Relationship Views Evolve, But Bullies Are Eternal

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By Maria Padhila

There’s a theater / performance art / storytelling project called Mortified that I heard about a couple years ago through a young woman who has become a regional producer for the events. What happens is, you bring your journals, diaries, poems, art, etc. from your adolescence and read these aloud in front of an audience.

Poly Paradise at Burning Man. Photo by Eric.

Poly Paradise at Burning Man. Photo by Eric.

“Hear grown men and women confront their past with tales of their first kiss, first puff, worst prom, fights with mom, life at bible camp, worst hand job, best mall job, and reasons they deserved to marry Jon Bon Jovi,” Mortified puts it, calling it “personal redemption through public humiliation.” It has grown into productions around the nation and a cable series.

Part of the appeal lies in seeing how much has and hasn’t changed in each person. You may no longer believe you deserve Bon Jovi, and you might have learned how to give (and ask for) better hand jobs. Now you might be happily married to a woman who has a beautiful bluesy singing voice. Or you might be a singer yourself. Your young dreams and views of the world shape what you love and what you want and what you believe, but unless there’s something quite wrong, you’re not trapped within them. You change. You — excuse the term, my Evangelical friends — evolve.

Both our president and the leading Republican presidential candidate have had their Mortified-style moments recently, with incidents and writing from their younger days surfacing. A long Washington Post article went over Mitt Romney’s propensity for “pranks” at his tony prep school in the 1960s, such as leading a mob to attack and forcibly cut the hair of a fellow student the boys believed to be gay.

Although Mortified disallows content produced after age 21, on the basis of a quick read of excerpts in the Vanity Fair article, President Obama’s recently released love letters to an Aussie girlfriend, written when he was 22, would certainly qualify. That convoluted explication of T.S. Eliot, designed to impress his literary girlfriend — embarrassing!

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9 Responses to Relationship Views Evolve, But Bullies Are Eternal

  1. mariapadhila says:

    thank you all so much for your comments on this. i have to tell you that my eclipse issue has been whether my writing has value, for me or anyone else. it’s so funny to have gotten my answer–in the form of your own sharing about dealing with bullying. i love these exchanges. that is the value, loud and clear.

  2. awordedgewise awordedgewise says:


    I thank you so much for sharing your eclipse/bullying story. In this moment I will share my own brief story — I went out to one of the common areas at my apartment complex to watch the eclipse – I could already hear the voices and knew that someone was there – someone who is a bully and who has recently gathered a little group around him. They have chosen me as a target because I seem unassuming and because I speak up and ask for my right to quiet enjoyment of my apartment. I have known this person for sometime and while I do not care for what he is, I am always respectful and even friendly. Anyway, I took my deep breath and went to where I intended in order to view the eclipse. There were several other people there as well as the Bully Team and one new neighbor who had brought his telescope. So we all viewed the eclipse together and it was clear that the one bully was not happy that I was there too – and friendly among other positive social traits – and it was a positive experience. Bullies are not happy when the negative things they say about people are shown to be questionable! Anyway, there are no great revelations to this non-bullying bully experience – only that I shared a lovely eclipse viewing with neighbors….and that I too find that Bullies are Bullies. Period. The ones I have known seem to having something mixed up in their make-up and I have no interest in them other than “walking away” — which is something I can more aptly do now that I have gotten better at discerning when I am being “bullied”. Good for you for remembering who you are, what your intentions were with your sister and embracing all the goodness in your life!

  3. Sina says:

    Dear Maria,

    Thank you so much for this great article. The eclipse was just about to happen when I read the title of your article and had to read on. I just returned from Australia after visiting my younger sister whom I hadn’t seen for 8 yrs and younger brother for 5 yrs. Last year my wish was to be authentic. This year my wish was to heal my family relationships. I had huge healing earlier this year regarding the beatings my mum gave me just because I was the oldest, so reuniting with mum was beautiful. I had a great time with my brother, and felt the healing and love in our relationship, which even his wife felt and benefitted from.
    But as usual, I was walking on egg shells with my younger sister. I could feel that usual pattern of “her bullying me, and me not doing anything coz I’d cop it from Mum”, was lurking under the surface. My sister has a tumor in her neck, and another one recently diagnosed in her spine. She’s supposed to be on stage 2 chemo but only takes treatment intermittently. I spent 4 days with her, first giving her an organic scrub, and island massage to help relieve her sick body. The next day it was a full body reiki treatment. After that, she didnt want any more. I came back to my sisters’ for 5 more days. She accepted reiki one more time even tho I offered it everyday, and she accepted a tarot reading. My time was coming to a close and I could feel the tension rising despite me keeping it as peaceful and calm as I could, still the scared victim walking on egg shells. The morning I was due to leave, I spoke over my sister, and that gave her the excuse to verbally attack me. All I wanted to do was leave, but she was on a roll, and her partner joined in, as did her 20 yr old daughter, the one I breast fed for three months when my sister couldn’t cope and left her with me. They were screaming, swearing and attacking me doing everything to make me attack back, like a pack of wolves decending on a small animal….it went on for two hours while I tried to pack and get out of there. The worst part was when her partner was telling my neice to hit me, to whack me one! I was horrified at the lack of respect, I came to offer peace, love and healing to my sister, and they just wanted to “get” me. I realised then that the relationship had healed because it was over, and no amount of family roots and connection were ever going to get me back to her place again. The plane couldn’t fly fast enough to get me back to the island, my beautiful husband, my sweet children, and our peaceful home. I learnt that at nearly 50 yrs old, I don’t have to accept bullying from little sis ever again, no matter how sick she is, and that for her, “bullying is eternal”. She married a bully and is now teaching her children that bullying is ok. I love my sister, and will always pray for her and her kids, but she has taught me that people get away with, what you let them get away with. And I will never let her, or anyone else bully me again.
    Last night, I couldn’t sleep, and felt that fear rising in me, as if I was in her presence again, and in danger – solar eclipse taking me back a week! Then I remembered where I was now – next to my beautiful husband, kids sleeping soundly and safely in our mountain home – I’m in heaven! Healing complete.

