Please Hold On! It Won’t Last Forever! Your Well-Deserved Happiness is Coming!

Good afternoon, everyone. I want to give encouragement to everyone who is being bullied. Your pain, although intense…even unbearable, will only be temporary and I do not say this lightly. I know what you must be thinking… “But she doesn’t understand! Nobody understands! She’s an adult and she doesn’t understand the hell I go through every day at school!”

I do understand because once upon a time, I was stuck in the same spot that you are in now. I know what it is like to want to smile, laugh, sing and dance and have it beat out of you. I understand the pain of wanting to believe in yourself and see your own value, only to have others repeatedly and seemingly deliberately, drum into your head that you are nothing. To want to speak and have your voice heard, only to be silenced with the threat of either physical harm, further degradation or humiliation! I know all too well the feeling of wanting to move forward and go places, only to have bullies hold you back. To want to escape the torment, only to be stuck in a toxic environment with toxic people, against your will! I know the horror of having your very existence cursed by others and to be bombarded with death threats. To be forced to sacrifice your own needs and wants for the satisfaction of others! To see others getting gratification and entertainment…all at your expense. I know what it’s like to be slapped, kicked, beaten, scorned, disregarded, walked on!

It is a feeling of being run over by a truck, whose driver then stops, throws it into reverse and backs over you again. Then the driver shifts back into drive and mows over you…yet again. Then stops the truck, opens the door, sticks his head out and asks, “Are you dead yet?”. And any signs of life…any whimper…any movement only encourages the driver to close the door, shift into reverse again, and back over you again…just keep running and backing over you until you finally succumb to the trauma and die. Yes. This is what being a victim of bullying is like. Bullies want to destroy you and it seems that they won’t relent until they are sure that they have done just that.

But know this. You will not have to deal with these people forever and Karma does repay…in spades! If you keep believing in yourself, you will go on to become successful and happy and your bullies won’t even matter to you when you do reach success. You are beautiful! You are smart! You are awesome! And one day, you will cross paths with people, who will see your worth and love you…unconditionally…just for being YOU!

Don’t give up. You are worth fighting for!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The “Crazy” Label: The Easiest and Most Used Weapon in the Bully’s Arsenal

Good morning, everyone. Do you ever wonder why most targets who stand up against abuse are often labeled crazy by their bullies? Here are the reasons:

1. The crazy label is used by bullies as a last option when there is nothing else they can pin on their victims.

2. It is the most difficult to prove. If you are a target of bullying and you have the guts to stand up against the abuse, the bully may tell everyone that you are crazy and everyone else may believe it too. However, although there is no way for the bully to prove that you are, in fact, crazy, there is also no way that you can prove that you aren’t.

This is why the “crazy” label is just too easy to stick on anyone because people have a strong tendency to see the worst in others and the burden of proof lies with the target. It is damn hard to prove that you aren’t crazy, especially when bullies are attacking you from every direction and wearing you down. The natural human response is to react and defend yourself when you are being attacked and it can very easily be mistaken for mental illness.

I want to assure you that just because the majority says that you are doesn’t mean that it’s true. You are awesome in your own right! You are sane! You are a good person! And you DO matter and have value! Have a great day, everyone!

 

Exposing Bullies And Protecting Yourself From Future Attacks

Hello, everyone! I hope you are having an awesome day so far. As promised, I must talk about how to unveil a bully’s deplorable behavior and defend yourself. I have created a list of several things you can do to rip the mask off and keep yourself safe.

1. Know your enemy. How you do this is to stand back and always OBSERVE the people around you, but without looking like you are watching them. Pay close attention to body language, facial expressions and tone of voice. I can’t stress enough the importance of this. This is how you find out who the trouble makers are. If you see another student gossip and make trouble for others, you can be sure that in time, they will do the same to you. This is how I now know who to avoid at all costs. However, be advised that avoidance will not work if you have a determined bully after you. If a person wants to get to you badly enough, they will seek you out until they find you.

