Adult Bullies: The Bitter Bully

Disclaimer: For those of you who know me and my work around healing from abuse, please note that this blog is not about clinically abusive people (aka narcissists, sociopaths, or psychopaths). This series on adult bullies is about the other type of difficult people. The average garden-variety type of folks we run into out in the world.  

The Different Types of Adult Bullies

What happens when we run into adults who don’t know how to treat other people?  Our reactions can range from explosive anger all the way to deeply internalizing the ugly messages that bullies send us. Why do bullies exist in the adult world? As kids, weren’t we all told that schoolyard bullies would one day “grow up” and realize the error of their ways? I know I heard that mean kids would grow out of the need or desire to bully and yet, I see adult bullying in too many life situations.

There seems to be a few different variations of behaviors from individuals who clearly are old enough to know better, and yet, roam the adult schoolyard looking for someone to kick in the shins. Over the course of several blogs, I am going to share with you a few of the types of bullies I have either experienced myself or have been witness to through other people.

The Bitter Bully

I have personally come in close contact with this bully. It is one who appears in the form of a friendly face that is all good with you until, wait for it, the seed of bitterness comes to full harvest. What causes this person to shift from a caring friend to a snarky person who you cannot associate closely with anymore? Bitterness usually shows itself when the adult bully feels threatened by you in some way. Perhaps you stepped on their toes by achieving success in “their” self-designated area of life. It’s as if they have metaphorically tinkled on a bush like a dog to claim it as their own and you dared to come sniffing too close. You hear the low growl and turn to see their teeth showing. They don’t like you anymore. Suddenly you’re now annoying and they have numerous previously unspoken complaints of you. Their view of you has changed but the only thing that is new is your success.

Maybe your success stepped on their toes and rather than coming clean with you about their internal conflict, it seeps out through their pores in bitterness. Of course, they would adamantly deny any jealousy or bitterness. Didn’t they already tell you they are not an angry person? They are the outward picture of confidence but as an intuitive person, you feel the wave of bitterness and it pushes you away from them.

What causes the bitter bully to emerge from the outer covering of a good friend? I believe it is deeply held insecurities. When people feel overly territorial it is because they are scared that you are taking something away from them; that they will lose the goodness in their life. These individuals may have dealt with scarcity or neglect previously and they are triggered on a subconscious level by you coming to close to their now good life.

Is this your fault? Not at all. Are you expected to shrink back in life just so you don’t push insecurity buttons in someone around you? Never. We do not clip our own wings for fear we might fly too high for another person’s comfort level. Their bitterness and internal conflict is theirs, and theirs alone, to work through. However, it is helpful to pause and ponder the “why” of the bitter bully’s projection outward towards you. When we can cognitively understand why people behave the way they do, it takes the personalization out of it. We stop going over what we did to make that person change their ways with us. We start recognizing that not everyone can stay on the same road.

People say that failure will show you who your friends are and that is true. Success will show you the insecurities hiding in those around you. Sometimes, it’s not pretty. Sometimes success brings a chill of loneliness as people react in different ways and bitter is one of them.

Personally, I would rather be surrounded by a few key people who love themselves and their lives so much that anything I might have going on positively isn’t at all a threat to them. It is also my gift back to them because real friends don’t pour bitterness on one another like acid.

Keep Dreaming Big! (so big it makes people uncomfortable)

Shannon

 

YouTube Interview with Tracy Malone

It was wonderful to have the chance to sit down with Tracy Malone of Narcissist Abuse Support.

A Vision of Therapy – by Simeiqi He

“What can therapy do?” This is a question that many people often ask, me included. With a little surfing on the Internet, it is not hard to find out the functions, techniques, or even the “promises” of therapy. However, this blog is not about any of that. Rather, it is about what therapy has the potential to be. It is about my vision of therapy with all its possibilities.

As a newcomer of the field, a Christian theologian/ethicist-in-training, and an immigrant from China, I arrived at the therapist chair from many places. From the first day I sat with clients in the therapy room, I knew that I was standing on Holy ground. I knew the presence of God had come within concrete walls. I knew the stories I heard were sacred. I knew that I was blessed to witness people’s journey of life and walk with them in their courage to heal. Through all the troubles, pain, struggles, and silence my clients bring into the room, when I look at the people sitting in front of me, I see souls that are on the journey of becoming so much more. I cannot help but wonder, maybe therapy should be a work of touching souls. Therapy should be a moment when life’s sacredness is fully realized. Therapy should be a space where one is joined by another and invited to know oneself and the world through the gentle carrying of the past. Therapy is not for the faint of heart, both for the clients and for the therapists.

