Make sure your kids know that Monsters ARE real

One time I was at a birthday party and a girl there was loudly making fun of what this other girl at the party was wearing. Technically this trash mouthed girl is a GROWN WOMAN talking badly about another GROWN WOMAN in the presence of young children, all of who heard every rude and cruel word that came out of her yap!  So if you were wondering whether or not mean girls grow out of their mean-ness and gain the confidence and human decency to stop being cruel bullies, I’m sad to report that some of them don’t. They walk among us, monsters in disguise until they rear their ugly heads.

It would be cool if bullying was something people just grew out of like shoes, superheroes or boy bands, but lots of them just become taller, louder, bustier, hairier and MEANER! The female bully VERY OFTEN goes unchecked, unchallenged and protected by a posse of insecure weaklings whom they have frightened into allegiance, thereby increasing both their powerbase AND skill set. This is because the emotional and psychological bullying girls do more of  is harder to catch than the physical bullying that is more often the style of the boy bully. Both are equally likely to spawn little people who live what they learn, carrying on the family tradition of bullying.

Bullies live by the motto, “I am unhappy and afraid so therefore I will make you feel the same way.” The mob of miserables, who act as enforcers for a bully usually break away as soon as they no longer need protection or risk suffering punishment or retribution for deserting the master of disaster .  Of course young bullies often mistake fear for allegiance and loyalty. This inaccurate assumption assures that eventually they will be alone in their misery. Like this.

See what I mean? Nobody REALLY likes a bully. Maybe that's why adult bullies work alone.

Years ago, a superior at work started her bully rage against me by casually strolling by my desk, picking up a photograph of me and my husband and remarking, “My, my, Nicole! You married UP didn’t you? You either have family money or you’re a porn star in the sack.”  I spent a year being the food for her rage. Had I been the only victim of her terrorizing taunts, I might have done something about it. Instead I quietly endured. I NEEDED a job and she was much higher up on the food chain than myself! It was like working in a shit filled steam room of an office infested with bubonic rats with a sexually harassing raging cokehead supermodel  boss. Sort of.

I started this ranty blog mentioning the loathsome excuse for a grown up that mocked another in order to boost her tragically low self-esteem AT A CHILD’S BIRTHDAY PARTY, because it speaks to just how important it is to stand up to bullies. Nipping this stuff in the bud early makes for a much healthier future grown up and parent.   It seems pretty nuts, right, having to endure bullying as an adult?  Whoda thunk it? But it happens. Way too often - it happens.

Often as in last week when I was Christmas shopping and minding my own beeswax, it happened to me! A malevolent monster of a bully disguised as a human mom tried to break my spirit. I should mention that she was a complete stranger…in a bookstore….with her child.

My mood was solid fabu.  I had enjoyed breakfast with my mother, bought a pair of pants that felt comfortable AND looked good on my trunk o’junk, enjoyed a hilarious text fest with one of my besties that made me snort laugh repeatedly AND found the perfect Christmas gift for my boy spawn.  While waiting in line to purchase the gift, I was oblivious to my surroundings, simmering in my thoughts about the joyful things in my life such as friends, family, food and perfect fitting pants, when I felt a peculiar poking on my right Croc. Yeah, I wear crocs! I got me some furry black phuckers with jibbitz.


I know, right? Full of awesome.

I looked down to see a fascinated toddler playing with them. He pointed to one and said, “DAT?” Curious little fella wanted me to tell him about my jibbitz so I bent over to tell him ALL about the awesomeness adorning my feet. His mom bent down to see what the fuss was about too. That’s when she practically choked on her tongue laughing when she asked,

“Oh my GOD! Are you ACTUALLY wearing furry Crocs?”

The look on her face was full of unmistakable mockery and the tone in her voice was heckling and haughty.  Having just read a story that morning about a 10 year old girl who killed herself as a result of being bullied, I decided that I would address her disagreeable dumb-fuckery head on as I have never done before.  Those of you who are regular readers, friends, family and whatnot KNOW I can spin thoughts into words pretty rapid-like. It went something like this……

“Of course they aren't Crocs!  They’re dead babies that I painted black and then I glued hair on them that I skinned from cats. ARE YOU SERIOUSLY MAKING FUN OF MY SHOES LIKE A BULLY?  I’ll bet you were the mean girl in high school weren't you? ”

I wanted to keep going, to tear her fragile ego apart with the force of a thousand rhinoceros farts. I have never spoken to anyone like that in my life, but then again, I’ve never experienced such mean spiritedness from a complete stranger. I didn’t do it.  I shut up and turned around because although I may be a smart-ass, I’m not a mean girl or bully. I use my power for good NOT evil.

