I Can’t Find The Words of Comfort for Anyone Affected by Bullycide

positive peace candle

Since I’ve been advocating for the bullied, I’ve met and talked to so many families- parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, spouses, children, cousins and friends who have lost a loved one to suicide. I’ve read, heard about, and listened to their heartbreaking stories. I’ve watched them cry, and I’ve often struggled to find the words to tell them how my heart breaks for them. What are the right words to say to someone who has suffered so significant a loss?

I’ve listened to stories from grieving parents who have lost a child to bullying and suicide. While they told me the story of the events which led up to their child’s death, I could hear the anguish in their voices. I could sense the many questions which continue to flood their minds that may never be answered! I could feel the injustice of it all, and let me tell you; it shook me to my core!

I can’t help but feel a wide range of overwhelming emotions- heartbreak and empathy for the surviving parents and family, intense anger toward the bullies who pushed that child over the edge and disgust at the school and school district, who did nothing to help, or worse, only intensified the child’s suffering. I feel nothing but rage and contempt for a system that failed this young person and their family and at the people in power who were in a position to help the poor young man or lady but didn’t!

Although I have lost a spouse to suicide and know what it is to experience the loss from it, I realize this: The loss of a spouse is terrible and heart-wrenching. Yes. But it isn’t quite the same as losing a child.

Child abuse with the eye of a young boy or girl with a single tear crying due to the fear of violence or depression caused by hunger and poverty and being afraid of bullying at school.

I try to put myself in the parent’s shoes, but it’s unbearable. I cannot imagine what a parent goes through. The unanswered questions, having dreams of their child’s future, disappear! Not long ago, I looked into the eyes of one grieving mother, and I wanted to cry but managed not to. I wanted to be strong for her because she needed me to be!

My oldest son went through a period of bullying, so I know this could just as easily have been him years ago. And I honestly don’t know if I could have held up as well as this mother has!

Try to imagine having that baby you once carried for nine months- the baby you felt move and kick inside your belly- ripped from your life forever! Imagine losing that precious, tiny creature, you once held for the first time in the hospital, whose sweet little face you gazed lovingly on, and were unable to take your eyes off of!

FILE – In this Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 file photo, pallbearers wearing anti-bullying T-shirts carry the casket of Rebecca Sedwick,12, to a waiting hearse as they exit the Whidden-McLean Funeral Home in Bartow, Fla. One of two teenage girls charged with stalking Rebecca Sedwick, a Florida classmate who complained of being bullied before her suicide no longer faces any criminal counts, her attorney said Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco, File)

I cannot fathom the despair of having to bury the child I was sure would someday bury me! Understand that this goes against the natural order of things! I cannot imagine the total shock and disbelief- that feeling of being kicked in the gut that goes with such a loss! And I struggle to find the words to comfort any parent who has lost a child to bullycide!

What are the right words? How do you communicate to a grieving family member how much you hurt with them and how much you long to ease their suffering and wish you could? And how you wish that there was some way- SOME way you could bring that loved one back to them.

If you have a heart as I do, you want to reach out and hug that person! You want to hold them. You want to console them. You want to take away their pain. But anything short of doing the impossible, you know, will never be enough to ease their suffering.

Sympathy card with burning candle and rose on open book

Like me, you try to imagine how you’d feel if it were your child, but you can’t. You can’t bear the mere thought crossing your mind. But these families have lived it, and they continue to live it every day. Understand that this is a massive loss that this mother, this father, this sibling, this grandparent will carry for the rest of their lives!

Nothing will ever be the same for them again. Realize that this is a new normal (if that’s what you want to call it) that they will never be able to adjust to. Every day from here on will be another day of struggle- another day of fighting to keep it together- another day to act like you’re okay because you’re afraid of overwhelming the people around you. How long can these broken parents keep up the charade?

Again, words can never say how my heart breaks for them. All I can do is be there for them and listen as I struggle to find the words of support and compassion they so need to hear.

Maybe the reason I struggle for the right thing to say is that there are no words! There are no words that could ever quell the grief of a loss so heavy and so devastating! No words can ever provide complete consolation or comfort. And no words can ever bring justice to the loved ones left behind.

