I don't respond well to bullies. In this respect, I identify very closely with my stubborn son, because if I feel forced into anything that is against my will, I immediately rebel. I prefer respectful communication: a request is presented, and I have the choice to respond with what works for me, without undue pressure or stress.
This is the utopia I long for, but which seems hard to find in this world. Many people move through life bullying people to do what they want them to do. This bullying can be overt or subtle, but the result is the same - do what I want, or you will suffer the consequences. One huge benefit to getting older is that I can spot this manipulation a mile away, and run in the other direction.
I am disappointed on a regular basis that people don't want to do what I want them to do, and I have to learn to accept that and not hold it against people. Others have to do the same for me. We all have one shot at this life, and we must choose to spend our time how we wish. Of course we have to give to others and sometimes do things we would rather not do out of kindness, but not because we are being forced into it.
I don't want to bully others. Ever, for any reason. If I can't get what I want, I must come to terms with that, and I don't want to get my own way at the expense of the other person's dignity, where they feel forced into my way of thinking. That isn't the way life should work. It's better not to get my own way and be respectful in the process, than to push someone to my side by force.
I find conversation sub-text to be exhausting. I want to have a conversation and know that the words match what the non-verbal cues are saying. When they don't line up, I become instantly wary of what is really being said underneath the dialogue, and that's where the bullying usually comes in.
I know that I don't have to do what I feel pressured to do. I can stand up and say no, and I frequently do that very thing, but usually it brings up conflict which is unpleasant to deal with. Bullying at any age is unacceptable to me, and I want to stop it in its tracks. There has to be a better way to communicate, with more respect and dignity all around, and even if the other person doesn't want to engage in that, I have no choice but to walk that road and do the best I can to be true to myself.