A Few Former Bullies Succumbed to Suicide

Hurt people hurt people. As we know, bullies bully because either they’re having emotional pain themselves, or they’re arrogant and truly believe they are superior. Nevertheless, bullies do struggle with mental illness, and yes, many succumb to suicide, which is beyond sad. Neither mental illness nor suicide discriminate.

The bullies who are hurting are more likely to commit suicide than their arrogant counterparts. However, many arrogant bullies also commit suicide when they take a huge downfall and cannot cope.

Nonetheless, the fact remains that many bullies do end up taking their own lives. Some of my former classmates did and I feel terrible for them. Regardless of how horribly they may have treated me, I would never wish that kind of ending on my worst enemies.

Again, we should never take pleasure when we hear of anyone dying by their own hand, it doesn’t matter how evil and disgusting the person may have been while they were living.

It’s a horrible thing to befall a human being! And, the most heartbreaking thing is that these classmates never lived long enough to see their lives get better. I have no doubt that, had they found the will to go on living, things certainly would’ve improved for them.

Hurt People Hurt People

Christy was one of those bullies. She died by suicide in 2004 at the age of thirty-two. She was one of those mean girls in middle school who seemed to enjoy inflicting pain. However, she dropped out in the ninth grade and her life slowly took a nosedive over several years. Unbeknownst to me and many others, Christy struggled with mental illness. She battled so many demons that few of us know anything about.

After we were out of school, I ran into Christy a few times after my kids were born and she still attempted to bully me. She would yell curses in the store parking lot as I loaded my groceries in my car and my babies in their safety seats. Therefore, I would only roll my eyes and scoff at her, then go about my business. However, had I known she’d recently gone through a divorce and lost her children, I might have reached out to her.

I wasn’t made aware of the details until after she was already gone. Someone, who had been close to Christy, filled me in that she was severely co-dependent. Since her divorce, she’d gone through a rash of failed relationships. The men she’d dated had only used her for what they could get from her, then dumped her. And, when the last man tossed her away, Christy broke.

Moreover, it didn’t help that she was already suffering from bipolar disorder. Consequently, she took a shotgun, went outside in the back yard, put it under her chin, and pulled the trigger. And the saddest of all is that she left behind two children.

A Downward Spiral

When I was informed of this, I was both shocked and horrified. Also, at the time, I felt disappointed in her. I wondered why she would allow some guy who, obviously, wasn’t worth her time, to drive her to such extremes. I also wondered if she’d thought of her children and who would raise them.

Back then, I was learning but still didn’t know near as much about suicide and mental illness as I do now. Therefore, I might have been a little judgmental of her without meaning to. Although I, myself, had survived a suicide attempt as a teenager, I still didn’t empathize with her like I should’ve. Nevertheless, my heart broke not only for her, but more so, those babies, who were now without a mother.

Though I don’t condone the things Christy did nor how she acted when she was alive, I do understand why. She was hurting badly and needed to make someone else hurt so that she can feel better. Hence the reason I don’t hate bullies, I pity them instead.

In 2016, another school bully, Lori, also committed suicide, only under different circumstances. She’d gone from a popular cheerleader and choir girl who looked down on those who weren’t as socially fortunate, to being a teacher who was bullied and mobbed at the school in which she taught.

She was a wife and mother of a teenage daughter and small toddler. However, because she was despised at work, she was fired from the career she loved. Sadly, Lori also suffered from bipolar disorder.

Suicide is Felt Most by Loved Ones Left Behind

Therefore, she went home, took an overdose of pills, and never woke up. Even sadder was that her daughter was the person who found her later that day. However, how much would her circumstances have improved had she chosen to power through and keep going?

As I write this, I also look back to 1987, when one of my school bullies lost his older brother, Chris, to suicide. I don’t know if the older brother was a bully. For all I know, he may have been a target. However, I do know that he struggled with mental illness. Although I don’t know much about what drove him to take his life, I do remember what a few reliable sources told me. They told me that he’d jumped off a bridge over a set of railroad tracks.

Moreover, I can venture a good guess why Chris’ younger brother bullied me and a few others at school. And why he would go as far as to slam his books down on my head on many occasions. Could it be that his bullying me was the only way he could cope with the loss of his brother? Is it possible that he himself was struggling with mental illness, being as mental illnesses tend to run in families?

What heights could Chris have accomplished had he mustered the will to live? What joys in life could he have basked in later?

If You Are a Target, Here are questions you should ponder when it comes to your bullies:

1. When a bully bullies, what is it that they are trying to hide?

2. What is it about themselves that he’s trying to distract others from by bullying you?

3. Is the bully projecting onto you what she perceives to be a flaw in herself?

4. And what possible mental illnesses does the bully have that they’re so desperately trying to cover up?

5. Is the bully using you as a distraction from some shortcoming they themselves have?

Where Would They Be Today?

It’s sad that many of my bullies from school are now deceased, and not only from suicide, but auto accidents, a plane crash, and a few ATV accidents.

Rebecca Kee, Robin Tatum, Heath Bennett, Billy Goodman, Kevin Hearnsberger, Aaron Schuh, Janessa Holt, and many other classmates never got to live full lives and that’s tragic. Some of them never knew the joy of having their first child. Others will never see the birth of their first grandchildren, nor will they see retirement.

The icy-cold hands of death snatch away so many would-bes! So many goals, dreams, joys, and togetherness are dashed! And that’s the worst part.

That’s why I urge you to give yourself a chance if you’re enduring what seems to be impossible situations. Know that it never rains a full three hundred and sixty-five days. That in itself is proof that things will always improve if you don’t give up. You are worth fighting for and you’re worth living for! Always remember that!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

I Could Never Find the Right Words to Comfort 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!

