Compliments of D-Downer via Flickr

Bullies create a back channel to the abyss – an aperture to a dormant resting state of terror, obsession, paranoia, and fear – a sidelines quicksand waiting to devour our sanity. In What Dreams May Come, Matheson states that each of us has access to dark thought. Some of us consciously choose misery (and in so doing) inflict targets with a self-blaming form of affliction. Explosive bullying ignites primal fear – particularly we are branded “bad” in a public forum.

We must avoid that which causes harm. But in the event of coliseum style abuse, our sensing mechanism may go haywire. Targets hobble with a low-grade static until crisis reactivates shame-filled sensations, ones tattooed within their nervous systems. Mental vigilantes that push out incessant warnings and irrational, intrusive thought. Psychological scars that are difficult to see and nearly impossible to heal.

In The Tenth Insight: An Experiential Guide, Redfield and Adrienne describe hell as a cold, dark, heavy, and endless place, a state of “self-loathing.” Post bullying a zip file of fear that leaps forward whenever we feel exposed, stressed, insecure, or even when we attempt to launch a new project. A feeling that we are subject to arbitrary whims in an unjust world that cannot wait to administer our comeuppance; jolted unexpectedly by trepidation currents that keep us locked in a fetal position. Torment is incessant, chronic, and unyielding – a recursive maze that targets must somehow compartmentalize to function “normally.”

The path to self-redemption is paved with social activism. Searching for answers is a sense-making tool that helps us understand not only what happened, but creates a way to reclaim our personal power. A campaign to better humanity which peels back layers of ignorance that proliferate blame/shame of other people.

We can chisel away at belief systems that suggest “might makes right,” abusers are self-justified, and that targets brought it on themselves. Although we may feel engulfed by seemingly superimposed, involuntary negative mind set, it does not mean that we cannot work to change our reality. Transformation occurs when we will it one baby step at a time.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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