Saturday, August 04, 2007

Dealing with Bullies

Okay, I’d love to see everyone here run out and get a book called Take the Bully by the Horns by Sam Horn. Because most of us have had to deal with bullies in our lives—and we didn’t always recognize them as such right away or know what to do about them—and Sam Horn tells us. She tells us how to recognize bullying and what does and doesn’t work.

Warning: You may recognize some of your own behaviors in this book. In part, that’s because some of us who were abused as kids grew up believing there were only two choices—to be bullied or to bully. Sam Horn shows that’s not true. She gives effective techniques to deal with bullies and shows that we do NOT have to become that which we despise in order to be safe. Or, the only kind of interaction that some of us saw growing up was bullying so we never had a chance to learn other options. Either way, if you do recognize any of your own behaviors, you can use this as a chance to realize this isn’t who you want to be and begin to choose other, better behaviors in dealing with others.

I love the things Sam Horn says in Take the Bully by the Horns! How many here have heard, over and over: Always use “I” statements? I feel hurt if.... And how many of you, on a gut level, KNEW it wasn’t working with someone and maybe even made things worse? And how many didn’t trust that gut instinct because the experts—maybe even your own counselors—kept saying that was what you were supposed to do? Well, Sam Horn says quite bluntly that it doesn’t work with bullies and she says why! THANK YOU SAM HORN!!!

Ahem, sorry about that. Truly, though, Horn has written an easy to understand book with very clear steps on how to deal with others. She worries far less about why bullies are bullies and writes far more about what works and why.

Study after study shows that people who were abused as kids are far more likely to either continue to be bullied as adults or to become bullies. This book will help you break the cycle either way. We can be safe and we can be safe without becoming that which we despise.

Note: One very important warning (that isn't in the book). From my own experience and observation, bullies will tend to attack if they either perceive we have self-doubts in a certain area OR if they perceive we have some real strength. BULLIES TAKE OUR GREATEST TALENTS/GIFTS/SKILLS/PERSONALITY TRAITS AND TRY TO MAKE US DOUBT THOSE TALENTS/TRAITS OR THEY TRY TO MAKE US BELIEVE THESE ARE FLAWS. In other words, if someone keeps attacking you about something, consider the possibility it's actually a GOOD thing or you actually are good at whatever the other person says you aren't because the other person is a bully and either jealous or afraid that if you realize just how good a thing it is and/or how good you are at it, they will lose power over you.

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),


Karma said...

Thanks for this April. It is sad, but I know that I've probably learned to equate being bullied with being loved.....

April_optimist said...


(((Hugs))) Self-knowledge is the first step. 2nd step is learning skills to make different choices.
Please know that you do deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.

keepers said...

reading about bullies reminds us of our children and our ex-therapist, especially where you said they are jealous or afraid of losing their power over you/us. thank you again for a post that we could relate to, you seem to be doing that a lot lately!!

peace and blessings


tinypieces said...

Hi, I've just discovered your blog. Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to write these articles. I am finding the information really helpful. Just reading through your archive at the moment. Its really refreshing to find positive information that is true to the experience of people who sufferred abuse as children. Many thanks.

~Sister in Survival~ said...

OK, I have my blog topic for the day. It seems that I can come up with few ideas on my own, but depend on others to spawn my thoughts. The quote below is something similiar to what my counselor and I briefly discussed in session the other day, and I believe I need to "think some thoughts" on it.


Thank you for your blog. This was my first visit as I am realtively new to the blogosphere myself.

Karma said...

I know it on one level - but making it happen proves very hard. Thanks for your support and guidance with this.

April_optimist said...

Keepers, Tiny Pieces, Sister in Survival, Karma,

This is something so much a part of so many lives that I can't not write about it. I'm glad the words resonated for you. My latest post talks about it some more.

April_optimist said...

PS Tiny Pieces and Sister in Survival,

If you have blogs, I'd love to add your links here but I don't know the urls.

Karma said...

Well looking back, your advice certainly did work. My bully has lost his power over me! Thanks!

April_optimist said...


How wonderful that you've been able to liberate yourself. Good for you!