Bullying and Depression in Children

According to ABC News, 160,000 children a day stay home from school because they are afraid of their bully. Both boys and girls are equally distressed when bullied.

Now is a good time to look at the connection between bullies and suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of deaths in ages 5 to 25. The leading cause is depression.

Why are our children so depressed?

It is safe to say things have not gotten better over the years for our children, including their ability to cope.

Consider the point of the view of the child who is so terribly bullied by his classmates that he feels the only answer to his problems is to shoot them away.

Why do some children take their own lives, and some take the lives of others? A person in distress turns one of two ways – either inward on themselves, or outward on others. What causes such grief for someone to destroy themselves or others?

What happens to the mind/body/soul when a child is bullied:

The longer the duration of the bullying, the more intense the distress for the bullied. It is difficult enough for an adult with the maturity to rationalize and problem solve to not go down the thinking path that naturally comes with being bullied.

Children do not have the maturity to make rational decisions. Even adults become so pent up and angry that they are no longer thinking rationally. The longer the bullying, the more difficult it is to tolerate emotionally.

In the beginning of the bullying, it seems like a joke. “They are bothering me again.” We tend to laugh this off. Why admit someone is making us uncomfortable? But after a while, when the taunts do not stop, distress rises.

Warning Signs for Parents:

Your child will make excuses not to go to school, his grades will drop, as well as his interest in life, and he will be preoccupied and slow to bring himself around when spoken to.

For many children, these are signs of boredom or problems at home. But when your naturally happy-go-lucky child is bullied at school, the symptoms slowly intensify.

Behaviors change; he is irritable and short-tempered. Some become withdrawn, others are unruly and are often sent to detention. There are problems between the bullied and the bully, and these two frequently appear in the principal’s office for discipline. If the bully is true to form, he blames his victim, the principal believes him, and your child, the bullied, gets reprimanded and punished for not getting along.

This scenario is repeated over and over. Your child is devastated. His friends are no longer friendly to him; he may be lucky to have someone to sympathize, but your child is alone in his distress. The teachers tell him he lies. He soon learns not to talk about his bully problems because people intimidate him and will not listen. They hear the words, but they churn them into what they want to believe, which is not at all what your child is trying to say.

He will give you hints about his problems. He may sound like he’s blaming others as the reason for why he is not getting along. He will tell you how the teachers and principal are unfair. He will tell you incredible truths, if you will listen.

Most of us gloss over these signs and participate in the denial. Parents advise their child to try to get along, and generally do not take the time to listen to his problem. They minimize what he is telling them, and assume it is something he can work out with a little bit of forethought. Teachers tell him they do not see the bullying, so therefore it does not exist. Of course, teachers do not see anything. Every good bully knows to pull the pranks when the teacher is not looking.

What is a child to do?

Where does your distraught child turn? Who will help him? He is stuck in a vacuum where no one listens, and they do not believe him if they do listen. People will justify the bully’s actions, rationalizing the things they do. They tell your child to stop being so sensitive and grow a thick skin.

“Life is tough, kid, you have to learn to live with it.”

Your child should not have to live with a bully; to be so intimidated that they are afraid to be anywhere near the bully and his friends. No child should have to take a different route from home or school just so they will not be harassed by people bigger and tougher. No child should have to miss a single day of school because the adults in his life cannot help him solve his problem.

What does bullying do to your child’s mind, to his thinking? If we can understand what goes on his brain, we can stop the trauma. Having experienced many of these feelings myself, I can tell you with certainty, your child is in gut-wrenching emotional pain.

 

 

Negative People Bring you Down

you;re so stupidWhat would happen if you got rid of all the negative people in your life? The complainers, whiners, and manipulators. The abusers.

If you stopped associating with all those people who bring you grief, who would be left?  What percentage of your life consists of negativity?

We know, intellectually, that negative people bring us down, but even so, we live, work, sleep and eat with them.  We do our best to ignore them, to appease them, to understand them, but by the end of the day, we are tired of their drama.

