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You Can’t Bully A Memory

At one time or another, I’m sure everyone has been bullied. Whether it’s been physical or emotional, in jest, or with malice, most of us have been there. But what do you do when the bully is a member of your own family? How do you respond when it’s a sibling and that forces your hand with their “convictions” and it goes beyond rivalry?  When does imposing your beliefs upon someone else become bullying?

There is something to be said for having strong convictions, but where do you draw the line between that and arrogance? Furthermore, what is the difference between being arrogant and being a know-it-all? From personal experience, I don’t feel like there is much difference between these traits at all. However, as I’m sure everyone has learned at some point, there are two sides to every story. So, for some, I may be blurring the lines of these definitions. But for me, they are one in the same.

You see, this happened to me.

I wrote about my perception of what childhood was like for me with an addicted parent, and my sibling denied my recollection. The imposition of his convictions came pounding down my virtual door like a battering ram. He held his opinion of what I wrote so highly that his strong convictions about “what really happened,” quickly turned confrontational.

That confrontation ultimately, and swiftly, crossed over to bullying when I refused to edit my story as he requested. The bullying included, but was not limited to, vulgarity, harassment, and threats of legal action, against the publisher and me.

My own strong convictions told me to stand my ground. What I wrote was the truth – MY TRUTH. Names and dates were not specified, I didn’t provide documented proof of my recollection, and the situations referenced were in regards to my own experience. It was never meant to be scientific. They were my memories that only I could have written about.

You can’t bully a memory.

But, I caved. I fell victim to a bully.

I didn’t give in because I was afraid. I didn’t give in because he was right and I was wrong. I gave in because my strong morals and family values far surpass any strong convictions I will ever stand behind. When our daily routine, my children’s sense of normalcy, our family dynamic and the publisher was threatened, I felt it was much more important to rescind the publication causing the upheaval than to fight for my words. It was all for the greater good, I convinced myself.

HuffPost Parents recently shared an article entitled Sibling Bullying As Detrimental As Peer Bullying, Study Claims. After the experience I had, I completely agree. Just because the bully is your family, doesn’t make it okay or any less harmful. If anything, it hurts even more!

My job as a mom is to protect my children, and I can’t properly do that if I don’t protect myself. So do you forgive and forget, let bygones be bygones, chalk it up to a bad day and move on?

Maybe, but I can’t do that.

Correction—I won’t do that anymore.

This post was submitted to SoberMommies Anonymously.

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  1. Beautifully said. A bully is a bully, whether they share DNA with you or not. I think you did the right thing – what felt the MOST right to you at the time to protect those you love. It doesn’t mean you have to shrug and move on; it just means you put it on hiatus in that particular form, at this particular time. Keep writing and sharing, I’d say… you aren’t “moving on” if you don’t let anyone stop you from sharing your experiences in whatever form is safe. (hug)

  2. Oh, hellllll no. My 4yo son hasn’t seen my brother since he was an infant, and in fact doesn’t even realize that I have a brother. By design. Just because someone is related to you doesn’t mean that they’re owed a place in your life, or the lives of your children. You and your kids don’t need to put up with a bully.

  3. I read your post before it was pulled and also the circus that followed. I feel for both you AND your brother.

    You, because your memories are devastatingly painful and no child deserves to feel anything other than completely and wholly loved by her mother. I wanted to hug you and heal you when I read your piece, all the while knowing I was really helpless to help you.

    Your brother gets my empathy because the mother in his memory was quite different and to hear your side (including the truth behind his patents’ marriage) must have been devastating, almost blasphemous because he obviously holds your mother on a pedestal.

    What it comes down to is that memories are subjective. Memories may be factual recollections, but viewed through emotion-tinged glasses, they can appear quite different.

    I’m so sad that after finally letting your pain out and writing your story – something that SHOULD have been cathartic for you – culminated in you being bullied and demeaned yet again. I wish you peace over this now, and the knowledge that even though your brother may have refused to look brought your ‘glasses’ and hear your side, you have been heard by other people, regardless.

    With love, support and understanding,

  4. I wish I had been able to read your post before it was taken down. It can get really tricky when we’re writing about our memories because even though we’re telling our stories, we’re often telling parts of other people’s stories too. It’s a fine line to walk sometimes. The people closest to us are always the ones who can hurt us the most because we want our feelings validated. We want the truth as we know it to be acknowledged. Fear makes people do really strange things and it sounds like your brother felt like he had something to protect. That in no way excuses bullying, intimidating and threatening you. I’m glad that you’re not going to let him or anyone else take your words away or keep you from speaking your truth.

  5. This helps me out ALOT. I just started my sobriety, I want my kids back in believing in me and I need to do it fast before I Iose them forever. Their dad passed away 3 years ago and I’m all they have. Please help me

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