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Bullying & Beyond… Sauce, Diamond, Lynx.

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

My writing has brought me through the best of times and the worst of times to a Spring of hope from a Winter of despair to paraphrase Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of two Cities.”

And thanks to Paulas Light and her 3TC prompts for helping me to voice this…

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/74951/posts/2244712447

NAMELESS…

She might have thought
She got the sauce
When she retired
To a lush and early pension pot,

That Educator
With no principles or thought for
The children in her care,

Those innocent children, each a
Diamond, she was entrusted to polish
To bring them from the rough
To their most lustrous, luminous shine
She denied,

And so she left him,
unaided,
when he bravely told her
He was being bullied
Him, she left in no doubt,
That he was nothing;
NOTHING in her eyes
Far from a diamond,
Thanks to her cowardice…

“Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself”
As she said
Her damage, that depleated
The diamond of his right
To glow and shine,

Or brought his sister to the front of class

And belittled her grasp of maths

Until her peers laughed

Because of what as an

Educator and Teacher she had lost or

Worse still maybe never had..

But fear not
All is not lost,
Those diamonds
Once voiceless and violated
Have, thanks to the power of

LOVE

AND

LIGHT,

Found their inner sight and

Right to luminosity!

And fear not teacher
with no principles
Or thought for the children entrusted and dependant on your care,
For Face you will, the

Lynx that latently lies,
Lurking
Within
And your
Lush pension pot and early retirement
Will like the diamonds you failed to polish,
Quickly lose their shine and
Your demise will be one of unrelenting

SHAME…

You took our childrens childhood happiness by trampling on their cries for help,
whether it was the bullying you ignored or the bullying you perpetrated yourself
or the mental health implications,

You were implicit in creating or ignoring,

You crept inside our home
And you depleted
Our childrens childhood happiness
And bullied us, we now know, through their distress and left us unrequited…

But one day I know you’ll read this and you’ll realise, without a doubt, exactly who

You are

and what you’re made of,

And you’ll answer for it…

Have you been failed by the education system? Have you been bullied?  Just know that I have your corner, I hear you and you are a true and beautiful Diamond and you are not alone!

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond… Stand up, speak up!

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

 

 

Your child is or has been bullied at school and you have found an opportunity to talk to them, making a written record of events as you discuss them, without being caught up in frustrating and emotionally upsetting arguments. Now pause to acknowledge the progress you have made, you’ve managed to… 6.Avoid the hook!

You’re now aware and can understand that the changes in behaviour you’ve seen are signs of bullying. Those signs probably included your child;

avoiding situations,
reducing their academic performance,
refusing to go to school,
lacking motivation, wanting to achieve goals but showing perfectionist traits, then appearing paralysed,
disappointed by not living up to the high standards they set themselves,
withdrawing into themselves,
being stressed, having emotional outbursts,
showing signs of anxiety, depression, OCD or specific phobias,
consuming excess alcohol, or maybe using drugs,
getting into trouble in school,
being charged with social disorder,
or engaging in self-harm
then…

If you are like me,
you probably struggle to know what to do.

You are unsure of where to turn next.

You are probably paralysed like we were.

You probably struggled to even accept the situation.

You wanted to wave a magic wand and fix everything…

If any of the above resonates with you, it is very important that you are pro-active. Do not allow bullying to render you paralysed. Your child might not want you to speak up for fear of making the situation worse or been seen as ‘a grass’ or a ‘cry-baby’. You must be very discreet but you must seek out support to help you stand up and speak up to bullying!

In this post I help you list what you can do.  Bullying & Beyond…20 Knowledge is Power!

Have you noticed your child’s behaviour changing? Have you struggled to understand the changes you’ve noticed.  Can you see it from a different perspective now?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

“Acceptance” on Monday’s Memory Lane…

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In this post I tried to share a parent’s exhilaration and gratitude at the sound of a toilet being flushed! I fully understand if you are confused and I invite you to step into my shoes by reading along…ACCEPTANCE!

Have you or your children struggled with the impact of school bullying?  How did it impact your/their/your families life/lives? Can you recall the first sign of recovery and how it made you feel?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond… Social Media, a Silent killer!…

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

 

I’m always grateful when readers share their experiences with me, it starts a conversation on bullying and prompts further reflection.

I’d like to share two such responses to my post, Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the pain, part three.

Paula at Paula Light https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/74951

bravely said “I was bullied for being fat and nerdy and bad at sports. Thank God I could get away from the kids outside of school and escape into books and tv shows. I also found my own hobbies, such as needlepoint. But today, with social media, there’s no escape. That’s the worst ~ I can’t imagine the horror of never escaping the peer group.

Parikhit Dutta at Weeping Pines https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/56154764

responded with empathy saying…
“I’m so glad for you Paula. It can be so frustrating to live the pains of bullying always, never being able to escape. And isn’t it a silent killer”.

My thanks to both Paula and Parikhit for prompting this post.

I can, from experience, confirm that bullying via social media is as noxious as poison gas, it is a silent killer!  

One Christmas while we were enjoying a family gathering our daughter was suffering in silence in the midst of us, as bullies targeted her with vile and upsetting messages on social media.   We were oblivious to this happening until our daughter could no longer contain her distress and broke down telling us.  Even after the girls in question were reprimanded and made close their social media accounts, the bullying continued because they were able to create new accounts using fake identification.

Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the Pain, part one.

Social media enables bullies to infiltrate the victim’s home; often the only safe space victims have. Online bullying is omnipresent, affecting children, adults and even Politicians, as we’ve seen during the United Kingdom’s Brexit attempts.

When bullying is frequent and continues over a protracted period it can cripple the victim leaving them distressed and confused. The implications can be life long, leaving them with low confidence and self-esteem, and can cause them intense dislike of themselves for being too fat, too thin, nerdy, shy or a miriad of other perfectly normal human characteristics just because a bully decided these traits were “unacceptable”.

Other sign of distress can include mood swings, anxiety, depression, insomnia, panic attacks, eating disorders, OCD, and finally but not exhaustively, self-harm until another innocent, tormented life could be lost to bullying.

Having witnessed the effect of online bullying I’d like to highlight to parents the distress children feel at, the horror of never escaping from this silent killer.”  I’d also like to stress the lasting impact of bullying and encourage parents, adults & society to be vigilant.

Have you or your children been bullied? Did you/they experience “the horror of never escaping the peer group” because of the pervasiveness of social media? Did you watch this silent killer in action?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond… “Acceptance”, Love & Time.

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Emma and Andy, besotted and at peace.

 

I wrote this post one morning as I really struggled to cope, to accept, to hope…ACCEPTANCE!

When I think back I can still recall how visceral my emotion was that morning.

We had struggled under the weight of both our children being victims of bullying and its short and long term consequences.  We watched both our children suffer and we searched for answers to many questions…

With no avenues left to follow, sadly one day we were forced to accept that the situation was outside of our control.  I recall the pain of frustration and of what felt like failure.

We offered it up to God, to the Universe, to the silent expanse of the countryside… We were exhausted, depleted and we knew we had to sit back and develop patience.

We tried to listen with love, we spoke with love and we encouraged with love. We learned to trust, to hope and to let go control.  We let go our need to fix, our need for things to be as we thought they should be.

As I look back now, it’s amazing how acceptance, love and time changes things!

Hardly two years on, time has intervened…

With time, he re-tuned his body clock.  He began to re-engage with life.  His motivation to study slowly improved.  He spoke of sitting his exams. We quietly encouraged him to do what he thought was best for him… And it worked!

He took back power over his own life.  He regained his voice; the damage from bullying being slowly put behind him.  He decided how he wanted his future to look…

Now reaching towards the end of his second term of college we see… that acceptance, love and time... was the key.

For our daughter, who continues to struggle with her mental health, a mischievous puppy named Andy may well be… the key!

If you’d like to follow their journey as Andy works to become the first Psychiatric Service Dog in Ireland and Emma resorts to training him herself, while continuing to lobby politicians; although losing hope that her months of requesting them to help her make this service available, will come to any fruition… then you can find them on Instagram @reallyhandyandy or on Facebook at Emma and Andy.

Has bullying impacted your life? What was the key to overcoming your challenge?

Much love,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond… Painting the pain, part three.

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

 

As hard as I’ve tried, I can’t paint the pain of bullying experienced by our son because the canvas is blank and will remain blank as our son, kept almost all of the painful details to himself.

What I can paint is what we as parents noticed at home, which included, his frustration shown through nasty comments and angry outbursts. His loss of interest in his hobbies. His withdrawal into himself. His sleep pattern changed dramatically, unable to get to sleep resulting in him sleeping longer into the morning and soon he developed insomnia.   He was awake at night and asleep during the day.   We slowly noticed a real change in his pleasant and warm personality.    All these changes led to self-isolation and school refusal.

We stood by helplessly, watching our warm, outgoing, resilient child slowly disengage from all aspects of his normal functioning life.

This did not happen over-night. Being bullied was something that chipped away at his resilience and eventually over years, wore him down.

Every child, no matter their age, sex, nationality, colour or faith is entitled to attend school, to feel happy and included. They deserve to achieve, to the best of their ability, without the fear of bullying and its devastating effects.

