There is Life After Bullying

Rear of man in hat relaxing on beach chair at beach with sea and blue sky background. vacation in summer.

People may bully you now. They may taunt you, call you ugly names, physically beat you, humiliate you, and turn others against you. Those around you may make you feel sad, alone, unattractive, and rejected in the present.

But rest assured, it won’t always be this way. 

Take it from someone who has been there. I had no friends in middle school nor high school until I finally transferred to my new high school during my senior year. Once I left *Oakley High School and began attending *Roseburg High School, that’s when life began. And I took back my power and started rebuilding every part of me that my bullies from the old school had torn down. Leaving Oakley was the free feeling you get after walking away from a toxic and abusive boyfriend.

As an adult, my confidence and self-esteem blossomed. Today, I’m a very happy forty-something and have so much to be thankful for. I have a family of my own. I enjoy my job and am comfortable in my own skin. I’ve accomplished more than I thought I ever would.

I also have grown to love myself- imperfections and all. I don’t worry about what others think of me, and I permit myself to be me and to say no when I don’t want to get involved in or do something that doesn’t feel right to me. These are freedoms that I will never again give up. Not without one hell of a fight!

Don’t Give Up! There’s Beauty on the Other Side of Bullying

I want you to know that the bullying you’re subjected to now will not last, and there’s a beautiful life waiting for you once it’s over. So, whatever you do, don’t give up! Stay your course, and keep fighting. Hold on to your faith and your dignity with everything you have. Because it may not seem like it now, but the best is yet to come, and the right people will find you.

Today, I’m surrounded by family and friends who love and accept me for me, not only what I can do for them. I have friends I never have to explain anything to and who love my flaws and quirks along with my good qualities. I’m so secure with being myself that I can make fun of myself and have a good time doing it.

I’m relaxed, worry-free, and best of all, safe! I’ve found my tribe, and you will find yours. And once you find them, they’ll be well worth the wait!

You’re worth fighting and living for. Don’t give up now. Stick around! It gets better! Much better!

With Knowledge comes empowerment!

What is DARVO and How do You Spot It?

DARVO is just another term for gaslighting but is more in-depth. Bullies will discredit the victim by discrediting the claims.

DARVO is an acronym that stands for:

D – Deny – Anytime the target calls out their bullies’ abuse, the bullies will first deny the behavior. Bullies will counter with things like,

“That’s not what I said.”

“That never happened.”

“That’s not what I did.”

Or, they may not necessarily deny it, but may minimize their behavior by saying things like:

“It wasn’t that serious.”

“I didn’t hit you that hard. That was a love-pat compared to what I could’ve done to you.”

“If I was mad, you’d know it.”

A – Attack – Next, the bullies will attack you. They will discredit you by discrediting your claims. Also, bullies will use gaslighting to make you question or doubt yourself. And they will say to you, things like:

“You’re overreacting.”

“You’re crazy.”

“But you’re just looking for a fight.”

“You’re a drama queen.”

“You’re being paranoid.”

“But you’re being difficult.”

“You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.”

“You just won’t leave well enough alone.”

R – Reverse

V – Victim

and

O – Offender – The bullies will blame you for their behavior. They’ll claim that you did something to them to make them act the way they acted. Therefore, your bullies will make statements such as:

“It’s your fault.”

“You asked for it.”

“But you had it coming.”

“You made me hurt you.”

“You’re the bully, not me!”

I want you to know that DARVO has been around since the beginning of time, only today, it has a name. Down through history, it’s been the most common manipulation tactic of psychological abusers. Only 24 years ago did someone put a name to it! DARVO came from the work of psychologist Jennifer Freyd, PhD, who first introduced the term in late 1997.

You can read more about Dr. Freyd and DARVO here:

https://dynamic.uoregon.edu/jjf/defineDARVO.html

With knowledge comes empowerment!

3 More Reasons You Should Write About It

Many targets of bullying don’t speak about the bullying they suffer and for many reasons. They may feel a degree of shame and fear that if they talk about it, others, including their parents, will think that they’re weak. Another reason is that if they speak up about or report the bullying, they might suffer retaliation from the bullies. Or they may fear that no one will believe them. Some targets worry they might be blamed for the abuse they suffer.

