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Life Arts

Potholes On The Moral High Road: How to Respond to Bullies

By       Message Dr. Cheryl Pappas     Permalink
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In this age where cyber, mental, and emotional bullying are increasingly popular, how do we respond to all that, rather than automatically following the old social rule of taking the righteous "high road" of silence, as well as taking the "eye for an eye" animal attack response out of the equation.

Some of the hard core moral rules for living in our society need updating, such as not speaking up for ourselves and not telling the truth about others when they are abusive bullies.

We need to update ourselves as adults on how to respond to a bully, and we also need to update how we educate children on this matter.

Our social expectations, and the world itself, have so radically changed that the shelf life of wisdom passed down from other eras is expired; many former social rules are now irrelevant and just wrong.

Many factors come into play as to why this is true.  

The primary change in our social culture is seen in the level of unquestioned, normalized public expressions of hate and rage.

The entitlement to act out extreme, outrageous anti-social rudeness in public and private, signals a startling shift in society.

So, it is no longer appropriate to stand back and remain "refined" in the old way (even the word "refined" is practically out of circulation).   The Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, 1962, definition: "free from vulgarity or coarseness".  

How is this possible today?   We are saturated in vulgarity and coarseness; the prime trick is to maintain a rigid personal (emotional) hygiene.

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It is no longer sustainable, or superior a stance, to keep hurts and attacks under cover.  

What, then, is the healthy response to abuse?

The old adage, "If you have nothing nice to say about someone, don't say anything", used to be as basic as bread.

On the other hand, in the words of Teddy Roosevelt's daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, "If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me".

There is an old idea of propriety resulting in a response of stoic silence to abuse.   It is the equivalent of keeping a dangerous secret.

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Dangerous for the keepers of the secret, and dangerous for society on the whole.

No matter how you slice it, taking "the high road" of not speaking about emotional abuse is bad medicine.

Remaining silent can be motivated by a slew of wrong-headed beliefs and feelings.   It may be the feeling of embarrassment or self-blame about being bullied, or the discomfort and fear in nailing a bully, or even be in play via an internalized app of instant "forgiveness".

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I am a writer, media analyst, and psychotherapist. I'm interested in comedy, satire, politics, entertainment, pop culture, and business; exposing how the media powerfully spins the news we hear, and how this spin creates our feeling states and (more...)
 

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