Today, Michelle works in the ER for a 12 hour shift, so I’m taking care of Easton. Fortunately, Arleen is a big helper and she’s off for the holiday week. Yesterday, I hung out with Kristina and her baby, and Arleen was there part of the time. She looked so at ease, picking up er 10 day old cousin and putting her on her activity mat or her Mama-Roo contraption. The latter looks like something from outer space made by technologically brilliant aliens. You lie the baby in the carrier part and select a setting. One mimics a car ride. Another setting mimics a kangaroo hopping, and another mimics a rollercoaster. I think there’s another setting, but I can’t remember what it is. We never had anything like that. Parents prepare so much for their firstborn. I know we did. With Kristina, we loaded the diaper bag with snacks, diapers, wipes, bottles, a first aid kit in case she needed an emergency appendectomy, a variety of rattles and other toys and a time travel machine in case we wanted to go back in time to prevent her conception. After the first, all we carried was the baby, a diaper with a couple of wipes inside, and my boob. Simple.
Enjoy Part Two of the series on bullying. Thanks again, Dustin, for the transcription! Again, the YouTube follows.
Me: Well, before you go into that, lemme, because I do wanna go there. A couple of things I learned from different counselors, etcetera, is for example, you can sort of go into “Observation Mode”. Like you’re a reporter, watching. And you have this plate glass screen over you and insults just pling, pling pling (insults hitting glass sound), the insults just fall away and you just feel like you are taking notes, like “Oh, how curious that you would say something like that.” I mean have that kind of mentality. Another story I wanna tell you—
Erik: Great! You look at it from the objective perspective, look at it from the third person perspective, just like if you would be meditating; it’s the same thing: we’re observing it, but we’re not getting IN to it.
Erik: We’re just taking notes, observing.
Me: Now, I don’t know that a child of middle school age would be able to do that, but here’s another example. And I think Erik is probably going to disagree with this a lot, but it was kinda fun.
Me: I was at the pizza place eating outside with my husband and there were a lot of people there. But there was this one older woman with a bunch of teenage girls that were obviously not her daughters. She was just trying to be cool. She was just talking SO loud and just being so obnoxious! People were like wincing at the noise—I could see they were very uncomfortable, so I said, “Excuse me miss, could you please be a little quieter?” Very nicely. Oh my God! She got SO mad. She stood up and started slamming on the table and blah, blah, blah, this is an outdoor place and I can do anything I want. Blah, blah, blah…and so I just said, “Aw. Now you’re just embarrassing yourself.” And she sat down and shut up and felt so small, and everybody started clapping and thanked me and stuff. Of course, that is extremely judgmental and stuff, but it would be a good tool, I think it would be a good tool for kids. Something they could remember to say, but Erik, you’re going to tell me something better, because that’s probably not coming from a place of love. You probably are going to say “Send the bully love.” And you can do that at the same time, I guess, but go ahead. Correct me.
Erik: No Mom. In a way what you did was right. What you did was you diffused something that could have exploded into something major by counteracting it. Ok? Instead of adding fire to the fire, you used water to calm it down.
Me: I don’t know.
Erik: Bullying is such a hard cycle to break through, right? Especially when you are really young. It’s really hard to defend yourself when you don’t have those tools to get those knick-knack comments back to them.
Me: See it’s like “God, why didn’t I say that?” Yeah right.
Erik: Yeah and that’s the thing. It’s all about power struggle. When people communicate with one another, there’s a constant exchange of energy. And when people are already agitated or they’re not feeling good within themselves, they constantly lose energy. So they will attack other people in order to gain that energy back.
Me: But what type of advice?
Erik: But what you did in that moment—you know, the reason she got aggravated was not because you asked her that question. It was because there were other issues playing already in that day of hers. She already had a really bad day and you just added an extra drop to it.
Me: OH GREAT! Now I feel guilty. But no, what do you do? What do you—
Erik: But what you did was, you didn’t allow yourself, your energy, to really get up there, and you just diffused it by giving her an answer that she couldn’t attack. Now, when it comes to little kids, and I know people are gonna think this is weird, but this helps. Emanuel has tested it several times in her job and it does work.
Emma: And I know what he’s gonna say, because I do use that all the time.
Erik: As a little child, you can say, when they’re being attacked, or when they’re being verbally abused, or they’re being yelled at or whatever. All they need to learn to say is: “I’m sorry you are in so much pain, but I still send you all the love and light in the world.” They immediately shut down. They don’t know what to answer to that.
Emma: I’ve tested this! I used to work in a store and I would have people who were having a bad day and they would work it out on me. You know, “Why don’t you go faster?” and this and that. Everything was wrong with what I was doing. I would just set complete silence, and stay completely calm. And I would tell this person, “I’m sorry you’re having a bad day ma’am, but I still wish you all the best for the rest of the day.” And they immediately shut up. They don’t know what to say to that because you are wishing them love and light and you’re saying “I’m sorry you feel bad.”
Me: I have done that before. If somebody’s ranting and raving, just turn around with kindness and it’s awesome. It works.
Emma: It does.
Me: And then they start apologizing. “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to come at you so hard.”
Emma: Exactly! And that’s what we need to teach our children.
