I Was A Bully

I Was A Bully

I know what you're thinking, that statement couldn't apply to me. Well it does! And yes I'm ashamed of it. However, bullying in the "dark ages" was not really the same as it is today, no guns knives, computers, or anything like that, well at least in my neighborhood. Okay I'm not making excuses, but let me tell you a little about me, and maybe you'll have a bit of sympathy.

To be clear, I'm not writing this to secure bragging rights, I would hope it helps someone in someway. For instance if one person realizes it's not alright or doesn't pay to bully, tease or torment anyone, then I've accomplished something.

First, let me tell you why this came up. My daughter and I was looking at a news story on bullying, and I was condemning it vociferously. Well, guess what, my daughter called me out, and said, "but mom you were a bully." Of course I denied it, but she wouldn't let it go, reminding me of some of the stories that I'd told her. I naturally didn't connect the dots, and I'll explain why.

Grade School

During my grade school years I was the darling of the school, straight A student, teacher's pet and all that went with it. Back then we only had grades 1-7, not even kindergarten, in a very small school. Grade school was very easy for me, no stress, no real competition, so no need to act out

High School

Then on to High School, I was a small fish, and I mean small, (I'll explain later), thrust into a big pond. I was no longer the darling of the school, not the teachers pet, or any of that. However, I so wanted to fit in, and I used the only thing that I had at the time, my mouth.

Picture this, I was all of 5ft tall, weighing 90 lbs soaking wet, but even being that small I never was afraid of anything. So, to fit in I used my mouth, needless to say in the wrong way. Thinking back, I did some dumb things. Although, I never ganged up on anyone, mine was single handed tormenting, teasing and bullying. I really didn't call it bullying, but my daughter made me realize it was.

For instance, we didn't have air conditioning in our school, and there was this boy in my typing class that came to school with a foul body odor everyday, and his seat was directly behind mine, and I said to him everyday, "you stink." So here's where you'll applaud, he warned me over and over to stop saying that to him, but no, I just kept it up. Well one day he'd had enough, and knocked me down and pulled a typewriter down on me. Needless to say I never said that again, I just endured the stench with closed mouth. Admittedly that might not fit the classic definition for bullying, but it was tormenting.

Oh, but that wasn't the end of it. I became the football team's unofficial mascot, and as such I could get away with a lot because they were my protectors. So if I did anything all I had to do was hide behind one of them and I was protected. Without going into details, there was this one young man that was as we said a "tattletale," and when I did something wrong he would report me to the principle. Oh, by the way wrong back then in my neck of the woods was breaking the bubblegum machine in back of the bus, and I did that. Well anyway when I found out it was this guy, who by the way was bigger than I was, I got in his face and threatened him the first time, but the second time I hit him. Poor boy didn't do a thing, he was so afraid of the football players that he just kept his mouth shut. Well again, here's how I got payed back, one day, on one of my bullying tirades, I reached over to slap my nemesis, and one of my football friends got in the way, in an attempt to stop me, and I slapped him instead. So, after he, my protector recovered from my slap, he delivered one of his own to me. For some reason I was never really able to get away with anything. So, suffice it to say I quit trying, and turned my erring ways around, I actually did a 360 and went right back to my grade school ways and I ended my high school years with honors.

Conclusion

While my attempts at bullying and teasing was seemingly comical, it is not comical. So I wrote this as a prelude to a more serious article about bullying, teasing and tormenting.

As I said early on in the article, I didn't connect the dots from my "foibles," to the bullying of today. However, in hindsight it was, even though I didn't receive the penalties that usually go with it. Let me explain. I now know the part of bullying that fit with what I was doing, which is, (well at least one meaning), "noisily domineering; tending to browbeat others." So with the poor young man that I tormented, (bullied), about his body odor, two things could have happened. One, I could have caused him to develop low self esteem, leaving him permanently scarred, or worse yet, he could have committed suicide. Two, he could have caused me irreparable harm, or even taken my life. Not to mention some of the other situations I found myself in, oh I didn't tell you the half of it, and in saying that, nothing I did reaches the level of bullying of today. Suffice it to say I'm here to talk about it, but others are not so fortunate. There are serious consequences to bullying, and I'll explore that in my next article, " Are You A Bully, Tormentor Or Habitual Teaser?"


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Comments 37 comments

alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 5 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Wow! Thanks for sharing your story Freta


dashingclaire profile image

dashingclaire 5 years ago from United States

Thanks for showing how bullying is perceived differently when one grows to adulthood.


