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As anybody ever heard of a labour of hate? Probably not in these words but I bet that many of you, if not all of you out there have experienced at least once in their lives being victimised by another. Some call it “bullying”, french psychiatrist and writer Marie-France HIrigoyen calls it “Moral Stalking”, another definition for it can be “Emotional and Psychological Torture”. The fact is that all too often anyone of us can find themselves at the receiving end of one or more individuals who find a perverse pleasure in humiliating, belittling, put down, ridicule and other nasties of the same kind from their fellow human being, perverse being the operative word here.
It happens at home, at school and at work. The people who behave that way can be a husband/wife/partner/child, a boss, a teacher generally speaking a person of authority within the private or public sphere.
A few myths need to be debunked here: the first one that I want to address is that the victim of such treatment is not necessarily of a weak temperament or character as is often described. On the contrary, individuals who are getting bullied are generally more creative,more lively, of a happier temperament, rather conscientious in their work and on the whole fairly well adjusted. Often we hear comments such as s/he must have done something, called for it, behaved badly…not so. Obviously individuals who have been traumatised early in life in their most defining relationships could have a predisposition, however they are not the ones that are referred to today.
Myth number 2: the person who does the bullying, moral stalking can be reasoned with. Do not waste your time trying to understand what is it is you have done and apologise for it, open a negotiation or a discussion about what it is that needs to be corrected because in all likelihood you have done nothing wrong and no amount of discussion on the subject with the bully will enlighten you. You have done nothing wrong because your very existence is wrong with these people and I’ll talk about it in more depth later. It is not about what you do but about who you are and what they see in you that is coveted. Since they cannot have it, their whole purpose in life is to destroy it. To destroy you…
If that sounds dramatic, well it is because it happens to be true. It is difficult to generalise but as a rule bullies tend to perform in order to protect themselves and it is a strategy that has been developed in childhood in response to unbearable trauma. Not that it justifies the behaviour but it explains it a bit in terms that it is never really about the victim but rather about the aggressor who perceives the victim as a threat. We generally only aggress those we fear even when it is child. The fear is internal, subjective and by its very nature irrational. And the truth of the matter is,there is nothing that you or I can do to make it stop because the “emotional stalker” never experiences his/her behaviour as wrong: the compulsion to defend him/herself against the perceived threat justifies the means employed.
Without wanting to write a full essay on the subject, my recommendation if you are experiencing this situation is to use the legal system at your disposal because that is the only thing that a moral stalker will listen to and get yourself a therapist well versed in victimology. The insidiousness of the process is such that often we think we can cope with it on our own: again, not so. You need help and only when seeking it will you be able to get to who you were before it all started, free yourself and harvest a bit of wisdom in the process.
Till next time…