To all, who have lost a family member- a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a grandparent, especially a child, to suicide or bullycide, know that I’m here for you. It doesn’t matter if we know each other or are total strangers. And even though I struggle to find the words to tell you, rest assured that I care. My heart cries with you, and I have the utmost love, sympathy, and compassion for you!

You are always in my thoughts and prayers!

We Are What We Think

You’ve heard the quote, “You are what you eat.” So, it goes with your thought processes. You are also what you think.

Targets of bullying can start off as confident and outgoing people. But after years of bullying and abuse, they become insecure, afraid, and withdrawn. Sometimes, they can turn against themselves. They began to think that they aren’t worthy of anything good in life. They stop believing in their own good qualities. They no longer think they’ll ever be loved, ever be accepted, or ever be successful and that nothing will ever go right for them.

Law of Attraction

Then, sure enough, things begin to happen that matches their thoughts and feelings. These poor people began to fall out with friends and family, they have back-to-back bad breaks. They finally develop feelings of self-loathing and end up alone, rejected, unsuccessful, and unlucky.

Here’s how it works:

You must realize that your thought patterns determine your outlook (attitude).

Your outlook determines your decisions and behavior.

Your decisions and behavior determine your outcomes.

Your outcomes determine your life and the events that happen in it.

All this then re-enforces your outlook or attitude.

This becomes a cycle and cycles always repeat themselves.

Anytime you think a thought, you send a message into the universe and, sooner or later, you get a response that matches, and the response always returns as an event, situation, or circumstance. And once it becomes a vicious cycle in your life, it’s damn hard to break that cycle.

Know that this cycle can be broken, but it takes a lot of time, patience, and hard work. I can tell you from experience that the changes won’t happen overnight, and the reason is that, once a pattern is set, unseen forces (like your subconscious mind, for instance) will, at first, fight against any change you try to make. You could say that these unseen forces (your subconscious) have become comfortable with the way things are and, just as most people hate change, so do the higher powers at work.

But know that if you keep at it, your breakthrough will present itself eventually. It has to after a while because of your refusal to give up.

Therefore, if you’re a target of bullying, you must be very careful that you don’t allow your bullies and the lies and toxic messages they send to influence the way you think of yourself. You must fight like the devil to hold on to your self-belief. Your life and its trajectory depend on it!

If you hold on to your positive attitude and sense of self from the very beginning, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and hard work in the future. Most of all, you’ll save yourself from a lot of future pain and misery.

When People Lump You into A Category Based on The Bad Behavior of Someone Close to You

I hear these stories all the time from people who have a ne’er do well brother, an uncle who’s the town drunk, or a sister who’s notorious for being promiscuous. But whether your dad did a stint in prison, or your mom is perceived by others to be the town nut-job, know that these are things you have no control over and therefore, are not your responsibility. You aren’t defined by the lousy choices or unfortunate circumstances of a few relatives.

Yes, I know that the judgement people heap on top of you hurts and hurts terribly, but I want you to know that you’re an innocent person in all of it. You’re an individual and you shouldn’t feel ashamed of anything because you’ve done nothing wrong. Realize that humans have a bad habit of lumping people into categories, whether justly or unjustly. And they’re wrong for painting you with the same brush based on bad choices a few of your family members made.

People also do this with different races and ethnic groups as well. It seems that many automatically think that all Blacks are thugs, all Whites are racist, all Native Americans are savages, all Hispanics are illegal aliens and so forth.

Yes, I’ve heard all the above statements throughout high school, in a few workplaces, even in the news media and it’s all garbage! We should all know that none of it is true. There are some of the greatest, loving, and most tenderhearted people in every race and there are many who don’t live up to the ignorant stereotypes that society likes to hoist upon them.

Therefore, I want you to know that anyone who puts you in a category with a few evil bad apples, or people who’ve simply made bad choices, doesn’t know the individual you. They do not know your heart nor your inner reality. And they don’t know what you think and feel.