Susie Writes profile image

Susie Writes 5 years ago from Northern California

FF - I loved reading your account from a former bully's perspective and thank you for it. I was bullied at various points in my childhood because I was smart, wore glasses, was VERY shy, and very skinny. Most of it ended by the time I got to high school. But when I met my future husband from a neighboring school, the bullying resumed by girls from his school because apparently he was a boy many of them tried unsuccessfully to catch.

I have often wondered if any of those girls, now women in their 50's, think about the hurt they caused. Though the incidents are burned in my memory, their power to hurt me has long been lost.

I think, as you have illuminated in your hub, we humans tend to forget about our transgressions, or think them very minor blips on our life's radar. But what are minor blips to bullies, may be war ships to their targets - war ships whose torpedoes cause injuries that leave deep scars.

My former bullies are now probably decent, caring adults with families of their own, never to think again about their long-ago launched missiles and the harm they may have caused. I don't dwell on the hurts of the past, but still I wonder...

Thanks again FF for your honesty. It gives me hope that my former bullies are now, like you, kind adults. :-)


Fay Paxton 5 years ago

I agree with you completely...bullying was a totally different thing back in the day. Even if someone had a fight...nobody jumped in...there was no gang to defend against. That isn't to defend bullying at any level, but it has gotten way out of hand. Today, it's more like torture.

up/awesome


justom profile image

justom 5 years ago from 41042

Freta, I think we just grew up with a bit thicker skins than kids now have. While I would never condone bullying, It's just part of growing up. I think those of us who where more aggressive when young are the more peaceful now. What a great comment from Susie Writes too!! Good for her. Great hub about a touchy subject Freta! Peace!! Tom


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

We all learn, or repeat the same mistakes.

Flag up!


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

I'd like to thank you all for weighing in on this subject. I started writing this hub weeks ago and hesitated to publish it, for fear it would be perceived as my trying to justify my actions.

So true dallas93444.

You know Tom, in the South, it seemed like we had to develop a thick skin, but still no excuse for my actions.

You're right Fay it was a bit different back then.

Susie Writes, my heart goes out to you and I do hope that no one that is suffering or even remembering any of the bad things that I did back in the day.

You're very welcome dahingclaire.

Thank you alekhouse!


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 5 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Nice sharing you story. I am glad you are not a bully now :)


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Oh, I couldn't be a bully today if I tried. Thanks Sandyspider, see you later.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Such a nice lady. I am sure you made a mistake. lol


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Well, ah, yes, you know me Hello, hello. Thanks for vouching for me. LOL!


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 5 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

I love this. It brings back memories. In 7th grade I grew to be about 6ft tall. All I wanted was a girlfriend, but none would have me. So for the next 3 years I focused heavily on weight lifting and sports. My sophmore year, I was the top weightlifter in the school and on the varsity football team. I remembered what it was like to be bullied, so I decided to push a few bullies around, and I did. I even shoved a few in their lockers, and one I even hung on his locker door by his coat. Eventually, the conscience of maturity made me stop. Well that and... turns out this cheerleader actually liked me and wanted to go out. We dated 3 years before she filleted my heart open like cleaning fish for dinner.

Women! Yer all bullies and heartbreakers. Everyone of ya. HA!

lol, Great hub.

-Harlan


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Well Harlan Colt, I don't quite know what to say. But thanks so much for stopping and sharing with us a little part of who you are.????????????


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 5 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

Sorry, It was like 4 am and I just woke up. I'm not sure either. Ha ha...

- Harlan


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

It's alright Harlan,(smile) I understand, but by all means come again.


create a page profile image

create a page 5 years ago from Maryland, USA

fastfreta it is hard to believe that you actually were so mean as a child. I am so glad that you have changed since.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

WOW, create a page, I never thought of it that way, I mean, being called mean. Actually I was never called mean, but again just as I never connected the dots of being called a bully, so I guess I could be considered a "mean girl." Yes and thank goodness I changed. Good to see you again, I'll see you soon.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 5 years ago from Georgia

Oh wow Fastfreta - I would have never pegged you as a bully. I was always the one who was bullied - (by girls mostly) - and have never been able to stand seeing others go through what I went through. It was very brave of you to share this with us. It's a life lesson for us all.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Yeah Veronica, I'm not proud of that fact, but I thought it was important to put it out there, because so many don't consider what they're doing to be harmful. Interestingly girls were never really my target, although I did have run ins with girls from time to time, but very seldom. Thanks again for stopping and taking the time to read and leave a comment.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

This is a beautiful self-examination. Bullying then and today has its roots in the same place, although today's bullying has more far-reaching consequences because of the Internet and the all-pervasive media and the...(the list could go on).

