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September 21, 2012 / diannegray

There are creatures and there are ‘creatures’

Baby Sloth sanctuary, Costa Rica. Image courtesy of ‘The Age’

This picture of the baby sloth was in ‘The Age’ newspaper today and I couldn’t resist placing it in this post. It comes from a story about the Costa Rica Sloth Sanctuary.

I’d love to write about cute creatures, but this post is about the not-so-cute ones.

In my About page I say I’ve worked in some interesting places – one of them being a crocodile farm (in the 90’s). In 2000 I moved to the city and since this time have worked in a large government department. Come next year (when my house is restored to its former glory) I’ll be leaving my high-flying, high-stress job and heading back to the country. And I must say – I’m looking forward to it.

Working with crocodiles is a dangerous, challenging and wonderful experience. They have beautiful green eyes and amazingly soft leather. I’ve watched them hatch and felt the incredible strength of their teeth (when they’re only a few seconds old!). I’ve had a tug-o-war with a 750 kilo croc called Agro when my stupid boss dropped his sunglasses into an enclosure and asked me to ‘keep Agro busy’ with a stick while he retrieved them. Naturally, when Agro gripped my stick I was never going to win that battle. But at least I held on long enough for my boss to get his sunglasses back.

Living with snakes can also be dangerous, challenging and wonderful. On the farm I’ve done the ‘snake hop’ several times. Twice when pythons fell out of mango trees onto my head and twice when I inadvertently stepped on them in the dark. I’ve battled a taipan with a broom (and we both lived to tell the tale) and I’ve relocated several green tree snakes from bathrooms and roads back to their trees.

Crocodiles and snakes can be deadly – but at least you know where you stand when you face one.

City creatures are different.

In my 12 years working in government I’ve learned that you can come face to face with crocodiles and snakes and not recognise them – they are disguised as people.

Real creatures attack for a reason. They’re either protecting their turf, are hungry, or you’ve frightened them (or trodden on them in my case). But disguised creatures are different. They often attack for no reason at all.

It’s my nature to protect (hey – I’m a mum) and when I see someone being bullied or abused I will step in and try to stop it. Reflecting back on the last 12 years I’ve spent in the city jungle I thought I’d share with you what I have learned.

This sharing experience is about bullies:

  1. Once you defend someone who is being bullied, chances are you’ll become the target
  2. If you stand up to bullies they will usually back down
  3. Managers are inherently afraid of conflict and confrontation and therefore tend to bury their heads in the sand
  4. If a bully is pumping out the work – all is forgiven (regardless of the train-wrecks left behind)
  5. Bullies are psychopaths and they can turn on the charm to management (while simultaneously cracking skulls with their boots)
  6. Victims don’t want to be victims so they would rather move to another job than defend themselves and be labelled a ‘whinger’

Of course it’s not just the workplace that has this problem with bullies; schools are renowned for it.

Have you ever been bullied? Have you ever seen bullying and tried to stop it? Is it rife where you are?


Leave a Comment
  1. jmgoyder / Sep 21 2012 6:40 pm

    I/we have been bullied for years now by my husband’s brother. I have only recently begun to be assertive. I love this post!


    • diannegray / Sep 21 2012 6:51 pm

      Oh, grrrrr – I hate bullies! We need to find a way to help you even more. I think assertiveness is definitely the way to go.

      How long has it been going on?


      • jmgoyder / Sep 21 2012 6:53 pm

        20 years – ever since I marrried Ants


      • diannegray / Sep 21 2012 7:14 pm

        Oh my…! That is a long time. He obviously has a problem and the thing is – it’s not you, it’s him. HE needs to deal with HIS problem and it’s so unfortunate that you seem to be the brunt of it. I had a twinge of concern the other day when I read your post ‘Looking Up’. I wasn’t going to say anything in my response – but I thought ‘why do you have to explain yourself to anyone? If you want to keep birds, that’s your business and who is this person that wants an explanation?’ Anyway, I didn’t say anything and I probably should have.

        My email address is in my memories and dreams link at the top of the page. If you ever need someone to talk to, please let me know. I’ve actually got more professional credentials in the area of bullying and harassment than I’ve stated in this post.


  2. Jo Eberhardt / Sep 21 2012 6:49 pm

    Great post. I spent most of my childhood/teenage years being bullied, and it took me until I was almost 30 before I learned how to stand up for myself and others. (Possibly becoming a mother helped!) And I’m with you — it’s the ‘crocs disguised as people’ you’ve got to watch out for.


    • diannegray / Sep 21 2012 7:18 pm

      Exactly. Jo – when we know what we’re facing we know how to react (fight or flight). But when people are disguised and the lines becomes blurred we can find ourselves in very difficult situations indeed.

      School bulling is hideous and I’m so glad you’re away from it now : )


  3. maggiemyklebust / Sep 21 2012 8:35 pm

    I was married to a bully for twelve years. I hate bullies!
    But I think I’d rather deal with a bully than have a snake fall on my head… just the thought, FREAKS me out!!!


