Kill them with kindness

When I was a child, I was bullied. I remember thinking that when I grew up, this behaviour would stop, because grown up people know better. Hah! How wrong I was. It turns out that bullies never really change, except, maybe to get worse. A trade mark for bullies is that they want what everybody else has, but they are too thick to realise that you have to work for the things you want in life. Therefore, the typical bully, grows more and more bitter and jealous the older they get and the further they are left behind.

Due to various circumstances, I threw away fourteen years of my life and a career that was on the up within the media branch. When I finally came to my senses I was 40 years old, with no chance of picking up where I left off. Getting work on the ground floor was my only option. I spent eight years in one job, where I met a lot of other 40+ people that had been working in the same place since they left school. Some of them saw the job for what it was, a means to an end, and they had plenty going on outside this job, and did not let it wear them down. Then we had this other group. The ones that got more and more bitter for every day they spent in a job that they hated, and they obviously needed someone outside themselves to turn this bitterness against. Their favourite targets were people that hadn’t been working in this place very long and who still dared to dream.

I was one of those who dared to dream, because I believed in my own creativity. Since I love being creative in many different ways, I started to build things with a career in mind. I may have been too old and with too long a gap in my CV, to be able to get back into a well-paid job of my chosen career, but I had all the possibilities in the world to make something of myself as a self employed individual. Thanks to this belief, the soul-destroying job that paid my mortgage never broke me. What it did in the end though, was to make me a target for the bullies. It finally became my turn to get taught “to know my place”.

To begin with it was horrible. The mental bullying was both brutal and childish and sometimes it took all the courage I had to actually go in to work, knowing what was waiting. In the end I knew I needed a strategy of my own, and what I came up with was to kill my antagonists with kindness. So, I started to go into work with a broad smile on my face. I looked everybody in the eye and I always said, “Good morning.” I never let myself get pulled into any kind of gossip. I spoke politely, if spoken to, but if I was ignored I just smiled and continued with my day.

To begin with, nothing seemed to change, but with this change of attitude, I was never scared to go in to work any more. Also, I could leave my work behind when going home, instead of mulling things over in my head and losing any well needed sleep. Then slowly but surely, things started to change and two years after I had put my plan into action, I had succeeded in killing them with kindness. The bullying stopped when they realised they couldn’t break me. Twelve months later when I left the job I had both become, and stayed, “the flavour of the month” for quite some time.

The reason I am telling you this story, is that I have decided to write a song lyric called “Killing them with kindness”, because I feel it could be a good story within that line actually. I was reminded of these years last week when the one, single person with the same trade marks at my present job, was working the same shifts I was. I had to make a swift decision to start with my old method again. So, watch this space. “Killing them with kindness” will soon be done.

While going through the tough times in my old job, I did write a song lyric about bullying called “I pity you”. Fredrik Holm put my words to music. It became our only journey into the outer fringes of the rap-genre. Tine Sylvest helped us by recording the demo for us. Please have a listen if you feel like it. We all know someone like the person described in the lyrics.

Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

I pity you! 

Too fat or too thin, too quiet or too loud?
It isn’t very easy to fit into a crowd.
There really shouldn’t be a need to act a certain way
but bullies all around us make it hard to feel ok.

Too dim or too scared, too stupid or just mean?
There are as many reasons, as bullies to be seen.
What do you have to gain from making people feel all bad?
You strange and lonely person, forcing others to feel sad!

Chorus
To bully is a good excuse for getting nowhere fast
You’re just too scared of living life to have a real blast!
I pity you!
I pity you!
I pity you!

One day you’ll be sitting by yourself, growing old
Your days will be so empty, your nights will be as cold.
The way you lived your life will make you easy to forget
or maybe be the one we wish we never would have met.

Bridge
Why don’t you change tactics,
make someone your friend.
Turn hate into love
bring bullying to an end.

Chorus
©2013Åsa Sandberg

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