When I was in school, I was bullied. I had a difficult time in school because of it and it messed up my views of other people for a long time… It really frustrated me because until I was bullied, I thought everyone was fair and just. I had a big shock! Admittedly, I probably didn’t help myself because of the kind of person I was but it also didn’t help that some of the teachers agreed with the bullies and allowed them to bully me.
The thing is though, being bullied taught me a few things that I wanted to share with children who are being bullied now. I know it won’t stop it but it may help you to deal with it…
It doesn’t last forever – Bullying always stops at some point. Whether it be because your bullies get bored or that you leave school and move on with your life, it doesn’t last forever. And I hate to break it to bullies, but you are far more likely to fail than the people you bully. And once you leave school, you have a choice about where you go and what you do and you don’t have to decide to stay in a position where you’re being bullied. Don’t get me wrong, I know that some women (and men) are victims of domestic abuse and that they are forced to remain in that situation because of fear and other reasons but that’s a lot different from schoolyard bullying! And even they have been able to free themselves from these horrific circumstances! Trust me! You can and will survive this and be free! And yes, sadly there are children that are bullied and controlled by their parents but that’s completely different! And needs to be handled differently by professionals! I am not talking about this. This post is about schoolyard bullying! And before you say ‘Yes, but they didn’t punish you because of who you are or what you believe!’ They did! My bullying was personal. They tried to take my identity from me to turn me into them! They attacked who I was and when they found that didn’t work, they lied about me to get me to break. It didn’t work and it won’t work on you either!
Bullies are just frightened people that you should feel sorry for – Let me tell you a story, I used to be really bitter about the fact that I was bullied. I was angry and hurt about it and lashed out because of it. Then one day, I was walking through town to my job and I saw one of my school bullies. He was sat outside the job centre, unemployed, dressed like a tramp and drunk or high at Midday. He didn’t see me and even if he did, I don’t think he would have recognised me because he was that wasted but I saw him and I knew him! From that day on I realised that bullies are just frightened and scared people that don’t know how to deal with their problems and lash out at others. This made me change my world view and made me prepared to stand up to those who think they can bully me now. I’ve been able to stand up and have the courage to cut the bullies out of my life.
You have everything you need to survive this! – Don’t ever think that you won’t survive this! You will! With the help and support of your friends, family and the teachers that support you, you can get through this! You can survive! Your childhood may not be a barrel of laughs but you can get through it and be free of whatever you’re going through. Also, you’re a strong person and you can get through this! You need to remember that you can endure and survive and you can be successful at being who you are in the face of this! You’ve got this! When I discussed the fact that I was bullied with my counsellor when I had post-natal depression, she told me that I was bullied because even though I had a soft outer shell, in my core I was stronger than they were and even though they got under my skin, they didn’t own me the way they wanted to.
Don’t change who you are! – I saw people that were bullied and they changed who they were to try and alleviate the bullying and it didn’t work. They were the ones that were bullied longer and their torture was worse than ever because the bullies knew they owned them and that they were making a difference. Stay the course! Stand tall and don’t be afraid to be who you are! No one owns you! And as long as you’re not hurting others or yourself, then they have no right to make you feel like your life course is wrong in any way! You are you and no one can take that away from you!
You do have friends! – One of the things that bullies do is try to isolate you from your classmates but do you know what? There are still people that don’t care what they think and they are your best allies! What you have to remember is that bullies are lonely and frightened and they may find friends who are just like them but they believe that they’re not worthy of friends and they want you to feel like that too. You are worthy! You can make and keep friends! The bullies are wrong! You are a good person and you can do this! Find your niche and stay there! They will help you get through!
Find someone to talk to – You may not feel able to speak to anyone but find someone you can speak to. Find an adult you trust and tell them! You’ll be surprised at how quickly the ball can get rolling when you speak to the right adult! They can help!
Don’t let people punish you for being bullied – When I spoke to adults about how badly I was bullied, their response was to move me to a different class. I felt like I’d failed and that I was being punished by being moved from my friends when in reality, I was being moved for my safety. And I made better and closer friends in the new class than I ever had in the old one! Also, teachers now are more proactive than they were 20 years ago when I was in school. Bullies are generally punished and are expelled or suspended.
Don’t break rules to defend yourself – One day some bullies grabbed me and tried to force me in the showers fully clothed. Instead of screaming for help, I bit one of the girls and ended up being punished for that. Even though the bullies are breaking rules, it doesn’t give you license to do so.
Stay part of a group – Don’t walk to school alone! You know that niche I told you to find? Stay there! If they can’t isolate you, they can’t bully you! Remember that! This is more important than anything else! There is safety in numbers and if you find your niche and stay there, they will defend you and challenging a bully is the worst thing that you can do to them. Don’t show them you’re afraid! Be defiant! It will make them stop and back away, especially if they’re confronted by a group of people.
Stand up for others too – If you’re being bullied, you can guarantee that others are being bullied too! Be kind and stand up for them if you see it! Nothing scares a bully more than two people standing up for themselves and if you stand up for others, then you’ll make friends in the most unlikely places!
Be kind to the bullies – If you see the bullies are struggling with something, help them! They may not appreciate it and may push you away, but you’ll feel like a better person for it and that my friends is more important than anything else!
Remember what I said…
- It doesn’t last forever!
- Bullies have no self confidence!
- You can survive this!
- Don’t change who you are!
- You have friends!
- Speak to someone who’s responsible!
- Don’t let yourself be punished for being bullied!
- Don’t break the rules to defend yourself.
- Find your niche and stay there!
- Stand up for others too.
- Kill cruelty with kindness.
And most importantly!
You are worthy! Their whole premise is based on the lie that your differences make you bad. This is not true! Look after yourself. Stay safe and be who you are…