    Thank you so much for highlighting what afflicts so many human souls. You’d think in this age of enlightenment, the highest of created beings would be over behaving like the lowest of low. I guess we still have a way to go……

    Forever hopeful, and in love and light,

    Sina xx

  4. Lizzy Huffy says:

    Bless you, sweet P. Sophia! And I hold you in my heart too – and wish the very best for you, and to everyone, in these healing, transformational times. xxx

  5. P. Sophia P. Sophia says:

    Dear Huffy,

    Read late last night your entry fim other article regarding your revelation and theme for this weekend elliptical transformation.   I want to say I am feeling for you, but at same time lifting you up in my heart today.   I know somewhat of the feeling you are dealing with and the nature of bulling as was a pattern in my family as well and as child had to live with horrible abuse of my Father although not Physical, there was and continues  emotionally and mentally abuse, injustice and impatience for my mother which is co-dependent and everyone was affected by this as well.  Of course this all goes back to his fears and insecurities transfered on others as most certainly came down to him.  

    Anyway too much to say now, but he is of Italian decent and all these thoughts occurrences here this morning as you observed are running together and did not know where to post.   All the themes, the earthquake in this part of the world and the eclipse i believe our universe is quite literally throwing it all up!

    Ii have to run now unfortunately,  but the tittle of this article really does really say it all/ best.   “Relationship Views Evolve, But Bullies Are Eternal”

    Yet maybe, if we pray, eternity will evolve, if even just a little bit today.

    Sending blessings of comfort, growth and love to all here at PW today.

  6. Miss uk says:

    Hi Maria,

    Thank you for another great article, interesting, balanced and so honest as always.

    As I read your comment, ‘I believe that changing one’s views, particularly about relationships, is not evidence of insincerity or lack of conviction, but evidence of life and compassion’, I was reminded of a favourite quote of mine by Ralph Waldo Emerson ‘A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.’

    It says it so well. It takes a bigger man to admit to changing and evolving views than it does to cling to narrow minded or outdated ones.

  7. Lizzy Huffy says:

    aword (love your avatar story!) “”So interesting to me that Bullying is the theme of your article this week – having come to understand that it is the theme of my eliptical transformation this weekend”. I read Maria’s piece after Judith’s – but you’ll see from my comment that I’m dealing with the same themes. This is one hell of a time for bringing these hidden patterns to the surface to clear and heal. As you can see, you’re not alone. Go for it, gal!

  8. Lizzy Huffy says:

    Thank you for this wonderful piece, Maria. “And I’m mortified that we’d consider it so inconsequential that we’d be OK with electing someone who had done such a thing to run our country.” you are so bloody right! And as always, I just love your rip-roaring, life-loving, honest writing.

  9. awordedgewise awordedgewise says:


    So interesting to me that Bullying is the theme of your article this week – having come to understand that it is the theme of my eliptical transformation this weekend. I have put many names to my experiences over the years, and this is the one that brings it all together on one spindle, into one thread this weekend.

    The First Fate, Moirai or Moira is exact my sun in natal chart at 2 PI. Square the eclipse.

    The second Fate, Lachesis is exact on my MC at 0 Taurus. Semi-sextile the eclipse.

    The third Fate, Atropos is transiting AR….29 Aries, close enough to be conjunct natal Lachesis at 0 Taurus on the MC.

    I embrace my found “family” of goths, artists and “misfits”. This weekend has something to do with cutting threads. Thanks for your words and thoughts here, Maria.
    My goddess bless us everyone.

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