Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I know I didn’t cause my parents’ divorce, but somehow I feel weird about it.
I’m in eighth grade and play football, run track and I’m a drummer in a band. The guys I hang with are cool. I have a girlfriend, but she has a friend that I kind of bully. I don’t know why. I know he’s not hitting on her.
My sister said I should write. She said I’m becoming a “narcissist” like dad. She said that’s why mom kicked him out.
I don’t get what that is. What’s going on?
Dear What’s up,
We’re sorry you’re experiencing shame over your parents divorce. You are right: you did not cause their divorce.
It might be hard for you to understand, right now, that everything that directly affects you isn’t necessarily about you. Your parents’ break-up is very traumatic. It may feel like a punishment for doing something horrible. While you feel the way you feel, until you don’t, you haven’t done anything to deserve blame for their divorce.
On the other hand, you may be bullying someone else because of your own revenge against your parents for breaking up your family. That’s not fair, of course. Vengeance never helps anyone. Bullying isn’t going to make you feel better and it will certainly harm the other person.
If you know you’re bullying someone, and you know it’s wrong, then you need to stop. Ask your parents for professional help.
Also, it doesn’t matter if the boy you are bullying is “hitting on” your girlfriend or not. You must stop taking out your pain on someone else.
You didn’t have a choice to become a victim of your parents’ divorce, but you can choose not to stay a victim. Learn how to grieve the loss of your family. Be a survivor and Define Yourself Before Others Do with our 5C’s: Civility, Confidence, Courage, Creativity, and Communication. Then you’ll become a good leader, who never wants to bully anyone.
We are concerned you have a girlfriend at your young age. You are still learning about yourself. Don’t limit your growth and confuse your focus.
A narcissist is someone who is intensely concerned with only his or her self – interests and who seems to forget that other people exist.
You are concerned about your family and you are in emotional pain.
You aren’t a narcissist, or you wouldn’t be writing us about your concerns.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
Rhonda Orr is the president and founder of the Prescott-based Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation. Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Send your anonymous questions to Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org. Find out more about Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation at www. rhondastopbullying.org.