    • diannegray / Sep 21 2012 8:59 pm

      Hahaha – at least with a snake you can either throw it off or run away (or both) 😀 Pythons give you a fright, but they’re not venomous – and you’ve got a good story to tell afterwards. The taipans are far scarier – but they can’t climb trees (thank god)

      I’m so glad you escaped the bully. Cheers to you 😀


  4. John / Sep 21 2012 10:21 pm

    This manner of scum is all over the planet. My wife recently left a job at a hospital in management because of the managers above her being complete so-and-so’s. They do bad things, and get rewarded with a promotion. What a sick world.


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 12:14 am

      Promotion does seem to be a common occurrence here and I think it’s because bullies manage upward and have no respect for their peers or juniors (in fact, their peers tend to become ‘the competition’).

      I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. It can very often be more traumatic when someone we love is being bullied than when it’s happening to us.


  5. ramblingsfromamum / Sep 21 2012 10:44 pm

    I understand the bullying and thankfully was never a victim and pythons on your head????? omg Di – but I adore SLOTHS 🙂


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 12:17 am

      How damn cute is that little fella!

      I like the snakes – they eat the big rats and I absolutely hate big rats! *shudder*


  6. justinwriter / Sep 21 2012 11:27 pm

    Oh, I was enjoying the animal tales and then your post suddenly turned deadly serious. Wasn’t expecting that. Okay, for the first part … sloths are great. I watched a very funny interview between Ellen DeGeneres and Kristen Bell who loves sloths and now owns one. Can’t stand snakes and can’t rationally talk about them. Crocs are interesting though. The saltwater ones can wander up to five kilometres inland, so if I’m ever up the top end, I’ll be staying away from the coast by ten kilometres at least!

    Yeah, I was bullied in high school for about six months one year, but fortunately my father and his brothers used to box, so after a few lessons and me defending myself, bullies tended to stay clear of me, after all, bullies are usually cowards and usually need a gang or clique of sorts as a power base. Take that away from them and they take off.

    Bullying in the workforce exists in pockets all over the place, but it’s also often found in particular job types e.g., printers, navy. I’ve read about some extraordinary situations that people have experienced in their jobs. One in particular concerned an ambulance officer. That was disgraceful and I’m glad I’ve never encountered that sort of thing in the workplace.

    I have defended people who have been bullied. The most recent event occurred during a course where several participants were bullying the instructor, so I stepped in. It’s amazing how bullies back off when there’s more than one to confront.

    By the way, according to today’s Sydney Morning Herald … ‘ Researchers in Australia tested a theory that psychopathy – a severe personality disorder characterised by lack of empathy, antisocial behaviour and callousness – may be linked to impaired smell ability.’

    Weird or what?


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 12:27 am

      Yeah – it is a kind of rambling post, I had a lot of things going through my head today! 😀

      Don’t be fooled by the crocs – they can travel a lot more than 10 kilometres inland! They slow down the further they are from water though so it’s best to stand a long way from the edges.

      Well done with the boxing! Great idea and good on you for standing up to the bullies at the course.

      I read that article about the smell ability and thought – oh god, lucky I’ve got a good sense of smell!

      Very weird 😀


  7. adinparadise / Sep 22 2012 12:10 am

    Your title reminded me of a sign I saw yesterday outside a place, breeding and selling, birds, fish, reptiles and small mammals. It read, “Creatures and Critters.” Some of those for sale, are sweet and harmless. like hamsters and guinea pigs, whilst others are more deadly, like pythons and Boa Constrictors. People come in various forms too, some more lovable than others. 🙂


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 12:44 am

      I like lovable people 😀

      I don’t think I’ve ever buy a python or Boa Constrictor. What an interesting shop that must have been!


      • adinparadise / Sep 22 2012 1:28 am

        We were just driving past, and the sign intrigued me, So I Googled it when I got home. I’m very curious. 🙂


  8. Photos With Finesse / Sep 22 2012 12:14 am

    Great article. It’s interesting – I discovered recently that according to bullying terms, my father is a bully – even at 78 years old. Mr. ‘Keep An Open Mind’ (his favourite phrase) is fine until your own open mind disagrees with his. Then he won’t speak to you for six weeks (or 6 years in the case of a close family friend), won’t do anything with your kids etc. (None was physcial.) I was told that a lot of individuals who were raised in that type of environment go on to drug and alcohol addictions. I’m an anomaly. My self esteem is high. I’m strong & confident and a protector. I was the one in the office who would stand up to the bullies and encourage others to do so. I would also speak out to management and give them the facts. On more than one occasion I asked why the bullies were winning. Things actually changed to an extent – not perfect, but no workplace is. I’m my own boss now – no bullying tolerated. I will still speak up on behalf of the ‘underdog’ – and encourage them to stand up for themselves.


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 12:50 am

      That’s really interesting about your dad, Suzan. And you’re so right, exclusion is a bullying tactic. It’s a form of control and I know people like this. If there’s one thing that annoys me it’s the ‘silent’ treatment!