Continue reading Negative People Bring you Down

Power and Control Issues in Relationships

Signs of Partner Violence

Power and Control.  We all need it.  There is nothing wrong with wanting your way.  But when it becomes an issue where your partner insists on calling the shots, tells you what to do and becomes angry when you do not, then this is power and control out of control.

The only thing predictable about an abusive partner is their unpredictable behavior.  One minute they are pleasant, the next minute they are biting your head off.

Continue reading Power and Control Issues in Relationships

Functional vs. Dysfunctional Families

Adult holding a child's handWE LEARN HOW TO ACT SOCIABLE IN THE FAMILY SETTING

In many cultures around the world, the family is the cornerstone of society – and of the individual’s life.  Family means everything.

Look to the cultures that understand the importance of supporting family and you see people who are generally happier.  It is difficult to not be happy with love and laughter flowing around you.

The family structure was so instrumental in the Chinese culture, that when Buddhism was transported from India, the Chinese insisted that the philosophy change to meet the family’s needs.  Even today, in our fast-paced world, people travel thousands of miles just to be with family and friends for the Chinese New Year.  Watch this video to see how important family is to the Chinese people.

This bonding is essential for a functional family.  Absence does not make the heart grow fonder.  Connection with family members and friends makes one more connected to themselves.

“Filial duty” which is duty to one’s family members, is not stressed enough in American homes.  Rather, we want to be “independent” and go our own way.  The problem with that is we go so far on our way that we become isolated from our past and those who love us. 

Then when there are problems with life, we have no one to turn to.  No one to care enough to help.  The American family structure has crumbled to the point where children cannot wait to get out of their homes, never to return.

In a functional family, family members freely express their ideas and feelings without fear of recrimination and feel safe in this knowledge. A healthy family supports one another in good times, and troubled times, with warmth and understanding. Family members are satisfied and content, and compromise is easy.

A dysfunctional family environment is the opposite. There is coldness, fear of expressing one’s emotion, and children feel misunderstood by their parents. This distancing may not be a sign of poor parenting skills, but a lack of social learning on the part of the parent.

If individual family members can heal, the family heals. With healthy families comes a healthy society. A society where people are happy and productive, not depressed and violent.

How we can help families

    • Stop the talk and put words into action to  slow this cycle of violence our world has fallen into.
    • Begin a grassroots effort to make a conscious effort to practice kindness and compassion.
    • Implement programs that bring the family together.
    • Engage public officials to work together in finding ways to stop the violence in our communities.

The American Medical Association’s Diagnostic and Treatment Guidelines on Domestic Violence state that,

“Family violence usually results from the abuse of power or the domination and victimization of a physically less powerful person by a physically more powerful person.” 

Unequal financial resources, unstable family connections , or troubling health status are situations in which the more powerful person exerts inappropriate control or intimidation over the less powerful person.

Any misuse of power, especially that which involves physical violence or psychologic intimidation, constitutes abuse.

    • A perpetrator is a person who performs or permits the actions that constitute abuse or neglect.
    • The term “batterer” refers more specifically to a perpetrator who engages in physical violence.
    • The most familiar constellation for partner violence is one in which the (current or ex-) husband or boyfriend is the perpetrator and the wife or girlfriend is the victim.
    • Men who are in homosexual relationships are often victims of partner violence.

Interpersonal violence and abuse, especially between relatives and domestic partners, are leading causes of morbidity and mortality.

Family physicians and other professionals who provide primary care health services must deal with acute presentations and chronic sequelae of this epidemic.

Many victims of abuse hesitate to seek help, while those who batter are often difficult to identify.

Take the Quantum Leap into Abundance: A Guide to the Good Life

from the back cover

Abundance. What does it look like?

Is it owning a room full of gold? Laying in a field of flowers? Or perhaps living in Shangri-La.

When do you know when you have enough? Where do you find abundance in the first place?

