You can take any abuse you suffer and use it for the benefit of others. That’s a success, and it’s the best poke in the eye/slap in the face to your abusers.
I say this because I get plenty of pushback from a few of my old pals from way back when. Think about this; if you speak your truth and your former abusers lash back, it’s because they feel intimidated.
If they didn’t feel threatened, if your voice weren’t powerful enough to intimidate them, if you weren’t speaking the truth, they wouldn’t be pushing back so hard.
The reason why you’ve probably gotten a few nasty or threatening messages is that your former abusers know you’re telling the truth, and they’re scared to death of being exposed.
Here’s another point I want to make: Your bullies are more than likely angry they failed to accomplish their objective, and that objective was to destroy your life. They expected you to drown- to crash and burn, and you didn’t! That’s a huge disappointment to them and a blow to their fragile egos! And now, they’ve come back to try and finish the job.
But the good thing is that you should welcome their pushback because it only shows that they’re desperate. It should only inspire you to double down and spread awareness of bullying and reach out to targets with your message.
Their abuse should make you even more determined to continue warning others that, yes, such people exist. In my situation, it only compels me to call out the tactics and mindsets of bullies and expose them to show the targets of today what to look for. In short, bullies and trolls only light a brighter and hotter fire under me. And they should you too.
It’s because I don’t feel like I’m less than. Yes, my classmates called me the most horrible names in the English language. Yes, they physically beat, ridiculed, and smeared me. And yes, they destroyed my reputation. However, I’m still not a victim because their effects on me didn’t last.
I’m a survivor. In fact, I’m more than that- I’m a winner! Because they no longer have the power to make me feel that I’m less than human. No one has that power now. I’m not a victim because I don’t allow other people’s perceptions of me to determine how I feel about myself nor define me as a person. I know who I am, and I feel good about it.
My classmates may have taken my confidence away and at times, my physical well-being. But they could never take away my soul! They couldn’t take my integrity, my individuality, and my freedom of thought.
They couldn’t take any of the things that mattered!
Another reason I don’t feel like a victim is because I don’t feel any hate nor any desire to take revenge. My energy is better spent on my family, doing what I love to do, and working on my projects. I’m too busy doing me and mine. Understand that any time you hold hate and seek revenge over something that was done to you in the past, it comes from a victim mentality and from a place of feeling that you’re owed some form of satisfaction, restitution, or atonement. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way.
I want you to realize that a victim mentality is never good because it keeps you trapped in an abyss of hatred and misery. Anytime you have this mentality, you’re angry and depressed all the time. You feel like the world owes you. But what you don’t realize is that even if the world did give you what you feel you’re owed, you’d still never be happy and you’d only want more, more, and more.
It’s no way to live. I was there years ago and it’s a dark and ugly place.
I’m so glad that when I finally got tired of being unhappy and unfulfilled, my eyes were opened, and I changed my way of thinking.
So, how did I shed the victim-think?
1.By refusing to allow bullies from the past to take up space in my mind and by not wasting another drop of precious energy on people who were never worth it in the first place.
2. By accepting myself, flaws, quirks, and all. I finally decided that I was okay just the way God made me and that I needed no one else’s approval, least of all, the approval of backstabbers, fakes, and drama kings and queens who only pretended to be friends but weren’t out for my best interests.
3. I made it my mission to love and to take care of myself and the people who truly mattered. And that included weeding out toxic people who were only there to use me and to see me fail- those who didn’t belong in my life.
4. Lastly, I did it by focusing on the things that were important– I focused on God, family, my closest friends, and being the best version of me that I could possibly be instead of trying to please everyone and seek approval.
It’s okay to be angry and to take time out to feel those emotions when someone does you wrong. It’s natural to need time to heal. Just don’t set up shop and live in that yucky place for long. Because, if you stay there, it will ruin your life.
I can’t stress how important it is for you to rid yourself of victim-think. It’s the only way you’ll ever reach that beautiful place of self-acceptance and ultimately, peace and happiness. And once you do, it will be such sweet freedom!
All too often, whether at school or work, it’s the best of the best who get bullied- children and teens with pure hearts of gold, empathetic coworkers, the very people who don’t deserve it, and who want to make the world a better place.
These are the people who are team players, who are cooperative, and who deeply care about others. They extend kindness to others and will give you the shirts off their backs if you needed it.
Understand that simply caring– about anyone or anything is going to be painful. It’s why so many who were once kind and caring people are now cold, hard, angry, and bitter. These people were relentlessly bullied and they allowed it to make them cold and mean. They are often those who adopt the “I’m going to get you before you get me” attitude.