      I’m glad you’ve done so well – you must be one very strong person 😀

      I’ll be my own boss when I leave my job next year and go back to the farm. No bullying tolerated 🙂


  9. Rick Mallery / Sep 22 2012 12:31 am

    My step-father was the bully in my life. I wrote a short story about it. I’ll have to dust it off and see if it’s presentable. (He died in the end.) 🙂 Someone once said that’s the main reason we write…to get even. I don’t know if it’s the main reason, but it is one of the reasons.


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 1:10 am

      Parental bullying is awful and I find it quite interesting (in a positive way) that it may somehow have led to your love of writing.

      Sometimes it’s weird to look back to see why we did certain things. Writing about your step-father must have been very cathartic – how did you ‘write him off’ in the end? 🙂


      • Rick Mallery / Sep 22 2012 1:32 am

        Well, he deserved worse than he got, but the heart attack he had been asking for his whole life finally got him. 🙂


      • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 10:32 am

        A heart attack is fine – one of my first short stories was written while I was thinking about my awful school principal. He had a heart attack in the story as well, but getting him to have it was a pretty savage act by my protagonist! 🙂


  10. bulldogsturf / Sep 22 2012 1:52 am

    Bullied when smaller… I luckily grew bigger and took my revenge… like an elephant I never forgot… and I can assure you revenge was sweet…


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 8:54 am

      Hahaha – so glad to hear. There’s nothing better than a sweet tale of revenge. Love it 😀


  11. Don't Quote Lily / Sep 22 2012 1:58 am

    Great post! People can definitely be much scarier/crueler than animals. I haven’t been bullied but I know it’s something that sadly happens all the time. (And holy hell, what an experience, crocodiles and snakes…yikes!)


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 8:13 am

      I would have worried if it happened every day, but these things happened over a period of ten years 🙂

      No bullying for you *thumbs up* 😀


  12. Bonnie at {PaperKeeper} / Sep 22 2012 2:58 am

    Dianne, this is BRILLIANT! You have so eloquently put into writing thoughts I have been wrestling with for more than a few years…incredible. You have drawn the perfect analogy to shed light on this topic, unfortunate reality. I work for a bully, and as you can imagine, it’s exhausting. I just love how you put this, and the imagery of a croc just somehow helps. Thank you my dear!


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 8:24 am

      Thank you, Bonnie 🙂 When I wrote this I thought it was a bit ‘all over the shop’ because I had several things on my mind. So glad you liked it!

      Working for a bully IS tiring! I’m sure they set out a lot of the time to make people’s lives miserable. My maxim (as a manager) is that you get far better results from people if you treat them with decency and respect (and you make good friends along the way). 😀


      • Bonnie at {PaperKeeper} / Sep 22 2012 8:30 am

        I loved your post, thought it got the point across so well, in a big picture way, and in way that others can relate to, and learn from.

        I think your approach to managing is the same as mine, and I think, far more effective. And yes, maybe even earn friends along with respect along the way. 🙂


      • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 9:03 am

        Thank you, Bonnie – so true 😀


  13. Linda Vernon / Sep 22 2012 3:33 am

    I have a snake phobia and hearing that two snakes dropped out of trees and landed on you confirms my suspicion that Australia just isn’t the continent for me! HA! Now I don’t mind a spider. I had to kill a black widow just the other day. But snakes can get me screaming very easily. LOL!

    And I have to agree with you on the workplace creatures. The office bullies are so draining. And they thrive on making others unhappy. Oh how wonderful that you will be able to go back to the farm and get away from that environment! YAY!! (Even if there are real snakes!)


    • Photos With Finesse / Sep 22 2012 3:52 am

      You ladies make me realize how lucky I am to live in Western Canada. Black Widows do appear in the province next door, but most snakes here are harmless – and well out in the countryside. I only found out recently that there are cockroaches here, but very limited. It helps having nice cold winters to kill everything off! 😀


      • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 8:36 am

        Hahaha – wonderful!!! 😀


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 8:35 am

      I didn’t like snakes when I first went there, but when I saw the size of the farm rats the snakes became my allies 🙂

      You’re very brave tackling a poisonous spider! Some people can’t even look at pictures of them.

      Luckily, everyone I work closely with at the moment is wonderful and the bullies are in other areas. Sometimes I have to deal bullies now, but the good thing is I can walk back to the sanctuary of my office because my job doesn’t depend on any of them. You’re right – I’m so looking forward to going back to the other creatures 😀


  14. Roy McCarthy / Sep 22 2012 4:27 am

    Good post and excellent comments. A good (and slightly relevant) joke going around in the UK concerns a certain high-profile and morally bankrupt Premier League footballer. He was due to appear to open a reptile shop in London but didn’t turn up – he was afraid that someone might buy him.
    That was unfair to reptiles though.


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 8:37 am

      Hahahaha! Classic!

      Thank’s for sharing, Roy 😀


  15. Denise Hisey / Sep 22 2012 5:43 am

    Spiders are my dreaded ‘creatures’. Yes, there are human ones of them, too. Quick, creepy and weave tangly webs.

