Being Bullied in School Prompted Me to Learn More about Bullying and the Power Dynamic

I began researching bullying in the early to mid-nineties. I wanted to know everything there was to know about it- why people bully, what drove bullies to single out only certain people, what bullies look for in victims, how bullying affected different people, and what characteristics determined victimhood.

Instead of being traumatized from it, I wanted to learn from it. During the nineties, I poured through countless library books, magazine articles, news columns, anything relating to the subject of bullying. I read about the different personalities of bullies, bystanders, and victims. I also poured through books and articles about politics, social infrastructures, and the power dynamic.

During the late 90’s and 2000s, I took to my PC and poured through countless online articles and essays on the subject, beginning with Tim Field and bullyonline.org based in the UK. I remember emailing Tim Field with many questions on bullying and he always replied curiously and promptly. I learned so much from Tim Field.

I was surprised to find that so many others had suffered bullying as well- celebrities, musicians, writers, doctors, attorneys, teachers, homemakers, people from all walks of life. I am saddened that Mr. Field is no longer with us. I will be forever grateful to him for sharing his expertise and being the encouragement I needed to learn more on the subject.

In my years of research, I’ve attained a vast wealth of knowledge on bullying- knowledge which has served me well both professionally and socially. In my in-depth study of bullies, I have gained so much insight into the minds and personalities of my former classmates and all bullies.

In reading countless testimonies of victims and survivors, I realize that none of it was all in my head and that I wasn’t overreacting or bringing it all on myself as my classmates and a few of my teachers had cruelly forced me to believe.

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Bullying and the tactics used, from whisper campaigns to witch hunts to threats to bodily harm, have gone on since the beginning of time. It’s nothing new. During the years I was bullied in school, I had tried reporting it, tried speaking out only to be ignored, shamed, retaliated against, and blamed for it. That is also nothing new.

Because no one would listen, I grabbed a pen and began writing in a daily journal about the daily bullying I suffered at school to keep as a record in case the bullies at school hurt me so bad I’d need hospitalization or worse, murdered me.

I even had one of my journals taken from me by a teacher in the eighth grade and never saw it again. Luckily, I kept a backup hidden at home, and I never lost anything.

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By the time I switched schools during my senior year, I had filled several journals with countless horror stories of social aggression, psycho/emotional torment, and brutal beatings dished out by my classmates.

I kept those journals put away in a storage bin for decades because I knew that one day, I would write a book about my experiences. That book, “From Victim to Victor: A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying.” is now published and available.

With knowledge comes power. If you’ve had something terrible happen in your life- something so awful that it deeply affected your life, learn about it instead of agonizing over it. Instead of being angry over something that happened in the past that you can’t do absolutely anything about, learn as much as you can about it and from every angle possible.

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Then use it to protect yourself from any future bullying and to help others who are going through the same. I guarantee that doing this will bring healing, unlike anything you can imagine!

Nothing heals you like taking any adversity, learning from it, and using it as a weapon against potential bullies and to help other victims! Try it! You’ll be glad you did!

Seeing The Forest Not Only The Trees

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Being a target of bullying can make it hard to see the blessings in other aspects of your life. It keeps you focused on the problem instead of seeing your life as a whole.

When I was in school, although I was bullied horribly, and yes, it was bad, my life as a whole wasn’t bad. I can honestly say that I still had a good home.

My mother and grandmother had good jobs and compared to many of my classmates, we lived quite well. Therefore, in family, home, and finances, we were super-blessed.

I don’t remember a Christmas or birthday when my brother and I didn’t get exactly what we asked for. This is not to say we didn’t have our problems because we did. What family doesn’t? Our family problems consisted of myself and my siblings being children of divorced parents and a father who wasn’t present during those years. Although it hurt, we still functioned well as a family and those things were minor compared to most.

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When I look back, I realize that we were blessed in that we didn’t have family members who were out committing crimes, nor were addicted to any hard drugs, other than an alcoholic or two. During those years, we didn’t have anyone who was dying of cancer, nor shot in the streets or killed in car accidents and plane crashes.
So, again, compared to many kids we knew, we had it pretty darned good.

But!

At the time, I couldn’t see it. Understand that when you’re a bullied and tormented kid in school, you don’t see the beauty in other areas of your life. You lose sight of the blessings in the overall picture because bullying blinds you to it.

You can’t see the forest for the trees. That’s what bullying does to targets. It blinds them to their overall worth and clouds their perceptions of their own lives.

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Bullies are constantly in your face, repeating the same lie over and over again:

“You’re worth nothing.”
“Your life is crap.”
“You don’t belong here.”
“You’re one of God’s mistakes.”
“Your mama should’ve aborted you while she had the chance.”

After so long, you finally believe the lies yourself.

Understand that kids’ brains are malleable, mushy, and moldable, which is why they’re so impressionable and easily influenced. Is it any wonder why religious cults, sexual predators, human traffickers, extremist groups, and street gangs, target kids for recruitment?

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They catch them young so they can mold their vulnerable minds and groom them for service. Bullies do the same thing. They look for targets who are vulnerable and who are more likely to fall for anything.

With that said, shouldn’t we also catch them young to teach them confidence and resilience? Shouldn’t we catch them young to instill them with strength, good self-esteem, and the ability to protect themselves from such people?

Understand that bullies aren’t stupid. They’re often those who have learned all about Human Nature early on through abuse, through seeing some really bad things happen before they should have. Many bullies learn about the mere mechanisms of the human condition much earlier than other kids, then use it to exploit their targets.

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Bullies may not be much good at anything else, but what they are good at is the subject of Human Nature and making predictions of how most people react to different things. They have ways of brainwashing you, convincing you that you’re a mistake and that your life means nothing.

And if you aren’t careful, bullies will ultimately blind you to any positives that flow into your life and trick you into believing that your life is worse than what it is. Understand this: Bullies LIE!

How you successfully overcome this is to be mindful and to count your blessings, however difficult it may be.

Focus on the good things in your life.

Point out your good qualities, talents, and gifts.

Make positive affirmations by countering the bullies’ lies and making “I AM” statements.

“I am beautiful”
“I am intelligent.”
“I am worth something.”
“I am one of God’s blessings.”
“I am worthy of being born and being alive.”
“I am worthy of a good life.”

This is how you keep your self-esteem intact and prevent bullies from wrecking your self-esteem and your life.