Dear Rhonda & Dr. Cheri: She's the bully, right?
Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
Jody was my best friend since first grade. We did everything together. We had birthday parties together. We went to the same schools until this year when her mom put her into a charter high school. She's really smart. She's really pretty. She always told me I was pretty, too.
She started to be friends with these two other girls and some boys too at her new school. I left text messages and called and she answered one time and said she'd call me right back.
Then my so-called best friend thought she hung up but I heard her say to her new friends that I was just her loser, fat, dumb friend. She never called me back.
So I said some mean things and secrets I knew about her on Facebook. Then she started texting bad pictures of me and a few went to a guy she knows I really like since like third grade.
Now Jody acts like she is the one who is so hurt and is turning everyone against me. I am laughed at and I've been tripped and stuff like that, on purpose, at school. Girls in our dance classes are whispering about me. Everybody hates me but she was the one who was mean to me first.
I don't know why I even care. No one cares about me. I just stay home and read and then I get really angry all over again. I feel like I'm going to explode!!! I just want to go over there and tell her off for being a mean girl or bully or whatever!
She's The Bully, Right?
Dear She's The Bully,
Yes, your long time friend was mean and betrayed you. Jody abandoned you when you felt really secure about her care, loyalty, and friendship. You were caught off guard about one of your most important relationships and you're experiencing a huge loss.
You have a right to feel mad and hurt. You did not deserve her bullying antics. On the other hand, you decided to eavesdrop on a conversation which was not for you to listen to and could have been in a context not even meant for you. You did set yourself up to interpret it for face value. Then you chose to react impulsively on it. You may have taken time to cool down and deal with her directly about what you heard and how it hurt you.
Revenge and payback are never answers to bullying. You may have already realized that you are a sensitive, kind and gentle person. It seems your choice to impulsively give Jody payback isn't within your true defining ethics.
Now, you need to make up your mind to care about yourself by:
Have a planned pity-party and scream into a pillow, thirty minutes a day for a week.
Follow our Triangle of Triumph and decide to move away from being a victim.
Stop isolating yourself with books and stop hiding at home.
Be a survivor: Define Yourself Before Others Do with new talents such as kickboxing, sports, and/ or theater. Commit to it for six months.
Become a leader by being a good example of forgiving (not condoning) Jody.
And, now, care about your friend:
Write an apology letter to Jody and simply say you are sorry without shaming and blaming her. Don't expect a response back from Jody-that's okay.
Stop Bullying and Start Leading! You deserve the best!
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
Rhonda Orr is the president and founder of the Prescott-based Rhonda's STOP BULLYING Foundation for Girls.
Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Send your anonymous questions to Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org or by mail to The Daily Courier 1958 Commerce Center Circle, Prescott, AZ 86301.