1. Writing about the bullying and abuse you suffer helps you to detox.

It’s very important to use writing or other healthy approaches to detoxing some of the negative and painful experiences out of the body. Otherwise it festers and can lead to negative thinking, bad habits, and even lead us to abuse ourselves.

2. Writing about it gives you a voice.

It gives you a chance to be heard. When people target you for bullying, your abusers will use everything in their arsenal to silence you. Understand and by silencing you, they get to bully you freely and with impunity.

3. Writing about the bullying allows you to keep a record of the bullying you suffer.

It gives you evidence ahead of time should you ever have to take the matter to court. When you document the bullying you suffer, using the 5-W (what, who, when, where, why), you are able to establish a clear pattern. Therefore, you will more likely present your case in a more understandable way, rather than if you verbally presented it.

I realize that writing can be tedious at times. It takes a lot of patience to write it down, especially if it’s painful to think about. However, anything worthwhile requires some discomfort and yes, even a little pain.

But the benefits outweigh the sacrifice because writing about it puts you in control!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Othello’s Error: Why Targets Take the Blame

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) on engraving from the 1800s. English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. Published in London by L.Tallis.

Othello’s Error often happens in police interrogation rooms and principal’s offices.

It comes from Shakespeare’s play, “Othello.”  In the play, the main character, Othello, assumes that his wife, Desdemona, is having an affair. The reason he believes this is because of her nervous response when he questions her.

In reality, Desdemona is innocent.

However, Othello  questions her in a aggressive and volatile manner. And this makes the poor wife nervous. Even worse, Othello takes her nervousness as a sign of guilt.

Sadly, his often occurs in real life.

Often, targets become nervous when someone questions them aggressively. The questioner then misreads the response. taking it as a sign that the person is lying or hiding something. It’s how so many people have gotten blamed for something they didn’t do.

Just as nervousness is mistaken for deception, the show of confidence is mistaken for honesty and trustworthiness. As we all know, bullies are well-known for feigned confidence and false bravado.

Targets of bullying are always nervous, and rightfully so. Who wouldn’t be if they were constantly abused, shamed, threatened, and attacked?

People tend to rush to the first possible explanation that fits what they want to see. Should it be any wonder why people blame targets and let bullies go scot-free?

After the abuse goes on for so long, targets learn to expect more of the same. And they usually get it. In other words, the expectation of such treatment brings more of the same. As a result, the target grows more nervous with each occurrence.

As the target grows more nervous, bystanders and authorities grow more and more suspicious of him.

The fact is that nervousness has several reasons, and the mistake often occurs in the decoding of it and not the observation!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Heide’s Story of Survival

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.

This is my story—of oppression, of getting through, of moving on—my survival story.
Looking back on the events of my life, I realize that the hurt I’ve dealt with was due to extreme neglect as a child. Our parents’ loved their children to the best of their ability; however, my mother suffered from major depression, to the point where she was slowly giving up on life. And, in my father’s case, his own father had left him when he was young.
A Survivor of Neglect
No one had taught my mother and father how to be good parents. As a child, I had very little to no supervision. My mother was very carefree with us. One memory I retain was when I was four years old. I was swimming in a lake, and a neighbor frantically called my mom to let her know I was out there.
My mother’s response was to ask her to just send me home. To this day, my family and I laugh about it, but looking back, it was extremely neglectful on my mother’s part.
As I started school, kids were very mean. I was teased, spat on; I was not picked for teams in gym, and I often sat alone at lunch. Teachers would not say anything to stop it. I felt scared to go to school and terrified to ride the bus. I truly hated elementary and middle school. I hardly had any friends, and the ones I thought were my friends were often two-faced.
In seventh grade, I was at a friend’s house, in her basement, and a girl with rings on physically beat me up, holding me down and punching me repeatedly in the face. There was a boy watching and swinging a knife around, laughing. Then I had to walk two miles home in the dark, alone, after being beat up. When I got home, my mother was lying in bed, asleep, with no idea I hadn’t been home.
Inner Strength In Spite of Her Bullied Past

