Posted by: Judy | April 27, 2015

Interesting meme…

This was posted on FB:


I was surprised by some of the other responses. Some of the commenters were down right unpleasant, accusing the poster of being a bully. It wouldn’t have bothered me if it had been only commenter but about half of the people who commented expressed similar beliefs.

No wonder ACoNs are in the mess they are. How are we to move on when so many people believe that if enough laws are passed the narcissists will change. Too many people believe that you can regulate, legislate, bully others into not bullying.

The commenters don’t even recognize that their comments are bullying tactics, shaming the person who posted the picture and implying (sometimes stating outright) that they are stupid.

Obviously, I love the poster. It’s empowering.

My response: I didn’t find peace until I learned that walking away doesn’t always work and wishing others would change didn’t work either. I changed me, and everything changed.


  1. I think it’s important too to teach kids not to be bystanders. To say “NO!” and with my 5 years old grandson, I tell him, if that doesn’t work go tell a big person.

    • Yes, teach them to say ‘no’ and that it means ‘no.’ Good for you.

  2. I think anti bullying laws are kind of silly. Who gets to define bullying? Will anyone know it’s happening if there aren’t witnesses? It would never have helped me as my mother did her best work behind everyone’s back.

    But I do think kids should be taught not to bully, if not at home, then in school. AND kids should be taught their self-worth so they aren’t as affected by inevitable bullying.

    I also think a lot of stuff that is more constructive criticism or simple dissent that get slapped with the label “bullying” which really minimizes true bullying.

    Great post. Food for thought.

    • Exactly! I’ve also noticed that what a lot of those who support anti-bullying are unwilling to acknowledge that the children learned it from adults in their lives. Many of the biggest supporters of anti-bullying are bullies themselves. Case in point, NM decries bullying but, like your mother, NM bullied when no one was watching. She would even look around to make sure no one was watching.

      • I’m pretty sure if I asked, my mother would have a diatribe about bullies and probably a fake (except in her head) anecdote about how she was bullied

        I honestly think I haven’t been bullied EXCEPT by my mother. I mean, I’ve had people say mean things to me or who didn’t like me but it wasn’t bullying per se.

        • I wonder how often we dismiss bullying because it wasn’t as bad as… okay, I did have a lot of bullying in school by students and teachers, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as what NM did.

          • I just remembered I did have a teacher bully me in 5th grade. He made me miss the bus once and I was most afraid of having to call my mother to pick me up from school because of it :-/

            Even the principal was nice to me, but my mother was not

            • I’ve had some wonderful teachers and some really awful teachers. It’s one of those professions that offers abusers readymade victims, which is why it’s important for a child to learn that bullying will happen and what to do.

            • Exactly!

  3. I can’t exactly relate in the ACoN sense, but I can remember that when I was married, I spent an incredible amount of energy and turmoil and time towards trying to move my husband in the direction of becoming more aware of how his derogatory language toward our son was permanently harmful. It was only after I finally realized that my husband wasn’t interested in changing the way he spoke to our son (or anyone else), that I was able to be free of that constant turmoil. Of course, in my case, that also meant it helped me realize the whole idea behind “irreconcilable differences”, and we ending up divorcing. But at least after that, my son wasn’t being subjected to constant belittling and badgering. In that sense, I would have qualified my husband as a bully in how he behaved towards our son, and the only workable solution was to remove him from the equation. Distance solved the immediate issue, although, obviously, the damage was already done, and the distance itself created other hurdles to get past.

    I remember being so RELIEVED after the divorce, when both my son and I were finally in an environment that didn’t include the constant turmoil. Yes, I was very sad about my marriage ending, but not about removing the turmoil from our lives. The distance was the first step, but as you said yourself, ultimately it was ME that changed. I finally figured out what was, and was not, acceptable, and took steps to improve the situation in the only way I saw possible. Expecting my husband to change didn’t work. Leaving solved the immediate issue, but created other problems. Eventually, I had to learn how to adapt ME to the situation.

    • There is nothing easy about dealing with a bully. Bless you for taking care of you and your son.

      • I only wish I had recognized it sooner, and done something sooner. But I went into my marriage with the mindset of “forever”, so it never even occurred to me that leaving the marriage might be part of the solution. In the end, we do what we have to in order to avoid staying in an abusive environment, even when it sometimes goes against everything we believe. (I’m all about marriages being forever, but it’s hard to stand on that side of the issue when you’re divorced).

        anyway, bullying shows up in lots of different ways … in your case, it just happens to be at the beginning of every conversation and action. Has to be tough.

