HOW TO HANDLE CHILDHOOD BULLYING? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE ROBIN WILLIAMS’ TRAGEDY?

DEAR DALI MAMA:

 

In considering his tragic death from suicide, Robin William’s recollection of childhood bullying is important. While it would be impossible to know all the contributing factors, being stalked so often as a child that he reportedly had to change routes home from school in order to avoid his torturers may provide one clue to his deep sadness.

 

Think about it: Most people in society say to one degree or another torture is abhorrent even in the cases of terrorists. Our United States Constitution prohibits its application even to convicted murderers. And yet innocent children worldwide are daily tormented, and little is done about it.

 

I suspect that bullying is an outdated vestige of the ancient tradition of culling the weak. Thousands of years ago nomadic primitive tribes had no use of those ill, elderly, or in any way complicated. They were killed or left behind. Today, bullies view sensitivity as weakness and thus target those they see as vulnerable or different.

 

Among the many problems with this is that experts suspect child abuse alters the brain in ways that promote early and later depression and suicide. Yet society acts as if the source of child abuse cannot be categorized as such unless it comes from adults. That’s absurd. The results of mistreatment may be catastrophic regardless of the source’s age. When will people stop bullies from committing long-range homicide?

 

What do you think, Dali Mama? What do you make of all this? And what can people do if they are haunted by memories of childhood bullying?

Thank you for your wisdom.

–Tired of Bullying (Canada)

DEAR TIRED OF BULLYING:

Thank you for your thoughtful and informative letter. I see bullying as just one symptom indicative of the health of our society. People are separate from each other as well as from their own spirits and hearts. And when people are disengaged from parts of themselves, it is all too easy to either stand by and do nothing when seeing others being bullied as well as to bully someone else in a desperate attempt to cope from your own pain and terror, and possibly from your own experiences of cruelty done to yourself. These days, cruelty is sanctioned and overlooked on a worldwide level as well as on the individual level, with some even turning to cruelty towards themselves through cutting and other forms of self-mutilation.

People of immense light like Robin Williams possibly became even more hilarious and gentle and compassionate due to the difficult experiences they’ve had. Some people, however, instead turn to the dark and become more hardened and become the tormenter instead of always the tormented.

Perhaps that’s the difficult choice we must all make, and keep making as far as transmuting our experiences of pain and not getting stuck in them—to keep choosing the light no matter the shadows that have plagued us. And to remain in the light even when others are unkind to us because the light always vanquishes the dark, without any effort even. Turn on the light and the shadows disappear.

We must remember too that we are not weak or helpless or invalidated even when those around us wish us to believe we are so. Of course, sometimes we all feel like there’s just too much to bear and no one can truly understand what another has gone through or is undergoing. But we can all be there for others when we sense them struggling. Sometimes truly all it takes is a smile or just someone who will sit and listen for a few minutes. And people like you who are thinking about these questions and how to instigate change.

 

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