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Bullying & Beyond…this is the reality

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

 

Trigger alert…this post is upsetting.

Lives are destroyed by bullying.

Children’s mental, emotional and psychological health damaged not only in the short-term but often into the long-term.

Lives are lost, too often, to bullying.  Children unable to cope with the torture inflicted on them by bullies sadly see no way out, other than to take their lives.

I might be writing this from Ireland and this story may refer to Yarraka Bayles, a boy on the other side of the world but the location is irrelevant… bullying is bullying and this is the reality for another child and another family. It is a horrific, upsetting reality.

This bullying is focused on dwarfism.  But if it wasn’t about dwarfism it would be about anything else the bully decided they didn’t like about their victim such as their weight or even their accent.  Take a few moments to educate yourself and then take a few moments to educate your children… because this is a reality that is totally avoidable and it is a reality no child or parents deserve!
Le grà,
Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond…Acceptance & Resistance

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

 

The turning point came, the day I learned to accept our son John’s inability to attend school or to live a functioning life.  His life had become dysfunctional because of school bullying.  I shared some of the backstory in Bullying & Beyond… Painting the pain, part three.

Learning to accept his dysfunction as a result of bullying, was a slow process but it was the catalyst for change which allowed him to break free of his dysfunction and move forward with his life.  I shared that in Bullying & Beyond… “Acceptance”, Love & Time.

Our daughter Emma also suffered at the hands of bullies and sadly we are, to this day, still dealing with the aftermath.

It has been a struggle to stay strong and be resilient.  It was often one step forward and two steps back.

But yesterday I remembered the power of acceptance and I let go resistance.  I see yesterday as two steps forward and one step back and that is progress, it is a sign of change to come…

Let me try to explain…

We attempted to drive to Newbridge to visit Newbridge Silverware’s Doris Day exhibition.  You might like to learn about this wonderful event here… https://visitnewbridgesilverware.com/doris-day

We got half way there when Emma could no longer contain her anxiety.

Yesterday was our second attempt, the first attempt we achieved about a third of the journey so yesterday there was progress.

But the biggest progress for me was remembering my ‘acceptance‘ of John’s dysfunction, thanks to the reminder of my Psychologist to let go ‘resistance,’

I was able to make peace with this event and love Emma for herself.  She did her best. We did our best. We sat in our car, in a service station, having a coffee while Emma took a short walk and some air.  We made peace with the situation.  We were truly grateful and expressed our gratitude for that time, that moment, having coffee, having family time, living life to the best we can.

We turned for home with no regrets or upset or shattered expectations but with happy hearts and later last night, Emma announced that she wants to try again next Saturday!

This exhibition means a lot to Emma.  She adores Doris Day and that entire era.  She is training her dog, named ‘Doris’ after Doris Day, to be the first recognised Psychiatric Assistance Dog in Ireland.  She is pushing politicians to recognise this existing EU law, in Ireland.  It is a slow process. I would love you to give her some support as she shares her IG account at dorismakesmyday.

I shared some of Emma & Doris’ backstory in Petition please support…Bullying & Beyond… Painting the Pain, Part II

If you are relatively new here, thank you for reading.  Thank you to my regular readers for your comforting presence as we journey and learn life lessons together.  Your company makes all the difference.

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond…Defining Cyber-bullying

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

 

In Ireland, the Department of Education & Science, (DES) gives clarification on what constitutes bullying using social media:

Placing a once-off offensive or hurtful public message, image or statement on a social network site or other public forum where that message, image or statement can be viewed and/or repeated by other people will be regarded as bullying behaviour’ (DES 2013: 9).

In contrast, one-off incidents of negative behaviour, such as isolated hurtful text messages and private mails, which cannot be viewed or repeated by other people, are not considered to be included under the  definition of bullying.

The fact that the internet provides anonymity can have particular consequences
for cyber bullying. Being able to act and communicate anonymously online removes
some of the deterrents that would help prevent children from getting involved.  The fear of negative consequences is lessened for the perpetrators and it increases the psychological distance between them and their actions.  The perpetrators can therefore refuse to take responsibility for their actions.  In most cases, cyber-bullies know their targets, but their targets don’t always know the identity of their cyber-bullies. This can lead to children and young people being suspicious of, and alienated from, all their peers.

The fact that the distinction between bystanders and active participants can be
less distinct in the context of online bullying also makes cyber bullying more difficult to
deal with than traditional offline bullying.

