Analogies that make the light come on


English: this is my own version of what bullyi...

English: this is my own version of what bullying looks like (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of the written devices I design and pass around, are based on my work with kids who are targets of bullying.

One of the last things I want to do is tell the kid  “Oh you poor thing.  That really sucks.” and then try to help him or her feel better.

What does happen in my sessions, is the fact-checking and hard-nosed process of what role he/ she plays in this situation (target of bullying).  And I use a certain analogy to help myself get in there and act fast.  A target of bullying does not typically see a light at the end of the tunnel.  The child or adolescent has most likely been in this type of relationship for some time.  The role of accepting harsh words and humiliating actions becomes routine.  It is obviously not something enjoyed.  Otherwise there would not be the target and  no sense would come of labeling someone a bully.

I start to point out what the targeted person is willing to accept and take to heart from the other person, or people day after day.  I ask about how much time is being spent feeling consumed by fear and anxiety and letting the bully have all the power.  I make sure there is a conversation about how far this person has to go  to avoid triggering extra attention or torrents of humiliation from the bully.  It works to have all this stuff spelled out and made into awareness.  The analogy which clearly describes what is going on has visibly made the lights come on.  And I’m not afraid to use it.

Okay.  If you could imagine someone coming up to you with a platter full of horse-dung sandwiches and saying “Eat these.”  Would you eat them?

This is what’s happening every time you let someone’s words or actions rule your life.      DWP

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