For a long time, I was one of those people. After being bullied, I became no better than they were. I’m thankful that my eyes were opened and that I no longer have to resort to cruelty to protect myself. And I’m much happier and more confident in who I am!
Bullying has a way of taking it all out of you. It can take your self-esteem, your confidence, your happiness, your love and kindness for others, your energy, your health- even your will to live. But only if you let it!
Bullying will either make or break you.
It will either wise you up or dumb you down.
Either way, these results are up to you.
Bullying changes a person, no doubt about it. But don’t let it make you bitter. Let it make you better!
And now, thanks to “From Victim to Victor (A Survivor’sTrue Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying,” more and more people know the truth. They know what really happened- more people than you ever thought would find out back when we were in school.
Even though I wasn’t out for revenge when I wrote the book, and therefore, had the common decency to conceal your real names and omit certain events that would’ve called you out for the devils you are, I consciously chose not to identify your sorry butts. So, go ahead, show some chutzpah. Get offended, get angry, talk smack, I don’t care.
‘You see? The thing you don’t realize is that by getting your noses out of joint, you unwittingly called yourselves out! By opening your mouths, you exposed yourselves, and as I already knew you would! So, who’s the “retard” now?
I concealed your real names, which is more than what you deserved, yet you get your emotions so stirred up you end up telling off on yourselves! So, who are the stupid ones?
Here’s the thing. If someone had written a book about me and exposed me and all my dirt, but changed the name? I would’ve been smart enough to zip my lips and not to let on that the book was about me!
I would’ve put on a poker face because I wouldn’t want anyone to know that I was one of the idiots who acted so immature back in the day- that I was one of the brutes that mistreated so horribly a person, who back then, was powerless to defend herself! And here another newsflash. Today, bullies don’t get the glory they got back in the ‘1980s.
People look down on bullies nowadays!
And let me address the psychopaths who’ve sent me threatening and nasty messages off and on for the last three years. Heads up: I’ve both screenshotted and saved them all “just in case.” And I’ve already exposed one woman. Don’t be the next person I plaster all over the internet. Because I will, in essence, parade you naked before the eyes of the entire world.
And if anything does happen to me, anything at all, that book will be seen as a possible motive. Many, many people will come around, asking questions. And who do you think they’ll come to? Who do you think those people will want answers from? Are you willing to take that risk?
The entire class will be under a microscope, and everyone will know what the possibilities are. But that’s all it takes. Isn’t it?
One accusation. One offhand comment. One motive. The slightest suspicion. That’s it.
So, if you see me out anywhere, your best bet is to keep on walking. You stay away from me, I’ll stay away from you, and everybody’s happy.
Also, the fact that no one cared about the truth nor even asked is only further proof that you all bullied and mobbed out of pure spite, ignorance, and stupidity. And the same three afflictions is why a few teachers, who followed your lead, also bullied me to the point of considering a lawsuit. A few even escalated the vitriol because they saw me as a threat.
Those few so-called teachers were afraid that I would file citing discrimination based on a perceived disability. Why? Because they found out about the daily journals, I kept each school day, documenting everything! And I’ll never forget their reactions (and those of some of you) each time they saw me writing.
It’s hilarious when I look back now because some of you seemed pretty desperate and afraid!
And the few spineless, undeserving losers I was such a fool to call friends? (Scoff) They didn’t have the stones to have my back, which means it’s safe to say that I didn’t have any friends at OHS. So, should it matter to any of you if I speak up or stay silent?
I can be honest about it now because none of you are anyone I need to impress, and I surely don’t owe any of you anything- not even respect because you did nothing to earn it. I’ll say again. You get no respect from me.
As for the few rotten apples who called themselves teachers, I realize they only fell for your lies and smear campaigns. These teachers, who were supposed to be adults, but only regressed into children by joining you in your evil and spiteful attacks, weren’t smart at all, only educated idiots. They were also too lazy to look for the facts.
Far be it from me to put their names out there because I won’t go that low. But I already suspect you know which teachers I’m referring to. So, I’ll leave it there.
With you, the excuse was always, “I’m afraid of her!” or “She’s crazy!” But the reality was that I was much more afraid of you than you ever were of me. But deep down, most of you were already aware of it.
Oh yeah. I know and you do too. I knew it back then; only I was too afraid to voice it because I knew what most of you would do if I opened my mouth. Oh, yes. You got that one for free. I was afraid of you all back then.