The bystander effect refers to incidents where an individual in need of help is not assisted by an onlooker because the onlooker assumes that someone else will intervene.

Responsibility for bullying often goes beyond the person who creates and posts harmful content online. Sharing, or commenting on content on social networking websites or joining, subscribing or following online sources of content
intended to humiliate or harm individuals can also be considered bullying behaviour.

I hope you found this post helpful and that you feel confident in defining what cyber-bullying is and what cyber-bullying is not.

 

Source #UP2US Anti-Bullying, Teachers’ Handbook, Junior Cycle, SPHE

Get Resources

I recommend you check out the “Let’s Fight it Together” video.

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

 

Bullying & Beyond…Defining Bullying

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

 

Have you ever considered what bullying is, and what bullying is not?

In Ireland, the Department of Education’s definition of bullying is “Unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.”

Therefore there are 3 important flags to watch out for in defining behaviour as bullying behaviour, namely…

1.  There must be INTENT (DELIBERATE)

2.  There must be an IMBALANCE OF POWER

3.  It must be REPEATED OVER TIME

However there is an exception in that it is deemed a cyber-bullying offence, if a child is bullied just once, via an open social media platform; where hurtful information or images can be reshared.

I hope you found this post helpful and that you feel confident in defining what bullying is and what bullying is not.

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

Making moments memorable…

This morning while cooking breakfast, I noticed the bubbles forming and bursting on the surface of my porridge; intent upon their job.  I held onto those air trapped moments, soaking them in! It’s difficult to explain the sensation of absolute awareness that I felt, other than it being a feeling of enhanced appreciation and total bliss.  Life was beautiful; just bubbles and me!

How often do you engage fully in the moment?  Can you describe the sensation?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

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Bullying & Beyond…Calling Irish Post Primary teachers…

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

 

Anti-bullying training for teachers that is evidence based and backed by up to the minute research is vital if students are to have access to the best possible education in an educational environment that is bully free.

The NABC, National Anti-bullying Centre in Ireland is providing an anti-bullying programme for teachers working in Irish Post primary schools…read more here and please share…

Calling All Teachers to Register for Anti-Bullying Schools Programme

“The FUSE programme is part of the Department of Education and Skills Wellbeing Framework and supported by the NABC, ISPCC and Dublin City University, and funded by Facebook. To run FUSE in your school and learn more about the programme please visit the FUSE website: https://antibullyingcentre.ie/fuse/ or please contact us on Tel: 01 884 2012.”

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

Bullying & Beyond…Shame

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

 

When your child is being bullied at school, it is important to reach out and find professional support.  There is a lot of qualified support out there but it is very important to find a counsellor that you and/or your child can relate to.  The trust you build with your counsellor is vital to the healing process.

Shame is an important aspect of bullying and an aspect I’d like to raise awareness of.  Teachers carry a heavy task, large class sizes and a wide variety of needs to be met but I think it’s important, for parents and teachers, to be very aware that children remember shaming remarks and wear them like a label, long after the event. The emotional growth of children is stunted if they are shamed in front of their siblings or peers.

I’d like to share a post from the blog of Jim O’Shea, Counsellor. http://www.jimoshea.net/shaming-children-leaves-a-lasting-impact-and-gives-them-core-shame-which-they-bring-into-adult-life/

This experienced and knowledgeable gentleman played an important part in providing insights that helped us heal our family.  Of course when you gain insights from counselling, you can choose to learn from them and use them to heal your family or if you so wish, not learn from them or use them.  At the end of the day, the path you choose is up to you…

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Shaming children leaves a lasting impact and gives them core shame which they bring into adult life

Shaming remarks made to children under twelve have a more drastic and permanent impact that can become core because, like parents, teachers spend a lot of time with them, and the frequency of these remarks is a key element in laying the crop of shame. A combination of parental and teaching shaming is particularly damaging and reinforces the sense of not being good enough in the child. We can choose not to shame any child. Education is not just about intellectual or cognitive development, it must include emotional nourishment as well, which is facilitated by praise and allowing children the space to interact with each other. So, I will leave this part of the blog with a simple poem by an unknown poet on the practical difference between shame and praise –

“I’ve got 2 A’s” the small boy cried,
His voice was filled with glee
His father very bluntly asked
“Why did you not get three?”

“I’ve mowed the grass” the tall boy said
“And put the mower away”.
His father asked him with a shrug,
“Did you clean off the clay?

“Mom, I’ve got the dishes done,”
The girl called from the door.
Her mother very calmly said
“And did you sweep the floor?”

