Bullying happens not only by our peers but also by the people we look up to for guidance and protection. Teachers can be bullies too. We look up to our teacher. We expect them to not only teach us but to protect and help mold us.
For me some of my teachers were monsters that ripped at me just like my own classmates. They judged me without getting to know me. They formed opinions about what they did not understand and placed a label on me.
My first experience with bullying started in first grade. In that grade we are taught the beginnings of reading. I couldn’t pick up on that. While my other classmates were learning to sound out and read simple words I was unable to from the sound of letters.
When our teacher gave us a simple in classwork to do I was confused. I stared at the paper, but couldn’t figure out what to do. My raised hand went unseen so I turned to a friend for help.My teacher’s voice growled through my ears like a hungry wolf. “Ms. Eddy, I will not tolerate cheating.”
I tried to explain to her that I needed help, but she wouldn’t listen. No excuses were tolerated. I was told to move my desk to the corner. I would sit there until I learned not to cheat. My heart raced and tears threaten to spill. I could feel all my classmates’ eyes on me. All I wanted was to be helped and suddenly I was labeled a cheater in front of my whole class.
I moved my desk to the corner and sat there with my head hung low. I was too afraid to look at my teacher let alone my classmates. Then suddenly I felt the need to go to the bathroom.
How could I ask my teacher permission after she embarrassed me in front of my classmates? Would she yell at me again? But I really had to go. I crossed my legs and rocked back and forth. If I raise my hand, would she ignore it?
I looked over to the bathroom and there was a line. I had to form a plan. I watched my teacher carefully. She was busy grading papers. I got up and raced to the line.
I stood there with my head down and my legs crossed. Maybe she wouldn’t see me, but the line wasn’t moving. All I had to do is keep my head down and hope that she would not look up.
My teacher’s voice filled the room again. “Aimee, you didn’t get permission. Back to your desk.” I tried to explain to her that I really had to pee, but her finger pointed me back to my desk. I tried really hard to hold myself, but I couldn’t. It left a puddle under my chair.
I laid my head on my desk hoping no one would see. My soul sank and my heart pounded. I was so ashamed. Tears drizzled down my cheek and I quickly wiped them away. I couldn’t let anyone see me cry. My teacher’s awful voice, which I grew to hate, sent chills down my back. “What are you a retard? You can’t read, and you wet yourself.”
I wanted to hide. I wanted to go home and cry in my mom’s arms. Instead I stood in front of my classmates and my friend with chills crawling down my back. Their eyes tore holes in my skin. Even though I couldn’t bring myself to look at them I knew inside they were laughing at me.
It was bad enough I was ashamed of wetting myself, but my teacher also called me a name. A name that soon followed me throughout my school years and a name I didn’t quite understand.
“Retard” soon became the definition of who I was. It ripped me apart and even made me question my own intelligence. It was at the end of first grade that I learned I had a learning disability. My disability only confirmed to my teachers and classmates that I was a “retard.”
I repeated first-grade and then was told I would be pushed through elementary.
That one incident started years of bullying not only from my teachers but also from my classmates. I was called dumb, retard, stupid, brainless, and many other names.
The name-calling nearly destroyed me. In high school I decided to prove them wrong. During my senior year I was inducted into the National Honors Society and went back to tutor a student for that first-grade teacher, who then was a fourth-grade teacher. I tutored the student in reading.
My first-grade experience was one of the most embarrassing and humiliating moments of my life, but I rose above it. I did spend years in therapy as an adult to overcome the abuse, but I rose above.
I am editing my memoir about how I was bullied and found acceptance at the family garage, I’m assistant director to the National Youth Internet Safety and Cyber-bullying Taskforce, I have stories published, and I have my own blog.
I have succeeded beyond what anyone had ever thought I could.
I rose above bullying. I overcame the abuse and became a stronger and better person. You too can rise above bullying. If a teacher is putting you down tell someone. No one deserves to be abused by their peers or teachers. You are a unique person who deserves happiness. You can rise up from the anguish and shine like a star.