2. Document everything! As it has been said, “if it isn’t documented, it never happened”. Keep a journal and write down everything. I did this in junior high and high school just in case one of my bullies either hurt me bad enough to hospitalize me, or worse…killed me. You must write down the names of your bullies, the names of any bystanders or authority (teachers, principal, or any member of authority) present at the time the altercation took place, the date, time, place it happened, what happened and if possible, why it happened. Also, record what is said and by whom. Document every… single… detail!!

3. Do not reveal any information about yourself that you would not want to be told to anyone. Including your friends! If you do, you’re asking for trouble because if you are the target of a bully, you can be sure that your bullies will, at some point, either try to pry information about you out of your friends or they will turn your friends against you altogether.

4. Keep a low profile. Don’t do anything that may draw attention to yourself. And stay away from places the bullies may gather. Think, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Just don’t make it obvious to your bullies that you are ducking and dodging them. I avoided several confrontations by simply laying low.

5. Save any threatening texts, emails, and/or voice mails for evidence. And if possible, set your cellphone to record during any altercation brought on by a bully, provided it is hidden in your pocket. You certainly do not want the bully to know what you are doing. keep your composure and be sure not to tarnish the recording by yelling or using foul language. Schools are now becoming more aware of the issue of bullying. If you happen not to have a cellphone, keep a digital recorder handy (if possible) and be ready to record as soon as the torment starts.

6. NEVER brag about any evidence you have against a bully. Not even to your best friend…PERIOD! Again, bullies have a knack for prying information out of people, even your friends. They can also turn your friends against you, making them more than happy to volunteer the information. Don’t do it! Anytime you are a target of bullies, you are in no position to trust anyone!

7. Call the bully out in front of an audience. This is risky and could bring retaliation. However, the bully will also know that you are on to him/her and you just might intimidate them enough that they will leave you alone. It happened for me on a few occasions. But keep in mind that this doesn’t happen for everyone. Calling the bully out in front of people can also humiliate the bully and make that person more determined to get you. So access the bully’s personality and the situation carefully before you decide to do this.

Ripping the mask off the bully…layer by layer. Have a wonderful day, guys!

 

Excuses Bystanders and Even Authority Often Make for a Bully

Good morning, everyone. As we all know, bullies are very practiced and convincing liars and have a flare for using charm to deceive bystanders and authority. Understand that this “charm” bullies often display is fake it is all a part of the smoke screen they put up to cover up bad behavior and avoid accountability. In short, bullies are only actors and actresses.

With that being said, I want to list excuses that bystanders and authority often make for the bully anytime a victim reports them for their appalling behavior.

“That’s just his personality.”

“She’s only expressing herself.”

“He just has a very strong personality.”

“She’s going through a hard time right now.”

“But he’s really a good person, he’s just having issues right now.”

“She’s just having problems at home.”

“He’s just being himself.”

“But he’s so well liked and well mannered. Why would he bully someone like you?”

“But she’s so sweet and everyone loves her. She wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

These are a few examples of how others justify and condone the bully’s behavior. Don’t fall for it! Call them what they are…BULLIES! Never accept any excuse. It’s true that retaliation may follow. However, stay strong and know that you don’t have to tolerate atrocious behavior from anyone! Tomorrow, I will talk about how you can expose the bully and protect yourself.

Have a great day!

Victims of Bullying May Make Very Poor Choices Just to be Accepted

Good morning, everyone. Today I want to discuss the poor decisions that victims of bullying sometimes make as a result of wanting so badly to be accepted. I know about this because years ago, I was a victim and yes, I made some really bad decisions, some of which continue to affect my life today. At the time, I didn’t really know why I made those decisions. However, today, there is no doubt in my mind that the reason I allowed myself to get into smoking marijuana and having lots of sex during high school was because I was lonely from being bullied.

You see? Most victims of bullying have been bullied for so many years that they will do anything…and I mean ANYTHING, to make friends. After so long, the loneliness, the despair and the sadness becomes too much to bear and desperation starts to creep in.

