The Truth About Bullying and Bitching

Bitching vs Bullying

Last night a  group skype conversation led into a conversation about bullying. Fellow Life Beyond Limits member Vicki Kirss is writing a handbook for parents about bullying. We were talking about methods of handling bullying situations. As a dance studio principal and teacher for over 20 years I saw bullying from both ends….. as pupil and teacher.

As a Pupil:

It was announced to my fellow pupils/teachers that I was about to do my Gold Cross Modern Medal (the highest standard in Ballroom dancing) that’s no biggy. But then…my teacher announced I was going to do my Gold Cross Latin Medal on the same night.  You could have heard a pin drop, while they all processed, then there was a sea of unrest.

Why? Because it had never been done, could not be done…in their words.

Bitching Versus Bullying:

Bitching is done  behind your back, but you  often sense it, where as bullying is face to face.  I was too experienced in the bullying field for a direct attack  to have any effect. Even though it was  obvious they were all bitching about me,  I couldn’t blame them. They had been working for years to achieve just one of these medals and I was about to do two. Everyone spoke to me about it, pointing out the negatives.  One of the class leaders rang me (I’m sure the group had chosen him to do the task). He tried  to make me see  how silly I was to do it this way.  I’m not going to lie, I was pretty agitated, it felt like everyone was against me.  I was tempted to pull out. However, although I may take a while to make a decision, once it’s made there’s no turning back. I see, hear and feel the result and it always happens.

So How Did I Handle The Bitching?

I took q submissive role to start with and listened to all their wise advice showing I held them in respect, after all, many of them had taught me over the years.   Then I just said calmly…”You’re right, BUT, this is the reason I am doing it this way and how I’m going to do it.” There was no comeback for them. Soon everyone accepted it and the night turned out great.

As a Teacher:

One night one of the teenage girls ran out to the toilet crying. I spoke to her and  she told me one of the girls had bullied her.

Handle the Situation Universally:

Rather than speak to the bully independently  I asked all of the girls in the class to sit down, we were going to have a talk about bullying.   I didn’t point the finger at  anyone, I said something like this.  “Sometimes you will strike a bully in your life, what I want you to remember is the bully is not happy in their own lives. They are picking at you because in some way they are jealous of you, or it is a distraction from their own problems. Feel sorry for the bully, perhaps ask the bully if they are having a hard time. Once the bully realizes you see through them, they’ll back off.  No-one likes their weaknesses aired, and definitely not the bully.”

The Result:

I observed the dynamic of the class as I spoke. The bully slunk into her seat, the girl who had been bullied sat tall in her seat. I never had a problem with that class again, in fact, they became firm friends. This method works well in group situations.

Deflection or Reflection:

The hardest thing about being bullied is not to take it to heart. Instead, look at it from the bullies viewpoint. Why are they bullying you? It’s always a deflection from their own problems or a reflection of their own thoughts about themselves.  For example: If they are worrying about a few kilos they have put on, they will pick at the fat kid at school, after all, they look skinny against them. Get the drift.

Happy bully breaking and good luck with the book Vicki.




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