Building from Bullying – because sticks and stones could break my bones, but names could maybe kill me (#1000Speak)

As adults, we’re so lucky that we never have to rely on anyone else for our self-esteem, aren’t we?

We are rational, self-aware beings who fully grasp that the only thing we have the right and ability to control is our own behaviour; that other people’s opinions are immaterial; and that no matter how we might FEEL, we are undeniably and absolutely still worthwhile individuals with the power to influence our portion of the world for better or worse (and on the whole, we choose the ‘better’, though the choice itself is entirely and always within our control).

Isn’t it comforting to know that in spite of anything going on around us, we can be wholly responsible for how we react? That no-one else can make us feel bad without our permission? That we have everything we need to stand, autonomous, and allow the crap to just slide off us, leaving us unblemished?

And so we are left empowered…OR feeling desperately inadequate, because in spite of all the Capable we are ‘meant to be’, personal experience tells me that when you start from a precarious and fragile sense of self-worth, having been a victim of sustained bullying (the definition of which I would expand to cover all forms, from schoolyard to domestic, from cyberspace to workspace; physical or emotional), ESPECIALLY if the bullying took place in the tender, formative years of your childhood, there is very little likelihood that your sense of self is going to be robust enough to withstand the harshness of living in a world which too often lacks compassion.

Building from Bullying #1000Speak

These things will not ‘just slide off us’, because habit and experience have reinforced the neural pathways which immediately internalise and assume blame for the slings and arrows flung by others.

Worse, with exposure to a sufficiently vicious and ongoing environment of tearing down, undermining and belittlement, not only can you develop a default process of  accepting that you somehow deserved this Next Bad Thing, but your own brain can fall under the spell of the power which sought to destroy you. Your very own mind takes sides with whomsoever it was that has designated you ‘less than’. Then you truly are in a pickle, because having accepted that powerful, negative voice as an authority, how can you help but begin to view yourself with similar levels of revulsion and hatred?

This authority may not use the power of sticks and stones to break your body, but its tongue is a weapon which could (and too many times does) prove lethal.

Those words are like toxins thrust into the soul and left there to rot it, slowly, excruciatingly. And sometimes the poisons which are too engrained to purge will become triggered by events in the rest of life, and even many years later, can continue to have a devastating impact. If the wounds in the psyche remain unhealed, it is quite possible that one day the pain of continuing to live just becomes too much, and another damaged soul makes that final, terrible decision to not do it any more.

Bullying can kill.

Fortunately there is an antidote to this slow, agonising decline to un-being, and it lies in The Village.

It’s true that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and for every word spoken in hatred, words spoken in love can help to mitigate the damage. Where there are trusting, nurturing relationships between people, individuals have a secure place from which to build their self-opinion. When people take an active role in building each other up – armouring one another with the outpourings of truth, of kindness; of compassion: of LOVE – then those they care for become resilient; aware of their worth; safeguarded.

Life for me, personally, has been incredibly unstable lately. I’ve had some really bad times, a bunch of meltdowns, and some bad news. I have ongoing anxiety issues, and am still combatting the complexity which occurs when a lack of self-worth tangles itself up with body-image issues, infertility, miscarriage, and the after-effects of four truly horrendous years of marriage thanks to spousal illness.

I have been desperate. I have felt beaten down to nothing. And on various occasions have felt unable to go on, and as though I would like the pain to stop, once and for all.

The Village saved me, and it, too, used language backed up by action, so demonstrating beyond shadow of a doubt that it believed what it was saying, and that I was a worthy recipient of its message. Each time I felt like doing something drastic and making the pain stop forever, The Village stepped in (whether it knew it or not) and delivered that message which let me understand that even if my sense of self-worth was so low, and my anguish so intense that the prospect of just stopping breathing began to look tempting, I couldn’t do it.

I care too much about the people in my Village to put them through that pain and loss, and that was what kept me going – what kept me moving forward over bridges, rather than off the edge of them – the wonderful, breathtaking idea (which still feels almost too precious to hold) that I would be desperately missed. That I mattered.

The words The Village used?

“I love you”

I will live to learn why.

Compassion. Friendship. Understanding. Care. Nurturing. Loyalty. Encouragement. Trustworthiness. Building-up. Security. Respect. Peace-making. LOVE.

Those things Build from Bullying. Those things build The Village.

And The Village saves lives.

We’re stronger together – please build it with me.

1000Speak

This month, 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion continues to work toward a better world with a particular focus on Building from Bullying, as well as the broader topic of compassion.

