Bullying – you are not alone.


To Anon

The details of your story about bullying are horrible! When I read about what happened to you in school, and with your so-called friends, it made me feel like I was actually there with you as it was happening.

I was a small kid, and it resulted in me being bullied.

My story was a little different, and the reasons I was bullied seemed pretty much unique to me at the time. I was small and short. In every grade until I graduated from school I was usually the smallest and lightest boy in the class. And there was no relief at home, either, because my dad was the worst bully of all, who beat me and my siblings too. When he wasn’t bullying us, he was molesting the girls and calling out the boys for not being “men”.

Like, even when I was five and six years old, he’d call me a fag, a pig and asshole. There was never a day in my life until I was about fifteen when I wasn’t afraid of my father calling me names, hitting me all over my body, and sending me to school covered in bruises from his attacks. And at school, the bullies somehow knew automatically that they could pick on me, and I really didn’t know how to stop them, or even protect myself.

Things started getting a little better after my fifteenth birthday, because my father stopped physically abusing me because I knocked him down when he tried, and then he never tried again. The same thing happened at school, when I had fight with the meanest bully at my high school, and I beat him up so badly he ended up in hospital. Obviously I had grown up a bit, although I was still small, I was an athlete and played hockey. I was an okay hockey player, but the best thing was that I learned how to fight back.

The bullying pretty much stopped after that, and the kids at school treated me a lot better, so I got along at school a lot better. At home I mostly just avoided having to deal with my dad, who still had a mean mouth, and was always mad at someone or other.

The net effect of all of this is that I grew up feeling pretty insecure, and lacked confidence. I overcompensate, to this day, and feel like I have to prove myself to other people. Despite the fact that I’ve had plenty of successes in my life, I’ve never really felt “successful” and still struggle with feelings of inadequacy when dealing with the very real challenges of living.

Sculpted Self portrait as a young man in an Effective Disorders Clinic, in 1982

I’m now sixty-six years old, and although I’ve struggled with these feelings, including serious bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts, in the main I have learned to value what I have to offer the world, and respect my contributions to my fellow human beings. Having been bullied so much in my youth, and periodically even as an adult, I am a fierce protector of people who are being bullied, either as an individual or as a part of group or class of people being exploited or used by others. I won’t put up with abuse, and when I see it I stand up against it, no matter what the cost.

If you are bullied as a child, or maybe even ever, then you will have the ability to understand how it feels, and what it means to someone else when it happens to them. If you learn how to stand up for yourself, and face down the bullies, then you have learned something extremely useful to other bullied people. You become accountable for your own future happiness and safety, and are willing to do whatever you have to do to recover from falling down and failing. Nothing is impossible for you, merely difficult or painful, and neither difficulties nor pain can stop you. You’ve had to learn how to overcome all of those things, and get on with your life.

I start out each believing that today will be a better day, because I will make it so through my own actions towards others and myself.
I start out each believing that today will be a better day, because I will make it so through my own actions towards others and myself.

In a way I am glad that I was bullied as a kid. It taught me compassion, first of all for myself, and secondly, for others. It helped me see the ordinary humanity in each person I meet along the way. We are all simply human beings, looking out at the world and dreaming of having a good life. So I start out every day believing that this day will be better.

40 thoughts on “Bullying – you are not alone.

  1. I think many of us have a bullying/harrassment story and it happens so much that some people don’t know any other way of life, and even, become a bully themselves as they reach adulthood.

    I was also bullied (for being very thin and wearing thick glasses since the age of seven). I have also been bullied in my last job (of 16 1/2 years duration) merely because I was different and wasn’t interested in indulging in office gossip or being part of the ‘pack’. I was eccentric and people just didn’t quite know what to make of me. I even overheard one colleague say that I was very strange and boring. It was only after this person left my place of work, that I found out all the other staff I worked with thought this person (who left) was a bully and a really nasty piece of work. I thought to myself “well, why did you all side with her?”

    Bullies get a kick out of seeing you cower and frightened, but the truth is, all you have to do is stand up to them and stare them in the face as an equal (and in your case Donald, you stood up to them physically also).

    Now, in everything I do, I speak my mind and am proud to be eccentric and ‘different’.

