Along for the ride:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

They can only do to us that which we allow them to do.

I can't stand bullies. I avoid confrontation whenever possible, except when there is bullying involved.
I was bullied at school. No one would believe that of me today as I present a self-assured social presence. In school I was not only painfully shy and horribly self-conscious, but I was the new kid at six different schools due to parental career-moves. Horses saved me, but that is a post for another day.
As I have gone through the post-school years of my life I have found that I have an exceptional radar for bullying. I have intervened a couple of times in deteriorating situations of spousal abuse and was glad to be knocked on my ass as it enabled me to file a legal complaint when the wife who had been lying in fetal position on the ground, to protect herself from her husband's blows,refused to admit to the police that anything was wrong.
I have also spoken up at horse shows whenever I have seen a rider unjustly blame his horse and inflict retribution outside the arena for a poor performance. Sometimes this was in my limited version of whatever the local language was and I have berated the indigenous that they leave such interventions to foreigners. I once had an employer who confessed he was ashamed that it was I, not he, who had spoken up. I admired him for that.
This said, I have a hard time still, speaking up for transgressions against myself. I am inclined to rationalize an other's bad behavior and prefer to let slide or wait out the storm. This misleads some people into thinking I am a pushover. I just prefer to back away from conflict until we reach my line in the sand.
Today was one of those days. Hubby is annoyed and put out that we have two extra dogs. It inconveniences him that he must use the front door key instead of the garage door opener. He is feeling neglected in his narcissistic little universe. Whaa, whaa, whaa!
It was made clear to him today that there is a distinct sandy line in front of him, despite his tantrums. The choice is his.


  1. I know exactly what you are saying. I want peace and a peaceful life. I pray for it all the time.

    Yet, people are terrified of me. I don't really understand why.

    At my friends mothers funeral, the entire quilting guild begged me to start coming back to the meetings. Seems they are being bullied and none of them will stand up and put the people in their place...simply politely asking them to far I have not returned, thinking these people have to learn to stand up for themselves.

    Oh well, I never give advice along the lines of your post...I'm a three time loser when it comes to relationships...except with dogs, I love dogs and they love me.

  2. I'm also someone who avoids conflict, though, in my past, particularly as a kid, I was quick to defend the bullied. Maybe it's the circles I move in now, but I haven't come across bullying for years... I managed to rebel against that one and get out.. I just meet irritating people every so often! I find as I'm getting older I'm getting much better at separarting the wheat from the chaff when sussing out people and whether they're worth me giving energy to. Like you, I have a line in the sand of tolerance.. we all need one and thank god most people have one! good on you!

  3. I think I can empathise with your position. I have always let people away with a hell of a lot when it has been perpetrated against me. I have also stood up for other people for things and issues much less than I have put up with. Everytime I get into a situation of conflict where I have to stand up for myself I walk away embarrassed and always feeling I am going to pay a very high price in the near future. Usually, my perception is not shared by others who view me in a kinder light than I do. But nevertheless the feeling is there. I have three significant relationships behind me now where my wife/girlfriend will impose their wills upon me through manipulation, oppressive atmospheres and out and out in-your-face anger and arguing until I give in and eventually everything is done, managed and acted upon int heir way and to their liking. Ultimately, I give up and get out. I have no idea how I keep hooking up with such dominating women but there you go. I am single now and I think I always will be, simply because I don't defend myself until it is too late and then when I do, things have gone too far. Even with friendships, when I see someone getting dominant with me I just move on because I think: whats the point of having a friend I have to keep battling? Wow, this is long. I should have turned this into one of my own posts! Good topic.

  4. I guess the teacher in me comes out most of the time. I will definitely stand up for others and, depending on the circumstances, I will stand up for myself.

    I'm not sure how far I would go in defending someone against a bully, but once my dander is up, I can get pretty stubborn. At school, we always had to think before stepping in as there are all kinds of legal implications. I have a feeling those habits will stick with me even out of the classroom.

    Hope hubby figures out what's really important about all of this and sees the light as far as the extra dogs go.

  5. Jean, obviously it's a larger issue than just the dogs. The real question is "why can't you embrace something just because it makes me happy?"
    It often feels as though the happier something makes me, the more he digs his heels in.
    Dave, I am pleased you gave a lengthy comment. I wish I had a solution for us.
    Watercats, wish you had been around when I was in school, to defend me. I dreaded every day of school.
    @eloh, the fact that you know how to shoot probably helps.

    All, I think the real problem stems from expecting people to react and respond as we would. Everyone is dealt a different set of rules to live by. We need a peak at the master playbook.

  6. I was bullied loads at school too and hated it. I also tend to avoid confrontation wherever I can - possibly as a direct result. I once felt compelled to intervene when my Dad was knocking my Mum about (I was 16). Man, the look on his face, it was pute murder but he left her alone after that.

  7. That should have pure murder.

  8. I wouldn't ever think anyone with a blog with a name like yours would be a pushover. Each time I read your posts somewhere in the back of my mind I'm thinking, "now there's a gal with a good hundred gallons of gumption." I hope writing about it helps work out the knots. And it all begs the question... sheesh, why do people have to be so damn hard on other people so often ? Often to dramatic extremes, as any morning newspaper can attest.

  9. Wow, you say you haven't always been this assertive, but I sure wish I could be more like you. You protect your boundaries, good for you!

  10. Like I said, I shouldn't give this kind of advice. Someone once told me to ask myself a simple question: "Would my life be better with or without him?" I guess that's the 64 thousand dollar question.

    My daughter is in a relationship with a "passive / aggressive" person. It's hell to stand on the sidelines.

  11. Fear of the unknown, economic necessity, socialization to be "nice" and/or "not make a scene," in addition to habit, inertia, routine, self-doubt, narrowed self-image, and having permitted one's self to be cowed by another for longer than was/is emotionally healthy are all co-contributors to putting up with oppression of any sort.

    I've always found political "independence" movements very useful and instructive models for personal independence reclamation projects: people have to fight long hard battles to gain independence from czars, oligarchs, dictators, demands are made, relationships of power are renegotiated, skirmishes and bloody battles are waged, independence is approximated, and boundaries are defended. Strikes are called and abandonment is not out of the question.

    "Don't fuck with me!" is possible to convey by simply cutting one's eyes and refusing to be engaged in business as usual.

    Vive la English Rider!

  12. I despise a bully, too, and yet hesitate to stand up for myself sometimes. I absolutely love your "pony prayer"!

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