Some bullying spouses, abusive extended-family members, people you call friends, bullies in school and bullies at work will try to pressure you to do what they want; to do what they think is right. And they’ll have their “good” reasons in order to justify why you should do what they want. And if you don’t do things their way, they’ll be angry, try to get other people to pressure you or try to force you by threatening to shun you or to hold that grudge forever. So how can you think of the situation so you’re free to do what you want? And what can you do?
You decide who gets to vote on your choices. You might allow some decisions be decided by majority vote but there are others in which you want only yourself and your spouse to vote. Common examples in which not everyone should vote are in the planning of events – who gets invited to weddings or graduation or holiday parties. Other examples might be what you do on vacation or what you do for work and where or who you date after your beloved, long-term spouse dies or what you do with your retirement.
There are moments of truth for each of us when we test other people: do they try to beat us into submission to do things their way or do they encourage us to follow our soul’s direction even after they’ve offered advice to go in a different direction?
How do you know you’re being given advice or facing arm-twisting? If you don’t take advice, the relationship goes on as before. If you don’t take arm-twisting, you’ll son face a head-lock.
Don’t let anyone beat you into submission; not parents or children or friends. Don’t allow your life to be a debate to figure out the “Right” way to do things, with the rule being majority rules. Don’t give people power over your choices.
If you argue on a bully’s grounds, you’ve already lost. Once you’ve started arguing with someone expressing their opinion, you’ve already agreed that they get to vote and you can’t do what you want unless they give you permission to. But you’ll never convince some people to allow you go your own way when it’s not their way.
If you want to listen to someone’s ideas but not allow them to vote, you can say, “You can share what you would do or how things seem to you, but I won’t discuss, debate or argue what’s ‘right’ or ‘best.’ I’ll make my own decisions.” That will clarify what you’re going to do.
However, be prepared for them to harass and pressure you, and try to beat you into submission anyway. If you allow them to control your life, why should they stop arguing? That’s when you can say, “If you want to try to beat me into submission, I’ll stop talking with you. My life is not a democratic vote.”
But what if they threaten to vent their anger forever or never to see you again? This is a wonderful opportunity to clarify who you’ll allow on your “isle of song.” This is a wonderful opportunity for you to decide what counts more, good behavior or bullying blood.
This is a moment of truth for you: you get to decide, as an adult, what values, attitudes and beliefs to you want to have in your life. Even more, you get to decide which values are more important when some of those values conflict or are even mutually exclusive.