Young Targets may try drugs, sex, joining gangs, crime and other things just to feel like they belong. Girls may settle for either a partner they don’t really love, or an abusive partner just for validation that they too can attain romance and that they are worthy of love just like everyone else. Girls may also deliberately become pregnant because they want so bad to have someone (the baby) to love them.

If you are a victim of bullying, I can’t emphasize enough that you don’t have to do these things to be accepted or to feel loved. There are better options.

Instead of making dumb choices, practice your talents and do the things you enjoy. Spend time with the people who DO love you. Give a little of yourself to positive others every day and I promise you, it will pay off sooner or later. You will attract genuine friends into your life and best of all, your self-esteem will go up as well.

Have a great day, everyone!

 

Your Gut Instinct: Why You Should Listen to It

Good afternoon, everyone. Today, I want to tell you the importance of that gut feeling we sometimes get and why we should take it seriously. First, I would like to apologize for failing to blog for the past week. I have been feeling a bit under the weather and have been resting. I want to thank everyone for the prayers.

At different times in my life, I have either met, or been around certain people whom my inner alarm tried to warn me about. I cannot explain the feeling I got. The only way I can describe this gut feeling is to say that something seemed to be “off” about these people and I would get a sinking, creepy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I could literally feel the bad vibes that seemed to pour fourth from these people.

When I was young, I would often mistake this feeling for “just being paranoid” and ignore the feeling, which is something that a whopping majority of bully victims do. And it proved to be to my disappointment…every time! I have since learned that had I listened to my gut and avoided these people, I could have saved myself a truckload of heartache.

So I want you to know this. God gave you that “sixth sense” or as it is more commonly called, the “gut feeling” or “instinct”, for a reason. Anytime you get a bad feeling in your gut about someone, you are not being paranoid, you are not over-reacting. It is only your inner alarm trying to warn you about a person or situation and keep you safe.

Here are a couple of excerpts from my book, “From Victim to Victor” that explains this even further:

“…My gut feeling warned me many times about my classmate’s personalities or that someone was about to harm me in some way, shape or form. I did not listen to my innate alarm because the faith in my own intuitive abilities had been shattered. As a result, I often mistook it for being overly suspicious.

Another example of poor decision making was that I became a very MEAN and VICIOUS person. As a result, I often repelled the people who had my best interests at heart, who were genuine and would have otherwise been true friends. I missed out on a lot of opportunities for friendship because I had very quickly come to a place where I did not trust anyone.

It was much safer to put up a barrier and keep everyone, including my own family out than it was to take risks and learn how to trust the right people.

Being bullied and being stuck with unnecessary labels can very easily do this to a person. It cannot only cause you not to believe in yourself and your own abilities, but it can also enable you to trust your own innate intuition if you let it. It blinds you to people who are true as it completely zaps your senses of who is for real and who is fake, thus causing the loss of your ability to avoid dangerous people.”

“…You are not stupid. It is not only in your imagination. You are not being overly sensitive. You are not being a wimp, wuss, crybaby, crazy or whatever else unsavory people call you. You always know when something does not feel good. You can see it in the way certain people cut their eyes at you and talk through their teeth. You can hear the short and cold tone in their voices. You can feel, deep down in your gut, the nasty vibes they exude. This is why you should always listen to your gut feeling because it is never wrong. Eighty-six those people pronto!”

Please don’t ignore this instinct. Never overlook that sinking feeling in your stomach because it could save you from so much trouble. It could even save your life!

Frenemies: Why They Are Worse Than Enemies

Greetings, everyone. I hope you all are having an awesome day. I want to talk about how bully victims often pick “friends” who only tolerate them or those who wish them ill will.

Targets are often lonely and desperate. For so long, they have been wrongly alienated from others due to rumors and lies that bullies have spread about them to keep them from making friends. Because the target is so hungry for a connection…any connection, he/she will befriend anyone…and I mean anyone! They are not selective with who they call “friend” and end up latching on to people who are not even worth knowing…predators, who only take advantage.

Also, young victims often assume that to be “cool”, they have to have a big circle of friends. This is not true.