Write a post relevant to this month’s focus – Building from Bullying – and add it to the link-up right here by clicking the blue button below. The co-hosts for the linkie are

American Indian Mom, Finding Ninee The Quiet Muse, Chronically Sick Manic Mother, Just Gene’o, Driftwood Gardens,Getting Literal, Head Heart Health, The Meaning of Me, Paper,Pen,Pad, Blogitudes1000Speak, YvonneSpence

Here’s how to get involved:

Join 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion on Facebook

Visit the 1000Speak blog

Follow @1000Speak on Twitter

Use the #1000Speak hashtag across social media.

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97 thoughts on “Building from Bullying – because sticks and stones could break my bones, but names could maybe kill me (#1000Speak)

    • It really was heart-felt, Christy…I think this is one of the ones I’ve really cared about, recently. I mean, I care about all of them, but this one speaks to such significant portions of my life…it matters.

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  1. I am soo glad that you had a village to save you … you are amazing. I am soo glad that you have highlighted this issue with your first post. We need to be the village – you are soo right! We all need to become more aware of our words and actions – to recognise that they can make a difference and change someones path.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So glad that you have found your Village and I hope it helps you see in yourself what us villagers see in you – that you are awesome.

    That said, this got me thinking generally about how so much of life can make us broken and how much work, and support from others, it can take to “fix things”. I think the online community you have built goes a long way to helping a lot of us out here – but reading posts like this always reminds me to build my villages everywhere in my life. Build up and support those I love and invest in them. We are all stronger together.

    Beautiful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We really are stronger together, and I think that building the village wherever we go is hugely important. I try to do that as much as possible, wherever I go, in Real or online. And I think it makes a difference to people, that connection 🙂

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  3. “I will learn to live why” gave me goosebumps. May you know why soon and live long long long after knowing, while knowing. That’s my wish for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have told you various times why I love you. At this point I think it’s up to you to change the reflection you see in the mirror, because what you see when you look in the mirror and what the rest of us see when we look at you are two completely different things.

    That being said, you’re right. Words are powerful. The pen is mightier…and such. Words are so easy to fling that we often don’t think about the consequences of uttering them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Ten Things of Thankful #92 | Considerings

  6. A Village is needed not just for children, but families. : ) With no family around, my friends are my Village. Every kind word heard fights the negative thoughts I often have. They remind me to speak kindly when I’m sleep deprived or hormonal. Love it!

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    • Ahhh sleep deprivation can make things so much harder. I speak as one who consistently deprives herself of sleep.

      I’m so glad you have a village of friends around you. They matter. They ARE your family 🙂

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  7. If only we could see ourselves through the eyes of others who love and inspire–those who Build the Village of heart and soul. It is in each of us.

    I have laid some bricks and added some mortar there. Off to lay some more, dear one.

    Thank you for Being.
    Thank you.

    With heart,
    Dani

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” A quote I love to read when I am feeling depressed, sad, and alone. Love yourself, Lizzi. You are worthy of it from others and from yourself. Big hugs to you, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s an amazing quote and I’m so glad you have it. I think more of the time than not, I feel okay, most days. Which is brilliant and wonderful. I’m learning to take more ownership of the good things I try to do. I’m still not good at just standing up and straight out admitting goodness or light, but I can sideways recognise that it’s there.

      Feeling worthy and being worthy are two different things. I’m doing my best to behave in ways which are likeable and relatable and which build relationships rather than destroy them. Right this second I’m behaving in a nurturing manner towards myself and that matters, even though it’s making me a little anxious 🙂 Thank you for being there, and for YOUR writing today. It affected me very deeply.

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      • Sideways recognizing is a step in the right direction. Keep going! And yes, feeling and being – two different things indeed. So glad you’re giving yourself some nurturing. It matters and YOU matter. I’m the one who is deeply touched that my writing made a difference. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. Thank YOU.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Kindness Wins #1000Speak #FridayReflections - Everyday Gyaan

  10. Wonderfully said and love that you are keeping this movement going. Am joining in with an article I wrote a few years back that has to do with with bullying even at the pre-school age that I thought fit perfectly with this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Rena – you’re very kind. My whole village is very kind, and I’m so happy to be part of it. I know I can write well, and I’m grateful for that – glad I can make my point in a relatable way (without too much confusion, most of the time). And glad I have people affirming me and making me feel that I should be less harsh on myself. Thank you for being part of my village.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I went all soppy then, Michelle. If you cuddled me, I would cuddle back. No weirdness (well, any more than the fact that you’d have two nutters in the same place…yaknow?) ❤ you 🙂

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    • I love that the Villaege is growing worldwide and bringing together so, so many like-minded people, all prepared to share their words and experiences and BUILD. That is truly astounding and humbling and utterly, utterly wonderful.

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  11. *Tears* This is absolutely beautiful. Painfully raw and real. Powerful by your testimony shared and the truth that the village can lift, carry, and heal. I’m so deeply honored to be a part of your village. I’m so grateful you are in mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re one of the people who kept me going. And who keeps me going.

