this bastard doesn’t think twice about telling you. You probably wouldn’t even say these things to your worst enemy! (Ok, most of us probably don’t have ‘worst enemies,' but I mean the person you really don’t like or detest or avoid at all costs, even though they might not know you can’t stand them.)
Yet, somehow we don’t even blink at letting the Bully say these things to us. In our mind. On repeat. Throughout the day. Every day. WTF?!
It’s time to put this Bully on silent. Hell, it’s time to throw this Bully out the window from a 30 story building! But, we don’t become conquering heroes overnight. (I do really wish for that magic wand a lot though!) This Bully has had a LOT of practice, after all. So, we start with baby steps.
First, we have to recognize the Bully for what she is. She’s a liar and a coward. She’s full of deceit and manipulation. She is mean--mean in ways we wouldn’t dream of being to other people. This Bully’s power lies in her secrecy . . .so we name her. WE NAME THAT BULLY.
Second, we question. The Bully thrives on unrelenting acceptance of what she says. She’s strengthened when we wholeheartedly buy into what she’s selling. So, we acknowledge that the Bully exists, and we fight. We become questioning. We ask, “why?” We examine the evidence. We get curious about the Bully’s motives. We enlist help--partners, friends, family, confidants, therapists.
Step by step, day by day, we beat the Bully at her own game. We strip the Bully of her power and proudly take back our lives!
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