    Bullying is alive and well, maybe even thriving nowadays. I was bullied during school years, but found various ways to defend myself. As an adult I can spot them a mile away and let them know it if need be.


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 8:45 am

      This is really interesting, Denise. I love that you can spot a bully a mile off. I couldn’t at first, but now I pick up the signs very early on. This is something the city life has taught me and I’m not sure how relevant it is going to become when I get back to the country. Having said that, I’m sure I will need this ‘talent’ somewhere down the track again because everything we learn , we learn for a reason.

      Human spiders – what a fabulous analogy 🙂


  16. dennisberry / Sep 22 2012 5:46 am

    Dianne–You’ve lived an interesting life, although the current job may not be. What you say in your list is very true. Especially the parts about institutions and management. I spent 25 years in the air force, and what you’ve written applies here in the U.S. as well. It’s a universal law. Love your blog and your website. I’m reading The Everything Theory and am enjoying it. Take car.


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 8:50 am

      Thank you, Dennis 🙂 I’m so glad you’re enjoying the story!

      I could imagine the air force would fit this category very neatly. I’ve heard some shocking stories of bullying the defence forces and this has probably been going on forever. Hopefully, it will ease in the future as people become more aware of the problems it causes 🙂


  17. Shirley Chalmers / Sep 22 2012 7:00 am

    I survived the bullies and have the Battle Scars (A post on my blog) to prove it. When things are that toxic and no amount of confrontation can shift the bully – you just have to walk away from them. Some bullies are made of brass and they can be very sneaky and clever, especially those who are madly ambitious and jealous of any others they perceive as being a threat. Be aware, take care.


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 8:53 am

      Ambition and jealousy are key words here. Spot on and very interesting indeed.

      Thanks, Shirley 🙂


  18. robincoyle / Sep 22 2012 7:06 am

    I was bullied by Penelope in sixth grade. It was awful. She took it in her head that she hated me. I’d love to run into her now and chew her out. She was hateful. My only consolation was she had a terrible pug nose. Looked like a pig.


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 9:02 am

      Hahaha – oh Robin! I laughed so much when I read this (her pug nose).

      If you’re out there, Penelope – watch out!

      It’s amazing how the word ‘hate’ comes into this. There was a girl at my school who ‘hated’ me and I didn’t even know her. Why do they do this? It has to be jealousy and a bit of a twisted mind. When you’re a child it’s hard to know why someone ‘hates’ you and it’s confusing and hurtful.

      I’m so glad you dropped by, Robin 🙂 I’m heading your way now.


      • robincoyle / Sep 22 2012 9:30 am

        She had the nerve to steal my in progress paper mache puppet head (ridiculous project for a puppet show we had to put on). He had a distinctive nose, not like hers, so I knew he was mine. Mine I tell you! Mine! Can you tell I am still holding a grudge!? Silly, but she was hurtful and mean.


      • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 10:22 am

        LOL 😀 You’re cracking me up!

        Did you ever get the puppet back?


  19. agjorgenson / Sep 22 2012 9:06 am

    Thanks for this! A wise teacher of mine once said that you don’t have to scratch too far below the surface of anger to find fear. Bullies are often angry people and II suspect many are afraid, which doesn’t excuse their behaviour at all! We had to do a serious intervention with our adult daughter when she was ten years old. It makes my blood boil to think about it: there’s my anger! What’s my fear…?


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 10:05 am

      Your teacher was very wise indeed!

      Those of us who have had children being bullied totally understand the anger. Mine came when I turned up to the school one day to confront my son’s bully. My fear was that my son was in danger of being killed and I guess that is enough to build to rage. I should never have done it – but it worked 😀


  20. 4amWriter / Sep 22 2012 9:29 am

    I’m dealing with a bullying situation right now–my 7-year-old son is being bullied in school. I have only just gotten the full story out of my son, and I have already notified the teacher. This whole situation has brought out the Mama Bear in me.


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 10:19 am

      Mama bear isn’t pretty in these situations. I’ve been there! I was just saying in a previous comment that I actually turned up at school one day and confronted my son’s bully. My son was seven and the bully was eleven (and the abuse my son was receiving was dangerously physical). I should never have done it, I don’t condone it and I’ve never been proud of my actions – but it worked (it may have helped that I came straight from the sugar mill wearing my uniform, steel capped boots and hard hat 😀 ) That was many years ago and the bully never came near my son again.

      I’m not and have never been an aggressive person and I absolutely adore children – but there is a switch mama bears have that turns them into the uncontrollable Incredible Hulk!

      I really hope the teachers can intervene in your son’s case. When my children were younger it was totally different – bullying was just a part of life (character building) and ignored in schools.


  21. susannairn / Sep 22 2012 10:59 am

    We all need to be our own Mama Bear. You were absolutely correct when you said bullies back down if you stand your ground. They feel they have lost their power. Another great post!!