Looking back, I was severely neglected, and it wasn’t a nurturing, caring living environment. When my mother was not working, she was sleeping. Now and then she did things to take care of us, but most of the time, we ran the streets and fended for ourselves.
Sadly, she passed away from breast cancer when I was thirteen.
Over the years of neglect, I developed many insecurities.
I now realize the trauma I dealt with made it difficult to socialize with other children as well. My sisters and I came from a poor upbringing, and I truly believe that is one of the reasons as to why I was made fun of and rejected growing up.
Many years later, I was diagnosed with ADD/OCD and anxiety. I had these brain-based challenges my entire life but did not realize it at the time.
The Effects of Trauma
OCD/ADD causes individuals to be impulsive, to have less patience around others, and to overthink everything. These tendencies can cause people to react to you in a way you may not deserve, but it’s unfortunately a result of struggling with mental health issues.
These issues were key as to why I heavily grieved over losing my mother, why I chose relationships that kept me feeling “vulnerable,” and why I always felt so alone.
I even allowed my ex-husband to control everything in our marriage. I wanted to feel safe, but this led to various forms of abuse. In 2015, I became a single mother, and even though I was scared of failing and struggled financially, I had to learn how to do everything on my own. Though difficult, I became a strong woman and a mother, and I was finally happy.
positive bullied victim says NO
These foundations of my identity, as well as my faith, helped me feel secure and that true hope could be fulfilled. To this day, I still struggle with self-esteem issues, anxiety, and some seasonal depression; however, I choose to see other people’s needs instead of focusing on my own negative emotions.
The Courage to Leave an Abusive Marriage
My goal is to use my past hurts to bring them hope. I have a motto for myself: “I’m the glass half full kinda girl.”
Year ago, when I shared my story, others would often say, “I don’t remember you being bullied, when/who bullied you?” Questions like these caused me to question the validity of the pain I felt and made me think I had no right to use the word “abuse/bullied” to describe my pain.
However, as I dealt with all of the denial, anger, blame, sadness, and grief over the years, I realized I indeed had the right to feel everything I did, and no person could take that away from me.
That emotional strength and security has made me want to make a positive out of EVERY negative. Recently, I reached out to the girl that beat me up in the seventh grade and I reminded her of the events that happened. She did not even remember and explained how much hurt she was going through at the time.
She apologized, I told her I forgave her, and now we are friends and talk from time to time. So you see, I chose to use my pain to inspire others and show them that there IS hope, no matter what you go through in life.
Resilience
Sometime it is as simple as saying hello to random people on the street, calling others by their names, making sure to wear a smile often, and going out of my way to be a friend to ANYONE who needs one. This is especially important to me, since I lost my brother in 2018 to suicide.
I know I suffered a lot of loss and hardships in life, but I know that others have suffered quite a lot more. We all experience different things, and what’s important is not how others think we’ve lived, but instead how we ourselves experience life.
I TRULY believe if I can share—or sing, a passion of mine—my story and save a life or even inspire one person, then it makes it worth going through all of this pain and coming out the other side.
A Passion for Music
Heide has a lovely singing voice! You can check out her single, “Bulletproof,” here!

Teachers Who Label Bullied Students

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. They brand them with labels, such as, “trouble,” “difficult,” or “problem child.” This sets the targeted child up to be discriminated against by their school. Therefore, it creates a very hostile and dangerous environment when adults are prejudiced against the poor, kid.

In these types of situations, the target is only bullied worse. Why?  Because he/she isn’t afforded the same due process that their classmates get. As a result, the school staff ends up empowering the bullies. Even worse, they end up supporting the bullies, even encouraging them to bully that child.

We must realized that targets may act out due to prolonged bullying and resulting stress.

Let’s face it, no one can withstand the intense pressure of bullying and mobbing for long. A person can only be pushed so far. If you kick a dog long enough, you’ll get bit eventually.

When a target is bullied and mobbed by their classmates, they are forced to submit to horrendous and downright grotesque abuse.  And this kind of bullying is unfathomable to most adults. The message targets 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. 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.  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.

Even worse, you’re powerless to understand or control what is happening.

