Sunday, January 31, 2016

The ABC's of Intellectual Bullies

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri.

After reading your column about one-uppers, I realized that I have a friend like that, but she doesn’t do the one-upping by what she has or how she does something, but by what she knows!

It’s so infuriating, frustrating, and humiliating to have her tell me that her Master’s Degree means she has all knowledge and I should learn from her. She says, “Trust me, I know, from getting my Masters, that X, Y, or Z is really A, B, and C.”

Then she gives me a look of pity because what she does know is that I didn’t get a higher education. She also knows that I wish I had finished my Bachelors’ Degree, even though I didn’t really need it.

 I became a mom who does a lot of volunteering. I have held offices in clubs that I’m in. My husband is a teacher and we always talk about interesting and new ideas or activities that his students are involved in.

I’m an avid reader and I always look facts up and try to stay on top of current events. But I don’t throw around what I know like it’s a trophy.

We go to the same church and she does the same thing there, too. She lets everyone know how much she knows. It’s like a competition where she decides she’s always the winner.

I have tried to tell her, in a nice way, that she needs to have more humility. No one cares how much she knows but she thinks we should all be impressed.

I’m really stressed out by her!

Not an Intellectual

Dear Not,

You have lost the competition because you have decided she is the Intellectual Winner and you have labeled yourself as Not an Intellectual. She’ll continue to insult and bully you with her idea of being intelligent as long as you let her.

The only way you can pick yourself back up from underneath her mind, is to be as direct as she has been. Let her know that gaining knowledge comes in many forms by saying something like this:

“I do not have a degree or an advanced degree as you do, my friend, however, the good quality of my life’s experiences and God have given me wisdom. Wisdom comes from God. God always tells me what to do, and more importantly, how to be, with the knowledge I have so far. Please don’t insist that I take my directions from you because of your degrees.” 

And remember the following:

The best intellectual leaders will gather knowledge from the world and knowledge from God which then becomes priceless wisdom. Knowledge without wisdom is useless in this life and the next. Wisdom from God is learning how to use knowledge with good judgment, love, and truth.

True intellectual leaders: 

• Tell less and ask more
• Admit what they don’t know
• Use their freshest and most inspired thoughts
• Create
• Have a loving heart for others
• Are truth seekers

Someone once said, “At the top of the genius ladder is a genius maker.”

God’s a genius maker.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The One-Upper

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri.

I read your column but I’m not a young girl so I don’t know if I’m able to write to you or not. I also don’t think my situation is about bullying.

Anyway, this is bugging me so much that I can’t sleep: I don’t get why my daughter-in-law behaves like she does towards me.

Before she and my son got married, I felt like I was on a quiz show. What perfume do I wear? (She wears only natural essential oils.) What type of bread do I eat? (She only eats organic multi-grain without gluten.) What makeup do I use? (She only uses herbal lipstick and stuff she gets at a natural food store.)

How much do I exercise? I said I walk most of the time in the mornings. She, of course, runs in marathons.

She asked me if I have ever had plastic surgery or would I? She said (at age 24) she would never do that because women should be happy with what God gave us.

After that comment, I turned to her and said, “God gave us a brain to decide for ourselves what we want to do.” And, no, I have not had plastic surgery … yet.

She looked surprised and then told my son that I was mad at her and she cried! So my son told me to be careful with her feelings because she is sensitive around me.

Now, four years later, plus a baby, she has started to ask me about how I brought up my sons. No matter what I say, she has a better come-back. I just keep quiet and don’t comment on what she says to me.

However, I feel like I’m being judged. I don’t know why. She’s beautiful and has everything going for her and my son loves her and they seem to have a great marriage and family.

I don’t want to make a big deal about it but I’m sick and tired of her antics.

I am having a face-lift in a month and I’m sure THAT will go over well!


Dear Mom,

It’s very simple, she considers you worthy of being one-upped. She would not do this if she felt she was as great as she sees you.

She is trying to impress you with how good she is for your son. Truly, she must see you as a woman that she is impressed by. But her insecurities are getting in the way. If you did not matter to her, she would not bother trying to tell you how wonderful she is.

One-Uppers can’t seem to resist judging others to look better than others. It takes a lot of energy to keep up the invisible contest they start. People who judge usually judge themselves even more harshly.

You don’t have to be annoyed. Just remember, since you are the one being escalated to a ranking your daughter-in-law thinks is better than hers, you can be gentle with her and try not to feel judged by her.