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 11:59 am

      Thank you, Susan. And thank you for the lovely review of Wolf Pear 😀


      • susannairn / Sep 22 2012 12:04 pm

        Absolutely! Which one should I read next? Which is your favorite?


      • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 1:43 pm

        The Everything Theory is probably my favourite! 😉 Do you want me to send you a smashwords code?


      • susannairn / Sep 23 2012 1:47 am

        Just bought it at Amazon for my Kindle. It’s cold and rainy here. Great night for a great read. 🙂


      • diannegray / Sep 23 2012 6:46 am

        Oh – thank you, Susan 🙂


      • susannairn / Sep 23 2012 8:02 am

        Looking forward to it!!


  22. EllaDee / Sep 22 2012 1:18 pm

    I love the way you’ve woven this post together. It certainly brought out a lot of comments. Crocs and snakes do seem quite benign along side the office psycho 🙂 I’m unable to comment fully as I’m fortunate to have never been bullied, or if I have, I haven’t taken it in… I can be a bit obtruse like that (Aquarian moon, I think we can blame) but I work in an environment where you need a strong personality, and there have been times I’ve recoiled in the face of someone’s ‘strength’ in my face, then remembered I’m no shrinking violet either, and sent it right back. Practically also, I’m 5′ 9″ and keep my “work heels” in the office (rarely wear them otherwise) as standing taller than your [especially male] colleagues is a distinct psychological advantage. Your 6 points about bullies are spot on. I think the worst thing you can do is take things personally, and keep them to yourself. If you are experiencing problems, chances are someone else is too. Finding the right channels & using them if possible can help victims gain perspective & strength. Sometimes though, and I have experienced this, the situation & the psycho-person are not fixable, and you need to implement point 6, and leave the pieces on the floor and get the #@$% out of there!


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 1:47 pm

      Thanks, Ella 😀 Brilliant response!

      Sounds like you’re the same height as me – it certainly does have its advantages.

      Staying away from toxic people is definitely the way to go 🙂


  23. Paul J. Stam / Sep 22 2012 4:11 pm

    Dianne, always good to hear from you.
    Glad you liked 81 Isn’t So Bad.
    Oh, God, I used to have a roommate at boarding school how made my life miserable. His worst trick was to sit on my face and pass gas. God I hated that guy, and I hope there is no one who has ever been bullied by me.


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 4:21 pm

      Oh no, Paul! PEW!!! You should have hidden a box of matches somewhere 😀

      Again – happy birthday. I love your posts 🙂


  24. Janna Noelle / Sep 22 2012 6:21 pm

    Wow, you’ve had some pretty exciting animal encounters! I practically LOL’ed at the “Keep Argo busy” part. 🙂

    I too have worked with wildlife in past jobs working for the national park service, though mainly with small creatures like skinks and ticks (eww!), although I did handle a few (rare, non-poisonous) snakes, and even caught a couple in the house I lived in in the national park. (They were more than welcome by me, as that place was crawling with mice, plus I love snakes, but because they were so rare, they had to be released.)

    Your comments on bullying are timely: I just attended a film screening today with work in which youth spoke about their experiences being bullied at school (which is a big problem in schools everywhere, I think), and what their parents did that helped and didn’t help in resolving the situation. One interesting fact I came away with is that apparently, if someone stands up to the bully within the first 10 seconds of a bullying situation, s/he usually backs down. The trick is thus empowering people to feel confident to jump in when a situation occurs, particularly bystanders,who in truth hold the most (unrealized) power during a bullying situation.

    I’ve never been bullied – my personality is not of the sort that most bullies would consider trying worthwhile (bullies always go for those they believe they can dominate). Like you, it’s in my nature to protect, and I have absolutely no qualms about speaking out and speaking loudly to stand up for someone. I think people I know secretly count on me to be that person who will say what everyone wants to say but doesn’t, so I’ve sort of assumed that as my superpower in life.


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 9:05 pm

      This is absolutely fabulous, Janna. I’m so glad schools are really tackling this issue head on. It’s interesting about standing up in the first ten seconds because the longer it goes on the more it escalates. Bystanders are incredibly important as they can make or break a situation – particularly in a school setting.

      I’m so glad you like snakes and you’re working past sounds very interesting as well!

      I LOVE your superpower!!! 😀 😀

      How long did you work for the national park service?


      • Janna Noelle / Sep 23 2012 9:37 am

        “How long did you work for the national park service?”
        I did that for two years in total before my position was down-sized. It was really interesting work, and being out in nature all the time was wonderful – such a peaceful pace of life. You’re gonna love it when you move back to the country!


      • diannegray / Sep 23 2012 9:48 am

        Thank you, Janna. I sure will 😀


  25. EJ / Sep 22 2012 7:07 pm

    Nothing to do with bullying but the snake stories reminded me of ‘Lantana Lane’ – love that book!