But the difference between then and now is that I’m not anymore. Now that I’m a grown woman, I’m not afraid of any of you.
I don’t have to see any of you. You can’t touch me now. So I can say pretty much anything I want. And I say it loud and proud. Even better, I make speaking out about people like you my livelihood, my bread and butter, and my niche!
Therefore, in bullying me, you were only paving my path for me. In trying to instill fear, you only encouraged me. In trying to keep me down, you only uplifted me! And in turning others against me back then, you ultimately made me truer friends now than I ever could have imagined back then.
Now, you must ask yourselves what good all that meanness did in the long run, and where did it get you? It certainly didn’t help you reach the top! It didn’t get you fame or fortune because none of you ever went anywhere.
I’ll give you this much. For a while, you had me down and even managed to keep me there during school. I forgot who I was. Or maybe without meaning to, I allowed you to take the knowledge of who I was from me. You even succeeded in making me out to be the troubled one.
And while you bullied, harassed, name-called, slut-shamed, shoved, tripped, jumped, beat, choked, and kicked me- even threatened my life with a blade on two different occasions; I was told to ignore it, to toughen up, and not to be a snitch or a crybaby.
Even worse, people also dared to tell me to be thankful that the abuse wasn’t worse or just to take it in silence.
But as you can see, it didn’t last. You couldn’t keep me in your little box and your vacuum. And once I got away from you, I began to flourish.
In the end, you only made a fighter out of me. What you did is make a winner out of me. You ended up making me more determined to love myself. The girl who used to finish last now finishes first. Why? Because I put myself first.
When you all attacked me, others judged me unfairly and brutalized me- even those who were bystanders and those I thought were friends. And that was worse because the betrayal was more devastating than the bullying and mobbing itself.
Oh, yes. I’ll admit. People, even a few school staff, only scoffed when I went to them for help and tried to explain to them what I was going through. When I needed a listening ear and a shoulder to lean and cry on, they only ignored me. When I needed someone to care, understand, and make sense of what was happening, they abandoned me. Therefore, for a while, you won.
I even went against my better judgment and asked many of you why. Not even you could give me a straight answer, which should’ve been my first clue that none of you knew and, more than likely, still don’t know why you acted so ignorant and stupid.
Though I was only a kid and didn’t realize it back then, it’s only proof that you had no excuse nor justification for the simple way you behaved. And the most astonishing part was you didn’t need any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part to rally the school to your side.
Much to your chagrin, I’m no longer the naive girl of yesterday, but the wise woman of today. And the beauty of getting older is the wisdom you store up and the realization that you’re perfect just the way you are and always have been. Also, you realize that you never needed certain people in the first place and that certain people don’t belong in your life. You, OHS class of 90, except for two- two people, are “certain people.”
Another great thing about getting older is that you become completely secure and comfortable in your own skin. You can speak your mind no matter who sees and hears it because you could give less than a damn what others think.
Who are you, anyway? Who are any of you? I’m the only one who can decide who I am. I’m the only one who has that kind of power.
So many people tell me things, and it is people you’d never expect. ‘You know? Those who tell you stories of people you could care less about and regardless of whether you want to hear them? Yeah, those types. Believe it or not, some of them are people you think are your friends.
Oh, yeah! They stop me in places like the supermarket and the gas station, or when I’m passing through. They tell me that many of you keep up with my social media posts and regularly read my blog. Yep. I know all about it.
So, I don’t doubt that you’ll read this blog post too, so I’m writing this to help you indulge yourselves. Because you only expose yourselves and your obsession.
To be real, I could care less about what or how any of you are doing. Because you were only people God was teaching me to look out for. You were lessons, not blessings. And the things I take away from having the displeasure of even knowing you are these:
1.That if I can survive your obsessive bullying and mobbing for six long years, then I can survive anything. Oh, yes! You most certainly showed me my own strength, resilience, and determination.
2. You showed me the type of people I don’t want in my life and who aren’t good enough to be in it. Moreover, you showed me the type of person I never wanted to become.
3. You gave me a much better appreciation for the real friends I have today.
4. You gave me a thick skin and a fighting spirit.
5. You gave me clarity- clarity of what I want and what I will and will not tolerate in my life.
6. You gave me the confidence to know that hard times are only temporary and they will eventually pass me by.
7. You gave me the drive and determination to have what I want out of life and the motivation to work hard and keep going after it until I get it- the commitment to reach success and live my dreams.
8. You gave me the desire not only to learn and improve my knowledge of bullying and the psychology of predatory behavior but also to use what you tried to do to protect other innocents from people like you.