The pain of his upset is still visceral as I recall and share these memories.  It hurts because I realise, yet again, that the sheer frustration and powerlessness we felt came from feeling unheard in a broken system.  This feeling of isolation compounded the impact bullying was having on our family.  This post might help you gain a further insight ACCEPTANCE

Thankfully we have, as a family and individually, empowered ourselves to move forward whilst not diminishing the pain of the past. But instead wanting to put our learning to the service of others.  You might like to read our son’s attitude, Bullying…”I am grateful for it all”…

Have you or your children experienced bullying?  Did it wear down your child’s resilience? Did it render you silent and make you feel powerless?

I would love to hear your experience so that together we can let other families know that they are not alone.

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond… Painting the Pain, part one.

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

Trigger Warning – Bullying, upsetting read, almost 1.9k word count and only a synopsis of our story.

If I could paint a picture of the pain of bullying I would because a picture can say much more than any amount of words. But I hope my words can help you understand young lives tainted, damaged and almost destroyed by bullying.

Begin by taking a nice relaxing breath and feel the peace and contentment of a happy life…Just breath.

Now I add two children and we see the eldest overcome some challenges, such as being shy, a characteristic of many first children.  Because of relocating, we support her through changing school after one year.  Our youngest child began life weighing 2lb 9oz and was the best Christmas present we brought home, that Christmas, three months after he was born and daily drives one hour each way.  Now laugh with us and imagine the relief of a diagnosis of full health for him at the age of one. No heart murmur. No lung deficiency. No eye sight problems as predicted. We feel proud and happy as we watch him run into school without a backward glance, loving all the new activity and company.

Journey with us as we take another relaxing breath and practice gratitude for two happy, healthy children aged five and seven. Following our heart, values and beliefs we raise them to be loving and kind; to watch out for the welfare of others and to go out of their way to be inclusive and help others feel they belong.  Ironic really how the tables turn on us.

Now picture the knot in my stomach as I notice things begin to change… see a tummy bug that needed a few days hospitalisation leave its mark on Emma.  Notice her upset going to school, lunch not eaten. Hear her tell stories of her lunch being taken on her.  Hear her recount tales of constant name calling, jibing and mocking. Feel her pain as they make fun of her prominent teeth and her love of galloping around the playground instead of running because of her infatuation with horses. Approach the teacher. Get reassurances of an eye on the matter.  Confront a young boy’s carer for his bullying of her on the school bus.  Get more reassurances.

Soon we notice the tears, bitter tears of being excluded by one or two girls. We watch as more of her circle follow their lead and she’s left feeling frustrated and lonely.  School anxiety starts to develop, tears and tummy aches rack her body and people mindlessly comment how thin she is.  We see her push her food around her plate…and then around some more. We are at a loss for what to do as family trips to cafes or restaurants become a nightmare.

Soon separation anxiety develops as I carry her into school and peel her off me, as I try to reassure her that today will be better; the children will be lovely and friendly.

Add in lots of GP visits, referrals to counsellors, psychotherapy and meetings with teachers. I feel my own health deteriorate as I battle to cope with fibromyalgia.  We watch homework suffering and educational milestones not being achieved. I listen as I’m advised by school staff to have an educational assessment done but in the same breath advised that I’ll have to pay and arrange it privately, again unsupported as the government only fund two per year and more disadvantaged children in her school need it. See some school supports come onboard, extra learning support and confidence building.  Pay for a second Educational Psychologist’s report, needed before she enters secondary school, to access extra support there. Watch her adjust well to secondary school, relatively happy during 1st year with no supports offered or thankfully needed.

Feel the kick in my gut as Emma’s happy 1st year turns into an upset 2nd year and a return to more of the same.  Bullying begins again with more tears, more anxiety, more loneliness and exclusion.

We try to find opportunities that build Emma’s confidence and self-esteem.  We send her to pottery classes and see her flourish and then watch as even in the privacy of her own home she is a victim, as we laugh and enjoy the company of relatives over Christmas, she is hounded online. We witness her stress as two girls send texts with nasty, abusive messages. We contact the Gardaì and find there’s not much we can do.  We change her phone sim.

First day back after Christmas we advise the school in case she should be targeted by these girls in person. We receive a phone call from the school.  We are told that the two girls are reprimanded. Later I listen in shock when I’m summoned to the school to collect our emotionally upset child having been physically attacked, dragged to the floor by her hair and kicked and punched by one of the girls on the school premises. See the nasty black and blue bruise leave its mark on her skin, knowing full well the ongoing abuse is leaving its nasty tentacles entwined even deeper within. Read horrible lies posted about her on a social media site to slander and ridicule her.  We later find out the girl had a crush on a boy Emma was friendly with.  We approach the parents. We are kind, we ask for respect, we say we won’t involve the law.

In the meantime we watch her so upset and frightened at home, refusing school for weeks.  Myself and Emma listen as we are told by school staff to “build a wall and put it all (the bullying & assault) behind you.” and we support her decision to change school.  We feel our own stress levels increase.  We grasp moments of self-care but stress and fibromyalgia don’t make for a good mix as I struggle to keep positive and find solutions.

