I have never been bullied. And as a child I’ve never watched anyone be terrorized. That’s why it surprised me, as well as many others, to watch a recent episode of Basketball Wives featuring Tami Roman confiscating castmate Kesha Nichols', purse, then taunting and tormenting her before deciding to give it back.
There were so many things wrong with the scenario. First, Tami calling the girl “scary” for not wanting to confront her while she was acting like an ogre. And then the ridiculous notion that calling the authorities on someone who is tormenting you is an act of betrayal. And finally, the mental manipulation Tami used when she finally returned the bag— stating that she was just holding it because Kesha left it and she should be grateful. Right.
Still, the most inane part of the whole episode was watching the other cast members try to rationalize Tami’s behavior, while crying or staring blank-faced. They knew she was wrong. But they, much like Kesha, were too scared to confront her. Too nervous that Tami would explode and lock eyes on a new target. Too anxiety riddled to think of anyone except them. They pitied and tried to assuage Kesha, but really it was each of them (Shaunie O’Neal, Evelyn Lozada and Suzie Ketchum) who looked weak.
We all know that Tami Roman is broken and has savage-like tendencies. It doesn’t take much imagination to connect the dots between her helplessness as a rape victim and the trauma of being the penniless ex-wife of a one time multimillionaire (the latter largely due to her own poor choices) has manifested as rage against anyone who she thinks she can get an easy win against. But why would Shaunie, Evelyn and Suzie go along to get along? Many may say they are just as weak as the victim.
Friends are not afraid to speak the truth to other friends. Just as Tami tormented Kesha, she’s instilled fearful complacency into her other castmates. Evelyn cried just relaying the event. She identified with the feelings of powerlessness because she was scared to say what was right— and face Tami’s wrath.
Dealing with a bully isn’t easy. And it isn’t always best to confront them, but you must always stand your ground. As an adult the impact of your silence is booming. When we are children we are often weakened by circumstances beyond our control. Grown-ups are weak by choice.
Tip: The best way to handle an adult bully? Don’t associate with them. They can only prey on you if you allow them to be part of your circle— and that is your choice. Sentence them to time out unless they are willing to do better, and be better. And if they become forceful call the cops. Most bullies are only tough when things are easy.
Do better, be better. Talk to EBONY.com Life Coach S. Tia Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.