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Bullying & Beyond…”I was only messing…”

 

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

 

When our son was being bullied and he told the bullies to ‘stop’ they wouldn’t stop.  When we sought help in school we were told “Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself.”  When he stood up for himself and physically fought back, it stopped some of the bullies.  Sometimes when one bully started a bout of verbal bullying others would join in and John would be out-numbered and unable to put an end to the unwanted taunting and teasing.

That sadly was the unpredictable and repeated reality for our son.

Some days school was what it was meant to be, a happy educational and social environment.  He came home to us full of chat, in great form and ready to engage with after school sports or other hobbies.

But other days the school torment returned…

Slowly we noticed him retreat into himself and take refuge in his room.  He started to delay getting ready for school and for his hobbies.  We couldn’t understand what was happening to him.  He couldn’t sleep and soon developed insomnia.  We took him to his GP.  Many rows centered around him always being late. He began to drop away from his hobbies and miss more time from school.  We felt all our efforts to communicate in a positive and respectful manner were met instead with fits of temper.  Now we know that he was unable to voice the painful abuse he was enduring, his behaviour was his only way of showing us his distress.

Bullies are cunning.  Part of their power lies in the unpredictability of their attack and in their ability to silence and keep their victim in fear.

His tormentors knew that over time, with sustained and unpredictable abuse they could break him.

“I was only messing”,

“I was only having a laugh”,

These are just two excuses that children offer when they are caught bullying another child and challenged for their behaviour.

As parents or teachers it is important to discuss with all children what bullying is and what bullying isn’t.  It is important to encourage children to talk about bullying, whether it is bullying they are experiencing, bullying they have witnessed or bullying they are perpetrating.

When boys are engaged in horseplay; which is a common way for adolescent boys to behave, the physicality is okay once all involved are willing participants.  But if one child is being targeted by another child or by a group of children and being verbally or physically mistreated then this behaviour is unwarranted and needs to be addressed.  Children buy into group behaviour and follow the lead of other more assertive children, often for fear of being a target themselves, if they don’t follow the bully’s lead.

As parents and teachers we can’t assume that all children understand when ‘messing,’ or ‘having a laugh,’ over-steps its boundary and is no longer just a bit of giddy fun.

Whether at home or in school, children need to be educated about bullying and made aware that when a child objects to any unwanted, continuous and upsetting behaviour, if it does not stop, then it is deliberate and willful bullying!  If bullying is left uncontested it can and will undermine the victim’s physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing.  If you would like to read about some of the consequences of bullying, we have shared our experiences in Bullying & Beyond… Painting the Pain, part one.

Have you ever discussed bullying with your child?  Have you ever watched your child retreat into themselves as a result of bullying?  Is “I was only messing” ever a good enough excuse?

Le gra,

Mindfully Marie xx

Doris & Emma’s Journey…

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Doris will be an “extraspectacular” Psychiatric Assistance Dog

 

This is Doris!

and she’s in the kitchen

Together with Emma

They are cooking up a symphony

That will paint Ireland pinky red

Or better still Magenta

As they succeed in bringing

Psychiatric Assistance Dogs to Ireland!

Together they have lobbied politicians and the

Minister for Disability Issues

Finian McGrath

To compile a proposal to Government

Granting public access rights

To Psychiatric Assistance Dogs

So that people, like Emma, who live

With mental health conditions

Can bring a trained Psychiatric Assistant Dog

With them to public places

Just as users of Guide Dogs for the blind

Or Autism Support Dogs have benefitted

From their canine companions

And Doris will be an “extraspectacular” Psychiatric Assistance Dog

Being the first of her kind in Ireland!

https://lightmotifs.wordpress.com/2019/08/12/three-things-challenge-pl149/

And…

Did you know that…

Magenta Ain’t A Colour

By Liz Elliott

Magenta is an “extraspectral” color.

Sir Isaac Newton noticed that magenta did not exist in the spectrum of colors from white light when he played with prisms.

But when he superimposed the red end of the spectrum on to the blue end, he saw the color magenta (this can be done with two prisms to make two spectral spreads, “rainbows”):

Magenta is the only color that does not exist as a single wavelength of light

For more interesting facts and optical illusions  check out…

http://www.biotele.com/magenta.html

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Three Things Challenge: Sunflower, spatula, raise

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Growing sunflowers from seed or running the spatuala around the inside of her great-grandmother’s baking bowl as she removes the remnants of banana bread or coffee cake, just two surefire ways, to raise her spirit from the clutches of anxiety! You too can find the sun within your clouds!

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/74951/posts/2287778360

Bullying & Beyond…A victim’s abject loneliness.

Abject … sunk to or existing in a low state or condition : very bad or severe…

Loneliness… being without company, sad from being alone…

If you feel lonely, you are ironically not alone in that feeling, you are one of many, part of a silent epidemic, not unique to Ireland…

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.independent.ie/irish-news/health/loneliness-a-silent-epidemic-and-the-last-taboo-in-ireland-37018602.html

And if you want to identify the different types of loneliness and why it matters, you might like to read…

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-happiness-project/201702/7-types-loneliness-and-why-it-matters%3famp

But when mental health is being impacted by bullying, loneliness is one of the many feelings you experience.  

It wasn’t unusual for our daughter to come home from school sad and lonely.  The cause, we’d eventually learn was the result of exclusion by bullies.

Some of this exclusion came inadvertly from her quiet nature, making it difficult for her to feel free and easy in a crowd unlike her younger brother.

It’s also possible that she was labeled ‘a snob,” her quietness being mistakenly judged and found lacking; labeled unfriendly, aloof or too big for her boots.

I am compelled to warn parents to be vigilant, as the exclusion our daughter felt was very real.  

Exclusion is just one piece of arsenal employed by bullies.  It is actually a very nasty and common tool used by bullies.  It is both physical and psychological in it’s make-up.  It takes only one bully to disrespect and isolate your child and soon the bully will manage to sway the other, easily led children to do the same.  Often the other children are uneducated on the topic of bullying and being uninformed, they are unaware of the powerful and damaging impact of their actions.

Soon your child is isolated…

Alone…

Lonely…

Confused…

Voiceless…

And they begin to wear the labels, “unfriendly, “shy,” “snobby,” “not good enough” until that feeling of loneliness permiates their entire being.

Slowly their inner monologue changes from warm and fun-loving to I’m alone, unwanted, unloved.  

Before you know it, it deepens to “there’s something wrong with me, and the bullie’s labels turn your child’s belief that they are “shy” into social anxiety.

Be mindful that any ongoing stress, even when professional support is sought out, can still trigger anxiety years later.  

Panic attacks can develop, leading to further self-exclusion or worse still panic disorder.  This feeling of being overwhelmed by any social interaction can lead to agoraphobia (ag-uh-ruh-FOE-be-uh), a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and makes you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.  You can learn more here…

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/agoraphobia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355987

So don’t stand for bullying, address it immediately, be aware of the power of exclusion and don’t allow bullies to bully you into silence and loneliness through your child.

Have you or your child experienced exclusion? How did it affect your/your child’s inner monologue?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

… to lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fallen — John Milton (in Sampson Agoniste)

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

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