The children in the house next door
Seemed happy and content.
The same things happened over there,
But this is how it went:

“I’ve got 2 A’s the small boy cried,
His voice was filled with glee.
His father very proudly said
“That’s great! I’m glad you live with me.”

“I’ve mowed the grass,” the tall boy said
“And put the mower away,”
His father answered with much joy,
“You’ve made my happy day”

“Mom, I’ve got the dishes done”
The girl called from the door.
Her mother smiled and softly said,
“Each day I love you more.”

Children need encouragement
For tasks they’re asked to do
If they’re to lead a happy life,
So much depends on you.

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Bullying & Beyond…Denial

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

 

When we deny who we are and how we really feel, either physically and/or mentally we silence our authentic self.  We reject ourselves. For years I didn’t admit that I have fibro/fatigue, except to a few family members and close friends. When we reject ourselves we are bullying ourselves. We think we are not good enough, we focus on our flaws and feel a sense of shame.

Similarly, when we are bullied we are also silenced. We are judged by someone and denied the opportunity to be our real selves. We think we are not good enough and we withdraw from society or family. When we withdraw emotionally we block off our true emotions, denying ourselves the right to acknowledge and feel our emotions.

When our daughter experienced bullying, it caused her to step into survivor mode. She put up a front whilst crying inside.  She couldn’t let the bullies see her crying. She knew if she broke down crying, it would fuel even more bullying.

After finishing secondary school she moved past bullying, building back her resilience. She participated in further education and in society. She set and achieved many new goals. She met new and inclusive peers, friends and educators. All these mature, self-aware people bolstered her confidence.

However, even if it’s been years since you were bullied, a simple, present day event may unexpectedly trigger the same feelings. This was the case for our daughter.  It only took one educator to criticise Emma and her work, in front of her peers, to bring our daughter right back to survival mode.

This time it was different. Emma found the courage to address the issue to her school counsellor. She sought advice. She spoke up to that educator. She stood up for herself. She didn’t need to call upon her parents. She was self-sufficient.

But despite speaking up for herself, the trauma of being disrespected and denied the right to be herself, triggered her survival mode. All the things she could do with ease soon became overwhelming. That was almost nine months ago.

Anxiety
Low mood
Mood swings
Isolation
Fear
Agoraphobia
Panic attacks
Loneliness

All symptoms of bullying.

Then Emma’s new puppy, Doris arrived.

 


More mental health support came on-board.  But there are still ups and downs.

She felt lonely a few nights ago but she didn’t deny her feelings. She didn’t hide it. She cried for the loneliness and for the years of denying her true self.  You can learn more about isolation here Bullying & Beyond…A victim’s abject loneliness.

She cried while we were away, only showing us a glimpse when we returned. But a glimpse is enough to show us that she has turned a corner because now she is beginning to listen to and acknowledge how she feels.  She is learning to externalise how she feels instead of internalising the pain. That is a big step and an important lesson!

We can also learn a lesson from her new, trainee Psychiatric Assistance Dog, Doris.

Doris saw Emma’s upset. Doris didn’t deny her. The opposite in fact, Dorris, a little puppy, stretched herself across our daughter’s lap and kissed and licked her. Dorris accepted Emma exactly as she was.

Have you been denied the right to be yourself?  Do you deny yourself? What supports can you access to build your resilience and be your true self?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond… Yes, you were bullied too!

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

 

Did you know that every time your child is bullied, it leaves a mark, physical, emotional or psychological

And did you know that every time your child is bullied… so are you!

Every time you seek support and fail to get the support you need for your child, you and your family are being bullied again through neglect and broken, dysfunctional systems.

Don’t stand by and let that happen.  Trust your gut instinct.  If it doesn’t feel right, then it isn’t right!

Don’t stop looking for and expecting solutions until you receive some.  If you failed to find answers in the past, don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty, instead, keep in mind this quote “I did then what I knew how to do.  Now that I know better, I do better” Maya Angelou.

Now, refocus you efforts and more determined than ever, continue your search for answers.

Have you ever felt bullied because your child was bullied?  How did it make you feel? Did you listen to your intuitive gut feeling and renew your efforts to find answers?

You may like to start your search to find some of those answers here on Create Space in my Bullying & Beyond series, here are two suggestions,

Bullying & Beyond…3.Improve your Listening Skills!

And when the challenge becomes overwhelming, remember

Bullying & Beyond…4.Self-care x 10!

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

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