I get you. I have seen you trolling the Internet waiting to make a nasty comment. I have seen you on the road flooring the gas, trying to bully other cars into changing lanes. You my friend are the schoolyard bully dressed up in big girl clothes. Driving your big boy car. But no amount of aging or life experience can disguise you.
At first I tried to deny that you existed. I spent a big part of my career as a child therapist trying to undo the damage that your junior counterparts bestowed on the nice kids. I would tell them how you operate. How you prey on the weak. How you feed off their reactions. How you are looking for a fight.
I taught them how to beat you at your own game. Take a higher road. Not let you destroy who they are or who they wanted to become.
It was only recently that I realized how you have infiltrated adulthood. How your body grew up - but your mind remained little.
I saw you again when I entered the writing scene. I saw you when my articles went viral. You were chomping at the bit to make me feel small. To make yourself feel strong. Words with no value thrown like daggers for pure enjoyment.
How had I missed you all this time?
I had lived my adult life in a warm, fuzzy cocoon filled with kindness and love. I had been able to avoid your kind. Now I see you everywhere.
I see you on Black Friday trampling fellow shoppers to get that $5 discount. I see you ignoring road signs that say merge - as you push other cars out of the way. I see you riding the median to get in front because your time is more important. I am the car trying to make it hard for you to pass. I know rules don't apply to you, but one can try.
I saw you on Easter. When we both took our kids to an Easter egg hunt. My kids were politely eating the Easter breakfast, while you and your kids snuck out. I saw you, Bully Sr. with your Bully Jr. hefting a basket of overflowing eggs. I saw you hide your loot under the table, while the rest of the kids struggled to find any eggs.
I saw you once when I was going to get gas. I was at the middle pump, pumping gas. Your car was in front of me and another car was behind me. I politely waited as you returned from the convenient store. I waited as you slowly got into your car. I watched as you had the realization that I was trapped. I grew angry as you laughed and refused to move. But that's what you wanted, right? I didn't realize at the time that there were big boy bullies. That you were a mean boy dressed up like a man.
It became personal when I encountered your kind in my waiting room. When I noticed that my large doll house disappeared. When I realized that only a parent had access to my waiting room all day. A parent whose child I was busily helping - while they were shoving my doll house into their trunk. You are everywhere aren't you?
But, so are my kindred spirits. A light at the end of this dark tunnel. Yes, you might see us as weak. Sensitive. Emotional. But we ooze something you will never understand. We ooze love. Kindness. Consideration.
I know those people too. One of them came into my waiting room a month or two later. Delivered me a bigger doll house with a note attached. A note from an anonymous family who had heard what had happened and wanted to make it right. A family who didn't want pats on the back or favors returned. A kind person - who wanted to right your wrong.
I realized that I needed to practice what I preached. I tell kids that there will always be a sprinkle of mean kids in every class. That there will always be people like you. But for all the mean people - there are just as many kind hearted people. For all the cruelness, there is unbelievable kindness.
Our perception of the world is painted by where we choose to place our attention. I will no longer be choosing you and your kind. I will no longer be giving you the attention you so desperately crave. This article isn't about you.
It's about the quiet person nodding their head as they read this. The considerate and thoughtful person who has seen you too. I am writing this to tell them that we are out there too. That you do not outnumber us. That the world isn't a cold hearted place - it just has a sprinkle of cold hearted people like you.
Natasha Daniels is a child therapist and creator of AnxiousToddlers.com. Help rid the world of bullies and read her article Don't Let your Kid be a Bully. 6 Ways to Teach Kindness.
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