9. You also gave me the ability to spot a liar and faker a mile away in the dark! It’s funny how dealing with the likes of you can give one the ability to point out other liars and fakes without ever meeting them.
I survived because my determination to remain standing superseded your desperation to tear me down. I survived because the fire inside me burned hotter and brighter than the fire you ignited around my feet.
My efforts to reach happiness and success outmatched your efforts to keep me miserable and in failure. And my strength to keep going was much bigger than the force you expended to stop me. I prevailed against odds that would’ve proved overwhelming for the likes of you.
I graduated because I kept pushing myself and went on living through enormous threats circumstances- pressures under which you wusses would’ve dropped out. And the thing is, most people would’ve hated you. But I don’t. ‘You know why?
Because hate is a waste of energy, I’d rather spend my energy focusing on my goals. I’m too busy working on myself and pursuing my own agenda to hate on anyone. I make it about me. That’s right, all about me, my family, and my goals.
People won’t always bully you. And your classmates won’t always be in your life.
Your stomach won’t always be in knots and you won’t always be running out of class to go to the bathroom and throw up because of the intense stress.
You won’t always have to wonder when some snake at school is going to attack you in the halls or in the girls’ room.
The looking in the mirror and trying different outfits, makeup tricks, and hairstyles- thinking that if you make yourself more attractive than you already are, the bullying will go away? It will soon end.
The wondering if you’re good enough and worthy of love? This will go away as well.
The wondering if you’ll ever be allowed to be yourself and to relax? This too shall pass.
The wondering if you’ll ever have true friends- friends who will love you for being you, stick up for you, and take care of you? Friends you don’t have to explain yourself to? In a few years, none of it will even be an issue.
Trust me. There will come a day when you won’t have the fake friends you have in school. And when that day arrives, you will have real friends who will love you for all that you are and all the beauty you bring to this world.
There will come a day when you’ll have the courage to walk away from toxic people who are no good for you. And you won’t be afraid to stand alone until better people find you.
There will come a day when you’ll be so confident and secure in yourself that the cruel words of others will no longer matter.
There will come a day when you’ll have a family of your own and friends who’ll love you for you.
People will no longer only tolerate you but celebrate you!
And each rejection, each bad name, each cruel taunt hurled; each punch, each kick, shove, and blow to your body will piss you off a little more, and a little more. But that anger will give you the dogged determination to tune out the naysayers, follow your dreams, and reach success!
Each incidence of bullying is only preparing you for what you’re meant to do later. It’s preparing you for a rewarding and successful life in the future.
Each blow you take, each bruise, each disappointment, each humiliation, each pull of your hair, and each tear you cry is only making you better. It’s making you the lady you’re meant to become- a more compassionate, empathetic, stronger, and wiser woman.
Your loneliness now will be an appreciation of the circle of friends and abundance of love you’ll have later.
Your naivete will become wisdom.
Your victimization will become your launchpad
And your bullies, your motivation.
I know it hurts. It hurts terribly! But the pain you suffer today will be the power you enjoy tomorrow!
So, hold on.
Don’t lose sight of your goals. The best is yet to come!
I know it’s tough. But sometimes you must first live with what you hate before you can move on to what you love. You must weather the storm before you can see sunlight. Understand that only when we’ve been through hell, do we appreciate heaven so much more.
Although your mind tells you that there’s something wrong with you- that it’s your fault- that you must be doing something to rub these people the wrong way, your heart tells you differently.
Your heart tells you that you did nothing wrong, that these classmates don’t like themselves and that they’re putting all that negative energy off on you. But this war between your mind and your heart leaves you exhausted.
No matter how bad things get, I see that small glimmer of hope in your eyes. Don’t lose it.
Although you carry an enormous amount of pain, you’re still holding on, taking it one day at a time. Keep it up.
Please love yourself and continue to forge your own path despite how others may treat you.
And please don’t hate your classmates, feel sorry for them- take pity on them. Because their lives aren’t as perfect as they let on. Believe it or not, your classmates are hurting too.
They have mental problems of their own that they never confessed, addressed, nor got help for. Only they’ll never in this lifetime tell you about it.
Understand that they’re only keeping up appearances, which is such hard work. And they’re angry at you because you don’t have to work as hard as they do.
Realize that many of them are abused at home, have parents who are into prostitution or drugs and alcohol, and who fight. Many of them are also dirt poor, surviving on welfare and ashamed of it. Many of your classmates have home lives you couldn’t imagine! And school is their happy place.