Emma: That’s how they need to respond. Don’t tell them to fight back, don’t tell them, yeah, just defend yourself, just give them a punch.
Me: Don’t let your ego get in the way!
Emma: No, no!
Me: Well, I’ve done that before, where I get mad if somebody attacks me, and it just, it only gets worse and worse. But when I say, you know, oh, I’m sorry and I shouldn’t have dinged your car, or I dunno, I’m just making up stuff, and probably we’re already having a bad day, I feel really bad about it and “Oh no, I’m sorry.” That’s what happens. Ok, so Erik, what do you think?
Erik: So the same thing with Internet bullying. If they’re sending you mean messages, send messages of love back! Send them big hearts and big beautiful pictures of how love can overcome anything. That “You’re ok!” I can guarantee you that those messages will stop real quickly, because they’ll get bored with all your lovey-dovey stuff.
Me: Oh, I know. That’s awesome! What do you think Erik? What else can you offer as far as practical solutions?
Erik: When you are a little more into the teenager and adult years, when you’re more advanced, it’s really about understanding the lesson in it and understanding that this is all about finding the self-love. This is all about acceptance and about finding compassion towards a person who is being mean to you. My number one advice for people is first of all stop bullying yourself!
Me: Oh, yeah!
Erik: Because what bullies do is they use your own insecurities against you, and so no matter what circumstance you are in, you will always attract the way people treat you by the energy that you send out. What I mean by that is, what you send out—if you are insecure, if you are full of self-doubt, if you are afraid of everything, you’re sending that energy out. And people will use that and abuse that. So, love yourself! That’s step number two. How do we stop bullying ourselves? By loving ourselves. By sending love and light to ourselves every morning. By understanding how special you really are and by understanding that it doesn’t matter who or what you look like. That you are unique. That you are special and that you are very, very important in this world. So by loving yourself, you actually take away the one thing that bullies prey on, and that is your insecurity. That is your “flaws” (air quotes) or whatever you think you have as flaws. You’re taking away those tools from them so they have nothing to bully you with. When you are confident in your life, when you are full of love and joy, it won’t matter what anybody else tells you anymore.
Me: That’s true.
Erik: That’ll all fade away.
Me: It’s hard for teenagers though, because they tend to be insecure anyway. What about saying something like—
Erik: It’s all about the hormones.
Me: What about saying something to the effect of—
Erik: Hormones can’t be easy. And that is something that is a physical—it kind of adds aggravation to it and there’s nothing we can do about that. It’s just the physical changes and these hormones that are controlling our mood swings. So, the best advice for them is to give them those answers. To tell them, “Hey, I’m sorry you’re feeling like shit, but I still love you and I wish you all the best.” It’s giving them that—you know that needs to be trained in from childhood.
Me: Or you know, another thing they could say is: “I’m sorry you don’t feel like you love yourself, or you don’t have self-love, because you deserve it.” Something like that, because that’s gonna hit em. Right there and make em reflect, “Wow! You know, I kinda don’t like myself.” So, what other sentences—
Erik: Another one is just saying: “Hey, I can see that you’re hurting. If you ever wanna talk, I’ll be here for you.” That will totally diffuse the bomb and you might actually gain a friend. Because, for the first time maybe in their life, they will have somebody who said: “Hey, I can see your pain.” Because a lot of bullies hide their pain. They don’t want to acknowledge anything about it.
Me: They don’t. They don’t feel like their pain is acknowledged. All right, what about somebody like my little 9-year-old—uh, somebody in elementary school? What can they say to a bully? That’s simple.
Erik: Well, like I said, again, we can give them the message of love. But we can also—
Me: Well you know they’re not gonna do that. I mean, I don’t think an elementary school kid is gonna say all lovey dovey stuff. What can they say that they can remember?
Emma: He wants you to teach them that. They need to be need taught that response.
Erik: We also need to let our children know that it’s ok to ask for help, when we are being bullied. Ask for help. Ask a teacher. Ask a parent, you know, it’s ok to reach out. It’s not about being weak. It’s not about being a failure when you ask for help. But it’s about acknowledging that there is another person who is hurting you because he is hurting himself. And so that way, by asking help, by telling your children that it’s ok, just come to me if something happens and we’ll figure it out.
Me: But do you think the parents should intervene by calling the other parents or will that just make things worse? I mean, sure, every individual case is different, but-
Erik: Yeah, it’s all different, but what we can do, is we can have a discussion let’s say with, if it is happening in school, we can have both parents come together, maybe with a mediator, with somebody who can help in these cases and say “Hey, what’s going on? Where are the problems? Why are we dealing like this?” And when they are in that very young stage, kids will listen to what’s going on, they will seek the assistance. Once they get into teenager mode, then they’re gonna be like: “I don’t give a shit what you said, you screw me—“ Then we have to go to a different approach, but when they’re still very young, intervening and teaching them that it’s ok to ask for help. When parents call parents, there’s usually a fight.
Me: I know.
Erik: There’s usually going to be an explosion of opinions. But what we need to do is we need to bring the parents into a neutral zone, where there are referees. That’s what we need to do. And have people who know how to deal with a situation like this.
Me: Like a school counselor or something.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!