This is Mental Health - Part 3
The Mind Bully
This blog contains offensive language
By Jonathan Wensley
The Mind Bully, now who would have thought we would be our own “cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit” BULLY? Chevy Chase (National Lampoons Christmas Vacation)
We all have our own bully living and breathing inside of us. But how steroid pumping they are, how much power and how much they grow stronger each day at each possible negative thought, is down to the individual.
But all too often we do not even notice the bully is there. You see, the mind bully is a master of disguise, it might be reading this blog right now and you do not even know it, and saying things like, “I tried writing a blog once, but I am rubbish at it, in fact I am pretty terrible at writing in general”.
Or perhaps your mind bully is saying to you right now “why am I so slow at reading”, or even “I really do not understand what this blog is all about, I just do not get it, so I must be an idiot”.
Then again you might be thinking this blog is dull and boring, it does not really explore the mind bully, and I wish this guy would just give up writing these things, no one is interested mate, give it up, your blogs are nothing short of pointless dribbles everyone could do without…. But perhaps that is just my Mind Bully.
Much like the school bully, the bully inside us can lead to anxiety and depression, and they always seems so extraordinarily strong and overwhelming. It says ugly and upsetting things and will try to pull us into a pit of fear and despair.
And when faced with fear, and the consequences of what that fear may manifest, we automatically fight harder to stop us being dragged into the abyss.
This fight is commonly described as a game of tug of war, the Mind Bully pulls on the rope, pulling you closer so you pull back to save yourself. And the harder you pull the bully pulls even harder.
When we start pulling harder, we make the bully bigger and stronger, we are feeding it, giving it exactly what it wants.
By simply listening and paying attention to the bully, by believing the bully and by reacting to the bully in how we feel and what we do, we feed the bully.
at the movies
But to put this terms that really makes sense beyond an imaginary tug of war with our inner bullies, think of the bully or villain in every great movie you have ever seen.
It probably would not surprise many who know me that I refer to the greatest Trilogy of all time, the one and only 1980’s box office smash hit, the most brilliant and timeless classic, ‘Back to the Future’.
A film for me which is all about facing your fears and conquering them. Facing them head on and dealing with them today because you never know what the future brings.
Today’s history for you has not been written yet, you have the power to decide what is written. You are in control of your destiny, the decisions you make determine your future, so make it a good one.
Biff Tannen and Buford ‘Mad Dog’ Tannen are the main antagonists in the trilogy. No matter what Marty does they are a constant overwhelming presence, big and fearsome.
Much like the Mind Bully, he always there pulling at Marty and blocking every path. Marty overcomes him and wins many times, but it is not until part 3 does Marty really face his demons and does not rise to the “yella belly”, “chicken” name calling.
Marty finally decides that he is ‘going to let go of the rope of tug of war’…
“He’s a Arsehole! I don’t care what Tannen says! And I don’t care what anybody else says either” Marty McFly ‘Back to the Future Part 3’
i am a bully
Impulsive, anger management issues, controlling, frustrated, annoyed, does not follow rules, in fact he creates his own… he is the bully.
Now I am sure that many of us have experienced or at least witnessed the behaviours of the school bully, usually the biggest or ‘baddest’ kid in school that will stop at nothing to get any kind of attention. Even if it lands them in suspension, which invariably it does, it gets the kids talking, they start paying attention to the bully, urban legends, myths, fairy tales and stories of unthinkable truths are formed.
The bully has the kids exactly where it wants them, in the school playground, in the classroom, in the gym, on the football field, and at home hanging around on street corners muttering their name. Wherever they are the kids are there breathing life into the bully like blowing up a huge red balloon, the bully gets bigger and bigger. Fiction soon supersedes fact and reality.
But if the kids stop talking about the bully and simply ignore them, the bully just goes away. At least that is what many parents I am sure have told their kids in the past, “just ignore them”, if the bully does not get the attention they need, then they cease to have any power, control, and cease to exist.
Well, you could argue that approach is just passive and really does not achieve much other than sticking your head in the hand and ignoring the issue in hope that it will just disappear. It does not deal with the issue head on, you do not confront your fears.
Another approach would be to think about just letting go, let go of the tug of war rope.
Many people fear the consequences of what might happen if they let go, frequently scaring themselves into all the worst possible scenarios of what could conceivably happen.
To the point where the fear completely over consumes them of what would happen if they let go, instead they grip even harder and hold on for dear life, pulling with all their might to save themselves.
Of course, they are trying to save themselves from only the absolute worst outcome that would ever happen, heaven forbid that instead of the absolute worst it could be somewhere in the middle or better yet, nothing terrible happens at all.
If you did let go of the rope with the mind bully, do you know what would happen?
Well, much like the school bully they would still be there saying what they say, but it would stop the attention the bully gets. Letting go of the rope it would remove all power to pull you towards the great abyss.
As we stop feeding the mind bully, gradually it will get weaker, smaller, quieter.
But to really make this work, going against the advice you may have got as a kid when face to face with your school bully, is to Notice and Acknowledge the mind bully, but do not believe everything the bully says, ‘you think’.
Take notice when you are being self-critical, when your mind bully is active and blaming you for this and that, putting you down and belittling your abilities and always come up short against your peers. Usually, this self- critical voice is common for you that you do not even notice when it is present.
Perhaps the voice reminds you of someone? A family member, a friend? Perhaps it is not just one person but every person you meet. Your self-critical thoughts are the words and voice you imagine from someone else, maybe a work colleague you cannot get along with or someone you look up to and admire.
What is the tone of voice they use? Parent-like, condescending, angry and disappointed.
What words are used? You should have, could have, must, bad or good ‘Black or White’.
What are the key phrases that come up repeatedly? I cannot believe you just did that again. Why do you keep doing this, are you an idiot or what? What kind of person are you? A fool, a selfish moronic fool that should have known better, could have done better, you disgust me, you make me sick.
If you feel bad about something, think about what you have just said to yourself. Stop and think about how you are treating yourself and ask your inner self, would I treat a friend like that, someone I love and care for? Probably not!
To really make a change in what you think and how it makes you feel, as that in essence is what mental health simply is, thoughts and how those thoughts make you feel. A change or different perspective, a new way of thinking, a more objective thought process is the key.
As thoughts are just thoughts, that is all they are, they are not real, but the feelings felt in response to these thoughts are yours, they belong to you.
You can change your thoughts or how you think about or perceive something, taking a more balanced view. And by tackling your thoughts you will start to treat yourself differently, better, kinder hopefully and then you should start feeling better.
Oh, and ‘just one last thing’ a trick I caught onto quickly. Be kinder, be nicer, less judgmental towards others, think about what others maybe going through and look upon them with compassion and thoughtfulness, and it will come back to you.
To be continued…
This is the third blog post of a series of 4, one posted each week here at http://www.beeiit.com, Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Practitioners.
Mental health is something we don’t all truly understand yet, …. but we’re gonna with everyone’s help, we all need to pull together.
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