Open your eyes and see that your home life is better than a lot of kids your age. Be thankful for it. Your home is a sanctuary compared to most.
And they’re also scared- scared of becoming just like you- a target! Therefore, they feel compelled to join in the bullying in order to make their bones with the in-clique.
But understand that all this makes them cowards and again, they’re to be pitied, not hated.
You don’t yet realize how strong, brave, and resilient you are. But you are- just for the fact that you haven’t dropped out of school like so many of your classmates. You haven’t quit the race! You haven’t given up on life!
Even though you know all too well that you will be bombarded with a barrage of taunts and insults, or worse, physically attacked once you pass through the school entrance, you manage to find the courage to get up every morning and go to school and- you do it scared!
So, who are the weak ones now?
They may have favor with most of the teachers, even the ones who have little hope for you. However, most of them will never leave this town. This is a small town- only a dot on the map. In a small town, it doesn’t take much effort nor very long to maximize one’s potential.
Even though you feel so small and insignificant, understand that each of your classmates feels the same way you do. And the only way they can feel big and powerful is to make you feel bad. And one day, you’re going to see just how they end up.
Only a few will make it. The rest will be living in loveless and abusive marriages. Many will be poor and wondering how they’ll pay the rent. Some will join gangs or begin slinging dope.
Several will immerse themselves in drugs and alcohol to cope with their failures in life. A good portion of them will end up behind bars. And many will have kids who disrespect and hurt them.
Most of your classmates will be on a desperate and never-ending search for love, going through numerous divorces and broken relationships. They’ll never learn to fall in love with themselves and with life first.
They’ll be on an endless quest for happiness and never realize that happiness comes from within themselves.
I know you want so badly to fix it, but don’t know what’s broken.
You’ll laugh at me when I tell you what I’m about to tell you. You’ll probably tell me I’m crazy and that I don’t know what I’m talking about. But I’m going to tell you anyway.
There’s nothing wrong with you. Your classmates are the ones with the issues! They are the ones who are “crazy” and to keep everyone from figuring it out, they put it all off on you.
I want you to know that you’re a major threat to them. That’s right. You are a threat to your classmates. Do you know why?
It’s because you’re smart- smart enough to see right through them and they know it. They also hate it!
You’re also talented. You can sing, for crying out loud! Your classmates know you can sing and they’re jealous of your beautiful voice. They’re afraid that you’ll expose the bullying and let all their skeletons out of the closet.
Why do you think they shout you down and tell you to “shut up” every time you start to open your mouth? Why do you think they scream at you and tell you to sit down every time you get up to sharpen a pencil or turn in homework- or speak up to answer a teacher’s question in class?
But they’re very much afraid that you’ll humiliate them, so they keep you afraid to open your mouth.
They hate it when you write. But understand that they’re afraid you might be writing about them and their cruelty. Isn’t that why they had your journal taken?
But know this. You have so much potential. You just don’t know it yet, because you’ve been programmed to think that you’re no good and will never amount to anything.
I know that sometimes you want to die. But if you keep living, I promise that things will get better- much better! Because you’re going to accomplish things you never thought you would. You will end up surprising yourself!
Although you think this is a load of feel-good garbage now, the truth is that your classmates bully you to keep you down because they fear that if you ever rise, you’ll cause them to fade into the background.
I also know that your home life isn’t so hot either. Your father doesn’t believe in you and treats you more like a stepchild than a child. He acts like you’re not one of his. But understand that he’s battling demons of his own.
And I know that you’re anxious for your mother to remarry so you’ll have a replacement dad. I know you dream of having a stepdad who’ll legally adopt you as his own. But honey, no one else will ever replace your daddy and someday, you’re going to realize it.
I know it seems that you and Mom don’t see eye to eye and the easiest way to avoid any fallouts is to stay in your room, write, and get lost in the music you blare so loudly.
I know you feel like she’s ashamed of you and wishes she had a different child. She isn’t and she doesn’t. She loves you very much and the bullying you suffer hurts her too. Know that she’s on your side.
And you’re going to find out later that if you open your heart to her and talk, even cry to her, she’ll listen while she holds you, and you’ll grow closer than ever before.
Also, realize that every kid goes through times when they’re at odds with parents. And I’ll go back to a point I made earlier- your home life is a lot better than most.
I know you’re withdrawn- closed off- scared to talk to people because you’re afraid they’ll make fun of anything you have to say. But take the risk anyway. Open your heart to people. Laugh and have fun with them. I promise you that they just might see your golden heart and love you for it.
