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Let’s call it…

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This is Andy, new to our home since yesterday. Isn’t he so beautiful! He’s trying to find his feet and he’s so full of love…just like all of us!

 

It’s one of those days…

I’m normally quite risk adverse but it’s one of those days…

Where I’m just going to call it… on the subject of ‘likes‘ and ‘follows‘…

If you just ‘follow’ my blog, I’m not going to follow you back.  I’m not interested in numbers…

And let’s just call it again…

If you ‘like’ one post from my blog, and it’s a post I re-blogged, because I liked it enough to want to share it some more; and then you ‘follow’ me, I’m still not going to ‘follow’ you back because although I’m glad you liked my re-blog, you still don’t know anything about me and I’m not interested in building numbers, I’m interested in building connections with real people, so please…

Read at least one of my posts, you don’t even have to ‘like’ it, if you don’t think it warrants a ‘like’ but talk to me… so I can talk to you,

I’m Irish… I love people and good conversation. Tell me what you think of my post.  Maybe, even though I know you are busy, read two posts of mine and leave me some feedback. Tell me what struck you about my post, first anything positive and then a little, gentle constructive feedback; so I can try to improve how I build my words and how I build a community that really cares.

Thank you for reading.  What’s your opinion on ‘follows’ and ‘likes?’

Le grà,

Marie xx

 

Bullying & Beyond… 10.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 1.3k word count and only a synopsis.

I would really appreciate if you would consider sharing this…

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 instead, paint your own picture of 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 add two children to the picture and see the eldest overcome some challenges, such as being shy and changing school after one year. See the youngest child beginning life weighing 2lb 9oz and being the best Christmas present we brought home that Christmas, three months after he was born. Now laugh and imagine the relief of a diagnosis of full health at the age of one. No heart murmur. No lung deficiency. No eye sight problems. See him run into school without a backward glance, loving all the new activity and company.

Take another relaxing breath and practice gratitude for two happy, healthy children aged five and seven. Follow your heart, values and beliefs and raise them to be loving and kind; to watch out for the welfare of others and to go out of your way to be inclusive and help others feel they belong.

Now picture a knot in your stomach as you notice things begin to change… upset going to school, lunch not eaten. Hear her tell stories 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. Confront a young boy’s carer for his bullying of her on the school bus.

Notice the tears, bitter tears of being excluded by one or two girls. Soon more of her circle follow their lead and she’s left feeling frustrated and lonely. Watch as school anxiety develops, tears and tummy aches rack her body and people comment how thin she is. See her push her food around her plate…and then around some more. Observe family trips to cafes or restaurants become a nightmare.

Soon separation anxiety develops and you carry her into school and peel her off you as you 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. Watch homework suffering and educational milestones not being achieved. Listen as you are advised to have an educational assessment done but in the same breath advised that you’ll have to arrange it privately and pay about 400 euro as the government only fund two per year and more disadvantaged children need it. See some school supports come onboard, extra learning support, confidence building and be advised a follow-up 400 euro report is needed before she enters secondary school, needed they say to access extra support there. Watch her relatively happy during 1st year with no supports offered or thankfully needed.

Feel the kick in your gut as a happy 1st year turns into an upset 2nd year and more of the same, more tears, more anxiety, more loneliness and exclusion. 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. Witness her stress as two girls send texts with nasty, abusive messages. Contact the Gardaì and find there’s not much you can do, change her phone sim.

Advise the school in case she should be targeted by these girls in person. Hear that the two girls are reprimanded. Listen in shock when you’re summoned to the school to collect your emotionally upset child having been physically attacked, dragged to the floor by her hair and kicked and punched by one of the girls. 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 nasty lies posted about her on a social media site to slander and ridicule. Approach the parents. Be kind, ask for respect, say you won’t involve the law.

In the meantime watch her at home, refusing school for weeks and support her decision to change school.

Breath another reaxing breath as she flourishes, feeling accepted, part of the group. See her take on new experiences and even a school adventure trip for five days away from home.

Gag and dry-retch, 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! See her retreat into herself, go to school and get phone calls to bring her home sick, refuse school. More GP visits, psychological appointments and point blank school refusal. Mountains of paperwork to obtain home school hours and achieve her Leaving Certificate despite all the torment and abuse.

