Archives for posts with tag: courage

The journal entry was brief, written in pencil on some long-forgotten piece of scrap paper from the job I held at the time I was engaged in my most intensive grief work. It was three-ring-punched into my old journal binder, without any notation as to the date on which it was written.

It was also deceptively simple, coming as it did after several years of excruciating therapy, reliving traumatic scenes from my shattered childhood and trying to piece together some semblance of an adult identity; several years of struggling to understand why I had been made the scapegoat of my family’s violence and dysfunction all my life, and ultimately being forced to resign myself to the reality that there simply Was. No. Reason.

“Family Dearest,” the entry began, using an adapted form of the title of the tell-all book Mommie Dearest by actress Joan Crawford’s adopted daughter.

“I neither know, nor care particularly,” I continued, “where you intend for this trip you’re on to take you.

“All I know is I’m not going.”

That was all it said.

And with that note — which I wrote only for my own eyes and never shared with any of them — I embarked on an extended period of no contact that was to prove one of the most peaceful and productive, and with some of the most far-reaching benefits, of any period in my lifetime.

I began a successful graduate program of study, funded by a student loan co-signed by a kindhearted employer when my parents refused to co-sign.

That graduate degree led to a long and fulfilling career doing meaningful work I love.

I met and married the man who would become the father of my children.

And for the next couple of decades, I focused on raising the two daughters whose very existence as strong, brave women proves what I have known all along: that love, truth and empathy are essential family values, without which no family can thrive.

Sustained, deliberate cruelty that consistently targets an innocent child most definitely is not a family value.

In the intervening years, I have made some revisions to the original choice to have no contact. There has been some limited contact with all of my original family members for various reasons. But sooner or later one of them, or perhaps all of them, will make some hurtful choice, take some hurtful action or utter some hurtful word, that reminds me once again to keep them all at enough distance to preserve my own safety and peace of mind.

And in all these years, I have never once regretted that initial decision to disengage, and I have never looked back.

OK, dear reader. It’s your turn. When did you fully understand at a deep level that you would need to disengage from dysfunctional family dynamics? Did you put your family members on official notice to that effect, or did you decide that quietly withdrawing would be the safer option? Or … are you perhaps still grappling with the question? Please feel free to write anything that comes to your mind. What thoughts, questions or emotions did this post raise for you?

© 2017, Ann Graham Price. All rights reserved.

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Welcome to The Bully Pulpit, my blog on bullying.

Yes, the pun is very much intended. The dictionary defines bully pulpit as “a public office or position of authority that provides its occupant with an outstanding opportunity to speak out on any issue.” I offer this blog as a venue for you to share your story with others who are going through similar experiences with bullying.

Maybe you’ve been bullied in the past, and the pain still lingers.

Maybe you’re being bullied right now, and you wish it would stop.

Maybe someone you know is being bullied, and you don’t know what you can do to help.

Maybe you just want to talk.

First, an important disclaimer. I am not a professional in the mental-health field; I have no special training in this area; and I am not qualified to offer professional counsel.

What I am is a writer by profession who, like you, has experienced the shame, humiliation, terror, anguish and futile rage of being relentlessly, viciously, violently bullied over the course of many years.

In my case, my bullies were my two older siblings. But as anyone who has ever been bullied knows, bullying hurts — no matter who’s doing it. The more we share our stories together, the likelier it becomes that we will discover that we have many more commonalities in our stories than we have differences.

The bullying I experienced at the hands of my siblings ended many years ago, but the effects go very deep into my soul, and their impact on the rest of my life has been far-reaching.

Sound familiar?

Still, I didn’t start this blog so that we could engage in a mutual weep-fest over things that, having been done, cannot be undone. Victimization begets more victimization, and that is something we all want to avoid. Rather, I want to offer a place for all of us to stake our rightful claim to victory. We can rise above the trauma. We can be victors.

As a writer and avid reader, I have long known that words have tremendous power. Hurtful words — those hurled by someone who intends to cause harm — can inflict great suffering. But healing words, offered by fellow travelers on this very difficult path toward wholeness, can bind up even the deepest wounds. I know. I’ve seen it happen in my own life.

If you were to meet me now, you would never guess that I carry such a dark secret. I am a successful, productive member of my community with an active family and social life. But it was not always thus. There were many years when I felt that there was no hope that things would ever get better. The healing process itself took many years and — I won’t lie — considerable effort on my part.

But it would not have happened at all without the love and support of a caring community of people … people with similar experiences who had come together to share our strength and courage with one another.

And I want to share that strength and courage with you.

This, then, is your bully pulpit, too. This is your opportunity to speak out about bullying. More importantly, it’s your opportunity to be heard. When did the bullying start, and what form has it taken? How many people are involved? How have your teachers, parents, friends and others responded? What has been most hurtful about your experience? What has been most helpful? What do you wish other people knew? What do you wish they understood?

Along the way, I will be weighing in regularly with ideas, insights, prompts, etc., to keep the conversation going.

I have no real ground rules, because I want you to speak freely. I ask only that everyone remember that we are all friends here. Let us treat one another gently, with respect and compassion.

To get started, just go to the section titled “Scroll here for more posts” and scroll through the existing posts until you find a topic that interests you. You can comment directly within that post. I will respond to every comment from readers. Be patient if it takes me a while. I am busy living the life that my healing has empowered me to live, so I may not see your comment right away.

But I will respond. I promise.

Well, there we are then.

God bless. You are not alone. There is hope. Someone does care.

So welcome. And pass the word.

© 2012 by Ann Graham Price. All rights reserved.