Sunday, July 30, 2017

Air-Travel Bullying

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

Like everyone, I’ve witnessed and experienced mistreatment while flying.

It’s as bad as it looks on TV.

I recently flew from my little town to NYC, where I lived 30 years ago. I don’t remember the rage that I felt at Kennedy this time.

From the time I got off the plane, I was met with impatience, nasty looks, and irritated remarks such as, “Look at the signs!”

I felt stupid and I’m a well-educated former college professor who has traveled all over the world.

I felt alone and lost. I’m 80 years old. My husband just passed away. I traveled to be with my family.

People were barking at me to get in line and use the machine for my tickets. I didn’t understand that and I used to be able to get a Skycap.

I was worn out before I got to the gate. I accidently stood in the first-class line and was angrily told that I wasn’t in first-class. I wanted to tell the gate agent that he wasn’t acting first – class. I was livid.

The flight attendants were nice but not gracious or helpful. I was scared to ask for anything.

I sat quietly and miserably. Then I had to do it all again to get home.

No more flying in the unfriendly skies

Dear No more,

We’re sorry your trip was miserable, especially after losing your husband.

When I (Rhonda) was a flight attendant in the ’80s, it was at least civil.

Dr. Cheri has also flown all over the world and is sad to say flying has changed.

Flying will be more enjoyable if we remember:

Blame and shame does not make a good game to play – no one wins

Be civil – considerate, courteous, and caring

Come to the airport prepared – with understanding and compassion

Remember your kindergarten teachings: say thank you, please, and excuse me

Follow the rules. You know you’ll have to take your shoes off, bring an appropriate carry-on, have liquids in three-ounce containers

Read a good book or listen to relaxing music (but be mindful of announcements)

Avoid group hostility

Help others. It’s your job too.

Airport personnel:

Please be civil. You never know others’ personal stories of tragedies, angst, and sadness

Smile until it hurts

Help others. That’s why you were hired.

Air rage is like road rage. Stop it!

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Monday, July 24, 2017

Change yoursefl, then change the world

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I work for a corporation with a nonprofit that helps kids with cancer. I’m in my 20s and have a master’s degree in sociology.

When I was in high school, I was horribly bullied by a particular girl, just for being fat.

She and her friends were popular. She tortured me with put-downs, made up stories, and took pictures of me which she edited to make me look worse. They wound up in our yearbook and I can’t ever escape them.

Surprise! She’s now a manager at the same corporation I work with.

I’ve lost weight. I’m not skinny like her. However, I dress well and I have great friends at work.

Lately, I’ve seen her whispering to people at work. I don’t understand why she’s doing this. It’s making me so anxious to think about what she’s doing and saying.

I came to this company because I thought I could make a difference for kids around the whole world. Now, I don’t trust what she’ll do … ruin my life again?


Dear Ruined,

We understand that an unwelcome blast from your past seems unbearable. Ruin means that someone can reduce you to rubble.

As hard as it may be to swallow, she can only try to make you a victim. But you have the power to choose not to participate in her made-up stories about you. That’s much mightier.

If you choose to step away from her, you can become the captain of your own ship. You’ll remain untarnished by her character flaw and unstuck as a victim.

Say something like this: “I’m sure you don’t want to battle a strong woman like me with a mission to help kids. After all, we were kids once and it wasn’t great being your victim. We’re grown-ups now, who can contribute to the building up of kids, instead of tearing them down.”

Our Triangle-of-Triumph™ is a program that takes you from being a victim to a survivor to a leader.

By choosing not to stay a victim and loving yourself, genuinely complimenting others, talking about the important things in your life (such as family, integrity, civility), you will be able to engage with “healthy people.”

This is your life. Choose to own it and express your greatness. Love yourself. Choose to un-tether yourself from her victimization. Claim your power of love.

Become an excellent leader with our 5 C’s- Civility, Courage, Confidence, Creativity, and Communication.

Change yourself, once and for all, and you’ll find yourself changing the lives of your kids in all the world.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mean girls can grow up to be mean bosses

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

Bullying isn’t confined to just children. “Mean girls” grow up and become mean women.

I know a company bully who’s threatening my family member. She is new to the company and vulnerable.

Why are so many small town offices (which seem to be predominantly female) run by a bully? Whispering, gossip, innuendo, and lies are used to control their coworkers.

Supervisors are oblivious to the bully who manages to get rid of anyone who doesn’t bow down to her.

The bully appears to be a great team player, but intimidates and undermines victims who try to keep out of office politics.

What recourse does a victim have to keep their job when they become a target? HR and management are clueless.

When my family member thinks the bullying is over and gets comfortable, then it starts all over again.

She gets depressed, and it’s almost impossible for her to feel any happiness at work.

She’s terrified of losing her job.

Signed, Family advocate

Dear Advocate,

You are correct: “mean girls” can become bullies as adults. However, bullies come in both genders and can be found in all sizes of companies and towns.