Years later 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. Feel a horrific and tangible need to rip her apart but instead hear our amazing daughter say how she has forgiven her…breath deeply and learn a lesson in compassion and tell the girl it’s ok, don’t worry, access supports, do well in college.

And later still witness the distress, the panic attacks, the anxiety, the new courses; some completed some not. See her clothes become two sizes too big as the anxiety grips her throat and messes with her appetite. See her busy herself baking and sculpting, creating things of beauty and remind yourself that you don’t care about an unfinished course or a career or thoughtless people who don’t ask how she is doing but instead ask “what’s she doing with herself” and proceed to recount how their daughter, her peers, achieved their third level qualifications.  See her reach out and be told it’s five weeks to see a new counsellor – pathetic Irish healthcare.  Marvel as she learns Dutch with her phone app. Admire how she lobbies every politician for a service dog, unheard of in Ireland but which might just enable her complete her course by helping her ward off panic attacks on the train. Encourage her as she appeals to the welfare system for a companion pass so somebody could travel with her on the train. Practice and encourage patience as she waits patiently for a human being to pass her application. But most of all we just love her and admire her amazing resilience because any of those bullies would have crumbled under the strain years ago and that’s the politest sentence I can pen about them.

Oh and by the way, that’s just what was going on for our daughter. We have a son who was bullied too… but he hid it for a long time, to save us the pain.  I’ll try to paint that picture in part two.

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

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond… 9. Acquiesce, and Dee’s Word of the Day!

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

 

I’m angry, and it’s not often I’m angry!  I’m also amazed…amazed at how a word can evoke such angry emotion.  This word ‘Acquiesce,’ gives me such an uneasy feeling because for too long, I remained silent in a system that was disjointed and had no cohesive plan in place. Slowly, I knocked on every door.   I struggled to be heard. I contacted every service.  Finally, I discovered the flimsy support that was available.  I wasn’t told this support existed.  I uncovered it, step by painful step.  It did not solve the issue but it went some way towards helping me realise that I was not alone, that we were not alone and that there was another way!  And now I refuse to ‘acquiesce.’  I won’t, under any circumstances, accept, agree or allow something to happen by staying silent or by not arguing.  I won’t acquiesce until I do my bit, no matter how small that may be.  I want to ensure victims, bullies, passive bullies (those who stand by gutless, watching and let the victims suffer), teachers, principals, parents, the community, society, and every nationality have a conversation.  I want them to see the damage school bullying causes. I want to paint a picture of the pain it inflicts – a picture that leave you in no doubt of the long term effects of school bullying.  Please help me break the silence and as we do this, together, please 1.Take Heart!

Dee’s Word of the Day

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/80183056/posts/2151594850

Have you or your children been bullied or silenced? Have you stood by and watched a victim suffer at the hands of a bully?  What would you do differently now?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

 

 

Bullying & Beyond…6.Avoid the hook!

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

This post has been updated with a therapist’s viewpoint…

Your son or daughter arrives home from school, you know by their mood and verbal and non-verbal behaviour that they are upset.  Maybe you notice they are avoiding you, they resist talking to you about their day or they might even tell you lies, pretending there is nothing wrong.

You might witness their mood deteriorating further and that might include them turning their frustration on you by shouting, blaming and generally behaving disrespectfully.

You are likely at this point to notice your temper rising and your patience being tested. This is the crucial moment…try to avoid the hook, try to resist being sucked into the argument.  Getting caught up in a two way shouting match serves no purpose!

Try to be mindful that this behaviour is your son or daughter’s way of coping with the upset they are feeling as a result of being bullied.

They are trying to cope by literally tossing some of their upset off themselves and onto you.  The very best thing that you can do is avoid becoming emotional.

Instead, calmly and patiently see if you can get to the root of the problem.  What is the underlying issue?  If the emotional outburst continues, again, calmly but firmly inform your child that you refuse to deal with them and set a time to talk later, when they have calmed down.  Then walk away, leave the environment.

