Courage Is Fire & Bullying Is Smoke

Dear Tormentor

I am writing to you because I want you to know how wretched and hopeless you make me feel.  No doubt I will never have the courage to say this to you but simply by writing this, I have taken my first step along the self-respect road.

I doubt that you will dread returning to work tomorrow as I do; after all there is no tyrant waiting to criticize and harangue you.  It is unlikely that you will have had another sleepless night ahead of what you know will be another  distressing day filled with humiliation and anxiety.

I can’t help but wonder if you were taught the importance of common courtesy and civility as a child or perhaps they were lessons that passed you by.  Were kindness, patience and integrity sacrificed in exchange for your ruthless ambition?

Deep down I know that you are an intensely unhappy human being and for some unknown reason, you have this need to belittle me; simply because you can.  Clearly you believe that good supervision necessitates public degradation and I wonder if you congratulate yourself on your particular style of management.  You have so much to celebrate in your life and yet you are a bitter and arrogant individual with little or no thought for others.  Your dissatisfaction with your life and achievements is apparent and yet like most bullies you seek to apportion blame for failing to realise your dreams on those you deem insignificant.

At the end of the day, I realise that I’m just another unimportant irritant in your very busy world, but you need to know that when I return home tonight, I know that to at least one person I am the world.  Now tell me when you look in the mirror what do you see?

Most comedy is based on getting a laugh at somebody else’s expense. And I find that that’s just a form of bullying in a major way. So I want to be an example that you can be funny and be kind, and make people laugh without hurting somebody else’s feelings.

Ellen DeGeneres

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72 thoughts on “Courage Is Fire & Bullying Is Smoke

  1. Bullying is not accepted in any form … and it does up to us to stop it – when we see it happens, we should step in. Bullying comes in so many forms – even between parents and child.

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  2. Crazy – feels kind of wrong for me to ‘like’ this post. What I do like is Ellen’s intention to be an example that you can be funny and be kind, and make people laugh without hurting somebody else’s feelings.

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  3. I loved this post. I too am a big fan of Ellen – she’s a truly inspiring person in a celebrity world that often sucks the humanity out of it’s inhabitants.

    We’ve just had a tough week here at Ashraf Towers. I met with the headmaster after my seven-year-old got punched and threatened at school by a boy two grades above her, and I had to endure a bitchy thread started on FB about a comment I made on a mummy bloggers post. My brave and beautiful daughter is fine, if a little shaken. She was targeted for standing up for a friend. I’m following her lead and standing up for my principles.
    Liz Jones was right about one thing, mummy bloggers are a cliquey, uptight bunch! I hope I can count on your vocal support when I post about it later. xxx

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    • You most certainly can count on me – how disgraceful! One wonders how this boy will develop later in life and what lessons he has learnt at home that indicates it is okay to resolve situations with violence. I think your little girl is a crime fighting superhero and I wish I had friends just like her!

      And I forgot to add, if I lived nearer I’d be frogmarching down to the school with you!!!!!

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    • I am a mom, and a blogger…but honestly it’s not often I blog about “momming.” As long as it doesn’t hurt the child or someone else, I feel to each his own. But some people just love judging others. When I catch myself doing it (because I think to a certain extent, we measure ourselves by comparing ourselves to others,) I try to remind myself it’s not my place to judge.

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      • Hi there, thanks for your wise and measured words. I share your views about judging and the comment I left was not intended to vilify anyone. I feel strongly about protecting the vulnerable and I was trying to bring an awareness of the bigger picture to the fore. I was genuinely gob-smacked when a blogger promoted cosmetics parties for eight-year-olds and was shocked that no one mentioned this in the comments.
        To change attitudes we have to speak out. Even if you’re a minority of one the truth is still the truth.

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  4. That Xmas cake remark reminded me of a movie (can’t remember the name) about black maids/nannies in a Southern state. One of them gets fired by her obnoxious white boss for defiantly pretending to use the white toilet, so she comes back a few days later to show there are no hard feelings and bring the woman one of her famous pies. And the pie has been baked with s..t in it. Hilariously funny scene when the woman is told what she’s eaten. Makes me wish we could do something similar to all bullies.

