There is a lot of talk lately about bullying and how wrong it is. How damaging and cruel and all the places you find it. One of the worst places, I think, is inside the family unit.
Ordinary people, who wouldn’t dream of bullying in the general sense, can be guilty of the quite severe bullying of a family member. Most families have at least one relative whose modus operandi is to shoot people down. Usually condoned as ‘being for their own good.’
As if nagging someone to the point of insanity can ever do any good.
Sometimes, even the kindest people think they have the right to do it, simply because they are family, especially if they think the recipient deserves it.
I am sure quite a lot of us have been on the receiving end of severe nagging that all too often can slide into bullying. There is a very fine line separating ‘helpful suggestions’ from the cruel taunting that is present in a lot of our homes.
Here follows an excerpt from Simple Says by Anita Dawes, a story about such family bullying. Even more despicable in this case because the abused is a mentally challenged man, someone with the mind and heart of a child. Someone who only had one friend in the world, his half- sister, Leanne.
“Simple was almost well enough to leave, but Belle made us stay a few days more than we needed. Said she liked the company. As we left, she said I should come by some time, ‘Bring Simple if you want. There’s a bed and food on the table whenever you have need of it.’
I thanked Belle for her kindness and told her I understood there was more than one way of telling a story. Simple was pulling at his ear, the way he did when Lizzie cries, or when his thoughts won’t settle or his mind won’t let him hold on to one long enough to say what he’s feeling. He didn’t need to tell me, I could feel his fear alongside my own. I took his hand, the one that didn’t want to let go of his ear and led him towards the clearing, to the path that would take us home.
On the way, I told Simple Gran wouldn’t be mean to him no more, that I wasn’t going to let anyone hurt him again. We walked slowly; there was no need to hurry as I was in no rush to see Gran. When we stopped every now and then to eat the food Belle had given us, I wondered how it would be. Simple was still pulling at his ear, while trying to tell me Gran was gonna be mad at him. Then he said he couldn’t go back. ‘Lizzie s-sad, Simple didn’t get b-baby.’
It didn’t seem to matter what words I used, his mind was stuck on Lizzie having what she cried for. Then it hit me. I would work on Lizzie! The thought came like a flash of lightning. If I stopped her from carrying on, Simple would stay out of trouble. I was feeling better about going back with every step we took.
We needed to reach the caves before it got much darker. I could feel rain coming and the need for sleep was slowing my body to a stumble. We staggered on and finally saw the mouth of the caves. I never thought the sight of them would be welcome, but it was a temporary haven. Better than what awaited us at Gran’s.”
You can find Simple here… myBook.to/SimpleS