Importantly, now is a good time to think of self-care (you might like to read my previous post Here)

Once you have practiced some self-care you will be feeling much calmer and in a better place to help your child.

It is vitally important that at the appointed time or when your child has calmed down that you follow up with them and try to ascertain the difficulty they are having.  If you do, you are showing them that their issue is of concern to you. You are also building trust.

UPDATE…

I would like to thank Jennifer @ Tea With Jennifer for this insight which she kindly gave me permission to share with you.

“From a therapist’s viewpoint the behavior of the child is a form of communication, communicating that they are in crisis & can’t verbalize it correctly.

So they start acting out subconsciously, thus bringing attention to the crisis within them. Fear often manifests itself as anger in many especially males.

Blessings,

Jennifer”

https://teawithjennifer.blog

Have you ever experienced a situation similar to the above?  What happened during it? How did you handle it? Please share, I’d love to hear your experience.

Much love,

Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond…2.Really Listen!

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

In my first post about bullying I wrote about the importance of not losing heart, Bullying & Beyond…1.Take Heart!

In this post I’d like to focus on the importance of listening…

2. REALLY LISTEN!

Children come home from school and everyday we ask them the same questions… How was your day?  What did you do? Tell me something you learned.  Did you have fun? Often it’s the case that we get the same answers.  We fall into a habit… habitual behaviour, repeating what we always do and as a result we often miss out on subtle signs of bullying.

I can’t stress enough, how important it is to REALLY LISTEN!

When your children arrive home or you collect them from school, put down your phone. Pause from your cleaning or cooking.  Turn off the TV and listen to what your children are saying.  Also try to hear what they might not be saying.  They may not have the words to say it or they might be too frightened to talk about what is happening but their body language or a change in their behaviour might reveal a whole lot more.

Some examples could include; Your child might become argumentative, almost trying to pick a fight with you.  They might become withdrawn and sullen or go silent.  They might damage some of their belongings or some household items.  They might restrict their food. These changes are all out of character.

Test yourself…can you fully recall their last conversation with you?  If not, ask yourself why not?  Did you pay full attention or were you thinking of other things you needed to do? Nothing is as important as being fully present with your child and really listening.  Practice being fully present and challenge yourself to recall your last communication with your child.

I hope you find this helpful and would love to hear from you.

Have you or your children experienced bullying?  How did it impact you or your child? Did it cause a change in behaviour? Did really listening improve your situation?

Much love,

Marie xx

 

 

Friday Flashback…Thank you and “Welcome” old friends and new!

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I read and follow quite a few blogs and I find it hard to believe that just two years on from my first post I have penned or typed over 200 posts!

When I started I had just a few visitors and it was such a buzz to have someone add a like or better still a comment!

Now I have a few more visitors and coming to know you has been so interesting. I’ve really enjoyed your company over the past few weeks while I’ve been on sick leave from work. Thankfully I’ve been feeling a little better the past few days and I am hoping to return to work next week.  Your visits while I’ve been at home have helped lift my spirit and your comments have been so encouraging!  To thank you I thought you might like to engage in a little bit of time travel this Friday and maybe if you find it enjoyable you’ll travel back in time with me again next friday.  I thought a link back to a little piece of me before we came to know each other might help us get to know each other a little better!

This week it’s  Welcome to ‘Create Space’

So you might well ask, has my perspective and life changed… Well that’s a big YES!  I’ve come a long way from when I first started blogging. I’ve learned to live in the moment more, I’m enjoying the journey, fitting in some new experiences and I’m definitely less concerned about the destination.  Your comments have widened my perspective and helped me be true to myself.  I’ve finally allowed myself lowered my mask and I’ve learned to let myself just ‘be’.  Thank you all for your wise insights which helped me do just that!

Now what about you? Has the last two years changed your life? Do you value the journey over the destination? Have you stopped to consider if you are further than you think? Please feel free to leave me a comment below and share any thoughts you have. I promise to reply as quickly as I can.

Much love,

Marie xx

Calling ‘TIME’… the benefits of saying ‘NO!’

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Calling ‘TIME’…the benefits of saying ‘NO!’