If they got away with it in childhood, they learned that undermining, trashing someone else’s reputation, and playing a victim works.

Popularity was the impetus of high school bullying, while career advancement is usually the motivation for the workplace bully.

Office bullies try to ruin the brightest, most creative, and hardest working employees.

Oftentimes, they ruin the plain goodness of co-workers.

Tell her to be direct with the bully, and that she isn’t afraid of reporting bullying to every manager up-the-ladder or food-chain. And mean it!

If nothing is done, she should go to Human Resources or to the manager or owner.

Tell her she cannot afford to be fearful of losing her job. There are more important things to lose such as dignity, integrity, mental, emotional and physical health.

Workplace bullies impact every level of business, from morale to bottom-line productivity. It gets rid of the employees that companies want and need!

She must not gossip about the bully. It only fuels the fire in the bully and gets mud on her.

Then, if she has done everything she possibly can to rid the company of a ticking time-bomb without success, she will have to switch positions to a different one within that company … or switch companies.

Signed, Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Blackmailing Bully

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
My neighbor goes to high school with me. He saw my boyfriend and me in my backyard making out. Some of our clothes were off.

He told me afterward he took pictures. He said he was going to put them up on Facebook.

I was super embarrassed. I thought he was kidding, so I laughed. He got angry and said I always thought I was better than he was. He said I’m a snob and I put him down. He said I let everyone at school think I’m such a “good girl” and now everyone’s going to know the truth.

I cried. I thought we were still friends even though we don’t hang out anymore. He told me to stop crying or he’d show them to our parents. I’m so scared.

My parents will kill me. We’re active in our church.

I went to his house and begged him to delete the pictures. He pulled me toward him and said if I have sex with him, he’ll erase them.

I got away.

He threatens me almost every day. I can’t take it. He grabbed me. He shook me. He pulled on my arm trying to get me in the bushes in his backyard. I think he’ll make me have sex with him.

My boyfriend doesn’t know. He’ll get physical with him if he finds out and he might dump me too. I am still a virgin.

How do I stop him from blackmailing me?


Dear Blackmailed and bullied,

He’s relentlessly being aggressive toward you physically, emotionally, and sexually. He’s bullying you and you are his victim.

“Making you have sex with him” is called rape. Right now, he seems to be having fun harassing you. But if it goes any further, you could be in danger.

As difficult as it is, you must tell your parents, even though it may make you feel humiliated. That is a smaller price to pay compared to the psychological damage he’s causing you and what he may still do to you.

Show this letter to your parents. They need to go to the police.

Tell your boyfriend. Decide with your boyfriend to not have sex and roll back the temptation. If he’s unwilling to agree to that, you need to say goodbye. Abstinence is the smart choice. Group dating is wise.

You didn’t ask to be a victim, but you need to make the difficult choice of not staying one. Grieving will be a challenge. Ask your parents to get you professional help.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Sexual harassment, suicide, and homeschooling

The following letter was written by a courageous girl who overcame bullying, sexual harassment, and suicidal thoughts. She wants to help prevent suicide by sharing her story.

Two years ago, I told my mom on multiple occasions that I was ill and didn’t want to go to school. I became so nervous, I actually made myself sick by throwing up everything I ate.  It got so nasty, I didn’t want to leave the house, go anywhere, or be seen.  I had panic attacks every time I left our home.

One morning, my mom made me get ready for school.  When we got there, I had a panic attack. I told myself to be strong, and that everything would be fine even though it wouldn’t be easy. Mom looked at me and said, "Why don't you want to go to school?"  Then the truth came out.

I was sexually harassed at school.

We reported it to the school officials, and it was swept under the carpet as if it never happened. But it did happen and I was in the worst emotional pain. For months, I asked, "Why me?”
Mom had to hold me while I cried to her for hours. Having it happen to me was hard, but the worst part was that the people I was supposed to trust – the school administration – ignored the fact that it happened.
I suffered depression that almost led me to kill myself.

Thankfully, I have an amazing family, one that is willing to get me sushi and junk food at 3 A.M. A family that’ll talk to me in a closet, hold me, and let me cry.

I’ve had people judge me and tell me I should "Be the light in the darkness," but they didn't  know why I left school.

Many people were against my decision to be homeschooled, because I needed to "Be a light!"  While I tried to be the light, I was tormented and in pain.

I didn’t feel important because my situation was dismissed. I thought it would be easier to take my life.

People ask me if I’ll ever come back to that school, but why would I want to return to a school system that ignored the fact that I was sexually harassed?
My mom said I could take it to the police or to the Lord. I chose the Lord, who has suffered all pains and afflictions.

If you are suffering from depression, sexual harassment, suicidal thoughts or any affliction, take it to the Lord.

But don’t be like me and wait until the last possible moment