We breath another huge, relaxing breath as she flourishes in her new school.  She tells us she feels accepted, she feels part of the group. She no longer feels isolated.  We see her take on new experiences and even a school adventure trip for five days away from home.

I gag and dry-retch, I choke and sufficate, imagining how she felt when they poured water down her throat while she slept; minding her own business, doing no harm to anyone!

I almost reach cracking point as I see her retreat into herself, go to school and get phone calls to bring her home sick.  One boy begins bullying her on the school bus.  It’s more than she can handle.  We forfeit the fee. I drive her to school and then drive to work.  We face more GP visits, psychological appointments, lots of time and energy draining travel as we again face point blank school refusal. This school has a Home School Liaison Officer and I feel relieved to get some help with mountains of paperwork to obtain home school hours and Emma achieves her Leaving Certificate despite all the torment and abuse.

Years later Emma, and then I, get messages from the bully who physically asaulted her, telling of her regret, her distress, her depression, anxiety and attempted suicide because of what she did. When I receive the message, I am taken off guard and feel a horrific and tangible need to rip that bully apart but instead I hear our amazing daughter Emma say how she has forgiven her…I breath deeply as I read the bully’s messages telling me she was bullied previously and was afraid of being bullied again.  She admitted to portraying a tough image by being a bully to prevent further bullying of herself.  That day I learned a lesson in compassion and I tell the girl it’s ok, don’t worry, access supports, do well in college, stay in touch.

I try not to think about the other bullies who verbally asaulted and excluded Emma but have never had the guts to apologise.  Again we offer it up, practice forgiveness and wish them peace and progression.  We have to in order to find peace and progression ourselves.

And later still we witness the distress, we see the anxiety, the new courses; some completed some not.  We got phone calls from Emma, living away from home while in further courses telling of her panic attacks.  We drive many times to comfort her.

We see her anxiety peak again and watch as her clothes become too big, knowing the anxiety grips her throat and messes with her appetite.  We see her busy herself baking and sculpting, trying to ward off the omni-present anxiety, creating things of beauty and we remind ourselves that unfinished courses, a career or thoughtless people who never ask how she is doing but instead ask “what’s she doing with herself” don’t matter one bit and we listen as those parents proceed to recount how their daughter, her peers, her bullies both active and passive, excel and achieved their third level qualifications.

We watch her as she reaches out for help and is told it’s five weeks to see a Counsellor – pathetic public Irish healthcare service.  A mix up because I’m busy coping with my own health and trying to work and her difficulty managing her timetable see her inadvertently miss that five week awaited appointment.  We all feel frustrated when a phone call can’t reschedule her appointment and we are told her file is closed and she is referred back to her GP.  She has to book another GP appointment and must request another letter of referral to a Counsellor from her GP.  We practice patience, encourage, hold her and reassure her…soon the help will come.

We see her eat less, fit size 6 clothes and yet her spirit fights on.  We both marvel as she learns Dutch with her phone app. We admire how she lobbies every politician for a service dog, unheard of in Ireland but which might just enable her complete a new course by helping her ward off panic attacks on the train.

We share that story here

We encourage her as she appeals to the welfare system for a companion pass so one of us could travel with her on the train. We try hard again to practice and encourage patience as she waits in hope that a human being will pass her application.  But even when it’s refused for a second time we remind ourselves that she doesn’t need a travel pass as she barely manages a half hour drive to numerous appointments each week without us having to pull in and stop the car to help her contain the panic she feels.  She has a driving licence but driving is not an option for her at present.

So what can we do?  We do the best we can do.  We trust it will all work out.  We believe in her.  We just love her and we admire her amazing resilience because we know any of those bullies would have crumbled under the strain years ago.

Oh and by the way, that’s just what was going on for our daughter. Our son was bullied too… but he hid it from us for a long time, instead he showed us his insomnia and isolation.  We believe he tried to save us the additional pain of more bullying.  I initially tried to share that story in Bullying & Beyond… Painting the pain, part three.

If you think this could help anyone who was or is a victim of bullying realise that they are not alone, please feel free to share. If you have been told by your school that your child was or is a bully, please consider the pain they have or are causing. I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Self-Care Share — MakeItUltra™

Hello everyone, As you go about your week make sure to take time for self-care for you and your loved ones. Self-care can take on different forms. Below is something I came across that is a great reminder. Try to do as many of these as you can or make your own list! Wishing you […]

via Self-Care Share — MakeItUltra™

What a great reminder to practice self-care!

Be kind to yourself, connect with others, be part of something, belong, be confident, reach out, be courageous try something new and encourage others by your actions!  There are plenty of ideas here! Go on, make self-care fun!!

Marie xx

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