Stop Telling Me Not To Have Opinions Because I’m A Woman

If one more person tells me to stick to writing about fashion, I’ll flip.

I Was Sexually Harassed At Work And Didn’t Tell Anyone

To the casual observer, I was taking his ‘jokes’ with a grain of salt. Inwardly, I was panicking.

7 Things I Wish People Knew About Being A Fat Woman

You do you, just make sure you do it without making other people feel crappy about their bodies.

“You Bitch!” The Science Behind Female Bullying

Research says the instinct to gossip about and feel threatened by other women is basic biology. 

Trump Hits Back After Meryl Streep Expertly Smokes Him In Golden Globes Speech

‘Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me.’

Snapchat Body-Shamer Facing Possible Jail Time

Dani Mathers’ victim has been found, and she wants justice.

To The Model Who Took This Photo: You Are A Body-Shaming Bully

Being attractive doesn’t give you the right to shame other women.

The Depressing Thing The Bullying Of Jennifer Aniston Says About Us

The world needs to get the message our bodies aren’t up for public commentary.

Rose McGowan Tears Journalist To Shreds For Critiquing Renee Zellweger’s

“You are a fucking idiot, Owen Gleiberman. Good hire, Variety magazine!”

Female Medical Staff Told To Give Sex In Return For Training

“Such a complaint would mean the end of the surgical career of the trainee.” 

Toxic Friendships: When It’s Time To Let Go

When a good friend turns frenemy, it can be more painful than having your teeth pulled and turn your world upside down.

RELATED: Is Friendship A Higher Form Of Love?

Do you:

a) Rid your world of toxic friend once and for all by sending her a vomitous mass of glitter, coupled with hate mail, via latest social media sensation, genius website: shipyourenemiesglitter.com?

b) Watch endless re-runs of Mean Girls on a loop, crying into your Tim Tams and chardonnay?

c) Gracefully cut all ties with said toxic friend and move on with your life, fast?

female friendships, frenemies, toxic friendships

The answer, dear reader, is of course C (although A would be so satisfying!).

Everyone encounters a toxic friend or two at some stage in their life. The key is not to dwell too much on why it happened, I think, but just to get the hell out of it, stat! Of course, this can be easier said than done with it’s a one-time great, long-term friend who now seems hell-bent on making your life miserable.

Interestingly, new UK research recently revealed both men and women are equally likely to lose two of their closest friends when they start a new relationship.
Sad fact of life, isn’t it? You’d think your closest friends would be thrilled for you when you meet a great love?! But no – jealousy is indeed a curse.

female friendships, frenemies, toxic friendships
I interviewed a senior clinical psychologist, who wishes to remain anonymous, about this complex topic of toxic friends. Her insightful answers are below:

Q: Are there any warning signs for a toxic friendship?

A: Relationship experts define a toxic friendship as one which causes more hurt and pain than good. So, when the friendship is causing you to feel bad about yourself, guilty, miserable, used or any other of a possible range of negative emotions a good deal of the time, and these negative emotions outweigh the positive feelings you get from the friendship, then you are in a toxic friendship.

Some people have a talent for making themselves feel better by putting their friends down with criticism and cutting remarks. If you realise this bullying is happening to you, take some deep breaths and resolve to end it. No one can “make” you feel sad or depressed, it only happens with your cooperation. So, dig deep and find the strength to end the friendship!

Q: Why do our one-time BFFs sometimes become our mortal enemies?

A: Sometimes, a friendship starts off being pleasant and fulfilling, but over time it turns into something toxic. Why? It could be that one friend has been successful or had happiness come their way and the other has missed out and feels jealous and resentful. Or maybe one party feels superior due to their successes and starts to be condescending and contemptuous towards the friend they regard as less successful. Maybe one friend is miserable due to a failed relationship and wants to make others suffer too.