      I need you in my village, Kitty, and I’m beyond grateful you’re in it – I’m alive. 🙂 The Village is an amazing, incredible, WONDERFUL gift, and I cherish it so much and guess what? You’re in it forever 🙂

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  12. I love you, Lizzi. We haven’t even met for reals, but I love what I see, read, and experience here. I wonder if you could come my way when you get to ‘Murica?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve experienced bullying in most of it’s forms also, Lizzi. As a young fella I was small and more often than not unable to do anything about it. I grew, but not in every way. There is a particular kind of humiliation that many will not experience that comes with being a giant physique easily pushed around. Eventually I learned to fight back but I still struggled with owning the derision and taunts hurled my way…still do, even as a bully of bullies. Yes, we are in control of our own actions and we are all capable of rising above the slings and arrows from others but it’s a lifetime’s worth of effort sometimes and there are days when it all the lies feel so true and permanent escape seems like the only reasonable way out. Bless you…bless us all. Love Red

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    • Yes. And the idea that we *should* be able to just shrug off the slings and arrows and not have them affect us? Ridiculous, and in its way, as bullying an idea as the rest, because it all adds up to the suggestion that we should be stronger. They aren’t ideas which meet us where we are (which is what COMPASSION does) – they are ideas which diminish and belittle us, holding us up to unachievable standards.

      I baulk at them for ANYONE, but especially for survivors of bullying.

      It is a lifetime’s worth of effort, and an ongoing one, at that. And those goalposts change, as you say – some days it’s easier than others.

      Liked by 1 person

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    • Bless your boots, Michelle 🙂 I’m so glad you’re part of the Village, and an important part of this wonderful online community which seems to have come to life around here. I LOVE it, and I’m so happy you like being part of it 🙂

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  15. This is a wonderful post. You matter so much. And hell yes would you be missed! I’ve been in absentia – having a messy roller coaster ride and being a here and thereian, but seeing posts popping up from #1000Speak reminds me that there is a bigger story going on than just my own, and it’s a good one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sara. I certainly don’t want to be missed for a longlonglong time yet.

      I know you’re in absentia and I rather love the idea of being a here-and-thereian (it sounds Whovian) but I hope you’re okay and I’m glad that you’re liking the bigger story.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Amen, sista, What you said! Your post is, as you know, near and dear to my heart. I was a little confused as I read the first couple of paragraphs, because I know that is not how it is. Maybe how it should be a in perfect world, but not how it really is. Your insights into positivity and health bring us back to the VILLAGE, that started it all. So matter what, I do believe, love is the answer to almost any question of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, I don’t think that’s how it should be. I don’t at all. I think that all this pseudo self-help bullcrap that gets proliferated is designed to make us feel less than capable, and it rankles.

      Love is absolutely central. It is the keystone and foundation of everything. And we all need more of it. Definitely.

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  17. Interesting – self-improvement and “positive thinking” as a form of bullying. It has long bugged me a little (and sometimes a lot) too.
    I have found that any technique or process that is of any benefit at all starts with the crap. It starts with where you are right now, and says that’s *okay* – as in it’s okay for you to be that way. Forgiveness starts with acknowledging our own pain, otherwise it’s not forgiveness but papering over the cracks. Healing starts with acknowledging our pain, otherwise it’s not healing, but putting a bandage over a festering wound and hoping that nobody will notice.
    Your village is doing a great job, and so are you! And you are worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. It helps to know you think that.

      I think you’re right – nothing which helps in the end, starts out by condemning, but with acceptance of things as they are (with a view to a change) and…well…COMPASSION!

      It’s all very well to have some overblown idea about a higher self, but honestly, so few people will ever make it there. We need support in the trenches, not someone on a hilltop saying how easy and simple it should be to get up there!

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  18. I am so glad you made that brave and necessary point – sometimes we are expected to handle all the crud life throws our way but that is asking an awful lot for so many reasons. Then we turn on ourselves for that perceived failure. But the best thing we can do is forgive ourselves and accept ourselves just the way we are – just the way we accept those around us. Again, I see how much of this comes down to self-compassion and to NOT self-bullying and self-abusing. That inner voice has everything to do with how we relate to the rest of the world. I am glad that you have reached out to your village when you needed to be pulled up. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I received this post in my email this morning, I could not read it then and decided that I needed to spend part of my lunch hour dedicating to reading your post – this topic has gotten me in a confused state- it is such a delicate subject. I love your words – and yes please believe me too – the village saves lives – how funny it is that within all our voices we can all relate to this topic perhaps that is the lesson to be learned we are all fragile and having said that perhaps if more of us speaks and tell our stories it provokes an awareness that we are not alone and we can ask for help.

