WHY does the BullySelf have such an effect on us?


If you’ve been following along, we have been addressing that cruel, internal voice we use on ourselves in uncomfortable situations.  We call this voice “The BullySelf”…because NO ONE “Beats us up” like we do ourselves.  Self-bullying is at the root of everything that keeps you from reaching your goals.

We hope you’re finding some familiar feelings here.  We’d like to think you might have an “Ah-ha” moment, or two, as you examine your thoughts; that familiar emotions will stimulate your memories.  Not so you become baffled but so you become aware of what you may not have been cognizant of previously.  To take a deep look at the turmoil and punishment in how you’ve treated yourself in the private parts of your brain.

It is our desire that you give yourself permission to start seeing and feeling these thoughts as what they are… “Bullying yourself”… and begin to see hope in your ability to lessen their effects on you.

The goal of The BullySelf blog is to help as many people as possible, to recognize, identify and eventually control the treacherous thoughts they allow in their heads, thoughts that fuel procrastination, intensify stress and suppress action.  Thoughts that hold you back and steal your life.

We’ve come to the fifth of five “W’s” about “The BullySelf”.  These questions have been examined as a broad brush look into the BullySelf; WHO it is, WHAT it does, WHEN it is likely appear, WHERE it originates …and now, WHY it is so powerful against us.

WHY does the BullySelf inflict so much damage?

WHY can it be in every private thought, every hint of doubt, every second guess, and every, “I can’t believe I did that” moment?

WHY is it so hard to overcome?

These questions barely scratch the surface of all the WHYs we could ask ourselves about the constant interference we allow from this single little area of our thinking, especially knowing it wreaks havoc on us all the time!

As human beings, we all crave acceptance.  We desire to be a part of something.  We want to be thought of as smart or pretty or successful.  Whatever that means to us individually takes many forms and we aren’t going to discuss them all here.  For practical purposes though, let’s agree that the desire for acceptance is inherent in all of us.

As an example, let’s look at one of the many ways we put ourselves out there in order to obtain a connection.

When we hang out with or identify with certain groups or organizations, we tend to take on habits and actions which others in the group display as acceptable.  Much like when we show our support and alignment with a favorite sports team.  We don similar clothing, display team logos or colors and even make derisive slurs and epithets toward “members” of rival teams and their fans.  All of whom are easily identified by their own display of opposing colors.

It makes us comfortable when we align ourselves with something we believe has a level of safety, gives shelter, confirms our legitimacy or provides some other benefit that we might be personally lacking on our own.  Given enough evidence of these intangible yet very real benefits, we start to feel comfortable, emboldened and even powerful depending on varying factors that we don’t have time or space to explore.

Let’s just say that we’re finicky creatures with very personal and specific preferences on how we believe we fit in and how a group or other assemblage meets and serves our specific needs.  We make these tangible and hypothetical alliances inside our heads.  We are dependent on whatever benefit we believe they bring to us.

When this acceptance and the connection to its beneficial support are threatened, our internal guard dog goes into action.  It knows it needs to neutralize the threat and re-establish the positioning we think/believe we occupy with the group.  If we can’t re-connect or if we feel like we have lost our status, the consequences can be devastating.

We do not want to be rejected.  We might do anything to salvage our connection.  

Another way our search for acceptance and belonging bogs us down, is that we want to save our image; whatever that may be.  We want to appear to have our “stuff” together.  We think it brings us a status within the group with whom we have aligned ourselves.

These things carry great weight and power in our minds.  We live under the illusion that these group characteristics are set in stone; that they are unbending and rigid.  We believe that our status or standing within the group may be diminished by some misstep or foul-up of some unknown variety.

These feelings of belonging and acceptance are so powerful that even when we want to make changes and improve our lives, we only do so within parameters we think will be safely within the range of tolerance of these group alliances.

We sometimes (wrongly) perceive these entities to be necessary for our very existence.  That somehow without their approval, we would be flung to the outer reaches of civility.  We’ll even make up ways by which we can’t possibly measure up to our perception of the group dynamic.

We talk ourselves “out” of it before we are ever even “in”.  