The target suffers mistreatment, isolation, exclusion, and yes- even brutal physical beatings. Therefore, he’ll be too afraid to plead for help because he knows that the school staff will ignore his cries. And what’s more frightening is that 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 will be ignored but the target’s reactions to it won’t be ignored. Therefore, 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 or thinks the girl deserves it. And maybe, the teacher thinks that bullying is only a right of passage that builds character. During one occasion, the bully sitting behind the targeted girl pulls her hair. The target then gets fed up with being mistreated. Unable to tolerate any more abuse, she turns around and punches the bully who pulled her hair.

Now the teacher, very conveniently, doesn’t see the other girl pull the target’s hair. However, 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 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. That’s when everyone becomes very suspicious of her.

The principal catches the target in the hall between classes. He tells her, aloud, in front of the other students, that he is watching her. The other kids, especially the bullies, overhear the principal. As a result, they 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 the target 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. It’s all an excuse for 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, pride, and 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. Why? Because it is during the most difficult times that they’re need these virtues the most.

With knowledge comes power!

The Environment That Conditions You Most

What is the environment that conditions and shapes you the most when you’re in school or working? I’ll give you a hint: It isn’t the home!

Our environments determine our mental health.

They have ways of molding and shaping us, especially during our formative years. For example, a child who grows up in an abusive environment is, more than likely, going to either grow up to be an abusive adult. Or worse, they will grow up to be weakened and powerless. Remember that a person’s formative years (childhood) is the most impressionable and it determines their future!

Yes, there are exceptions to this rule. There are a few kids who develop a strong sense of self, either through dogged determination or an outside mentor. Those are the kids who make it out and create successful lives from themselves. However, most do not, and it’s sad.

You have three types of environments:
  1. Nourishing Environment (Very Healthy)
  2. Neutral Environment (Somewhat Healthy)
  3. Toxic Environment (Unhealthy)

Understand that the environment you spend most of your day in, will the one that will likely condition you. And if you spend most of your day-to-day life in a bullying environment, your mental health will suffer!

For example, a certain school kid lives in a loving and healthy home. But his classmates at school bully him mercilessly and without fail.

Now, let’s do the math:

A child or teen who is growing must have around 10 hours of sleep per day. So, subtract 10 hours for 24 hours and you’re left with a total of 14 waking hours. The average young student then spends about 8 hours per day in school. Subtract 8 hours from 14 waking hours and you have only six waking hours away from school.

Then we must figure in school bus time, or commuting time, which, for the average schoolkid, is 30 minutes to 1 hour, one way. Therefore, that’s 1-2 hours roundtrip (Keep in mind that most kids who are bullied at school are also bullied on the school bus).

Subtract that from 6 waking hours and the schoolkid in this scenario has only 4-5 waking hours at home in her loving and nourishing environment.

24 Hours (One Day)

-10 hours (Sleep)

-8 hours (School)

-1 or 2 hours (School bus)

= only 4 to 5 hours awake at home

So, that bullied child, although living in a loving and nourishing home environment, spends twice as many waking hours in a toxic school environment. Therefore, the bullying he suffers at school is likely to nullify the love and acceptance he gets at home. And he will be conditioned either to hate himself, or not to think much of himself. Because he spends more time with his bullying peers than he spends with his loving and accepting family, he’s still more likely to have self-esteem issues and lack confidence.

Now, do you see how this works?

Even sadder, the self-esteem and confidence of kids who are bullied at school and abused or neglected at home will take an even bigger hit to their mental health! Why? Because they never get a reprieve from bullying, as abuse at home is a form of bullying in and of itself.

In conclusion, how a student is treated at school has a huge impact on their mental health. It doesn’t matter how loving and nurturing their home life is. Granted, having a positive home life certainly helps, the bullying a child or teen suffers at school will likely negate any love and acceptance she receives at home.

So, how do we reverse the damage school bullies have caused a child?

We simple create opportunities for the child to make friends outside of their school. This will create more positive social experiences for them. It will help to create a more even balance between the bullying and negativity they suffer and the friendships and positivity they enjoy. Even better, it might even tip the scales and create more positive experiences and social interactions than negative!

Therefore, the resulting rise in positive experiences and interactions outside the school environment will serve to buffer person’s self-esteem and mental health from the blows of negativity they get at school.

