Monday, March 7, 2011

Abusers begin as Bullies--See DATELINE's new report

Where do abusers come from? Its not as complicated an answer as you might think--they come from bullies--both men and women.  In fact a verbal and emotional abuser is just a fancy term for BULLY. Dateline did a special on bullying and it's something we can learn from, if we choose--If you ever get to see the program, it has a lot of helpful insights. See the Dateline report 'My Kid Would Never Bully' with Kate Snow.

Unfortunately, although the program itself was excellent, they fell short on their website resource, "Tips about Bullying." It advises to tell on the bully (not usually helpful). It follows with advice for adults that falls way short! The BEST ever advice on bullies is the work done by  Izzy Kalman at Bullies2Buddies. This man understands the dynamics behind bullying and has the only effective approach for kids we have seen--and it doesn't involve "telling" unless  physical danger is imminent.

But back to the program itseft--it was GREAT. The woman expert, Roselynn, was very knowledgeable.  The crew had set up hidden cameras and hired actors to bully another actor. There were three to four kids (scenes were done with both boys and girls) who were bystanders. The parents and crew wanted to see if the bystanders would stand up for the victim or join in. I was actually very proud of most of the kids--they often did try to stand up for the picked-on actor.

What has this got to do with us? Well, the principles concerning bullies and abusers are the same--"power over another," as linda Evans would say. Their power goal is to control you and make you less than them. Many adult abusers start off their abusing careers--as school yard bullies. The take home lesson from this program is seeing how the kids effectively handled the bully, because that teaches us how to "handle" adult bullies.

The most important lesson came from a young gril named Lilly. The set up was two girl bullies picking on a fat girl and getting really mean, "everyone knows that you don't wear horizontal stripes when you're big."--Lilly wasn't having any of it and confronted them right off the bat. She was extremely agrressive about not letting the girls bully the fat chick, even going to the point of getting on her knees and mockingly paying homage to the bullies.

Once the adults came back to the rooma nd let the kids know what was going on--relief was swift. However, then some of the parents asked, "Did Lilly go too far? Did she get too aggressive in standing up for the girl?" In our socieity we are taught to tone it down, be kind, and don't overreact..." that is the sort of teaching that makes women suspectable to being a target int he first place.

Rosilyn's answer? "Kindness doesn't work! It shows weakness." How right she is! We applaud her honest and straightwoard approach. This is what we teach our targets--do not be kind about stopping abuse. That is not to say be unkind. But you must be firm and you must not "tone it down." Remember you are meant to be respected and demanding respect works.

Thanks Dateline--this was a good start--now lets take the priciples to the adult bully. And thanks, Lilly, you are the role model that shows us what the Miracle Principle is all about!