Brownielocks Calendar, a website that lists daily, weekly, and monthly holidays, reminds us October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

They also bring attention to the third full week of October as

Bullying Bystanders Unite Week and Freedom from Bullies Week.

Initially, I thought bullying was a two-sided affair but after reading material on the subject I learned it’s really a foursome. 

First, there’s the insecure person who carries out heartless bullying.

Second, there is a victim—afraid to stand up for themselves—who accepts torrents of unpardonable hatred.

Third, we can’t forget the bystander who keeps silent out of fear of being the next victim.

And fourth, there is the hope—there is the Upstander.

I confess, throughout my lifetime, I play all three roles.

As an out-of-control codependent, I manipulated, threatened, shamed, and bullied the alcohol abuser in my family to stop drinking. Along with being a bully, denial prevented me from admitting I was also a victim. My bystander role kicked in when I made excuses for my husband and put on my enabler hat and became his designated driver.

After years of Al-Anon and Life Recovery 12-Step meetings, I realize being a bystander is no longer an option. Thanks to the truth of the 12th Step, my deeper spiritual awakening enthusiastically carries hope-filled messages to others.

Starting today, will you join me in bringing awareness to those of us who bullied others?

I pray you’ll help me help others who failed to set safe boundaries and allowed the bully to badger them physically and emotionally. 

As a fear-filled bystander, I ignored the situation. But taking the first step means no more ignoring the truth. No more denial! 

From now on, count me in as an Upstander.

Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Don’t tell your neighbor “Maybe some other time” or “Try me tomorrow” (Proverbs 3:27-28 MSG).