Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Feeding the needs of bullies

"No problem is so formidable that you can't walk away from it."
- Charles M. Schulz

The only problem you can't walk away from is death. While I can understand why people would want to postpone that particular event, it would not be practical to avoid it completely unless you want to be stuck in your present life forever while the rest of the universe moves on.

To "walk away from" in the sense that Schultz used the phrase means the way you would walk away from a vehicle accident. He means you can survive any problem (except death).

You can survive and rebuild your life or build a new life (even better when you think about it, though a longer term project) after a terrible problem, unless you die.

If you die, then the problem was not worth worrying about. If you don't die and you know (really understand, in your heart) that you can and will walk away from it, survive and build a better life, then no problem can be too very bad for you.

Many problems seem severe at the time, especially if they cause depression (which many do, though people don't realize they are suffering from depression, as they think they are just worrying about their problem). But simply knowing that you will live through any problem and thinking about where you might be in ten years time (unless it's in prison) will help to give you the stability you need to think your way through your problem.

Real problems don't solve themselves and they don't go away overnight. But often a good sleep will give you insight into what you need to do to solve your problem. This has been scientifically proven, as the unconscious mind solves problems better than the conscious mind that thinks.

Remember, almost no one wants to cause you grief. It's too much trouble for them to monitor your progress toward distress. So your worry about a problem may be unnecessary if the cause of your problem is a person. They just don't care that much. In truth, almost no one in the world cares about you enough to cause you grief over a long period of time. (Get over it.)

For the rare problem-maker that does care enough to cause you grief, you can defuse their interest in you by not giving them the attention they so desperately crave. Just pretent they don't exist. If that's not possible, then don't give them the satisfaction of knowing that you care about what they think about anything.

Anyone who causes a problem for you is a bully. Bullies are inevitably insecure people who need someone else to beat on to make themselves feel less than complete crap. Deny them the attention they crave and they will look elsewhere.

Or (heaven forbid!) you can befriend them. What they really need, more than anything else, is someone who cares if they live or die. They believe that no one does. That may be true, but the choice of offering them friendship should be yours. Befriending a bully may be hard, but they could become good friends because they would already know you care about them (by your gesture of friendship) and you already know they care about you (even though they show it in an anti-social way).

When you give a bully or someone who causes a problem for you the attention they want, you feed their need. Most people (except sociopaths) don't want to have a problem with another person.

Figure it out. Invite them to join you for coffee or tea. Or just walk away.

Don't feed their need or you will cause yourself grief. That's called masochism, which is a psychological problem in itself.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to put life's problems in perspective.
Learn more at http://billallin.com/cgi/index.pl

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