The Invisible Bully - It's not who you think!Dec 23, 2020
Are you a bully, and not know it?
As parents, we work really hard to teach our children to be kind and compassionate. We certainly don’t want our kids to be known as a bully and I’m sure we would like to think that we model being kind to others.
However, have you ever stopped to consider how you talk to yourself? In a recent coaching session with a Mom, she made the comment “I feel like I’m the worst mother ever”. When she said that I had so much compassion for her because I knew exactly what she was going through.
I spent years of my children’s lives questioning and doubting myself as a parent. I was a working Mom and could never live up to my own expectations of what I thought a “Good Mom” was supposed to do or be. I had a whole bunch of “shoulds” hanging over me, both things that I should be doing that I wasn’t and things that I should have done better in the past and didn’t. I had a constant monologue in my head telling me that I wasn’t doing enough. So I was forever beating myself up about it. I was being a bully - to myself!
As parents, many of us spend so much time in our own heads… worrying, doubting, and second-guessing ourselves. We look for everything that we’re doing wrong, and it makes us much less effective as a parent at the moment. As I’m coaching parents now, I have a whole different perspective and can see that just the fact that I was asking those questions and doubting myself - meant that I already WAS a good Mom in that I truly cared about the kind of Mom that I was and worked to try to be better. Despite my worries and doubts, I continued to show up. If only I had dropped the incessant monologue in my head. Or had a coach to help me see it for what it was, LOL!
So, how did I coach the Mom that was feeling like she was the worst Mom ever?
I let her know that just the thought itself was proof that she was a good Mom because she cared about the kind of Mom that she was being. We talked about all of the ways that she was an amazing Mom so we could poke additional holes in that thought.
Just because your brain offers you a thought, doesn’t mean that it’s true!
We showed her that when we started poking holes in the thought. You can observe a thought and decide to let it go and not make it mean anything. Kind of like when you ignore the bully instead of engaging!
We talked about her becoming more aware of her thoughts from a place of curiosity and compassion, instead of judgment. (So she wouldn’t bully herself:)
Here’s what that looks like:
Hmmm… It’s interesting that my brain is offering me the thought that I’m the worst mother ever. Is that really true? No - I do feed them, clothe them, help them with homework, hug them, take them to endless activities, and I’m sure the list could go on. The worst mother ever would not do any of these things!
We then talked about responding with love and asking better questions. A bully typically acts out because of insecurity and not feeling liked or loved. So what if we worked on having compassion, and loving, and supporting ourselves more. What would it look like if I was more compassionate towards myself? Consider that you want your children to have a healthy self-esteem and to love themselves. What if I was able to model that for them? What would it look like if I stopped being a bully to myself?
In Conscious Parenting Coaching, I work with parents to take a look at what their invisible bully is telling them that likely isn’t even true and we work on coming up with more supportive thoughts. Can you take a minute to think about what your bully is telling you? Can you counter any of those thoughts and come up with better ones? Just this one step can make you feel so much better as a parent!
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