The first half of this post taught us the reasons why people are big meanies. This one will give you practical ways to deal with them! This post is GOLD. LP
Last post; I discussed the WWWWWH regarding Mean Girls. How about now, we discuss YOUR WWWWWH, should you encounter a MG.
In any situation you are going to encounter, there are three options: autoplastic adaptation, alloplastic adaptation or do nothing.
So, what are those SAT level vocab words?
Autoplastic simply means you change your view of the situation. Alloplastic means you try to change the situation.
Who can you talk to regarding Mean Girls:
Alloplastic change would involve changing the situation. Changing the situation would likely involve working with students and faculty to change a culture where bullying is happening.
The Lotus Project is working in those circles already.
Important things to consider when working towards changing the “system”:
When addressing the issues with staff in an attempt to effect change, ensure you are not just venting. Coming to staff with a clear, measured statement of an issue and a few proposed solutions. It is much more efficient for everyone involved.
What can you do when faced with mean behavior?
This is where the Autoplastic solution comes into play. Autoplastic change is one where you change how you view a situation.
What do you think, feel or do when someone is mean to you?
Can you shake it off? Do you believe the negative? I used to feel like I was Velcro for the negative and non-stick for the positive. Couldn’t take a compliment to save my life, but BOY would I believe an insult!
An important thing to consider is who are these mean people in your life, really? Do they write your paychecks? Do they write your report cards? Will these insults matter when you are 20? 30? Think about something from grade school that really seemed insurmountable and hurtful. Your best friend picked a new best friend? Your crush liked someone else? Are those things that seemed like the end of the world still on your heart as you read this? I’m hoping not. Time and perspective can take something that seems so big and permanent much smaller
I know that now, so I want to give you the magic of the 5 and 5!
I like to try and give things like this the 5 and 5. If something isn’t going to matter to me in five years, I don’t allow myself any more than 5 minutes of my time and energy.
When Can You Address The Mean Behavior?
There is such a thing as emotional flooding. When one is emotionally flooded, it takes at least a FULL 15 minutes to become able to think or speak rationally. It is likely best to wait.
I say that not just for your emotional health, but also to potentially prevent further mean contact. In an interaction of this type, you are likely unsettled and the mean person is enjoying it. It’s best not to feed the Trolls—or, don’t feed the Bergens. If you remain in an interaction or escalate it, the person pulling the strings will know they can do so and likely try to get to you again.
Where Can You Deal With This?
A few options here: process it with friends or trusted adults/faculty, journal it on your own, bring it up to the vice-principal or higher…
Why Should You Go Alloplastic or Autoplastic?
The third option is to do nothing. My guess is that doing nothing is or has been painful for you, because you are reading this.
How Do You Deal With Mean Girls?
It took me a LOONG time to not internalize injuries from others and seek validation (often from unhealthy sources and via unhealthy means) to erase their marks in the negative column so then maybe I wouldn’t be what they said I was. I hope if that’s something with it, your struggle will be a much shorter one and I’m so glad the LP is here to help you with that and a gazillion other great things.
So, now that you know how I dealt with my meanies back then, you want to know how I deal with them now?
So glad you asked!!
Let’s say someone behind me in the grocery line makes a mean remark. My younger self would have taken it to heart and been really hurt. Currently, I take a breath; realize that their day or their lives must be SO painful they have to throw ugliness of a stranger in a vane attempt to take back some power and control. They hurt SO much; they are trying to hurt a stranger. Sad stuff. I then silently open my heart and send some love and light into the universe hoping it falls into their heart and they find some relief. Then I smile.
I know, now, not to approach that type of wounded animal with my physical person. But I can try to heal them remotely with my intentions, the light and love I’ve fought to sow in my own heart, in spite of, or truly with thanks to the “mean girls” in my life.
Reshaping your lens is hard work, but SO WORTH IT!!
Thanks for reading, and I hope you found something helpful in here…
Love and light to you all! Maggie
Maggie Kappler is a roller derby playing boy mom and Navy spouse. After 10.5 years in the Naval Nuclear Power field, she decided to flip her script. She pursued psychology and has a BA in Psychology, a MA in Counseling Psychology and holds a Licensed Professional Counselor license in South Carolina. She is dedicated to helping people see the best in themselves and others.