We are told to “have a better life,” but no instructions come with that advice. We wander around blindly, without direction, looking for the path of our dreams.

Finding self-esteem, losing weight, becoming less depressed – it seems that we should naturally know how to do these things. And we feel like failures because our dreams never happen.

We are not failures. We just don’t know how to accomplish our goals.

In this book, you will find:
    • a no-nonsense approach to building a kinder self-image
    • how to build meditation and gratitude into your day
    • how people turn peak experiences into life-defining moments
    • the real-world Shangri-La where people live beyond 100 years
    • what an ancient great swordsman says about spirit and iron will
    • how to have a more satisfying life
the story behind the book

Life cannot be all about trauma and bad thoughts.  There must be a counterbalance to the negativity in our lives.  This is why I wrote this book.

Each of us has a deep reserve of strength bubbling inside of us, whether we want to believe it or not.  

Take the Quantum Leap into Abundance:  A guide to the good life is not a book that tells you to think rich and you will be rich.

Since I wrote this book in 2017, quantum leap has gained momentum.  The Secret started the rush, I believe, but my book is different from the rest.  Different because my book talks about taking the right actions that will lead you to your dreams.

We want something, but our lives do not match our desires.  We want riches, but we are in a dead-end job.  We want a good life, but we cut corners.

Sorry to disappoint, the only way you will get anything accomplished in your life is to get off the couch and take positive steps toward that accomplishment.

Here is a brief overview of what’s inside this book

Hobson’s Choice is a term for choices that we really do not make.  We take it or leave it.  After an accident or with a disability, you did not choose to be in that situation, but here you are.  Hobson’s choice.

One of my favorite people is Admiral Stockdale.  You will learn about his story, but I will give you a hint:

It is called the Stockdale paradox.

stockdale paradox

Pin this on your wall where you can look at it often.  It will help you through the rough times.

We talk about belonging and having a positive self-image.  Are you a good communicator?  Did you know listening is an art? Have you heard of the “Talking Stick?” This is how many early cultures communicated in meetings.  The only person allowed to speak was the one holding the talking stick.  This would come in handy in many situations today!

the talking stick

The idea of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is not just a phrase from the Bible. It is a way of life for many cultures.  Reciprocity.

Learn about the philosophy of life from the world’s greatest swordsman and how you can apply it to your life today.  (No sword needed.)  And I present to you a different way of meditation – I have dropped hints in other blogs.

And last but not least – a chapter on faith and forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not something you do for the other person.  You forgive them so you can get on with YOUR life.  Why harbor grudges and hatred? 

Let them go.  Do not let negative people control you.  

an excerpt from the book
Come, take the Quantum Leap into Abundance. 
Watch your dreams come true!

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Walking Between the Raindrops: A Treatise on Trauma.

walking between the raindrops a treatise on trauma

WHY DO WOMEN STAY IN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS?

Chances are you have asked yourself this question about a friend or relative, or perhaps you even ask it of yourself.

In this book, we explore the notion that our society is based on violence. We talk about how a bad choice can permanently influence our lives, and how this knowledge is important when choosing a mate.

You will gain insight as to why we do what we do, and why we shut down when our relationships go bad.

Read about ways to resolve conflict, how to lead a successful life, and learn how to get people to like you.

The Story behind the book

An author’s first book is the baby of the bunch.  Instead of learning about parenting, a first book is where you learn the ins and outs of writing, of your writing style, and how well you can put words together.  Once you are finished, you realize it’s birth was not as bad as you anticipated, and the thrill of finishing it outweighs the struggle.  I could write a zillion books, but this first one will always be my biggest accomplishment as an author.

