Raina Fisher

Through the Looking Glass

I think of the bully as a seventh-grade boy and his gang of misfits who prey on the weak to pick on and push down on the playground — not one with grey hair by the water cooler.

Be that as it may, they can come in a range of ages and from all walks of life. What’s more, it can take place in an array of settings.

Yet, it is not in the classroom, but the one in the cubicle that is front and center in my mind as of late.

A mean girl does not have to be a teen or part of a clique to have the same flaw. The truth is, she may look like a woman; but deep down, she is a scared girl.

She makes it unbearable at work, which in turn drives workers to throw in the towel or interns to throw up their hands. A dark fog hangs in the air.

You struggle to stay afloat when the customers find a new place to shop — it is not a virus to keep them at bay, yet it is a plague all the same.

She rants to all who are in ear shot and she is the one to raise questions to the boss to undermine your work. This is the puppet master to pull the strings behind the scenes.

She plants the seeds and waters the weeds to grow in the garden — we can tell our works by our fruit, but at the core is a parasite to chomp on the good.

In the end, you may have to burn down the field to get back on track.

When I think of the pest and the fruit, the apples on the tree in our yard pop in my mind — it was to be a first for us to bake a pie with apples from our own tree.

I watch the blossoms turn to buds in the spring, but by the time summer rolls in, the leaves look like lace — the bugs strip them to the bone, then move to chew on the apples.

Envy is a monster that grows and dwells in the mean girl — a deep-seated jealousy takes root to distort her eyesight. Bullies tend to run in packs like feral dogs.

I have had to hold my own with a fair share of mean girls, in my younger days when I didn’t have a ton of sense.

We set up a time and place to brawl like MMA fighters, but there was no cage and no rules. I shake my head in shame as I look back on my stupidity.

I can hide that fool in the back of my mind. I thank the Lord that I did not have to grow up in the age of social media.

It is one thing for the rumor mill to be in full swing in the high school halls at a time when the next tidbit spins in fast to blot out the last like old news.

But in today’s day and age, a video can go viral by the end of the day, and it can humiliate for decades to come.

On that note, how do we spot a bully? It may not be through bodily harm, but with words — to spread rumors, or tease in a mean-spirited way; to pass gossip down the grapevine is to do the bidding for the devil.

The isolation bully will not let the target take part in the group and a cyber-bully may troll the Internet to dig up dirt to share. This is what an abuser looks like.

The adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” is a big lie. At the same time, what else does one say to a girl who wears her feelings on her sleeve?

Words wound and leave unseen scars. It might hurt less if they did break bones.

A bully in the school yard is on a fast track to the prison yard. It can lead to a murder rap if the sufferer commits suicide from the torment.

It isn’t cool to wind up in cuffs, so don’t egg on a bully, or it could be you in a cell. It is on us to grow up and be the role model, talking it out and trying to clear the air, not rolling in the mud.

We don’t know the sorrow that one must deal with, but we all have to cross the bridge at some point. We all have a past and a story to tell.

But it takes time and trust to spill our secrets; we are not going to blurt it out the first time we meet. It is a journey to grasp on our own shortcomings, we don’t need others to focus in on our faults and flaws.

The Healthy Workplace Act protects the private and public sector from litigation that stems from a bully in the office; the hitch is there must be a zero-tolerance policy in place to forbid this type of abuse.

God did not put us on this planet for others to harass or mistreat us.

The moral to the story is it will not kill us to be kind, but it can be fatal to be cruel. So, be nice; it is not too late to push the button to make a fresh start and form a bond with a new friend.

It could turn out to be one that will last a lifetime.

 

RAINA FISHER is a child activist, writer and psychologist writing a memoir on parental alienation. She lives on County Home Road near Paris; her email address is rainafisher@hotmail.com.

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