You can help the youngster create these positive connections and experiences by sending them to summer camp. Also, you can do it by enrolling them in a martial arts class or attending neighborhood family get-togethers where there are other kids present. Attending church and church functions is another great idea.

approved not rejected concept with checkbox

There are many, many opportunities available for the seizing! So, go for it! Give your bullied child these wonderful experiences! They will turn into awesome memories that will last a lifetime!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

That Empowering Feeling of Saying “No!”

dreamstime_s_161021280

Saying “no” can be difficult and at times, even downright scary. Like when bullies are trying to force you to do something you don’t want to do.  You know the feeling when they threaten either physical harm or worse social exclusion if you don’t do what they want you to do. I know the feeling because I’ve been there.

Nobody wants to get hurt. The natural human response is to submit and make the pain, torment, or the threat of, stop. In your mind, you’re thinking, “Alright, alright! I’ll do it if you’ll go away and leave me alone!” I get that because it’s what I did. I submitted to my bullies many times, too many times. I fell for the false promises that they would let me be and stop hurting me. But-

Saying yes to them meant saying no to myself.

They never made good on those promises. The harassment didn’t stop. If anything, it only got worse! Anytime I did say no, I got threatened and yes, even physically attacked.

Saying no to a bully is never an easy option. Bullies don’t take no for an answer, least of all from their targets! However, not only is it necessary, but it feels darn good sometimes!
If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve said the word “no” a lot more than I did. I wouldn’t have cared about the retaliation I might have faced. Unless one of my bullies had done something drastic, like pulled a gun, I’d have stood firm.

In no way would I advice anyone to risk their life. If someone pulls a gun on me, I will do what I must do to stay alive! I’ll do what he wants and tell him what he wants to hear. I’ll dance a jig wearing fluorescent orange and white polka-dotted bell bottoms if it keeps me from dying!

I’ll grant you, saying no is risky.

But if they only threaten me with the business end of their fists, I know I’m only going to come out of it with a shiner and a fat lip. In a situation like that, it’s much safer to say no. Those wounds will heal. But the psychological injury of wishing I hadn’t let myself down will last for years.

However, if you do choose physical safety first, I want you to know that you’re not wrong for that. In no way will I ever think less of you if you submit to your bullies’ demands. As I mentioned earlier, a natural reaction is to obey to keep from being harmed.

And the winner is...

Today, I say that little two-letter word a lot more and will continue to say it in the future. It doesn’t matter what people say, how they feel about it or what they do. I would much rather get the crap kicked out of me and still feel good about myself for taking a stand. Today, I’d rather take a beating than to cave under pressure.  I’m funny about letting myself down by doing something I didn’t want to do. To me, that’s worse than getting my butt kicked! But that’s just me.

Many times, I let myself down by saying yes.

My physical wounds healed. But knowing I let someone else force me to do something I neither wanted to nor agreed to, left a psychological injury that took a long time to recover from. I ended up asking myself, “Now, why didn’t I tell those creeps to take a flying leap off the highest cliff head first?” That feeling of powerlessness was worse than the physical pain I would have suffered.

So, permit yourself to say that tiny little word because it can be so empowering! You may indeed get your tail kicked, but at least you’ll feel good knowing you got hurt because you stood for something! Those psychological benefits will significantly outweigh the embarrassment of any beat down! Besides, you forced a bully to do something foolish and which will likely get him in trouble with an adult or the law! So, I ask you! Who’s the real winner here?

With knowledge comes empowerment!

How You Regain Your Power

You regain your power by changing your mindset. Realize that a victim mentality only breeds a funky attitude.

I may have been a target, but I was never a victim. I thought I was during the entire time I was bullied and for a while after it was over. Understand that a victim mentality, when taken to extremes, serves no purpose. It only breeds laziness and entitlement. You feel that the world owes you something. It doesn’t.

I had the same attitude and it got me nowhere!

Also, if you hold on to it and let it define you, you’ll only attract more bullies and abusers in your life. We are what we think, and the universe will provide more of the stuff that matches our thoughts.

That is why it’s so important that you shed this mentality of defeat. Only then will you re-empower yourself and win true peace and happiness!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

A Long Recovery from Bullying (Part 2- Graduation and Beyond)

Graduation was bittersweet. Although I was happy to graduate high school, I was sad because I would miss my classmates and teachers from Roseburg High. I felt that it ended too soon.