Don’t engage in the competition. Change the subject after you answer her in a matter-of-fact way. Don’t compete. You’ll both lose.

You are obviously happy with yourself and she needs to learn that herself. Don’t talk with your son or anyone about it. Let her deal with her own self-esteem issues and be the good example you want to be. You have already defined yourself.

Let her figure it out and love her and give her genuine compliments when you can.

By the way, our column is for everyone! Thanks for writing!

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Teen abstinence is difficult!

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My high school has about 2,000 kids in it. I swear, I feel like I'm the only one who doesn't have sex! I have everyone up in my face about it too. I'm made fun of and kids throw porn from their phones into my face just to get a reaction.

It's not like I run around telling everyone but I told one of my friends, who goes to church with me, that I was so happy that we both believe the same things like waiting until we get married to have sex.

My friend got kind of weird about it and started saying I was being really self-righteous about it and it was making her mad. I have no idea what she's talking about.

Yesterday I heard my friend talking to another girl and she said something like, "Well ... we didn't actually DO IT" and the other girl said something about doing almost everything is the same as doing it. Then I walked up and they both stopped talking.

I feel like I'm an outsider and alone. I don't know if I should tell her what I heard and get it over with or what?

Waiting Until Married

Dear Waiting,

You are not alone; however, you are in a small minority group:

1. About 3% of Americans wait until marriage to have sex.

2. Waiting to get married and then have sex may seem like a small number, but that's 10 million Americans.

3. Teens with a religious organizations cause the numbers to go up to 20 percent.

4. More women wait than men, but men do wait with a 60-40 % ratio.

You've made a good decision because "waiters" don't have to worry about pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, betrayal (which is what happens in 70 percent of our letters that are about bullying), emotional pain, or a drop in how you feel about yourself.

The fact that you made a commitment ahead of time is the best way to become a "waiter."

Since you've made up your mind, you can be a good friend by saying something like this, "I overheard you talking about having some kind of sexual relationship with someone. It's not my business, but I can listen to you if you want that."

Let her know that you will not gossip or become involved with those that may gossip about her.

You really aren't sure what you heard and you may be very wrong. Try to never assume stories without direct information from the person involved.

Be careful of being self-righteous (even if you don't think you are being that way). You can be happy about your choices without judging others. You don't need to explain, defend, or get mad about those that are making fun of you.

Walk tall, be confident, look people in the eye and be your best sweet and loving self that you are.

Listen, listen, listen. That's how you may help.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Monday, January 11, 2016

When your boss is your bully

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri.

What about work place bullies?

I was fired 12 days before Christmas. My bully-boss successfully made me sick with nerves and caused my blood pressure to go up when he fired me. I was out on a workers comp pending case. My family will never forget the pain he caused us. I haven't worked since then due to all of this.

My bully-boss told me I couldn't wear the hats I'd been wearing to work for almost four years with no problem. He said it was company policy, although it wasn’t in writing.

HR said there’s not a policy regarding hats. All of a sudden, my bully-boss said I could wear hats, but only for a few days a week. I asked why it was okay now and he snapped, “I’m in control.”

Later, at the last minute, he put me on a fully staffed schedule to pressure me to work, when he knew my daughter was ill and I couldn’t work. He threatened to fire me for “job abandonment” if I didn’t show up. He was mad that I put my daughter first and he’s a father!

After that, he accused me of not working on days that I have proof I did indeed work.

I documented everything this bully did to treat me like crap and ruin me (I can’t even write all that he did to bully me). It seems he set me up to terminate and bully me.

For some reason the universe and my God had me keep all the evidence. For more than four years I loved my job 98 percent of the time, then he ruined it and caused me to fear.

He, in the beginning, said my reputation precedes me, that upper management had nothing but glowing reports about me. He asked why I thought I do so well and I told him because I love my job.

I’ve been looking for an organization like yours to bring light to adult corporate bullying.

Bullied by my boss

Dear Bullied by your Boss,

First, we are sorry that you have had to experience an abusive bully-boss. However, we congratulate you on doing one of the best things needed to protect yourself in this situation: Document, document, document!

Bullying is the same for adults as it is for kids, in the sense that envy is the biggest reason a gentle and good soul as you will be tormented, punished, and ultimately thrown out or thrown under a bus.

