Toxic Bullying & How to Deal With It by Kipling Sanders
Yonder was a young child when his parents got divorced.
His mother remarried a man who was a Quaker named Cam. A Quaker traditionally practices the pathway of Peace, within and without. However, Yonder learned over time that this was not the case with Cam, unfortunately.
Yonder was an empath, picking up on others’ emotions easily, and an indigo child.
Someone who helps bring awareness to others, to live a better, happier, and kinder more peaceful life.
When Yonder was 10 years old, he was sitting on Cam’s lap and accidentally farted. Yonder was a normal boy who played fart games with friends on field trips and did not think it was a big deal.
However, stepdad Cam had a big problem with it and pushed Yonder off him quickly.
As a result of the commotion, Cam hit his head on the corner of a bookcase and his head was bloodied. Ever since that experience, Yonder felt uncomfortable around Cam due to his unpredictable emotional reactions and negative energy.
When Yonder was 33 years old, he spent the night at his mom and stepdad’s house.
In the morning, Yonder was explaining to his Mom something that happened to him the night before. Yonder sat down cross-legged on the floor across the room from his mom’s bed. Since he was across the carpeted room, she had a hard time hearing him. Yonder moved closer to the bed so that she could hear him better, but she still couldn’t understand what he was saying. So Yonder went back across the room and sat cross-legged peacefully next to his mom’s office.
As Yonder spoke his stepdad, Cam, walked into the room from the hallway and from downstairs. For some unknown reason, Cam decided to run across the room (25 feet distance) toward Yonder and got close to him. He got as close as face to face with him, as Yonder sat relaxed cross-legged talking with his mom.
The strange reaction from Cam made Yonder feel extremely uncomfortable. Cam sat down in front of him cross-legged and mocked him. Cam yelled at him as he threw his arms and hands up high in the air like a monkey or gorilla flailing them rampantly in rage and hate while yelling at Yonder.
Cam then told Yonder he must leave, or the law will be called on him. Yonder left sadder than ever, looking back at the parents who he felt did not accept him or understand him.
A few years later, Yonder was in a bad car accident where his charcoal gray Lexus was wrecked. In the accident, Yonder walked away uninjured, but the vehicle was totaled.
Yonder asked his mom if he could leave his car totaled out by their house for a day or two until the tow truck company could pick it up. His mom obliged. By this time, Yonder was feeling so separated from his mom and stepdad that he didn’t feel comfortable spending time at their house to watch the car as he waited for a tow truck. He didn’t feel welcomed.
Yonder’s mom then asked her sister Yonder’s aunt, to keep an eye on the totaled car until the tow truck arrived. Then, his aunt asked Yonder’s stepdad to watch the car, which was a big mistake.
Yonder called to make sure everything was okay with the car and Cam answered. Once he heard Yonder’s voice, he began yelling angrily, “I’m not supposed to be here, I’m supposed to be going to Vegas right now!”
He repeated it 5-10 times, not allowing Yonder to respond. Yonder finally spoke, “Do you hear yourself talking, right now?” Yonder continued, “Your energy is not coming from a place of Peace, Love, or Light - the way you are talking to me is as if I’m your enemy or nemesis.” Cam never even asked if Yonder was okay or injured from the car wreck.
Cam preached the way of Peace, yet he possessed the traits of a bully. Sadly, Cam may have inherited the patterns from his mother. She was often vulgar, humiliated people, and had a severe drinking problem. Ultimately, she stopped drinking, but Cam never sought help for his emotional issues, in Al-Anon, Children of Alcoholics, or in any other support program or therapy. Therefore, he was never able to grow beyond those bullying habits.
On Christmas Eve after dinner, Yonder was joyfully discussing with his mom and stepdad the particulars of the book he was writing. He was excitedly explaining that he was hoping to get a new endorsement from a family friend, Emmerson, who was the new Director of a Foundation that was tied directly to the book. Unfortunately, the endorsement fell through which was disappointing to Yonder.
Cam assumed that Yonder did not like his friend Emmerson because of the disappointment in not endorsing his new book and from the tone of his voice. Cam thought Yonder had a personal resentment against Emmerson, but that was not the case at all, in fact, Yonder and Emmerson were friends and played tennis on occasion.
This is an example of the communication dysfunction between people, which creates resentment, and misunderstandings.
On Yonder’s left, Cam was getting disturbed emotionally and Yonder started to feel extremely uncomfortable. Moments later, Cam began yelling directly at Yonder. He repeated himself several times in a very nasty and hostile way as if he had drawn his sword for a battle. Yonder felt that much of the uprising was due to a few glasses of wine. Things turned bad quickly.