What You Should Say When Bullies Try to Convince You to Commit Suicide

There have been many cases where bullies have tried to convince their targets to commit suicide, and many have succeeded. It’s a shame that bullies are this heartless and cruel but it’s heartbreaking when their targets are brainwashed by these monsters and finally surrender, under pressure, to do the bullies’ bidding.

I’m sure most of you remember hearing on the news, a year or two ago, about the case of Michelle Carter, the 23-year-old who was convicted of manslaughter in Massachusetts after convincing her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III to commit suicide by text.

Several days before this young man took his life by rigging his car with a hose to fill with carbon monoxide and sitting inside it until he was dead, Michelle Carter sent numerous texts to him, urging him to go through with it after he planned his suicide. In a few texts, she is reported to have told him, “Just do it, babe, “and “Put up or shut up.” She also reportedly told him to get back in the car and do it. These texts were the evidence that got her convicted.

Now, I don’t know the circumstances surrounding this or why she did what she did, however, I do believe that what she did was murder. But realize that bullies will the same thing to their targets, and they have done it. In my not-so-humble opinion, they too should be tried and convicted of murder. Not manslaughter, but murder!

If nothing else, I want you to understand this! Anytime you are a target of bullying and your bully or bullies either tell you to take your own life one time, or repeatedly try to urge and pressure you into suicide, they want you dead. They want to kill you but they’re too chicken to do it themselves because they know they’d land their butts in prison for the rest of their lives.

Again, they would love nothing more than to kill you but don’t have the stomach nor the balls to do it themselves because they know that, if they went to prison, they wouldn’t survive there.

I want you to see these people for what they are- cowards!

More importantly, I want you to realize that you have value and that your life matters just as much as the next person’s. I also want you to realize that you deserve to live on this green earth just as much as the next person does.

Remember that bullying is abuse, which means that your bullies are abusers! Never allow an abuser to convince you to take your own life! Never give an abuser that kind of power because it’s not theirs to have. Only God can determine whether you should live or die. A bully can never have that power- the power of life or death over you unless you allow them to have it.

So, when a bully or bullies tells you to “kill yourself,” here’s what you say to them:

“You first.”

I love this little two-liner comeback because it’s short, sweet, and to the point. It mat stun the bully into silence and also has the potential to make the bullies to do a little back-peddling.

Know your rights. Moreover, know your worth. Your life matters. You matter! You are loved and you are a great person. You have a right to life- to live. Never forget that.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

“Where the Trail Ends (The Kenny Suttner Story)” By Angela Suttner & Lindsay Schraad

May be an image of text that says 'YOU'VE READ THE HEADLINES. NOW IT'S TIME TO READ THE REST OF THE STORY TRAIL THE WHERE THE ENDS TRAR KENNY TORY'

Over the weekend, I read “Where the Trail Ends.” For those who don’t know or don’t remember, it’s the story surrounding the bullying and resulting bullycide of Kenny Suttner that made headlines across the globe in the following months of that heartbreaking night in December of 2016, when the Suttner family of Missouri tragically lost their son, brother, nephew, grandson, and cousin.

This beautifully-written but heartbreaking book should be an eye-opener to every parent, every grandparent, and to every teacher and school official! As I read this book, I could hear Angela’s voice and feel her gut-wrenching pain as a mother of sons myself.

As someone who endured bullying and mobbing for six long years in school and a stint of workplace bullying and mobbing, I felt Kenny’s heartache. While reading this book, I even cried for Kenny and for Angela several times. I’m not only a survivor and overcomer of school and workplace bullying, I’m also the widow of suicide due to possible workplace bullying.

Losing a spouse to suicide is horrific enough, but to lose a child? A child that you carried in your belly for nine months and felt move and kick inside you? A child that you rocked to sleep every night? A child that had a great future ahead of him and that you knew would make a positive difference in the world? I can’t even imagine!

Everyone, even those who’ve never been bullied should pick up this book and read it front to back because if you’ve never experienced bullying in school or in the workplace, you’ll never comprehend the damage- the pain, anguish, and exhaustion the target feels! It is as if the person is held hostage and being tortured night and day. Not only do you endure the torture of bullying, but after each incident, the voices of your tormentors and their insults replay in your head over and over again.

Each incidence of bullying cuts a little deeper and a little deeper. It builds over time until it culminates to such an emotional climax that the target feels that death is the only way they can escape the torment and make it stop.

Bullies also need to be made to read this book because I don’t think they have the empathy to care until they read this book and realize that it could one day be their child. I’ve already walked in Kenny’s shoes, having been horrendously bullied myself. But, as a parent I try to put myself in Angela’s and Michael’s shoes and knowing it could’ve been one of my children just shakes me to no end.

In this book, Angela Suttner expresses her grief and how this heartbreaking tragedy has changed her forever. And she does it so powerfully.

I don’t believe Kenny really wanted to die, he only wanted for the pain and continuous torment to stop and he saw death as the only way he could finally be left in peace. I hurt for him so badly. My heart is breaking as I type this and tears are welling in my eyes. Bullies must be taught empathy and to realize that other people have the same thoughts, feelings, needs, wants, and desires as they do and that their targets are human beings who are also deserving of safety, respect, and dignity.

I commend Angela and the entire Suttner family for keeping the memory of their loved one alive and for the tireless work they do to spread awareness of bullying, the damage it does, and it’s deadly consequences. And I encourage Angela and the family to continue to spread their message to every man, women, and child across the globe.

Paperback:

Kindle:

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!