    I also am strong enough to speak up for those unable to speak up for themselves (as I have in my last 2 stays in hospital this year). Gosh, some medical staff don’t seem to know the meaning of Compassion or Empathy. I was shocked to find one female staff member in charge of my ward was a Bully.

    I found the most Compassionate and thoughtful staff were actually the non-medical – the cleaners, the service staff, the tea lady/man, the admin (who came to ask for some information).

    I am Me and no one can take that away from me.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. It’s so sad that there are people (kids) out there who want to hurt others. This world would be better place if there was no bullies. Sadly those who do get picked on often end up hurting themselves or yet killing their self because they just want it to stop. Sadly sometimes they make it threw the bulling they end up on the wrong side of the track.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I totally relate with this post. I was bullied as a kid, and I even feel that way now. One of the sad thing about being bullied, is the fact one’s trust in people could be severely compromised.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Abuse onto a child is a life sentence and I commend you for pulling the positive to the forefront in your closing. It is very important to draw the positive we can from an experience to lessen the trauma of the occurrence balance the negative…….a type of ‘acceptance’ of a deeper level. Thank you for sharing your success!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Donald, while searching for blog posts about bullying, I came across your story and found it very heart touching. I was bullied myself in school and I remember too well the pain, loneliness and isolation that came with it. And like you, my takeaways were empathy and compassion for others, the will to succeed, and the determination to love myself and to never again put up with shabby treatment.

    And in today’s climate where bullied kids are now committing suicide, this article is a must read. Thank you so much for posting! So many need to read this.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for writing this post about bullying, Donald! I’m glad you saw my blog so that I could find yours. I will follow yours right after writing this comment.

    I was bullied for a bit, as child. It is extremely painful and definitely can have lasting effects. Any bully reading this must get that into their heads! Do they really want to hurt someone so badly? If so, then I sure hope they get therapy to process why that is.

    As a younger child, I was actually among the most popular girls up until about 10 years old. I never bullied anyone. I even recall being upset when my second grade teacher made me write “I will not waste paper” on the board 25 times after helping the least popular girl make a little paper boat, when no one else would help her. I am guilty, however, of not attending a birthday party she invited me to. Truth is, I didn’t know that girl that well. I remember feeling bad about refusing the invitation. I still feel bad and I’m in my late 40s and haven’t seen her since early childhood.

    When I moved to another state, my first friend there was a neighbor. She happened to be the least popular girl in the class. New in that school, I remember kids coming to me and asking “You don’t like Nicole, do you?” The first time asked I think I simply didn’t answer. The second and third, I said yes, that I like her. That was my immediate downfall and sparked the bullying against me. Oddly, that neighbor eventually befriended me, too. I had friends in ballet, so it was sort of OK. I look back at those days, though, and still feel good that I said I liked that neighbor. I was true to myself back then, and I’ve tried to be true to myself since. That has felt right, despite any ramifications it caused. No regrets, in that respect!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your story with me. There’s a awful lot of bullying in people’s lives, and it invariably affects their lives, in both positive and negative ways. You have come through flawlessly. Thanks again for taking the time to respond so fulsomely.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: Bullying – you are not alone. — Rain Coast Review – Dustin's Dynasty

  8. I was bullied in school as a kid. It made me question so much about myself. How I looked, how I talked. But I’ve been luckier than most I guess. It wasn’t all that bad, I could handle it. Or so I thought at the time. But it has taught me so much about life and people.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great article. You shared the genesis of where the bullying started, how you ultimately addressed it and finally, a self reflection of how it has changed you – and affects you still to this day. So many will be able to relate to this. Well done.

    Like

  10. Reading this post I remember the bullying I experienced back in high school. I was bullied by my only circle of friends because I surpassed all of them as a top performer in the class. From 10th honorable mention during elementary days, I became the valedictorian during high school. And nobody expected that. That’s why they created all sorts of gossip about me. Because of that I felt like I didn’t deserve the success, I didn’t succeed at all. It took me years to finally get over with the trauma. Thanks to better friends I met during college, I was able to let go of the pain. They made me realize that not all people will treat me the same as my high school ex-friends.

    Reading your blog, my key take-away is that we have the power to make other people stop treating us negatively; by showing them that we don’t allow it in our lives. Show them what we deserve, show them that we’ve had enough, show them that we will no longer allow toxic people to treat us like trash. It’s good to know that you were able to stand up for yourself. I hope more people learn the same thing.

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