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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

Create…Dee’s Word of the Day.

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Emma likes to ‘create’ Lemon merangue tartlets…oh yum!! I ‘create’ with words.

“Create” what a boundless word!

“Create” it said and I just had to

“Create” a Space…my space, to

“Create” my blog title to my blog to

“Create” room in my life to

“Create” and be

Creative!

 

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/80183056/posts/2152927706

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

Bullying & Beyond…7.Big Boys…

 

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

Whenever our daughter was bullied she would invariably come home upset and tell us or sometimes her upset would become obvious to us after a while, when we took the time to Really Listen!

It was always upsetting to see her so distressed, usually she felt very lonely having been excluded or she was confused and frustrated as to why she was constantly called names and verbally abused. But either way we could comfort her and reassure her that the bullying was not about her but that the problem was that of the bullies.

However, it was not so easy to offer support when our son experienced bullying simply because you can’t help a child who is being bullied, if you don’t know about it. For a long time our son kept the bullying to himself and kept the upset deep inside. I think our son did not want to add to our worries by sharing the difficulty he was having.  I also think another contributing factor to his silence, was social norms. These powerful messages or ways of behaving which are normalised within a society or culture are very powerful and from a young age, boys are conditioned to be tough, be manly and above all, they are bombarded with the message that whatever you do… don’t cry!

If you’d like an excellent insight into bullying I highly recommend you visit Weeping Pines and read Parikhit’s post which shares his experience of bullying… Boys dont Cry

Have you or your child been bullied?  If so did cultural and social norms play a part in maintaining your distress?

Let’s get a conversation going about bullying! Let’s break down the silence around bullying and change some out-dated social and culturally accepted norms.

Le grà (with love),

Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond…5.Loneliness

 

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

 

In my previous post I wrote about the importance of self-care when you or your children are struggling to cope with bullying.

If you’d like you can read it here.

It is very important to continue to practice self-care after the event.  As a way of practicing self-care I am looking forward to a family Christmas, spending time with my two children and family members and as a result this will be my last “Bullying & Beyond” post of the year.

Many of you will agree that Christmas can be a wonderful time of year.  Sadly for lots of people it can also be synonymous with loneliness. If you can, reach out in a way you haven’t before, to brighten someone’s day.

Similarly being bullied can cause strong feelings of loneliness and it comes from the isolation of bullying.  Bullying thrives on isolation and fear. Lack of access to information, lack of support and worse still lack of knowing which way to turn or who to ask all serve to enhance the isolation and loneliness you feel!

The loneliness was something I found hardest to cope with as I struggled to find answers and effective support.

But there is help out there.  Don’t allow yourself to be rendered voiceless.

So this Christmas I don’t want you to feel alone, isolated or lonely.  I want YOU to know that I am here for YOU and YOU are not alone…reach out, share your concerns and talk about the bullying you or your child are experiencing.

What has been your experience of the loneliness of bullying?  How would you describe the loneliness of bullying?  How did you overcome it?

Much love,

Marie xx

 

 

Bullying & Beyond…1.Take Heart!

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

 

I’m not a professionally qualified counsellor or expert on bullying but I am a mother who has gained knowledge and experienced of bullying through the lives of our two children.

I have as part of my Degree in Adult Education studied the Psychology of Adult Education and Counselling in Adult Education and found both of these extremely helpful in understanding and coping with the situation we found ourselves in.

Our journey through bullying and its after effects spanned two decades (2002 to 2018) and as a result I’d like to offer my support to other parents who struggle with the impact of bullying on their children.

In these posts I’ll try to share some insights we’ve gained. My first…

1.  TAKE HEART.

If your child is suffering the effects of bullying and if it is having a negative impact on every member of your family, try to remain calm and show a capable front.  I know how upset you feel.  I know that the last thing you can comprehend is that it will all work out just fine.  But trust me… with determination to support your child, and by practicing self-care, you will reach a place of peace and progression!

I know because we were there and now we’ve reached that place of peace and progression and learned a lot as a result.  My son summed up his journey through bullying in a nice quote;  you can read about it here…Bullying…”I am grateful for it all”…

I hope you find this helpful. And I hope to write more on the subject of bullying.

Have you or your children experienced bullying?  Is bullying still an issue for you or have you reached a place of peace and progression? Please feel free to share your experiences, it could help inform other parents, provide comfort or encourage somebody else through the distress of bullying.

Much love,

Marie xx

Flashback Friday…”Acceptance”, Love & Time.

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Thank you for joining me for some reflection time!  I hope we come to know each other a little better.

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.

With no avenues left to follow, we were forced to accept that the situation was outside of our control.  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 stop now and look back, it’s amazing how acceptance, love and time changed things!

Hardly eighteen months 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 put behind him.  He decided how he wanted his future to look.  Having reaching his first mid-term of his first year of college we see… that acceptance, love and time... was the key.

It is the only key!

What challenges have really stretched your resilience?  What was the key to overcoming your challenge?

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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