I believe that the nature of therapy should be and only be about love. When clients and therapists come together, relationships are formed. When one speaks and one listens with the full self, hearts are connected. When one shares one’s self openly and freely with another, freedom is experienced. When suffering is truly acknowledged and joy is truly celebrated, love appears. Therapy is not just about changing lives. It should be about healing souls.

Healing is a path that the courageous travel. It takes more than functions, techniques, or even the “promises” of therapy. What it takes is the Divine love that first spoke the world into being and continues to make everything new. Therefore, the process of healing is holy. And the lives that are in it is sacred. Therapeutic approaches, in all its various forms, do not and cannot have the power to start this process. Before clients come to the therapy room, healing has already begun. Therefore, the nature of therapy should not simply be about tools, skills, approaches that may help clients heal. It should be about the meeting of souls and sharing of relationships between the clients and the therapists. It is finite, because of the meeting between finite beings during one session time. Yet, it should also be beyond our infinitude, because of the divine healing that is at work and the lasting comfort that one is never alone.  Therapy should be a witness to the sacredness of life, the healing of souls, and ultimately, love.

Call Simeiqi at 817-897-8882 or email
Simeiqi@southlakecounseling.org

 

对心理咨询的设想 by Simeiqi He (A Vision of Therapy)

人们常问“心理咨询是做什么的?”,这我也不例外。在科技如此发达的今天,我们也都知道,只要简单的上网一查,就不难搜出有关心理咨询的作用,方法,甚至是“承诺”。但这并不是此文的目的。此文希望问的问题是:“心理咨询能成为什么?”这是一篇关于我对心理咨询的设想和它的无限可能的文章。

作为一个初出茅庐的心理咨询师,在培训的基督神学和伦理学学者,和中国女性,我对心理咨询的认识是来自多角度的。从第一次与客户在咨询室坐下的那一刻起,我便知道,我所在的地方是神圣之地。我便知道,神的身影已经来到了这四壁之内。我便知道,我所听到的故事是神圣的。我心里清楚,能够见证人们的生命之旅并与他们一起行走在痊愈的道路上是我今生的荣幸。透过客户带入咨询室的所有烦恼,痛苦,挣扎,和沉默,我看着坐在我面前的人时,我看到的不仅仅是一个客户,我看到的更是一颗行走在路上的灵魂。我禁不住想,心理咨询不应仅是一份工作,它更是一次触摸灵魂的劳作。心理咨询应该是这样的——–在此时此处,生命的神圣被充分地意识到;一个人被另一个人真诚得邀请,然后两人一起轻轻得承载过去,用一双新的眼睛来认识自己和周围的世界。从此来讲,心理咨询无论是对于咨询者还是咨询师来说,都不是胆小之人所能胜任的。

我相信心理咨询的本质是且只能是爱。当咨询者和咨询师来到一起的时候,人与人之的关系便形成了。当一个人开口说话,另一个人用全身心倾听的时候,心与心便连在了一起。一个人能够公开得自由得与另一个人吐露自我的时候,便是自由被感知的时候。苦难被真心得承认,喜悦被真心得庆祝的时候,便是爱缓缓浮现的时候。心理咨询为的不光是改变生命。心理咨询为的应该是治愈灵魂。

痊愈是一条属于勇敢之人的道路。它所需要的不仅仅是心理咨询的作用,方法,甚至“承诺”。痊愈真正需要的是神之爱,那创造世界并正在把一切都变成新的的神圣之爱。因此,痊愈的过程是神圣的。正在痊愈的生命也是神圣的。各种各样的心理咨询方法无法,也没有能力来启动痊愈的过程。事实是,在客户来到咨询室之前,痊愈就已经开始。因此,心理咨询的本质并不是它的工具,技巧和方法。心理咨询的本质应该是客户与咨询师之间灵魂的相遇和人与人关系的分享。心理咨询是注定有局限的,因为它发生在两方有限的个体之间,且在短暂的一次相见之时。但因为神圣的痊愈一直都在进行着,因为心理咨询带来的持久安慰时刻提醒着我们没有人是孤独的,心理咨询因此也注定是能超越局限的。最终,心理咨询应该是对生命的神圣,对灵魂的痊愈,和对爱的见证。

