Greetings, everyone. Many people are under the misguided impression that bullying stops once we toss our graduation caps high into the air and began navigating the “real world”.
Not so. Sadly, most bullies do not stop bullying others once they are out of school. They grow to be bigger bullies, yet less obvious. I’ll use an experience I had about two years post high school as an example:
After having moved about fifty miles away, I would often drive into town, on the weekends to visit family, whom still resided there. I was eight months pregnant with my second child and my toddler, who had just turned two earlier that month, would always accompany me. Because my due date was drawing near, this would be the last trip I would make before the baby came. I was already taking a huge risk as it was, with delivery being only a few weeks away. I had watched Rescue 911 the night before and remembered the episode in which a woman had gone into full-blown labor while driving and ended up delivering her baby in the car with the aid of a police officer. How I prayed that wouldn’t be ME!
I visited my grandmother. During the visit, Grandma and I decided to have a good dinner but needed a few ingredients. So, I took my purse and my two-year-old son and drove to the grocery store.
Once we arrived at the supermarket, I sat my son in the child seat in the shopping cart and made my way down each aisle, in search of the items we needed for our meal and marking them off on my shopping list. Then I turned a corner and almost ran into whom were three girls whom had tormented me during school…the last three people I ever wanted to see.
They stopped dead, looking at me as their eyes narrowed into tiny slits, revealing very hostile facial expressions. As they all leered at me, I noticed fist clinching and feet wide apart. Their faces seemed frozen and their eyes dropped and seemed to settle on my bulging abdomen. Being heavily pregnant, the last thing I wanted was drama.
“What are YOU doing back here?” One of the women asked hatefully.
“…and having a baby so soon after your first?” The second she-bully asked, raising her voice, “Boy you must love being pregnant!”
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t shocked… and intimidated because I didn’t know what they were going to do next. Because my son was hearing every word, I turned around and walked the other direction, hearing them shout behind me, “Yeah, that’s what we THOUGHT, you pregnant SLUT! You’ll probably have six kids, divorces and living on FOOD STAMPS before it’s over! That’s all you’re good for! And that kid won’t ever amount to anything either!”
Bewildered was what I was. Weren’t we supposed to be adults? Weren’t we supposed to be out of high school? I didn’t dignify any of it with a response. I just went to the checkout line to pay for my groceries.
Once I arrived at my car, I sat my son in his safety seat, then loaded the groceries while noticing the same three women walking right past, making it a point to get too close.
“I’ll bet you’re a lousy mother! People like you shouldn’t be allowed to even HAVE children!” were their last words.
Now this was a unique case. Most adult bullies are not that obvious. However, there are a few who are very overt, just like the women in the grocery store and overt bullies are only open with their assaults because they have absolutely zero fear of consequences.
If you have an adult bully on your tail, know that they basically use the same tactics as high school bullies, they are just better at going undetected than teenage bullies. Know that you still must hold on to the belief that you are better than what they tell you. Know that the issue and the guilt is always on their (the bullies’)shoulders, not yours. And know that in most cases, people of this caliber never get far. I say this because the three women who bullied me that day in the parking lot ended up in very bad situations. One has since passed away and the other two are horribly addicted to drugs…situations that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, not even my worst enemy.
There will always be people who will unjustly hate you. That’s life. But you don’t have to let their hatred define who you are or affect your life. You are still awesome in your own right and you are so worth fighting for!