My husband has a nephew who is one day older than Anna. It is unfortunate, but at thirteen this young man is a bully. Due to bad parenting, adults in his life not willing to set limits, and witnessing a very nasty divorce between his parents he has been “taught” that his behavior is acceptable in his family. In fact, his mother has been a bully of sorts since I have known her.
I realize as a child, especially when he was younger and more impressionable, that he is a victim of what his parents and the other adults in his life have taught him by their actions. When he was younger and acted out violently, I was usually the first to defend him to my husband and children. I believed and still do, that the example set by his parents, and other adults, and the things he must have witnessed during his parents divorce has left him with some serious mental health and emotional issues.
Over the years it has become very evident that his violence is escalating and I am finding it harder and harder to feel sorry for him and defend him. Especially, when his bullying behavior is directed at my daughter, his own cousin. To be more truthful, part of me feels incredibly sad for this young man. He has to be hurting so much. The other part of me feels incredibly angry that he would bully Anna, physically and verbally. Right now, the angry part is in charge, more out of protecting my daughter from him then anything else.
I find it interesting how my writing challenges me to examine myself. I must confess when I sat down to write this post, the angry part of me was in charge. I was going to “show” you some recent, not nice messages he sent to Anna. However, I have decided not to. I now believe that posting those messages would not be helpful and could possibly be harmful.
I think it began to dawn on me, that posting those messages would have been wrong when I referred to him as a victim. He is a victim, who has turned into a bully as a way to protect himself from the things that go on in his world. Maybe on some level his mother realizes this and also sees how she had a hand in what has happened to this young man. That could explain why she refuses to discuss some of his behavior towards Anna with us.
I will no longer allow him to have any contact with Anna, because of his bullying behavior. It is not healthy for her. However, I am no longer angry. I will be praying that someone or something intervenes in this young man’s life before he hurts someone worse than he already has, or ends up in jail.