I applaud your daughter for calling you on the stories you shared with her, and I applaud you for sharing those stories and your retrospective thoughts about them.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you Sally, for your input, as I've stated before, I'm truly ashamed of the fact, but the facts are the facts. However, I abhor bullying in any form, and loudly proclaim such. Thank you for stopping, hope to see you again soon.


GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 5 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

fastfreta,

Wow - what a great insight! A friend at an elite private school is about to remove their children because of bullying - I thought we had conquered this problem. I sincerely wish all schools and libraries would post no bullying signs - I think we choose to ignore it.

Bullying is a direct attack upon our most precious asset - freedom. Isn't it amazing we don't fight against this on a more active basis - even in America or should it be ESPECIALLY in America.

Very well done Hub - thank you!


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

GmaGoldie, you're right we do choose to ignore bullying, or rather we relegate it to a lower degree than we should. I agree we should be more proactive as far as bullying is concerned. Thank you so much for your keen insight, and thanks for stopping.


Joy56 profile image

Joy56 5 years ago

know what i think i was once a bully too, in school...... I have been severley bullied in work lately, and it is quite horrible. I am gaining strength to go back to the work place, but it is not easy.

Just saw you in the forums, i remember reading some of your work long ago, do you remember Brenda Scully well tht is me..... A bit more wordly wise, but definately still your follower.


DaNoblest profile image

DaNoblest 5 years ago from California

It takes a lot of courage to come out and say you did something wrong. You seemed to learn very fast why bullying is not good though. Very well written and you give some good advice. Thank you. =]


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Well, well hello there Brenda, so glad to hear from you. So sorry you had to suffer under the terrible hand of a bully, and I hope things completely turn around for you soon. I look forward to hearing from you again.

Yes DaNoblest, it didn't take long because I was never really a bully, it's just something I tried on, but it didn't fit. Nevertheless I am deeply ashamed of that phase of my life. I do hope someone can learn from my experience. Anyway, thank you so much for stopping, I'll see you very soon.


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

Thank you for being so candid. I was a wall-flower that just hoped that the bullies wouldn't notice me and I am ashamed to say that I didn't stick up for those being picked on nearly enough. Today bullying can go to such extremes that teachers and administrators have to step in. When I was in school, most of the time we were left to deal with it ourselves. There is good and bad in that approach. Great hub. voted way up and useful. Hope many read it.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you Sinea Pies, my short stint at attempting to bully is very shameful to me. I'm glad I didn't succeed at it. However, as you said today bullying can and does go to extremes, and it's no laughing matter. Thanks again for reading and leaving this heartfelt comment.


L.I.N.C profile image

L.I.N.C 5 years ago from Montreal, Canada

Bullies tend to be very driven, intense, alpha kids. Lots to offer the world when properly 'corralled'. Wild mustangs unless parents and teachers really 'get' them and build relationships with them that keep the caregiver in the alpha and the energetic child the dependent. They are often the hardest children to parent b/c it takes a strong, warm & responsive parent to stay connected and in charge. Many parents throw in the towel on these brilliant kids before their job is done. No they don't come with manuals. It is all about relationship. My hub: Tears - their purpose.

Thanks for all your heartfelt responses.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks for your heartfelt comments. So profound, these are things I wish I'd known when I wrote the hub. Also I wish more was aware of these findings. Thanks again, L.I.N.C, please come back.


3cardmonte 4 years ago

I was bullied and beaten horrendously as a teenager because people said I was ugly. But at least you are self aware and not one of those people that says "I never did anything to anyone in high school" We all do things we're not proud of. The fact that you can admit it not only means you won't do it again, but I'm willing to bet you won't stand by and see it done. Excellent hub.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 4 years ago from Southern California Author

Even though my bullying was short lived, I admit it was still bullying, and I am not proud of it, and you're right, I would never allow it to happen to anyone in my presence .

So sorry to hear about what happened to you, I hope you've recovered emotionally. I'd like to add, if that's a picture of you in your profile, I think your bullies were just jealous, and that happens too. Thank you for sharing your experience, and thank you for the compliment.


3cardmonte 4 years ago

Thank you very much :) that's really kind of you to say!


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

You opened up about a part of you thanks for sharing this Hub, it takes courage for to admit to bullying


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 3 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks DDE, and I'm not proud of this either.


bat115 profile image

bat115 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

fastfreta, Thank You for sharing this story. Glad that you came out the other end as the good person you are today.. Or , that we know from your hubs!


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 3 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you so much bat115 for stopping and taking the time to leave a comment.

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