With that being said, I want you to know that if you are a victim of bullying, you do not need a whole slew of people in your life to be happy nor to feel like or be a whole person. You only need your family and a few true friends. It’s safer this way. Wouldn’t you much rather have just a handful of true friends then to have an abundance of frenemies? I know I would.

In fact, you should prefer to have enemies over ‘frenemies’ because with an enemy, you know exactly where they stand without having to do any guesswork. However, with frenemies, you will always be the last to know after being played for a sucker.

If at any time you wonder about a person…if your intuition is telling you that something is “off”, put some distance between yourself and that individual and do it fast! Instinct is trying to warn you.

If your so-called friends are only tolerating you, stabbing you in the back, or sabotaging you in any way, it’s time to eighty-six these leaches to your self-esteem. And the sooner you do, the better!

Have a wonderful evening.

How Targets Can Sometimes Become Bullies Themselves and Why

Good morning everyone. This is and always will be very hard for me to admit to because no one wants to admit that they were ever a bully. However, I feel an obligation to each and very bullied person to be truthful about how I too bullied others during school to keep my own self-esteem from completely bottoming out. With that said, I have felt complete remorse over the last two decades and would like to offer a sincere and heartfelt apology to those I caused harm to during those years. I am truly sorry.

Like attracts like. Good produces more good and evil begets evil. Bullying can be used as a defense mechanism…bullying in response to bullying. Targets of bullying feel powerless and often learn very quickly to become bullies themselves in order to reclaim some of their power. Because they are being tormented, they get the impression that to stay off the bottom of the pecking order, they must find a target of their own to degrade and humiliate. This is wrong!

Often, bullied children and teens feel helpless. They feel that they have absolutely no control over anything in their lives. Therefore, they too become bullies in an attempt to feel some sense of power and control over something…ANYTHING. They often bully others who are even more powerless than they are to make themselves feel better about themselves.  Crap always rolls downhill and no one wants to be at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Just as there are people who fight to stay on top, there are others who fight just as hard to stay off the bottom. An example of this would be: A child gets yelled at by parents, then goes outside and kicks the dog. It is the same with most bully targets. I simply call this “Kicking the Dog”.

I was guilty of the same thing. I am ashamed to admit how cruelly judgmental I had become in high school. I constantly pointed a finger, I scoffed and laughed at people, and I scapegoated those I thought were easy and pieces of scum. I thumbed my nose, I looked down on and talked down to certain others. I exalted myself over particular people, I lorded over them. Yes! I did all of that…in front of an audience. All for the purpose of holding power over certain individuals, getting my thrills and looking cute.

From Victim to Victor, Chapter 29: “…Yes, I am guilty of bullying others I perceived as less than myself. Yes, I thumbed my nose at the types of people mentioned above and I did this to boost my own beaten down self-esteem and make myself feel better. And yes, I was wrong for doing so. However, at the time, it was the only way I knew to survive being bullied myself.

This served as a temporary fix to my brokenness. It was only a salve…a Band-Aid. It was akin to being a drug addict and getting a hit to keep painful withdrawals away. It took away the symptoms but not the cause. It was the same when I would bully and look down on people less fortunate than I was. The self-esteem high I would get from looking upon these types with scorn and loftiness was always short-lived.

And so, anytime I would start to come down from my self-esteem high, I would have to, once again look for someone else dumber and/or weaker than me, to pick apart and degrade by pointing out their bad qualities in order to feel good again. I constantly probed others, looking for shortcomings that I could use against them. If I could not find any flaws, I would just simply make them up and then convince my target of it. This was a cycle that would continue for a few more years.

I am telling you this because I have been on both sides of the fence. I have been both a target and a bully. I want you to understand that there is something seriously wrong with anyone who has to resort to bullying in order to feel good about themselves. If at any time, you have to look down on someone and mistreat them by pointing out their misfortunes and/or less than desirable qualities, the real problem is within yourself.