Aimee Eddy is an insightful overcomer who advocates for other strugglers. After conquering mental illness, bullying, cancer, and more, she has the life experience to encourage others through her writing. She is in the editing stages of her memoir, Escape to the Garage about her bullying experiences. She writes a blog called, Finding the Light at http://www.aimeeeddygross.wordpress.com
You will never see a bully alone. Why? Because they could never handle being by themselves. Peer-abusers are cowards! Wimps! Wusses! They always attack in groups because they need their wingmen as a source from which to draw and re-enforce power.
Without their backup, bullies are just as powerless as you are. A bully is too afraid to attack you one on one because they fear that you would bury them where they fall.
Yet, victims are (mistakenly) branded as cowards, although they are the ones who come to school or work and face bullies…alone, no matter how viciously they get brutalized. Through all the name-calling, the taunts, the brutal beatings, the threats to their lives, targets manage to reach within themselves and push through another day.
To endure that every single day for several years and still find the resolve to soldier on? Now that takes courage! These people are the real warriors!
It takes bravery to be a target of relentless bullying and remain standing tall. To be a victim of daily and constant abuse and make it to the finish line of high school graduation or the end-of-week paycheck?
To stay in the race, while most bullies drop out of school or quit their jobs when the going gets tough? That’s not only brave, it’s heroic! To be your own hero? That takes bravery bullies will never have!
Now, will the real wimps in the workplace or classroom please stand?
I rest my case.
If you are a victim, know that your bullies could never be half the man/woman you are! You have more heart, more soul, and more strength than they ever will!
This is a great bullying story by Dr. Gail Beck. It’s about how she stood up to her bully and made a friend of him. Thank you, Dr. Beck for posting!
I had my first experience with bullying when I was 5 years old. Struggling with my high energy and tendency to experiment with dangerous household items, my mother was able to convince the school principal to let me start Grade 1 early. I was noticeably shorter than all the other kids around me and by […]
Females are hardwired to nurture, maintain, and enjoy relationships, whether they be friendships, family, or romantic relationships. With teenage girls, although family relationships are still meaningful, it is mostly about having close relationships with friends and romantic relationships with boys.
Therefore, if a young girl is not getting those wants and needs met through her peers at school or family at home, she may try a different route to meet her needs.
Sadly, some girls, particularly those who are targets of bullies, think that having a boyfriend makes up for the lack of friends and positive relationships at school. I say this because, unfortunately, I was one of those girls with the same mindset. I leaned on dating and romance for comfort.
At the time, being in a romantic relationship felt like such a welcome change, like a soft pillow to land on during a fall. It seemed to buffer my self-esteem from the attacks and take the sting out of the torment I endured.
Having boyfriends and suitors gave me a much-needed rebuttal to the daily degradation and humiliation brought on by classmates and a few sadistic teachers. It assured me that I was a great person and worthy of being loved. Male attention was a testament to my beauty and confirmation of my value as a young woman.
I looked to these guys to rescue me. They were my refuge from a cold, cruel world that hated me. Looking back now, I realize how needy I was back then. Around young guys who didn’t know me from school, I acted like a totally different person. I smiled, batted my eyelashes, and flirted my behind off to get their attention.
During school, because I had no friends, I turned to grown men of late teens and early twenties to get the acceptance I wasn’t getting at school, from people my age. Although I was a gorgeous girl to look upon, bullies and their followers had destroyed my once-good name and with it, any prospects for dating and love.
But by dating guys who were already out of high school, I was able to get around my trashed reputation and have opportunities for romance. These college-aged men had never met me, nor were they aware of the falsehoods and labels tied to my name.
I’m ashamed to say that, back then, I felt that my good looks and feminine wiles were the only things I had going for me and often used them to get what I wanted. I thought I had to use trickery and charm to attain what most others seemed to come by easily and effortlessly. And thirty years ago, underage dating was more accepted than it is today.
I want you to understand that when a person is beaten down for so long, they grow afraid to ask for or pursue their wants and needs the right way. As a result, manipulation and deceit become a way of survival. Realize that this is a person who doesn’t need judgment; they get enough of that already. What they need is help.
For bullied girls, partners are a proverbial band-aid to their feelings of hurt and inadequacy that come with the onslaught of bullies. Sexual partners and activity are a means to feel loved, wanted, sexy and beautiful. And it works, if only temporarily.
However, this is dangerous because it can easily lead to co-dependency. Relying on a dating partner for confirmation of worth is never good because the girl eventually comes to believe that if she is not half of a couple, she is nothing and this kind of thinking is wrong.
This mindset only sprouts desperation, and there is no dignity in being desperate for a partner. A girl should never see a romantic relationship as the end all be all. She should never look outside of herself for happiness. Men come and go, and if she continues to depend solely on them for her fulfillment, she will be in for a huge disappointment.
When a girl looks solely to a partner to validate her, it’s a sign that she doesn’t know her worth as a young lady. Potential dates can sense this, and are either repelled or see her as someone they can use and degrade.
She risks attracting a predatory partner of low integrity, one who will hang around as long as it takes to get what he wants from her before dumping her and leaving her devastated. Also, people of quality and integrity do not want a girlfriend they have to fix or rescue, and if they sniff out the slightest bit of neediness, they will disappear, and fast!
If you are a bullied girl, I can’t stress enough how important it is to fall in love with yourself and with life before you fall in love with anyone else. Love should come from within and never from the outside. A relationship doesn’t complete you, and just because a man has sex with you doesn’t mean that he loves you.
You are just as beautiful without a partner as you are with one. Just because you’re dateless doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. Single doesn’t mean defective.
In the meantime, do plenty of deep soul searching and make positive affirmations daily. Count all your good qualities, talents, and gifts. Continuously remind yourself that you have value, and soon, you’ll start to believe it with your whole heart.
Be patient. Know that the right person will come into your life when you least expect it, and you aren’t looking for them. And when they do, they’ll be well worth the wait.
It amazes me when I hear of targets of bullying, especially kids, being told to “toughen up.” Because anyone who endures long, miserable years of being bullied by everyone for everything and still finds it in them to get up and get on with it? These individuals are already tough.
I remember swallowing hard every morning at the bus stop. For any bullied kid, it takes a mountain of courage to step onto that school bus every day, knowing all too well what’s in store for them as soon as they get on and even worse once they grace the entrance to the school. For me, it was like walking into a mine field!
The daily ritual of being name-called, tripped in the hallways, having books knocked out of my hands, my long hair pulled, my head slammed into lockers, slapped, punched, kicked, shoved to the floor and a barrage of death threats…it was never-ending! But through it all, I never gave up!
I look at these kids today- the ones who endure the same as I years ago, and they have more heart and soul than all their classmates combined! They’re the strongest because they have no other choice but to be!
• The finding a reason to get up and go to school every day
• The holding on to your dignity with everything you have in you!
• The daily facing of your worst fear
• The countless insults and beatings
• The choking back of a river of tears that beg to pour forth
• The constant thievery of your pride and personhood
• The never-ending violations of your rights to safety and to learn in peace
To face all this, day by day and STILL find a reason to keep going??? That takes grit! It takes guts! Moreover, it takes balls of steel!
So, if you’ve never experienced what these kids endure, before you tell some poor, bullied soul to “toughen up,” ask yourself this question. Would you have the fortitude to hold up under that kind of pressure?
And if you’re a kid in school, who faces that kind of pressure every day, know that I understand, I hear you, and I have your back. Also know that you’re so much stronger and have more courage than you know! You have the heart of a lion!
This is a story from the perspective of a survivor of bullying and is very sad. My heart goes out to this guy!
Another piece of article that follows a long line after ’13 Reasons Why’ released on Netflix. This article details my experience with bullying, and how I coped up with it, or rather didn’t. I hope you relate and realize, that even if no one else, you have one person who is willing to listen to […]
“Hate on Me Hater” by Jill Scott
Wishing everyone safety and wellness!