“We must be more sensitive to how our actions affect others if we are to survive as a species.” — Miriam Polster, IN SWEET COMPANY: CONVERSATIONS WITH EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN ABOUT LIVING A SPIRITUAL LIFE

For the past 21 months, I’ve been engaged in a righteous battle with an adult bully. it was as if all the bullies I’d ever encountered throughout time threw a pinch of their own particular brand of dastardly expertise into a pot, stirred it up, and took form. “Tyranta” was a skilled liar, petty, mean-spirited, critical to the point of harassment, vindictive, and so on and so forth. She consistently tried to cut off my head in order to make herself feel tall.

I didn’t see this about her when we first met, partly because she was trying to charm me into a business negotiation, partly because I never, in a million years, envisioned such a person would find their way into my sphere of influence. As events unfolded, I naively believed that if I calmly responded to her allegations and gave her an accurate account of events she would come round.

It didn’t take long before I got sucked into the drama —  I became annoyed, irritated, indignant, fried. I spent an extraordinary amount of time and energy churning and sighing and trying not to churn or sigh. I rolled my eyes in exasperation. I moaned. I did not want to fight. How could something like this happen to me?

When I asked the “right” question, the “What was the lesson I could learn from this experience?” question, the “What was God trying to teach me?” question, Truth made a path to me. In the great economy of God, there were many truths to learn from this experience.

They include:

I could not change her behavior no matter what I said or did. I could, however, change myself.
I must not underestimate her wiliness or expect she will play by anyone’s rules.
I must not take her comments or behavior personally.
I must maintain my peace and integrity.
I must not make this experience my whole life.
I must take care of myself during this stressful time.
I must protect myself and others she could hurt in the future.
I must not remain silent.
I must reach out and get support.
I must thoroughly document my experience.
I must devote time and energy to mounting and presenting a case in the courts, one based on concrete facts, not emotions.
Once it is over, I must let it all go and move on, live a meaningful life.

Tyranta had come into my life to teach me how to operate more fully in the world. And I am grateful for this.

In the end, we had our day in court. I told the Truth. I was prepared, present, strong, cogent and calm. Tyranta was caught in a half dozen lies, was silenced by the bailiff on four separate occasions. She left the courtroom in a huff.

I write this now, before the decision has been rendered. I did the best I could, beyond what I was previously able or thought possible. I hope the judge will rule in my favor. Mostly I also hope my feelings about the outcome will not be dependent on a decision by an external authority.

For additional information on dealing with adult bullies, please visit:



Your thoughts?

More from Beliefnet and our partners