AM I THE BULLY, HERE?

I am going to be a bit vulnerable today before I introduce today’s guest.  Her post inspired me to do some of own internal reflecting.

I am just now getting back into the swing of working out again.  I could work out at home, and do on occasion, but I hate it.  There is really only one thing I love and that is cardio group exercise.

I took several years off to get my head straight and, dozens of pounds later, I feel like I am finally able to handle it again.  One thing that has kept me out of the gym though; my constant fear of judgment.  I am afraid of the bullies that aren’t even there. The bullies have ALWAYS been in my head but they get louder when I am in any kind of group setting.  I fight VERY hard to not cut and run.

I wasn’t always like that though.  Once upon a time I was able to introduce myself to people, to laugh with them and enjoy their company without always second guessing what they were really thinking.  Mental illness sucks and you don’t have to be born with it or have something horrible happen to cause it. Sometimes it’s like a cold you can’t get rid of – one day you wake up and you have a whole new world to adjust to.

Now it takes time for me to find a place I feel comfortable, and even then, I have to be careful not to give my mind a reason to freak out.  My hip hop teachers are high energy, gorgeous, and you would think I would find them intimidating but they both have smiles that draw you in and automatically make you feel welcome.  But then there are the 50 other people who take their class, some of them I know but most I don’t.  “I can do this” has become my mental chant every time I drive to the gym.

Slowly, I am finding more reasons to feel comfortable going to class and today one of those reasons wrote a post for me!  Lorrie has a killer smile and a kick-ass killer attitude.  She doesn’t realize her enthusiasm is contagious and I crave and need that!  She didn’t know me when I was thinner so I my mind can’t automatically jump to the conclusion that she is judging me.

Yea… I am definitely my OWN bully.

Here I am very happy to present Lorrie!  Thank you Lorrie so much!

BeFunky_RONyPwknRQOO3ag4xf3R_Kinsey.jpg


AM I THE BULLY, HERE? by Lorrie

I graduated law school in 1995. It’s hard to believe I’ve been practicing law for 20 years. I like how my profession and other professions call it “practicing” – that means we are always learning and trying to perfect it.

I practiced business litigation for many years before putting away the proverbial legal boxing gloves and slowing things down as in-house counsel, focusing primarily on contract law and compliance. In my 20-year legal career, I have represented individuals and business in a myriad of disputes from your basic contractual disagreement to your million dollar war of egos and principles.

There weren’t many female litigators in Oklahoma County during my career. We were a rarity in an otherwise male-dominated faction of Oklahoma litigators.

Being raised one of eleven kids in Lewisville, Texas, I was neither told nor do I ever recall believing I was any less capable than my brothers or anyone else for that matter. I was blessed with the gift of public speaking, though my parents and siblings may have viewed it as a curse, at times. I discovered early on that I had a sharp tongue, quick wit, and the intellect to back it up. I relied on that lethal combination to become the first female in my family to attend and graduate from college and law school, with honors.

I will never forget, early in my career, I had a case before a particular judge who had served on the bench for many, many years. I presented my motion and argument and was successful for my client. Since I won the motion, I then asked the judge for my client’s costs and attorney’s fees incurred as the prevailing party, which was allowed by Oklahoma law. That judge peered down at me, over his glasses, and denied my request. I pressed the issue until he raised his voice and bellowed, “Don’t guild the lily, little lady.”

I wasn’t even sure what that meant, except that I should probably stop talking. He wanted me to stop talking. He didn’t care what the law allowed, he wasn’t giving my client any more than he already had. He was angry at me and was going to use the force at his disposal to make me stop talking.

That was the first time I recall ever feeling bullied into shutting my mouth.

While somewhat dismayed, I didn’t allow that exchange to damper my convictions.

If you walk away from this blog with nothing else – walk away with this: Don’t let the bully damper your convictions. Don’t allow the bully to make you walk away from the right fight.

Bullies in business (and especially lawyers in business litigation, unfortunately) are quite prevalent. I’ve found those legal victories over bullies the most satisfying, and the defeats, the most challenging and sometimes, even demoralizing.

I’ve seen creditors (even false creditors with false claims for debts owed) bully clients, friends and family into paying something that wasn’t even owed. I’ve seen bullies in business lie and manipulate a situation, taking advantage of the trusting and giving hearts of clients and friends. I’ve seen bullies in business threaten clients, friends and family with actions that were absent of both authority and legality.

I am proud of those moments when I was able to use my powers for good and stop the bullying with the help of the iron hand of the law and reason. Many times, the bully in business would back down when the facts, the law, and the clear consequences were staring them in the face. These are the moments I am most proud of what
I can do.

Other moments, I am not so proud of.

In other moments – I was the bully.

One of the most beautiful gifts of life is accepting and knowing that you’re never too old to learn. As a matter of fact, the older you get, you become more open to those learning opportunities instead of seeing those opportunities as a personal attack. You are comfortable with putting your ego aside and asking yourself, “What is my ownership in this situation?”

Several years ago, my best, lifelong friend and I reached an impasse on some life-changing issues. We had reached a point of a complete breakdown in communication with each other. Our friendship was important enough that we agreed to see a professional about our situation and see if the relationship was salvageable.