True confidence is not achieved by resorting to temporary fixes such as these I have just mentioned. No. True confidence flows continuously and is steady. It oozes from every fiber of your being naturally and effortlessly. True, authentic confidence is unshakeable!

Real confidence is quiet and there is no need to boast. There is no need to cause psychological, physical, emotional or spiritual harm to another human being to achieve it. It is still there but obscured…hidden because some creep from the past has wounded you so badly that you have suppressed it out of fear. I believe that each and every one of us is born with confidence and a heart of gold. Yet over time, our environments, circumstances and sadly, the people in our lives can slowly chip away and erode that natural confidence and goodness we were born with.

After being hurt for so long, we withdraw from others and put up a barrier. We turn cold and began to harden ourselves to numb feelings of rejection and the pain that comes with it. Before long, we regard the feelings and suffering of others with indifference. We just don’t give a damn about anyone, how they feel or what they think, sometimes even the people who love us. We no longer have any respect for others, much less ourselves. Lastly, we come to that evil place where schadenfreude takes hold and we secretly or openly, take pleasure in seeing others, especially those we despise, suffer.

I can say this because I was there. I had allowed my bullies to change me from a caring, loving child to an evil, spiteful teenager. I had become this person I was never taught to be. I was angry, full of bitterness and spite because of the torment which had been inflicted on me for the last four years. I went from being friendly and accepting of everyone, regardless of what they had, to being this cruel, cold, heartless human being who was beautiful…gorgeous on the outside, but very ugly and rotten on the inside.

Because I had been unfairly judged, I judged others. Because I had been bullied, I did my share of bullying. Because I had been picked apart, I wanted to pick others apart. Because I was miserable, I wanted someone else to be miserable too.

And how did I learn to be so cold, calculating and heartless? My own bullies had taught me very well how to bully and degrade with stealth and precision. And they had taught me by doing the same to me. I learned from them how to be even more meticulous and cunning. Yes, there were times when I got caught and was punished, but there were more times when I avoided accountability.

I used to get my kicks out of seeing others’ friendships and relationships end. At different times in high school, I would instigate fights between other people, then stand back and watch proudly what I, at the time, referred to as my handiwork. I enjoyed watching the two girls that I had very stealthily turned against one another, duke it out between themselves, laughing inside while making sure to cover up my bursting gratification with a false look of concern.

And why did I do this?  Because I had no real friendships myself and was jealous of other girls’ friendships. I wanted to destroy those friendships in order to feel like I was not the only one. I wanted to sneakily inflict pain on them because I was in pain. And it would feel so much better to have someone else suffering along with me than to suffer alone.

I was in a very dark place then but I am happy to say that I have managed to dig myself out of that hole and now that I am wiser, no one will ever again put me back in that place…EVER! Not my former classmates, not my coworkers, not a neighbor, not a husband or boyfriend…NO ONE! Also, I now enjoy seeing others happy and fulfilled.

You do not have to do what I did and change your personality to survive. It is not necessary for you to become like them… evil and spiteful, inflicting chaos in the lives of others just to feel better about yourself. There are better ways to achieve those results.

Instead of bullying the bully, stay your true self. Kill them with kindness or come back at them with something funny to throw him/her off kilter. It will take the wind out of their sales because they cannot shake you. Even better, you will feel better about yourself in the long run, just knowing that you did not have to turn into some venomous snake to survive and the confidence that you get from this will be authentic and long lasting. Whereas, the confidence you get from bullying others will always be superficial and short lived. As a result, you will be on a constant search for flaws in others…fodder to use against them in order to feel better. You will also search for a backup victim in case your usual target is not available. Take it from someone who has lived it, this is extremely exhausting and is certainly no way to live.

From Victim to Victor, Chapter 31: “…I absolutely loved the rush of power I would get from talking down to certain people at school. Because it made me feel like a winner…a boss…a champion…a queen!  I relished the fact that I too had the power to ruin some poor soul’s day…to make them squirm with nervousness…to reduce them…demean them…dehumanize them…crush them! This had become so addicting for me that I just could not get enough of it. I needed more. And the more I broke some poor sucker down, the better I felt. I knew I had become a bully and I was actually proud of that because I thought that being a bully meant POWER!

