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  • Lady Gaga is taking the next step in her ongoing
    efforts to put an end to youth bullying: On Feb. 29, 2012,
    the chart-topping singer, alongside her mother Cynthia
    Germanotta, is launching the Born This Way Foundation
    at The Berkman Center at Harvard.

    Pop Megastar Lady Gaga is to be praised for launching her Born This Way Foundation, in an initiative to put an end to bullying.

    Her website is informative and worth a visit:

    The Mission Statement of the BTW Foundation reads:

    “Led by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, the Born This Way Foundation was founded in 2011 to foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated. The Foundation is dedicated to creating a safe community that helps connect young people with the skills and opportunities they need to build a kinder, braver world.

    We believe that everyone has the right to feel safe, to be empowered and to make a difference in the world. Together, we will move towards acceptance, bravery and love.”

    Learning about Gaga’s Foundation, and its purpose, I was grateful that there is now a center for publicizing and healing this problem, not just here in America, but worldwide. I think you will be inspired to read more about this on the BTWF website.

    Clearly, bullying of children in our schools is emerging as a problem of epidemic proportions, and of course one must ask why, and what can be done about it.

    But in thinking about all this, I am taking the issue one step further, into practical application in my own life. Having been cruelly bullied as a child and as a young adult, I know the pain and loss of self-esteem that can come from the vicious and hurtful actions of not only other kids, but adults as well.

    Now, as an adult, I am becoming aware of the more subtle versions of bullying which seem to be rampant today.

    One might call the Adult Version “Psychological Bullying,” because while physical threats may be present, as in spousal abuse, most bullying among adults can sometimes be almost invisible, hard to notice, difficult to pin down. But the damage is there.

    I believe that just as it is important to identify and overcome the causes and play out of bullying among kids, we each have a responsibility to call out bullying whenever and wherever we discover it, and may even be the victim of it, in the world of grown ups, who can be not so grown up after all when it comes to abuse and selfish manipulation of others.

    Adult bullying can manifest in various forms. Here are 12 of them, and this list is far from complete:

    1. Emotional blackmail
    2. Guilt trips
    3. Threats of suicide
    4. Making someone feel “less than”
    5. Constant criticism
    6. Refusing to acknowledge another’s needs
    7. Withholding praise when praise is due
    8. Withholding normal affection
    9. Engaging in demeaning behaviors
    10. Using negativity and bad moods to manipulate others
    11. Presenting as overly needy and dependent
    12. Passive-aggressive behavior

    Do any of these sound familiar? Have you been subject to some or all of these?

    How were you bullied? What did you do about it? What were the results of your resistance?

    Is there any bullying going on in your life right now? How is it manifesting?

    How is another behaving in ways that are demeaning, disempowering, and destructive of your individuality, independence and dignity?

    Do you have the courage to confront it, and terminate the relationship if the bullying does not stop?

    I was once bullied for several years by a business associate who continued to threaten suicide as a way of gaining my sympathy for unreasonable behavior and financial irresponsibility.

    It was bullying, pure and simple.

    I finally just got fed up and terminated the relationship, which was the only course of action open to me.

    And of course this person just took his little suicide circus somewhere else. As bullies always do when they are called out.

    But it was a good lesson, and I am now more aware, and less tolerant when I see adult bullying taking place, either toward myself, or toward others.

    We can stop it, and should.

    Bullies are essentially cowards, and will fade away when they know their manipulative games are over.

    Hats off to Lady Gaga, who deserves our appreciation and great respect for putting this issue out for us all to think about, learn about, and more than that, do something about.

    (APS transformation of Lady Gaga photo)
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