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 9:08 pm

      I haven’t read that book, EJ – but I’m looking it up now to put it on my reading list 😀


  26. Sophie Milan / Sep 22 2012 8:40 pm

    Local studies here in the Philippines show that there is an increasing number of bullying cases especially at school. on my part, i’ve been bullied as well when I was in elementary. Those girls were cruel. Lol. And at present, when I see children in our neighborhood trying to bully one of their playmates, I do interfere especially if they are using foul words. And I love the feeling when I do it. 😉


    • diannegray / Sep 22 2012 9:18 pm

      Girls can be very cruel 😦

      Good on you for intervening – another superwoman! 😀


      • Sophie Milan / Sep 23 2012 12:04 am

        Oh the saying goes “if women ruled the world there will be no war only countries not talking to each other” something like that, right? hahahaha!


      • diannegray / Sep 23 2012 6:44 am

        Exactly! 😀


  27. Pairodox Farm / Sep 22 2012 10:07 pm

    I’m guessing you’ve had some bad experiences at work. Who hasn’t? Why are people like that? It scares my wife when I say, “I had people.” I guess that makes me a misanthrope … is that bad? No matter … D


    • diannegray / Sep 23 2012 8:11 am

      I think we’ve all dealt with the random snake or croc at work or school. I really don’t know why people are like this – it makes for an interesting (and annoying) world sometimes!

      Don’t worry about being a misanthropist – I’m married to one 😀


  28. audiophileparadise / Sep 22 2012 10:31 pm

    Boy, does this bring back memories! I still remember that fateful night vividly.. It was around half past 10, and me and a couple of my friends were coming back after watching the Cricket T20 match (Between India and Sri Lanka). As we reached a crossroad, we spotted a bully beating up a poor boy, who had supposedly woken him up for a bit of food. We couldn’t bear seeing the poor boy screaming aloud, calling out to his parents. All of my friends froze in their places, but when I looked in the man’s eyes, all I could see was a fire of hatred. I guess that fire caught my mind’s wick, and it ignited in me too. I lunged myself forward, and pushed the bully down on the street and gave him a look, which I never knew I could give (If looks could kill, he’d surely be in the oven right now!) But that wasn’t stopping this bully. He got up on his feet, and swung wildly at me. I evaded his attack and swiftly landed a blow onto the back of his head. We were lucky, as a patrol car passed us right then. They took the bully into custody, and I was showered with praises from every member who witnessed the fight. To me, I was just doing my job – being a true citizen. 🙂


    • diannegray / Sep 23 2012 8:17 am

      WOW – this is fantastic! That was a very brave thing to do. I like the way you didn’t strike him first – just gave him ‘the look’. What an absolute hero 😀


      • audiophileparadise / Sep 23 2012 5:01 pm

        Hehe… Thanks… As I said – ‘I was just trying to protect the poor kid’!! 🙂 😀


  29. starproms / Sep 22 2012 11:33 pm

    Recognising bullies is the most important thing isn’t it! Yes, I’ve been bullied at work. I wrote a book about it! I got to the age of 47 without being bullied so it came as a shock when it happened to me. What had I done to deserve it, I asked myself. Well there’s no answer to that other than ‘they enjoy doing it.’ I can recommend a very good website which deals with understanding bullying. Go to
    You are so right about the disguised crocodiles. There are plenty of them out there.

    Loved the picture of the little sloth. Looked so cute.


    • diannegray / Sep 23 2012 8:21 am

      Thank you so much for the link 🙂

      It is a shock when it happens because you think, ‘I’m actually a nice person. I wouldn’t treat other people like this so why are they doing this to me?’ In my first comment on this page to Julie I said it’s not about US it’s all about THEM. It’s really hard to see this when it’s happening because there is that thought that we’ve done something to deserve it.

      I’d like to read the book you wrote about this. Is it available?


  30. jannatwrites / Sep 23 2012 7:46 am

    I like your observation on bullies. I was picked on a lot as a child, but haven’t experienced it for years (thankfully). (Gwendolyn made four years of elementary school a nightmare, until we moved to a different town. I was a scrawny nerd…definitely not a threat. Maybe she was mad that strangers could actually tell I was a girl. Same couldn’t be said for ‘her.’)

    I’ve seen stories about cyber bullying and that just scares me. It was bad enough in my day, you had deal with it at school…kids today can’t get away from it if they end up a target.

    I have ran into a few snakes in the professional world. Some can be quite cunning and you don’t even realize the threat until you’ve been bitten. I’m more careful now.


    • diannegray / Sep 23 2012 8:05 am

      Janna – this is great. When I read about Gwendolyn I thought it was the beginning of a novel – you had me hooked and I wanted to know more! 😀

      My main character in my latest novel (The Eleventh Question) is being cyber bullied. I totally forgot to mention that in my post. Gee – I’m so good at selling my wares (not)! It would have been a great opportunity to give myself a plug ;(

      Snakes are pretty dangerous in the professional world. And you’re so right – you don’t realise until you’ve been bitten.