School is worse than anything. I know that inside, you want to laugh, want to sing, want to dance, but you’re afraid. Know that one day, you’ll have the courage to let yourself do and be.
Know that what you’re going through now is only temporary.
I know you’re hurting, you’re lonely, and you’re frightened. You’re exhausted- damned tired of having to fight just to get through what should be a normal school day. You’re also confused- you’re not sure what you should do to remedy the situation.
Hurting, heartbroken- crushed because the judgments are severe, and no one will give you a chance. Your opportunities have been taken from you- opportunities to make new friends, to get a part-time job, for scholarships, and for dating and romance- just to grow as a person and move forward!
Lonely, isolated- alienated from seemingly everyone because your good name has been defamed and destroyed. Everyone is seemingly scared of you- scared to be seen with you. Or they’re cruel to you.
You can feel the contempt when they look at you with eyes that pierce you. And yes! It cuts deep! You withdraw and refuse to speak to them. You act as if you don’t need any of them, even respond to them in kind. You do all this not because you want to but strictly for self-preservation, which only makes them hate you more, and alas, reinforces the alienation.
Frightened– terrified of making mistakes, and of failing because of the continuous threat of being taunted, ridiculed, humiliated! And why not? It’s already happened, and it continues to.
You’re in danger- danger of being physically attacked- shoved to the floor, your hair pulled out, punched, kicked, choked! You even fear they’ll slice your face, cut your throat, stab or shoot you because they’ve already threatened to. In the back of your mind, you know that every action begins with a thought.
Exhausted– damned sick of the never-ending drama, the fakery, and the stupidity of not only your classmates but a few petty, immature, and cliquey teachers who are only adult versions of the punks who torment you, and who probably picked their careers because they couldn’t get enough of their glory days of high school. I know that’s what you’re thinking.
You’re just plain worn out from the incessant need to grow eyes in the back of your head- watching your back, looking over your shoulder and of the ducking and dodging people who wish to do you harm! Who can learn when they’re constantly in defense mode?
You’re just sick and tired of being sick and tired. Period!
Confused– bewildered as to how you should respond to the cruelty the school subjects you to. Because of the constant abuse, you don’t even know who you are now. You’re not sure which direction you should go in, nor what the future will bring. You don’t know what to say because you aren’t sure how the words will come out and whether you’ll end up saying something stupid.
You consistently wrack your brain, trying to figure out why. You wonder how it all even got started and what you must’ve said or done to bring it about.
You’re bullied every day, all the time, by everyone, for everything.
It seems that no one will allow you to be a human being.
If you smile, people automatically think you’re up to something.
If you frown, they think you’re feeling sorry for yourself.
If you laugh, people think you’re making fun of them.
If you cry, they tell you you’re too sensitive and call you a crybaby.
If you sing, you’re accused of showboating.
If you write, they accuse you of writing something nasty about them.
If you wear a dress, makeup, and your hair down, you’re only trying to impress the opposite sex and get a date and/or laid.
If you wear your jeans a little too tight, they label you a whore.
If you get angry, speak out or fight back, they label you as crazy, mentally unbalanced, and in need of professional help.
If you’re happy and cheerful, they ask you what mischief you got or whether you slept with someone.
If you’re friendly, they accuse you of kissing up.
If you’re quiet, distant, and don’t feel like talking, they call you a snob and accuse you of being stuck-up.
Yet, if you speak, they only shout you down and tell you to shut up.
If you’re dating, they think you’re having sex
If you’re not, they say it’s because you’re a prude, a loser, or that no one will have you.
You’re fully aware that everyone- everyone is watching you closely- clocking your every move, listening to every word that comes out of your mouth. They’re nosy, always prying into your private business. And they’re constantly waiting- just waiting for you to screw up- make a mistake- just one tiny error, all for the purpose of using it against you later and making it bigger. It’s akin to being under a microscope!
Close up of examining of test sample of microchip transistor under the microscope in laboratory.
Sweetie, I know that you’ve been unjustly and unfairly labeled- branded, like a cow. Even worse, they’re trying their hardest to make you believe it too.
But don’t! Don’t believe the lies! They don’t know you, even after so many years, your classmates still don’t know you. Because, for so long, they’ve been so busy pointing fingers at you that they never really took the chance to get to know you.
And what they don’t know is that you have a heart of gold.
You only want what everyone else wants and seems to have- friends and to be loved and accepted for the person you are. Although they may ridicule or demonize you for wanting those things, please know in your heart that there’s no shame in having those desires because it’s only natural to have them. It’s only human nature.