In meeting with the counselor, I learned that probably the worst thing someone can do to me in a close and meaningful relationship is disconnect from me, dismiss me, and disengage from me. And when that happens, I respond out of anger (or in reality, hurt). I start demanding that connection, that engagement – and I’ll use whatever tools I can to get what I want.

I will never forget what that counselor said to me that day: “Anger will not get you what you want.”
My initial reaction was, “The hell it won’t.” My nickname is “Hellcat”, after all (another blog for another day).

She kept saying it over and over, “Anger will not get you what you want.”

She was right – anger had not and will not get me what I wanted.

Anger is a temporary reaction that obstructs a learning opportunity.

I was being a bully.

My friend and I were able to salvage that relationship. We were both able to step back and reach a new level of connection and understanding. I learned I had gone beyond standing up for what I thought was “right” and was bullying another person to get my way.

I learned – and am still learning (though I am much better at it, with practice) – that you have to channel your reaction to injustice in a practical, yet confident, way. I am learning to use my sharp-tongue and quick-witted powers and intellect for good. I am learning to use my knowledge of the law and individual rights and balance that with legal, available remedies – with persuasion and assertiveness, not anger and aggression.

And like the “practice” of law, I find myself on a life-long journey which includes practicing and learning these skills. I’m learning and practicing how to recognize a bully and how to perfect my reaction to bullies – without becoming one.

It truly is a matter of practice and awareness – striving to use our powers for good and finding balance in our reactions with others and ourselves, with learning and grace.


bio pic

Lorrie is a lawyer and proud mother of two, living in Deer Creek, Oklahoma, with her husband and two cats. She’s an avid runner and hip-hop dancer. This was her first blog and she’s feeling inspired to do more – especially considering the fact that her children have apparently inherited her sharp-tongued wit. You can reach Lorrie at OKHellcat@yahoo.com.

Advertisements

20 thoughts on “AM I THE BULLY, HERE?

  1. This is a beautiful post! It takes courage and wisdom to recognize the little bully present in all of us that emerges at various intervals of life and put it to rest before it causes irreparable damage. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, babysteps22. When I sat down to write on the issue, I thought I knew the direction it would take, and well, it took an entirely different direction of reflection. I am glad when grace and learning can nip these ugly moments in the bud. 🙂

      Like

  2. Oh wow, that is an amazing concept and I have never thought about it before, being my OWN bully! I feel like over the last couple of years I have become harder and colder and have been becoming angrier and angrier. The person I take that out on the most is myself, it’s a tough road to walk!

    Like

  3. Lorri, it’s nice to “meet” you and I absolutely loved this. Bullying comes in all shapes, sizes, forms, and situations. I especially like your points about bullying in business. My own post for #1000Speak is on self-bullying.
    Sometimes I feel like we way overuse the term “bullying” today, but really what else are we going to call it? A rose by any other name, right? And
    Life is indeed an ongoing opportunity to learn and to grow. Great men like Ben Franklin and Emerson and Thoreau have always thought so and I admire that mindset.
    Thanks for a great read. Best to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lisa – What kind and wonderful words and insight! Thank you SO MUCH! And you’re right – it is what it is. You can put lipstick on a pig….but it’s still a pig. 🙂

      Like

  4. Awesome. I struggle with this. I am 6 feet 4 inches tall. I can be a bully all too easily. I have a Don Quixote complex that makes me rush to defend the bullied, but I have to stay alert that I do not become the bully, even to a bully.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “It truly is a matter of practice and awareness – striving to use our powers for good and finding balance in our reactions with others and ourselves, with learning and grace.”

    This ^^^ is brilliant 🙂

    I mean, so’s the whole thing, but this stood out. FANTASTIC debut 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow – thank you, lrconsiderer! I am so humbled by the love and support I’ve received today. I mentioned to someone earlier – my heart is so full. I am so grateful. Thank you for reading and for commenting. I really appreciate your kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lorrie, you did a fabulous job!! Love it! So very proud of you! You definitely presented it in a way that is clear and concise. Knowing you as I do, the word “bully” never comes to mind. But I get it. I too can be a bully to myself and others when hurt and frustrated when someone is not hearing me. I will also say there are bullies who do it with a smile on their face, behind a facade of “sweetness”. It’s not always about the anger – it’s about manipulation and power. Great job! You need to write more!! You attitude is contagious, even online! 🙂 Much love!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • ((CINDY)) – Thank you for this – and for your call. I was locked in meetings all day today and when I checked my voice mail on my break, I thought my heart might explode with your sweet, kind message. I am just floored and so, so grateful for this opportunity and that maybe it rings true for others. LOVE you!!!

      Like

    • Yes – especially when people without the legal tools who don’t know that they can’t be treated that way. They’ve been convinced that what is happening to them is allowable, because well, the bully said so. I like to help the bullied find their voice, and if they can’t, I want to be their voice for them.

      Like

  7. Pingback: #BeReal – LORRIE HELLCAT BAMFORD | hastywords

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s