The book began as an idea in 2000 when I was taking a college course to become a domestic violence advocate.  There I was introduced to Gavin de Becker’s book The Gift of Fear:  Survival skills that protect us from violence.  I owe a great deal to this book.  It opened my eyes to my past that I failed to see before, and made me realize abuse takes on many different forms.

deBecker’s book will also open your eyes and help you understand why you allow strange bedfellows into your life, and how awareness of both yours and their actions will lead to healthier, and safer, relationships.

the gift of fear

A few years before this, the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) was passed, and the way society treated women and children was beginning to change. With VAWA, we hoped it would be no longer necessary to live in fear of an abusive parent or mate, or of being sexually abused and not able to tell anyone about it.

Life became busy and I had my own issues to deal with, but the idea was growing in my brain.  Why do women stay in abusive relationships?

My graduate studies were geared toward finding an answer to this question:  Why do women stay in abusive relationships?

 We hoped things would change for women and children, and yes, things have changed, all right.  Just not in the positive direction we wanted.  It seems there is more domestic violence now then there was 30 years ago.buy now

In Walking Between the Raindrops:  A treatise on trauma,  we explore the origins of mistreatment of women, and believe it or not, the abuse and male privilege dates to the beginning of our Western civilization, 753 BCE, the year Rome was founded.

Read about the Rape of the Sabines here.

This has been recorded many times in Roman history.  Draw your own conclusion whether the story is fact or legend. 

Whether the story is true or not,  I hope you agree, we live in a violent society and we are paying the price.

an excerpt from the book

We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
~Aristotle~

ACCORDING TO MARTIAL ART LORE, when a warrior comes out of a battle unscathed, he is said to have “walked between the raindrops.” To march through a rainstorm of artillery, living as if death doesn’t exist, requires extreme skill and enlightenment. This image perfectly describes how someone lives with an abusive partner or parent. Children avoid the abuser by keeping them happy; spouses walk on eggshells to not upset their mate.

The entire world has strayed. Everything is all about winning. Our mentality today is “if all else fails, shoot them.” Get them before they get you. Top Dog. Whatever it takes.

In the end, life comes down to relationships, not how much money is in the bank.

Money can’t buy love.

This book is about love and relationships and treating each other fairly. It is also about abusive relationships, and the toll it takes on everyone – children, mothers, fathers, friends, and extended family.

Abuse is generational. Our mothers and grandmothers tolerated abusive husbands. We pay the price with our emotional state and how we treat our bodies. We pay the price by how others treat us, and how we treat those we love the most.

The people of this world are very tense, masking symptoms of unhappiness with alcohol and drugs. Caught up in the rat race of daily living, we have lost touch with who we are. We have forgotten our self – our Soul.

This treatise on trauma is about the long-term effects of abuse, and what we can do to heal. Trauma knows no boundaries – it affects men, women, and children, and doesn’t distinguish between economy or social status.

Abuse and violence permeate our daily lives. My book is about understanding, not about gender, and even though the focus is on women in a relationship with an abusive man, there is information here for everyone.

To resolve our trauma and prevent it in others, we need to first understand and accept our personal lot in life. Women in abusive relationships find it hard to break free.

Why can’t she walk away?

Why does she go back? If she leaves the guy she’s with she often finds another just like him.

How many times does she get slapped, beaten, and put down before she’s had enough?

Why does she stay?

Every time she gets slapped we say, “Too bad. When will she ever learn? She’s such a victim!” When we look at the heart of the matter, when we view the situation through the woman’s lens, there is a different picture. Here is the chance to open our eyes to the real reasons women stay in their abusive relationships, day after day, year after year.

Pure stubbornness, resilience, love, loyalty – the kids.

how we react to trauma

Society: Institutions, agencies, and individuals. These entities contribute to family dysfunction. Well-meaning gestures often make the family situation worse.

Abuse: Overpowering, misuse of, or taking advantage of a human, substance, or object.

Abusers are abusers in all levels of society. The bully doesn’t just bully one little child on the playground. He bullies everyone around him. The playground and the family are the training grounds for bullies. Here children learn what works and what doesn’t, perfecting manipulating behaviors through trial and error.

