Writing about bullies doesn’t come easily. We want to put that behind us. We wonder, “Who wants to read that?”
Probably most people.
Whenever we get together and share memories and stories, encounters with belligerence, arrogance, or outright bullying invariably come up. It’s always a compelling story.
Our listeners commiserate. They respond with their own stories. This happens when we write too. When we write about bullies and persecutors, we connect with readers and start conversations. We see new facets of each other’s personality.
Types of Bullies, Persecutors, and Boors
Writing about bullies means writing about people of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. What was yours like?
I doubt any of us got through life without encounters with a bully. Our experiences range from mean girls to gang leaders.
Some of us were regularly picked on. Others of us weren’t just picked on; the playground was a theatre for torment.
Most Almost all of my confrontations with bullies resulted in me going in my proverbial corner to cry and lick my emotional wounds. The few times I’ve stood up to a bully are moments I’m proud of, but to be honest, they came later in life.
If you’re like me, writing about bullies can help you and your readers deconstruct and understand what happened. Why do you think the bully or bullies choose you? Were you alone in receiving abuse? Was playing the victim part of your personality or they only option you had?
Writing about bullies can also make you contemplate what made the other person tick. Why do you think they bullied? Have you ever wondered what that person is like now? Are they a sociopath or did they outgrow their situation? Do you have contact with them now?
That’s a misnomer, but “professional rudeness” didn’t work either. It’s what you encounter in your professional life, whether in an office setting, in correspondence, or at the hands of our customers.
Workplace rudeness is particularly galling. Our responses are limited by our professionalism, workplace favoritism and cronyism, and good ole boy networks. Keeping a paycheck or income means grinning and bearing it. We come home grouchy and touchy. We stress over possible responses and their fall-out.
Did the situation lead you to change jobs? How did you continue to cope? What insight have you gained?
Incidental Encounters with Rudeness
Great stories can result from casual brushes with bullies: The seventy-year-old man that taught your kids some swear words when you tried to apologize for being in the wrong lane. The church worker with a decidedly unchristian attitude. The French ticket seller who told you in near-perfect English, “If you don’t ask me the question in French, I do not give you the answer.”
When writing about bullies means writing about yourself
Looking back, we can also see that we weren’t always the victim. Maybe you were the bully. Maybe you’ve acted like one on occasion. Maybe the bully had to be bullied. (See The Look.)
This takes courage to admit and address. Did you bend to peer pressure? Were you suffering from the “Kick the dog” syndrome? Did you have an aggressive streak that you had to learn to master? Lack of impulse control?
Have you reached out to your past victims? If so, how did that go? How did that feel? If not, do you think you ever will?
Whether you’re ready to share it or not, analyzing what happened and why can help you process your past.
Ways to Write about Bullies
Ah ha! That’s Thursday’s post. Stay tuned.
Have you written about your bully? To your bully? To your victim? Please share! (Links welcome)
“ You Can’t Leave It at the Office: Baylor University Study Finds Consequences of Co-Worker Rudeness Are Far-reaching,” Baylor University, August 16, 2011, http://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/news.php/news.php?action=story&story=98313.