Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I have three best friends from when we were all little. We grew up together and now we are seniors and they have all treated me so badly this year!
It started around Halloween. I couldn’t decide what costume I wanted to do. So I sent pictures to one of my friends, Jane, with different outfits like an Egyptian, then one like Taylor Swift (they always say that I look like her). Then I sent a picture of me looking kind-of like a sexy clown.
Jane made fun of all of them and sent them to my other two friends. She showed the sexy clown to my mom.
My mom got mad at me and told me “You should know better than that” right in front of Jane. So she started saying that to me every day in front of everyone. She started showing that picture to the whole school. It was embarrassing! I didn’t want to go to school, but my mom made me.
And now, Jane told a guy I’m dating and in love with, that he should watch out, because I’m very insecure and needy.
Then she also told him that he better make sure I don’t get pregnant because he would be “stuck” with me forever (we don’t even really have sex). He told me all of this! He told me to stop worrying about Jane and we should just have fun with graduation and stuff.
He doesn’t understand. I just want to die and forget about everyone. I don’t trust anyone.
Dear Sue (not your name but we aren’t going to ascribe a hurtful signature to you, as you did),
We know you are hurting and you aren’t alone. Too many kids feel unloved and not liked. In fact, you may have heard that 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because someone is bullying them.
Jane has her own problems with how she feels about herself. She is not ready or doesn’t want to take a look at herself and decide who she is. She is envious of you and focusing on bullying you.
Jane will make her choices and you cannot let them decide who you are. That’s your job.
Part of your sadness may be from losing someone you trusted and counted on for years. She will continue victimizing you until you make a choice to not stay a victim.
We’ve said many times, you don’t choose to be a victim, however, you may choose to not stay a victim, stuck under her control and meanness.
Grieving any loss — and you have lost your friends — requires going through the five stages of grief and empowering yourself to not stay a victim.
Here they are:
Denial- We know it’s most hurtful to be betrayed by longtime friends or family. We want
you to say to yourself every single morning, “I am worthy of being loved” (if you believe in God). Pray as you say this: “I am a child of God and He loves me.”
Anger- Anger is a result of extreme and painful hurt. Try screaming into a pillow every morning and night or pretend to chop wood. Then write your feelings down, then tear them up and MOST IMPORTANTLY – flush them down the toilet.
Bargaining- Bargaining is trying to avoid changing and growing outside of your victimhood. It doesn’t work.
Depression- Start rewarding yourself for getting through Denial, Anger, and Bargaining! Do nice things for you!
Acceptance- Forgive and serve others with random acts of kindness. Write notes of gratitude or take treats for your family. Focus on others and you will start feeling good about who you are. Define yourself through our 5 C’s –Civility, Courage, Confidence, Creativity, and strong Carriage. Stand tall!
Remember, our Triangle of Triumph™ (Victim-to-Survivor-to-Leader) is a process. Be patient with yourself but count on yourself. We believe in you. Make sure to believe in yourself and find your own ethics and values.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri