The Far-Reaching Consequences of School Bullying and Mobbing

How many lives could’ve been saved if we’d spoken up sooner?

For years, everyone saw bullies picking on and ganging up on targets- they saw it on the playground, the hallways, the gym, the locker room, the bathrooms, the classrooms, and on the school bus and the target was driven to act out in violence.

No one cared about any of the bullying until targets started taking matters into their own hands- more appropriately, until they started bringing guns to school and blowing their bullies away, committing suicide, or both.

It’s a shame that people had to die before we finally began to take bullying seriously. Being treated like an object for too long, instead of a living, breathing, and feeling human being can make one enraged enough to want to kill or desperate enough to escape the torment by any means (suicide).

Thankfully, not all who suffer repeated and patterned bullying and mobbing commit homicide or suicide. Most targets suffer in silence. They live depressed, isolated, bewildered, and confused because they’ve had their self-confidence stripped away. In that, they’re prevented from realizing their full potential and capabilities.

Many children and teens are terrified of getting on the school bus and many more stay silent for fear of retribution. Young targets endure torment others cannot possibly comprehend and much of the wounds and bruises are unseen. Just because someone isn’t bludgeoned, bruised, and bloodied on the outside doesn’t mean they aren’t they aren’t so inside. Physical wounds can be seen but wounds to the soul can’t.

Bullying and mobbing leave permanent scars. Even after time has gone by, the memories are still fresh. In fact, they’re so deeply entrenched that even decades later, targets can still remember the names of those who instigated the mobbing, those who joined in and partook in it, those who encouraged it, and those who pretended to be their friends but didn’t have their back and refused to help them.

As a survivor of school bullying and mobbing myself, I can tell you that I remember the names of every single one of my classmates who fell in the above categories, one of whom I thought was a close friend. I only recently stopped talking to this woman and was a fool not to have kicked her sorry butt to the curb years ago.

Every survivor I’ve ever spoken too remembers these things specifically.

Understand that when a child or teen is bullied and mobbed by virtually everyone, minor occurrences of ridicule, name-calling, and shunning may occur. However, things such as these build up over time.

What ends up breaking and killing the target’s spirit and self-image is the accumulation of so many incidences of so many classmates brutally bullying her and the fact that the abuse comes from everyone and from every direction.

But I guarantee that if you were to tell each of the target’s classmates what they were doing and tell them of the damage they had done to that targeted child, they would either deny it or respond with, “But all I did was…!”

Again, these “little attacks” come from many, many directions and over a long period of time against the same person- this is one of the biggest hallmarks of mobbing.

I’ve asked other survivors of school bullying and mobbing why they think their classmates mobbed them and not one of them knows why. Each one of these people, even decades later, wonder what they did to encourage their schoolmates to gang up on them and torment them the way that they did.

I always tell them that they did nothing to deserve that kind of treatment and that they should never blame themselves for their classmates’ atrocious behavior.

During my years of research on bullying and mobbing, I’ve learned that mobbing is always caused by a trivial conflict that’s not even personal but somehow, becomes personal later. The origins of mobbing can be anything- a potential target is a new student at the school, or the potential target says something that isn’t necessarily bad but rubs the wrong kids the wrong way.

Maybe the potential target is different, or maybe the child is highly intelligent to the point of overshadowing members of the top clique. It could be that the potential target brags about something and ticks off the rest of the class, or wears clothes that are out of fashion and the bullies use it as an excuse to torment the kid.

And long after the initial cause of the bullying is over and forgotten, the bullying continues.

Understand that if you were to ask bullies why they mobbed and tormented a certain individual, they either wouldn’t know the reason, or they would give an answer that doesn’t make a lick of sense.

Therefore, targets and survivors alike must realize that the mobbing and bullying they presently struggle with or endured in the past was never about anything they said or did. It was never about them. It was always about their bullies’ own mental health issues. It was about the bullies’ senses of self-entitlement, their insecurities, feelings of self-loathing, and intense jealousy.