At this point in time, Yonder, a peaceful and sober young man, started to realize this anger issue was a recurring pattern with Cam and did not take it as personally as he had in the past.
Yonder decided to speak up this time saying, “I don’t like the way you are talking to me.” Yonder instinctively knew to nip this escalating emotional drama in the bud and remove himself from the situation quickly.
These were newly developing skills that Yonder had learned in Alanon and was beginning to practice in his life.
The most disturbing occasion with Cam was with Yonder’s girlfriend, a beautiful light-skinned woman of color named Ms. Davidson. At a party gathering, she, Yonder, and Cam found themselves separated from the rest of the partygoers. Cam asked her the following questions:
“Do you like collard greens?”
“Does your mother like to cook you Fried Chicken?”
Ms. Davidson was taken aback by these strange, stereotypical, bigoted questions.
As they left the party, she explained to Yonder how offended and uncomfortable she was with Cam in that conversation. Later that night, she became more and more enraged about what his stepdad had asked her. She asked Yonder, “How come you didn’t protect me or save me from that man?”
Yonder received the rough end of a stern yelling that night from Ms. Davidson.
She has been haunted by this treatment by Yonder’s stepdad for years and has had an awfully hard time processing it. “WHY THOSE QUESTIONS?!” She felt violated and those boundaries had been inappropriately crossed.
Yonder was again upset by the dysfunctional drama that has continually taken place within his family, but instead of engaging with his insensitive and troubled stepdad, he decided to use his experience to help others dealing with similar issues.
Again, Yonder drew strength from the 12-Step programs he had been attending and knew the solution was to remove himself from this situation and try to help another person who was struggling with similar issues. This was the 3rd strike for Cam. Yonder knew had to tell him that he was stepping out of his life until he could treat him and his friends with dignity, class, and respect.
Not all people are kind, they have personal struggles. We all do. But it is not fair to bully anyone or make them feel uncomfortable, and that is when removing yourself from the situation is the intelligent choice…not allowing yourself to feel uncomfortable or unwelcomed.
Yonder’s own mother is also powerless over the attitude and actions of her marriage partner, and sadly she does not have the Al-Anon skills to deal with any of it.
Her mechanism for this situation is denial. And that is something Yonder must understand and accept also. He cannot change or fix his mother in the same way he cannot change or fix his stepdad.
As we grow older, we realize that our parents have their own inner struggles and are not right all the time. Just as everyone is doing the best they can with what they have learned and practiced up to this point in their life, the same applies to our parents.
Even as Yonder has grown, he remains dismayed by the response he has received from his stepdad and his mother. Yonder is saddened by the fact that they remain unaware of their own behavioral issues and do not accept any personal responsibility for their parts in the dysfunctional relationship.
Ultimately, Yonder realized the dysfunction is unresolvable and said calmly, peacefully to both of his parents during a visit to their home, “I can’t do this. I’m sorry. I’m leaving.” He told his stepfather, “just please stay away and stop interacting with me. You’ve done enough already.” Yonder grabbed his car keys to leave in peace. Yonder put his jacket on and walked out the door after stating his point. He was done with negative energy and people, and unjustified maltreatment. But again Cam began yelling and making a scene, following him out to the car with an empty bottle and a glass of wine in hand.
Why does this family drama have to happen? Is it simply passed on from Cam’s mother, an alcoholic herself? Combined with the fact that Cam never sought help for his issues, this is the most simple and reasonable answer. It runs in the tradition of families until a bottom is reached and family members seek help, which is Yonder’s solution today. This is Yonder’s personal solution and he knows he cannot impose that on anyone else.
Conclusion and the Possible Solution
In examining this situation, Yonder may have done the most responsible thing possible. If you realize you cannot effect change in someone else's life, remove yourself from an intolerable circumstance.
The Golden Key is to always respond with Love.
However, Love in today’s society is often misunderstood. Love is not a being a doormat. Love is standing for Truth, and for Peace in all situations all the time.
There is a lesson to be learned.
When one door closes another door opens.
Stay positive, optimistic, and be grateful for the littlest of things in life.
Be kind, smile more often, to your classmates, co-workers, friends, family, and even strangers, you never know when you might change someone’s life for the better.
Set your course to head toward peaceful waters and a healthy, functional way of Life.
Kipling is a tennis pro coach. His first children's book, The Wonderful Adventures of Lemur Blue can be found on amazon