  31. ocdreader / Sep 23 2012 8:13 am

    Great post and adorable picture of the sloth!!I work for the nicest people now, no bullies at work – yay! My most memorable bully was my best friend in grade school. She was the queen bee and would periodically make the entire school “hate” kids and scare them into not talking to you for days at a time, coughing and acting like you stunk when you walked into a room. She did it to me until finally the teacher stepped in. It was yucky and uncomfortable, but the girls who were my friends through that are still my friends today!
    Bullies = blegh!


    • diannegray / Sep 23 2012 8:29 am

      I wonder where she is now? Do you think she’s still like this? (you probably don’t know the answers to these questions – I’m just thinking out loud) 🙂

      What a horrible girl. It’s all to do with power and I believe the other thing is that these people are terrified this will happen to them so they get in first. I’m really glad you survived this ordeal – some people don’t.

      So glad you work with nice people now. I do too 🙂


      • ocdreader / Sep 23 2012 12:26 pm

        I actually see her every once in a while, she has kids and was worried when her oldest daughter got in trouble for being mean to another kid. I honestly don’t think she remembers doing any of it, we were in 5th or 6th grade I think…
        You are right, she did it because she could. Not cool – glad you work with great people too, they make all the difference! 🙂


  32. Anna Belfrage / Sep 23 2012 8:19 am

    Dear Dianne,

    No wonder you’re not fazed by spiders, what with your croc and snake experiences (seriously; a taipan with a broom???)

    The major problem is that very often the bullies make it all the way to the top, and as you say, standing up to them tend to make you a target. Having had my share of intimidating bosses, I have noticed that the pack runs with the leader, i.e. if the boss starts bullying someone, his whole management team will do the same (or turn a blind eye). This makes me so angry, and being loud, opinionated and difficult to scare I don’t know how many shouting matches I’ve had with people higher up the hierarchy who are behaving like … like … (can’t come up with a good animal analogy, but you get the picture, right?) Anyway, the interesting thing is to see how these men (yupp, always men) react when I start tearing into them. They break eye contact, they fiddle with their hands, they loosen their ties, all of this in between yelling at me that I should back off, and that they have no idea what I’m talking about. Ha. The body never lies, and these men feel like kids caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Serve them right! Has my interaction helped? Yes, on occasion. Has it cost me? At times. Was it worth it? Well, at least I can still look myself in the mirror.


    • diannegray / Sep 23 2012 8:49 am

      Well done, Anna. It’s great to see you stand up for yourself and confront these *people*. I’m thinking your interaction has helped, but like me you have probably stuck your neck out only to have it chopped off a few times! 😀 I have two very good friends who have been bullied (which is how I met them because of one of my roles in the department that I didn’t mention in this post – harassment officer). Their experiences had long lasting effects on them and this is something people don’t realise when they target others. As I said, they are now very good friends of mine and have been for some years. This is the good side (if there is one) to helping others try to stamp out the archaic chest thumping attitudes of management.

      The taipan? – they are probably one of the very few snakes will actually stand their ground and not hurry away from you. You can tell they’re going to attack because they lift their head and coil their bodies. It came at me about six times (when I was sweeping the veranda) and each time I flicked it up onto the broom head and flung it into the sugar cane. It just kept coming back until the last time when I got a really good swing up and flicked it about 20 metres. I think it must have been tired then 😀


  33. sedge808 / Sep 23 2012 1:11 pm



  34. Journaling Pain / Sep 24 2012 1:54 am

    Love the sloth!…and your post. I was bullied when I as 7. The bully was 10 and male and he terrified me every day after school when we’d get off the bus. I hated him so much that if I was to run into him now I’d probably slap him hard!


    • diannegray / Sep 24 2012 7:03 am

      That’s a lot of hate 😦 I seriously don’t know why people go out of their way to make life miserable for others. I’m so glad he’s not in your life (or even close to it) now 🙂


  35. arielpakizer / Sep 24 2012 4:51 pm

    I’ve never been bullied, but this article is a fascinating read nonetheless!


    • diannegray / Sep 24 2012 5:13 pm

      Thank you 🙂 And I’m glad (you’ve never been bullied) 🙂


  36. Zen / Sep 24 2012 7:58 pm

    In elementary school I would get teased, not bullied, about my height or else because I wore glasses. I was quite tall for an elementary school student, and people would call me a “giraffe” and ask me how the weather was up there. And I used to get called “four-eyes” for my glasses. It was mean, but I didn’t back down. I was quick to anger as a kid, so anyone who teased me would be chased down (thanks to my long legs I could outrun everyone!) and smacked, haha. Soon they all learned that Zen was not somebody to be messed with and stopped. It was nice to emerge victorious!


    • diannegray / Sep 24 2012 10:13 pm

      I love it, Zen! What a champion you are 🙂


  37. AuthorWorld / Sep 24 2012 8:47 pm

    Dianne, this is a great post. You have definitely been having one hell of a life!

    I used to be bullied at school. I was lucky my twin sister stuck up for me and I did for her when she was too. It is a powerful feeling sticking up to a bully for someone you care about. I was always better helping others than helping myself, but I am getting better.

    In my experience, many bullies, especially at school, are just frightened and lacking self-esteem. When they are alone they are mostly nice people, when they are with their “buddies” they are horrible.