And once they realize these things, their self-esteem won’t take such a big hit.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Feeding Frenzy

About 200 beasts hungrily stood in line to get their pound of flesh.
The first time they saw me they envisioned meat so succulent and fresh.

As they rooted and feasted on my frail body they locked their jaws so rough.
The bloody, meaty pieces were so addictive they couldn’t get enough.

With bottomless pits, they came back for more, more, and more still.
No matter how much flesh they took, they could never get their fill.

As they looked at me from their desks with fire and brimstine in their eyes.
They salivated, smacking their lips and licking their chops and they did rise.

To the occasion.
In anticipation.

Their eyes narrowed into little slits as they bore their stained-pink teeth at me.
But although they’d sink them deeper into my jugular, my death wasn’t to be.

They smelled the fear and lusted after my blood as they anticipated.
This wolf pack stayed ravenous and were never close to satiated.

The brutal kill and resulting feast they desired but could never quite attain.
Because they could never be satisfied with even the maximum amount of pain.

These vampires, they desired to suck the lifeblood from my body until there was no more left.
Only of my life-giving blood, they could never quite leave me bereft.

So they couldn’t resist nor get enough of it’s sweet but metallic taste.
They couldn’t rip and tear severely enough, so their energy they’d only waste.

They couldn’t get enough of the deliciousness of the raw meat of power.
So in their discontent they’d sit and in bitterness they would glower.

While grinding their boot heels into the back of my neck.
In their evil favor, they had to work feverishly to stack the deck.

But surprise, I survived and my body’s gaping wounds did close and heal.
My precious life’s blood those vampires could never completely steal.

I finally escaped my evil predators and began to grow stronger.
Under their dirty, nasty, grubby paws I remained trapped no longer.

The near-fatal, bleeding wounds they inflicted soon turned to scars.
But you see? The scars bullies inflict can help you reach the stars.

A Dangerous Precedent: When Teachers Label Targets “Difficult” or “Trouble”

Mobbing at work concept, sketch of boss kicking his employee with red heels from behind on chalkboard

Many teachers and school staff often stick targets of mobbing and bullying with labels such as, “trouble,” “difficult,” or “problem child.” This sets the targeted child up to be discriminated against by their school and creates a very hostile and dangerous environment when adults are prejudiced against the poor, confused, and, in most cases, helpless kid.

In these types of situations, the target is only bullied worse because he/she isn’t afforded the same due process that their classmates and other kids get. As a result, the school staff ends up sticking up for the bullies and supporting, even encouraging them to bully that child.

We must realize that targets may act out due to the prolonged bullying they suffer and resulting stress because, let’s face it, no one can withstand the intense pressure of bullying and mobbing for long.

When a target is bullied and mobbed by their classmates, they are coerced and forced to submit to horrendous and downright grotesque abuse that is unfathomable to most adults. In other words, the message they receive from others is just to “shut up and take it.”

In fact, when you’re a target of school bullying and mobbing, your world becomes quite Kafkaesque and even you have a hard time believing what you’re experiencing. So, is it any wonder that no one else can believe it either?The questions, “What the hell?” and “Is this really happening?” come to mind and you feel as if you’ve stepped into the twilight zone.

This is because being mobbed is the feeling of being crushed by nonsensical, bizarre, and blind abuse and you’re powerless to understand or control what is happening.

The target suffers mistreatment, isolation, exclusion, and yes- even brutal physical beatings. And he’ll be too afraid to plead for help because he knows that not only will school staff ignore his cries, but his bullies will take retribution on him for daring to open his mouth.

Eventually the target snaps and acts inappropriately due to long-lasting and extreme stress. The bullying and abuse she suffers are ignored but the target’s reactions to it won’t be ignored. That’s when the target becomes re-victimized by the very adults, school, and system which is supposed to protect her.