I was doing to certain others what had been done to me. At that time, it was the only way I knew to preserve my self-esteem…”

I want you to know that being bullied does not give you the right to become a bully. Think about how you feel when someone mistreats you. Now think about how your target must feel. The power that you get from bullying another person is only temporary. Whereas, the power that you get from showing kindness and love is INFINITE!

A Message to Every Person Who Presently is or Who Has Ever Been a Target of Relentless Bullying

Good afternoon everyone, I have a message from all victims and survivors of bullying. And that message is this:

You have more to live for than you know. Please believe me when I tell you…you have so much to live for! But you are blind to it because your bullies have brainwashed you. They have been lying to you for so long, telling you that you’re worthless and that you should die. And they are still lying to you. I realize that it’s tough. It’s hard to stay strong when it seems that everyone is hurling negativity in your direction, but whatever you do, don’t buy into their lies! You are awesome, you are smart and you are beautiful in your own right. You have a divine, animal right to be safe and be treated with love and respect. God does not make junk. Everything He makes is perfect.

Yes, I know that bullies are very repetitive when they attack you. And the reason for this repetitiveness is to make you believe their crap. Yes! Bullies want to convince you that you are garbage and after so long, they wear you down. But stay strong! Don’t believe a word of it!

I too was a target of bullying when I moved to a small Tennessee town after having been an Army brat for most of my childhood and having lived in several different areas. From the sixth grade (arrival in this Tennessee town) until I changed schools during my senior year in high school, I was a victim of merciless and relentless bullying and even attempted suicide at age 14 because it had gotten so out of control.

I am so blessed to have survived the attempt and lived on to tell my story. I also went through a second round of bullying…bullying of the more sinister type when my husband passed away four years ago. I was cyber-bullied by not only a few of my former classmates but several others joined in and this was during a time when I was already in mourning. Bullies love to kick you when you are already down.

BUT….I want you to know that the torment will not last forever. There will come a day when you will no longer have to deal with your classmates and you can feel free to be yourself without fear of ridicule. I want you to know that your situation WILL NOT LAST FOREVER! I am living proof of this! I not only survived, but I won. I am now a very confident, happy and successful person! I am the mother of two wonderful sons and the grandmother of one precious grandson! I have a great career and so many friends that I couldn’t possibly keep up with all of them. I have written and am currently working on getting published, a book about my experiences with school bullying. My mission is to reach as many bully targets as possible around the globe and to assure them that they are awesome people in spite of what others say to or about them.

I know your situation seems hopeless and I know all too well the feeling of exhaustion that overwhelms you after having been bullied for so long. The desperately hanging on to your own dignity…the refusing to bow down to your bullies only to be bullied even more for that refusal…the being in a situation that you did not ask to be in and seeing no end to it…the wanting everything to stop! I was there once! But never give up! I know it can be unbearable at times, but hold on to yourself, hold on to hope, hold on to your future! You are worth it! You ARE worthy to be loved by others! You DO matter! You ARE an awesome person! Never forget that.

