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3 Tips to Tame Your Inner Bully

Ms. Vicki

Dear Readers,

Thanks to Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins, we have heard people from all walks of life discuss the subject of bullying recently. I have been swamped with letters from people who have been intimidated by bullies in our own military community.

I get letters from soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines writing me to discuss patterns of intimidation and fear or bullying by superior NCOs and officers.

Many say they don’t report the behavior. They fear reprisal or being the shunned by others in their unit.

Spouses send letters saying they were intimidated in the family readiness group (FRG) from the “mean girls club.” They say that if your servicemember doesn’t have the right rank, you may be the outcast and never chosen to join the clique.

They say they have experienced the “stare down” from women who intentionally make them feel like they entered the wrong room.

Cyber bullies go on social network sites and cell phones to taunt you, call you names and spread nasty rumors. They leave you degrading messages until it destroys your self-esteem and self-worth.

Many students across our country have decided to take their own lives in response to cyber bullying.

Bullying happens in schools from K-12 in classrooms and on the playground when the bully pushes kids to the dirt while other students laugh. It happens on college campuses when someone posts pictures of your first sexual encounters to others.

Bullying even happens in our homes. I see it among my clients all the time. Perhaps you bully your wife, your husband or your significant other with harsh words, screaming or yelling at them, threatening to ruin their lives or to do bodily harm.

Let’s give bullying a standing ovation. Because for once it is time to take a look at ourselves and ask “Am I a bully”? You might be.

 Is there any help for the bully or for the victim? People ponder why bullies bully others. Why won’t people stand up to the bully? Victims are called “weak” or criticized for being too “soft” or “timid” and this is the reason they are bullied.

By now, you are reflecting on your experience of being bullied by some kids in your class and you are probably saying to yourself: "I’m OK. Bullying is not so bad.”

Truth is, we have to consider everyone’s personality and temperament. Everyone is different. One experience could leave someone perfectly fine while another person experiencing the same thing could be emotionally and mentally scarred permanently.

We may not be able to wipe out bullying forever, but here are three things you should consider for the bully in you.

  1. What are you getting from bullying? Try to diligently search and discover what you gain from bullying and beating other people down (e.g. power, control or self-gratification). Then ask yourself, is there another way I can feel powerful and in control rather than bullying other people?
  2. Give the Golden another try. Now that you are an adult, try on the Golden Rule for size. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I know this sounds corny, but I think this is something that everyone should consider.You don’t have to bully other people. You can make a decision to stop because this behavior is unacceptable.
  3. Accept responsibility for your actions. It is time to realize the emotional damage that you cause other people. You know you have bullied people. You know you have cause dinsurmountable pain, embarrassment, low self-esteem and low self-worth. People who are bullied seek therapy and counseling in outpatient clinics and from inpatient hospitalization. A part of accepting responsibility for bullying may include seeking the same services too.

Bullying may happen all over our community. That doesn’t make it right. Take a minute to think of your behavior and how important your kindness is to so many other people. It is to me.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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