Photo courtesy of Anna Magal: Creative Commons
There is a bully in my head and she is mean.
She taunts me with things left undone and reminds me that in every area of my life, I need to be doing more, or I need to be more. The bully’s internal voice pokes at the extra layer of weight on my hips, shows me the long list of to-dos I failed to complete, and reminds me of the wake of failed relationships in my past.
Her merry-go-round of verbal attacks are a constant drone that hovers over my days.
The rat-tat-tat-tat of her voice awakens me out of a deep sleep. She carves divots into my grey matter that redirect thought impulses to the conclusion that whatever I do, whoever I am is…
- Not good enough
- Not strong enough
- Not capable enough
- Not enough
My bully is a liar, but sometimes I still believe her.
Her nagging presence often appears more real than the truth I see with my own eyes, hear with my own ears, and touch with my own fingers. She has made me believe in a transcendent reality that exists beyond my senses—a reality that she controls, so that she can control my responses.
The few times in my life I’ve been able to evict the bully from my thoughts, she appears in the voices of people who stream through my life like a hurricane, leaving a path of verbal destruction behind when they leave.
Her words are reinforced by messages I’m saturated with daily like…
- The religious fundamental zealots
- Our current president
- The sensationalized media (both conservative and liberal)
My bully is a crazy lady, so a few years back I decided to name her Mabel.
Somehow naming her helped blow the puff out of her verbal sails. It identifies her as a clanging bell. A cymbal ringing in my ear. Naming her is making her start to deflate.
I can tell Mabel to “tuck in” when I catch her caterwauling and piping up. When she shows up in other people, I ask if I can “name their Mabel” too (if they don’t agree, I still find a name).
Mabel still demands residence in my head. She escapes eviction by digging her claws into my grey matter and refusing to let go.
But somehow knowing where a bully resides gives you power over them. Choosing an identity for your bully gives you a sort of divine naming power.
I can choose to erase Mabel when she becomes inconvenient, too loud, or overbearing.
Who is your Mabel and what do you do when she or he or they show up?