Bullying And Suicide

Hello, everyone. I hope you are all having a wonderful morning. This week, the suicide of Daniel Fitzpatrick has weighed so heavily on my heart that I feel compelled to write more on suicide and why I think it is a form of cheating yourself.
The subject of bullying has been my passion for over 30 years. I was a target of relentless bullying myself when I was in school. Although technology had not taken off and their was no such thing as social media or texts, the bullying I suffered was horrible nevertheless. I want you all to know that there is hope and that you are awesome in spite of what your peers may think or say! I have written a book, which is entitled, “From Victim to Victor”
In writing this book, my purpose is to re-empower targets of bullying everywhere. I want to assure them that they are never alone and that there are so many other people…awesome people who suffer the same fate. I also want to send the message that they are good enough, that they do matter, they do have value and that their value does not decrease because of the inability of their peers to see their worth.
No matter how hopeless your situation may be, there is always hope. There will come a day when you will be free of your tormentors. I am living proof that you can go on to live a happy, peaceful and successful life. Just don’t give up.
I would like to post an excerpt of my book, “From Victim to Victor”. This excerpt tells the story of how I attempted to end my own life at the age of 14 after the bullying had escalated out of control. Thank you so much in advance.
“…A few of my brother’s friends had already arrived. I was in the house alone.
Now was the time I could do what I intended to do. I went into the bathroom, grabbed a bottle of Mom’s pain pills which was full, and turned it up, swallowing all but a few pills. I did not care anymore. I felt that death was a solution to me now. It was the only escape from a life of pain. Now, I would have the peace I had never known. I would sleep peacefully and eternally, feeling no pain. I would finally be free! I could go to a place where no one could ever hurt me again.
Later that night, I was rushed to a hospital in the next county and I remember feeling very angry that I was not dead yet. Why was God letting this happen to me? I just wanted everything to stop, didn’t He know that? I wanted the pain to just go the hell away and everyone to just leave me alone! I was so tired…no, I was beyond tired. I was exhausted mentally and physically. I could not help but to think,
“Does anybody even give a crap? I am going through so much hell right now and nobody seems to know it but me! Or they don’t care, one of the two! I just want someone to hold me and tell me that everything is going to be alright! But nobody will do that! Even members of my own damned family see me as nothing but a thorn in the side… pain in the ass! Maybe they would be better off if I weren’t around anymore! When am I ever going to be happy and live a good life? I’m so tired, Lord! I’m tired of being treated like I don’t matter…like I don’t have a right to have a say in anything that happens to me…like I am just supposed to take the crap with a smile.”
As the nurses surrounded me and worked diligently to set my tired body free of the pain pills which I had overdosed on, I cried not only from the pain of having my stomach pumped, but from a year of torment, the awful fight with my mom just a few short hours before and not understanding why things had turned out the way they had.
My father arrived and he was furious with me.
“What the hell’s the matter with you? Are you that starved for attention?” He said cruelly.
It seemed that nobody understood, not even my parents who were supposed to love and protect me. I was hurting and I so desperately needed one or both of them to hold me and tell me that everything was going to be alright…and if not them, somebody…anybody. I just wanted the pain to STOP! I wanted everything to stop!
I thought back to those happy days which seemed like a lifetime ago, when I had been a little girl living in Fayetteville, North Carolina and my mother and father were still married. I recalled Daddy coming home from a long day on post at Ft. Bragg, still dressed in his Army greens and scooping me up in his arms and I wondered,
“How and when did it all change? How did such happy moments turn into the god-awful, shitty mess that is now my life? At what point did things take a turn for the worse?”
I couldn’t understand it. And life at school? Having been an Army brat, I had gone to several different schools and lived in so many different areas and I had always gotten along with everyone. I was happy, I had friends…good friends, I got along with all of my teachers and even had teachers whom I loved dearly. Then we moved to Oakley, Tennessee and when I began attending school here and it was like stepping into the Twilight Zone.
Every other school I had ever gone to was the same, a peaceful and fun learning environment. Sure, there had been a few incidences of teasing but they were just that, normal teasing and very few and far between. It was not constant. However, what I endured in Oakley went way beyond teasing.
Oakley Elementary and now Oakley Junior High, on the other hand, was anything but fun and peaceful. I was now going to a school, which seemed to be full of sadistic and psychotic students and some staff. People who were hell bent on making things difficult and tearing down anyone who dared to be a little different…who had their own opinions and did their own thing.
