Bullying. It brings our minds to so many very different things. For me, I think of Columbine.
Bullying in elementary schools?
Bullying in elementary schools does exist.
I used to think it was only possible in private schools.
But that was during my youth. During my grades K thru 8th stint in a private school.
I used to think it wouldn't be bad once switching to a public HighSchool.
But then I became a Freshman at a Public High School.
I've chatted up my blog posts previously, on bullying.
On bullying Moms.
On catty kitties.
On bullies and children.
I don't know what your situation is, if you have children in public or private schools, if you are a student yourself, or a happy AARP member hanging out with your bridge or Mah Jong friends every other Thursday..but what I do know, and so wish to be told I'm wrong, is that no matter how old we get, women will either bully, be bullied or watch it from the sidelines, for as long as we all shall live.
Someone tell me I'm wrong!
You may think that this has to do with me and my past. Maybe that I was bullied my entire life? Thankfully my bully experience was chronic in elementary school, like having a consistent flare up of herpes, but has been only episodic later on. I've learned how to manage it. I've learned how to treat it, like you would IBS. You know the signs and how to spot But I haven't been bullied my entire life. I've witnessed it as well, and as far as the way women bully other women, I'm sure at some point I may have intentionally and repeatedly excluded another fellow woman, for that I am sorry, because to have done so, meant that I myself took the Bully card.
I'm clearly pointing out the observations I've made throughout my young life, as a victim, and as a bystander as well. Here's the reason that concerns me about bullying: people don't realize that there is a very silent form of bullying, and I explain it in comparison to the silent killer of cancer in women; ovarian cancer. It's a hard thing to see, to diagnose, until you actually get in there surgically, and take a look around. It's easy to say, "oh you're just bloated because of hormones.." Or in the form of bullying, "you're just extra sensitive and upset because of hormones.." Do you see the relation? In young girls, my fear is that by the time you discover this form of bullying, it will require extensive treatments. Surgical exploration and biopsies to see what sort of damage the bullying cells have caused within the girl.
The longer it takes to diagnosis it, the longer it'll take to consider yourself part of the remission category.
Many are never cured by bullying. Yes, that's right! They've had to adapt themselves to the cancerous cell, making it part of their life, despite the fact that the tumor is probably long gone. There are no signs of cancerous cells, and no longer any symptoms, but it never leaves you, it's just placed in the remission category.
Don't get me wrong, there are some of us that have been victims of bullying, that are able to walk out of treatment and chemo and get in the curable line. But even in the Curable category, it still is discussed. You're still in line with other cured victims, and you all have horror stories...perhaps the ones that hurt the most are the stories of your friends that succumbed to the bully cancer.
The horror stories for the cases where the "cancer" wasn't caught in time, wasn't treatable and definitely not curable. While those of us in the curable and remission categories know that the cancerous past of bullying will always remain a part of our life, there are so many girls that cannot get beyond treatment, that either turn into a bully themselves, or even worse, feel as though there is no treatment for this form of cancer. That they are meant only for the terminal category, no matter how much information is out there to help them. Those bully cells remain a part of their life, dividing itself further, until all this girl sees with herself, is low self worth with the Bully Cell standing front and center in the mirror of her own image. She sees herself as ugly, in shock over what the chemical has done to her, made her not only lose her hair, but worse. . We all know that bullying is for many, life threatening and terminal. Sadly for many girls, they see it as just that, "terminal."
Speaking in categories, this particular form of bullying is known as "exclusion." So very common in girls. Even more obvious in grown women--especially in Moms.
How do you know when you're part of a bully encounter?
If girls, women, moms, and our senior card sharks, intentionally and repeatedly behave in a manner by excluding someone on purpose, refusing to talk to them, spreading lies or rumors, the examples go on and on, that is how you know you're involved in or with a bully encounter. The key word is repeated behavior.
When they do these things to make someone feel uncomfortable, hurt or afraid, they are a bully.
Again, I cannot stress enough, they are a repeat offender. They are the tumor cell repeatedly dividing within the confines of the victim's soul, heart and mind. This innocent victim didn't go looking for this under rocks, material labels and bra sizes, but when it did find her, she didn't feel as though any form of treatment would make it go away for good. Curable. She didn't even see herself in the remission category.
The only thing that would make it stop, would be for her to make her own heartbeat stop. Because her body must not be worthy of anything, since the bully cell found her. Her own spirit and passion intentionally interfered with, and she then makes it stop by stopping it herself. By ending her own life. Too many beautiful girls stop their heartbeats because they felt like even the most useful clinic, couldn't do anything to help her.