Here they practice the behavior that gets their victims to grovel at their feet, to hang their heads in shame. Bullies learn how to make things go their way, not through kindness and compassion, but with meanness and manipulations.

We encounter abusers in our everyday life. The police officer with power too big for his head. The politician manipulates the system to fit his personal agenda. The neighbor. The boss.

It needs to be said. We are all abusers, in some form or another.

How did we become so immune to other people’s feelings? How did we lose respect for another human being’s values? When did we stop contributing to one another’s happiness?

kind

If one person, or one family, can heal from their trauma, this book has met its goal. If one individual begins the change, another will follow, and soon there will be a Revolution. A Revolution of treating one another with kindness and respect.

In the next pages, we will look at a different point of view about abuse. You will see how childhood perceptions control our choices as adults and how these perceptions also affect how we deal with bullies, bosses, and husbands.

We have lost touch with our nurturing natures. We make wrong decisions, pick incompatible mates, and rule our lives with fear.

The solution is not hopeless. We are not helpless to change it. Once we understand why we do what we do, this cycle of abuse can end.

 

With me. With you.

sarah ban brethnach

walking between the raindrops, a treatise on trauma

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Seven Summers of Stalking: The #1 Crime Against Women

 Book cover of woman looking at stalker

ARE YOU A VICTIM OF A STALKER?

Stalking Defined

Does someone repeatedly –

1. Call you with unwanted phone calls
2. Send you unsolicited or unwanted letters or e-mails
3. Follow or spy on you
4. Show up at places where you are without a legitimate reason
5. Wait for you at places where you will be
6. Leave unwanted items, presents, or flowers
7. Post information or spread rumors about you on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth
8. Threaten to kill, or does kill, your pet

Do these actions cause you a great deal of fear?

This is the definition of stalking by the Department of Justice. 

You are being stalked if you can answer yes to two or more of these and say they happen on a repeated and regular basis. 

You are most definitely not alone!

This is a crime that goes unnoticed until someone gets seriously hurt, if even then.  The victim tells family, friends, and law enforcement there is a stalker in their midst, but the pleas are ignored.  A stalker can appear in your life at any time, either over the internet or physically, or both, and like 7.5 million Americans who report stalking every year, your life will be turned upside down.

the story behind the book

“It is impossible to describe the taste of blowfish
to one who has never eaten it.”

This saying certainly applies to the feeling when stalked. “It is impossible to describe the feeling of stalking to one who has never experienced it.”

blowfish

In Seven Summers of Stalking: The #1 crime against women, my goal is to describe to the reader the personal and financial devastation that comes as a result of being stalked, what a stalker looks like, and what we, as a society can do about it.

This is not your regular horror story of an intimate or partner stalker. My stalkers are professional, they obviously have stalked before, and there is nothing “intimate” about them.  Yes, there is more than one.  They couldn’t have pulled it off otherwise!

Stalkers are grown-up bullies that have their act figured out to perfection.

The lead stalker was elected to an insignificant political position in my small backwoods rural community.  This made him think he was a big fish and had a free pass to act above the law. The story, in a nutshell, consists of a road that had been public for one-hundred years, and he decided to take it for himself.

Instead of going through the proper process, knowing the only way he could get that road was to scam it, this is what he did. He had enough people in high places that helped him “acquire” his road, including a judge.

Unfortunately, the road lies between him and me – in more ways than just physical. Of course, as any good citizen would do, I protested his stealing of the road, and the fight was on. It was time to purge the world of me, and short of murder, that is exactly what he set out to do.

It is amazing how someone can lie to the cops, repeatedly file false reports, take their lying witnesses to the judge, and people believe them.  Gossip and lies about someone spread like wildfire – and in a small town it takes about an hour for everyone to know.

He used me as a coverup for his collusion.  Smoke and mirrors.  “Mind your own business or I’m calling the cops!” I mind my own business and he calls the cops, anyway!  He has himself convinced I sit in my house day after day plotting ways to ruin him.  