Nobody can possibly know these things but you and God. And if they claim they do know, they’re only playing God by claiming to know the unknowable. Realize that when people perceive you to be someone you aren’t, their thoughts and opinions aren’t worthy of even being considered and you shouldn’t place any value to them.

In fact, you should kick these people to the curb because they aren’t worth your time nor energy. You deserve people in your life who get you- who love you for you and the good you bring to this world.

So, know that you deserve better and that you are not the labels others stick to you.

What Happens When the Teacher is the Target?

bullying in class room school between friends young female standing crying sadness pressure by classmates

I’ve written about the few teachers who bully students. But what about the teachers- good teachers, the best and the brightest, who get bullied?

Teaching is not only a thankless but also dangerous job in times like these. In my opinion, teachers should get hazard pay, maybe even combat pay! With the school climate what it is today, teachers risk being harmed, maimed, also murdered, and many don’t make it to retirement.

I’ve seen many teachers quit and opt for second careers because of the many issues in schools and communities. I can’t say I blame them. Teachers get paid a pittance for what they must put up with and they don’t get the support from parents, principals, and higher school officials they did decades ago.

And teacher’s unions are a complete joke! They don’t care about the kids much less the teachers. In my opinion, teacher’s unions are a big money racket and political activist group! I wouldn’t be a teacher if someone offered me triple the salary!

blame victim

Along with crappy pay, teachers are held responsible for the poor performance and failing grades of their students. And let’s be real here. Many kids are lazy, and many parents are too busy being the child’s BFF rather than being a parent and making their children hit the books. So why is this the teacher’s fault?

Teachers also have a truckload of homework themselves, often having to grade test papers and assignments at home on their own time. And if parents can’t buy the necessary school supplies for their children to bring to class, teachers end up having to dig into their own pockets to provide for these kids. Couple that with the shoddy pay, and these teachers get a pretty raw deal.

Child abuse with the eye of a young boy or girl with a single tear crying due to the fear of violence or depression caused by hunger and poverty and being afraid of bullying at school.

Many teachers also get bullied, not only by their fellow teachers and staff but by students and their parents as well. And when it’s the child who bullies the teacher, how’s that teacher supposed to handle it effectively if he/she doesn’t have support from the principal, the school district, and parents?

A lot of kids are disrespectful and unruly these days. Many of today’s parents have an overinflated sense of their own entitlement, so it makes sense that they would raise kids with the same pathetic attitude.

Lots of times, the parents of these kids will overlook the behavior at school and, yes- even encourage it because they feel that their child is “entitled” and that the teacher transgressed against their kid by disciplining him.

Also, schools and their districts often encourage teachers to give the kid a passing grade even if the student doesn’t earn it, all in an attempt to keep the school’s performance ratings up and the government off their backs. If the teacher happens to be an honest person and doesn’t comply, she’s fired.

I’ve both heard and read of instances when the teacher disciplined a student for disruptive behavior. The teacher only made the child leave the classroom and stand in the hall or sent the kid to the principal’s office, and an angry and hostile parent confronted him/her later.

And when a student failed a test, the teacher gave the kid a bad grade, only to have an enraged parent storm into their classroom the next day, demanding to know why. Some parents go so far as to threaten physical harm!

Understand that kids aren’t stupid, especially kids who bully. These kids are often socially intelligent beyond their years, and they pick up on these things- things that other kids their age often miss. These children know that these days, teachers can’t do much about their bad behavior, and they take full advantage of it. It’s just what kids do.

Pushing boundaries to see what you can get away with is only a part of being a kid. Kids do either what their parents allow or aren’t aware of, and they imitate what they see at home and what they see peers do. And teachers don’t get near the support they should. Is it any wonder there’s a mass shortage of teachers in this country?

It takes a special kind of person to be a teacher in today’s world. If you’re one of those brave, caring, and awesome people, know you have my utmost respect.

Know that the hard work and sacrifices you make haven’t gone unnoticed. You are one in a million and though you may not know it, I and so many others salute you!