It helps me to think of people like my bully as mythical Hydras who will grow two heads in the place of every one head cut off. For a young bully to become an adult bully, fear and anger must have unlimited access to the soul, feeding on it until it becomes the driving force of the person’s interactions with the world.  Over the years, they have needed to grow strong in the face of resistance because nobody cared or DARED to stand up to them or for them. It’s a daunting task. Dealing with angry and hurtful people is much more difficult than ignoring them, but being strong and brave enough to stop a bully is actually a way to stand UP for them. A child bully doesn't have to become an adult bully.

Historically I was silent, doing nothing to stop bullies. I watched them scare others and was too afraid myself to know what to do. All that has changed for me since I had children. I want them to be stronger than I was. I'm trying to encourage them to be kind, even when it’s difficult to do so and most importantly, role model this kindness. They are always listening to what I say and watching what I do, learning what is acceptable behavior. Now that I’m a mom, I know that I must be brave enough to try to make the world a better place for my kids, even if I’m afraid. And I am. Afraid that is. Adult bullies have years of experience, honing their craft. Like the bookstore bully they are experts at exposing fear. I wish I could say I was fearless adult, self-actualized and secure enough to successfully battle the bully beasts, but I'm not there yet. I haven't fought enough battles.

Still I will fight! I might not make a difference. I must not accept failure as an option, because although I can't make another person change, I won’t give up being the change I want to see in the world.  I’m glad my kids weren’t with me when I unleashed my insecure response to the bully who Croc mocked me. I briefly became her company in misery, letting my inner bully escape and I wish I could take it back. I’m better than that and next time I’ll prove it.

Unfortunately,  I’m sure there WILL be a next time because even though I tell my kids otherwise -

MONSTERS ARE REAL

Comments

Leave a comment
  • Excellent points throughout - all too often rude (or cruel, or small minded, etc) people are ignored, and they continue to be the same. Kudos to you for speaking up about your shoes! They rock!

    I work with families and kids on a daily basis and one of the first things I teach is the idea of Positive Energy (feeling warm, big, and/or happy inside) and Negative Energy (feeling cold, small and/or sad inside). Right after that is the idea of "win-win or no deal" so if someone says the wrong thing but does the right thing (a lose/win situation) are they really your friend? What if they say the right thing, but do the wrong thing (win/lose)? OH, so to be a friend someone has to do the right thing and say the right thing? Brilliant!

    In my experience - in my own life and the lives of my stuents - bullies are small, cold, sad people who only have those feelings to offer us. So, we have a choice not to feel the same and we can refuse their offer - and we don't have to help them feel even worse in the process, it just takes a little training and a little compassion (and being able to break boards and bricks helps with feeling warm/big/happy inside for us, too)

    Keep up the awesomenesses!

  • In reply to KungFuGuyJeremy:

    thanks for reading and commenting. right on about training and compassion. so often we tell our kids to fight back, but we don't explain how to fight back responsibly and with mature kindness. there is a way to handle bullies.

  • LOL In my experience, most monsters think they are beauty queens. They don't realize they are monsters.

  • In reply to megforce1:

    meg, each bully i have dealth with has been beautiful on the outside. so sad.

  • In reply to Nicole Knepper:

    I meant I don't think they realize they are bullies, like they think they are good people.

  • fb_avatar

    I think Crocs are ugly as all hell, but that isn't really the point of them is it?

  • In reply to Corey Hart:

    nope it's not. and they are ugly. so ugly. but comfy. i love mine.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Nicole Knepper:

    I love my fuzzy crocs too!!!!! :)

  • You are awesome...slaying one monster at a time. I would LOVE to know what that woman's reaction was and if your word gems reached the part of her brain that actually thought speaking was okay.

  • ugh. thanks. i don't know that i slayed her. lynn, i didn't turn back around and she didn't make any effort to make amends. i was scared i might hit her. i was in shock. shock rhymes with croc - which are the shoes i love. thanks for reading and commenting.