 

The moment came… I knew I finally had to call ‘TIME,’ I finally had to say… ‘NO.

I’m pretty sure my life is not too dissimilar to many of yours. I have family and friends, I have a career, a home and dogs. I have an illness. I have meals to cook and bills to pay but for a while I’ve been really struggling. The daily grind had become harder. Pain and fatigue had been eating away at the passion within me. My motivation had dwindled. For someone who is a ‘glass half full’ person, I found this difficult to cope with!

So after a lot of deliberating, I had to face my employer and I had to do something very difficult. I had to admit that I could not… just simply could not, return to work. I know it must have looked strange after two months of Summer holidays with plenty of time to recharge but my health finally shouted loud, and long enough and against my will I was forced to listen…My body told me I could not give what I had not got. I needed to call ‘TIME.’

Now almost five weeks on and I’m beginning to feel a little better. Better still I’m finally beginning to learn from the whole experience.

I thought you might be interested in some of the insights I’ve gained…

I’ve had to learn to listen to my body. You can only ill treat it and ignore it’s cries for so long.

I’ve had to learn to respect my body by giving it the time out and rest that it needs.

I’ve had to learn to speak up for myself, admitting that I could not commit to what was expected of me, was very difficult.

I’ve had to learn to let go of the pretence. For almost 20 years I’ve pretended to be something I’m not. I’ve pretended to be well but in fact I’ve got an illness that impacts and restricts every part of my daily life. It took courage to overcome my fear of being seen as a failure.

I’ve had to fight for my rights to illness benefit even after presenting certificates from my GP but I contained my emotions and focused on the issue; my financial stability.

I’ve had to withstand the pressure of enquiries about when I expected to be fit enough to return to work. I chose not to see this as bullying but instead as an administrative timetabling issues.

I’ve had to find the strength to say no initially but harder still I’ve had to find the strength to accept myself for saying no and for slowing down. Finding peace for myself within that decision was probably the most difficult hurdle I had to overcome. Thank you Dr.Andrea at Thriving Under Pressure for your timely post and comment. The Paradox of Strength

I’ve had to silence the self-doubt that comes with an invisible illness because for example, you might have seen me out for a twenty minute walk and heck, I look well. I’ve had to remind myself that you won’t see my post exercise malaise or feel the pain the next two hours or entire evening will bring.

I’ve had to do battle between exhaustion and isolation and try to make peace with these two evils.  Read about that battle here.

I’ve had to learn to let go, trusting that the things I don’t reach on are not necessarily vital things and that the people I don’t reach on will understand and not cut our connections.

I’ve had to learn that life goes on without me, my role can easily be covered by another healthier body and I’ve had to work hard to accept the lack of enquiries as to my wellbeing from my employer and not engage in predictive thinking where your inner voice wants you to believe it’s because you are easily replaced.

I’ve had to ask myself “who am I” without my job, without my students and colleagues and I’ve acknowledged that I need people in my life but I’ve also acknowledged that you can be alone in a crowd. Thank you Dutch for your insightful comments and shared quotes.  Dutch @ onthepathleasttraveled

I’ve had to learn that I don’t need to travel this road alone. I’ve done that for 20 years too long. Now I need support with this illness and I’ve already learned a lot about CFS/fibro in the last week or two and I’m hoping to come to understand it and myself a little bit more. Thanks Jennifer @ Tea with Jennifer for a lightbulb moment…Knowing your bodies capacity

Saying ‘No’ meant I stepped into the unknown. It was a sign that I was finally unable to contain my vulnerability, and that was scary territory for me. I used to be able to manage my CFS/fibro and hide my vulnerability. By calling ‘TIME” and finally saying STOP – FULL STOP, I have learned a lot and now I am stronger than I was. I have regained some motivation and the passion is returning. Also, the cat is out of the bag… I no longer have a hidden illness. I am Marie with CFS/fibro and if my life has to change as a result then I say, bring it on!

Thanks for taking time to visit and please feel free to share your thoughts. I will reply to your comments as quickly as I can.

Have you had similar struggles? Have you hidden behind a mask? Have you like me, been afraid of being a failure?

How do you bring passion back into your life?

Much love,

Marie xx

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