Here’s an example:

A girl is bullied by everyone in her class. The teacher either doesn’t see it, thinks the girl deserves it, or thinks that bullying is only a right of passage that builds character. During one occasion, the targeted girl gets fed up with being mistreated. She turns around and punches the girl sitting behind her who pulled her hair.

Now the teacher, very conveniently, doesn’t see the other girl pull the target’s hair but she does see the target turn around and punch her in the nose. Therefore, the teacher punishes the target without even considering what the other girl did to the target to prompt her to punch her.

The message the teacher sends is crystal clear: The target has no recourse, and the bully now has carte blanche to continue bullying her in the future. So, this same scenario repeats itself a few times, and, the next thing you know, the target gets a bad name with the school staff, and they become very suspicious of her.

The principal catches the target in the hall between classes and tells her, aloud, in front of the other students, that he is watching her. The other kids, especially the bullies, overhear the principal and take it as a green light to continue their abuse because they know they won’t be held accountable. After all, if the target reports the bullying, who’s going to believe the “problem child?”

So, the school staff continue to harangue the target, making her situation much worse than what it needs to be. And their justification for their treatment of her is to protect the other students who fit into what is “normal” and who obey the rules. Therefore, they use that to defend their emotional abuse of the target and their singling her out for humiliation in front of God and everyone.

Understand that, when this occurs, the school is willingly participating in destroying another human being.

Therefore, it’s imperative that targeted students and teens hold on to their sense of self, their pride, and their confidence. They must hold on to those treasures with everything they have.

teacher bully

It’s also crucial that parents and grandparents teach them how- they must teach these children to believe in themselves even when it seems that no one else believes in them. They must teach them to know their worth even when others don’t.

They must teach them to love and respect themselves even as others hate and disrespect them because it is during the most difficult times that they’re need these virtues.

With knowledge comes power!

When A Former Bully from School Asked Me Out

stop bullying

Today, I would have just told him “No” and let that be the end of it. The year was 1997 and I was 26 years old and seven years post high school when I ran into a guy who had harassed me mercilessly during high school. During that time I was lead singer of a band and we were doing a show at a nightclub in Memphis. It was during a fifteen-minute break between sets that I ran into him and I’ll have to admit, he was very charming, displaying the very charm which had allowed him to go undetected and escape accountability all those years ago.

I was cordial to him as I’d been to everyone who had come to watch the band. However, when he asked me out, instead of feeling honored, I felt quite insulted. My first thoughts were:

“You’ve got some nerve, buddy!”

“Do you not remember all the times during school you helped make me feel completely worthless?”

Nope refuse

“Do you not remember all the horrible names you called me? All the taunts? The jokes?”

“What make’s you think that I’d be even REMOTELY interested?”

Honestly, I would’ve had to be either stupid or desperate to go on a date with the likes of him and I believed his reasoning for it was one of either three things:

1. It was much safer for him to take me out now that we were out of school and he no longer had to face the old high school clique on a daily basis.

2. He thought I was desperate.

3. He thought I was easy.

This only made me angrier. Then I smiled and said, “Let’s talk about it after the show.”

After the show ended, we talked and I agreed to go on a date with him the following weekend. We agreed to meet at a restaurant in a neighboring town. Only I never showed up.

thumbing nose

When he called me the next day and wanted to know why I had stood him up, informing me that he’d waited for over an hour, my response was,

“You don’t know? You don’t remember all the times you made me feel so bad about myself during school? You don’t remember all the horrible names you called me? You don’t remember all the times you joined everyone else in humiliating me during school? You knew I was hurting and you didn’t give a damn! You knew I was dying inside and you didn’t care! Well, how does it feel, buster?” I shouted.

He apologized profusely, over and over again. But at that time, I just wasn’t ready to forgive him.

It was a rotten thing to do to someone, I know. However, at that time, I wasn’t as mature as I am now and I just had to make a point.

It took a while but things worked out in the end. I eventually forgave him and we became close friends.