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

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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.

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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 Being Bullied Taught Me

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Although being bullied is no fun and can be damaging to the psyche, there are many lessons that can be learned from it. Here’s what it taught me.

1. The evils humans are capable of and their predatory nature. People can be the evilest and the cruelest of all living things. Not everyone is inherently good. Being bullied taught me to be on the lookout for those who would secretly wish to harm my loved ones or me. It taught me to watch for enemies disguised as friends and to pay close attention to body language, expressions, and any micro flashes. And it taught me exactly what signs in other people to watch for.

2. Empathy and Compassion. Being bullies taught me empathy and compassion for others. Because I know first hand what it is and how it feels to be a target of bullies, I make it a point to extend kindness, especially to people whom others have unjustly marginalized and misjudged. I believe in spreading the same goodness and dignity to the janitor as I would the CEO.

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3. To never take anyone for granted. Because I know what it is to be rejected by everyone and to be left alone to fend for myself, I have nothing but appreciation for the people in my life and all the good they bring. I make it a point never to take my family and friends for granted, and I will fight to protect them if they’re being mistreated or are in some trouble. I value loyalty, and I extend it to the people who matter to me. If you are a person I love and you tell me a secret, you can bet that your secret will be safe with me. And if anyone trash talks you, I’ll defend you even when you aren’t around to see it.

4. To value, love, and take care of myself. Because, let’s face it. No one else will. It’s so important to put yourself first. No matter what anyone thinks or says, be true to yourself. Be yourself. And don’t let bullies distort your self-esteem or tell you “it isn’t cool” if there’s something you really enjoy doing. Take care of yourself. Stand up for yourself. Do what fulfills you and makes you happy. And forget the rest. Confidence and self-love are the most important things you can have.

5. To go after my goals and dreams. If there’s anything I want in life, I go after it. I work hard for what I want because I’ve gotten enough of what I don’t. Being bullied gave me the tenacity to reach my goals and dreams. And I’ve made several accomplishments- accomplishments I probably never would’ve made had I not been a target of bullying. Bullies only fuel my motivation to reach more successes and live a happy life. So, instead of holding grudges against your bullies, use them as your drive to reach heights you never thought possible! Because happiness and success are the best revenge you can ever take.

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6. To never be afraid to say “no” or set boundaries. I learned the hard way that if you don’t say no nor set boundaries, people will walk all over you. And sometimes, even if you do, there will be those who will double down and challenge those boundaries. But you must stay firm no matter what. You might be retaliated against for it, but at least you’ll feel better later, in knowing that you stood up for yourself. And as the old saying goes, “I’d rather die on my feet than to live on my knees.”

Finding the lessons in bullying will make you a happier person later on. It did me!

My 12 Takeaways from Being Bullied In the Past

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1. Empathy and Compassion for the underdog

2. Appreciation of my family, my friends and all the fantastic people in my life

3. Clarity of what I will and will not tolerate

4. Determination to go after what I want in life

5. A Sharper BS Detector

6. A Mission to tell my story and speak out against injustice

7. A Realization of the importance of self-care, loving myself, and being comfortable in my own skin.

8. A Desire to learn about human behavior and why people do what they do

9. The will to protect other targets of bullying

10. The Strength and willingness to get rid of toxic people and live life on my terms

11. The selectiveness of who I allow into my life

12. A better judge of character

It Can Be Difficult to Feel Empathy for Others When Bullied.

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Targets of bullying often get accused of being selfish and out for their own interests. However, anytime we are hurting so badly, the pain only blunts our capacity to feel for others.

Anytime a person suffers severe and relentless bullying for so long; their pain overrides any ability to empathize with those around them, who may also be hurting.

It’s like lying in the emergency room with both legs broken after a car accident. The pain is so intense that you could care less about the patient in the next room. All you’re thinking of is how soon a doctor will see you and order a pain reliever.

I tell you this because it happened to me. When I was a target of bullying in school, two girls in my class died in a horrific car crash during the eleventh grade and as much as I hate admitting it today, I could not have cared less.

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Naturally, I don’t feel the same today. Now, thirty years later, I’m sorry that happened to them, but at the time it happened, I had absolutely no feeling for the girls and even had the attitude that it had served them right and that maybe I’d get lucky and a few more bullies would drop dead soon.

I had been a target of the class for so long I just did not have it in me to care.

After a person endures bullying for so long, he/she becomes cold and unfeeling toward other people if they aren’t careful, and it will only bring about resentment from people who might otherwise offer love and support.

If you are a target of bullying in school or at work, never let it take away your empathy, your kindness, and your humanity. It won’t be easy, but there are ways to buffer your self-esteem from the effects of bullying and hold on to your sweetness.