I wrote the article to share what helped me to recognize when I was/am being bullied.
I wrote the article to share what helps me to recognize if a group, organization, church or other venue is good for me.
Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live. I am happy to see that you decided to stop by to visit with me. In today’s article I would like to share some thing with you that I have found that limits the ability of individuals to be individuals. Let me explain.
As each person grows and develop, they learn patterns of relating to other people. Society reinforces these patterns and like sheep, people mindlessly fall in line with other sheep. These social patterns mandate and reinforce compliance to interpreting and adjusting the manner to which individuals relate to social environments.
Let me explain what I discovered through my process.
As each person grows and develops within society they learn patterns. These patterns for living and relating to other people help the individual to interpret and adjust to their specific social environment (s) – be it in the nuclear family, school, church, employment and career paths. To survive within these environments, the individual may find themselves acquiescing to strong-willed individuals within these social environments.
Although individuals may see these strong willed individuals as having ulterior motives, going along to get along may be seen as a way to avoid confrontation and alienation.
In the nuclear family, school, church, employment or career paths, where the threat of emotional abandonment or reprisal is covertly or overtly used to both control and temper its members a trigger or pattern is set.
With repeated reinforcement, the individual becomes conditioned to a specific response, compliance.
Such conditioning can occur gradually over a period of time. When compliance becomes the expectation, shame – through a fear of abandonment, reprisal or alienation — can be used to intimidate and manipulate individual into believing their well-being will be in jeopardy unless they fall in line.
Patterns, Compliance and Conditioning
Patterns of compliance and conditioning – to avoid the fear of abandonment, alienation and reprisal – may subsequently set the individual up to believe that they deserve to be used, manipulated and controlled by people/groups throughout their lifetime. In the process, these individuals may subsequently trade their judgment for the judgment of the group’s leadership and for the group’s judgment itself.
In the process, the individual may find that their unique identity has been sacrificed to blend in with the identity of the group.
In the process, the individual may increasingly seek to find their identity within the group. Consequently, the individual may consciously believe that apart from maintaining rigid control and compliance with the group’s expectations, that they will never find their identity.
To avoid a loss of self in the groups identity, the individual may actively seek to dismiss and discount parts of themselves in an attempt to find their identity with in the group. In the process, we may find that we have abandoned ourselves.
In the process, individual may increasingly give up parts of themselves that do not serve the group’s expectations, dictates and/or agenda (s).
A question to consider — Are you being bullied by the group?
In the process, individuals may give up parts of themselves which make them uniquely qualified to be themselves to be a part of the group. In the process, they may find themselves (consciously or unconsciously) adopting the identity of the group.
Until pieces of the puzzle started to come together – that gave me the understanding – I had no idea who I was as an individual.
Instead, I found myself baffled and confused in my attempts to understand and anticipate what was expected of me. In the process of trying to make sense of my uncertainty, I experienced ongoing stress and anxiety.
In my experience, when the pain and anxiety of going along to get along to avoid alienation, was superseded by the pain of alienating myself from myself I knew that I needed to make changes.
Although it took me a very long time to connect the dots – so to say – I now realize when compliant conditioning is being used by any group, in any social environment — to control and manipulate its members, the members of the group are being bullied.
The packaging of the bullying may be subtle and refined, but the impact of being bullied, by the group or by individuals within the group; is the same as when it occurred on the “playground”.
Like frogs that are slowly cooked in a large pot of water — as the temperature of the water is gradually raised — if we do not pay attention to the dynamics of the group that we are a part of, we may find ourselves being “cooked” or duped into believing that our identity is in a group and not in ourselves.
In the process, we may find that we have given up our birth right. Our birthright to be uniquely ourselves.
In the process, we may discover that we never took the risk to learn how to use the gifts, talents, and abilities – that have been given to us — in ways that will work for us.
In my awareness, I came to realize that I had no idea who I was as an individual. With my awareness, I realized that I needed to make some changes. With my awareness, I began to embrace the parts of myself that I had readily discarded in my attempts to hold onto an illusion that my identity needed to be defined outside of myself.
I bought into the notion that my identity needed to be defined outside of myself because I did feel like I had a self.
With my awareness (that I had a self) I started to discover who a loving God created me to become in this life. With my awareness, I discovered that a loving God never intended me to be bullied by any group or individual.
With my awareness, I discovered that I could find my identity beyond the identity of the ‘group”.
Some Additional Insights
Moreover, when individuals seek to integrate socially, similar contingencies – compliant conditioning — can be seen deployed. If the individual does not comply with the group’s covert or overt expectations, the previously set trigger is tripped.
Discarding Parts of Ourselves
The individual — again — is led to believe that they must discard parts of themselves, in order to embrace what is expected of them. In the event that such expectations are used to control and manipulate the individual — with the threat of being ostracized, rejected, abandoned, or alienated — the grous may not be good for the individual.
The red flags need to be taken note of, if and when leaders or members of the group begin placing increasing expectations on you with repercussions — if you do not comply with their expectations. If you notice this dynamic occurring, with increasing frequency; the leaders and members of the group may not be good for you.
In my experience, I had to become aware of these dynamics before I could begin to separate myself from the emotional and spiritual impact of such dynamics. In my experience, I had to separate myself from these group dynamics before I could begin to learn to love and accept myself – as an individual. In my experience, I had to separate myself from such group dynamics before I could begin to see myself as valuable — as an individual. In my experience, I had to separate myself from these group dynamics before I could begin to use my gifts, talents and abilities in ways that work for me.
In my experience, I had to recognize when I was being shamed into “doing” by such group dynamics – subtly as it may have been — before I could begin to learn how stop “doing” and start “being” as an individual.
Compliant Conditioning and Manipulation
In my experience, I have come to recognize that groups who use compliant conditioning to control and manipulate their members are not good for me. I have come to realize that these groups are not healthy for me. In my experience, I have come to realize that by physically detaching myself from these groups, I take care of myself.
I do not place any judgment on the leaders or members of these group, as judging benefits no one. Instead, I take care of myself by practicing the principles of detachment and live and let live.
Keeping the Focus on Myself
By keeping the focus on myself, I am able to attend to my business, as I feel led to by a loving God. By keeping the focus on myself, I am able to use my gifts, talent and abilities in ways that work for me. By keeping the focus on myself and attending to my own business, I am able to stay centered. By keeping the focus on my own business, I am able to stay committed to my mission and vision as an individual.
Through being aware, I am able to distinguish whether I am being bullied and if a group or groups are good for me.
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