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  5. You know, maybe you should write this person a letter and give it to him/her. Not this one, but one asking what the heck is their problem with you and what have you ever done to deserve this kind of treatment. Or just point blank ask, “What is your problem with me?” I lived with a roommate who was hell to live with due to her passive-aggressive nature. My 2 other roommates and I sat her down and basically tried to “clear the air.” We knew it wouldn’t work, but we explained to her how her behavior came across. At least she was aware that her behavior was hurtful, though she saw no reason to change. It didn’t really change anything, but at least I knew I did my best in that situation.

    Sometimes tormentors are caught off guard when you call them out on their BS. Is there a coworker you can confide in about this? I was lucky I had my 2 roommates–safety in numbers, they always say.

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  6. Bullying is never acceptable! But is is alive and well, especially when there appears to be no alternatives. Bullying comes in various forms – in fact, it comes from people who you least expect. It is a power struggle – and because most of us our nice, we sometimes accommodate, and even reward, bad behaviour. I am very black and white in my approach to dealing with bullies. They are simply not allowed in my life. To quote a wonderful lady, Eleanor Roosevelt – “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

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    • I fear that this may be one battle that I will not win and I agree with everything everybody has said about if you spend one moment of your life being miserable that is a moment wasted so I think my best option is just to move on

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  7. First, to expatiogue, I love the term “gob-smacked,” and remember the first time I heard our English piano teacher use it and had no idea what it meant. I’m really sorry, Dallas, you had to return to this bully. Fortunately, she can’t actually hit you like kids do, today. I suppose there is too much “water under the bridge” to ask to speak to her, as friends, not co-workers, maybe out for a drink (I know, I know this would be a bitter pill for you to swallow) and talk to her (if she will listen, for she is a deeply pained and troubled person), as friends, get to know her a little and you her and see if it changes the dynamic. She will need someone else to bully, until she changes her life, but, who knows, maybe you will be the force for good in her life. I mean, as long as you have to work together….. otherwise, I would take above advice and get away from her. Life is short. – Kaye

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    • Do you know Kaye, there always have to be a whipping boy for people like this; I fear it might be a control issue. If it’s not me it will be someone else and you’re right when you say life is too short – I will be resuming my job search with immediate effect

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  8. The key word: Blame. When blame is afoot, responsibility for our actions is out the window…sounds like this dreadful boss is on that journey. I’m so sorry that you have to be in a place daily that is difficult….what are the odds of getting out or getting this person out?
    xo
    *anna

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  9. Your bully sounds like a miserable and frustrated person. Unfortunately they probably won’t change. All you can control is how you react to them. Just remember you have an army of admirers standing behind you!

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  10. I always wonder how people become bullies. Can someone really feel good about being mean? Picking on people they hardly know? How do they sleep at night? What could have possibly happened to make them this way?
    THEY are the one with the problem! But it’s they’re victim who suffers… Which is truly sad. Sigh.
    Is it possible to report her to someone higher up?

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  11. hun send her my way I haven’t had a cigerette for 16 days and my head is just about ready to explode I only need a target 😀 but the thing to remember is they will never be truly happy because when they go home alone and look in the mirror the truth is always looking back at them and they know it

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  12. Loved the letter. Hope it helped some. I’m at a loss to offer advice. Sometimes it’s just best to cut and run, if at all possible. Have you talked to your dad about this? He might have some thoughts with more experience under his belt.

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  13. Bullies aren’t happy because people who need to do that aren’t happy with themselves. So I like to remember that if anyone tries to belittle me. Wish I’d realized that several thousand years ago when I was at school though.

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  14. Growing up I would bully bullies, I was a bully like them but I believed I had an excuse to do it, now that I’m old enough to own cows, I realize that’s bullying is disgusting regardless of the motives you’ve got.

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  15. i got bullyed over two years when i was younger … they said i’m too fat and ugly for this world … today the bullyboss is about three times the size of me – i think she got what she deserved 🙂

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  16. Wonderful post and wonderful, supportive comments.
    Yes bullying is rife and I, like you was recently the subject of workplace bullying. My solution? I fled. Not because of cowardice or fear of her, more so because I am at a point in my life where happiness is paramount. Of course for some, financial obligations limit choices, and this was also the case for me to a point. But I asked myself what was more important, dollars in the bank or happiness? The answer was easy.
    So I walked away and literally walked into another position (L’Occitane boutique and asked for casual work) where there is respect, happiness and kindness in abundance.

