Super incredibly maddening thing about mental illness:
Fighting your ass off to live a normal life and function as well as you can, and instead of getting credit and having people be proud of you for all the efforts you’re making, having people use your apparently normal behavior as a reason to invalidate you and think you weren’t that sick to begin with.
It takes a lot of badassery to act this normal, but the effort is all invisible.
Reading about abusive men and the way they think. Very unsettling and an incredible book so far. Here are my very professional notes.
The bottom line is that saying there are differences in male and female brains is just not true. There is pretty compelling evidence that any differences are tiny and are the result of environment not biology,” said Prof Rippon.
“You can’t pick up a brain and say ‘that’s a girls brain, or that’s a boys brain’ in the same way you can with the skeleton. They look the same.”
Prof Rippon points to earlier studies that showed the brains of London black cab drivers physically changed after they had acquired The Knowledge – an encyclopaedic recall of the capital’s streets.
She believes differences in male and female brains are due to similar cultural stimuli. A women’s brain may therefore become ‘wired’ for multi-tasking simply because society expects that of her and so she uses that part of her brain more often. The brain adapts in the same way as a muscle gets larger with extra use.
“What often isn’t picked up on is how plastic and permeable the brain is. It is changing throughout out lifetime
“The world is full of stereotypical attitudes and unconscious bias. It is full of the drip, drip, drip of the gendered environment.”
Prof Rippon believes that gender differences appear early in western societies and are based on traditional stereotypes of how boys and girls should behave and which toys they should play with.
Yes but let’s be real, we’re never going to “end” bullying, even with laws. There was already anti-bullying legislation in place in my state when I was in middle school, and yet all authority figures just stood by and watched, even after I had reported the people who bullied me.
And the worst part is, victims are unlikely to actually report it, because the truth is reporting does absolutely nothing for the victim, and just further angers the bully. I’d thought it was bad before I’d reported it, but after that I was tortured to the point where I attempted suicide, repeatedly.
All this “end bullying” stuff is just talk with no substance behind it, and it’s never going to get any substance behind it because it’s already been proven that the laws don’t fucking work.
Translation: “Because we can’t stop 100% of bullying, let’s give up and let the bullies run the earth.”
I am very sorry about what happened to you, but just because we can’t stop all bullying doesn’t mean we can’t try to stop as much as we can.
What I do is try to highlight research, because the best anti-bullying programs are going to come out of solid research, and research will test their effectiveness and build better programs. Here is an example of said research. And mind you, this isn’t just about laws, this is building programs that try to prevent bullying in the first place, not merely punishing bullying. This is research to try to ascertain the causes, to figure out how to induce empathy is children, to find out what is effective and what is not.
Because even if we manage to spare just one child from bullying, isn’t it worthwhile doing? Especially to that child?
Because you know, I would want that.
I was doing my Master’s thesis on bullying until the topic triggered me back to my own childhood so badly I dropped out of that degree program. Let me share something I know.
We haven’t quite found anti-bullying programs that stop bullying once it’s started, but we can reduce the harm bullying does. Just a few small changes to classroom culture, like limiting children’s opportunities to exclude each other, or spending time talking about respectful communication, has visible changes. Yeah, there’s still a hierarchy of popularity, but kids at the bottom of the ladder go from havingnofriends on average to having one or two. And that’s enough to make or break a childhood.
But here’s the other thing.
There is one major factor that mediates the link between childhood bullying and adult mental illnesses (predominantly depression, aniety, and eating disorders). It’s self-blame.
What really damages children isn’t precisely being bullied; it’s believing that they deserve to be bullied. If children don’t blame themselves for being victims, they are much more resilient and experience fewer long-term negative consequences.
Society blames children for their victimization by bullies all the time. It says, “There is something about you that causes people to bully you.” Common responses to bullied kids are things like: “Don’t give them a reaction.” (They’re bullying you because you get upset.) “They’re just jealous.” (They’re bullying you because you do well.) “Let’s teach you some social skills.” (They’re bullying you because you act weird.)
If we can just change thatonething, we could prevent a lot of damage. What bullied kids desperately need at the very least is a caring community that says: You are not alone. It’s not your fault. What they’re doing is not okay.
I think encouraging empathy in children is one way to go.
I’ve always been bullied my whole school life through. Then, during the last two years, we went on a class trip where we did trust exercises every day. At some point, people who usually did nothing but push me around had to help me. …Funny enough, now that I think about it, they made a way bigger fuss about helping me up a flight of stairs while I was being blindfolded than I did. Huh.
But afterwards, they talked about how they suddenly saw some people with different eyes.
And you know what happened? The bullying stopped. Yeah, every now and then there still was that one gratuitous comment from the sidelines, but… that absolute malice was gone.
I’m not saying that this is going to work with everyone. I’m also not saying that this is going to lead to people becoming friends or liking each other. But what I saw happening is that these kids were being forced to empathize with me, and to develop at least enough respect for me to stop walking all over me every day.
And that’s really all I ever wanted. And I think this is really all it takes.
Reblogging for epic commentary.
I also think part of the problem exists because bullying in schools is a reflection of bullying that goes on in wider society. Very often when children ask adults for help they are asking someone who is a bully themselves — someone who likely won’t give a shit and will do what they can to enable the bullying further. Other times, when children ask for help from an adult who isn’t a bully, this individual often lacks the structural power to make any real changes anyway. I wish I had the answer…
Please remember that sometimes silence on an issue or situation isn’t a lack of caring or concern: it’s a form of exhausted self-care as people pull back and try to put themselves back together. Just because I don’t say something about everything doesn’t mean I don’t think it matters. It may mean that I am completely drained from all the things I’m already dealing with, and cannot safely take on another battle.
The same goes for absolutely everyone. Anger is sometimes quiet and sad and silent, because anything else is just beyond you.
I think the “women are mysterious” thing can also come from:
1) Women actually being quite clear, but not telling men what they want to hear. ”She said she doesn’t want to talk to me? So many mixed messages and confusing signals!”
2) Women not having cheat codes. ”I tried being nice, and she didn’t have sex with me. I tried being an asshole, and she didn’t have sex with me. Come on, there’s got to be some kind of solution to this puzzle!”
3) Women not being a hive mind. ”First a woman told me that she likes guys with big muscles. Then the very next day a woman told me she thinks muscles aren’t attractive at all. Make up your mind, women!”
4) An individual woman doing something confusing, and instead of asking “why is she doing this now?” men ask “why do women always do this?”
I’m not the type of girl anybody wants to be with. My body takes up too much space and I laugh too loudly for too long and I shout when other people are quiet and when I’m drunk I type in caps and I always wanted to be mysterious and beautiful and untouchable like other girls but if you ask I will give you everything and I fucking despise that.
Snow leopards and their giant nommable tails.