How many lives could’ve been saved if we’d spoken up sooner?
For years, everyone saw bullies picking on and ganging up on targets- they saw it on the playground, the hallways, the gym, the locker room, the bathrooms, the classrooms, and on the school bus and the target was driven to act out in violence.
No one cared about any of the bullying until targets started taking matters into their own hands- more appropriately, until they started bringing guns to school and blowing their bullies away, committing suicide, or both.
It’s a shame that people had to die before we finally began to take bullying seriously. Being treated like an object for too long, instead of a living, breathing, and feeling human being can make one enraged enough to want to kill or desperate enough to escape the torment by any means (suicide).
Thankfully, not all who suffer repeated and patterned bullying and mobbing commit homicide or suicide. Most targets suffer in silence. They live depressed, isolated, bewildered, and confused because they’ve had their self-confidence stripped away. In that, they’re prevented from realizing their full potential and capabilities.
Many children and teens are terrified of getting on the school bus and many more stay silent for fear of retribution. Young targets endure torment others cannot possibly comprehend and much of the wounds and bruises are unseen. Just because someone isn’t bludgeoned, bruised, and bloodied on the outside doesn’t mean they aren’t they aren’t so inside. Physical wounds can be seen but wounds to the soul can’t.
Bullying and mobbing leave permanent scars. Even after time has gone by, the memories are still fresh. In fact, they’re so deeply entrenched that even decades later, targets can still remember the names of those who instigated the mobbing, those who joined in and partook in it, those who encouraged it, and those who pretended to be their friends but didn’t have their back and refused to help them.
As a survivor of school bullying and mobbing myself, I can tell you that I remember the names of every single one of my classmates who fell in the above categories, one of whom I thought was a close friend. I only recently stopped talking to this woman and was a fool not to have kicked her sorry butt to the curb years ago.
Every survivor I’ve ever spoken too remembers these things specifically.
Understand that when a child or teen is bullied and mobbed by virtually everyone, minor occurrences of ridicule, name-calling, and shunning may occur. However, things such as these build up over time.
What ends up breaking and killing the target’s spirit and self-image is the accumulation of so many incidences of so many classmates brutally bullying her and the fact that the abuse comes from everyone and from every direction.
But I guarantee that if you were to tell each of the target’s classmates what they were doing and tell them of the damage they had done to that targeted child, they would either deny it or respond with, “But all I did was…!”
Again, these “little attacks” come from many, many directions and over a long period of time against the same person- this is one of the biggest hallmarks of mobbing.
I’ve asked other survivors of school bullying and mobbing why they think their classmates mobbed them and not one of them knows why. Each one of these people, even decades later, wonder what they did to encourage their schoolmates to gang up on them and torment them the way that they did.
I always tell them that they did nothing to deserve that kind of treatment and that they should never blame themselves for their classmates’ atrocious behavior.
During my years of research on bullying and mobbing, I’ve learned that mobbing is always caused by a trivial conflict that’s not even personal but somehow, becomes personal later. The origins of mobbing can be anything- a potential target is a new student at the school, or the potential target says something that isn’t necessarily bad but rubs the wrong kids the wrong way.
Maybe the potential target is different, or maybe the child is highly intelligent to the point of overshadowing members of the top clique. It could be that the potential target brags about something and ticks off the rest of the class, or wears clothes that are out of fashion and the bullies use it as an excuse to torment the kid.
And long after the initial cause of the bullying is over and forgotten, the bullying continues.
Understand that if you were to ask bullies why they mobbed and tormented a certain individual, they either wouldn’t know the reason, or they would give an answer that doesn’t make a lick of sense.
Therefore, targets and survivors alike must realize that the mobbing and bullying they presently struggle with or endured in the past was never about anything they said or did. It was never about them. It was always about their bullies’ own mental health issues. It was about the bullies’ senses of self-entitlement, their insecurities, feelings of self-loathing, and intense jealousy.
And once they realize these things, their self-esteem won’t take such a big hit.
With knowledge comes empowerment!