Don't Take the Bait!

Češka

“Darling … You’ve got to learn not to take the bait … They’re just doing it to get you!”

Those are the words my mom would say to me, as I ran crying to her, seeking comfort from the teasing that my brothers and father used to do periodically when I was a little girl.

I so desperately wanted to be in on their jokes, to be included in their camaraderie, to not be made fun of or laughed at … and … from my perspective, it didn’t happen … and, they were merciless.

They made fun of what I said and how I said it.

They laughed at the way I looked.

They would promise to stop … and then keep on even more.

Moments of inclusion in their worlds frequently ended with me in tears, as they would say or do something that they knew would upset me. 

And, as I lost it, they would laugh, and then grow quiet, knowing that my mom would reprimand them and demand that they “Stop it.”

“We didn’t...

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