    I’ve been lucky so far not to witness it at work. I think I would struggle to handle this at work to be honest.

    I hate how people find enjoyment out of others pain. It is totally uncalled for and I hope there are more people out there who are willing to help others rather than just stand by and watch it happen.

    Thanks again for sharing Dianne, you are strong person 🙂


  38. undercoverheiress / Sep 25 2012 3:13 am

    I love this!


  39. tchistorygal / Sep 25 2012 1:24 pm

    Great post – not at all what I thought seeing that cute sloth, but the lead in was perfect. I have been bullied, but not tormented. I wasn’t good at standing up to bullies, but I was good at avoiding them, and making friends with people who liked me for who I was.


    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 11:46 am

      Hi Marsha, I just found your comment in my spam folder for some reason (how strange). It doesn’t even have any links in it! 🙂

      It’s great to be able to avoid bullies and your friends sound fantastic! 😀


      • tchistorygal / Sep 26 2012 11:54 am

        My comments are going into several people’s spam folders. I wonder what is happening! I was very lucky as a child, because having a double harelip my life could have been miserable. My grandmother always told me to have friends I needed to be a friend, and I worked hard at doing that. It seemed to work well for me, but I think I was just fortunate. When children did tease me for various faults, my mom always told me not to take myself too seriously. I did and do still get my feelings hurt, but I also learned to laugh, and that pays great dividends.


    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 6:39 pm

      My comments have been going into spam as well, so I’m not sure what’s going on there 😦

      Even this second reply from you was in my spam (I a;walys check it just in case)

      Your grandmother and mother were very wise women indeed! 😀 You are so lucky to have had that grounding. Laughing is a wonderful way to release everything and also to put people in their place 😀


      • tchistorygal / Sep 27 2012 12:21 am

        Not to mention it makes life a lot more fun!


  40. Pamela Bates/Mercantile Muse / Sep 25 2012 9:45 pm

    hi diane, bonnie from paperkeeper sent me your way.

    yes i have been bullied. in the end, i forgive them. in some way they helped me become who i am – unwilling to give in, always have a quick smarmy response when needed, spunky and funny (comedy can disarm the most powerful of bullies) and i don’t take no for answer easily. it’s all part of the ‘protective force field’ i put up against bullies. that doesn’t mean what they did was right, it just means they helped me learn some work arounds for difficult people (an important skill in life).

    pythons? gators? really? ugh.

    #5, absolutely true.


    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 4:50 am

      Thank you so much for coming over to read this, Pamela. I completely understand where you’re coming from – I have a long-time acquaintance who is probably one of the wittiest and warmest people I’ve ever met. When I asked him where he got his sense of humour he said ‘bullies’. He said it was the only way to survive his childhood. Now he is a man who really knows how to manage people and I admire him so much for that.

      Well done to you, too 😀


  41. Kat / Sep 26 2012 12:51 pm

    No. 3 & 6 are so true!!! But I didnt let No. 6 happen and am still here. Two nasty females put me through hell about two months after my Mum passed away. Management did absolutely nothing. It was a colleague who had a go at them and then it stopped. One of them is still here and we are definitely not friends, although if it is work related I can be professional with her.
    btw – baby sloths are so cute! Ive never seen one before
    Kat 🙂


    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 1:42 pm

      Oh, Kat – this is terrible. How dare they! Management are really bad at sorting people like this out (or chucking them out). I’m so glad a colleague stood up for you – it restores my faith in the kindness of human nature 🙂 I’m glad you’re being so professional about it.

      The baby sloth? I’d never seen one before either – so cute 😀


  42. Daphne Shadows / Sep 28 2012 4:03 am

    I never got bullied at school, thank my lucky stars. But I was bullied by those that said they loved me. Not ever again.


    • diannegray / Sep 28 2012 6:54 am

      Ouch – that’s very painful 😦


      • Daphne Shadows / Oct 2 2012 2:36 am

        Yeah, but I’m better for it. 🙂


  43. pixilated2 / Nov 30 2012 12:36 am

    In Junior High, I was once beaten up after school by a bully. She gave me a terrific shiner! I lived.

    However, there is one incidence of bullying that I will never forget. I was walking home and passing through a field when I saw this huge hulk of a bully beating up another bully. He had the other guy by the scruff of the neck and was punching and kicking the life out of him! I yelled at him to stop, to which he replied, “Go away or you will be next.” Then the guy on the ground looked at me and said, “Just go.” It was pitiful. I left, and I felt horrible for days after. Now some would say he got what he deserved, but I felt so bad for him, even though he was so mean to everyone. I am certain that beating must have sent him to the hospital. Nobody deserves that. ~Lynda


    • diannegray / Nov 30 2012 6:45 am

      I can’t stand physical violence of any kind at any time, Lynda. Good on you for trying to intervene – but these people are just brutes themselves and there’s no way you want to put your safety at risk. You did the right thing, that’s for sure 😉



  1. So many reasons to smile… « wordsthatserve

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