Bullies: Rapists of the mind

Bullies are rapists of the mind. Bullies rape your mind over and over through their microaggressions, taking your sanity from you piece by piece.

Bullying kills.

It is horrible that rape and bullying share a culture of shame perpetuated by the very people who witness it. Real shame lies in discouraging victims from speaking up, taking action, and pointing a finger at their aggressors.

expose bullies

Don’t take bullying lightly. It isn’t likely to go away unless you expose and confront the bully.

Please think twice before you tell a victim of bullying to keep quiet or let things go. Bullying isn’t something anyone should try to silence.

We have to speak out. We have to stand up.

We have to fight the bully.

Fighting back

Many of us are under the impression that exposing a bully is a form of bullying itself. It is not. Exposing a bully is not bullying.

Of course, that doesn’t stop a bully from claiming that you’re the one being the bully if you expose him. Case in point: The cyberbully I mentioned in a previous post tried to twist things around, saying that exposing him was akin to humiliating him. (Here’s more on why a bully will try to claim you’re bullying him instead.)

If you don’t want to be exposed publicly for being a rapist, pervert, or bully, then don’t be one.

As long as you refrain from ad hominem attacks and name-calling, you’re not bullying anyone. You’re protecting yourself, not to mention his future victims.

According to Mental Health Support in the UK, “Bullying [behavior] cannot continue to have its desired effect if the intended victim successfully stands up to the bully. Once you have identified a bully and know what to expect from him or her, you must choose not to be a victim, if you want the bullying to stop. Expose the bullying for what it is. Take a stand, and don’t back down.”

It continues to say, “Confrontation and exposure, with evidence to support a victim’s accusations, are what the bully tries hardest to avoid. Once exposure happens, the bullying is likely to stop.”

The stigma of the non-practicing doctor: a study in mythology

These are some of the myths I eventually debunked as a doctor who chose to write for a living. (If you haven’t yet, I recommend that you click that link and read it first.)

follow your dream

If you’re a doctor who’s on the fence about being one, this is for you. If you’re someone who might not know how to act or what to say if you meet a doctor who tells you s/he’s not practicing medicine, then this is for you, too.

Myth #1:

Doctors who don’t practice medicine are wasting their education

The day I finally decided to stand up to bullies

Not so long ago, a group of nasty girls bullied and intimidated me in private. I was told by a lot of people not to do anything about it.


They said that I shouldn’t make “patol” (go down to their level), that I shouldn’t call attention to what was happening or I would look weak, that I shouldn’t give it a label and call it bullying or I would be exposed for what I was at the time: a victim.


“Huwag pumatol (don’t engage)”

I endured a month of nonstop bullying. I was shamed, ridiculed, pushed around on a daily basis – privately, silently, with me doing very little about it – because I followed the passivist, pseudo-pacifist advice that well-meaning people gave me.

What made it worse was that nobody really knew (except a handful of people who witnessed everything just as silently as I experienced it) that I was being bullied. To everyone else, these bullies were nice girls: As “charismatic” bullies, they were popular and well-loved.

I was unaware at the time that adult bullies could find ways to hide their nastiness. Some of them would grow up to be popular. You’ve probably met the type – they were the typical mean girls, yet everyone still wanted to be their friend.

“The charismatic bully’s charm is likely to mask any hint of anti-social behavior, thus making them difficult to identify. The charismatic bully can be a student leader, athlete, business executive, or even a politician, for example.” -- Dr. David Rivera, Psychology Today

My flaws and mistakes, which were many, were used to justify these bullies’ microaggressions. Slowly, their snide remarks and the bad things they said about me chipped at my confidence until I started to believe them.

I didn’t want to go to med school anymore. I refused to be on call for days at a time, staying at home and earning 7-day demerits for each day of absence, simply because I was too afraid. The more I skipped my duty hours, the more I gave them reason to bully me.

It was a cycle I couldn’t break.

It was a cycle that broke me.

When you no longer want to be a doctor

You’ve probably met the type. Still a doctor in training, he might have said something like, “My mom would love to have a doctor in the family,” or, “My dad, a respected surgeon, wants me to follow in his footsteps.” Either way, you could hear what wasn’t spoken: He wasn’t really into medicine.

reluctant doctor

Or maybe he’s you.

Maybe you’re that med student who doesn’t have a clue about his life. Yes, you can ace each test because – let’s face it – you’re smart. You’ve got the brains, sure, but you just don’t have the heart, and you’re simply going through the motions, hoping against hope that you will one day learn to love the one thing you don’t – just because you’re good at it, just because everyone else says it’s your destiny.

Maybe you enrolled in medical school because you really wanted to heal the sick… except that for some strange reason, you no longer want to.

You will find it hard to say what’s in your heart. Admitting what you truly feel – out loud, with conviction, like a truth that can no longer be ignored once it has been pointed out – feels like a sin.

I don’t actually want to be a doctor. Ugh, no, for some reason, you can’t say it.

“You should be thankful that you have the resources to study medicine. Think of everyone else who would have been glad to be in your shoes! Your parents worked hard to get you here – don’t ruin it.” Yep, they’ll think it, and they’ll even say it.

Oddly enough, it seems that you are the only person who doesn’t know what to do with your life. Your aunt, neighbor, teacher, and mother’s bestie’s cousin’s doctor-buddy all seem to know you’re meant to finish medicine.

Hold on. Maybe you know what to do with your life. Or maybe you don’t, but you know what you don’t want to do. But you’re already a med student/ intern/ resident/ consultant. You’re here, smack in the middle of a situation you can’t seem to get out of without earning a few disapproving stares, and everything you feel can be summarized by one word: stuck.


5 easy steps to control weight gain

You just got off work. You were having a bad day at work, which would explain why you ate too much ice cream and drank more coffee than usual. Tired, you’re not looking forward to the 7PM traffic. You’re looking particularly stressed: People have been asking you why you look older, not to mention heavier.

This is your life. These are your choices. Nobody is twisting your arm to do things you don’t want to do.

So, why do you feel like you’re not in control anymore?

Julian Alvarez Garcia“We get the feeling that our life doesn’t belong to us [if we live unhealthy lives],” said Dr. Julian Alvarez Garcia, founding member of the Spanish Association of Specialists in Sports and Physical Education Medicine, during the Philippine leg of the 2016 Herbalife Asia-Pacific Wellness Tour.

He also said gaining unwanted weight was a sign that a person was losing control of his own life.

Ouch. That hit home for me. How about you?

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