Thanks for joining me to kick off the Hop Against Homophobia And Transphobia! HAHAT is an incredibly important event each year intended to raise awareness and inspire LGBTQIAP individuals. Along these lines, we don’t only wish to inspire others, but also wish to inspire ourselves. That’s right. OURSELVES. My good friend Timmy wrote about bullying… but a type of bullying we don’t often think about: self-bullying. Timmy’s insightful words will have us thinking well and often about how we treat ourselves and how we can be better to ourselves. As always, thanks for a wonderful post, Timmy!
I stand there and stare at my attacker. It’s time for me to tell him what he does to me, how he makes me feel, and what he takes away from me. I tell him I cry myself to sleep at night just wishing the cycle would stop. That I hope tomorrow it will end, but then, I know it will not. I tell him that he pushes and pokes me, and calls me hurtful names. He takes away everything that is left of me, everything that I could be. I tell him how much I hate him and that he’s the reason I continue not to trust. I ask him if he’s proud of what he does to me, how he turns what little is left of my self-esteem into dust. I want this cycle to end. I’m not sure I will survive much longer. When I get no answer, I turn away from the mirror to start the cycle again.
There are many ways to spot bullying. We see it daily whether we are adults or children. For most, all we have to do is look in a mirror to see what a bully looks like. I believe that everyone has bullied themselves at some time in his or her life, and if you say you haven’t, then take a better look at your life. Self-bullying is just as cruel and hurtful as bullying another person. The saying, “You can be your own best friend or your own worst enemy” is very true. Self-bullies employ the same emotional attacks as people who bully outwardly and, in some cases, even the physical attacks are the same.
There are many forms of self-bullying and I use a single question to determine if I am self-bullying. This test will work with most types of self-bullying, and if the answer to the question is yes, then you know what you are doing to yourself. The simple question is this: If Tom did or said this to John, would I consider it bullying? If the answer is yes, then you are self-bullying. For example, if Tom called John ugly, fat, and stupid, would you consider this bullying? The answer, of course, is yes. So why is it okay for Tom to call himself these same words? Do they hurt any less? Do they not make a lasting impression on him?
In many way’s self-bullying is worse. You know your own fears, secrets, and history. You know what will hurt you the most. You know all the guilt, shame, and failures from your past with which you use to punish yourself. Self-punishment is another name for self-bullying. Some people are constantly bullying and abusing themselves, and some only do it once in a while. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine whether you do this:
Do you feel that you self-punish?
Does embarrassment, failure, or not having control of a situation cause you to be angry with yourself, to the point of punishment?
Do you yell at yourself?
Have you called yourself names?
Do you push away people who love you and want to help you because you don’t believe you deserve the help?
Do you neglect yourself or environment?
If you answer yes to any of the above questions, then you self-bully. When you call yourself stupid, ugly, no good (fill in the blank), nerd, freak, too fat, too skinny, or not worth it, then you are being mean and hurtful to youself. Remember the test: If Tom said or did any of these things to John, would he be bullying? Of course, he would and guess what? You are too!
Physical injury is a severe form of self-bullying. If Tom cut John with a blade, would that not be a form of bullying? A few examples of physical punishment might be body mutilation, extreme exercise, over/under eating, or alcohol and drug abuse. Keep in mind that even though these physically affect you, they will also mentally effect you. Some of these behaviors can be the most damaging to your mental health and well-being.
Drinking and drugs are easy to spot, however there are other behaviors that are easily hidden, and easily overlooked. Have you ever expected more from yourself than was reasonable? Employ the test. Tom expects John to finish the project perfectly the first time without help at all. Is that fair? No, and it’s no more fair than when a person expects that of themselves. Often, when being a perfectionist, it escalates into name calling, guilt, and shaming, which are all examples of self-bullying. Other such examples of easily hidden and often performed self-bullying tactics are: over-personalization, self-blame, internalizing fears/feelings, repeating bad choices when you know there will be a bad consequence, not being able to take a compliment, staying in a bad situation because you don’t believe you deserve better, and using a trigger to punish yourself (a trigger is a feeling, memory, smell, sound, or sight that triggers a bad feelings or thoughts of a past incident that hurts you).
So maybe next time, instead of turning away from the mirror and restarting the cycle of self-bullying, make a commitment to yourself. Make a commitment to treat yourself with the same love, understanding, and forgiveness that you would treat others with. If you wouldn’t tell your best friend that she’s looking fat today, don’t tell yourself that. If you wouldn’t approve of Tom telling John that he is nothing but a screw up who can’t even do a simple task, then don’t say something like that to or about yourself.
Maybe what people really need is to understand that the Golden Rule applies to not only how you treat others, but to how you treat yourself. Don’t do to yourself what you wouldn’t do to another, or what you wouldn’t approve of someone else doing to another. You’ll be happier for it.
CONTINUE THE QUEST!
See you next month on Tuesday, June 17th!
Available from: Harmony Ink Press
Όμορφη. Ómorphi. Greek. Meaning pretty
Pretty. adj. /pritē/ Pleasing by delicacy or grace
High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. He’s a star athlete, has great friends, and parents who love him just the way he is. What’s missing from his life is a boyfriend. That’s a problem because he’s out only to his parents and best friend. When Michael accidentally bumps into Christy Castle at school, his life changes in ways he never imagined. Christy is Michael’s dream guy: smart, pretty, and sexy. But nothing could have prepared Michael for what being Christy’s boyfriend would entail.
Christy needs to heal after years of abuse and knows he needs help to do it. After the death of his notorious father, he leaves his native Greece and settles in upstate New York. Alone, afraid, and left without a voice, Christy hides the myriad scars of his abuse. He desperately wants to be loved and when he meets Michael, he dares to hope that day has arrived. When one of Michael’s team-mates becomes an enemy and an abuser from Christy’s past seeks to return him to a life of slavery, only Michael and Christy’s combined strength and unwavering determination can save them from the violence that threatens to destroy their future together. Read an excerpt of Omorphi
Available from: Harmony Ink Press
Caleb had one mission in life.
To keep his boyfriend safe.
They met at ten, kissed at twelve, and were madly in love by eighteen. Caleb Deering is the captain of the swim team and the hottest senior in school. He comes from a loving home with a kind father and a caring, but strict, mother who is battling breast cancer. Nico Caro is small and beautiful, and has a father who rules with an iron fist—literally. One morning Caleb forgets himself, and he pecks Nico on the lips at school. A teacher sees them and tattles to the Headmaster. The accidental outing at school might be the least of their problems, because the ball set in motion by the school’s calls to their parents could get Nico killed. In the face of that very real danger, Caleb knows he has only one mission in life: to keep Nico safe. Read an excerpt of Safe.