They hated anyone who did not think like them nor act like them. They despised anyone who was quiet and who did not have a lot to say to them. They loathed anyone who had talents that they were proud of and who displayed those talents. It looked as if individuality, creativity and self-expression were off limits not only at Oakley Schools, but in the town itself and forget showing any pride.
And it was not just the mental strain I had been under but the physical as well. The loss of appetite during lunch had caused horrible afternoon headaches that were next to unbearable. The stomach pains and waves of nausea had me rushing to the bathroom. And as much as I had needed to some days, I had not been allowed to call out and go home sick because any complaints had always fallen on deaf ears. In their minds, I was faking so that I could go home early from class. Other symptoms included weight loss, huge wads of my hair falling out and FATIGUE! I had absolutely no energy! These symptoms occurred during the last two months of the past school year.
Those dinguses were making me physically sick! They were destroying my health and I knew that I was much too young to begin having problems with my health.
Later that night, I was placed in the Intensive Care Unit because the doctor thought my liver and heart had been damaged and it would be almost a week before I was transferred to a regular room.
During my stay in the ICU, there were only a few hours per day that I was allowed visitors, so there was plenty of time to reflect. As I lay in the hospital with electrodes taped to my chest, an IV stuck in my arm and an oxygen cannula in my nostrils, not only did I recall the torment, I also remembered the many people who had witnessed it firsthand…people who were in a position to speak out and possibly put a stop to it but did nothing to help. Even those who were supposed to have been my friends had often left me to fend for myself.
I can look back and recall that over the several years that I was bullied, I can only count on one hand the number of peers who did speak in my behalf. And that’s without using all five.
Even today, this happens all too often. Many bystanders who witness someone being bullied either just stand around letting it happen, turn a blind eye to it, or worse- join in ‘the fun of’ ridiculing another person. And school staff, officials and systems are notorious for trivializing bullying issues.
If you are reading this and you have either witnessed or presently witness incidences of bullying, I want you to understand that if you watch another person being harassed and do nothing to help that person, you then are part of the problem. In fact, you are just as guilty as the brutes who are inflicting the torment.
How would you like it if you were being targeted and there were other people standing nearby watching you get pummeled with insults, digs, fists or feet? What if one of those people were in a position to help you but chose not to? Allow me to answer those questions. I have been there and I remember what it was like when no one stepped up to help me.
You would feel alone! And if the people who refused to help you happened to be people whom you thought were friends, you would feel betrayed…sold out…delivered up to your enemies!
Nothing is worse than the realization that someone you trust and think highly of, does not value your friendship, nor think enough of you to speak against the torment. The shock of it is akin to being kicked in the stomach. And when trusted adults, such as teachers or even parents trivialize or minimize the victim’s suffering, the victim then feels that there’s nowhere or no one to turn to.
People who watch the bullying but stand by and let it happen have not the slightest idea of how it feels to be on the receiving end. They can never comprehend the pain this causes. It is a pain that most targets can see no end to. All too often, a victim results to ending his/her life to make it stop.
Suicide is one of the top causes of death among people ages 12 to 25 and the death of any young person is a tragic waste of precious life!
Some consider ridiculing another human being either funny, cool or both but to the person being ridiculed, it is anything but! Small taunts and digs can add up over time and have a cumulative result of a pain that can be devastating. The suffering of being bullied grows and each taunt, dig or cruel joke cuts a little deeper and a little deeper.
For far too long, the subject of bullying was a taboo issue to bring up in conversation or to even write about. Up until about ten years ago, most people refused to discuss it and targets often kept it hidden due to the shame that often comes with being a victim.
Why? Because in most cases, they knew that chances were that they would either be the ones blamed, accused of being the aggressor, or labeled as “weak”.
However, the reality is that it really does not matter how tough, strong, smart, or awesome a person is. Anyone can become a victim of bullying and bullies always attack in groups.
There is strength in numbers and people in large numbers can have a cumulative power which can be overwhelming even for the greatest, toughest, strongest, most intelligent of individuals. If enough people are against a person, that person is powerless, no matter how strong, smart, beautiful or easy going they may be.
It is only when we as parents and school officials open up, face the truth and admit that bullying does exist in our schools that we will be able to tackle the problem and make a safer learning environment for all students.
Within the last ten years, bullying has finally been considered a serious enough problem to make national headlines and is now at the forefront of today’s issues. I believe that this is long overdue.
Have a great day!