In this dog-eat-dog world, the biggest dog gets the bone, and that is exactly what he did.

I would tell the judge these people were stalking me and setting me up, that if he would tell them to leave me alone I would not keep showing up in his courtroom, but I found out the hard way.

Justice is blind.

blind justice

And maybe deaf, too, because the judge sure did not hear me when I spoke.

Well, my stalkers loved it. They had a judge that encouraged them to continue with their lies and collusion.

A sociopath is someone who is charismatic, everyone likes him, you wouldn’t think he would be up to the things he does. But he hides his misdeeds through his charms. And people believe him.

The majority of stalkers, though are male intimate partners.  Woman can be just as vindictive and mean, but here we talk about men, because of the seriousness and danger of their stalking 

 The most dangerous time for a woman is immediately after she leaves.  She walked out on him because he was horribly abusive, and now he turns up the heat even more.  She thought it was bad before, well look at him now!

Domestic violence affects the entire family.  Not just the mom and kids, but the extended family, and close friends.  The happiness in holidays can quickly turn to drama, depending on whether every one is in a good mood or not.  Life is running along smoothly, and from seemingly out of the blue, tempers flare.

The relationship is over in her mind, but he still hangs on.  He will do whatever it takes to save face – to not look bad in front of his friends and family.  But unknown to him, his explosive temper has been a concern for everyone for some time, and he would do better to calm down and let her go.  But no, he becomes even more abusive and makes her life a living hell.

an excerpt from the book

The Impact on the Family

When a child dies before the parents die, the parents suffer greatly. The second greatest suffering is watching your daughter live in an abusive relationship and that is all you can do – watch.

Whatever you do makes the situation worse, and one day you realize everyone is better off if you step away as far as you can. One hand on the phone, ready to call the police, the other hand pulling in the children to give them comfort – once again.

Watching and waiting is agonizing. The mother waits for two things: “Mom, come get me.” “Mom, he hurt me.” The mother is worried. He is mean and out of control. Her daughter and the children are in danger. She is afraid that the final call will not be from her daughter, but from the police, bringing the news her daughter is dead.

One day, hopefully before the “he-hurt-me” call, the daughter will call for help to get out – for the last time. She has made her resolution, she cannot tolerate the abuse any longer. The mother sighs with relief and does everything she can to help her daughter get back on her feet; tenuously waiting for her to change her mind and go back – once again.

This cycle continues until one day the daughter decides it is over. Or is it? She decides to leave, but her man is still hanging around, and the contacts create fear. It is time to end this, but he cannot let go.

After the divorce and the drama are ended, the woman wonders what took her so long. Why did she not get out years ago? How could she be so blind to fall for such a man in the first place? She swears she is done with men.

Children are in the middle of this violence, torn between their parents, trying to decide who is right and who is wrong, lost between two adults who are shattering their lives. If their mother moves away from the stalker, this also has repercussions on them; leaving home, school and friends, and starting a new life elsewhere – often repeatedly moving to avoid the stalker that follows them.

Psychological angst produces stress in a dose-response manner. The higher the dose, the more intense the response. Stalking is a crime that covers years of worry and anxiety. Victims of stalkers have elevated levels of mental distress. Three-quarters of the women who have an intimate relationship with their stalker meet the criteria for PTSD.

Socioeconomic factors contribute to family violence. Poverty fosters incarceration. Or is poverty a result of incarceration? This is a chicken-and-egg conundrum. Children do not learn strong social skills in an impoverished environment, whether economically or emotionally.  Lack of social skills often leads to incarceration.   And so the cycle continues… 

 

stop stalking

READ NOW! THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE, UP-TO-DATE REPORT ON STALKING, THE CRIME THAT GOES UNNOTICED BY POLICE AND JUDGES. THE #1 CRIME THAT CAUSES GREAT FEAR AND HARM TO MILLIONS OF AMERICANS EVERY YEAR.

Click HERE to read more.

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