My friend made the startling observation the other day that even as adults we never really leave the playground bullies behind. This comment was prompted by an incident in her office where she witnessed a colleague of hers being, well, being bullied into doing something she didn't want to do. You would think that in our mid to late twenties and older still that this sort of behaviour would not figure in our stratosphere but sadly it's not the case. I think everyone I know can name someone in their life, be it a 'friend', a colleague or a relative, who is quick to resort to underhand bullying tactics when they don't get their own way.
As a chubby, nerdy, bookworm goody two shoes at school I was of course the target for years of bullying, thankfully nothing physical (unless you count the time I got slapped in a case of mistaken identity) and my Mum always used to tell me to ignore the bullies and they'd get bored. Well of course I now know that particular pearl of wisdom to be a total crock of shit which unfortunately leaves me ill equipped to deal with bullies in my adult life. My lack of equipment doesn't stop me trying though and the fact that I can, will, and do stand up for people when they're getting a rough time of it makes me feel pretty fierce. Even if I'm a) shitting myself whenever I have to do it, b) always think of the best cutting insults and ways to phrase things *after* the event and c) so verbose I tend to bore the bullies to tears.
The other thing that makes adult bullies a more difficult breed to deal with is that they manage to disguise themselves as normal people. All the bullies at my school had scraped back hair that was hairsprayed to within an inch of its life, inch thick orange foundation, a twenty a day smoking habit and an attitude the size of Europe. It seems with age comes the ability to camouflage and so some of those childhood bullies grow into friendly, normal looking people who manage to hide their bullying natures until someone decides to cross them.
I'm not claiming that I am a saint, or that I know how to appropriately communicate every thing that comes into my head, I freely admit that I stamp my feet and wheedle until I get my own way sometimes but I don't consider myself to be a bully because I have a conscience. I absolutely tie myself into knots when it comes to having to lay the smack down or opening a can of whoop ass, and when I say sorry, I *really* mean it. I just wish some of the people in my life felt the same way.
Bullies suck mmmkay?!