  • fb_avatar

    Oh Knuckles, you know I think you are one super badass chick, and this particular piece just proves it. I love this one. When I was younger I was very timid and bullied a time or two in my life. I have since become very UNtimid and I (much to the complete mortification of my teenage daughters) have absolutely NO problem confronting these bully women (and men) head on. I always try to do it with a smile on my face, but I am very forthright in my words. When my kids were younger, I made sure to make a lesson out of such people... "girls, this is a good lesson for you on how NOT to treat people" and sometimes I would do it right in front of the meanie mommy and intentionally knock her down a few pegs as I used her as an example. Of course, some people simply do not get it, and some just don't care. That's ok... as long as they know that there are some of us out there that wont stand for such treatment and we WILL stand up for ourselves and our loved ones.

  • In reply to Kim Gates:

    xo kim. thanks for taking time to comment. i know you got the guts, girl. another reason i like you.

  • LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that you stood up to this meanie. good for you. i don't know if it's because my family is italian, or that i'm from new jersey, but i was raised to not put up with other people's crap. slaying one dragon at a time is all it takes.

  • Bullies suck. I worked for one at my last job and he made my life miserable. He actually said to me in a staff meeting with about 20 other people, including our CEO, "When we hired you, I kept hearing from everybody how smart and educated you were. Frankly, I haven't seen evidence that you're either one." Despite the fact that I'm both smart (graduated high school at 16) AND educated (Bachelor's degree in mathematics), I was humiliated. I didn't even defend myself. A few months later, the nasty fucker laid me off while I was on family leave after adopting my daughter. What do people like him get out of making other people feel like crap?

  • fb_avatar

    This grown-up bullying business is such bullshizzle. it makes absolutely no sense! I'm glad you stood p to Croc Illy, then turned away before you socked her. Bravo.
    I tell my kids when someone is being a bully. I'd rather show them live examples when I'm with them, then let them be shocked by it in the first-person.

  • fb_avatar

    Awesome blog, once again.
    What would you say/do differently to the Croc-Mocker if your kids WERE there?

  • fb_avatar

    I would have loved to have seen her face! I've realized, the older I get the less afraid I am to tell these stupid bitches off...I am so sick of shitty behavior from full grown people. Yuck! No wonder our children (well theirs actually, not mine) are complete assholes.

  • fb_avatar

    This was awesome!!! I have to deal with bully in-laws, the parents and the sibling. Over the last 4 years, I have slowly worked on chipping away at how their actions make me feel. I have even told them some. They won't change, but my reactions are.

  • fb_avatar

    Oh, man. Impeccable timing with this. My husband and I witnessed our TWO-YEAR-OLD getting bullied at the toddler park yesterday...by an eight-year-old. And his parents did absolutely nothing. He knocked my daughter down as she was trying to climb the steps to go down a slide and of course, she started crying. But instead of trying to apologize to her or help her up, he pointed at her, laughed, and said, "You're such a dumb baby."

    Cue the claws and growling.

    I have no shame in correcting another child, ESPECIALLY if his or her parent(s) stands idly by and condones this type of behavior. I looked at his mother, who was just watching the whole situation with a smirk on her face and I lost it. I got down to eye-level with this kid and firmly said, "You DO NOT push kids at all. This is not YOUR park, this is everybody's park and you need to learn how to play nice with everybody else. Would you like it if someone pushed you and then called you a dumb baby? No. That's a very mean thing to say to someone." That's when his mother decided to intercede and attempt to bully ME into backing off. To which I replied, "She's two. Your kid is eight. If you think that I'm going to stand and watch my daughter get bullied by your child, you got a whole 'nother thing coming. And if you don't like other parents calling out your children on their lack of discipline, then do your damn job as a parent."

    If only more parents were like you and actually tried to do right by their own children. You'd think it'd be mortifying enough to be known as the parent of a bully, but instead, all these people ever do is excuse their children's behavior (and their own) with some bullshit anecdote. I'm sick of it and I swear if my daughter ever come up to me and said she was being bullied, this world would see the devil rise up in the flesh. Kudos to you for being a wonderful example of how to react to these types of individuals.

    And if it makes you feel any better, I walk around in these Ugg loafers that look like they've been dragged through the mud. Ugly as shit, but oh-so-fucking comfortable. :)

  • Awesome post!

