By Olga Mecking of The European Mama
When a box of cereal fell on Sarah Smith’s head, she thought it was a single, isolated event. But then, a Lego piece suddenly appeared right under her foot as she was preparing to walk into the kitchen.
“Of course I stepped on it and the pain, as you can imagine, was excruciating,” said the 34-year-old stay-at-home mom from Indiana. “Incidents like this happen almost daily,” she reports.
“At first I blamed myself. I thought that some of this is really my own fault, like for example that time I put my daughter’s sunglasses in the fridge and then spent countless precious hours looking for them. As everyone knows, I am not the world’s most organized person. I’ll admit that. And let’s not forget that there are three little people living in this house who always misplace things.”
But now she has learned it was really bullying. The red flags were always there, like for example the way the furniture was often positioned so that she couldn’t help but bump into it. But she didn’t see them because she was so convinced all this was her fault — a common situation with bullying victims.
What makes inanimate objects, usually useful and good-natured, prone to bullying behavior?
“When manufacturers are too busy to take care of inanimate objects, or when designers can’t fulfill all their needs, this gives the objects the impression that they’re less than, causing them to lash out and hurt others like that. It really is a fear of being vulnerable,” explains Jennifer Black, a psychologist from the University of Texas.
“Bullying has become such an epidemic that even inanimate objects are doing it. This is really getting out of control,” adds Dr. Black.
We were able to confirm that it’s really bad indeed. For example, the book that Sarah put on her desk while we were doing the interview disappeared and, according to Sarah, hasn’t resurfaced since. Smith was glad we experienced this. So far no one has believed her when she told them she was bullied by inanimate objects.
“They told me I was insane and that I should pay more attention. But now I know that it’s not me, it’s them,” she said with tears in her eyes.
She still wants to believe that inanimate objects, just like humans, are inherently good. “I mean, they can be so nice when they really put their minds to it. Just yesterday they returned my favorite mug to my table! But just like humans, inanimate objects can make our lives really difficult. I just can’t take it anymore,” said Smith.
She felt enough was enough, and she’s pulling out the big guns. She plans to get in touch with organizational guru Marie Kondo.
“Everyone knows what she does to inanimate objects when they fail to spark joy,” Smith said to no one in particular and added, “Here’s the deal. Either you’ll start sparking joy or KonMari the hell out of my house. Either way, it’s going to be life changing.”
About the Author
Olga Mecking is a writer and translator who lives in the Netherlands with her husband and three kids. Her blog, The European Mama is all about parenting, travelling, writing and food.