When Your Give-A-Dam Breaks

If you are a target of bullying, there are times when you get fed up with people’s crap. Then…BOOM! You snap on some creep who pushed you over your limit. Believe me, I understand and if this has happened with you, I cannot fault you for it. I empathize with you wholeheartedly.

It’s not that you want to fight. In fact, you hate fighting- intensely. However, if you’re a 5’4”, 120 lb. teenage girl with a target on her back, what do you do? Stand there and let them jump you?

Like most targets, I too hated to fight but there were times I didn’t have a choice. It was either fight or be beaten within an inch of my life. Not only the girls would try to jump me, but the guys would too and most of those redneck brutes had no qualms nor reservations about beating up on a female, even one who was little. Some of the bullies at Oakley High threatened with a knife or a box-cutter and it’s amazing I got out of there alive.

But that’s what bullying does to people if they don’t have the proper psychological tools, confidence, or know-how to deal with it. It makes them paranoid, makes them desperate! Puts them in survival mode! In other (and more scientific) words, it awakens their primal instincts. It rewires their brains in preparation for a hostile environment.

A target of bullying must live in constant vigil and adrenaline. They must always be on alert- they must grow eyes in the back of their heads and be prepared for danger every time they turn a corner. That gets both frustrating and exhausting after so long.

I cannot count the times in school I showed my booty to people after having taken all I could take. And there were times I didn’t just let off a little stream, I blew a gasket!

The longer you are bullied, the more it builds- the sense of injustice, the sadness, the rage! It all piles up! We are all human and no one can hold that crap inside forever it doesn’t matter how resilient they are. It’s humanly impossible.

You’re like a bottle of soda that’s been shaken up until it finally spews!

Like a dormant volcano that finally awakens, you erupt when that last (and unfortunate) creep sticks as much as a toe over your boundaries. Some people, you scare half to death, others, you piss off even more and make twice as determined to get you, and few see your tirade as personal entertainment.

I did that a few times back when I was being bullied and abused at school.

There were times I’d yell, curse the bullies out, throw stuff, and slam doors. I would tell people to get the eff away from me and not to come back around. I admit it. I showed the worst sides of myself on a few occasions.

I remember grabbing one girl by the hair and beating the living snot out of her in the library after she’d spent the last month getting in my face and taunting during the last class of the day.

Another bully received the business end of a fist after attempting to shove me down a flight of stairs. I remember running back up the stairs, whacking her upside the head with my purse and a textbook, then dragging her down the stairs. She seemed to hit and bounce off every step going down.

Once I got her to the bottom, I beat and kicked her until a teacher and three other students pried me off her. These were only two of the many incidents that occurred during those years.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not something I’m proud of. Each time, I remember feeling terrible about it after it was over, and everything had cooled off. No decent person wants to lose their cool and act a fool, but when you been pushed and pushed, there is an eventual breaking point.

Yes, I got into fist fights. I won some fights but lost a few too.

Sadly, it all seemed to be a cycle. After getting bullied and bullied for several months, I’d snap. Some of the tiredness bled over into my home life. Sadly, when bullies have worn you down, you’re too exhausted to even be there for the people you love when they have problems too. You’re fresh out of patience and energy, and yes, even love.

You can’t pour from an empty cup and as a result, you just don’t give a crap- about anything or anybody. All you want is to be left alone.

I look back now and realize that I didn’t handle the bullying the right way. Understand that if you don’t set healthy boundaries, this is what can happen.

Today, I’m a much calmer and happier person than I used to be. Why? Because I’m more assertive and I set boundaries. If I say no or ask someone to please stop doing something when they violate my boundaries, and if they insist on continuing the behavior, I either tell them to leave right then, or I walk away after telling the person exactly what I think of them. I then cut them out of my life.

I have learned that, although you cannot control another person’s behavior, you do have control over your own and whether to continue having them in your life. And if you refuse to associate with a person, they no longer have easy access to you. Therefore, it’s not nearly as easy for them to get to you and harm you.

So, never allow people to bully you and get out of control with their abuse. Speak out when people violate your boundaries. It’s the only way to keep the pressure from building and reaching a boiling point.

If this has been your experience, feel free to comment.

