Looking at Cowardice

Prompt #11 for NPM Super Poetry Challenge is to write an acrostic poem using a word to describe your worst enemy. I decided to up the difficulty factor and wrote this as a monorhyme as well. My worst enemy used to be myself, at least that was what I thought. Having lived a charmed life, I didn’t experience serious bullying until I was an adult. That’s when I started believing in the existence of true, unadulterated evil. Like many bullies, my bully had several glaring personality flaws – insecurity, self-centeredness, over arching ambition, and cowardice. All these resulted in petty and manipulative behaviors. There were times when the bullying consisted of belittling comments to others and to my face, undermining my authority, spreading rumors, and even withholding information in an attempt to make me appear incompetent. I learned to deflect, circumvent, and fly under the radar. Finally I decided to roar. It was a good day. It didn’t stop the bullying for good but it did make an impression and set some boundaries. It has been a few years since I had to interact with my bully. I have forgiven but it is very hard to forget.

Caught and pushed around
Overwhelmed and nearly drowned
When in a revelation profound
A mouse rose up and stood her ground
Reaction from the bully astound
Defeated and retreated the mouse victor crowned

57 thoughts on “Looking at Cowardice

  1. That’s awesome. Wear your crown with pride!
    Interesting little connection, if you will. I nearly wrote an acrostic last night using the word “insecurity”, but instead wrote a monorhyme.
    Just occurred to me that I could write about the worst enemy of us all!

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  2. Well done, Muri, on standing up for yourself and writing an awesome poem about it. This piece is like the triple lutz of poetry–acrostic and not just rhyming, but MONOrhyming. Take a bow! We’ve all known a bully like you described. I’ve dealt with them in childhood and adulthood. One was a boss that made a brief appearance in today’s post, a response to the 3 Haikus prompt: https://justjoan42.wordpress.com/2020/04/24/pocketful-of-poems/. I stood up to her, reported her to a superior. She made my life hell for two years (until she was reassigned)–micromanaging, write ups, denial of deserved merit raises, refusing to approve vacation days, giving me the stink eye in meetings. Forgive? Maybe some day.

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      1. Boss lady was banished to the attic long ago, but forgiveness may never come. I never see her and rarely think about her, so the energy expended is minimal. When I do, it still makes my blood boil. I loved your poem, wish my story had the same ending. ๐Ÿ™‚

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        1. My bully needed my expertise. She tried to replace me and failed. So it was a love-hate relationship on her side. I have to admit there was no love on my side. Now that she is out of my life I have no need to hang onto the anger so she is forgiven – not for her sake but for mine.

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  3. Well done. (I’ll be thinking about this one all day; I’ve not dealt with adult bullies, in that arena. But I was never a threat in that arena, either. Well done, again.)

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            1. Won’t is the key – they have no motivation to change and thus will not make any efforts. That means it falls on us to decide how we will deal with their behavior. Sometimes distancing is the only recourse!

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                1. True. It is only when they become self aware and realize that they are missing out that they are motivated to change. But you and I both know that they would rather we make the changes to accommodate them!!

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                  1. of course, I’m a lazy beggar too so I get that. But if they get frozen out enough, if others refuse to participate … eventually the message must get thru.

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                    1. Yes I did Kate! I was in the car and read it to my husband but couldn’t reply from my phone… I love that you challenged yourself to write all those poems!! I hope you weren’t overwhelmed. I had to read them all!

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                    2. never overwhelmed, I staggered them. Was just time consuming to collect them all together but then I wanted others to read them too ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. Such a wonderful post! I don’t know which is worse, adult bullies or teen ones! Keep putting your foot down hard! Most bullies will think twice after they hear you “roar”!
    Thank you for posting!

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        1. Thanks Cherie. I never had any self-esteem issues as I was strong and confident and highly skilled coming into the job. I had a strong support network outside of work and didn’t have to rely on her approval to validate my worth. It also helped that I didn’t make too many close friends of coworkers. That minimized her influence in my life – kept 2 separate worlds and tried to keep them very far apart!

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            1. I’ve always known that there should be a balance between work life and home life. Although I’m friends with a few former workers, I’ve cultivated most of my friendships away from the work environment. You are correct in that it can be dangerous. Over the years I’ve seen people crash and burn at work because their best friend was promoted or they had a falling out…

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              1. Absolutely! I made one best friend at work years ago and we’re still best friends today. But that’s such a rare occasion. I hope you’re having a great weekend!

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                  1. You and me both! A cold front came through my neighborhood yesterday and we’re having rain, cloudy skies and below-normal temps now. It’s beginning to get old. But our weather will turn warm again around Wed. It’ll be here before we know it! ๐Ÿ˜€

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    1. Thanks Gina! Bullies are usually cowards. Mine was vindictive and petty (not my descriptors but that of other employees). She pushed me too far a couple times and I pushed back. That would buy me a reprieve for any where from 3 weeks to 6 months. Not bad odds!

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  5. Adult bullies are the worst kind of bullies evet because they have full awareness of what they do. I can totally relate to you. Back when i was in still working in the academe..grrrr the most intelligent people are the worst bullies but like you i fought my way out ..

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    1. The experience seems to be pervasive – The behavior worked when they were kids and they bring it with them into adulthood… Until they find out that it doesn’t work all the time. I had a coworker get bullied and she said “no” and when she was threatened she quit. I overheard the bully talking to a couple of her cronies “Well, that didn’t go as planned.” My coworker was a key worker on a special project and it crumbled in the boss’ hands. Sometimes there is justice.

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    1. I thought so until I went to work with SWMNBN. It was then that I realized that evil was stalking the earth and it was not just an amorphous concept but a reality. Many people trip themselves and self sabotage but with some help can side step those behaviors… Evil on the other hand will pursue you to the ends of the earth!

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    1. It is like domestic violence leading to children who become victims and perpetrators in their own marriages and raise kids who think that violence is a demonstration of love. It is horrible and a cycle that is hard to break.

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  6. โ€œThe world is often foul and cruel,
    But itโ€™s also fragrant and kind,
    And my worst enemy lies deftly concealed
    In the depths of my own doubting mind.โ€
    By your mom aka โ€œmotherโ€ 1953

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