Call Simeiqi at 817-897-8882 or email
Simeiqi@southlakecounseling.org

Target on a Train by Monica Dane

She walked along the street reflecting on her life; the blessings, the heart-aches and the hard lessons she learned along the way.  She was hopeful for her future and all of the things she still wanted to do and accomplish. She firmly believed she had the adequate tools to tackle anything with the help of God.

She heard some noises coming from the train station and decided to change her path and walk in that direction. Little did she know, it would change the course of her future and events. At that moment in time, it seemed like a good idea. She was drawn to the hustle and bustle around the station.  There were so many people there and the perfect place to people watch.  She sat down, a moment to breathe the fresh air and take it all in.  She was a well-educated, kind-hearted, beautiful woman. A beauty that radiated joy to all of those who encountered her. There was a quality about her that was real, authentic. A giving heart and caring nature. A warm feeling you would receive when you had a conversation with her.

She wasn’t sure if she was wanting to board the train and go somewhere, or if she just wanted to flirt with the possibility of where it might take her. She stood up and decided to walk along the path and take in more sights. She glanced at another train nearby that was sleek, polished, beautiful, seemingly perfect, attractive, and intriguing. It looked as if it was a fast train. She had no clue that trains like this even existed, but they do.

Not everything is as it appears to be. The next thing she remembers is stepping up on the big step and closing the train door behind her; not knowing that the fresh, clean air that she had been breathing would be her last for a while. She turned around and looked through the window that appeared clear from the outside of the train, but yet was dark and cloudy from inside looking out. Something in her told her she wanted this experience. It was exciting.

The train gradually started moving. What she thought would be a thrilling moment and a good idea at the time, was changing. She knew in her gut she had made a mistake, but she didn’t take the opportunity to get off the train right away. She told herself that if she could just get comfortable, that things would be better on this train. She found a place to sit next to the cloudy, gray window, and looked out. As the train would approach different streets, it would gradually slow down and stop. Could she get off the train now?  She saw people passing by, some strangers looking her way and the attention was nice. She saw friends laughing and having a good time, encouraging each other. Families gathered together.

As the train picked up speed, she was becoming a little sick, nauseous, nervous, anxious. She was starting to feel as if she couldn’t take in a full deep breath and was on the verge of hyper-ventilating. She felt closed off from the world around her. Isolated. The train began moving so fast and she wasn’t prepared for the speed of it. She saw glimpses of people, places, things: life passed her by. She no longer was full of joy, but consumed with regret and feelings that if she could change things on the train then it wouldn’t be so bad and she could get by.

However, this train had power and control over her. Trapped. No way out. Even if she could get off, she was too scared. She felt all alone and the train was picking up even more momentum.  At the current speed, she was sure it would crash and the ride would all be over; she wasn’t convinced that was a bad idea. Yet, she had no idea of how to make the train stop.  She was embarrassed that she even had willingly boarded this train.  She had tried to strategically plan how she could get off many times but wasn’t successful. One day, she did something different and she let go of controlling it and prayed. Cried out to God to help her and knew that she couldn’t do it alone. When she finally had enough courage and strength, she jumped (more like leaped) from the train. It was incredibly freeing, and immediately she felt so much relief. She ran and ran and ran until she couldn’t run anymore. She was limping, bruised and wounded but alive.

The dust is now settling. She’d never be quite the same person as she was before she boarded the train, but she has rediscovered parts of her she didn’t know existed.  A strength and courage within her that she never knew she possessed. She’s wiser. Even the conversations she has with friends, strangers, and family feel like divine appointments. What she needs is to take the baby steps in healing past hurts, pains, regrets. She feels safe; cautiously optimistic for her future.

She will never get back on a train like the one before. Ever.

Target on a Train by Monica Dane, Mentor Coach
Monica can be reached at
817-846-6331 or monica@southlakecounseling.org