By: Ann Marie Godines LPC, NCC Therapist at Because the Family Matters (BTFM)
Ann Marie Godines opened her private practice in Corpus Christi on December of 2016 to provide therapeutic healing approaches to individuals, families and couples in the local and surrounding areas.
“I believe that therapy is centered on the relationship between a client and their therapist, therefore, I strive to help find solutions and treatment within this therapeutic relationship. Through the use of various psychotherapy methods and collaborative treatment measures, it is my goal that clients develop life-changing habits to help cope with life’s various situations. At BTFM Counseling, our therapy sessions are designed to unravel painful issues and provide clients with effective tools to help find healing and improve perspectives on life. Whether you are seeking short term or long term therapy, I am committed to sharing the counseling journey with you.”
The art of bullying is something that Ann Marie seeks to bring an awareness of, to the bullies, to the bullied and to the families, who often do not believe that something like this can be so traumatic.
I recognized relational aggression when my son was victim of this form of bullying. It took months to recognize that this had taken its toll on his confidence, that it was really happening to him. It traumatized his autonomy, his sense of self-worth, and it impacted his haven with his closest peer relationships. Relational aggression (RA) is silent bullying that blindsides an individual because it is so unexpected, and there is little to no awareness of this type of bullying. We hear stories of bullying in the form of hostile and deliberate, sometimes physical but rarely do we hear stories of bullying from the inner circle of your closest peer friendships and relationships. Can this bring psychological impacts when this type of bullying occurs? Yes. As a therapist, I see the traumatic impacts daily in my office where teens and children are led to suicidal ideations from this form of bullying. RA is not physical but rather emotional and psychological. It plays on their emotions, and often these teens and children are left with an internal induced fear that attacks their self-worth, creates hurt and uncertainty of who they can really trust in their closest-knit circle of friends. As adults, the tendency is to think that this is not a huge area of concern. I am making it known that this is worse than physical bullying. I make this statement because this is ongoing and is not a onetime incident. It is continual and terrorizing. The consistent and persistent harassment that stems from relational aggression seeks to emotionally destroy another person. Relational aggression (RA) imbalances the strengths and the power within friendships.
So, what is relational aggression? It is a form of bullying that is adept by peers and closest friends, intended to intimidate, control or hurt a victim’s social relationships and reputation by forming manipulative relationships within their circle of mutual friends. It is an indirect act and its attacks can appear like a “love-hate” relationship that can include making another person feel, think and appear stupid, unwanted, unloved, small, forgotten, pushed aside and foolish. An example of relational aggression is stealing their friends and telling others not to associate with them or excluding one from another activity indirectly or in a passive aggressive way. RA also induces bouts of depression, and can cause one to question their identity along with the fear of acceptance.
RA is a craving for power, to seek control, for the status of being most popular, for achieving a greater social status creating jealousy and insecurity. The idea is that if the competition is derailed than “all is won” in the mindset of the bully.
Relationally aggressive bullies bait victims closer and closer, pretending to be great friends, only to validate total rejection, betrayal and abandonment. It is a form of “kick him where it hurts” yet without the literal and physical kicking of another person. Therefore it is so emotionally painful and cognitively destructive.
Conflict exists in most relationships. Conflict is a form of growth in relating with others. Healthy conflict however is not power seeking. Conflicts in relational aggressive situations involves a power-seeking struggle with little to no remorse for the one who has been hurt by the indirect acts in the relationship or friendship. The intent is to cause harm. My passion to bring awareness for this form of bullying as a therapist is not just because I have seen many of my client’s self- harm, cut, question their self-confidence, question their sexual identity, but because it is becoming so rampant in our schools, our community and in society. Did you know that relational aggression impacts not just the teen, the child, but also the adult. It then escalates into other areas of emotional abuse. If you are a victim of relational aggression, I want to help empower you to find healthy relationships and to bring strength to those who have been victimized by this form of traumatic bullying.
This is Therapist Ann Marie Godines LPC, and National Certified Counselor at Because the Family Matters located at 4949 Everhart Rd. STE 107. Our office number is 361-442-2211 and after hours number is 361-779-9898. E-THERAPY (Skype and Facebook Video) is offered nationwide. We offer an affordable family income sliding scale and my heart is to never let money keep someone from receiving therapy, therefore we work around everyone’s financial situation. We do not turn anyone away from therapy. #btfmcounseling