Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bullying friendship a test of power

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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: This is in response to the letter that read, "I had two brothers growing up, one passive, the other aggressive; aggressive would beat up on passive every day until one day passive would not take it any longer and beat the crap out of aggressive. They became the best of friends after that and always had each other's back." Somebody please explain the reasoning behind "Oh, beat him up and be friends after." That was the "advice" I got in Grade 4 about how to handle the bully who drove me at age nine to consider suicide... "Fight and be friends" made no sense to me then, and it makes none to me now. Anybody who needs to be beaten down before being considerate, is forever beneath contempt. Is that really friendship? To base it on who can safely be abused and who mustn't be? When I fight somebody, it's because I want to destroy that person. Be friends afterwards? Why? Seriously, why? -- Upset and Puzzled, Downtown

Dear Upset and Puzzled: For this bullying friends situation to happen, it requires a thug and a wannabe thug. It is a test of power. Once the person fights back and overpowers the bully, these two similar types are a strange kind of "friends." Some will even bully together after this. Others will pretend to be friends, to keep the peace. In your case, violence is not about settling power but about about anger and retribution. Naturally you are not looking to be friends with someone who has pushed you so far, and you are fighting to vanquish them. You may want to back off before they are destroyed and you are sent to jail for aggravated assault over someone you hate.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I do not believe that Nothing Doing's boss (who takes her to conventions and knocks on her door in his robe) "adores" her as she thinks -- if he did, he would treat her with respect and take her out on dates and make her a part of his social circle. Instead, he tries to take advantage of her as his employee in the hope that she would be too afraid of losing her job to refuse to have a sexual relationship with him. If she were to dig deeper, she will probably find that her boss already has a fiancé or at least one regular, very public girlfriend. -- Been There, Winnipeg

Dear Been There: Consider your experience passed on, This boss may or may not have a similar situation going, but any way you look at it he's harassing his assistant, which is illegal, and he could be prosecuted. Good on her for telling him she wasn't properly dressed and she'd meet him in the bar. She's smarter than he thinks. This louse had no interest in getting dressed and going for a drink, as he was probably undressed under that robe, and on the brink.

lovecoach@hotmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 5, 2013 D2

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