It seems that every time you pull yourself up, they always seem to be waiting to knock you back down again. But they only do it because they’re deathly afraid that if you ever rise, you’d take some of the spotlight from them, along with the benefits they’re getting at your expense.
When you try to talk about the brutality you suffer at school, the classmates bully you harder and the adults only turn a deaf ear. But understand that they only silence you out of fear- fear that their own bad behavior and shortcomings will be exposed. And the adults are afraid of being seen as negligent and of the impact on the school’s reputation. The town of Oakley prides itself in its schools.
You’re so anxious for school to just be over with, but don’t rush it. Instead, learn everything you can while you can. Get as much out of it now, while it’s easiest to do so!
You’ve been beaten down and trampled underfoot for so long that now, you’re feeling desperate- desperate to just pack up and leave. And you’re willing to go to any lengths necessary to get out of this toxic environment you’re trapped in. Just be sure that you don’t end up jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.
I also know that you’re in a hurry to grow up. You just want to turn eighteen and become an adult who can then have control over her own life. But please, slow down! Having control of your own life is not what it’s cracked up to be.
Please! Whatever you do, don’t lose hope because I promise you! Life will get better- much better. It’s just not time right now. Your due season hasn’t arrived yet.
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.
Antique books with magnifying glass. Old leather bound vintage books in a row
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.
Close up of examining of test sample of microchip transistor under the microscope in laboratory.
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.
The word Answer on a puzzle piece to symbolize the quest for understanding in answering questions and concerns
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!
I didn’t experience bullying, nothing beyond normal teasing until I moved to a small Tennessee town after having been an Army Brat and lived in several different areas. Until then, bullying had always been something that happened to kids in the movies.
When I became a target of severe and chronic bullying as a sixth-grader at the age of twelve, I began a long lesson in the human predator/prey dynamic and a battle for my dignity, safety, and my very soul.
During the sixth grade, I never fought back. I’d been taught that decent young ladies didn’t fight. So, I took the physical beatings, name-calling, and abuse.
When I entered seventh grade at the age of thirteen, the harassment by my classmates reached a fever pitch. I was a victim of what is called “poly-victimization.” I was name called, slandered, humiliated, threatened, physically assaulted, the whole nine. And after enough of it, I learned the hard way that I had two choices, either take a stand and fight back or get eaten alive.
But the more I tried to set boundaries, the worse the bullying became.
The physical bullying was brutal. I suffered horrible beatings, and it escalated to the point of having a box cutter pulled on me and my life threatened.
Every morning before going to school, I would feel a huge lump in my throat and swallow hard. It took everything I had in me to step onto that school bus, knowing what would be waiting for me as soon as I walked through the school entrance.
During P.E., I was good at some sports, but not so good in others. I loved volleyball and kickball but basketball and baseball weren’t my strong suits. I was good at music and writing stories, but not as good in sports.
However, students and a few teachers judged me because I wasn’t an athlete or a sorority girl. I was musically talented and very creative. So, what they were doing was akin to judging a fish on its ability to fly.
In just two short years, I went from being a confident and outgoing kid who always made the honor roll, to a sad, withdrawn, angry and bitter girl who made C’s and D’s.
Schoolwork had always been so easy for me. I had been one of those lucky kids who didn’t have to pick up a book. All I had to do was to listen in class and do my homework (which I could get done in minutes), and I’d ace every test. But in a matter of two years, the schoolwork went from being a piece of cake to being difficult and overwhelming.
Who can concentrate on schoolwork when they’re so busy looking over their shoulder and dodging bullies. Who can learn effectively when they’re constantly in survival mode?
The torment became next to unbearable, and I attempted suicide at the age of fourteen, which landed me in ICU for a week. I almost did not make it.
Having my power stripped away was a hell I would not wish on anybody, not even my worst enemy. The trying to keep a calm demeanor amid so much toxicity and the desperately hanging onto my dignity with everything I had was exhausting! I felt as if I were emotionally held hostage by my classmates and yes, even a few school staff as a few of them joined in the bullying as well.
Because I felt powerless, I began to bully those who were even weaker than me in attempts to grab back some of my power, and it is something I am not proud to have to confess today.
I had no one to turn to as bullying was considered a normal rite of passage in those days and something I had to deal with on my own. Anytime I spoke out about or reported the mistreatment, I was shouted down by the other classmates and told to “shut up”, blamed for my own suffering, or perceived as a whiner, thought of as weak, and ridiculed. There was no help nor relief.