    Thank you

    Please know that I wish you much peace and joy always! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Marisa, and bless you for taking time to read it thoroughly. I hope you aren’t *too* confused by it, and let me know if there’s anything you want me to clarify.

      The village is vital for all of us, I think, and I’m sure we’ve all experienced poor treatment from others at some point in our lives, which is such a shame.

      Together we’re stronger 🙂

      Peace and joy to you, too 🙂

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  20. The Village saves lives. Yes, and it also accepts and provides a cozy spot for me! I think I used to be very independent and wanting to be by myself most of the time but now, I feel like it’s nice to have somewhere to go, even if it is in a virtual sense! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh it *IS* cosy, isn’t it? I love just being part of it and joining in, and chatting and seeing where the edges of the Village expand and new people join us and become integral. It feels like a glorious community (and hey, Online is still REAL) and I adore it.

      OH ROSHNI I think I have something to mail you! GOSH that’s really bad of me! SO SORRY! Eeek Have I ever said that, or asked for your address?

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    • I will do my best to believe it. Sometimes I do think I see it, or almost see it, and I’m so happy because it seems so shinybright and lovely…and other times it just all seems like a sham, and smoke-and-mirrors. But I genuinely care about you, and cherish your friendship and your constant belief in me. Thank you, G 🙂 ❤

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  21. I wasn’t really bullied as a child. I had a number of unpleasant incidents, but the only time I went through a lengthy and sustained period of bullying was as an adult. It still hurt – and still adds to our paranoia, confidence issues and the rest. So to suffer as a child, incapable of reasoning and escape must be so so so much harder. It makes me furious to imagine my kids feeling anything so low. Tough subject to tackle this month! I’m glad your village is there for you. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re part of my Village, Piper. You accompanied me on Orca rides through space at a time when I really, really needed NOT to be in my world, and I’m so grateful for that. I’m sorry to hear you were bullied as an adult. That really sucks. I’ve been exploited at work, but I haven’t been bullied as a grown-up, thank goodness. I don’t think I’d cope very well, seeing as I still can’t manage the everyday!

      I hope your children NEVER experience anything like this. I know at least it won’t happen for them at home, and I’m SO glad to know that for absolute certain.

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    • It’s all this snitty neo-modern self-improvement bullshit, as though we can just magically step away from our circumstances, detach our emotions, and become In Control. PFFFFFT to that, say I!

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  23. As I read the beginning of you post I thought, “Who is she talking about? Not me.” Then I got it because I was bullied as a child too and that experience formed so much of how I saw the world. Nothing ever rolled off my back and I never felt as worthy as anyone else. I had to go back and read your post on The Village, which is brilliant and gave me so much to think about. For a kid who grew up like me (and I suspect, you too) being able to be a part of a village is a dream come true. We find and make our place among people we learn to love and trust (no easy task). We learn to focus on similarities instead of differences. We risk vulnerability and we slowly discover our worth. For all the shit the village put me through, I’m so grateful for its ability to change and grow in response to my own change and growth. The village saved my life too.

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    • Yes! Yes! YES!!!! Karen that is so PRECISELY how I feel….and the Village is that much more precious because we know the difficulty of its lack….oh I’m so glad you read this and that it made sense.

      You. Are. Worthy. You just ARE. And what you FEEL is separate. I promise. Because either we’re all worthwhile or no-one is. *hugs*

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Ah! Lizzi, I’m choked up over here. I’m SO glad The Village was there to save you because you mean an awful lot to a whole bunch of people, all over the world. It is true that our words do have the power to drive others to despair, or to lift them up. We need to choose and use them carefully.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank goodness indeed for my Village. And I cannot agree enough about how careful we need to be with our words…even when we’re trying to be helpful.or supportive we can make things worse. I did that the other day *sigh*

      Thanks Jen *hugs*

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  25. I was bullied as a child, but never more so than my little brother, who was harrassed regularly and physically hurt by other children. Children are cruel. But I’ve also seen child bullies create adult bullies. While my brother and I escaped bullying with a sense of reservation and anger, I’ve known many adult bullies who began their journey to need that feeling of power when they were bullied as children. I work with some of them. It’s not fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, yet it’s understandable in a way – in a very basic sense, there is a way to safeguard yourself by becoming stronger and worse than the powers which held sway over you…it’s just not the right way to go about things :/

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  26. Ah, it so rarely happens for me that I must just celebrate for a moment…

    I have been very lucky to have people that refused to let me be bullied. I’ve felt resistance and been trolled of course, but I’ve learned to walk away from that kind of thing. The Internet is like the Thieve’s Forest in The Princess Bride. Once you’ve learned about the swamp gas and the lightning sand, all you have to worry about are the ROUSes, and frankly, I don’t believe they exist.

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