Love, Loyalty and Bullying

Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively to impose domination over others. Bullying consists of four basic types of abuse – emotional (sometimes called relational), verbal, physical, and cyber.  More complex bullying in which the bully may have one or more “lieutenants” who may seem to be willing to assist the primary bully in his or her bullying activities. ~ Wikipedia

Photo via Walt Disney.
Uderdog. Photo via Walt Disney.

I’ve always been a champion of the underdog. When I was in high school I got suspended for fighting with the class bully. It happened like this.

While playing volleyball in gym class, the Mean Girl began to make fun of a physically and mentally challenged student because she was having difficulty serving the ball.

I told Mean Girl to stop bullying the girl. Her response? “What are you going to do about it?” My response? “Keep it up and you’ll find out.”

Mean Girl kept it up.

Up to this point, Mean Girl and I had been adversaries on the soccer field and the basketball court, but the rivalry had never gotten physical. But that day it did.

In the locker room I decided to let the issue go and went about changing my clothes. And then Mean Girl called me a name I will not repeat.  I turned around slowly, craned my neck upward to meet her glare, and decked her.

Mean Girl fell backward over the bench, but in one fell swoop she leapt up and attacked me. Moments later the gym teacher came in and hauled us both to the principal’s office. We both received a three-day suspension.

My parents were not happy with me for getting suspended, but when they learned that I’d taken on the class bully to defend the underdog, they did not punish me.

Love Loyalty and Bullying Line in the Sand

Now, like then, I am compelled to draw a line in the sand and choose a side. I don’t have to. I could choose to be Switzerland and stay neutral, but then I wouldn’t be standing up for my principles. One of which is to fight (metaphorically now, I’ve long since put the boxing gloves away) for what’s right. And now, like then, I choose to take the side of the underdog.

And who, you ask, is the underdog?  My sister.

And the bully?  One of my other sisters.

I’ve long since known my sisters, Prickles and Moon Flower, were on the outs (names have been changed to protect their identities). Once the very best of friends, they had a falling out and haven’t spoken to each other in years.

Prickles then imposed her domination over a group of other family members who joined forces in hatred for Moon Flower. Most recently, and most painfully, Prickles recruited another lieutenant, Moon Flower’s nearest and dearest friend, our sister, Nandinia.  Nandinia in turn recruited her daughter against Moon Flower, launching a final, devastating blow against Moon Flower.

And then, as if to proclaim her victory, Prickles sent out a group email to everyone in the family, officially proclaiming the collective hatred for Moon Flower and letting her know in no uncertain terms that she is not welcome to step foot anywhere near her or any of her soldiers.

The email arrived in my box an hour after I received a phone call from Prickles telling me how much she loves me and what an amazing sister I am. This phone call was followed by an email from Nandinia saying the same thing.

Let me make it perfectly clear which side of the line I’m on. I stand with Moon Flower. I know her. I’ve fought with her many times over the years. And one thing I know to be true is this. Her heart is pure. She may say something that hurts you (don’t we all at times), but she is very loving and very caring. And she is suffering immensely from the hatred directed at her.

I don’t know what happened between Prickles and Moon Flower, but nothing justifies the level of hatred that has been sown against Moon Flower. And I have no place in my life for people who hate. Who are incapable of forgiveness.

Even if they are family.

What about you? Have you ever had to take sides between two people you care about? I want to know.

6 comments on… “Love, Loyalty and Bullying”

  1. I feel for you. I have 3 sisters and we’ve had our ups and downs but it’s never come to what you’re describing. I did, however, draw the line w/a friend when she was dating a married man. She wanted my approval and I couldn’t give it to her. She kept trying but in the end, my position stayed firm. We’re no longer friends and she ended up marrying this same man (once he finally got a divorce) They even have a child together. We ended up in a huge, ugly fight (with curt words on both sides) and my only regret is I didn’t choose sides more gracefully.

  2. I’m not sure you the players are in this scenario. But I do know this….you’re family has been going through very tough situations in the last few years. way is to that is to stand together.
    Prickles may have an agenda and her story for that is unclear at this point. She can choose to feel what she does. It sounds like the call you feel is injustice and to stop moonflowers pain. Continue to love both as you do. Maybe the call is for you to have a confrontation , but perhaps it calls for you to be a bridge. I think I have a thought as to who moonflower might be. Perhaps you understand her better than most. :).
    Yes I know I didn’t follow up with our dinner and it’s been weighing on my mind. ( shame spiral) I love you though. 🙂 Don’t suppose you’re free tonight ?

  3. Wow. My proof readings was HORRIBLE. ( revised first paragraph)

    I am not sure WHO the players are in this scenario. YOUR family has been going through very tough situations in the last few years, the best way to stand strong through those is with TOGETHERNESS as a team.

    I think that’s better…

  4. Well, I was sort of put in a position to choose one parent over the other. I chose Switzerland. To this day, I believe I made the right decision. And my parents were able to work out their differences and became a united front, for which I am eternally grateful otherwise I would have had to chop my body in half and choose both sides.

    Sorry you’re in a Prickle/Flower mess.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  5. Moon Flower

    Hi, it’s Moon Flower,

    In the process of maturity, one would like to believe that bullying is a by-product of immaturity of childhood, albeit not limited to, unfortunately for our family.

    To Nandinia, I pray that your life will always be filled with Love, Peace and Happiness.

    I have chosen to surround myself with only positive friends and family who are loving and kind. There is no room in my life for any but.

    PEACE to all….

    ~Moon Flower

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