This has got to stop.
There are schools taking bullying by the cells of it's own division, trying to find ways to show awareness. To see only the words: "remissions and curable" under bullying, someday. I hope that school districts are developing groups and task research forces, to brainstorm and implement ways to counter the bully encounter. To teach and educate students and families (and work environments) on how to manage a bully, how to survive as a victim and how to avoid being a bystander..
But until then, what can women do?
Simple. The Moms can stop bullying themselves. Its far more discreet and subtle, but oh boy is it ever there. Sneak yourself into a flies eye, and observe different groups within the elementary walls. Parental groups. Committees, PTAs, you name it...the bullying Moms are recruiting more cells at the very moment you are reading this sentence. Pretty freakin scary, huh?
As a Mom, and an elementary Mom, mind you, I see it and hear it and have at times been bullied myself. Or at least they've tried. Frankly it makes me cringe and want to vomit. It makes me ever so grateful that I have sons. Don't get me wrong, boys bully too, but I tell you these Mombullies are just cruel..and yet they're usually the ones running the committee to stop the bullying. Their daughters hear them talking amongst their own recruits outside of school such as this one such example: "this particular mom, well she wanted to volunteer, except she was adamant on knowing who she was helping, she wouldn't give any of her items unless I told her who the family was that we were helping. Needless to say, she won't be on our list of Moms and if she ever does reach out to volunteer, we just will need to tell her that we are okay at this time, and will reach out to her at a later date." Exclusion.
But boys are bullying..just in more obvious ways.
My son has been placed in that role.
The V role.
Sadly, he wasn't cast in a made for TV movie on aliens, but was definitely treated as such.
That's all it takes to ruin a child's day.
TURD. TURD. TURD. TURD. and one more for the road, TURD.
That's all it takes to damage the way they think of themselves. Five turd words can ruin a month of school.
All because some other boy didn't want to have to get "stuck" building Lego's with another kid, within the classroom.
This happened to my son. The bully wanted to build Legos with another group of boys, but they had reached their max of amount of kids per table. That group of boys said for this bully to go build with my son, but it pissed him off. So, he calls my son a turd.
In the classroom.
In the lunchroom.
The entire day my son's a turd because this goofoff didn't get to pway wegos with his own friends. Shouldn't he be calling his friends a turd verses my son? Sure, you'd think, but with bullying, no matter the gender, the victims are attacked for no purpose. No reasons other then being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and for boys, I think that's how it usually happens, it's less bra straps and more pull on the jock straps knee jerk situations.
But did I anything about it?
Yes I did.
I listened to my son.
I didn't fix.
I waited until he indicated that he wanted me to fix.
When I say "fix" I mean by giving him or telling him "what he should do."
He didn't indicate that he wanted a fix, he just wanted an ear.
He advised me on how he handled the rest of the day--"I just stopped talking for the rest of the day and was just sort of quiet."
I didn't call the teacher or school, because the fact that my son came to me and informed me of it, was good for the time being. I was the machine in surgery, turned on prepared to view the insides, should it seem necessary. I was wheeled into the room, turned on, but wasn't asked to do anything except to be ready for if I was needed by the Surgeon of bullying extractions. I remained turned on as the eyes behind the Diagnostic Laparoscopy scope waiting to be part of the investigation of where the bully cell was located.
I'm on call and on alert, and the fact that my son told me, "he (bully boy) must have had a really bad morning, for him to call me those names for no reason," tells me that I'm not yet ready to be placed into the surgeons scrubbed and sterile blue surgical gloves. It shows me that my son has a very good idea on how to navigate through this particular situation on his own.
It might also help that he started Karate this Summer, mental strength young grasshopper..not fist strength.
Naturally if the turd word becomes repetitive, and my son stops talking to me or making me aware of any other symptoms, I'll become the surgeon myself, and will inflate the abdominal bully cavity with gas, make a few more small incisions near the naval, and take that scope in as far as I go, using the camera to spot any signs and cells that require biopsy, resection and dissection.
For now, I will remain comfortable just knowing I'm in the surgical room, ready if needed. But it scares me that in terms of elementary bullying, and bullying Moms, it's only going to get worse in middle school, for some kids. Because for the higher grades, bullying becomes far more complicated.
The minute your junior high students hit technology with their fingers,when it becomes part of their jeans pocket on the way to school, or on the bus, or while walking to school, another cell begins to divide: cyber bullying.
It complicates things further they you can ever imagine. Like a tumor wrapped up in many of your blood vessels, this form requires far more research, more attention, more detail and more experience. You now need to know not just how to be a surgeon, but be a lawyer as well. To know how to cut away at all the legal factors that won't get someone that tries to help, in massive trouble.