What Happens When You Call a Bully’s Bluff

As we all know, bullies are convincing liars. But what happens when they finally get called out on their lies and evil deeds. Let’s use scenarios to find out.

For example, you’re a target of bullying. You find out that the one friend you thought you could trust has been spreading your deepest secrets and spreading lies behind your back while only pretending to be your best buddy (This can apply to both school and workplace environments). When you confront her, here are her possible reactions.

1. She will deny it or, at the least, try to avoid the subject. How you’ll know she’s dishonest? She will change the subject by talking about a topic irrelevant to the issue while appearing to be busy doing a task. Girls are known for this.

2. She will become irate and go on a tirade. She may even yell and curse at you. She may turn it back on you and accuse you of being paranoid, crazy, a crybaby, etc. But understand that she only looks and sounds desperate when she does this. Know that this is just another dead giveaway, and most bullies get highly defensive when they’re afraid they’re busted.

Understand that most bullies will get loud. They scream, yell, and pound their fists, curse, and swear when they fear exposure. However, don’t let this scare you because the dramatics and theatrics they display only mean that the bullies are desperate!

3. She will lay guilt trips on you.

“Well, if you were my friend, you wouldn’t believe…”

“If you were a true friend to me, you wouldn’t even question my loyalty.”

Don’t buy that garbage. The person is just trying to make you feel guilty or trying to intimidate you into silence. If your so-called friend was the only person you told any secrets to or knows about your life outside of the school, workplace, or organization, it’s a safe bet they’re guilty. And if enough people tell you that she is saying things behind your back, especially people you’ve never met or had any dealings with or people who aren’t a threat to you, she’s guilty!

Example 2: You have a bully on your back, and you’ve finally had enough. You call him/her out on his/her bad behavior and begin speaking out about the abuse she dishes out.

1. She will escalate the harassment to either punish you or intimidate you and shut you down. Understand that the bully is afraid of being exposed, facing accountability, and losing face and will stop at nothing to silence you.

2. He will justify himself with full conviction.

“If you didn’t always make trouble, I wouldn’t have had to hurt you!”

“If you weren’t so stupid, I wouldn’t give you such a hard time!”

“You made me do it because you always do this when you should do that!”

“If you would just do this, I wouldn’t have to do that!”

“You won’t shut up, so you deserve it!”

Again, don’t believe a word of it! Continue to report the harassment. You must protect yourself by speaking just as loud and with just as much conviction as the bully. Make plenty of noise because the wheel that squeaks loudest gets the grease!

3. She will slander you to everyone who will listen to her and try to turn others against you. Again, understand that this bully is afraid of being exposed. So she spreads rumors and lies to discredit you by distracting others from her appalling and embarrassing behavior by making you look like the guilty party.

If the bully can make you look bad and turn everyone else against you, she reaps several benefits.

a. She can intimidate you into silence and avoid any future risks of exposure.

b. She can discredit you, make herself look like the victim, and, therefore, gain attention and sympathy from other people.

c. She can successfully cut you off from any support you might otherwise receive.

d. She gets the green light to bully you again later and with impunity.

e. She gets to move up the social ladder and win more friends and allies.

f. She gets the satisfaction of maintaining power, domination, and control over another person.

As goes the old political quote from World War II, “Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”

People pointing a woman hidden behind a computer

Understand that any smear campaign is designed to protect the guilty bullies from being exposed and shift blame onto innocent victims. It’s a tactic used since the beginning of time!

So, don’t shut up no matter what! Continue to call out the bullies’ behavior! And if they react like any of the above, tell them like it is.

Say this:

“The tirade isn’t going to work anymore” or “Go ahead and lie all you want. Everybody knows this is only retaliation because I had the gall to expose your deplorable behavior! Right,(the bully’s name)? Is that what this is, (Bully’s name)?”

Be sure to say the bully’s name at the end of the above questions because that really shakes a bully when you put his/her name on it!

If the bully says, “No!” Tell her in a fast and short tone, “Oh, yes it is, and you know it, (Bully’s name)!”

Counter. Everything. She. Comes. Back with!