We have cautions for you and 50 percent of workers out there, the number of workers bullied on a daily basis according to Employment Law Alliance:

• If you were vulnerable to bullying as a youth, your chances of being bullied as an adult are over 75 percent.

• It’s a false assumption to think that all supervisors know how to manage people. Those who have had every conceivable management training possible still don’t “get it” many times. They will be controlling and try to get you to recoil.

• Don’t confront a bully-boss—that’s what they dream of in order to claim your insubordination. Instead be happy, confident, continue shining and expect nothing good from him/ her. This may infuriate your boss. So what?

• Gong to HR may not be the solution for you-unfortunately,  they might look at your confrontations as a legal problem.

Get professional help from a therapist and counsel from a lawyer.

Ask yourself if it’s worth it to work with a bully-boss. Get another job before your bully-boss harms you anymore.

Thank you for discussing a very real and common problem for adults.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Monthly free discussion group
Following our first discussion group in December on “Suicide, Self-harm, Bullying and the Holidays,” our foundation is starting a monthly discussion group on the third Wednesday of each month beginning Jan. 20th, 2016 from 6:30-7:30 pm at the Prescott Public Library,  215 E. Goodwin Street. The topic will be “Bullying: Everybody’s Problem.” This is for all members of our community. For more info, please call Rhonda Orr at 928.515.9996

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Part of the solution or part of the problem?

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I feel guilty because my friend for the last four years, Abbie, has been slamming, Nanci, a girl from another school who came to our school because she was bullied so badly at her other school.

Nanci is really pretty but very shy. Abbie’s boyfriend said Nanci was “hot” and that sent Abbie into killer mode.

So Abbie does things to embarrass her, like sit by her at lunch, as if she’s going to eat lunch with her. Then Abbie takes her lunch and comes to sit by us … her “crew.” She says things loud enough so Nanci can hear her call her names like whore, slut, fat, and a joke of a person. The other day she said that she can understand why Nanci was bullied at her old school and that she deserves it because she’s a skank.

I was put together with Nanci in one of my classes and she’s really nice and cares about things and her family. I got to know her and she smiles at me all the time. But if I’m with the “crew,” I just ignore her.

I know I’m probably hurting her feelings. I feel like I should say something to Abbie but she’ll throw me under the bus or worse. If I tell an adult, the crew will make fun of me, too. Besides, no one at our school really does anything. They act like we don’t have bullying problems. But we do and no one cares.

I Don’t Know

Dear Don’t Know,

We think you do indeed know what to do because your good conscience (that’s why we are born with one) is bugging you to do the best thing. Don’t be passive. Be courageous, regardless of the consequences.

If you don’t make a choice to defend someone innocent, that makes you a co-conspirator to the offense.

You are a bystander. Some bystanders actually instigate the bullying by prodding the bully to action. Some bystanders inspire the bully with gossip and rumors knowing the bully will probably use her social media to degrade her victim. Some bystanders decide to join in with the bullying in order to be in good standing with the bully.

Passive bystanders are those like you that don’t intervene or go get help from a trusted adult.

You might not fully understand that you are either contributing to the problem or contributing to the solution. Doing nothing does not mean you aren’t participating. In fact you are participating in the bullying because you are allowing the bully to have the audience she craves so much to feel empowered.

You are already suffering by being a bystander victim. You are:
• Feeling guilty
• Feeling anxious to talk with Abbie or with Nanci or an adult to stop what you know is wrong
• Feeling powerless, so, in essence, you are already a victim to Abbie’s bullying
• Feeling afraid that you may not get help from adults to make necessary changes, thereby becoming a target of  Abbie’s revenge

Don’t suffer any longer. Realize you are already a victim but you don’t have to stay one. Stand up and be proud for having a desire to help someone as you will want someone to help you. In fact, you could quite possibly be a mentor to the other victim and she can be your mentor.

Nanci is a double-victim. Remember how she talked with you nicely instead of gossiping? Here’s a quote you may both live by, from Socrates:

“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Following our first discussion group in December on “Suicide, Self-harm, Bullying and the Holidays,” our foundation is starting a monthly discussion group on the last Wednesday of each month beginning Jan. 27th, 2016 from 6-7pm at the Prescott Public Library,  215 E. Goodwin Street. The topic will be, “Bullying: Everybody’s Problem.” This is for all members of our community. For more info, please call Rhonda Orr at 928.515.9996