I would like to just walk away from this, but it sticks in my heart and mind, the charge that I am a bully. Look inside myself—anonymous, and one not-so -nonymous, commenters said to me. If they are saying I’m a bully and they know many, many people who agree, then it must be so. Their feelings are valid. (Okay, they also accuse me of a having a “chronic need” for validation and recognition, which I think is a bit ironic.)
I did look inside myself and couldn’t find the bully they described. But I found it hard to write a blog post. Nothing seemed to get through the fog. The more I told myself to let go, the harder it was to think of something else. It was kind of like when I was a kid on Christmas Eve and the grown ups told me that Santa wouldn’t come until I fell asleep—and then I tried to fall asleep.
I just couldn’t get the voices of the chorus out of my body, mind, heart, and psyche. I had no idea what to do with that energy.
So, I set on a quest to understand what it was I needed to let go of.
Betrayal? That was painful, but that healed.
Anger? As always, that one subsides with time.
The hope that things could have been different? Almost there.
And then, I found it, lurking in my genetic conditioning—what I need to let go of: guilt and shame. Guilt for believing that I am entitled to be recognized for my accomplishments and shame for voicing it.
I will readily admit that the most painful thing for me is when someone willfully doesn’t “hear” me.
I will also readily admit that not being heard is a deeply rooted wound for me. I believe that when that happens, I attempt again and again to be heard, increasing the desperation and then the volume, as if either will solve the problem. I become relentless in my attempt to be heard.
I suspect my relentlessness is what is being translated as bullying. It is perceived as hostility, but really, it’s anger. I would say that willfully not hearing someone is a hostile act—a passively hostile act. I suspect that the decision to willfully not hear is a defense mechanism, one that might not even be conscious. It’s probably reflexive.
But that’s the other person. The question for me is: why the relentless pursuit to be heard when it’s clear that the person either doesn’t have the ears that are capable of hearing or just doesn’t think it’s important to hear me.
There is that niggling voice inside me that preaches guilt: who am I to expect to be heard—it is after all, just me.
So, really, I end up yelling at my own guilt. It’s the most useless form of guilt ever created by humans—a guilt for which there is no way out, because there is no reason to feel guilty to begin with. It is our birthright to feel entitled to our own life.
If gilding the lily means giving something a deceptively attractive or improved appearance, then I think guilt over feeling entitled to one’s own life is “guilting the lily.”
I don’t think we need to do either with our lives.
In defense of my relentlessness, it was my relentless pursuit to have writing as an art integrated into Art Happens that got Storied Nights established. I continued pursuing that goal when other writers who wanted a venue for recognition of all forms of writing gave up. Tricky thing, it is, the strength that can also be your weakness.
Have you read Brene Brown’s book on shame. It is excellent.
Thanks, Linda. I’ll take a look at it.
You can start with her wonderful to talk that she did at TEDx Houston, followed by being on the main TED stage the next year.
What an ego. Try “hearing” others.
Who are you? You seem to have a very strong negative opinion of me. Have I ever met you? If so, what is it I’ve done to you?
Why would anyone want to hear insults?
Well, Selene, that’s a good point! Thank you.
Dear “L”: Karen listens to many others, and she values their words much more than she values those of an anonymous internet troll, as she should. Using your “logic,” Barack Obama should listen to those who say he is a Muslim from Kenya. Your comment makes no sense if it is based on nothing more than her Blog post that you (supposedly) read. So, who are you? Oh, I know: an anonymous bully.
Hello again…it amazes me that Tom and your daughter have to keep defending you with these comments. I can promise that I have never met you and my opinion is strictly based on what I have read on your blogs. Therefore I still don’t understand why the person’s identity is even relevant. I am extremely baffled and offended by the fact that your daughter compared me to a rapist in the last blog. Basing my opinion on your blogs does not make me a bully. However, feeling the need to find out one’s identity so you can harass them further does indeed make you a bully.
I’m truly sorry that my blog offends you. How long have you been reading it? And how did you know that Erika is my daughter? Let me guess, someone told you. I’m guessing that you are a friend of Cynthia Patton.
For the record, I did not harass Cynthia Patton, despite the narrative that she has created. Cynthia rewrote history, and then rewrote it again when I held her accountable. If that’s what she thinks is harassment, then there’s nothing I can do about it. I did not send her threatening emails or texts. I just let her know that I would report her to the Bar if she did not take down the testimonial attributed to me on her law offices blog. When I called the Bar, they said that yes it was a reportable offense. I made sure to not mention her name because I didn’t want to besmirch her. I have since learned that it was not a reportable offense, but that comes from contradictory discussions with the state bar.
I did not report her to the Bar and my emails and texts were to warn her that I would if she did not remove my so called testimonial. I did that so I was operating with complete transparency. Why she would want a testimonial from me is beyond my understanding at this point. At the very least it lacks graciousness, and at the worst it’s hypocritical, given how she has portrayed me on her blog.
As for my family defending me, I’m grateful that I have a family that does. I tried to bring Cynthia into my family because she and Katie were being treated so dreadfully by her family. It was not successful. Cynthia brought with her the abusive dynamics she experienced in her own family.
I do not control either my husband or my daughters. They love me and that’s what people who love you do if they think you are being attacked. If you want to respond to my daughter, then you have the ability to do that. I know she can take care of herself.
It’s helpful to know that we have not met and that your opinion of me is based solely on what I have written. You are entitled to your opinion of me. I would respectfully disagree with your opinion of me. And there are many, many people who disagree with you as well.
Ah… Julie, my favorites masked verbal rapist! Curious, how you know my affiliation to Karen as, neither I ,nor anyone else here, has identified how I am connected to Karen. Should I list cyber stalker, to bully and verbal rapist?
I am also curious as to why my father and my defense of Karen, someone we know beyond her blog, is so awful. If I am to follow your non- logic, it is ok for you, Cynthia and others to support one another’s commentary of Karen but somehow not ok for people who know the whole person and full story behind these attacks.
I think I often see this non-logic used when bullies, which you are, taunting there victims when others come to their aid.
Something for you to think about while sitting in your cloaked judgement of others….. That and the fact that you are, once again a coward.
As I said, Erika is perfectly capable of taking care of herself.