There are many possible reasons why are some friends so good for us at the start and then turn into our worst foes. You could try talking to your friend about what is happening and how you feel about their behaviour towards you. But the important thing to remember is you can’t change someone else, you can only change yourself. So, if you find yourself in this situation and your friend is not prepared to acknowledge or change the way they are treating you, walk away!

female friendships, frenemies, toxic friendships

Q: How do you combat a toxic friend?

A: If you discover that you are in a toxic friendship, my advice is to walk away. Trying to change the relationship for the better would be very difficult: both parties would need to recognise the need to behave differently and want to change – that’s unlikely.

Usually in a toxic friendship one party holds most of the power, the other party is the recipient of hurtful putdowns, cruel comments and/or manipulations. The powerful one won’t want to give up their power – it enhances their self-esteem and gives a sense of superiority. Why would they want to change that? If you are the injured party, cut your losses and walk away. Yes, you’ll feel lonely for a time but you’ll feel better about yourself knowing that you’ve had the strength to end the abuse. Instead, spend time with people whose company your enjoy and who you walk away from feeling happy.

Main image via forty2014.com; secondary image via en.wikipedia.org; third image via theberry.com and final image via www.pinterest.com.

Workplace Bullying: How To Stand-Up To Your Boss

Recently, my housemate filed an official complaint against one of her managers for bullying in the workplace. After making a simple mistake on a financial document, her 50-something year old boss took it upon himself to condemn and humiliate her for doing so in front of an office full of fellow employees.

RELATED: Tired, Tense And Breathing Your Teeth? You’re Breathing Wrong

Interestingly and rightly so, she didn’t take it on the chin. However, not all of us have the courage to stand-up to authority, particularly in the workplace. HR consultant and people management specialist Karen Gately says that it’s important to know that if your boss repeatedly behaves in a way that causes you to feel humiliated, intimidated, threatened or belittled, then you are being bullied.

If you are dealing with this kind of situation, Karen insists that you have two choices; stand up for yourself, or leave. If you do choose to confront the situation but aren’t sure how to go about it, here are her top tips on how to take action.

Be prepared

Don’t go in guns blazing. Take the time to think about what you need to say and how you will go about it, says Gately. “Ask for the advice and support you need from other leaders, HR people on the team, your colleagues, or people outside of your organisation,” she adds. What’s more, be prepared for how your boss may respond. Preparation is key here, ladies.

Hold the bully accountable

There is no justification for workplace bullying, so act with conviction, says Karen. Just because an employer is in a position of power doesn’t mean that they’re permitted to undermine or disrespect you. The HR expert recommends: “Take a firm stance and speak with confidence when you ask your boss to take responsibly for the unnecessary and damaging impact their behaviour has on other people.”

Raise awareness

An important factor to take into consideration is that the person may not be aware of the impact that their actions are having. Karen insists that you help your boss to understand why their behaviour matters and discuss alternative approaches that they could take.

Be constructive

Being bullied does not give you the right to reciprocate. In fact, this is neither appropriate nor effective. Instead, maintain your behaviour as a standard that you can be proud of, says Karen. “Your aim should be to influence your boss’s thoughts, feelings and ultimately actions by delivering honest feedback with respect and sensitivity.  A support person in the meeting may help keep things on track.”

Be honest

Talk openly and honestly about why you’ve raised the issue. Maybe it’s upsetting you; maybe it’s causing you anxiety and/or impacting your health and wellbeing. Whatever the reason, it’s important to explain why you or other people have felt bullied and arrive at an outcome that you want to see, recommends Karen.

Avoid personal attacks

As with anything, it’s all in the delivery. Therefore, “avoid criticising your bosses character; rather focus on the impacts of their behaviour,” insists Karen. “Remain objective and communicate your desire for a positive work environment that will enable the whole team to thrive.”

Images via Screencrush.com

When Kids Read Mean Tweets

When celebrities, sports stars and politicians read mean tweets its funny right? Their job involves being in the spotlight, under the scrutiny of the public eye and all that comes with it. Yet with a smirk and a shrug of the shoulders and the comments are easily forgotten.