  • fb_avatar

    I LOVE THIS BLOG!

    Funny FUNNY! I've had the pleasure of making acquaintances with these types of cruel monsters recently in my real life. I am amazed at how MEAN and cattyy grown woman can be.

  • fb_avatar

    Love this blog.. And you are right, most bullies DO NOT grow out of the bullyness.. I had encountered this over the Veterns Day holiday.. Only this B**** did not attack me, she attacked my spawn.. And that is where I draw the line.
    My beautiful daughter (who is just 12) had just got done marching in full band uniform in the Verterns Day Parade. After the parade was over I had to stop at our local farm and rach store to look for something for my husband for Christmas.. See, I tend to start early with that crap. Anyway... My daughter and one of her friends had gone to the boots section just to look as most 12 year old girls will do... When this GROWN woman commented to another GROWN woman about how my daughter must have parents who don't give a shit because look how she is dressed.
    Yes my daughters hair was a mess, it had been in a uniform hat for the past hour. And yes, she was wearing leggings and a t-shirt because she didn't want to wear her heavy band uniform anymore.
    But I had to think to myself what the hell was this GROWN woman thinking.. Did she really think it was ok for her to make those comments where a 12 year girl could hear her?? 12 year old girls are having a hard enough time trying to find their place in this world without shitty people like this woman... We were almost out the door when my daughter told me what happened.. I flipped out.. I marched back to the boots section to make sure that this woman knew that if she had something to say about a 12 year girl who had just gone done marching in a parade to honor our veterns she needed to make sure that the 12 year old child does not hear her and that she better make sure that the mama bear of said child does not find out. And that is she proceeded to talk shit about my child I would have to kick her ass..
    Just goes to show you.. Some people never grow up.. Sad

  • I just want to understand how bullys pick out their victims? Seriously. I was bullied and treated like an outcast and played tricks on and talked about until I almost couldn't go on. This was 25 yrs ago. I don't understand how it starts. I would never think to say something to hurt someone else. I just don't get it.

  • "For a young bully to become an adult bully, fear and anger must have unlimited access to the soul" - or, they had the same for a mother. You wouldn't believe the amount of sassy bullies I've encountered in my 18 years of parenting, and you can bet your last dollar that every single one of them has a mother with a mouth on her. The moms think they're 'all that', and the daughters grow up either seeing that that type of behavior gets you what you want, or that they too are 'all that'.
    I've tried to cut a few down on occasion but they are often thick as pig shit and don't realize you're trying to serve them. (I've just been on the phone with my college teen. Can you tell?)
    The saddest part is, that if you're not a mom/bully, your girl tends to be too nice to really give these bitches what they deserve.
    OK, I'm good now.

  • fb_avatar

    It makes me furious to hear about situations like this. I wish I could take them aside and quietly point out exactly what it is they just did, and make them reflect on exactly what it is that made them react that way.

    Did you really just try to rip someone down because of their SHOES? REALLY? That is your platform? You couldn't have chosen something to judge another human being on that may actually matter, like beating their children or throwing puppies out the window on the freeway? You have to resort to criticizing someone's SHOES? Because they are SO offensive?

  • fb_avatar

    Although I can see your point that you felt you were bullying this woman back for her vicious comments, but what was the alternative?
    To let her continue to think it was acceptable to laugh at another person? For whatever reason, was this considered to be acceptable?
    I abhor bullying, my child was bullied for having a Canadian accent in London, ridiculous, but a torment she endured for 4 years of school. She even changed her accent to sound British, why I can't imagine, but she did.
    I applaud your for standing up to this monster, more people should do this, and maybe they'll crawl back under their rocks and stay there!
    OR maybe they'll see this sort of behaviour is really not socially acceptable!

  • Thank you so much for writing this! I wish more people stuck up to bullies. Or that the bullies would realize what they're doing to people. I'm a senior in high school and I was bullied all throughout elementary and middle school. I've even had some of my friends make racist comments about my eyes (I'm Korean). So I know how much of a difference it can make in people's lives. I hope a lot of people read this and understand that they need to make a stand against this behavior.
    Wishing you all the best,
    Molly

  • fb_avatar

    How awesome your reply. I only think of the 'good' come back hours later. ♥

Leave a comment