Sometimes, and with many targets, the bullying they suffer is a vicious cycle. Now you might ask, “What do you mean? How can bullying become a cycle?”
It can become a cycle in many ways. However, there’s one cycle in particular I’d like to discuss. I’ll describe it like this:
1.The target is bullied relentlessly, and she holds up for a year or two, trying to be strong and brave, trying to remain calm and cool, and seemingly doing quite well at it. However, the bullies are relentless, so, they escalate the attacks, and the abuse becomes more frequent and intense. It is as if they are trying to bring her down.
2. Finally, so many of her peers have bullied her so much for so long that they finally succeed in driving her to the breaking point. The target either attempts suicide or has a breakdown of some sort. Maybe she breaks down crying and her sobs are so deep and so uncontrollable that she can’t stop crying. It’s as if a dam has burst and the raging torrent of tears continues to pour forth. She’s crying so hard her entire body shakes, quakes, and writhes.
3. The target is admitted to a treatment center for severe depression. She stays in the hospital for a couple of months and while she’s there, she is making progress. She’s able to open up about the bullying she suffers, and people listen there. In the treatment center, she is safe.
She makes friends out of the other kids there and of the staff as well. They all support her, and she begins to feel good about herself again. It seems like she’s beginning to heal and get better.
A couple of months go by and for the first time in the two months she’s been in the hospital and away from the bullying environment at her school, she feels like herself again. She feels re-empowered.
4. She’s finally released from the hospital. But she has to go back to school and she has no choice but to go back to the very environment and to the people who made her sick in the first place.
5. As soon as the target goes back to school, although the others at school can’t prove where she’s been, they have it figured. Now there’s the mental health stigma hanging over her and the bullies instantly use it against her and only pick up where they left off. They begin mobbing her again and even a few teachers and the principal look down on her, just like before.
6. The principal warns her aloud, in the crowded hall, as she’s changing classes, “I’m going to be watching you closely.” He tells her. And he tells her this in front of the other students where they can overhear.
7. The target does well and is well-behaved. However, the principal, a few teachers, and the student body, view her with even more suspicion. Instead of acknowledging and encouraging her success, the principal and teachers continuing let her know that she’s on their radar.
8. Although the two months away in the treatment center was intended to help her get well and regain her confidence, self-esteem, and her life and returning to school was meant to be a chance to start over, the target is branded a troublemaker or a mental case by the school, some of the teachers and the principal, knowingly or unknowingly, are now in the process of undoing all the progress this girl has made.
What they should do is pull her aside and tell her in private that they are watching her, but that they admire her for getting help and trying to turn her life around.
However, their justification for their treatment of her is that it’s to protect the other students who fit in to what’s “normal” and who obey the rules. This justification is often used to defend the emotional abuse they inflict on the target and single her out for humiliation.
This is when the school is willingly participating in destroying a human being. The girl’s “loony bin trip” now follows her around like a stalking wildcat. School officials either don’t realize or don’t care about the impact their attitudes and prejudices have on young students.
Understand that this is the cycle. Bullies break the target down, the target goes somewhere and gets help, the target gets better and gets released, the target then must go back to the very place and to the same people that make them sick. They bully the target again… the cycle continues, again and again.
In cases like this, targets must be allowed to either transfer to a new school or home school, otherwise, the cycle only continues.