My first five years post-graduation was full of ups and downs. I struggled with bouts of depression and didn’t know why. I was on the rollercoaster again and desperately wanted to get off but didn’t know how. Having babies and being a post-partum new mother only doubled the depression that was already there.

I lived, and I worked. I was a mother of two small children but only going through the motions and surviving- existing. It felt as if I was living on autopilot. But then, something amazing happened!

In 1995, I came across a magazine article while on my lunch break at work. The article was about a kid severely bullied at school. Like me, his bullies had tormented him so horrifically that he thought about suicide and eventually transferred to another school. Also, like me, his life changed for the better. He, too, had made a complete turnaround and finally gotten the chance to experience the friends, fun, and excitement that high school was supposed to be.

Reading this article was a turning point for me, and finding it was one of the best things that happened. This piece in the magazine answered so many questions and confirmed that none of the abuse I’d suffered at my classmates’ hands was my fault. The article was also validation that there was never anything wrong with me. It only cemented the truth I’d always known deep down inside- I wasn’t to blame for their abuse.

They were the perpetrators.

They had the issues.

I was being held responsible for problems that were theirs, not mine.

With this confirmation came my empowerment!

During those years, many people, including a few well-meaning family members, had often told me that the bullying I suffered was all in my imagination or wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be. Many more had said to me that I brought it all on myself. Deep down, I knew better.

blame accuse pointing finger

In my heart, I had known the truth years before I found this article and held on to it. Maybe this personal knowledge was why I resisted my bullies and fought back, even if it meant getting hurt. And perhaps it was why I suffered so many physical assaults. Nevertheless, I needed confirmation- a second opinion of sorts, and the article was exactly what I needed.

At that moment, everything fit together like a perfect puzzle! I cannot express the relief I felt. It was as if the article had lifted an enormous weight off my shoulders. My heart began to soar!

For the first time, I was able to see the bullying for what it was- abuse!

I began to thirst for even more knowledge of bullying and the human predator/prey dynamic. From then on, I read everything I could get my hands on- magazine articles, essays, books, online articles, everything that pertained to bullying and peer abuse.

There were so many unanswered questions:

“What was it about me that made me a target?”

“How had my bullies been allowed to get away with their brutality?”

“What was it about my bullies that made them so charming and good to everyone else?”

The word Answer on a puzzle piece to symbolize the quest for understanding in answering questions and concerns

“What were the ingredients to their charm and allure?”

“Where had their intense hate, mean-spiritedness, and sadistic natures come from? What had precipitated it?”

“Had they too been abused, or were they just spoiled, coddled narcissists infected with schadenfreude?”

So many questions haunted me and increased my curiosity. So, I continued digging for information, like a police detective eager to solve a case.

During the late nineties, I came across Tim Field’s BullyOnline.org and hungrily read every one of his articles. The website was massive, and it took a while to read. I went through it with a fine-toothed comb. If I had questions, I emailed Tim, and he would always reply in a timely and courteous manner.

Sadly, Mr. Field is no longer with us. He passed away from cancer years ago.

It’s been 25 years since I found the article that changed my life, and I cannot tell you how many sources of information I’ve poured through. I can’t measure the truckloads of knowledge attained and how much just the knowing has empowered me.

Between experience and two and a half decades of reading, research, and study, I’ve gained insights that have empowered me even more. That article back in 1995 set me on a path to greater knowledge and a passion for helping other bullying targets through writing and advocacy.

I’ve found what I love to do, and it is so rewarding!

I thank God for placing that article in front of me that day at work. Otherwise, I might still be wandering in the dark and trying to find my way.

That magazine article truly changed my outlook on the bullying I suffered. I no longer see it as something that ruined my life. No.

I see the bullying as an event that gave me a fiery passion for speaking out about my own experiences and sharing the knowledge I’ve gained to help people who endure bullying today. It showed me my life’s work and, through that, gave me eventual confidence and happiness.

I do not need to hate my bullies, nor to take revenge. Turning abuse around to the benefit of others is how I turn victimization into power! And that, my friends, is the best revenge a person can ever take!

If you’re a target of bullying, know this:

What’s happening to you is wrong and it isn’t your fault. You never asked to be brutalized, you do matter, and you are enough!

With knowledge comes empowerment!