Today I’m writing about Erroneous Belief #7, from the book “Your Sacred Self” by Dr Wayne W Dyer. I’ve taken 10 of the Beliefs Wayne has written about, and applied it to my own life.
Erroneous Belief #7 is:
PETTY TYRANTS SHOULD BE IGNORED
Some people in this world have so much pain in their souls that they feel the need to take it out on innocent bystanders. It’s the only way they can make themselves feel better, or to preserve their own well-being, or justify their existence. Bully is one word to describe these people. They could also be dictators, tyrants, or just downright nasty so-and-sos.
The question is: what should I do if I’m being bullied at work/home/in my social circle? Do I ignore them and try to deflect their attention elsewhere? Do I face up to them and show my mettle? Do I run away and hide from them? Do I tell on them and get them into trouble so they’ll leave me alone?
There are many schools of thought on how to cope with these petty tyrants. Any or all of the above could or should work, but sadly, sometimes, even with the best intentions, nothing works.
I was being bullied at work by my direct line manager. It wasn’t that I was doing anything wrong, or that I was a poor worker. It was just that she had targets to meet in her own job, and one of them was that she had to be seen to be correcting a team member. However, it became a personal vendetta for this manager, and she took it upon herself to persecute me at every turn, as I was easy game. I was aware, from observing my fellow team members, that none of us was perfect, but some of us could get away with murder while others just had to say a wrong word and that would be it. Sure we were all equal, but apparently some were more equal than others. And so I “copped it in the neck” more often than anyone else.
I did everything according to the book, but this manager really had it in for me, and even after I pointed out to her that her favourites were getting away with errors and negligence, she ignored that and instead placed my work under even deeper scrutiny. I lodged a formal complaint against her, but her direct manager just happened to be a crony of hers, who went on holidays to Bali together with her…so you can guess what the outcome of That was. In the end, I decided that my workplace was simply too toxic to work in, I was getting stressed just thinking about going in to work in the mornings. So, I handed in my resignation after an excruciating year putting up with my petty tyrant’s behaviour.
Best decision I ever made.
Once the excitement had worn off, I sat down to think about what lessons I’d learnt from this experience. One thing I learnt was that you cannot hope to change a person’s thoughts, opinions or heart. They have to do that by themselves. Another was that I needed to learn not to take things personally… which is a difficult lesson to learn, when one’s job and livelihood are at risk. Another lesson was that, no matter what you do, if your face doesn’t fit, you’ll never satisfy some people, as simple as that.
But, you know what, that’s not my problem, it’s theirs.
I believe our Life experiences shape our character. What doesn’t kill you, really does make you stronger. My own father was and still is, to some extent, a petty tyrant. I learnt at a young age what conditional love meant, when he more or less mentally disowned me when my school grades did not meet his expectations. I learnt to shut off my emotions when around my own father, to never cry a tear in his presence, to keep my innermost thoughts and ideas to myself. Another valuable lesson he taught me was that you should never surround yourself with toxic people, those who zap your spirit with their negativity and patronising behaviour. After all, who wants to be reminded that they are a “constant disappointment”? So, even though we have a rocky history between us, I’ve learnt to thank my father for giving me the steel backbone of my persona, and I’ve also learnt how to accept and interact with people like him… in small doses.
The Kid keeps getting bullied at school. First, in primary school, and now, in high school. My guess is that he’s too soft and gentle, and bullies like to take advantage of that. We’ve discussed various ways of getting the bullies off his back, and he’s tried them, to varying degrees of success. However, there is still one bully, who we believe has behavioural problems that needs addressing not by his parents or by the school, but by a child psychologist. This particular kid keeps getting into trouble with the teachers and has absolutely no respect for authority whatsoever.
The Kid will have to figure out, by trial and error, how to deal with his own life’s petty tyrants. My job is to make sure that his sense of self-esteem isn’t eroded by bullies, and to help him take the moral higher ground. Karma’s a bitch, and those bullies will get what they deserve, sooner or later. Already, we’ve seen how The Kid being bullied has turned into a positive experience, not just once, but twice. He was elected by his peers to be Head Boy of his primary school, and now he’s a Student Councillor at his new high school. So, in reality, much good has come of the experience.
If we keep ignoring the lessons that our petty tyrants are trying to teach us, they won’t go away, they’ll just keep reappearing in different guises, until we’ve learnt the lesson. I’m a prime example of a Failure, in that sense…my greatest downfall and disappointments have always been men. My first husband had affairs behind my back, my second and current husband had an online affair. Neither men appreciated me, instead, they simply neglected me once they’d gotten me over the threshold. I should have sensed what was coming – I never had a honeymoon with my first marriage; didn’t have one either with my second. The Kid’s father was an abusive alcoholic and chain smoker; I traded him in years later for another alcoholic. I’ve had a few gentlemen admirers in my time…who turned out to be not quite as gentlemanly as I believed, when they made their true intentions known. What is it with men and sex??!
So, my Life’s lesson now, I guess is that I need to learn to love myself, first and foremost. And everything else is just a bonus. And you know what? Since I turned on that switch in my head, Life is pretty awesome. I may not have everything I want, but I have everything I need, and that is pretty darn near perfect.