But how would you feel if the person reading mean tweets was your son, your daughter or in fact you? Well on Monday we got to see just that with Canadian Safe School Network’s latest PSA, Kids Read Mean Tweets. The videos message is delivered using a similar format to that of Jimmy Kimmel’s Celebrities Read Mean Tweets, yet this versions purpose is not for comic relief. Instead the message is to stress the negative and often devastating effects cyber bullying can have on our children.

The President of the Canadian Safe School Network, Stu Auty explains why they positioned the campaign in this direction: “The ‘Mean Tweets’ model…gives the message that cyber bullying is ok – even funny.”

He continues, “Adult celebrities have the maturity and confidence to overcome these hurtful words. Children don’t. For regular kids, words can cut like a knife. Cyber-bullying is an epidemic that invades their lives and leaves many feeling like there’s no way out.”

The Canadian Safe School Network is a non-profit organisation that aims to eradicate bullying and youth violence within our schools and this non-traditional approach is providing mountains of exposure. Within five days of its release the video had gained over one million views on YouTube and its reach is only growing, all in all a successful campaign.

Yet unfortunately the issue will not disappear over night. Only 8 per cent of children admit to being cyber bullied while over 18 per cent of parents admit to their child being a victim and 31 per cent of people claiming they know a child within their community who has been effected. Clearly children are reluctant to seek help when cyberbulling is concerned and it is up to the bystanders who are letting this occur and the bullies themselves to realize the damaging impression they leave.

“We urge young people to stand up for those that are dealing with cyber bulling, instead of laughing at it. Witnessing cyber bullying and not saying anything makes you a bystander,” Auty says.

The PSA starts off with laughter accompanying the insults yet as takes a more drastic turn and the tweets become nastier and malicious, the video hits home and highlights the severity of the issue. Kimmel’s infamous segment has had multiple adaptations within his show including NBA Edition, NFL Edition and more recently even featured a President Obama Edition. The segment has had spin offs with YouTube celebrities now getting involved. However, this PSA is undoubtedly the most poignant.

With parents, teachers and the law unable to keep up with the continual evolution of technology and the social media that provides it is imperative that the issue is understood among the offenders. This unique method will hopefully be engaging enough to become the catalyst for change, because between you and me, the comic side of this video doesn’t last long.

Should Daycare Centres Have Zero Tolerance to Violent Kids?

In the 1992 US psychological thriller The Hand That Rocks the Cradle there’s a particularly frightening scene when the lead actor Rebecca De Mornay – who plays a crazed nanny – terrorises a little school bully who’s targeting one of her charges.

Now, I’m not a violent woman in the slightest, but when a friend jokingly reminded me of this movie scene, just after the shock and upset of learning the class bully had attacked my three-year-old daughter at her daycare centre, such is the fierceness of mother love, I could scarily relate to the mad nanny’s actions – if only for a second.

RELATED: How To Survive The Daycare Drop-off and Is Your Child Being Bullied?

While it would be very tempting to personally warn the daycare bully not to ever go near my child again, I am trying to trust that the centre’s carers have in fact got this dire situation under control. My daughter’s crime? A happy and sociable child, she simply wanted to play with this school bully, who lashed out at her in anger when she touched his toy.

And this was no normal toddler tantrum – this three-year-old boy, in my opinion, needs the attentions of a child psychologist, stat – he lunged at my daughter’s face with long, dirty nails, leaving deep scratches  just right under her left eye.

I was upset that this had happened to her at all, but even more so when I later learnt from my poor, traumatised daughter, when I got her home, that it was in fact the class bully who had attacked her – it was no random incident.

This kid is a repeat violent offender who’s previously bitten other kids, hit them with sticks and inflicted multiple bruises on yet another little girl, just from hard pinches. I know all this from other parents who have similarly signed incident reports.