I was not allowed to be a human being. There was no margin for error.
They would minimize or ignore any good deed, any accomplishments, and any successes. And they would maximize any mistakes.
If I wore a dress and went to school all dolled up (which I often did in high school), I was trying to either impress the opposite sex or get a date and/or laid. If I wore my jeans the slightest bit tight, I looked like a whore.
If I cried, I was too sensitive. If I laughed, I was trying to get attention. If I got angry, I was crazy. If I was friendly, I was either flirting or trying to kiss up. If I smiled, I was secretly plotting something devious.
I was not allowed to be myself and it was exhausting. It felt as if I were suffering a slow and agonizing social murder.
The last straw finally came during high school when I was four months pregnant with my first child. I was attacked from behind, thrown over a teacher’s desk, then kicked as I lay balled in a fetal position on the floor. Luckily, my unborn child survived and was born healthy later that year.
After the last attack, I was done with Oakley High. I changed schools, and the bullying stopped. Words cannot tell you what a relief it was to finally have the opportunity to transfer to a new school! To a safer environment! One which would be much less stressful!
I loved my new school and felt like a bird out of a cage! The feeling was of being released from a nearly six-year-long prison sentence. I had done my time in hell and now I could put it behind me.
While riding along the highway toward the new school I would enroll in, I sat in the passenger seat with my then-husband (I got married while still in high school) behind the wheel and cried tears of joy.
It was hard to believe that it was over! The persecution! The pain so great I couldn’t even cry! It was all finally over! and I could start a new and so much better chapter in my life. Sure enough, I went on to make friends out of my new classmates and make it to graduation!
I now lead a successful life and use what I went through to help bullied kids today. Anytime I hear of an innocent child bullied into suicide, it truly breaks my heart.
What’s even more heartbreaking is the attitudes and remarks I hear from others around me when a tragedy like this happens! I often hear statements such as:
“But that boy was so quiet!”
“Really??? Still, waters run deep!”
“But that girl always kept to herself!”
“No joke! Just as an AIDS patient keeps his diagnosis to himself!”
“Shame on him! He was such a coward!”
“Right! Anyone running through the woods from a wild boar would look like a coward to someone sitting safely in a tree! You try spending a few years being bullied by everyone you know and see how mighty and brave you are! You’ll find out how quickly your life goes to crap!”
If you haven’t experienced it, you’ll never know what it is to be a target of bullying. I was fortunate in that I survived and moved on to happiness and success. But many victims don’t, which is why writing about bullying and advocating for victims is my passion.
Although being bullied is never a good thing, I did get a few positive takeaways:
1.) Having been bullied has made me appreciate the great friends I have today. It also gave me empathy and compassion for others and a desire to help those who endure the same!
2.) Having been bullied made a strong woman out of me. It made me more determined never to quit until I reach a goal! Knowing that bullies often bully out of jealousy and fear is the motivation for me.’
3.) Being bullied gave me the determination to love myself, put myself first, and the willingness to say “no” anytime I am asked or told to do something which does not feel right!
4.) Having been bullied gave me the determination to follow my dreams, to do things I most enjoy, and to reach success!
5.) Having been bullied has given me hope. Because I know that if I can go through bullying and survive, then I can rise above anything!
6.) It gave me a soft spot and a great willingness to fight for the underdog.
7.) And lastly, it sharpened my BS detector, giving me the ability to read people and to spot a fake a mile away and in a split second!
Being a target of bullying almost broke me, yes! But in the end, it made me! And if you’re a target of bullying and you don’t give up, you can survive and emerge a winner!!!
Once you realize that the bullying you suffered in the past was no fault of your own and wasn’t because you were unlovable, nor because you were a bad person, you will be amazed at how much your confidence will skyrocket and how easy it will be to forgive.
I realize now that my bullies in school had issues and that their abuse of me was only their ways of covering up their own mental and emotional problems and projecting them onto another person.
In essence, my classmates were hiding behind me (Gee, they sound so pitiful and pathetic, don’t they?). Therefore, I can’t help but look back and feel sorry for them all.
You never asked to be treated the way they treated you and I want you to know that their opinions of you do not define you or your life, never did, and never will.
Regardless of what happened, you are fantastic, beautiful and intelligent. You are strong! You are amazing! Do you know why? Because you survived! Even better, because you rose above it! And you’ve come so far!
So, please don’t be bitter because the past is the past and cannot be changed.
Continue to love and take care of yourself. Because as you’ve probably learned, no one else will do it for you.
For people to love you, you must love yourself first. You deserve it!