Bullying: The Invisible Devil

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Nothing makes my day better than seeing a person calling out some act of injustice, something I can never be brave enough to do. Here is this article talking about a woman who was brutally humiliated in a job interview and then offered the same. She turned down the offer with a post on Twitter. Following is the link:

https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/reports/a26085738/olivia-bland-job-offer-declining-letter-bullying-viral/

All through my life, starting from the age of 4-5, I have been subjected to bullying. Whether it is due to my lack of self-confidence or my lack of self-confidence is a result of constant bullying, it’s difficult to tell. But I can tell one thing, it’s not about gender, it’s about a power that the bullies feel they have over the bullied. It all started when as a child of a migrant family, I was often bullied by the rich Hindi-speaking neighborhood kids. I was bullied at school. I was bullied at college and office too. The funny part is my bullies might not have even realized it.

There is something very wrong with us. We hardly teach ourselves to choose our words and behavior wisely. We tell our growing children, it’s a cruel world. Honestly, in the last three decades, I have lived, the only ruthlessness I have faced is unnecessary humiliation. I might be privileged or lucky when I say this is the only kind of violence, I have faced but isn’t this true that verbal abuse often gets unnoticed and unacknowledged, sometimes as a person’s nature or the perks of power? Isn’t it a sad reality that people think they are doing a favor to you by being nice? And whenever you call out this bad behavior of your parent, teacher, spouse, friend or boss, you are declared “mentally weak”.

To set the context, I would narrate an incident from my college days. I was offered my first job. I was quite excited and nervous at the same time. The joining formalities required me to obtain a document from my college office. It was almost a week that I was following up with the office but was not able to get my work done. Out of desperation and fear of losing the job offer, I made an appeal to the higher authority. This certainly worked as I received my document within the next five minutes. Next thing I know I was standing before my Coordinator who was apparently very mad at me for complaining. In front of the entire college, she yelled at me, “You are a disgrace to this college. We are ashamed you are our student.”

It’s been ten years since this incident happened. Those harsh words didn’t make any sense and were totally unrelated to what happened. I have met this coordinator 2-3 times after that and we always had a cordial relationship. However, these words have been there, on my mind, verbatim. Every time I have self-doubt, they come back to haunt me. The person who abuses often forget but these words like a curse get attached to the victims. They take away some power, some self-love from the victims.

I am not saying this as a victim only. My father once made me realize that though I am a very meek person, I often got into fights with auto drivers, tailors, gas suppliers, and other service providers. That day I realized that although I lacked the confidence to face people in general, since I was paying for these services, the money gave me power over these poor people. I just channelized all my suppressed anger on them. And that’s when I was able to understand it that somewhere, we all are the abusers and the victims.

It’s only a matter of realization. The world is full of competition and complications. It’s not a fair game. We gather a lot of negative emotions. The number of mental health issues is going up day by day. Keeping it together is the most insane thing we are required to do but kind words are the need of the day. You may fail to make your point. You might not be able to instill fear of the system on someone’s mind. You might not achieve your sales target. You might not hire a confident employee. You might be perceived as someone weak. But today, if you stop yourself from exercising that false power over someone, you might avoid demolishing someone’s morale.  

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