So it got me thinking: should daycare centres have zero tolerance to violent kids? Should it there be a one-strike-and-you’re-out policy to weed out class bullies? I believe so.

bullying, violent kids, daycare centre
Unfortunately, our daycare centre doesn’t agree: they say they’re duty-bound to work closely with the class bully, and his parents, to improve his behaviour. Indeed, they protected him by not immediately revealing to me that it was he who had attacked my daughter.

Well, as I’ve told them, I don’t think this is good enough. I have every right, as a parent, to expect my child will be going to safe place, when I drop her off at their daycare centre twice weekly. Indeed, I am paying them for such a service.

Why should parents have to be anxious about their children getting attacked by a class bully, who clearly needs help?

And what will it take for this child to be excluded – a serious injury to some poor, innocent kid?!

And why haven’t this kid’s parents removed him? Don’t they care about the unnecessary stress their bully child is causing the other kids and their parents?

While I could just pull my child out of this daycare centre – and my husband and I are still seriously mulling this over – my daughter has made many good friends there, usually loves attending it and it’s very convenient to our home.

I am currently eagerly awaiting a response to my above concerns from my state government’s Early Childhood Education and Care which regulates early childhood education and care services.

What do you think? Should class bullies and violent kids at daycare centres be excluded?

Main image via safeharbor1.wordpress.com and secondary image via www.pixabay.com.

Is Your Child Being Bullied?

Bullying causes severe emotional harm and if overlooked it can slowly eat away at a child’s self-esteem leaving them feeling worthless and unimportant.  Whether it is physical abuse or verbal abuse the outcome in the long run can still be the same – the person is left feeling lonely, anxious and depressed. 

I will never forget when I was bullied in my first year of high school.  I was short and my backpack was almost the same size as I was, and I remember being taunted by two girls who were older than me because of it.  Luckily for me it didn’t go on for long, probably because the bullies found someone else to taunt instead, but I never told anyone about it apart from my husband a few years ago and now all of you. Then it got me thinking, if I didn’t tell anyone at the time how would anyone have known that I was being bullied?  Were there any obvious signs?  Now that I have two small children of my own, I want to be sure I know the red flags to look out for when they head off to primary school and into the big wide world.  I don’t want them to suffer the same humiliation that I did, although these days it seems to be a growing trend. According to a survey conducted in 2013 of 20,000 Australian students in Years 4–9, 27% of them said they were bullied every few weeks or more during a school term. 

Here are some signs that your child may be suffering at the hands of a bully:

  • They come home from school with physical injuries – bruises and scratches for which they have no valid explanation
  • Your child is reluctant to go to school, maybe always trying to convince you that they don’t feel well and they need to stay home
  • Your child generally talks about hating school
  • They keep losing school items, clothes, lunch money or personal items
  • There has been a change to their sleep pattern.  Are they finding it hard to sleep, are they having nightmares or are they suddenly wetting the bed?
  • Your child may suddenly be getting into trouble at school and acting out
  • They are over eating or have a sudden loss of appetite
  • They appear noticeably withdrawn and their self-esteem has decreased
  • Their grades are suddenly slipping
  • Your child may have attempted to run away or even talked about suicide

If you suspect your child is being bullied try talking to them about it. Understandably, most children will probably reject your claims in fear of being humiliated or not wanting to be seen as a tattletale, so if that fails try asking one of their close friends or arrange a meeting with one of their teachers.  If there is no one you feel that you can turn to try calling a parent line or getting in contact with a trained medical professional who will be able to discuss your concerns. 

When I look back at the girls who bullied me now I laugh, because I’m happy and successful. I’ve had dreams and I’ve fulfilled them and there have been obstacles but I’ve overcome them. It almost motivated me to prove that I could become a better person than they ever would be. But for some children who are bullied and even the smallest of signs are left unnoticed they slip into a state of self-loathing and despair. Don’t ignore the signs. If you know that something isn’t quite right, talk to someone about it, before it’s too late.

Image via huffingtonpost.com

By Karyn Miller

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