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  17. Sad for you, Tink. It’s hard enough to be far from your loved one without this horrible situation. However you rationalise it, it saps at your self esteem. Sounds like you’re coping well. Wishing you well.

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  18. Evidence! Anyone with problems like this in the workplace should gather evidence. How about a hidden tape recorder? I’m serious; although that might be illegal… Even just writing down each nasty comment. Management can’t overlook that, especially in the UK. Surely?

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    • I am keeping a diary but I have lost a lot of confidence in management as this is not the first time I have had a problem and so have lots of others. I really don’t think that companies take action unless there is a law suit pending

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  19. There is a lot of talk about bullying in the schools and the workplace. While I think bullying is bad behavior, I don’t get why people who are on the receiving end, aren’t focusing on how to deal with it. I thought tough circumstance is life were there to help us become better people. As someone who has been on the receiving end of bulllies from time to time all my life, it never occured to me to try to get them to stop by any method other than being the stronger person (not another bully, but one who does not feel intimidated.)
    At the end of the day, a bully is a pathetic person with very low self esteem who needs to bolster his/her own ego by tearing down someone else. They are to be pitied, not feared. Once you change your view of yourself and them, the dynamic changes. As hard as it is to change yourself, it really is much easier than trying to change others and much more rewarding.
    Maybe the bully is there in your life to show you how much you tear yourself down in your own head and to help you to stop doing that.

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  20. Sorry to hear the bully hasn’t changed her spots. Bullies usually are people with deep seated fears and insecurities and it might only take a shrink to hold a mirror up to them.. And unless management is willing to take a stand, quitting might be the best option. Like Quite Simply said above, that doesn’t necessarily mean fleeing. Your peace of mind should be the only consideration. Hope things work out whatever you decide 🙂 Take care.

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  21. All I can say is what in Hades fires is wrong with people, this is the ninth post I have read today on bullying. What this says to me is there is more and more of this raising its head and going unaddressed in the workplace and in schools. I am truly about ready to explode. This is unacceptable, we should be better than this as humans.

    I am sorry this is happening. I wish I could be standing next time it happens. I am not a kind person and have no compunction about smack downs.

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  22. I was in a situation almost identical to this; it drove me literally crazy (to my breaking point). Don’t let that be you. It can drive you crazy if you let it and keep up with the thoughts of trying to figure out why they do what they do. There is no point in why… they just do. They are a cancer in this thing called life. (I know… this seems a hateful thing to say; but it is so true). And like all cancer/disease, you hold it at arms length. Cut it out of your life if at all possible. You might not be able to physically cut it out. But you certainly can take steps spiritually that will allow you to no longer be affected by this person or their actions. Once they realize you are not affected, things will cease (or they will continue… and their comments/actions won’t affect you at all so, no reaction…), either way, eventually this situation will change for the better. I’m not sure if this is making sense, but people like this don’t last for long. Their ‘feeders’ and must move on. Trust me, this person will as well.

    Either way, I don’t envy you your situation. It put shivers down my spine as I remembered mine, not so long ago. Now, that boss/company is facing numerous law suits (harassment/wrongful termination you name it). All I can say is that it just warms my lil ole heart.

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    • Nora it gives me hope that you have gone through this and I completely get what you say about “feeders”. I just want it be over and done with now because it colours every aspect of your life without you even realising. Thank you for that!

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  23. Nora is right! Cut it out of your life if at all possible if you can’t face them ask what kind of problem they have with you or somebody will interact for you.
    I friend of me did this experience and we was really terrified!
    You will ask yourself why, which was your mistake,… perhaps you will find some reasons, but those are not an excuse!
    You are really talented and maybe there is some envy for this! I realized that there are cooperative people and people wanting to quarrel. The last ones will never be happy but you can’t change them.
    My friend came out, she had more than one year “to be free”, and during this time she wrote a lot and analyzed the situation and the behaviors.
    As Madhu said bullies usually are people with deep seated fears and insecurities. I know several bullies most of them have a narcissistic personality. Read more in the web serching for narcissistic + bulling.

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    • Hello there! You’ve given me some very sound advice there will definitely be doing some online research now might just empower me a little bit which is always a good thing. Thank you for taking the time to bolster my spirits with your kind words!

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