Most of it comes from the self-bullying we have been illuminating here over the past few days.  It is the language of our hearts and it creates our living realities.  We don’t escape it.  It is part of us.  It lives in our biology, it swims around in our DNA.  It can be dormant or dynamic depending on our thoughts and fears of the moment.  We are always obliged to act a certain way; controlled by its rules and boundaries, which usually have no basis in truth.

To understand WHY this BullySelf entity can exercise such complete control over you and WHY you cling to its tyranny when you so desperately crave your independence, you need only step back a short distance into your most intimate, private, secret memories.  The memories you would forget if you could.  Memories you’ve concealed and hidden from everyone but yourself.  Memories whose details may have long been forgotten but whose feelings of horror have burned wounds too painful to address.

These are the memories of ALL of your shortcomings.  The memories of every single thing you have ever done “wrong”.  Where you have disappointed the ones you loved, hurt those who loved you and betrayed your closest friends.  These memories and their accompanying emotions are open wounds, cut through to your deepest soul.

This is where the BullySelf gets its ammunition.  It’s where it finds the words to shut you down.  It’s how your action toward certain goals is stopped.  The BullySelf uses these memories, feelings and emotions to remind you of past improprieties.  It shows you how you’ve failed in the most important aspects of your humanity; how you have sold your integrity and how your past activities have made you unworthy.  It points out to you over and over that you are a lying, selfish fraud.  It tells you that you are lost forever.

The worst part is that deep down, you know these things are true.  You have been a disappointment.  You have let people down.  You have lied to people that counted on your honesty and taken advantage of those less fortunate than you.  You can’t deny it to the Bully because the Bully was there at every single episode, every single event.  It knows your very essence.  You cannot deny it.  There is no place to hide.  You have no escape.

The reality of this knowledge cuts to your core.  Once you have been thus exposed, you are without protection.  You are without defense. In order to maintain your attachment and belonging in the groups to which you have become accepted, you must not get “out of line”.  You need to keep up the appearances, whether real or imagined, that got you there and now keep you in good standing.

There are many different reasons that we let the BullySelf poison our life and they all emanate from these desires to be liked, to fit in, to belong, etc.  They all come from the deepest layers of our being and they ALL start out as little instances of self-preservation.

No one knows better than “you” do, all the times you’ve let someone down, all the deep pain, guilt and sorrow for disappointing someone that had relied on you.  So when you are in a situation where you feel slightly unqualified, yet the people involved in the project depend on you, the BullySelf will start in with the jabs and snide remarks.

No one will ever know, better than you, about the times you lied to save your skin as a kid, all the missteps and bumps along the road where you didn’t perform like you thought you should have; so when the BullySelf starts in on you, you can’t even defend yourself.  At the first sign of this shame, the BullySelf kicks it up into high gear and you’re going to give yourself another beating as punishment.  Punishment of shame, guilt and worthlessness for all the failures you have lived in since your first childhood memories.  Absolutely crushing.

We may have developed some powerful coping tools that have served us over the years.  We may even be able to stop the bullying before it stops us dead, in certain areas of our lives.  But few of us have the complete arsenal necessary to overcome every aspect of our self-bullying in every situation. It simply has too much ammunition against us.

The only way you can achieve any level of progress or competence in your relationships, your life or your career is to learn to recognize when the BullySelf is beating you up (or down).  Once we have recognized the BullySelf for what it is and how it’s operating, we can wield the tools we need to overcome its destructive taunts and send it packing.

That’s why we’re here.  

We want to share the things we’ve learned from the School of Hard Knocks.  We want to hear about, and discover ways that other people who beat themselves up (or down) have maybe learned to cope with and overcome the BullySelf struggles in their own lives.

We see this as first steps on a road to enlightenment and discovery.  A superhighway that leads to freedom and recovery from the bullying we have put ourselves through over all these many years.  We want people to come here for understanding and healing of deep emotional scars they have inflicted on themselves.  We want them to go forward without the fear that they will sabotage their own goals by letting their own BullySelf  hold them back.

We hope to educate and empower future generations of souls to pick up on the bullying signals earlier and arm them with the tools they can use so that they don’t have to be shackled by an internal bullying system.  We want them to be able to do the good they were sent here to achieve.


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