It requires more then just a camera and some gas, that's for sure. But awareness and research starts before the me phone and i void is given to your children. Or at least it should be. Starting bully awareness at the elementary school level, will help reduce tumors that encapsulate themselves causing repeated pain to the victim.
Until then, I would hope that any BULLY MOM's that might not be able to stand that one "other woman" because, she "appears" to have it all, may want to figure out a way to curb that jealousy. They may want to refrain from using the exclusion card, to stop the silly gossip and smack talk about the late hours "the perfect Mom works."
Maybe the Bully Mom and her recruits are envious of what appears to be the perfect work balance and at home balance that she displays. But the way they look at her, it's as if they're staring at a woman with chemo that lost their hair and is revealing it to them for the first time. It's as if they're looking at her as if they're looking at what happens to their boobs after breast feeding--in disgust and horror and misery.
These elementary Bully Moms out in the world presently are toxic to the other no drama Momma's.
Don't forget about the jealous working Moms that have a problem with the Moms that happen to be stay at homers. Put a breast pad in your mouth and knock it off!
Give that Mom a break, my breast sakes! Be happy you have a network of other working women that you see, unlike the stay at home Mom, who may have a very isolated life. Her "outing" consisting of life within the gymnasium. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich combos of PTA meetings and cookies for caring, and market day smencil bulb wrapping paper fundraisers. Phew!
These women will exhaust themselves in bully jealousy.
It very well could be, that this stay at home Mom isn't thinking she's all hot and glittery because she can stay home with her kids, but rather that this was a decision her and her spouse made many years ago, before she became pregnant with their first son. Even though it meant her taking a siesta from her career, at least until the kids were raised. Because that was the sacrifice this family wanted to make, so that their kids could have a parent at home. Maybe even due to the fact that "dad" didn't have his Mom at home, when growing up, and that was something he always vowed he'd provide for his own children someday.
Whether a Mom works at home or at work, is pretty, has the best shoes, has the nicest most educated children, shouldn't be met with jealousy. None of it is better and none of it is wrong. What's wrong is when the women make it wrong.
Judging and Jealousy and the recruited tag-alongs that bat their eyelashes at their boss star bully friend. The Queen bully Mom that scowls and snorts up more PTA playdough then you could find in a hobby store because she is one mole shy of being attractive. The bully Moms that live for hot lunch bull crap, just to get a bit of a marker high by bashing that stay at home Mom, working Mom..as as I refer to as "the elementary Mom."
MomBullies are everywhere.
You'll encounter them at school, at events, on projects, on playgrounds, with nannies without, and they will make it very sneaky clear, that you are not their fan.
For whatever reason. Whether because their bedside manner was ditched with their first bleed, or they overheard the husbands saying how "well rounded" that Mom appears, if they're Mom Bullies they'll happily take joy in excluding you. Of setting you up to fail. Please don't let this happen. Don't be like them. But don't let their own empty sex bucket lives hurt your beautiful gifts as a Mom.
I hope that for those that are stuck on the exclusion end, the ones being bullied, I hope that you'll find a way to help others that were put in similar situations as yourself. I hope that your bully experiences will help you help others. It might be very hard, very challenging for you to help out, because maybe, you yourself were never able to completely overcome the scars bullying caused you. But those with scars are the ones that can help others deal with the same pain. Your ability to help other Moms wont stop when the bullying stops, rather it will continue to be passed along thru any little eyes that are watching you. If you bully. So will those little eyes someday. If you watch a play the bystander role to the bully, so will those eyes. You don't need to be a bystander.
Teach those little eyes that there is far more satisfaction in being an Upstander. Letting the MomBullies know, with tact and grace, "not here, not in my heart, and not in my world." That excellent group of Upstanders you recruit by your own actions, will not only make the road easier, will not only help improve research and new ideas and clinical trials for discovering cures but it will help stop the same damage from happening within the lives of all those little eyes.
So if you see someone being bullied, don't just watch. Don't think to yourself how glad you are that it isn't you. Don't try to convince yourself that you're not a bully, because all you're doing is listening to the Bully Mom share the story with you about some "well to do Mom." You're not hurting anyone. Newsflash, you are. Don't be a recruit to her, be a recruit to stand against the thought of bullying. Stop engaging in bullying the Elementary moms.
Stop being a bystander.
Be an Upstander.
Be an Agent of Change and be willing to spare the change.
Actually, recruit the change and be the change.
For in order for schools to improve their bullying issues, the parents have to improve theirs as well.