        • I also believe marriage is forever, but I wish EF had followed through on plans for a divorce. Instead, he chose compliance and avoiding conflict over the truth. Truth is rarely the easy choice, but it’s always the healthier choice in the long run.

  4. Most of the bullies I have seen were adults. I also realized that in a round about way EF was the audience in NM’s bullying. She acted all nice around him so that when we told he didn’t believe us. The audience doesn’t have to do anything to side with the bully. Interesting thing is that most times anyone can stop the bullying by calling it what it is and walking away. But not always…bullying is abuse. Those intent on destroying another human being will do it no matter what the laws. It is illegal to kill people but that hasn’t stopped the murders.

    • Good points. Thanks, Ruth.

  5. Great post and comments! I agree with the comments and I think we learn about bullying and how to handle it from our environment – parents, school, friends, etc. We learn how to respond to it even when we are not being bullied by being an involved bystander. I am going to tie this into a post I was writing where I felt adult bullied recently.

    • I think too often we think of bullying mostly with children, when the worst offenders are adults.

      • Exactly! that is what I’m writing about. 🙂

  6. […] with “eternal acquaintances” (borrowed from Kara).  I changed my mind when Judy reflected on this topic and the other thoughts that followed – thank you for the great […]

  7. Interesting discussion. I definitely think it’s important to teach our children to stand up for themselves and protect themselves. They can not always wait around for someone to do it for them. But I disagree with the meme (and actually find it a bit condescending by using the words “victims” and labeling them with “pink shirts”) as, for some kids, no matter how hard they try to cope, it does not make a difference. I think it is important to BOTH teach our children to stand up and cope but also to enlighten the general population that this is NOT OK. Speaking up about it, bringing it out of the dark, and not just dismissing it as “something that happens” is important to me. No, Ns will not change. But not every bully is an N. And as Ruth said above, a lot of the problem is the spectators. If society as a whole condemns this idea and stands with the “victims” as opposed to making it out as a “personal problem” than we might be able to lessen it some. I know I sure would have appreciated people some support with the bullies around me. Empower the victims so THEY don’t feel like victims (but let’s face it, they are victims of abuse) AND make it unacceptable social behavior so it doesn’t get dismissed as “part of life”.
    (And for the record, I do think some of it gets out of control too and that some people carry the message too far. My son’s teacher informed me that he was a “bully” because he told his best friend, whom asked my son how he could get better at throwing a football like my son, that if he practiced harder, he would be better. She said that he was stating that his friend “wasn’t good enough”. I was very upset as I left that meeting, wondering how in the heck I had raised a “bully”. But when I really looked at the situation, I didn’t see a bully at all. Maybe he lacked tack and maybe his friend’s feelings were hurt, but he wasn’t TRYING to hurt him and wanted to be helpful) So, I do see both sides.

    • You make valid points, Jessie. Awareness is important, but too often people feel like they’ve done something and stop there instead of recognizing it’s only the beginning.

      No not all bullies are Ns, but everyone makes bad choices. Creating laws won’t solve the problem. Instead, as you said, we need to educate.

      Your son’s friend already didn’t feel good enough or he wouldn’t be asking for help. Telling someone they need to practice harder is not bullying, especially when they asked for advice to improve. If your son had called the kid names and belittled him and told him he’d never be any good, then it would be bullying. What your son did is not bullying; he was being helpful. Bless him.

      • You are right. Tacking up a sign on bullying does little. I also think we need to teach children how to appropriately act (teaching them kindness, empathy, and compassion) instead of always pointing out what they should not do. That would go a long way to counteract bullying, in my opinion.
        Thank you for your thoughts on my son. I left the conference in tears and upset (my go-to reaction to getting in “trouble” is to feel shame). I was very confused by the situation and my emotions clouded my ability to think about it. I actually am friend’s with the other child’s mother too. Apparently the teacher had called her and discussed it with her, but not me. I felt, to a degree, ambushed by it (not to mention that the incident had happened weeks before, so I was left with little opportunity to discuss it with my son, who had been told he was a bully by his teacher.) All in all, it was a very difficult situation to deal with.

        • Sounds like the teacher was projecting. The way she handled the situation wasn’t healthy. She pulled N tactics: Triangulating, creating a problem where there wasn’t one, waiting. Hang in there.

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